Meet the Founder: Makanai Cosmetics

"Japanese skincare rituals are not only about streamlined steps, when we take care of our skin it calms our mind and heart."

After the exclusive launch of Makanai in the Netherlands on sterrerosebeauty.com, I had the honor to meet Founder & CEO, Mayumi Tachikawa, at the beautiful Makanai Flagship Store in Tokyo, to deep dive into the unique brand heritage and learn more on her inspiration and vision behind the brand. 

Makanai's Founder & CEO Mayumi Tachikawa

Makanai is a natural skincare brand that combines tried-and-true Japanese beauty secrets with high-quality natural ingredients. The story of Makanai Cosmetics dates back over a century ago when women working at Yoshitaka Gold-Leaf Foundry as manual goldbeaters began using their 'makanai' (food and knowledge employees acquired on the job) — rice bran, yuzu, green tea, Japanese washi paper — to protect their skin from the tough dry factory conditions. 

Mayumi Tachikawa grew up in her father’s gold leaf factory and became inspired by the remarkably beautiful skin of the women who worked there.


Makanai's Founder Mayumi Tachikawa & Sterre Rose at the Makanai Flagship Store in Tokyo.
 


Sterre Rose Beauty: Why and how did you start Makanai?

Mayumi Tachikawa: My father owns a gold leaf foundry in Kanazawa. The environment there is harsh for the skin; it is a very dry environment with hot temperatures.

My grandmother and mother made their own skincare products using natural Japanese ingredients. They started to notice that their skin condition improved drastically and began to pen their beauty secrets. I became inspired by them and thought, ‘if their skin gets better using these skincare products in that tough dry factory environment, it could also be a solution to other skin problems people face today.’ This is when the idea for Makanai was born.

The Yoshitaka Gold Leaf Foundry where the Makanai brand was born. 

 

SRB: What distinguishes Makanai from other Japanese skincare brands?

MT: Our brand is born from the gold leaf foundry by using natural skincare recipes from over 100 years ago. The beauty recipes were collected, further researched and developed, and has since evolved into a modern-day collection of skincare products for women to maintain their beautiful skin. 

"Our brand conveys a century's worth of Japanese beauty secrets"

Many cosmetics brands are focused on using the latest and medical ingredients. We focus on tried-and-true beauty secrets and time-tested wisdom — we use carefully selected, high quality, traditional ingredients that we have tested over many years and we know are good for our skin.

SRB: What is the Makanai product that stands out for you and why?

MT: Our signature product is the Makanai hand cream. This is my personal favorite product too!

At the gold leaf foundry they work a lot with their hands, but we noticed the hands of the workers were remarkably soft and youthful. We found they soaked their hands in natural ingredients, a combination of persimmon, eggs and soybeans. We know that these three elements are very good for the hands, so we are using that in our hand cream formulas.

                                           
Makanai's signature product — Exquisite Hand Cream (yuzu)

Gold leaf is a special ingredient for us too as it is produced in my father’s gold leaf foundry. Gold leaf in skincare is not merely ornamental  it is also highly functional. Gold leaf on skin promotes fibroblast cells renewal, which produces substances such as collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid, contributing to the firmness and elasticity of the skin.   

Our gold leaf products are named 'Goldays', as I want people to enjoy the richness of gold every day, to have golden days and a sparkling life.


Makanai's Moisturising Gold Beauty Oil
containing real gold leaf particles

 

SRB: How do you feel about Makanai products being available on the other side of the world?

MT: Makanai was born from Japanese culture and over 100 years history. Our policy is to use natural ingredients and be a sustainable and ethical brand. This is the foundation of our brand. We want to share our Japanese rituals and beauty secrets with the world.

Firstly we expanded to Bon Marché pop-up store in Paris. People were directly interested in our beauty secrets and sustainable and ethical Japanese rituals. I was so glad to see their happy faces, and to see our brand expanding to the world.

Japanese skincare rituals are not only about streamlined steps, when we take care of our skin it calms our mind and heart. Japanese women treat and enjoy skincare rituals as something spiritual and peaceful (similar to a tea ceremony for example). 

Japanese style atmosphere at the Makanai Flagship Store in Tokyo.



 SRB: Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

MT: Initially I became inspired by the gold leaf foundry. Nowadays, I am inspired by Japanese local areas. I love to travel in Japan to rural areas and ask the local community about diverse vegetables and fruits. I think there are many great traditional ingredients to discover and become inspired by the wisdom of elderly people.

We use their wisdom and combine it with innovative ingredients, to make timeless products that are suitable for today's modern world. That wisdom might be very old, but for the new generation it feels new, because they haven’t tried it yet.

SRB: What are your future plans for the Makanai brand?

MT: I’d like to focus on the digital experience, use traditional ideas and mix these with modern technology. I want our customers to have a great experience and emotion in-store. In future, we plan to do a rebranding to maintain a modern look to fit modern day.

A calm, warm and welcoming atmosphere at the Makanai Flagship Store in Tokyo.


SRB: Do you have any last message for sterrerosebeauty.com customers?  

MT: I’d love for people to know not only the Makanai brand, but to get familiar with Japanese beauty secrets, rituals and the Japanese culture through the Makanai brand.

Makanai will bring you long-term results. I believe changes take time, and it is about really caring for your skin and consistency. If you continue to use our products, your skin will get better and better. It will bring back the natural state of your skin, how your skin is supposed to be; healthy and strong.

When people use Makanai I think people will feel calm, and I want people to be happy when they use Makanai Beauty Care. 

Japanese traditional living room style with tatami mats at the Makanai Flagship Store in Tokyo.


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Makanai J-beauty Skincare Set

 

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