The Karen are deeply connected to their environment as people that live off the land and focus much of their culture and traditions on what they grow, use and consume. Many of the methods the Karen use have already been adopted into self-care and beauty routines across the world due to the efficacy of these ingredients in keeping people beautiful and looking younger!
Our M&E Officer, Pim, has kindly told us all the secrets below!
“We have many traditional ways of self-care including rice water. We use water from washing rice to wash our face, as this water helps clear the face. We use the cleaner rice water which should be the second rinse of the rice and we use this to wash our face regularly. Rice water will help treat acne, blemishes, eliminate oiliness, reduce acne and we believe will make skin lighter and brighter.
We use also use Tanaka tree on our faces before we go out or go to work or even to stay at home by taking the cut stems and scraping them against a stone mix with clean water and then putting Tanaka on the face. Tanaka has been proven to have properties to limit cell degeneration and also prevent acne. It can also have disinfectant properties so will reduce redness and dark spots or blemishes. Tanaka is also believed to reduce the production of melanin pigment, as many people believe fairer skin is more beautiful but most importantly it can help prevent skin damage from UV rays too.
An alternative to Tanaka is tamarind skin, which many people also use. Traditionally Karen people also used tamarind for naturally radiant skin as it helps to shed dead skin cells. It has been very popular to use tamarind to scrub the face or body since ancient times and it is also common for people to put it in their hair before washing it. Tamarind juice will help decompose the dirt that is left on the scalp and different oiliness, making the hair cleaner.
Turmeric is used across the world by people when it comes to beauty routines and we use it too. It contains antioxidants that help slow down signs of aging and it is also great for the immune syste when ingested, so it is a remedy for colds too. Another traditional beauty and health routine that is still used today by some Karen is to bathe or bake with herbs but they should always be boiled before use. Many people use this when they are skin or tired to rejuvenate themselves and there are many different herbs around us to use.”
There is so much to learn about the Karen and we hope some of these beauty tips are useful to you!