Pop Quiz: What is the light-as-air product that I order by the dozens, gift to friends and family, pack on every trip and use in my treatments?

No, we’re not talking about my much-loved Biologique Recherche P50 Toner or Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum (though all good guesses). The correct answer is traditional cotton Morihata towels from Japan.

My favorite ultra-thin towels are the polar opposite of the fluffy bathroom staples associated with five-star hotels, yet they are so much more luxurious. They’re incredibly soft, wrap around your body like a second skin and they dry very quickly. They’re practical and beautiful at the same time. 

I discovered the fine linens at New York’s legendary, now-shuttered Takashimaya department store more than a decade ago. I bought an elegant white-on-white pattern and one shower later, I was hooked.


What makes Morihata towels such a pleasure to use? Centuries-old Japanese know-how, of course. The brand markets Kontex and Yoshii; two collections made in Imabari, the country’s towel-making epicenter. First, hand-picked cotton is carefully spun into garment-quality thread. Next, the cloth is woven on traditional, low-speed looms that preserve the delicate fibers and ensure the featherweight, velvety textures. Kontex textiles are even washed in fresh spring water from Mt. Ishizuchi. Sounds romantic, but that bath removes all the absorbency-reducing starch and wax used during and left over from the manufacturing process.

Styles include the smooth front, terry-back bestseller, latticed and ribbed weaves and charcoal-infused scrub cloths that gently exfoliate the skin. I am partial to the gray and natural linen shades.  Sizes, range from a hankie to an extra-large bath sheet that can double as a sarong in a pinch.

Now that I have found my dream towels, they have become heavily integrated into both my personal, and professional lives: I fold them into pillow-like head rests or use them as facial wraps during treatments,  at least one washcloth is always tucked into my suitcase, and they are one of my ultimate pampering presents, especially for new mothers. You could say I am a super fan. I buy 24 large and 24 small ones because I like having them fresh, and that’s just for home use!