Get fairer skin with Argo Naturals Pure Thanaka Powder The DIY Way


Hello sun protection fanatics! Would you smear some yellow paste on your face and head out if I told you it’d protect you from sunburn and sun damage? Probably not huh? Well, many girls and even guys in Myanmar (Burma) won’t bat an eyelid about going public with a face full of such a paste to protect their skin from the scorching Myanmar sun. Yes, we’re talking about a yellow paste of thanaka powder–Myanmar’s age-old skincare secret that keeps the Burmese from having their face damaged by the sun’s harmful rays even after hours of outdoor work in the fields.

Many people probably don’t know this but thanaka powder has been around since ancient times in Myanmar and it was made famous by a legendary queen of Beikthano who reportedly had smooth, glowing skin because she loved using thanaka. Although popular in Myanmar, the use of the powder has also spread to neighboring countries including Thailand. I don’t know about Myanmar since I’ve not stepped foot on that land but I remember seeing many girls and women in Thailand strutting around with patches of the paste on their cheeks and noses.

facePhoto Credit: SLOW LIFE Foundation via Compfight cc
Ground tree bark powder
At that time, I had no idea about thanaka powder and thought it was just some odd indigenous cosmetics. Little did I know that this powder comes from the ground bark of the Limonia acidissima tree in north Burma–also known as wood-apple, elephant-apple, monkey fruit, and curd fruit tree in vernacular English.

Apparently, these trees grow abundantly in central to north Myanmar but they must be at least 35 years old before being considered mature enough to yield good-quality cuttings. The yellow powder is produced by grinding the bark of the thanaka tree on a flat, smooth stone with water. After adding some water, the yellow powder becomes a milky yellow liquid and it dries quickly when applied to the skin.

So what are the advantages of using thanaka powder on our skin? Surely the fact that the Burmese have been using it for around 2000 years must count for some skin deep benefits.

Beauty benefits of thanaka powder
Bascially, this tree powder contains antioxidant properties. Besides sun protection, the natural ingredient can help smoothen skin, clarify and constrict pores, moisturize, and control unnecessary oiliness. Studies have also shown that thanaka has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which help to leave acne skin naturally clear and beautiful.

According to a 2010 study performed by researchers at the University of London’s School of Pharmacy and the Faculty of Science at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, and published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology (source), the powdered bark is rich in free radical fighting agents, has an extremely low toxicity and contains properties that inhibit tryosinase, the enzyme responsible for melanin synthesis and skin discoloration, which means it also possesses significant skin-whitening properties.

argo naturals pure thanaka powder

Green sustainable packaging
I had the opportunity to try this exotic age-old beauty ingredient when Argo Natural sent me a jar of their pure thanaka powder for review all the way from Switzerland. Just look at the beautiful bamboo jar with their signature tree design and the little bamboo mixing bowl. Aren’t they too lovely?

And instead of an extra paper box, Argo Naturals goes green with minimum packaging material. In addition, their thanaka powder is also available as a refill in a lightproof kraft paper bag beginning from 65g and available up to 500g. So we’re looking at a company which is green conscious.

Mix with equal parts water
The jar of Argo Naturals Pure Thanaka Powder is quite sizeable and opens up to very fine looking yellow-white powder. The powder has a very light scent that reminds me of wood. Scooping is easy with the wooden spoon and the easiest way to use this powder is to mix an equal amount of water (preferably mineral or distilled water) to however much powder you want to use and combine the mixture into a paste. The trick is to ensure the mixture doesn’t turn out too watery. When applied on the skin, the mixture should not drip so that you can leave it on for around 10 to 20 minutes before washing off. (I guess you can always choose to leave it on for longer but just don’t forget to wash it off before leaving your home or you might be mistaken as a Burmese or Thai.)

