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Tips from a Brown Woman Living in Bangkok

August 12 - 2019

DIY Beauty Basics: Tips from a Brown Woman Living in Bangkok

Moving to Bangkok came with some unexpected challenges. Mainly there were three things that I had to tackle due to the humidity, heat, and pollution. I needed to figure out how to maintain my hair in the CRAZY humidity, mindfully keep myself hydrated, and attempt to not break out like a teenager from the awful, pore-clogging pollution. 

Being an African American woman, I immediately wondered where I would get hair care products and could anyone actually DO my hair at a salon? I toyed with the idea of living under big floppy hats but eventually one has to go indoors and remove it, right? The horror! Not to mention that the humidity is ridiculously high, causing naturally curly hair like mine to frizz beyond belief! (Enter visual of Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons). After searching many stores and breaking down into tears discovering that Amazon doesn’t ship to Thailand, I was left to my own devices. Man was I ecstatic at what I discovered, rice water, oatmeal masks and ACV gummies! 

I managed to master all of my needs with some easy DIY beauty finds, and here they are!

There is never a shortage of rice in Asia and that is all that you need to make fermented  rice water, my saving grace for hair that looks like I stuck my finger into a light socket, over and over again. The benefits of rice water have been known about for centuries in Asia. It contains amino acids, B vitamins, and vitamin E. Fermented rice water detangles your hair, makes it smoother, reduces frizz, and encourages hair to grow long and strong. Plus, it costs nothing to make, here is how you do it:

Fermented rice water leave-in conditioner

  • Take ½ cup of uncooked rice and rinse thoroughly.
  • Place the rice in a bowl with 2–3 cups of filtered water.
  • Leave to soak for a minimum of 30 minutes. (I leave mine for 48 hours to thoroughly
  • ferment).
  • Strain the rice water into a clean spray bottle and store in the refrigerator.
  • Apply as a leave-in conditioner daily and marvel at how your hair shines and combats frizz.

Staying hydrated is important in general, but people often forget to step their water game up when they live in a climate that is basically like walking on the sun. Many newly relocated expatriates wind up fainting in the streets of Bangkok, Thailand simply because they forgot to hydrate.

I discovered that carrying around a water bottle was not enough for me. I have an active four-year-old and often found myself forgetting to sip on my water because I was focusing  on making sure he drank his. I needed a hack to help me stay hydrated longer and fortunately, I found a great one, apple cider vinegar. I’m a huge fan of ACV and drink it in my water when I remember to. I knew that it was high in acetic acid with potent biological effects and that it  kills harmful bacteria, but I didn’t know that it boosted hydration. I needed a way to get my  kid to reap the benefits of ACV since he refused to drink it in his water. Found it!

Here’s  how you make a delicious treat to pop before you leave the house to help you stay hydrated and improve your overall well-being:

Apple cider vinegar gummy treats

  • Combine 1½ cups of organic apple juice, ½ cup apple cider vinegar and ½ cup water in a large saucepan (no heat) and stir well.
  • Sprinkle in 5 tablespoons of gelatin powder over the liquid and stir, letting it sit for two minutes.
  • Switch on the heat to medium and stir with a wooden spoon for five minutes until the gelatin is fully dissolved.  
  • Pour the mixture into mini silicone cubes and place it into the refrigerator overnight. Pop a jelly treat before your morning H2O!

Pollution, oh how I love thee..said no one EVER. The pollution in Bangkok is terrible! You can literally taste it on some days and it wreaks utter havoc on your skin. There is no shortage of skin care treatments available and they are all very good and quite affordable. The issue for me is time. As much as I love having a gorgeous red pimple erupting from my nose (The Rudolph), I would rather keep these unsightly friends at bay. I needed an easy solution that was gentle enough to use daily if I needed yet strong enough to effectively keep me from looking like a teen going through puberty. I wanted something simple, clean and easy. Eureka! Oatmeal, it contains 18 amino acids, zinc and B vitamins. It soothes irritated skin, protects the outermost barrier, reduces inflammation, exfoliates dead skin cells, heals acne and cleanses without stripping.

Your skin will drink this up and thank you. Here is how you deliver this natural goodness to your face:

Oatmeal face mask

  • Measure 1 tablespoon whole rolled oats into a mixing bowl, add two tablespoons of milk and sprinkle in ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon. Stir this mixture well until it becomes a paste. I’m addicted to the smell!
  • Apply to your face and let sit for 20-30 minutes. 
  • Gently exfoliate while washing it off in a circular motion.
  • This mask can be used daily if you are experiencing a particularly aggressive breakout.

I love my clean beauty products, but when you don’t have easy access to replenishing your stash, it’s great to have these DIY beauty basics in your back pocket!

By Tene Closson-Prager @Tene2Style

 

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