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Southeast Asian women are known for their beauty, style and grace. Southeast Asia encompasses countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and many more. Being raised by beautiful Malaysian women, I’ve learned a thing or two about beauty and wellness rituals. Today I will share six beauty secrets that Southeast Asian women swear by! 

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a staple beauty ingredient for many Southeast Asian women. I love coconut oil because it is versatile and can be used in so many different beauty treatments including hair masks, shaving cream, moisturizers and so much more. Coconut oil is perfect to use as a moisturizer right out of the shower and it smells amazing too. Southeast Asian women use coconut oil in their hair to tame frizz and provide hair with a lustrous shine. For best results, use virgin unrefined coconut oil


Ever wonder why many Asian women age so well? It is because they always prioritize sunscreen! Sunscreen should be worn on your face every day in order to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Wearing sunscreen daily can reduce signs of aging, limit the appearance of acne scars and sunspots and even help prevent skin cancer. I love the Supergoop face sunscreen because it is not oily greasy and it provides great protection for my skin. For best results, try to use SPF 30 or higher on your face! 


The hibiscus flower is the national flower of Malaysia. Despite its beautiful and colorful appearance, it also has many beauty benefits that you may not know about! Hibiscus flower can be used in hair treatments, face masks and it can even be consumed in tea. It is high in vitamin C, which promotes collagen production and skin tightening. If you want to incorporate this tropical flower into your beauty routine, try the Malie Hibiscus Beauty Oil. This oil is great for hydrating the skin and it smells amazing too.


Turmeric is a popular spice in many Southeast and South Asian cultures, but did you know it is also commonly used in beauty treatments? This yellow powder can be used in face masks, body masks and scrubs. Turmeric is known for its ability to clear acne scars, exfoliate and brighten the skin. The Kiehl’s Turmeric and Cranberry Seed mask is an excellent choice for brightening and energizing your skin. If you are more of a DIY person, you can make your own mask at home! Check out this easy honey and turmeric face mask recipe for clear and hydrated skin. Be careful not to leave the mask on for more than 15 minutes, as turmeric can sometimes leave a yellow tinge to your skin. 


Henna is a paste made of natural ingredients. My grandmother has been using henna to color her hair for years. Traditional henna has roots in African and Indian cultures, but it is very popular among Southeast Asians as well. Henna comes in a variety of different colors including brown, black and sometimes a reddish color. It is a great natural alternative to chemical hair dyes and the results are amazing! You can pick up henna at your local Indian/Southeast Asian store. If you have darker hair or are looking to dye your hair darker, give henna a try! 

Coconut water

Coconut water is not only delicious, but it has health and skin benefits too! Coconut water is full of vitamins, minerals and electrolytes to help nourish your skin. It is also amazing for hydration, giving your skin the perfect dewy glow. You can drink it straight from the coconut or pick it up at the store! Just make sure the coconut water you are using is 100% natural with no added ingredients. I love adding coconut water into my smoothies for an extra burst of flavor and hydration. Check out this recipe for a healthy coconut water smoothie

I hope you enjoyed these tropical beauty secrets that we Southeast Asians swear by. Give these tips a try, your skin will thank you!

Lauren Easley

American '23

Lauren Easley is a junior at American University majoring in Communications and minoring in Marketing. She loves art, traveling, cooking, and design. Lauren is currently a feature writer for HCAU and is residing in DC.
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