4.6 from 10 reviews

Pure Thanaka Powder Brightening Face Mask


Prep time

Total time


Recipe type: Beauty Mask

  • Thanaka powder x 1 tablespoon
  • Mineral or distilled water x 1 tablespoon

  1. Mix the thanaka powder with the water into a thick paste. You can add more powder if you want a thicker consistency.
  2. Apply mask on cleansed face
  3. Leave mask for 10 to 20 mins
  4. Wash face with lukewarm water


Other DIY ingredients
However, water isn’t the only ingredient to use with the thanaka powder. You can add yogurt, honey, aloe or even a few drops of your favorite oil to a DIY mask that suits your skin type. Personally, I like the use of yogurt with thanaka because yogurt is my all-time favorite DIY ingredient.

The Argo Naturals Pure Thanaka Powder is very fine and has a slightly gritty texture when applied to the skin. It makes a good exfoliant and so you can choose to use this as a face mask cum exfoliant.

I’ve read that those with acne conditions have had good results using thanaka powder for acne healing. You may want to scour the web for more confirmation on that but you’ll be sure to find some before and after pictures of acne sufferers who had amazing recovery using the powder on their skin.


Issue of lead
While thanaka powder is great for our skin, I’ve read reports of lead found in the powder and hence, you need to be careful about the source especially if you get it online. Apparently, imported products with a foreign distribution company are more likely to be lead-free.

I asked David Honegger of Argo Naturals regarding his position on this and here’s what he said: “In the case of thanaka powder, lead comes from the use of pesticides or fertilizers. Besides personally checking the plantations for not using any of these, we regularly check our thanaka powder at the laboratory for heavy metals such as lead or mercury after the USEPA Standards to assure that it is safe.”

Price and availability
Argo Naturals Pure Thanaka Powder is available at US$44.90 for 65g. Price for refill starts from US$39.90. The price is on the high side but international shipping is available and is free when your purchase is above US$35. Payment is via credit card or PayPal. Also available at Argo Naturals is their pearl powder and spirulina powder at US$49.90 and US$39.90, respectively. For more information, check out their website.

So anyone tried using thanaka powder before? Do share with us your experience if you have.


  1. Ida says:

    What don’t understand is this: Is the powder supposed to have UV protection properties if you put it on and then wash it off again, or is it just used for those other benefits you mentioned?

  2. chenyze says:

    Hah! My mom/aunt would apply it on for me whenever I go back to Burma for a visit. They say it’s sun protection and has whitening effects but…. I don’t really think it has helped much! I’m skeptical about how it fares on sun protection compared to sunscreens, but it is soothing and cooling on the skin, and it does help with oil control.

    In Burma, most people wear it the whole day. Kids might have a thin layer of thanaka applied all over the neck, hands, legs also. It’s important not too apply it too thickly on your face though, unless it gets too stiff when it dries.

  3. Sesame Chew says:

    I would rather use a sunscreen too. I think the idea of going out with this on the face doesn’t sit well plus it’ll be flaking when dried. But I’m thinking perhaps the whitening effect might work for some people when used consistently over a period of time.

  4. Sesame Chew says:

    Yes, only when you have it on and not washed off. But I’m not too sure how much UV protection it provides.

  5. Ida says:

    Okay, thanks!

  6. Pollya says:

    Hey Sesame, I just came back from Myanmar and I saw quite a few women wearing this on the streets! I was thinking what is this strange “mask” that these people had on their faces! What a coincidence you’ve just blogged about this, so now I know!! ?
    At first I was even wondering if it was some sort of skin disease… but I figured couldn’t be since it seemed relatively “common” and the people didn’t seem ashamed/embarrassed by it… But if it was some kind of facial treatment, I was wondering how the women could stand having this dried up layer of caked stuff on their face the whole time! Oh well, maybe they get “used to it”, or maybe for beauty’s sake, people are willing to do all sorts of things, hee hee!

  7. Peiqing says:

    Isn’t this the same tanaka in bio essence tanaka white series?

  8. Sesame Chew says:

    Yes, it is.

  9. Sesame Chew says:

    Oh what a coincidence! Ah, I guess it’s strange to ask them so we tend to guess what’s with the whole powder and paste. Now we all know.

  10. Audris says:

    I’ve travelled to Yangon for work a few times over the last 2 years. It’s not just the women, I’ve also seen Thanaka smeared over men’s faces ? And erm I have to agree that they are still relatively tan in complexion.

