Jun 30, 2014

The pursuit of beauty is a common goal for most women, whether they live in the modern world today or in the modest times of the past. The pursuit of beauty is also a life-long journey, something that demands perseverance and commitment.

Summer is here, and so are the hot temperatures, humid air and harmful UV rays. Most Chinese women perfer fairer complexions, which means they have to do more work to stay beautiful during the hottest time of the year.

However, without SPF50 sunscreens and air conditioned rooms, how did women in ancient China cope with the heat and remain beauty-conscious? In this article, you'll discover that aside from today's botox and face lifts, there are much more that ancient wisdom has to offer.


A woman poses in ancient Chinese costumes in Wuhan University, Hubei province on May 14, 2014. Photo by Zheng Jinqiang / Asianewsphoto

Oil-paper umbrellas

The best way to shield one's skin from the sun is to omit exposure. In an era with no sunscreen, ancient women in China used oil paper umbrellas to protect themselves from the harmful UV rays. These umbrellas, made with bamboo and oil-coated paper, may be colored and painted with beautiful patterns and also acted as fashion accessories for ladies of the past.


Ancient Chinese from noble families stayed in ice cellars to keep cool during the summer. Photo by Cindy Gu / chinadaily.com.cn

Ice cellar

Ice was very rare during summer in ancient times. While ordinary people resorted to paper fans, noble families had ice stocked in underground cellars to cope with summer heat. Ice could be placed in front of a fan to bring cool air or put into beverages to make an ice drink.


Egg whites were often mixed with honey to make facial masks. [Photo/Agencies]

Egg white masks

Egg whites are still used in many DIY facial masks formulas, even today. Ancient Chinese women mixed egg whites with honey and applied the mixture over their face to clean up the pores and lighten up complexion.


Bamboo Ladies are used in summer to cool down. [File photo]

Bamboo Ladies

Bamboo is widely used in China as a way to cool down in the summer. They are used to weave chairs, stools, and even bed covers. Compared with textiles, they are less likely to conduct heat and bamboo's hard surface make them less susceptible to absorbing sweat. Bamboo Ladies, or bamboo pillows, are still popular today. People hug them to cool down while in bed.


A porcelain pillow from the Song Dynasty (960-1279) at the National Museum of China.

Porcelain pillows

The ancient Chinese knew how to make use of China's famous porcelain besides making plates and bowls. The quality of porcelain gave the pillow a smooth and cool surface.


Herbal tea, made of ingredients with cooling properties, is a popular summer drink to diffuse internal heat. Photos provided to China Daily

Cooling food

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) classifies foods according to their nature. Foods with a warming nature can balance the coldness in one's body, while foods with a cooling nature, such as watermelon, plum juice and lotus seeds, were popular summer eats.
Using a fan

Electricity did not exist in the ancient world so people manually fanned themselves with paper- or textile-made fans. China has been dubbed the kingdom of fans for many years. Fans were not always tools for cooling oneself, but also were symbols of status and taste.


Women dressed in ancient Chinese costumes practice ink painting in Suzhou, Jiangsu province on April 15, 2006. Photo by Wang Jiankang / Asianewsphoto

Calming activities

Ancient Chinese believed that people could stay cool while performing calming activities like writing calligraphy, fishing and reading. A famous Chinese line says, You will feel cool when you're calm.


Ingredients for seven white-color mask. Provided to chinadaily.com.cn

Whitening TCM

An ancient Chinese saying goes, A white complexion can conceal one hundred ugly parts. To relieve sun exposure, a herbal prescription of seven white-color ingredients including angelica root, white poria and pearl was widely used as a whitening remedy.

SOURCE : chinadaily.com.cn

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