For me the most surprising things about our world training and study tour was the realization that the ancient beauty secrets I discovered all depended on properties that science and cosmetics research could understand and explain to the modern consumer. Balinese traditional medicine was a case in point...
The skin of a Balinese princess...
Ubud, in the center of the island of Bali, is home to an ancient beauty ritual dating back to the 16th century that has survived to this day among young women of the local nobility. It consists of rubbing a mixture of papaya flesh and crushed rice on the skin to remove dead cells and restore radiance to the complexion- what we now call a body scrub.
Five centuries later we know that the papaya enzyme papain has a strong "keratolytic" action, meaning that is breaks down inter-cellular bonds so helping to remove dead skin cells and impurities. It imparts an incomparable glow to the skin, as if a veil of dullness has been lifted to let the radiance show through. So it is that the effects discovered by ancient Balinese herbalists, based solely on empirical observation, can now be explained by modern science.
On my return to Paris I set to work adapting these recipes, adding new active ingredients aimed at enhancing their efficacy and feel, with no loss of their original qualities. Crushed rice for example has the disadvantage of dissolving in modern cosmetic formulas and losing its exfoliating effect. So I replaced it in our Papaya Purée Body Polish with diatomaceous earth and tiny grains of marine minerals (no more than 50 microns in diameter), so producing a softer but equally efficient body scrub with the same enzymatic and mechanical activity as its traditional Balinese counterpart. Suitable for even the most sensitive skin, our Papaya Purée also includes a plant-based surfactant that, unlike its Balinese predecessor, makes it easy to remove after application. On contact with water it produces a light lather-like mild soap that simply washes off - making it perfect for people who want to exfoliate in the shower.
It is fascinating work to retrace the origins of ancient beauty recipes that modernize them in accordance with the latest cosmetics technology. What is more it makes it possible to offer an infinitely more natural approach to beauty than petrochemical beauty - an approach that shows infinitely more respect for the skin and environment.
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