France is a beauty powerhouse with many cosmetic brands. Careful with cosmetics and skincare is not only for beauty purposes but is also re-recognized as a ritual to benevolent and spiritual. What is currently attracting attention in the French beauty industry is the traditional Japanese beauty facial “KOBIDO.” It has begun to be interpreted as the essence that requires as high skill as SADO (tea ceremony) and KADO (flower arrangement).
“KOBIDO” is a facial massage that works on deep muscles based on more than 1000 techniques. Its history goes back 540 years, and 48 techniques were created by combining the techniques of two massagers. Today, Shogo Mochizuki, a doctor and the 26th generation master of “KOBIDO,” inherits the techniques. It is said that there are only about 50 therapists in the world and only 5 in France who have learned the orthodox method of “KOBIDO” from him. One of them is facialist Delphine Langlois, who made “KOBIDO” famous in France. She spent several years learning the techniques of “KOBIDO” and opened her own salon in Paris for VIPs. Her quest for unique know-how led her to be trained by sworn experts to precise and renowned techniques, such as the anti-aging facial massage “Jacquet Pinchings,” Dr. Yakov Gershkovich’s “Buccal Massage,” and “Guasha Art” (a technique in traditional Chinese medicine).
Last year, “Académie des Facialistes” is established by her, the first school in France and worldwide, to train professionals to the facialist or face technician job. I asked Delphine, who pioneered the Ancient Road of Beauty (what literally “KOBIDO” means in Japanese) in France, about the spirit of “KOBIDO” and the beauty of France and Japan.
I was captivated by the technique of Shogo Mochizuki, a doctor and the 26th generation master of “KOBIDO”
――How come you end up getting into the beauty industry?
Delphine Langlois : The memory still remains which I used to accompany my mother to the beauty salon when I was a kid. I loved watching the procedure, especially the beautician’s fingering and the process of using different creams. This was my first interest in facial massage and I went to a beauty school. After working for 13 years in the great Parisian Palace George V, the Four Seasons as a supervisor of therapeutists, trainer and care creator. In 2017, I came to wish to go back to the basics of my formative background as a beautician: the technique, and most precisely, gestures and the benefits of facial massage.
――If you’ve been working at the spa of a five-star hotel for 13 years, you probably already have a high level of skill and experience as a beautician. What motivated you to elevate the next stage?
Delphine : I was a skin therapist expert at the spa, which means an expert on the skin in general. My studies at a beauty school were also mainly about the skin, and I didn’t have the opportunity to learn about the lymph, fascia, muscles, and bones underneath the skin. In general, the importance of body massage such as stretching to loosen body muscles, slimming and detox has been widely recognized for centuries, but the benefits of facial massage have not been talked about. But in reality, the face has a lot of lymph and muscle, and working on them can give great results in terms of lifting effects, especially anti-aging. I thought it was necessary to acquire skills, anatomy, and expertise in order to pursue facial massage.
――How did you get to know about “KOBIDO”?
Delphine : When I was working at the spa, I had a client at the age of 75 with beautiful skin without sagging. Her beauty secret is a facial massage once a week for an hour, she told me. It makes a lot of sense to take the time to massage your facial muscles to improve blood circulation. Then, while researching traditional facial massage techniques worldwide, I arrived at “KOBIDO,” which has a long history in Japan. I was captivated at the moment I saw the technique of Shogo Mochizuki, a doctor and the 26th generation master of “KOBIDO.” The movement of his fingers is as beautiful as dancing on the skin. It has a soft touch but technically works deep in the muscles and brings an amazing lifting effect. At that time, my goal became to learn “KOBIDO.”
――How is “KOBIDO” different from French facial massage?
Delphine : For example, when you receive a facial treatment at a beauty salon in France, it is common to first have a relaxing massage to the facial muscles for about 10 to 15 minutes and then use various creams, masks, and machines to work on the epidermis of the skin. In other words, the main purpose of face massage is to relax. On the other hand, “KOBIDO” is a profound massage that loosens, trains and stimulates the facial muscles. Depending on the lymph, muscles, and skeleton, you need to move your fingers and hands slowly or quickly, and sometimes gently trace or apply strong acupressure, which requires various techniques. Because the muscles and skin return to their original position, the sagging is improved and the eyes open clearly, promoting natural lifting after the treatment. You can relax your mind and calm your nerves by receiving “KOBIDO.”
――”KOBIDO” is attracting attention in the beauty industry, and the academy established by you seems to be popular with professional beauticians.
Delphine : Basically, French women prefer natural treatment. The technique of “KOBIDO,” which approaches underneath the skin with hands instead of Botox or cosmetic surgery, is an attractive anti-aging method for such French women. It is regarded as a technique worth learning for beauticians as well. I feel that facial massage that incorporates “KOBIDO” has the potential to develop further in the future.
――You have also mastered techniques from other countries besides “KOBIDO.” How did you come up with your own massage that combined different techniques?
Delphine : Since “KOBIDO” is a technique that promotes lifting, I thought that I had to learn other techniques related to anti-aging, such as improving wrinkles. While learning some techniques, I’ve noticed “Buccal Massage” is a very effective technique. I learned this massage, which is popular in England, from a Russian doctor, and now some clients come to the salon only for this 15-minute treatment. The treatment method is to put your fingers in your mouth and massage with two fingers from inside and outside. It helps to improve wrinkles around the mouth and produces excellent anti-aging results when combined with the lifting of “KOBIDO.”
Personalized treatment that combines the techniques of “KOBIDO,” “Jacquet Pinchings” and “Buccal Massage”
――What kind of facial massage do you offer the 60-minute treatment?
Delphine : Before the massage, give consultation for 15 minutes, and while listening to the skin’s problems, touch the skin and analyze the condition and skeleton. The procedure begins with a simple 10-minute massage, cleanses the skin for 5 minutes, gives a full-scale massage for 45 minutes, and finally finishes with cream. The treatment content is completely different for each client because it is personalized to the individual skin and skeleton.
――How do your clients react after the treatment?
Delphine : Everyone is impressed to see their own face as the muscles are repositioned and how the skin is moisturized and glow. Most of the clients do repeat. They come back to the salon to receive weekly treatments for the first two months to maintain their condition and then continue once a month thereafter.
――Finally, please tell us about your future prospect.
Delphine : Currently, the academy has a course that you can learn the basics of facial massage in a period of two weeks. In the future, we plan to start more efficient and high-level courses. In addition, the academy has been well received requests for classes not only from France but also from the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Belgium, and the United States, so we are aiming to open the academy in English in other countries. Ideally, I would like to have the academy in Japan in the future!