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Popular Asian Beauty Routines Being Adopted by the West Listen with ReadSpeaker

One of the biggest changes in the beauty industry has been the concept of looking at routines more from an intrinsic perspective rather than focusing on the more superficial aspect. The pandemic and resulting lockdowns have caused people to stop and think about their well-being. This has brought about an increased interest in combining beauty with health.

When it comes to personal care, routines popular in the West often comprise commercialized products and marketing schemes that focus more on outward beauty while in the East, the practices reflect a more holistic approach that encompasses overall wellness. However, the gap between the East and West has been bridged to a large extent over the past couple of years.

The focus of Asian skin care is on a philosophy of prevention, patience, and gentleness. You stay away from harsh ingredients, hydrate and protect the skin, and maintain what you have but with one key difference, you do it as naturally as possible. We look at some of the most popular traditional Asian skin care practices and ingredients that have had an influence on the West.

Your state of mind has a key role to play in Eastern personal care practices. It is not just about the product used but also its application. Personal care routines from the East focus on how the application can enhance the way the product works along with the fact that the application itself puts you in a different frame of mind. It makes you calmer, happier, and more inclined to buy products that have this kind of effect.


Whether it is the Kansa massage from India or the Chinese practice of gua sha, consumers are investing in self-care as they are more focused on having a healthy mind and improved well-being along with radiant skin. We list a few practices that not only soothe the skin but also the mind and body by incorporating holistic elements in the beauty routines.

  • Kansa wand

    Originating in India, a Kansa wand is a dome-shaped face massaging tool that is designed to stimulate blood circulation and has deep roots in Ayurveda. The Kansa wand, a wooden-handled tool with a tip made of kansa metal, a combination of copper and tin, is designed to remove toxins and balance the body’s energy while improving the exterior look and health of your skin.

    According to Ayurveda, the surface of the metal can draw and neutralize acidity on the skin and hence, is used to balance the skin’s pH levels as well as reduce puffiness, increase blood circulation, and promote oxygen flow to the surface of the skin, creating a natural glow.

    A Kansa wand can be paired with a serum or oil, a saffron-infused serum is commonly used in India. By combining the Kansa wand with the right product, the two will work synergistically, so picking one with high vitamin and mineral content can work wonders.

  • Jade Rollers

    The origins of the jade roller lie in Chinese history and it was once used by the elite to keep skin beautiful. The naturally cool properties of jade were even used by Mayans and Egyptians to aid muscle relief during a massage. Known as the “Stone of Heaven”, jade, a spiritual, energetic, and therapeutic tool, is believed to represent healing, protection, and promote qualities such as wisdom, balance, and peace.

    In addition to improving your circulation and reducing puffiness, jade rollers are a great way to get more out of your skin care products. Applying moisturizers and anti-aging serums to your roller ensures maximum absorption. Using this tool also keeps your fingers from pulling at the gentle skin around your eyes as the product gets worked in.

  • Gua sha

    If you have visited any skin care brand’s website over the last year, you would have surely spotted the gua sha tool. gua sha has its roots in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and the name comes from the Chinese word for scraping. It is the practice of using a tool to apply pressure and scrape the skin to relieve pain and tension.

    By using a gua sha tool, you stimulate blood circulation, which increases the amount of oxygen and nutrients to the skin and improves skin health. It also allows you to work deeper into the muscles than by using fingers alone and reduces excess pulling of delicate skin. The gua sha tool can be used after applying a serum, face oil, or moisturizer to assist the application of these products. Many skin care brands even provide a facial gua sha tool along with their products.

  • K-Beauty

    Grounded in Korea's cultural passion for healthy skin and backed by decades of scientific advancement, the 10-steps that make up the K-Beauty routine have not only become a lifestyle in Asia but a global phenomenon. The key factor of the routine is respecting your skin. Instead of using products full of harsh ingredients that damage the skin’s natural barrier, the Korean skin care philosophy is about working with your skin’s natural ecosystem by cleansing, hydrating, nourishing, and protecting it.

