Shizuka’s BeautyZen Corner: Wabi Sabi Aesthetic

Shizuka's BeautyZen Corner

What’s wabi sabi?

Many people have tried to explain the meaning of the Japanese term wabi sabi but with great difficulty. In the same way that we can’t “catch” or hold onto time, neither can words hold onto wabi sabi’s meaning. Wabi sabi relates to an understanding of natural beauty that dates all the way back to ancient Japanese tea ceremony practices.

The initial idea of wabi sabi stems from the ancient rituals of Japanese tea ceremony where the purity and simplicity of an objects’ natural beauty were honored. Revering the beauty of a handmade tea cup for its uneven glazing and cracks is a basic example of wabi sabi.

In modern times, wabi sabi relates to all aspects of life from relationships to design to beauty. Since all life is constantly changing, honoring life’s impermanence while revering the  imperfections in any given situation or item is also considered wabi sabi. A common misconception of wabi sabi is that it connotes carelessness or frivolity, while in fact wabi sabi is revealed and understood only when putting the utmost care and attention into embracing imperfections and change.


Wabi Sabi Aesthetic

Just like tea ceremony masters take impeccable care of their cracked and imperfect tea cups, wabi sabi aesthetic is about embracing the aging process while maintaining impeccable self care and pampering.

When extending the concept of wabi sabi into beauty, wabi sabi honors imperfections such as freckles and laugh lines over perfectly spotless and smooth skin. Wabi sabi natural beauty acknowledges that while skin care is a constant affirmation of self care, obsessing over changing the way we look isn’t.

Wabi sabi aesthetic encompasses self care and pampering alongside the three realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.

Try adding a little more wabi sabi aesthetic into your self care ritual with a pampering skin care treatment like The Geisha Facial®.

Related blog post:
How Prioritizing Self Care Can Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions


Shizuka’s BeautyZen Corner: Geisha Beauty Secrets

Shizuka's BeautyZen Corner


For centuries, geishas’ beauty has been likened to their mysteriously flawless skin.  Geisha beauty secrets reveal that simple ingredients native to Japan like rice bran, camellia oil, and green tea work together to protect, nourish, and brighten skin. These and other ingredients create the cornerstone of time-honored geisha beauty.                         


Geisha Beauty Secrets Revealed

Geisha Beauty Secrets Revealed



Geisha Beauty Secrets

Many describe geisha’s skin as mochi-hada or baby skin because it resembles skin so soft and flawless like a baby’s. The secret to their flawless skin attributes back to their skincare routine that’s been passed down for centuries.

At one time, the heavy makeup worn by geishas contained harsh chemicals like lead and zinc which led to severe skin problems. Eventually, they discovered nightingale droppings as a natural way to not only remove the makeup but to retexturize and strengthen the bonds of the skin at a cellular level. 


Traditional Skincare: Simple Ingredients

After Shizuka learned that geishas used simple ingredients easily sourced throughout Japan to care for their skin, she carefully studied the effects of these ingredients along with her husband, the dermatologist, Dr. Robert Bernstein. From their findings, Shizuka created The Geisha Facial® , which incorporates simple Japanese ingredients like rice bran, camellia oil, green tea, and  uguisi no fun or nightingale droppings.


Deep Cleansing Facial

Since ancient times the enzymes from nightingale droppings proved to deeply cleanse and lift away harsh chemicals from the skin leaving it renewed and dewy each time. (Think of it like an enzyme peel). By mixing the droppings proportionally with powdery rice bran, Shizuka created a fine enzyme exfoliate that’s been lauded the world over.







Shizuka’s BeautyZen Corner: Holiday Traditions

Shizuka's BeautyZen Corner


In Japan, New Year’s Day is considered more festive than Christmas. It’s a time when families gather together to eat, determine new beginnings, and pay respect to a religious shrine or temple.


