Six beauty secrets only Filipinas know by heart

Have you ever consciously thought of how we take in trends from different parts of the world? We take to heart Korean sheet masks, Japanese brow products, Western makeup and techniques, and so on. But what are beauty secrets unique to us Pinays? We’re quite the resourceful lot, using whatever is readily available to help us with our beauty problems! The awesome thing is that some of these “hacks” actually work really well and have gone on to inspire actual products.

Here are six open beauty secrets that most Filipinas grew up with, and have been passed on to us by our mothers and grandmothers!

1. Using aloe vera for soothing skin irritations

If you grew up in the province, you'd know that most backyards grow an aloe vera plant or two. The gel-like substance within its leaves has a wide variety of applications, including treating all sorts of skin irritations! Cut a piece of leaf, squeeze out the gel, and apply to everything: dry skin, sunburns, rashes, and even wound scabs to speed up healing. It can even be used as a hair treatment, so you really get quite a lot of use for something that you can easily grow on your own.

2. Papel de hapon lip tints

More than kilay, most Filipinas won’t leave home without swiping on some lipstick. Even women who aren’t too fond of makeup enjoy applying a bit of color because it’s easy, cheap, and can instantly brighten the face. There’s even a hack for a long-lasting lip tint: place a sheet of papel de hapon against your lips, wet it with a bit of water, and the color will transfer to your lips! Ahh, reminds us of high school when makeup wasn't allowed and this was all we could get away with!

3. Coconut oil for moisturizing the skin and conditioning the hair

Before shampoos, conditioners and hair regrowth formulas became commercial goods, Filipinas were already caring for their dark locks with items that they had at home. Coconut oil remains to be great option for keeping hair shiny and moisturized instead of splurging on a hot oil treatment at the salon. It also works great as a body oil!

4. Gugo bark for getting thicker hair

Remember when your moms and lolas would make you use gugo tea on your hair before or after shampooing? The tea is made from steeping the gugo bark in hot water. Once it has cooled down, it is then carefully poured and then massaged on the scalp. This supposedly promoted hair growth and thickness!

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5. Using pumice stones or "batong buga" for softer skin

No Filipino bathroom is complete without a few of these stones lying around! Pumice stones are formed from volcanic rock and are popular for scrubbing tough spots like feet, elbows and knees. You can even use them to gently buff away calluses. Plus, you won’t need to replace them, ever!

6. Using papaya to lighten skin

Powered by the Asian obsession for fairer skin, our market is saturated with so many lightening products that actually work! While we’re not necessarily interested in trying to change our skin tone, these products can help even out dark areas (like elbows, knees and armpits) and create a brighter complexion. You’ve probably heard of applying calamansi juice to darkened areas; it supposedly works but we don’t recommend trying it out as the pure calamansi juice is very harsh and drying to the skin!

Papaya is a gentler and easier to use alternative - just mash the fruit and apply the puree directly on areas that you feel need lightening. Leave it on for about 10 minutes.The enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids in the papaya help to lessen pigmentation and smoothen the skin.

Have you tried any of these beauty secrets? What other Pinoy beauty hacks do you know about?