    The number of steps in the K-Beauty routine which the West has adapted can vary based on the time consumers have to perform them. In general, they would include using:

  1. Balm or oil cleanser
  2. Foaming cleanser
  3. Exfoliant
  4. Toner
  5. Essence
  6. Ampoule or serum
  7. Sheet mask
  8. Eye cream
  9. Moisturizer
  10. . Either a thicker night cream, sleeping mask, or an SPF cream

The condition of your skin reflects what you eat and highlights the importance of looking after yourself from the inside out. Consumers are realizing that what you put on your skin does not matter if the inside is unhealthy.

  • Ayurvedic Diet for Healthy Skin

    The ancient tradition of Ayurveda teaches us that our inner and outer beauty are correlated, making the Ayurvedic diet one of the key advocates of the “inside first” philosophy. Ayurveda suggests that it is the strength of our digestive fire (or agni), which is the key to maintaining healthy, radiant skin. A person’s skin type is based on the three doshas, the bioenergetic or life forces that constitute the body and mind. They are vata (wind), pitta (fire), kapha (water and earth). To maintain and restore healthy skin, the doshas need to be balanced.

    The pitta dosha focuses on cooling, energizing foods, and limits spices, nuts, and seeds. The vata dosha favors warm, moist, and grounding foods while restricting dried fruits, bitter herbs, and raw veggies. The kapha dosha limits heavy foods like nuts, seeds, and oils in favor of fruits, veggies, and legumes.

  • Traditional Chinese Medicine and Glowing Skin

    The Chinese beliefs towards healthy eating are strongly related to concepts of TCM. The philosophy behind TCM says that good health is nurtured from the inside out, and the health of the internal body system is reflected externally as well.

    Food therapy of Traditional Chinese Medicines aims to maintain balanced nutrition through diet. In TCM, food is divided into five natures, (siqi): cold, cool, neutral, warm, and hot. The nature of food is not determined by their actual temperature, but rather by what effects they have on a person's body after consumption.

    The concepts of TCM in skin care go beyond what you eat. Skin care brands incorporate popular herbs used in TCM into their formulations and even develop products based on its principles and techniques.

  • Superfoods for Super Skin
    Certain superfoods are used both internally as well as in formulations by brands all over the world to transform your skin. One of the key reasons for consumers having turned to superfoods to help their skin is the fact that the pandemic has also caused a novel skin issue called “maskne” or mask-related acne.

    These foods have made a big impact when it comes to personal care:

  • Moringa - With nicknames like the “miracle tree” and “tree of life”, it is easy to see why moringa has become one of the key ingredients in anti-aging beauty products and for overall skin health. The plant is native to India but is also prevalent in Asia. It has anti-inflammatory properties, which are beneficial for acne breakouts while keeping skin hydrated
  • Turmeric – Along with its immune-boosting abilities, turmeric is an effective elixir for skin woes. Along with restoring natural glow and treating uneven skin tone, it reduces inflammation and has anti-bacterial properties to keep potential inflammatory acne flare-ups away
  • Ginseng – A popular TCM herb, ginseng has many health benefits and has even found its way into modern skin care products. This herb is known to rejuvenate skin, prevent UV damage, promote collagen production, and reduce signs of aging. Ginseng can be consumed as a drink or applied topically on the skin
  • Seaweed - Seaweed possesses a ton of skin care benefits and healing properties. As a natural source of vitamins and minerals, it is used to address skin-related issues such as excess oil, fine lines, and wrinkles. With its anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties, seaweed can enhance the look and health of the skin

According to, the global health and wellness market exceeded USD 3.3 billion in 2020 with personal care and beauty being a key contributor. With so much emphasis on self-care throughout the pandemic, the popularity of these traditional practices has only grown.

DKSH offers a broad variety of innovative ingredients which cater to the latest trends in personal care along with food supplements and nutrition. Our international teams of technical specialists collaborate across borders to develop innovative solutions for companies looking to tap into the latest and growing consumer trends. Contact us to learn more about our innovative personal care, food supplement, and nutrition solutions.


About the author

Roland Kraut

Roland Kraut is based in Zurich, Switzerland. He is currently Vice President, Global Personal Care Ingredients, Performance Materials at DKSH International.

Cesar Saez

Cesar Saez is based in Singapore. He is currently Vice President, Global Food & Beverage Ingredients, Performance Materials at DKSH Management .