Osechi ryori, or traditional New Year’s foods, are served and traditional décor are displayed and enjoyed. Combining the two is the Kagami mochi–it’s both a food and a decoration. This New Year’s staple consists of two differently sized round rice cakes placed on top of the other, with the smaller cake on top. The stack is then topped with a small bitter orange. Like most things in Japanese culture, there’s meaning to the Kagami mochi display. The larger cake represents the past, the smaller one the future and the orange on top symbolizes the continuity of the generations and long life.

Kagami mochi is displayed for a couple weeks after New Year’s Day and then is broken apart and enjoyed together with loved ones.















Preserve your Youthful Glow with Vitamin C Power Gel

Preserve your youthful glow by applying a Vitamin C  serum to damp skin every morning after cleansing. Vitamin C Power Gel combines the potency of Vitamin C with Green Tea Extract for an antioxidant “power blend” that protects the skin from free radical damage while hydrating and increasing collagen production throughout the day.




Shizuka’s BeautyZen Corner: Japan’s Elixir for both Body and Mind

Shizuka's BeautyZen Corner


Soaking in a tub of hot mineral water relaxes the body and soothes nerves, and is also believed to heal diseases, as well as common aches and pains.


Balneotherapy, or treatment of diseases with baths, has been enjoyed by Japanese for centuries as evidenced by the thousands of onsens or bath houses that exist there. Traditionally, most onsens occur outdoors on top of naturally occurring hot spring water reserves. Outdoor onsens allow the visitor to have a quiet soak while communing with nature with views of mountains, forests, or the sea.

Japanese and foreigners alike flock to onsens year-round as places of refuge from a hectic city life, a way to spend quality time with family and friends, or just to feel rejuvenated by the water’s active mineral content.

You can create your very own onsen experience at home by adding onsen bath salts to hot bath water. Salts can be purchased at any Japanese grocery store or market and may be lightly scented to resemble a region’s onsen experience.

Read our related blog post for more bath ideas: The Art of the Bath















INTER TV Channel from the Ukraine films at Shizuka NY!

Inter TV Ukraine

The Ukraine channel, INTER TV, visited SNY to film an interview and facial treatment with Shizuka. In the video you’ll see footage of The Geisha Facial® and another treatment from a salon in London.



Read the transcript (in Russian!) here>> Косметологи мира делают успехи в сохранении молодости








Watch Shizuka on Veria Living’s new show: Naturally Beautiful

Naturally Beautiful on Veria Living TV


Veria Living TV has a new show: Naturally Beautiful with host Nitika Chopra!

Check out the debut episode where they discover and share beauty secrets from around the world.

Look out for Shizuka at the 17:46 mark. She talks about her revival of a Japanese beauty secret: nightingale droppings!



See the full episode here >>







Shizuka’s BeautyZen Corner: 5 Japanese-Inspired ways to Relax & Rejuvenate

Shizuka's BeautyZen Corner


We can all agree that relaxation reduces stress. Taken a step further, stress-reduction techniques can also aid in the reduction of certain skin ailments like acne, dry skin, and even fine lines and wrinkles. Everyone can use a little anti-aging R&R every now and then.

Read on for Japanese-inspired ways to relax & rejuvenate your mind and body.




1.     Drink tea: For centuries the Japanese Tea Ceremony has been regarded as a much cherished encounter between the host and guests to, for the time, forget all stress and simply enjoy a peaceful and tranquil tea time together.

The next time you drink a cup of tea, engage in mindfulness from preparation to sipping that last drop.  You’ll turn tea time into your own personal relaxing tea ritual.



2.    Light a candle: When lit, Japanese lanterns made of stone or paper, bring much significance to ceremonies and celebrations. A burning candle is placed in the center to illuminate and bring warmth to the lantern.

Enjoy instant warmth & ‪ambiance by burning ‪‎organic soy candles. They burn clean and smell extraordinary. For a ‪‎spa effect, burn the candle for at least 30min. to fully warm the essential oils–then relax as the pure fragrance fills the room!



