Ever wondered why Asian women seem to keep their youthful look longer than their Western counterparts? It seems they have the secret to slowing down aging and keeping that glow of youth forever. One such secret is bird’s nest. This product is regarded as one of the four great youth tonics in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).
Bird’s nest is one of the most difficult natural products to harvest and therefore is also one of the most expensive consumed by humans. This essential ingredient comes from the nest built by the male swiftlet, a kind of swallow, along the inner walls of sea caves. The swift takes thirty five days to carefully weave the nest using strands of its saliva. Harvesting these nests from cave walls requires specialized experience in caving and climbing techniques. Harvesters use bamboo poles to reach the nests and carefully scrape the nest from inside using special tools. Only a portion of the nest is taken, allowing the swiftlet to be able to rebuild the nest.
Although Hong Kong remains the bird’s nest’s main trading point, harvesting is mostly done in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia, while mainland China has the most consumers. The elite of China’s ruling dynasties in the olden days were known to have bird’s nest as a part of their daily diets. The Empress Dowager Cixi of the Qing Dynasty is said to have regularly dined on seven types of bird’s nest dishes to preserve her allure and youthfulness.
Long used by the Chinese in their cuisine, bird’s nest is rich in organic nutrients, including many glyco-proteins and amino acids, and essential minerals such as iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium. It is considered a yin tonic because of its cooling effect on the body. It provides a number of health and beauty benefits including the rejuvenation of epidermal cells to improve the elasticity and complexion of the skin, bolstering the body’s immune system to fend off disease, enhancing cardiovascular and respiratory functions, reducing fatigue and boosting libido and sexual function.
The skin benefits of bird’s nest have made it an essential ingredient in some of today’s Asian beauty products, particularly in tonics and face masks. When combined with collagen, bird’s nest can transform dull and wrinkled skin into a vision of luminosity and youthful radiance. Users swear that the skin is nourished and hydrated, softening it to keep it young-looking. Some bird’s nest beauty products also contain hyaluronic acid which aids in smoothening wrinkles and promotes skin hydration.
Facial Masks with Bird’s Nest
In the tradition of Chinese medicine, people ate bird’s nest mostly in soup to replenish the body’s yin energy, which is the primary determining factor of a person’s vitality, of which a young person has more. It comes as no surprise then that many Asian women flock to this promising elixir hoping to turn back the hand of time, or at least slow its ticking. Here are two facial masks that integrate that beauty secret. It would seem that the bird’s nest will not be Asian women’s secret for much longer.
1. Watsons Bird’s Nest Essence Whitening and Firming Neck Mask
This formulation brings the promise of minimizing the age-related appearance of lines and sagging on the face and neck.
2. Sasatinnie Swallow’s Nest Rejuvenation Mask
The bird’s nest ingredient stimulates the epidermal cell growth factor keeping the face fresh-looking.
3. Yen Bird’s Nest Beauty Mask
Bird’s nest essence deeply moisturizes the skin to slow down ageing. It also contains chitosan to enhance the cell’s ability to absorb the beautifying nutrients.
Aishwarya Vohra from Escentual.com believes in healthy and balanced living. She writes on health, fitness and beauty related topics.