"I love you more than my skin."-Freida Kahlo
An Indonesian folktale tells the story of two princesses Purba Sari and Purba Rarang. Sari was named the predecessor to her father's throne. This made the other princess, Rarang, pretty jealous. Jealous enough to call up a witch to cast a spell (fairly common back in folktale days) on Sari. As a result of the curse, poor Purba Sari was left with some terrible, not exactly radiant skin. Long story short, Ms. Sari makes friends with a magical monkey (who turns out to be a handsome prince), who tells her to take a dip in a magical pool and voila, her skin is beautiful again.
Lessons for today. Monkeys may turn out to be handsome princes? Can't really help you there. But Indonesian beauty secrets to make any princess jealous? That we can do.
Metta Murdaya, Tami Chuang, Yoshiko Roth and Jill Sung founded Juara in 2004 to introduce Indonesian herbal tradition and beauty rituals to the Western world. Juara means winner or champion in Indonesian (the word was chosen by the founders to emphasize the ability of your skin to "win" over environmental aggressions and be healthy and beautiful). The face and body products including their very popular Candlenut Body Creme, Sweet Black Tea and Rice Facial Moisturizer and Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner have become celeb favorites. Products from the line have also been featured in major publications like this month's Nylon and Marie Claire and is carried in chic retailers like Kuhl-Linscomb. Pink Rickshaw had the pleasure of speaking to co-founder Metta Murdaya to learn more about the Juara line and get her tips for great skincare.
PR: Juara is an Indonesian skincare brand that blends East and West in its products. Describe the Eastern elements and where the West comes in.
MM: The Indonesian herbal tradition I speak of is called Jamu – it’s basically Indonesia’s form of herbal medicine that has been around for centuries to treat ailments ranging from stomachaches and broken bones to acne. The herbs, plants, and fruits used are mixed in combinations believed to have curative powers, and as the ingredients are tested in the US, these claims have been substantiated. (ie: Turmeric, Ginger, Rice, Tea – they’re all key ingredients in Jamu, and you can see what press and prevalence they’re getting in the market today in the US.) Really, we’ve already been using it for centuries – those ingredients and a whole lot more.
PR: What are the key botanicals that make for healthy skin that we should look for in products? Why do you think rice and turmeric have been omitted from mainstream skincare lines?
MM: The key ingredients to look for in healthy skin depend on what you’re trying to accomplish, and what your skin type is. In general, rice is always good since it’s skin conditioning, and skin softening. Candlenut oil I think is amazing because it’s so moisturizing but not greasy. Also known as Kukui nut oil here, you can find it if you look around. Anything with Kombucha (Fermented Sweet Black Tea) is good as it has a natural anti-aging effect on the skin.
Why other ingredients have been omitted is probably because people don’t know about it and sometimes it’s always safer to use ingredients everyone knows about. We like to push the envelope and use innovative ingredients that we know work, to also introduce something new to people and hope they also reap the benefits.
PR: What are some tips for amazing skin in the early fall heat that women might not know about?
MM: The most important things are things you already do know about – like drink lots of water to stay hydrated (because dehydration can exacerbate sunburn or make skin more susceptible to it,) and to use sunblock. But most people don’t realize how much sunblock they need to put on. Here’s a little “cheat,” if you know you don’t reapply as often as you should AND I’m sure you’re not applying enough, then make sure you get a much higher SPF than you normally use. Your SPF 30 in your moisturizer you apply in the morning is not sufficient; you need to apply way less moisturizer than SPF product to make it work, so your SPF 30 is probably at best functioning like an SPF 15 – likewise, your SPF15 might not be doing much at all. I use SPF 50-60 myself. Best ingredient I love in a sunscreen: Mexoryl – it’s got UVA protection, (the UVA rays penetrate deeper and are what causes aging/wrinkles, while UVB is what causes the burn,) but it’s also clear without that whitening effect. In the end though, reapplying the right amount really is the key to great skin – no one likes the blotchy burn, and that dull tan doesn’t look great.
Also – use our Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner to refresh your skin – oil and alcohol free, it boosts your skin with hydration for dry and oily skin, and gives you a dewy, glowing, non-greasy look. Really, it works! No cotton ball needed, the hyaluronic acid, and tamarind extract work to boost moisture, and rice bran extract calms skin down so if you do have redness, it’ll reduce it and even out your skin tone. You’ll look refreshed and glowing, not sun baked or sweaty.
PR: What is your favorite Juara product? If you would suggest just one Juara product every girl should have, what would it be?
MM: If it’s EVERY girl, then the Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner since it’s for all skin types. I just described what it does above in my skincare routine. I use it after I cleanse, and before I moisturizer. When it’s really hot out, and I get a bit oily, I use it instead of a moisturizer, then just apply my sunscreen after.
In the winter, I get dry skin, dehydrated skin, so I slather on the toner, then apply moisturizer on that to seal it all in and it makes my moisturizer work better. I’ll even take an extra pump of it and apply it on to my neck, chest, and shoulders – which get dry from sun exposure from tank tops!
PR: What is biggest skincare or beauty lesson girls in the West learn from their counterparts in the East?
MM: Be gentle to your skin! We believe that skin has a natural balance, and we can guide it to finding it. Sometimes we’re so impatient in the west, we want INSTANT results, and we use extreme products to achieve what we think we want, but we end up irritating skin. Classic example: Someone with oily skin gets a harsh cleanser, rubs and scrubs her face to make sure all the oil is off, wanting that squeaky clean feel. She thinks it helps her skin. But then she overproduces oil from the over stripping, still gets breakouts, and repeats the cycle of over cleansing to rid of excess oil. Because the face is being scrubbed and irritated, breakouts then are also made worse. Then she doesn’t use moisturizer because of the excess oil, which then leaves her skin dehydrated (lacking water hydration,) yet oily – so it’s greasy, AND dull (weird, huh?) and then she’s unhappy. Really, the solution is to find a nice, gentle but effective cleanser (like the Rice Facial Cleanser that has sulfate-free cleansers that gently yet effectively remove makeup and dirt, plus rice starch that helps soften skin,) to keep your skin clean and balanced. This will help reduce oil overproduction, and then you can follow with an oil-free moisturizer, like our naturally anti-aging Sweet Black Tea & Ginger Mattefying Moisturizer that also has shine-control properties from Ginger) to put back water hydration that everyone needs – as dehydration is a cause of aging, or use our toner. Keeping it gentle keeps your skin more balanced – so it can find its own happy middle ground and heal if it’s been irritated or inflamed.
Murdaya, who grew up in Indonesia, adds that she visits Bali and Jakarta several times a year to bring back the latest beauty secrets to mix with the best of western technology and she wants to share. Juara offers free samples for anyone interested, especially PR readers. Email Juara at firstname.lastname@example.org to try a product today. Or try products by ordering the Discovery Kit, which includes five travel sizes of Juara's most popular products including the rice facial moisturizer, turmeric antioxidant mask and the candlenut cream. Also, you can feel good because ten percent of the proceeds from this product is donated to the National Skincare Foundation and you're left with radiant skin. You know Purba Sari is already placing her order to prevent any future skin mishaps.
image source: All images from juaraskincare.com (TOP: From left to right: Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner, Candlenut Body Creme, Invigorating Coffee Scrub; Metta Murdaya; Rice Facial Cleanser; Sweet Black Tea and Ginger Mattefying Moisturizer)