3.    Listen to water: The Japanese character for water (sui or mizu) is: æ°´ , represents the flowing nature of life.

If you ever need help ‪‎relaxing, try listening to the sound of ‪‎flowing ‪‎water, from a fountain or at the beach. The ‪calming sound will help any stressful thoughts “flow” away.



4.     Commune with nature: Many natural elements are revered in Japanese culture, such as koi (symbol of fortune and courage) and sakura blossoms (symbol of the ephemeral nature of life). Every year when sakura trees are in full bloom, many people gather to enjoy hanami, or picnicking under the trees.

Whether it’s observing fish gracefully swimming in a pond or sitting under a blossom-filled tree; immersing yourself in nature can be calming and reflective.



5.    Take a bath: In Japan there are many active volcanoes and because of this onsens, hot spring resorts or bathhouses, are very popular all year round. People journey to onsens to escape their hectic city lifestyles and relax and feel rejuvenated by the waters’ healing minerals.

The water in hot springs can reach 110 degrees F, so it’s an ideal place to sweat it out and detox. Aside from creating your own relaxing bath soak, you can also enjoy a good sweat by using a far infrared sauna.






Swedish Newspaper “Expressen” visits SNY!

Expressen News




Read the full article (in Swedish!) here>> Nya trenden som gör dig skitsnygg





Nature World News Touts Bird Poo

Nature World News

A recent article in Nature World News shares Shizuka’s take on nature’s beauty secrets.


A famous spa chain in Japan made headlines recently when news of the company’s snail facials began to spread. The process, which entails live snails crawling across one’s face, distributing mucus as they go, claims to offer that renewed glow so many spa-goers are desperate for.

Surely, the world thought, this is as weird as it gets. Then came news of the bird poop facial.

According to the Huffington Post, facial is slowly being popularized by individuals such as Victoria Beckham and Tom Cruise. However, as Japanese facialist Shizuka Bernstein will tell you, the practice has been around for centuries where she comes from.



Read full article here>> Forget Snails, Bird Poop Facials are Where it’s at, Spa Owner Says


International Business Times discusses The Geisha Facial®


International Business Times


Shizuka New York Day Spa is offering the Geisha Facial as an attempt to import beauty secrets once only found in Japan to New York. Introduced by the spa’s owner, Shizuka Bernstein, the Geisha Facial includes powdered nightingale droppings, uguisu no fun, and the spa’s skincare system, which includes green tea, sake, rice bran and pearl protein. The bird poop facial will leave one’s face rejuvenated and will “soften, brighten and nourish the facial complexion.”



Read the full story here>> Bird Poop Facials May Be The Latest Spa Craze, NYC Spa Offers A ‘Geisha Facial’ For $180


NBC News 4 New York Features The Geisha Facial ®

NBC News 4 New York Features The Geisha Facial ®




NBC News 4 New York visits Shizuka NY for this special feature on The Geisha Facial ®!




Cuore Cosmetics Visits SNY

Representatives from Cuore Cosmetics company in Japan visited Shizuka New York Day Spa last Monday December 10th, 2012 to attend a lecture given by Shizuka.


Shizuka discussed the latest trends in the spa and beauty industry in the United States and highlighted how she was able to imbue a Japanese day spa within New York City’s already saturated spa scene. Among those in attendance were professional estheticians from Cuore Cosmetics as well as the company’s president.

Shizuka also demonstrated her Signature Micro Facial on one *lucky* participant.


Tatzu Nishi’s “Discovering Columbus” Exhibit

“Discovering Columbus”, Japanese conceptual artist, Tatzu Nishi’s 6-story art installation is still on view in Columbus Circle until December 2nd, 2012.

Viewers are invited into a fully furnished 6th floor walk-up apartment to interact with the statue in an unconventional, yet cozy way.  In the apartment you’ll find couches, TV, mini-library filled with classic American literature, and even wallpaper (designed by Nishi himself) with iconic images of Americana like Elvis, the Empire State Building, Michael Jackson, Mickey Mouse, and the Hot Dog. The apartment even has windows allowing visitors 6th floor views of Central Park South and Columbus Circle.

