Thanaka – Burmese beauty secret

Burmese ladies are known for the the pale yellow paste smeared on their face. Almost every female applies them daily…

the elderly…


young ladies..


you’re never too young for it 😉
 Even for those working in office, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to snap a photo of those ladies I saw working at the post office.

That yellow paste is Thanaka, a natural beauty product. It is made from ground bark of Thanaka tree, commonly found in Central Myanmar. Mature trees (about 35 years old) are cut into smaller pieces and sold. Housewives then grind the bark cuttings into powder form and store them for future use.

As the saying goes, when in Rome, do what the Romans do, I knew that I definitely have to try it.

My local host applying the hand-made Thanaka for me.


The family even packed a small amount for me.

One of the best souvenirs is hand-made products, especially an item that is culturally distinctive to the country.

Add tiny amount to the cap and add a few drops of water to get a paste-like texture. I still apply it once in awhile, but not when I’m outdoor though. I use them mostly when I’m lazing at home the whole day.

From the family, I learnt that Thanaka is a cooling agent and good protection from the sun. So, after having Thanaka applied on my face, I’m ready for some outdoor adventure…

A ride on the bike…
and on the boat..
After a day wearing it, I have to agree that it is quite cooling on the face. It also feels like it tighten the pores, similar sensation as when mud pack applied on face. It also has a slight fragrance, which I kinda like. After I returned from my trip, I learnt that there are quite a few benefits, some similar to what the local explained to me. It’s a natural SPF, tightens pores, cools skin and regulates sebum production.

I guess this centuries-old beauty practice will still be carried on given that it works. I know for sure I’ll definitely continue using it. Oh, and I’m not worried if I run out of the Thanaka powder because they do sell it commercially, even in Singapore too.

So, my friends… don’t be surprised if you see me with yellow paste on my face 😉