    I also bought a small jar (<S$1) of Thanaka paste as a souvenir back to Sg. It smells really good and fragrant, but I never tried it on my skin. Didn't know it had anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Will have to ask my local colleagues if they can source a jar for me to try from a reliable source. Might use that instead of pimple cream for the occasional pimple or mix it with my DIY clay masks.

  11. Sesame Chew says:

    I am not surprised. The powder even with sun protection properties need to be smeared quite thickly and probably reapplied since it may flake off. Don’t think the Burmese use it with so much considerations. So I would recommend thanaka powder for other uses instead of sun protection. It’s just not feasible for that purpose.

  12. StushiGal Style says:

    This looks like such a great product, and I love the packaging!

  13. Diane says:

    I hope with the exorbitant price (40-50 times vs in myanmar), that the swiss company compenseate the suppliers otf thanaka well and promote conservation I just went there in myanmar and bought a container of the powder for 1sgd.

  14. Sesame Chew says:

    That’s a big difference! Woah. I wonder if the process is a lot more stringent. As for corporate responsibility, I think the company has some sort of policy they put up on their website.

  15. Sesame Chew says:

    Yes, the packaging is really nice and that was what I was first drawn to. I thought it look so impressive.

  16. stella says:

    i find it real ironic that you had your tub mailed all the way from switzerland when we’re in southeast asia just right next to myanmar (ok, close enough ;-))

  17. Sesame Chew says:

    Yes, funny come to think of it. You can call it imported stuff then. Haha.

  18. may says:

    Hi Sesame,

    Thank you for posting this. Thanaka powder is a lifesaver for my oily skin. I don’t mix it with water to use it as a skincare anymore due to the yellow paste it leaves (used to when I lived in Yangon) but rather, as a loose powder on top of foundation, be it liquid, bb cream or mineral foundation.

    It is the only type of loose powder that helps keep my foundation last. I have tried the various commercial loose powders/mattifying powders in the market but none of them could keep my foundation last longer than the good old thanaka.

  19. Sesame says:

    Oh so interesting! Hmm…maybe I’ll try it as a primer over my eyelid and see if it helps to resolve the issue of oiliness for me. Thanks for the tip!

  20. rose says:

    is thanaka helps in reducing the unwanted hair & black spots permentalyy….????? im very interested to buy can anybody give me a suggestion pleaseeee….

  21. rose says:

    in how many applications of using thankaa powder, it will reduce unwanted hair & back spots permantely????

  22. Sesame says:

    I am not sure…may depend on individual. Try using it for a month three times a week to see if you get results.

  23. Sesame says:

    I don’t think it’s permanent. You still need to take care and maintain.

  24. Pixiethee says:

    I use thanaka powder everyday now since 2010. I found out about it thru bio essence tanaka. After finding out that it doesn’t complement my skin(clogged pores n oily although it helps to lighten my blemishes), I began googling up for the natural thanaka itself . That perhaps I could use it in other formulations beside bio essence. Initially I thought it a Japanese product(lol). When I found out that there’s some natural formulas out there sans the long list of ingredients I knew I had to try it. And so I did and had never stopped since. I apply it ever so thinly below my foundation. I like it so much. Ironically, if used sparingly and over a long period of time, besides its oil control properties, it helps to balance skin’s hydration(or perhaps skin’s collagen formation). I did go thru a period of not using it and realise that my wrinkles especially my laugh lines became obvious. I don’t know what it is about the thanaka, but the reaction on the skin differs after u use it for a longer period of time. Because now when I use it, I realise it helps with my skin moisture’s level as compared to when I first use it(makes it matte).

  25. ashu says:

    Is thanaka powder effective in removing unwanted hair?

  26. Sesame says:

    Some people think it is but I’m not sure as I’ve not tried it for this purpose.

  27. coralcrue says:

    A very informative post. I find it hard to source it here in India but will check online, thanks ?
    coralcrue last post is: Best Hair Stylist In Mangalore: Fringge Elite Unisex Salon Review

  28. Sesame says:

    Yeah, you probably have to get it online.

