Secrets from an Asian Spa

The concept of a flawless, porcelain complexion is an Asian staple. When we think of East Asia, we think ofdelicate beauties sporting gleaming complexions too luminous to be real. When I was growing up, the “how” of them managing to look this way was always settled with the assumption, “they have good genes”.

However when I came to Malaysia for university, I realized that along with being stunning, Asian women are also generous in sharing their beauty secrets. And the secrets are easy to learn, perfect and reap benefits from.

These simple steps are my favorite nuggets of wisdom from Asian women, which I think can transform your kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom into an Asian spa!

Slap it on!

Popular amongst Koreans is the concept of patting on moisturizer with gentle pressure. Literally, apply the product onto your face and then gently slap (gently, if you whack yourself across the face, it will bruise!) until it’s absorbed completely. This method brings blood rushing to the surface, leading to a brighter complexion. The warmth and pressure of your hands also means that the product absorbs better, which means that it won’t clog your pores (particularly beneficial if you have oily skin.)

Feed your skin:

Asian skincare brands often market the concept of beauty products based on food (“Skin food” for example). In your kitchen, you can achieve this without spending a fortune on face cream. Incorporate these easy practices into your daily regime for a healthier body and skin.

Snack on raw, unpeeled cucumbers (chop them very finely to avoid an overpowering bitterness from the peel). The silica in the peel is a natural anti-aging miracle often used by billion-dollar brands. Cucumbers are also diuretics, which in layman language mean they help you go to the toilet more often and hence flush (literally) the waste from your body.

Take a handful of rice and soak it in water (tap water is fine just make sure the water is an inch above the rice). After a minute or two, the water will turn cloudy, separate it from the rice and put it in the fridge. Once it’s cold, splash your face with it after cleansing and let it air dry. Pit era, which is naturally found in rice, is a huge Asian beauty phenomenon (Google “SK 2 miracle water”). It is a natural skin brightener and helps clear the skin, it really helped with my acne.

5 minute facial:

Facials have been turned into a luxury, but Japanese women have been giving themselves these easy at-home massages for centuries.

For under eye circles put your first and second fingers together (make the ‘dosti’ gesture, if you’re from Pakistan!) and press them into the sides of the nose near the inner corners of your eyes, press with gentle pressure moving to the under eye area and finally to the outer corner of your eyes pressing gently each time and repeat up to five times.

For a healthy glow and brighter eyes, pull your ears upwards, you’ll feel your ears getting warmer (this is proof of blood circulation). Hold them for 30 seconds each time, release and then repeat. As this is so simple and beneficial, on days when I have little time to spare, I do only this for a couple of minutes right before my classes. 

Finally for a slimmer face, put your hands on your cheek and gently push your cheeks back to your ears until your hand reaches the ear itself, then bring your hands down your neck. The idea is to first push all the waste to your ear, and then slide it down your neck so that your face has a more angular appearance.

Doing all three daily for five minutes really helps.

Hot and cold:

Possibly the simplest tip, when washing your face wash with lukewarm water first and then follow up with splashing your face with ice-cold water. Similar to steaming your face, warm water allows the pores to open and the dirt to be cleared more vigorously. The cold water then closes your pores and brings the blood to the surface of your skin, leading to a brighter and naturally moisturized complexion. I do this every time I wash my face, it doesn’t really take that long and it is great for days when your skin looks dull.

Tea junkie!

Lastly, incorporate teas into your diet (“chai” doesn’t count!) Chinese women love drinking a variety of teas including Ginseng, Oolong, Chrysanthemum and “white” tea. Many of these are unfortunately not available in Pakistan. But try this simple recipe; boil together a handful of Jasmine tealeaves, an inch of ginger and a handful of mint leaves. This blend gives you a boost of skin clearing and healing anti-oxidants and is great for digestion. Alternatively, look for oriental teas in your local super market to see if any of the pre-mentioned varieties are available.

The concept of a flawless, porcelain complexion is an Asian staple. When we think of East Asia, we think of delicate beauties sporting gleaming complexions too luminous to be real.

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