Volcanic Ash: Bad For Jets, Great For Your Face!

Volcanic ash in my cosmetics? It's more likely than you think, especially to those who extol the virtues of pumice soaps and cleaners - pumice being solidified, frothy lava. Like pumice, volcanic ash is added to soaps and cosmetics for its exfoliating properties.

A Japanese company called Tengen has based an entire line of cosmetics around a certain type of volcanic ash that is hundreds of thousands of years old - but will help users look very, very young.

According to company president Kayoko Matano, "We dig... to find pure white ash", at a secret location on Japan's southern island of Kyushu. Known locally as Shirasu, the ash was deposited in a massive volcanic eruption approximately 400,000 years ago.

Shirasu's extremely fine particles are ideally sized to remove dirt and debris from skin pores without acting as an abrasive. The graphic below, illustrated with the smiling and frowning faces so beloved by Japanese advertisers, shows how Tengen's Kingo Kingo skin cleanser works.

"There are still indefinite ways of using the effect of the volcanic ash," adds Matano, a former beautician who has directed Tengen's growth since 1994. "I want to continue to study (the ash), and contribute to promoting health and beauty."

Today, Tengen's production facility in the city of Kagoshima produces ash-based gels, cleansers and creams to the tune of 200 to 400 kilograms daily, and the company plans to extend its reach to Hong Kong, Taiwan, mainland China and Singapore.

Tengen cosmetics, winners of the coveted Monde Selection award in 2009 and 2010, are also available online via Japanese internet retailer Rakuten. (via TokyoMango, Channel News Asia and Girls Power)

Apr 23, 2010
by Anonymous

Combine the two: it's an acne cure!

Note to teens: This comment is Friday humour; do NOT try this at home!

Apr 23, 2010
by Anonymous


I'm not a teen. Is that why I don't get what you're saying? Please explain.

Apr 23, 2010
by Chris Weiss

That's interesting

Loved the title!

Apr 23, 2010
by Anonymous

Where to buy?

I don't speak Japanese and would like to purchase this product. I am unable to find a site in English. Help me, please.

Apr 24, 2010
by Anonymous


Is it Steve or AfroKen? Thanks for info. I will try them. Most things Japanese I purchase from Strapya. They are super nice and fast shipping from Japan.