Monday, December 23, 2013

Asian Invasion: Traditional Asian Ingredients in the Modern Beauty World

[As published on HERE]

It’s common knowledge that Asian women often look younger than their actual age. I have friends who are 30-plus, but can easily pass off as college students (life is not fair)! Many believe that it’s mainly because of our diet, which is more balanced compared to a Caucasian woman’s diet.
For instance,
Asian meal: stir-fried kailan, steamed tofu with minced meat, omelette and rice
Dessert: red bean sweet soup with glutinous rice dumplings
Western meal: medium-rare steak with deep-fried potato wedges and root vegetables
Dessert: coffee and cake (wine optional)
Asian cooking generally uses less oil and dairy products like milk, butter and cheese. We also rarely eat meat on its own (unless it’s Bak Kut Teh). Soups also play a big part in the Asian woman’s life. Whether sweet or savoury, double-boiled clear soups teeming with nourishing ingredients provide myriad benefits, from beautifying the complexion to cooling down the body, and more.
Therefore it’s not surprising that even in the modern beauty world, more and more attention is being paid to traditional Asian ingredients. Here are 5 of our favourite ingredients:

Coconut Water
Why: low in calories, high in minerals like potassium
Mention coconut water to a Malaysian, and you might get a few quizzical stares. But when referred to in Bahasa Malaysia, no Malaysia is a stranger to air kelapa muda. Growing up around the abundance of coconuts has made us take these fruits for granted. Celebrities like Rihanna, Gisele and Alessandra Ambrosio are great fans of coconut water, which is said to be the best alternative to isotonic drinks. Coconut water also helps to cool down the body and keeps skin hydrated. Personally, however, I still can’t bring myself to buy coconut water in a can.
coconut water

White Tea
Why: high antioxidant content, antibacterial properties
White tea comes from the buds of the Camellia sinensis plant. Unlike conventional teas, white tea is only lightly oxidises, which gives it a pale yellow colour instead of a dark brown shade. White tea is said to have the highest antioxidant content among all teas, and is rich in polyphenols (prevents ageing) and catechins (said to prevent cancer). Beauty-wise, white tea fights ageing and improves skin discolouration, which is why it’s a popular ingredient in skincare products.
Mint White Tea Moisturizer, RM129, from 100% Pure Skincare

Goji Berry
Why: rich in antioxidants, high in vitamin C, anti-inflammatory properties
If you’re a fan of double-boiled soups, you’ll certainly be familiar with goji berries. Also known as wolfberries, these tiny red pods are added to Chinese soups as they’re said to improve eyesight. For the Western market, goji berries are often presented in the form of juice (ugh) or covered in chocolate (umm). I suppose this is an acquired taste, as we don’t really eat goji berries as is. They’re rich in antioxidants, and are said to have incredible anti-ageing properties.
NOHEM Moisturizing Anti-Fatigue Eye Contour Cream, RM 298 from Celebrity Beaute

Rice Wine (Makgeolli)
May2012 488
Why: low in calories, rich in nutrients like amino acids and vitamins B2 and B6
This traditional Korean rice wine is made by fermenting a mixture of boiled rice, wheat and water. The cloudy wine is usually served ice-cold in large metal bowls or pots, but can now be found readily bottled in supermarkets in a selection of flavours. These recent years have seen an explosion in the Korean skincare market with products containing makgeolli. The organic acids in makgeolli help to detox and renew skin, providing smoothness and clarity.
McGirly Come Clean , RM65.40, from Tool Cool for School Malaysia

Camellia (Tsubaki) Oil
Why: rich plant collagen, fatty acids and lipids
Tsubaki oil is obtained by cold-pressing the seeds of the Camella japonica flower without using any heat. In Japan, tsubaki oil is an age-old remedy practiced for hundreds of years. Mainly used to restore shine to black hair, the fragrant-smelling oil can also be used on the face and body to restore elasticity and prevent roughness. Tsubaki oil is composed of approximately 82% Oleic fatty acid, and has a longer shelf life than other oils. You can find tsubaki oil in a good number of Japanese haircare and skincare products.
Shiseido Tsubaki Head Spa Extra Cleansing Shampoo, RM28.90


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