Young girls even before they reach puberty are pampered with beauty routines consisting of hair care, massage and a purifying bath.
The traditional way
Mashed noni fruit (Morinda citrifolia) is applied to their hair followed by a scalp massage using coconut oil, keremak leaves (Alternanthera sessilis L.), buah keras (Aleurites moluccana) and pandan leaves (Pandanus odorus). This hair routine is believed to strengthen hair roots and promote the growth of thick, glossy hair besides making it fragrant.
A mixture of thick coconut milk and a pinch of salt is applied on their skin to make it strong and to add shine. Fresh coconut water or rice water is used to wash their face to soften skin and get rid of dead skin cells while keeping skin moist.
Bedak sejuk made from rice flour, jasmine roots and turmeric diluted with a little rose water is lightly applied to their face and neck. This helps to refresh skin while keeping it smooth and supple. For dry skin, bedak sejuk is mixed with coconut oil or olive oil.
Crushed guava leaves (Psidium guajava) are used in purifying baths. Before having a bath, a scented herbal scrub or lulut, is applied all over their body. The scrub contains either normal or glutinous rice, cekur (Kaempferia galanga), sandalwood, ginger and jerangau (Acorus calamus). These ingredients are ground finely and mixed with rose or pandan water to form a paste. The scrub is thought to exfoliate dead skin cells and encourage new cell growth.
From your kitchen and garden
You can always use natural products from your kitchen or garden in your beauty routine. For starters, when you soak rice before cooking it, keep the water as you can use it as a cleanser. For toner, you can use turnip, lime or cucumber juice.
Soaked rice when pounded with turmeric makes for a good scrub. For masks, try honey or egg. Coconut oil can be used to massage the scalp while coconut milk can be used as a hair conditioner.
The western approach
You can also use local or imported produce from supermarkets nearby in your beauty routine. Eight ingredients namely avocado, cucumber, whole grains, banana, papaya, coconut oil, strawberries and apples, are featured here.
Avocado can balance oil production in your skin and hair while protecting against damage caused by sunlight and pollution. You can apply plain mashed avocado to your face, body and hair, or add 1 tablespoon each of raw organic honey and organic mayonnaise or almond oil. Leave it for 15 minutes then rinse well and shampoo if needed.
Cucumber is good for cell growth and skin repair – you can apply sliced cucumbers on your face and neck. You can also blend cucumber into a smooth puree and apply to your scalp. For a mask, add ¼ cup plain organic yogurt, 1 teaspoon aloe vera juice and a pinch of sea salt to 1 pureed or diced cucumber. Mix well, apply to your face and hair and leave it for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse off.
Whole grains like oats and quinoa are good for detoxing, exfoliating, hydrating and softening skin. You need to cook ½ cup whole or ground organic oats or quinoa with water or almond/ rice milk. Let it cool, apply and rinse off.
For anti-aging, try banana fudge on your skin, hair and nails. Just mix 1 ripe banana, ½ cup cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons macadamia nut oil or butter, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons heavy cream, 1 tablespoon organic brown sugar and a pinch of cinnamon powder. Apply this fudge on your face, body and scalp, leave it for 15 minutes and rinse off.
For glowing skin, mix 1 papaya (blended), 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice, 1 teaspoon fresh orange or tangerine juice and 2 tablespoons raw organic warmed honey. Apply to your face and neck and rinse off after 10 minutes.
For healthy hair and skin, mix 2 tablespoons coconut oil, ½ cup pureed organic carrot, 10 drops of geranium oil, 5 drops of chamomile oil, 5 drops of jasmine oil and a pinch of rosemary, sage and sea salt. Apply on your skin and hair and leave it for 20 minutes. Rinse off. You may need to shampoo lightly.
Besides cleansing, toning and brightening your skin, strawberries can also be used to whiten your teeth. Blend 1 tablespoon of crushed fresh organic strawberries, 1 tablespoon of cream of tartar or baking soda, ½ teaspoon of fresh organic lemon or lime juice and 1 teaspoon of organic tooth powder or non-toxic toothpaste. Apply to your teeth, leave it for 5 minutes and rinse off. You can do this once a week.
Apples can be used to revive dull saggy skin, tighten pores and reduce inflammation. For this, you need a full bath. Add 1 finely sliced apple, 1 cup of rose petals and 3 bags of chamomile tea. Soak in this fragrant bath until you feel refreshed. If you are rushed for time, just boil the ingredients for 10 minutes and leave it to cool. Strain the mixture into a spray bottle and spray your face and body to refresh yourself whenever you need to.
Natural is not always safe especially if you are prone to allergies. Always test a small amount on your hand before applying it on your face and the rest of your body. Here’s to a naturally beautiful you!
8 Natural Beauty Treatments – From Your Kitchen. Available at www.huffingtonpost.com
Bodeker G, ed. Health and Beauty from the Rainforest – Malaysian Traditions of Ramuan. Kuala Lumpur: Editions Didier Millet; 2009.