All quiet, on the Eastern Front?

Viewed from the Western front, eastern beauty seems to be an immutable archetype, based on age-old traditions. Physical criteria and cosmetic secrets; what's new in the land of the rising sun?

For more than a thousand years, blackening teeth has been a must for Asian women, mainly in Japan, but also in Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. To do this, every two or three days, teeth need to be coated in a smelly mixture of sumac gallnut powder (also known as tannin powder) and powdered iron dissolved in a mixture of tea, vinegar and rice wine. Why do these women lend themselves to this tedious and unpleasant ritual? To be beautiful, of course.

Physical beauty, which seems so concrete, so indisputable when we see it, is primarily a matter of social construction. There is no beauty, only ideas of beauty. This observation is illustrated especially in Asia, where, for historical and spiritual reasons, society so often takes precedence over the individual. So, this blackening of teeth, coupled with white-painted skin, is explained by a desire to differentiate high-born ladies from the simple peasant women, with skin burnished by labour in the fields, and from animals, all of which have white teeth…

Pure and beautiful

Standards of beauty have changed over the centuries, but remain dependent on strong social pressure in Asia. What are they today?

The first criterion is to have porcelain skin; pale, rather than white, without the slightest imperfection. Throughout Asia, the quality of the epidermis is considered to be a visible expression of inner purity, of a harmony established between oneself and the world. Ideally, eyes should be almond shaped, very large and very expressive. The jaw should be fine, the chin pointed and the nose straight. These criteria are observable in a large number of Asian cinema stars.

The body is subject to fewer obsessions. Although women should be slim, it must be acknowledged that a large majority of Asian women are naturally slim. In addition, parts of the body that are considered as erotic are not the same as in the west. Thus, the length of the skirt has no erotic connotations in Japan, where they are sometimes very short! On the other hand, a visible neck could be regarded as enticing. Thus, if American women could be proud to be ‘sexy’, and have a sense of self-affirmation and acceptance, the notion that Asians are made of beauty would be a foreign theory. In fact, this is often characterised by a certain androgyny.

It’s kawaï!

For sure, standards of beauty in the far East still hold more surprises, even in this era of globalization. Thus, coquette Japanese women voluntarily feature protruding ears and badly aligned teeth. These peculiarities, regarded as characterising childhood, are called “kawaï” (cute) in the land of the rising sun. For this reason, some young women even wear fake braces on their teeth!

Asian women generally spend much more time and money on their makeup than European women. The technique that has emerged in Asia is “layering”, namely the passage in layers and successive steps of various products on the skin: makeup removal with a fatty substance, cleansing with a soap-free gel, the use of a lotion, a pre-serum, a serum, and then an eye contour, a moisturizer, sunscreen, foundation … A time-consuming process, which led the Koreans to disvover a German medical invention, the famous ‘all-in-one ‘ BB Cream. As we know, it was very successful.

Food choices

Food is considered to be one of the first things to have an effect on our natural balance, and therefore on beauty. Green tea, ginseng and mushrooms are traditionally known for their beneficial effects, and are still used regularly. This is where the concept of Cosmeceutics (both cosmetics and pharmaceuticals) comes from, in which both foreign and domestic brands are illustrated. Plant-based preparations are also on the rise on the Chinese domestic market. Is it really a coincidence? It turns out that pine, a symbol of vitality and longevity (especially because it is evergreen), occupies a prominent place in the traditional Chinese pharmacopoeia. Say no more …

Purextract® natural extracts contain more OPC than any other ingredients on the market. They have been clinically proven effective on skin firmness and elasticity thanks to a twice-a-day intake of 50 mg either in dietary supplements or in functional drinks.

Cosmythic® is the original pine bark extract which has been clinically proven to brighten the skin (study done on the ingredient in a randomised, double-blind vs placebo study).

To know more about the beauty by Purextract,