Combining the wonders of guasa, an ancient Chinese beauty therapy with modern skin care products is how four women maintain their healthy outlook, JULIA JAAFAR finds out.
THERE are some modern women who think little of traditional beauty techniques, dismissing ancient secrets and tools as plain old-fashioned. Who needs them if perfect skin can be achieved with a myriad of products available in the market?
After all, keeping bright, healthy skin takes too much time and effort, which is why, apart from investing sizeable amounts of their earnings on “miracle” skin care products, women seek help from experts in beauty salons and leave the hard work in their hands.
Four women between 23 and 53 years old who radiate confidence testify that smooth, glowing skin is not beyond reach as long as you nourish the skin with the right products and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
But surely taut, even-toned skin, especially on women above 40, needs more work than that, I asked?
A little bit of prodding and the ladies — 52-year-old Kathy Chow, Ruslina Lazim, 43, Jess Teong, 41 and model/actress Amber Chia — all users of Elken's range of skin care products, broke into smiles before unleashing another little secret — the wonders of guasa, an ancient Chinese beauty therapy.
Apparently, guasa, which means “to detoxify” is a tried and tested technique of “scraping” the surface of the skin to boost blood circulation, metabolism and to rid the body of fat or health woes such as gastritis or constipation.Traditionally, the skin is scraped with a coin or spoon dipped in water until red patches appeared to reveal the “problem”.
However, the ladies use a special guasa board (about the size of a deck of cards) made of buffalo horn with Elken's special massage cream, which they say, is a simple process that not only relaxes the skin but maximises the benefits of the products.
Manufactured in Japan and France, they are plants-based and contain no animal-derived ingredients, artificial colouring, fragrance, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and mineral oil.
“I'm very serious about the products that I use,” says Teong, who looks not a day older than 30. “So it is important to me that I get the best results.” She feels that there is no point in buying the best skin care products if you don't maximise its benefits. You can't help but marvel at her flawless, almost wrinkle-free porcelain-like face. For the television host/model/singer/entrepreneur, looking good is not a matter of choice for much of what she does requires her to look her best. As a result, even when work ends as late as 3am, the mother-of-two finds herself pottering about the house with one hand gently massaging her face before going to bed. The massage unblocks the pores, lifts and improves the skin's power of absorption so that it looks younger, longer.
A grandmother of two, Chow, on the other hand, had suffered the effects of severe breakouts when she became pregnant with her first child 29 years ago. “I had a very bad mark on my right cheek aside from pimple scars that remained for some 27 years until I came across Elken's Ultimate Perfect skin care products two years ago,” she said. The combination of the product and guasa have improved the condition of her skin by leaps and bounds that she barely needs to hide the flaws with thick makeup. Freckles and pigmentation marks that came with time have since been replaced with firmer, hydrated skin.
While Ruslina said 20 years ago, she was a frumpy mother-of-one who cared little about how she looked. She wore pants, was unkempt and despite working as a secretary, didn't know how to apply lipstick!
Things changed in 1989 when her friends secretly submitted her name for the Mrs Malaysia Beauty Pageant.
“Up till then, I thought all you needed to clean your face was soap,” reminisced Ruslina who was forced to seek help from an expert to help with her make-up and teach her how to walk. The pageant totally transformed her from bug to butterfly though things did not remain rosy for long.
In her mid-30s, she was struck with multiple illnesses that brought upon a host of skin troubles, caused by the medication she was forced to take.
Flaky skin, freckles, pigmentation (which almost covered her whole face) and the emergence of protein beads were among her woes.
“Daily guasa helps,” said Ruslina who was introduced to the therapy, alongside Elken's skin care range two years ago. “It has certainly helped my skin react better to the medication which I still have to take.”
The svelte mother of five children also uses its Special Treatment range (which includes the Skin Whitening Mask, Line Corrector Serum, Pore Treatment Essence and more) and takes Elken's health supplements daily.
“I wish I would look just as good as all of them when I reach their age,” is international model Amber Chia's wish.
For now, her good looks and slim figure are her assets. Realising this, Chia believes that the secret to keeping her skin in good state — hence prolonging her career as a model — lies in using the right skin care.
Chia is an ambassador for Elken and has been using their skin care range for a year.
What has a model got to complain about, you might ask? Could they possibly have bad skin?Well, those who notice are mainly the make-up artists — people who actually know her skin well. “They've told me that I don't need as many touch-ups as I used to anymore, even after long hours in the sun or under the spotlight.”
“And it's great because I get to maintain my skin condition even when I'm abroad. When I'm in Malaysia, I use the Visible Radiance range, which is actually for younger skin.
“I use the richer Ultimate Perfect when I'm overseas as my skin tends to be drier due to the weather and long travelling hours.”