Balinese Beauty Secrets

Balinese women have long used nature’s gifts to beautify themselves. While today Western-style cosmetics, with dubious ingredients, are the order of the day on the island, many Balinese women continue to use traditional recipes to produce their own botanicals. Ketut Jasi and Dewi Rusty are two such women. Both have started their own natural beauty product lines and run regular workshops for those who care about nourishing their skin.


Cantika Zest

Inspired by one woman’s passion for sharing traditional Balinese skincare recipes, the Cantika Zest line of beauty products originated back in 1997 with the opening of Jasmine, a spa in the then quiet village of Penestanan, just outside Ubud. Since then, Ketut Jasi has opened two other spas — Alami in Sok Wayah, on the way to Sari Organic, and Zest on the outskirts of Penestanan village. It is at Zest that Jasi spends most of her days and shares her wisdom about the healing power of plants during two-hour workshops. The airy and colorful space is also where most of the products used at her three spas are made.

The workshops start with a garden tour where Jasi imparts her knowledge of the benefits of various medicinal plants and herbs such as ginger, turmeric and cinnamon. This is followed by a tour of Zest’s kitchen and the workspace where the products are prepared. During the workshops, participants learn how to make a variety of products using locally-sourced ingredients including a scrub, a face mask and a moisturizing lotion. All parts of the plants are used to ensure zero waste. In line with tradition, the products are made using traditional tools including a volcanic stone motar and pestle and a wooden grater with banana leaf to extract juices out of plants. On top of this, Jasi also explains how her recipes can be replicated outside Bali using plants and ingredients available in different climates.

Jasi’s beauty products can also be purchased in the Cantika Zest shop. Select from natural face creams, beauty masques, lip balms, shampoos, soaps and conditioners. A refilling service is offered for those with their own containers.


Ubud Botany Interactive

Run by Dewi Rusty, who grew up in a farming family in a village just outside Ubud, Ubud Botany Interactive’s workshops focus on transforming herbs, leaves, fruit and flowers into natural beauty products. During the 90-minute sessions, participants create four body care products including a hibiscus shampoo, a sunscreen and two boreh or body scrubs. All products are made from locally-sourced plants, and packaged in banana leaves and recycled bottles to ensure minimal impact on the environment. At the end of the workshops, all participants are emailed an illustrated recipe book.

Those looking for a more indepth experience can join Dewi’s Combined Tour, which includes the Botanical Products Workshop and a 90-minute walk through Ubud countryside. During the walk, Dewi uses the knowledge she gained while studying botany and agriculture at the Udayana University in Denpasar, to talk about the properties of Bali’s native plants and crops, and how they can be used in food, body care products and traditional medicine.

Those who don’t have time to attend one of Dewi’s workshops can visit the Ubud Botany Interactive store, which stocks a huge range of natural products. Select from 100-percent-steam-distilled essential oils, face creams, body and hair care products, hand and body lotions, body scrubs, sunscreens, and natural insect repellents. Alternatively, opt for a healing or detox tea, honey or coconut oil—all chemical-free and produced using environmentally-friendly traditional processes.


Other Natural Bali Brands

Here are three other Bali self-care brands that contain natural ingredients.


Bali Balance

Made to nourish the skin and hair, all Bali Balance products are vegan-friendly, and free of nasties such as chemical and parabens. Some of the more popular Bali Balance products include Face Serum 24/7, which contains aloe vera, vitamins C and E, and lavender essential oil; Sunblock 50+ with zinc, sweet almond oil, vitamin E, coconut oil and aloe vera; and shampoo and conditioner with raw coconut oil and rosemary essential oil. Alternatively, opt for an 100 percent natural insect repellent or a Bali Balance natural candle.


Utama Spice

Based on traditional Balinese knowledge of the medicinal value of herbs and spices, the Utama Spice botanicals are 100 percent natural. Plus, the majority of the products are handmade by young women under 30 from villages near Ubud. The Utama Spice range includes deodorants, face creams, masks, scrubs, bath and shower liquids, as well as shampoos. The company also makes essential oils, insect repellents and yoga mat sprays.


Sensatia Botanicals

Sensatia Botanicals is a profit-sharing cooperative that distributes 20 percent of its profits to its employees. Dating back to 2000 when it was set up in Karangasem, Sensatia Botanicals produces a huge range of beauty products, including creams, cleansers, soaps, shampoos, conditioners and sunscreens. Try the green tea and tamarind facial cleanser, calming chamomile facial toner or jasmine sambac facial serum.

By Anita

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