The term Lulur refers to the Javanese term meaning “to coat the skin”. It was traditionally given to young Indonesian women who were preparing to wed. The bride to be would be kept in confinement for roughly forty days receiving the luxurious treatment surrounded only by women and preparing for pregnancy. Today, the pre-bridal treatment is now only a seven day process and anyone can experience the Lulur treatment at many of the spas in Malaysia and Indonesia. The treatment includes three parts beginning with a relaxing aromatic massage, followed by an exfoliating body scrub and finishing with a fragrant floral bath. There are some variations in the recipe between different spas, but in general the treatment is the similar with the same end results-soft smooth and pampered skin.
The following is a basic recipe and instructions so you can give yourself a Lulur treatment in the comfort of your own home. To begin with, start with a small bowl of your choice of massage oil. I personally chose a mixture of almond and avocado oil which is rich and moisturizing and ideal for dry, winter skin.
Next prepare the powders and spices for the exfoliating body scrub. Tumeric, also known as Curcuma is the main spice for this. It is what gives the Lulur it’s destinctive orange hue, and is also used as a colourant for soaps and other products. Taken internally Tumeric is also considered to have great antioxidant powers for fighting free radicals that can cause aging and illness. It is a common spice used in South Asian spas. You will need 2 tsp. of Tumeric mixed with 2 tsp. of rice powder plus 1/2 a tsp. of ground Sandalwood, and 3 drops of Jasmine essential oil. All these powders should then be mixed with water to make a paste. Rice powder is good for softening and exfoliating the skin, while Sandalwood is a traditional scent in Asian perfume. It also helps to balance the skin, giving the skin extra moisture while reducing acne and/or eczema. Jasmine is also a favourite South Asian flower, with an uplifting scent. Most of these products can be baught at your local grocery store or food market. I was unable to find the ground Sandalwood, so instead I substituted it with ground ginger. I added Sandalwood essential oil to the mix along with Jasmine essential oil. These oils can be baught at specialty health food shops or Aromatherapy distributers, such as Noah’s Natural Food’s Market or The Aroma Shoppe(at 2345 Queen Street East). Instead of using just water, try making the paste with Orange Blossom or Rose water, also available at health food stores and specialty aromatherapy shops.
For the treatment you will also need roughly two cups of plain natural yogurt and a bowl full of fresh flowers. Begin by applying the massage oil all over your body. Follow this by applying the Lulur paste/exfoliant. Give the exfoliant a few minutes to set in. Next, follow this by applying plain yogurt all over the skin, which balances the skin’s P.H. level and softens the skin. Finally, rinse off your skin and prepare for a relaxing floral bath. Traditional flowers used for this bath include; Jasmine flowers, Hibiscus flowers, Ylang ylang and rose petals. In the middle of a Canadian winter it is hard to attain such a lush variety of flowers, as this is a tropical spa treatment. Instead consider adding rose petals and several drops of Jasmin oil, ylang ylang or sandalwood essential oils to your bath to get a more tropical affect.
After twenty or thirty minutes floating in the floral bath you will feel like a Asian princess with super soft skin and a relaxed mind and body.