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Meet the Founder of Makanai Beauty

Brands | Interview

 "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 NL launch of Makanai on, 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 vision behind the brand.

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 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.

Sterre Rose Beauty: Why did you start Makanai?
Mayumi Tachikawa: My father owns a gold leaf foundry in Kanazawa. The environment there is harsh for the skin, it's very dry with hot temperatures.

My grandmother and mother made their own skincare products using natural Japanese ingredients. They noticed that their skin condition highly improved and began to pen their beauty secrets. I became inspired 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.

SRB: What distinguishes Makanai from other Japanese beauty brands?
MT: Our brand conveys a century's worth of Japanese beauty secrets. MakanaI is born from the gold leaf foundry 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. 

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.

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

SRB: What is Makanai's Hero Product?
MT: Our signature product is our Exquisite Hand Cream––it's my personal favorite too!

We noticed the hands of the Golf Leaf foundry workers were remarkably soft and youthful. We learned they soaked their hands in natural ingredients, a combination of persimmon, eggs and soybeans. These three elements are very nurturing for the hands, and are used in our hand cream formula. 


Gold leaf is one of our star ingredients, and it is produced in my father’s gold leaf foundry. Gold leaf in skincare is not merely ornamentalit 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.   

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.

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). 

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 am so glad to see our brand expanding to the world.

"Japanese women treat and enjoy skincare rituals as something spiritual and peaceful"

SRB: Who or what inspires you? 
MT: Initially the gold leaf foundry was my source of inspiration. Nowadays, I am inspired by Japanese local areas. I love to travel to rural areas and ask the local community about regional vegetables and fruits. There are many great traditional ingredients to discover! 

We use the ancient wisdom of the elderly community, and combine it with innovative ingredients, to make timeless products that are suitable for today's modern world. 

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 in-store emotion. In future, we plan to do a rebranding to maintain a modern look to fit modern day.

SRB: Do you have any last message for customers?  
MT: I’d love for people to know not only the Makanai brand, but to get familiar with Japanese beauty secrets, rituals and Japanese culture through the Makanai brand.

Makanai delivers long-term results. Changes take time, and I believe it's about really caring for your skin consistently. If you use our products routinely, your skin will improve. It will bring back the natural state of your skin, how your skin is supposed to be; healthy and strong.

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Shop the post


Exquisite Yuzu Hand Cream

Iconic natural formula with kaki fruit and yuzu for silky smooth hands

€27,99 More info

Moisturising Gold Beauty Oil

Delicate treatment oil with yuzu and real 24K gold leaf

€44,99 More info

J-Beauty Set Mini Treatments

Travel-sized complete four-step skincare routine in soft pouch. For trialing and traveling

€33,00 More info

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