The Secrets of Traditional Asian Beauty

We take a look at ancient natural beauty remedies that Asian women have been using for centuries.


Bedak sejuk, which in Malay literally translates to “cool powder”, is a facial powder used widely in Malaysia. To make bedak sejuk, rice is soaked with local flowers such as bunga melor (Jasminum sambac), cempaka (Magnolia champaka) and tanjung (Mimusops elengi) for two days. The scented rice is then ground into a paste and filtered to remove the larger particles.

When mixed with water, bedak sejuk is used as a thick facial mask worn overnight to sleep. In the day, bedak sejuk is mixed with more water and worn as a lighter facial powder. The versatile powder is also used to treat acne, either by mixing it with lime juice or cinnamon powder. Mothers living in the hot and humid tropics also apply bedak sejuk to their children’s faces to prevent rashes and skin irritation.

Photo: Shutterstock.
Photo: Shutterstock.

Rebecca did her PhD at the National University of Singapore where she studied how macrophages integrate multiple signals from the toll-like receptor system. She was formerly the editor-in-chief of Asian Scientist Magazine.

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