Japan is harnessing the Clean Beauty trend. During our last visit in Tokyo, we had the pleasure to meet with Giselle Go and Philippe Terrien, the refined aesthetes and bold entrepreneurs behind the brand DamDam. Meet the power couple.
What is Japan’s take on Clean Beauty? While the country is known for its cutting-edge ingredients and beautiful formulas, the toxic-free skincare trend is still at its early stage, unlike western markets. The reason? “Natural” beauty is seen as ineffective while Japanese consumers raise the bar quite high when it comes to performance. However, tides are changing. Consumers’s new quest for transparency is helping brands harness the clean trend. And with its thousand-year old natural medicine paired with precious, potent resources, the land of the rising sun already has the best assets. Launched in 2017 by former magazine editor Giselle Go and entrepreneur Philippe Terrien, Dam Dam perfectly embodies the Japanese take on Clean Beauty. With a tightly edited line of five products, all free of parabens, synthetics and petrochemicals, the brand simplified the J-beauty routine with extremely potent ingredients. An aesthetic sense of minimalism paired with a thoughtful attention to craftsmanship and a reverential culture, creating a unique signature - “Dam dam”, a poetic name that also means “conscious awareness” in Filipino. During one of our trip to Japan, we had the opportunity to meet Giselle and Philippe, and dive with us in the slower-paced world of their brand.
Leïla: How did you come up with the idea for Dam Dam?
Giselle & Philippe: “Philippe has a long history in luxury food. Before Dam Dam, he had a restaurant, Hugo Desnoyer, with meat that assured perfect traceability, with cows raised sustainably and consciously. Philippe also makes his own toothpaste and deodorant. We wanted a project where we could apply a lot of these values, and skincare was an area where we wanted to start with. Japan has a lot of know-how and hundred years of experience in formulating. It's just about creating something in a cleaner way. We have been applying questionable ingredients on our skin for years now, which get absorbed in the blood. And we wanted to change that.”
L: What is “Clean beauty” by Dam Dam?
Philippe & Giselle: “We created a simple routine, compared to Asia where people go towards 12 steps or so. We came up with a simple line of 5 products- cleanser, lotion, mask, serum, balm - all efficient and plant based. We cut nasty ingredients: no sulfates, no fillers, no petrochemicals. For example, our cleanser is non-lathering, made from konjac, it washes off without foam because it contains no harsh bubble agents. None of the fragrances are synthetic. In Asia, the importance of layering hydration is key. So it was important to make sure that each product had a purpose. The formulas are very hydrating, but more importantly they don’t strip away skin’s natural moisture. It’s about preserving and respecting skin. Also, packaging is so important. There is not a lot of awareness towards plastic waste in Japan. So we made our packaging simple - we didn’t want to contribute to the land-field.”
L: What makes this brand so unique?
Philippe & Giselle: “This is a no fuss collection, perfect for city dwellers, with formulas that have been developed to reduce environmental stresses on the skin, thanks to pollution-fighting ingredients sourced in Asia and finished in Japan. Highlights include the Magic Drops, a lightweight, silky serum that is charged with avocado oil, jasmine and bitter orange leaf oil, to form a protective barrier on the skin.”
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