Ancient Chinese Beauty Secrets for Better Skin

Meet the Expert

Wei Brian is a beauty guru and the mastermind behind Wei Beauty—a skincare line based on 5000 years of Chinese herbal medicine. She favors a holistic and scientific approach to beauty.

Get Herbs

Chinese medicine is largely based on knowing which herbs and roots can treat certain conditions—skincare included. Thus, it should come as no surprise that women in ancient China relied largely on herbs to keep their skin looking radiant. “Bei Qi, Huang Qi, and Goji are three herbs often used in traditional Chinese medicine for skincare,” Brian explains. “These herbs can be used topically—Bei Qi is known for improving skin clarity; Huang Qi is great for revitalizing tired, aging skin; and Goji is known to defend skin against aging.” To know exactly which ones to choose and how to use them topically, Brian recommends going to an herbal clinic or Chinese pharmacy. “The ratio may vary for your skin type, concern, age, and other factors,” she says.

Try a Jade Roller

Using a jade roller or stone on your face is believed to work the same way as dry brushing your body—by getting your circulation going and helping to detoxify. “In ancient times, there were two basic devices: a jade roller to target acupuncture points and a special flat stone made of jade, which was used to open up the meridian blockage, allowing your Qi [Chi] and blood circulation to flow better,” Brian says. “These devices were used to help the body and skin heal itself.” Nowadays, you can buy a jade roller easily and re-create this ancient ritual at home. First, Brian says to start with a detoxifying mask, like her line’s Goldenroot Purifying Mud Mask ($42). After deep-cleaning your skin with a mask, use a gentle cleanser, then apply a serum or moisturizer. Next, grab the jade roller and slowly roll it upward and outward from the center of your face. For flat stones, Brian says, you can “rest” on the stones after moisturizing by placing them on your face for five to 10 minutes. Jade has been used for centuries by Chinese royalty to rid the body of bad Qi, and using a smooth, polished roller on your face is believed to soothe, de-puff, and can even supposedly decrease wrinkles.

Know the Power of Mung Beans

Turns out Chinese empresses enjoyed a DIY face mask as much as the rest of us. Their ingredient of choice? Mung beans, which were ground to a paste and thought to be good for healing acne and de-puffing, Brian says. Don’t enjoy the thought of putting mashed beans on your face? Try buying powdered mung beans (you can pick this up at your local Asian market or order some on Amazon) and mixing it with Greek yogurt for a potentially skin-brightening mask that’s less messy. Brian also says Wei is launching a Mung Bean Sprout Stress-Relieving Soothing Mask in the fall, featuring a sheet mask that floats in “the essence of mung bean pressed at the point of germination.” Stay tuned!

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