Daily Life :: Cosmetic

The most striking feature of Burmese women, girls and boys is the ubiquitous yellowish-white "rouge" on their cheeks, sometimes noses and foreheads. This is thanaka paste - the cosmetic of choice for Burmese.

Thanaka paste is made by grinding the bark of the thanaka tree with a few drops of water on a circular stone slab called "kyauk pyin". The grinding stone has a channel round the rim for the resulting paste to drain into. The light creamy paste is usually applied to the cheeks as round patches, sometimes in the shapes of leaves.

For over 2000 years, thanaka cream has been an essential part of the beauty routine of Myanmar women. Burmese women will vouch that thanaka helps remove acne, promotes smooth skin and acts as a sun block.