#MyCleanBeautyShelf: Peek Inside the Morning Routine of Munemi Imai, Founder of MŪN Skin Care
After a decade-long career as a celebrity makeup artist, Munemi Imai cultivated her own personal philosophy about beauty: a clear, glowing complexion is the perfect foundation. Drawing on the minimalist aesthetic of her Japanese heritage, her commitment to living a green, conscious lifestyle, and her deep understanding of the mind-body-beauty connection, Munemi launched a simple yet effective green skincare line MŪN in 2012 with the cult-favorite and best selling AKNARI Brightening Youth Serum. Today Munemi dedicates herself to growing her results-driven skincare line. Let’s take a look into Munemi’s #MyCleanBeautyShelf
My beauty philosophy is…
Quality over quantity. Style over trends. Although my professional makeup artist’s beauty closet is full of so much makeup, when it comes to my own beauty routine, I am a minimalist. I like to keep it simple with essentials that truly matter on a daily basis and are gentle, effective, and multi-purpose.
First thing in the morning, I…
sip some coffee then meditate for 15 minutes.
My morning skincare routine includes…
Rinsing my face well with water. First, I apply MŪN Anarose Hydrating Rose Toner using a thin organic cotton pad to hydrate my skin evenly while gently exfoliating. Then, I apply a pump of MŪN Aknari Brightening Youth Serum on my face and neck for moisturizing with brightening and anti-aging effects. Lastly, I follow with the MŪN Protect + Revive Moisturizer on my face and neck. My skin has changed after I turned 40 (now 46) and I’ve needed another layer of a moisturizer, which hydrates my skin and protects it from environmental aggressors, especially pollutants. This formula also contains niacinamide, which provides really great benefits including brightening, softening fine lines, shrinking pores and strengthening barrier function. Then I apply lip balm on my lips. I’ve used Henne’s lip balm regularly for the past 3+ years. It is one of the best moisturizing lip balms I’ve tried, and I also support the brand.
My morning haircare routine includes…
I have days when I’ll take a shower in the morning and other days I take it in the evening. If I am taking a shower in the AM, I use John Master’s shampoo and conditioner, which I buy at Whole Foods. Then I just blow-dry quickly. I don’t usually use any styling products due to my sensitive/reactive scalp. Once in a while, I apply a tiny amount of pure Argan oil to give a nice shine to my hair. I think having a great haircut is the most important thing, work with a hairstylist who truly understands your hair and lifestyle. That’s where I invest in hair care.
My morning makeup routine includes…
I have become religious about applying daily sunscreen especially since I relocated to Honolulu, HI where the UV index is always high year-round. Since my foundation choice has been tinted sunscreen, I am including it in the makeup section. I have been using Suntegrity Impeccable Skin. Before they launched this, I used their 5 in 1. Usually, this step is my last skin and makeup AM routine. Some days when I wear little makeup, I curl my eyelashes and apply a natural brown or taupe eye shadow. These days, I like RMS beauty’s swift shadow and then I apply a Japanese mascara. I like the ones that are a film coating type, which rinses easily with warm water. Lastly, I fill out my eyebrows, I have pretty dark and defined eyebrows, so I like to use blonde or light taupe shade to not make my eyebrows really dark. Currently, I am using Laura Mercier’s eyebrow pencil.
My favorite beauty tip
Skincare should start with eating clean and well with a lot of antioxidant and nutrients rich food. This really has an impact on your skin and both mental and physical health. Moving/exercising your body also contributes to good skin. If you have a type of work or lifestyle that creates a lot of stress, try to find what would help you de-stress to avoid breakouts, premature aging, and also sometimes illness. This is something I’ve been working on for myself as well: how to de-stress and manage stress. I can’t stress enough the importance of using a pH balanced, gentle and hydrating cleanser and cleanse according to your skin’s needs and conditions, and don’t over-cleanse your skin. The good cleansers are still so underrated. It would be the most important formula for us to think about and invest in because it can make the most impactful change to your skin. Make sure to look for pH balanced, gentle and hydrating formulas. When your skin feels “squeaky clean” that means it’s over-cleansed. Over-cleansing compromises the skin’s barrier functions and leads to dryness, redness, irritation and breakouts. Also, so many cleansers on a market are high in alkaline side while skin’s natural pH is more on the acidic side. If you have sensitive/reactive and/or dry skin, skip a cleansing product in the morning and just rinse well with water, followed with a pH balanced, gentle and hydrating toner/essence. Use a pH balanced, gentle and hydrating cleanser in the evening. Make sure that you take off makeup well and don’t go to bed with makeup on. And beauty sleep is a really great way of maintaining a healthy complexion. Last but not least, it’s important to wear sunscreen daily.
What’s your desert island/cant-live-without beauty product?
I’d like to say it would be the streamlined MŪN face line. But if I had to choose one or two, I’d go with Akwi Purifying Cleanser and Aknari Brightening Youth Serum. I have struggled with easily congested pores since I was in junior high and that made me uncomfortable… The white ones clog your pores and they come back so fast even after the facials. Then we created Akwi – an all in one oil-based formula to remove makeup. Even the waterproof makeup, cleanse pores, de-pollute and leaving the skin feeling moisturized. And the formula effectively clears clogged pores and keeps my pores clearer and smaller than they used to be while leaving my skin clean and hydrated. I was amazed by the pore-clearing effects when I got the final sample from the chemist (it was a long development process with many different trial formulas), and ever since I don’t want to ever run out of this. I’ve got to have this. It makes me happy when my pores are clear. I can’t think of life without Aknari. Because it works for what’s intended, and I don’t think I ever skipped, I’ve always used at least once a day in the morning even when I am testing new ingredients at night. When I created Aknari and we were launching the product and brand, I thought to myself “even if the business doesn’t work out, I’ll always have this.”
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