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Beauty Secrets from Myanmar

One of the great things about my job is that I get to travel quite a bit. About two months ago I was in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) for some office work. As a beauty blogger, it has almost become my second nature to explore cultures & countries for their unique beauty secrets. Myanmar did not disappoint at all! I would even dare to say that Myanmar women rival French gals in their ornate & extreme obsession with skincare, and it shows: They have lovely, creamy complexions & not a blemish in sight!

Women in Myanmar invest time & energy in maintaining their beauty rituals. They take a lot of care of themselves and are not shy to admit to it. They also love wearing makeup and dressing up - even if it just for office - and take pride in their local beauty secrets. Below are some things I learnt from them:

1. Tailored, well fitted clothes that accentuate the figure: Myanmar women wear their traditional dress quite proudly to work & official engagements. It is called "Longi" (pronounced "Loungee") and consists of a fitted, buttoned blouse with a fitted maxi skirt. The skirt may have a knee length slit to facilitate walking. Most women get it stitched, however some younger girls do pair western tops with a tailored skirt. I saw a lot of blouses with lace or sheer inserts (a nod to the current Sports Luxe trend in US currently!). Off - duty girls love wearing short dresses & skirts, most of which are Made in Thailand.

2. All this emphasis on fitted clothes means that the women there are quite figure conscious. Their local diet is non-vegetarian, sea food based, and naturally low carb, though they eat sticky rice. I lost 2 kgs there in a space of 5 days! Because of their diet there is practically no obesity there. I hope it stays that way. I tried a number of their local dishes and the food there is just yummy! Btw, there is no concept of "vegetarianism" so if you are a vegan, please carry food supplies.

C: Nat Geo
3. You'll spot lots of women with yellow cream on their face called Thanka: When you see it on the first girl you'll think she forgot to wash off her yellow face-pack. After you have seen around 30 other girls with the same yellow facepack, you'll want some too! Thanka is the local beauty cream that girls make at night with the bark of a tree very similar to Sandalwood. It is said to cure acne, and prevent sun-burn and keep the skin looking fresh. It does seem to work and I wanted to get some myself but I ran outta time! You get commercial varieties packed in jar though. The local women didn't seem to trust it & I thought it was best to avoid it too.

4. Nail art is massive there: And by massive I meant there are nail parlors everywhere with such opulent designs. They have gone beyond simple trickery using nail paints to such elaborate designs with stuck-on artifacts. And compared to India, it is very very reasonably priced. No I didn't fancy this one. I don't like nail art.

5. They have Etude Cosmetics: And a lot of other brands like ELF have big stores there. Girls are really into makeup and love wearing makeup daily. They aren't shy about wearing red lipstick or the cat-eye to work!

A Monastery in Yangon very close to my hotel
6. Most girls chemically straighten their hair: You will be stuck by the number of girls who have such glossy, pin-straight hair. But after talking to a few of them I found out that chemically straightening your hair is a really big fad there!

7. They use "Tayaw" to wash their hair: My granny has spent her childhood in Myanmar and she always tells me they used the twigs of this tree called Tayaw to wash their hair. The twigs would be soaked overnight with a fruit similar to Reetha. Just before washing they would add lemon juice to the mixture. The shampoo is now sold ready-made in the market in clear plastic pouches. It is brown liquid. I wanted to try it out as well just to compare it to how it performs versus our Amla - Reetha - Shikakai thing. But the trip was too short for me to cram it all in!

The Hair Temple, I didn't visit though, was running outta time

In all I had a wonderful time at Myanmar. The women are beautiful, charming & very friendly. They seem like people who are happy, content & take pride in maintaining their inner & outer beauty. There is an inherent grace to how they walk, dress & talk which I found very endearing & appealing.


  1. What a great post. This is so informative and I love reading about beauty secrets of women from all ove the world.

  2. Very nice compilation.. never knew so many things about Myanmar beauties ! good job.

  3. lovely blog ,loved myanmar makeup rituals


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