Deep-rooted beauty

November 2012
As far back as 800 AD, Indonesian healers used recipes made of herbs and botanicals for their health and well-being.

  • A young Indonesian woman
  • Kiehl's customer consultation
  • Traditional Indonesian wedding make-up called
  • Deep-rooted beauty

As far back as 800 AD, the secret to beauty was guarded by Indonesian healers who used herbs and botanicals of the tropical Indonesian forests to create recipes for overall health and well-being. To this day, high value is placed in Indonesia on soothing rituals and the process of caring for skin and hair as beauty is believed to not only come from taking care of the outside but also from a healthy body and a peaceful and balanced mind.

Therefore, beauty rituals can be extraordinarily sacred, sensual, and spiritual - from the lush tropical paradise of Bali, to the ancient royal grounds of Kraton, home of past Indonesian kings and queens, to the bustling modern city of Jakarta, thousands of women still follow traditions of beauty and health regularly. Compounding the mystical aura surrounding these beauty rituals, a number of today's widespread treatments were, for a long time, jealously guarded secrets behind the walls of the Royal Palace before becoming popularized.

The Indonesian culture of beauty and well-being has also been nourished for centuries by the influence of other Asian traditions like Chinese medicine or Indian spirituality. The rituals are largely based on an impressive botanical variety of nearly 6500 species of plants used in the composition of natural treatments. Among these traditional rituals, "Jamu" - predominantly traditional herbal medicine in Indonesia made from natural materials - holds an important place. It is like an elixir of life with infinite varieties and whose benefits are deeply anchored in popular beliefs, since nearly 80% of Indonesians consume them daily.

Deep-rooted beauty traditions are comfortably juxtaposed with the attraction to modern beauty codes that hail from the West or parts of Asia like Japan or Korea. With a relatively young population, a large emerging working class and rapid urbanization, among other influencing factors, the increasing demand for modern cosmetics products has resulted in an average annual growth of 10 - 11% of the cosmetics market. In 2011, the cosmetics market was valued at nearly 1.6 billion euros1, spread across 1.5 million points of sale in the urban areas alone and an incalculable number of rural pasars or markets.

1 Source: Nielsen Retail Audit – Indonesia (03/2012)