Once visiting Myanmar, you will be attracted not only by its extraordinary sights but its people as well. Girls with Thanakha on their faces make you feel like you’re lost in mystery places.
Thanakha, which means beauty and clean, is a traditional cosmetic of Burmese girls. It is made from wood of Thanakha tree which is widely founded in northern Myanmar. The way to produce Thanakha powder is quite simple. Normally, people collect roots and barks then soak them in water, then grind on a flat stone named kyauk pyin. The end product is a yellow-white cream with good slightly scent.
Burmese girls use Thanakha powder to make up for over 2000 in their history. In the past, the upper-class people covered their faces with this powder mixed with gold dust to make sparkling effect. The most popular powder is mixed with yellow pollen of flowers Gant Gaw.
The simple way to paint Thanakha on face is stretching a round patches on cheeks, a line on bridge of nose and forehead or chin. However, face-painting also become an art with sophisticated way to draw on face such leaf, flower and so on. This kind of face-cover is not only for beauty but for its benefits for skins. Thanakha powder helps skin healthier by healing scars, removing acnes and protecting from sunlight and providing cooling effect in hot weather. By these reasons, women in Myanmar prefer using this natural cosmetic rather than others, even men also like to use Thanakha.
Thanakha plays an important role in religious ceremonies. At Mahamuni Buddha Temple, the monks take place cleansing ritual with towels soaked Thanakha and present them to whom attending the ritual as blessing remembrances.
Nowadays, face painting with Thanakha exists in some places to attract tourists, especially in special events or traditional festivals. Nevertheless, Burmese girls still appreciate their tradition and always bring Thanakha along when they go far from home to protect skin and spread their custom.