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5 hair and beauty rituals Asian women have been doing for generations: From coconut oil to turmeric

Beauty secrets which have been passed through generations...

asian rose water
Sharnaz Shahid
Sharnaz ShahidDeputy Online Editor
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With more and more people dedicating an increasing amount of time to their beauty regime whilst in isolation, it's worth noting that looking your best doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. Here at HELLO!, we have turned towards ours sisters across the pond in South Asia, a part of the world well known for their Ayurvedic medicine and home to some of the most powerful beauty rituals created from natural ingredients. Right across the continent, beauty secrets for all hair and skin types have been passed down through generations thanks to these amazing home remedies.

Coconut oil

It's safe to say that almost every Asian household will have a trusty bottle of coconut oil, whether it's in the kitchen for cooking or placed in the bathroom cabinet – this oil has several incredible uses! This natural ingredient is extremely nourishing for your hair and can work wonders if your locks are dry and damaged, delivering instant hydration, protection and luscious texture and tone. Simply apply some and leave for a few hours before washing thoroughly with shampoo (you might need to do this twice!) and you will be left with thick, shiny tresses. It's also fabulous for your hair's health and scalp - recommended usage is once a week.

coconut oil© Photo: iStock

Hair ointment aside, the sweet-smelling oil is also perfect for moisturising skin as its rich in fatty acids. You can even use this as an effective primer to soften the skin before applying makeup, leaving you with a glowing, dewy look. Other uses include cracked heels and chapped lips!

READ: Is turmeric a health fad or health fact?


Although henna is widely used for celebratory events such as weddings and religious festivals, henna leaves are also perfect for dying hair – well, for those with black hair unless you are looking to go a vibrant orange! All you need to do is add a few drops of warm water to some henna along with a few drops of lemon juice and apply it on your hair from root to tip. Leave it on for 30 minutes and wash it off with shampoo. It leaves a rich, burgundy colour on dark hair tones. Unlike some harmful effects of hair colouring, pure henna does not leave any permanent damage to your locks as it is totally naturally derived and contains no added chemicals. Instead, the natural hair dye strengthens and adds texture.

WATCH: Top tips for taking care of your hair at home


Kohl, also more commonly known as kajal or black eyeliner, is a staple in almost every makeup lover's cosmetic bag. Traditionally made by grinding stibnite, kohl is also used to make mascara. Eyeliner has been in use by Indian women throughout history and has now become important to millennials across the globe. From winged eyeliner to a smoky and smudgier look, the product is extremely versatile in aiding with one's dramatic or everyday style.

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However, in Asia, many people believe that wearing kajal can cool down the eyes as well as protect them against the "evil eye". Meanwhile, over the years, dramatic eyeliner has also been used by Bollywood actresses in order to grab attention with their gaze – certainly making it impossible for potential on-screen love interests to ignore.

Rose water

Initially derived from the Middle East, rose water is made by the steam distillation of rose petals. It's an ingredient many Asians – who refer to it as 'gulab jal' – swear by due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and antioxidant-rich properties. It's perfect for those who have acne-prone and sensitive skin.

In summer months, rose water hydrates the skin and can help reduce redness and inflammation. Other wonderful uses include using it in baths and as an uplifting, stress-reducing fragrance. All you have to do it spray some rose water onto your pillow for a good night's sleep.


turmeric© Photo: iStock

Turmeric, also known as 'haldi', is applauded in Asian culture for its skin benefits. Turmeric is known for helping those who have blackheads, spots and can eliminate wrinkles. However, it turns the skin yellow. As well as leaving skin radiant, the anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial helps prevent future blemishes. Elsewhere, the spice is widely added in curries and can be applied to Asian brides' and grooms' faces, hands and feet during a pre-wedding ceremony to help cleanse and purify skin before their big day.

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