Bali beauty traditions
For centuries the Balinese women have meticulously interwoven spirituality with nature, their body and inner self. Holistic remedies and time-honoured traditions are celebrated every day not as a special treat as the western world does but as part of the fabric of their life.
Beauty is important to the Balinese, derived from carvings, artworks, ancient architecture, the local food they present and the women themselves. Despite the unrelenting humidity, Balinese women take great pride in their appearance. Their hair perfectly styled and their eyes elaborately painted.... It is the perfect blend of spirituality, spa and beauty.
“The Real Beauty of Bali Is its People”
- Natural Ingredients
- Traditional Methods
- Healthy Diet
- Yoga and Wellness
- Cream Bath
Many of the Balinese believe that the body has the ability to reconnect with its natural rhythms with the use of traditional therapies and natural products. It begins with what nature gave them to keep them warm and clean at night. In ages past, farmers from the rice fields would return home after standing all day in the water and prepare a paste using local spices such as cloves, ginger, cinnamon, coriander seeds, rice, turmeric root and nutmeg, among others. They combined them with water to make a thick aromatic paste and then smoothed it over their bodies. They would let it dry and then go to sleep. The aromatic paste would keep them warm as well as alleviate their aches and pains. (I’m thinking more effective than a turmeric latte).
When the sun would shine in the morning they would wake up and head to the river for their bath.
After washing off the “mask” or paste it would invigorate their body and awaken their senses for another busy day working in the fields. The paste was a natural insect repellent during the night and day. In Bali this paste is called a Boreh, “Bo” meaning “ready”, and “reh” founded from the Balinese word for blood ”rah”. Therefore, Boreh literally brings your body to life. Today many of the spas in Bali offer this treatment.
It is not only about what you put on your body that helps with your beauty but also how you treat your body. As with most ancient civilizations fitness was just part of their natural daily life. It was embedded in the work they do and the philosophies they follow. Yoga is central to Hindu life and is at the core of physical well being. By being in tune with your mind and body, not only keeps you in good physical condition but can also give you silky smooth glowing skin. Many of the yoga asanas will help in breathing and blood flow. The result is the toxins are expelled from your body helping to remove tired and saggy skin and promoting a glow.
We have touched on how the Balinese have used local ingredients for centuries in their daily “Boreh” to invigorate their body and how yoga and being in touch with your inner self can help you have glowing skin. But the Balinese diet also aids their beauty. Just as a face and body scrubs help the outside of the body, using enriching spices and herbs are helping from the inside. Garlic and ginger are a staple of Balinese dishes both supply antioxidants. And the fact that the Balinese produce and eat an abundance of vegetables goes a long way to a healthy a glow. But the real winner is the spices they use such as turmeric and cinnamon these spices pack way more goodness per mouthful than those vegetables. So the blend of spices and vegetables in their daily diet goes a long way to enriching not just the appetite but the body as well. Coconuts are one of the most nutritious and versatile fruits around and have been a staple food to the Balinese for centuries. A coconut tree can live as long as 100 hundred years and yield as many as 50 to 100 nuts per year. The uses for coconut are numerous not only for cooking and eating but also as a beauty product and health drink.
In fact, the benefits of coconut can be a whole subject on its own. Chilli one of my favourites is loaded with vitamin C and is excellent for your skin and ensuring healthy eyes. All of the above plus many more are vital if you are wanting to have a holistic approach to your beauty and care of your body. We now know the traditions beliefs and culture that have led to the essence of Balinese Beauty. The way that their daily routines and practices intertwine with functional beauty treatments. But how or what can we learn from this.
Bali diet = Bali beauty
Obviously the old adage of you are what you eat is so very true. So eating organic fruit and vegetables flavoured with aromatic spices that also not only add to the flavour but also supply health-giving properties will go a long way to achieving that beautiful natural glow. If you don’t enjoy cooking you can still get the benefits by using prepared pastes such as supplied by “Bali in a Jar” Fresh herbs and spices are ground up ready for use. Or maybe try a traditional Balinese tonic called Jamu it is a health
tonic that I have been told Balinese women would drink 3 times a day for their beauty. There are many varieties around the island. I have shared a recipe for a favourite made from Ginger turmeric and lime. Recipe here.
Go nuts about Balinese beauty
There are many benefits to introducing coconut into your life. Both internally and externally. Coconut water is now found in nearly every supermarket where once you could only get while you were relaxing on a beach in Bali or another tropical island. Coconut has found its way into many of the very best beauty products lately replacing those chemicals that are so harsh on the skin. Coconut oil is used in many natural face products and for good reason: it’s naturally anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and moisturizing. Coconut oil is composed primarily of nourishing fatty acids and is especially high in lauric acid. It also contains vitamin E and healthy fats, which help to make skin smooth. It is used as a natural moisturizer and even to treat skin ailments such as eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis. Just add some to your bath water and your body will be moisturized all over. Nadja Nufer founder of Bali Balance is a keen advocate for the use of coconut in fact she insists that the coconuts that they use are to have the water and oils extracted within hours of them being harvested. They are also hand processed so that there is no interaction with machines that can damage the coconuts.
Bali beauty secrets -Lular
We have already learnt that Turmeric is a spice that finds its way into many parts of Bali life. One of the most celebrated uses is in what is called a Lular.
Lulur is an exfoliating paste that is traditionally prepared for women about to marry. Whether she lives in the village or the palace – a bride to be is scrubbed every day, for forty days by her women friends and family.
These days modern brides perform the very same ritual, but for one week before their wedding – and many people will continue the practice for regular self-care.
What you get is the softest skin – cleansed, detoxified and glowing like it’s brand new.
Bali beauty secret - cream hair bath
Why do Balinese women have such lustrous beautiful hair? Most would say it is due to their weekly cream bath. A cream bath is part of the Balinese women weekly hair care regime. The idea of the bath is to hydrate and nourish. The traditional hair cream bath uses fresh, organic ingredients such as avocado, coconut milk, carrot, lime and fresh mint leaf. It is rare for Balinese women to wash their own hair instead of choosing to have this treatment at one of the many salons. The treatment starts with a head, neck and shoulder massage and is followed by a homemade mask made from the natural ingredients that are gently
Bali beauty secret is no secret
The secret is out there is no real secret. It is trusted practices over many generations passed down from mother to daughter that is the real secret.
Use natural ingredients free from chemicals
Practice having your body and mind in sync
Have a diet of fresh fruit vegetables and spices
Utilise coconut whenever possible indoor diet and
Weekly Cream hair baths
Learn to love turmeric
When writing these treatments and methods down it seems like a lot of work but that is far from the truth. The Balinese women integrate all of these routines into their daily lives. But then again that is the way of life in Bali there is no fuss they just get on with their lives and being at one in their surroundings.
Crazy Bali Love
Special Thanks to Nadja from Bali Balance and Desak from Bali in a jar for their help with this guide.