As if all is homage to Columbus and his ever-adventurous spirit.

Nishi’s drawing of the planned living room exhibit space.

The exhibit, sponsored by Public Art Fund, requires you obtain a timed ticket either online or from the information desk in the Time Warner Building across the street. This is to avoid the hassle of long lines so you can see (and commune with) the statue without much of a wait.

Machida Design College Visits SNY

Machida Design College, located in Tokyo, Japan, is a school specializing in “beauty design” (or cosmetology) where students concentrate on becoming manicurists, estheticians or beauty advisors (certified business professionals in the beauty industry).

A group of 12 students studying to become estheticians traveled to NYC this week for a real-world exchange on the topic of “beauty and business”. They visited SNY on Wednesday for a lecture and demonstration with Shizuka. Shizuka performed our Signature Micro Facial on one student, while the others observed and asked questions. 



Bird Poop Facial was featured in Good Morning America!

Shizuka New York Day Spa was featured in Good Morning America on Monday, Aug 29th. 2011.

Our famous Bird Poop Facial was introduced as one of all natural and unusual facial!

(Please be patient as video loads.)

owner Shizuka Bernstein says her geisha facial® – which includes the use of purified bird droppings — is in high demand.

“The ingredients in the droppings have a natural enzyme and it exfoliates, it breaks down the top layer of the skin, so it’s a good exfoliation,” Bernstein said.

But Day wasn’t so sure.

“Anything that is a leftover or a by-product especially in feces of another animal I would be very hesitant to use on my skin,” she said.

For centuries, geishas used the droppings to remove makeup and revitalize their skin. Bernstein incorporated the idea to make it a substitute for clients who didn’t want to use harsh chemicals on their face.

Mixed with rice bran and applied to the face, the bird droppings emit an “organic” aroma, but first-time client Jennifer Teman didn’t seem to mind, and she’s looking forward to her next visit.

“It smelled a little funny, but I was expecting that… I would recommend other people to do it because it’s definitely a different kind of a facial to get,” Teman said.

The geisha facial takes about 60 minutes and costs $180.


Bird Poop Facial – Daily Mail (UK)

The UK’s Daily Mail recently featured the Geisha Facial® at Shizuka New York Day Spa:

It’s been hailed as a beauty wonder product and Victoria Beckham loves it… but would you put bird poo on your face?

From bull’s semen to flesh-eating fish, women have endured some bizarre things in the name of beauty.

But the latest treatment to hit high-end spas features what is perhaps the strangest ingredient to date.

Nightingale excrement, collected from the Japanese island of Kyushu, is being hailed as the hottest beauty wonder product.

Known in Japan as uguisu no fun, the facial was conceived in November 2007 by New York facialist Shizuka Bernstein, who was inspired by her mother describing how geisha girls in feudal Japan removed their thick white lead make-up.

Mrs Bernstein, 52 explained: ‘The bird poop facial works because of an enzyme that breaks down the dead skin on the upper layers of the face.

Read more at:–bird-poo-face.html


Loving Breath, Hello Kitty?


Check out this space-age-looking Japanese creation that tells you if your breath is date-ready. The Digital Bad Breath Checker is $50 at Japan Trend Shop. They say it’s for women, but maybe we all could benefit from such a handy gadget. BTW, the English product name does not do the original Japanese justice, loosely translating to Loving Breath. []

Here’s a bit more of Japanese culture in a crazy kitty. From Chopsticks Feeding Squirrel-Like Kitten on Youtube:

“To avoid being bitten and pounced on during kitty training, we have been using chopsticks and toothpicks to feed the kittens their treat. As seen in this video, this technique has worked particularly well with training “Gluteus,” where the kittens will sit up straight, balancing on their buttocks muscles (the largest of which is the gluteus maximus).”

Crazy? Cute? Crazy cute?


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