Ancient Asian Beauty Secrets for Glowing Hair and Skin

Veronica Yoo
19 February, 2021

It’s no secret that a lot of what we know about beauty today roots back to centuries of built knowledge and experience. If you’re like us, a lot of our habits in our daily routine were formed by simply observing our parents when we were little, which only made our mother, aunt and grandmother seem like saints when it came to everything beauty.

 From special plants that give us shiny silky hair to re-using rice water to brighten the complexion, there’s an unrevealed secret about the mysterious beauty tricks behind some of Asia’s flawless skin. Now that’s all about the change because you’ll find out how to achieve glass skin too! Here are some ancient Asian beauty secrets that have been passed down from generations for glowing hair and skin.

Supplement the hair and skin with Camellia Oil

Camellia Japonica, also known as Tsubaki is a treasured Japanese beauty secret that dates back to the ancient Geisha centuries. As if the flower itself doesn’t speak for itself with its vibrant colour and beauty, it contains high levels of fatty acids which have been known to protect the skin barrier by blocking UV rays and environmental damage.

The natural oils of the flowers are extracted to form a powerful oil that can be used in versatility on the face, hair, and body. The dry oil has a natural non-greasy formula, making it great for those with sensitive skin. You can easily incorporate Tsubaki oil into your hair routine by using products that contain Camellia oil such as Shiseido Tsubaki Shampoo and Conditioner for silk shiny hair. For skincare, add a small drop of the natural oil on the palms of your hand and massage your face before applying your usual cream.

Contour your face naturally with a Gua Sha

Everyone knows by now the Jade facial roller, but a beauty tool with an even longer history is the Gua Sha – a therapy used by the ancient Chinese that goes back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The modern Gua Sha is a massage tool – often made with jade or rose quartz – with soft angled edges to scrape your skin to improve circulation.  

Gua Sha can be easily implemented in your skincare routine by simply massaging your face in an upward motion to create a lifting effect. Because of the curved edges, you will find the Gua Sha guides itself across the natural curves of your face. A Nana trick is to keep your Gua Sha in the fridge and use it in the morning after your skincare routine for an added de-puffing effect!

Don’t throw away your rice water, use it as a cleanser

If you’re Asian, you’ve probably heard at least once in your life “Don’t throw away the rice water!”. A staple in Asian households, rice water has been used in many Eastern Asian countries as a beauty remedy that roots back centuries. While rinsing rice and throwing away the water seems like an obvious, save it and use it to wash your face!

It is believed that using rice water for your face can soothe and tone your skin while others believe it can brighten the complexions. Many beauty products incorporate rice water as an ingredient such as Tatcha’s Rice Wash but a cheaper at-home way to use this ingredient is to rinse dry rice thoroughly to remove any dirt and impurities, then let the rice sit in water for at least 30 minutes. Strain the rice to separate from the liquid, and voila you have your cleansing water!

Concoct your own beauty treatment with Gram Flour

A beauty secret used by ancient Indian women boils down to a single ingredient (or so we’ve been told). That is, the Besan flour, also known as the Gram flour or simply put, chickpea flour. If you’re unfamiliar with the ingredient, it’s a pulse flour made grounds of gram chickpeas. Used in many ancient Indian beauty remedy, it’s been said that gram flour contains properties to treat acne and soothe inflamed skin.

Gram flour is a key ingredient in making homemade masks to treat different skin concerns. If you have dry skin, mix besan flour and turmeric powder in a 2:1 ratio, and mix in a teaspoon lemon juice and honey and form into a paste texture. Layer the mixture to a clean face and leave it on for 10 minutes. Make sure to do a patch test as the pigmentation from the turmeric may stain your skin!

Haircare with Locust, is the best care

Image credit: Vuy Hair

Long, shiny, silky hair is commonly associated with ancient Vietnamese women, and we are dying to know how they achieved such healthy hair! With modern styling tools and technology, heat damage is only natural to our hair, but locust may be able to save us from split ends and frizzy hair.  

Locust contains saponins which help combat dandruff, hair fungus and make hair more black and shiny. The process of using it may be a hard one but we promise it will be well worth it. Dry locust by baking it or leaving it out in the sun. When it’s dry and crumbly, use a food processor and pulse the dried locust into powder. Mix the locust powder into warm water and massage it onto your scalp and hair ends. Rinse thoroughly with water and some lemon juice, and say hello to gorgeous shiny hair.

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