Traditional Japanese rouge is extracted from safflowers.
A coat of rouge is applied to a sake cup, dish, small box, shell, etc, and allowed to dry.
This can then be dissolved later for application using a dampened brush.
During the Edo period the main applications of rouge were on the cheeks, lips, the upper eyelids (like today's eyeshadow), and the nails.
However, with time, its main use became restricted to the lips, the others gradually falling out of favor.
Today, there are no longer many manufacturers that produce 100 percent safflower rouge, but those that do package it in pretty cases or sake cups with beautiful paintings, making it an ideal present.
Red is a color that has always held special significance for the Japanese people.
The color red used to be considered a medicine for women to improve the circulation of the blood, and it is also often used in special foods for the annual customs, such as festivered rice.
In addition, red is considered to be a sacred color with the power to cast out evil.
An interesting thing about safflower rouge is that numerous coats are applied, it creates an iridescent effect that was particularly prized by the people of the Edo period.