  29. L. Stafford says:

    I’ve have just started using thanaka powder made into a paste with safflower oil. I found it online it is supposed to be a natural long term way to stop hair from growing back. I haven’t been using it long enough to tell a difference yet. Everything I read says to make a paste and apply it before bed and leave over night. Some said daily others said 3-4 nights a week. After about three months the unwanted hair is supposed to go away forever.

  30. Sesame says:

    Hmmm…I wonder if it works for underarms? I should check it out. ?

  31. Cat says:

    Is this product grade A?

  32. preethy says:

    is this thanaka powder will remove unwanted hairs permanently or not plzzz anyone reply

  33. preethy says:

    can i know the cost of thanakha powder in indian rupees and where can i buy natural thanaka powder or thanaka bark

  34. nexsiso says:

    Will thankana remove hair permanently?

  35. Sesame says:

    Apparently with some period of usage.

  36. Ki says:

    I’m interested in trying the thanaka-safflower oil mixture for hair removal and to even out my skin tone. My only concern is that my skin is darker(brown skin with reddish undertones) than those who I have seen use and review it . I don’t want to bleach my skin just correct hyperpigmentation on my face. If anyone has info- please let me know.



  37. Pooja Shauri says:

    Hi SeSame,

    I have used Thanaka Grade GROZ and Kusumba Oil Mixture for Hair Removal it works fine and also saw that it changes the skin tone to fairer colour but i want to know whether it is helpfull in acne and pimple treatments?

  38. archana tiwari says:

    Hi SeSame,
    I have heard of an Permanent Hair Removal Cream GEL called Dr.Me Ping GEL and it has Thanaka Powder as it as one of the ingredient, have any of your friends or blog visitors used the GEL?

  39. Zafy says:

    Where can i buy this pure thanaka powder in malaysia?

  40. Sneha Shauri says:

    hi girls if you suffereing unwanted facial hairs on upper lip and chin areas then better use ping gel for permanent hair removal in natural way without side effects at just 14 days…i bought it from S-Organics(only this marketing company provided licensed version product with halogram)

  41. Vandana says:

    i got rid of my facial upper lip and chin hairs by Dr.Me Ping Gel in just 14 days and that too permanently without side and in natural way from skin,so ping gel show results in 3 days,this is awesome stuff and get it from S-Organics….

  42. su says:

    I am from Myanmar. I know the reason why Myanmar people like to wear thanakha. Because they just love it. They love the smell, the cooling effect, and the beauty it brings. And the price of thanakha is quite reasonable compare to modern cosmetics. I’m so surprise to see that the Argo sell it for nearly 90 $. In myanmar, it would cost only 10 or 20 $ for the best barks.

  43. Sesame says:

    I’m not surprised the price is higher with branding and marketing thrown in. So it’s great to be able to get it affordably in Myanmar.

  44. Vandana says:

    Nice info,an nonlaser and nonthanaka powder and kusumba oil based gel called ping gel has yielded awesome results in 14 days which is bought from S-Organics

  45. Vandana says:

    NonThanaka Powder ( ping gel) Permanent hair removal, bikini, leg, arm, face….

  46. Halima says:

    Where do I got dr me ping gel for unwanted hair in London pls can u kindly tell me. And how much. And gv to any link can buy online pls. Tnx

  47. vishakha says:

    We can provide Thanaka powder from Burma.Kindly let me know if there is any requirement for the same at the email id mentioned

  48. Paula says:

    Where can I get this product from, I live in the uk?


  49. Dineta says:

    Can u suggest me as ma skin tone is not clear

  50. Naw says:

    Yes you can mix with a few drops of lime in it

  51. Kunthea says:

    Hi.. Would you mind telling me if you know anyone who I can contact for buy the contain of the thanaka powder please.. Really appreciate.. 😊

  52. Kunthea says:

    Hi.. I want to buy a container of the thanaka powder for my family skincare. I live in Cambodia. Thank 😊

  53. Kunthea says:

    Hi.. Could you me if there anyone that I can contact and by a pure container of the thanaka powder please.. Pretty appreciate.. Thank you 😊

  54. Jenny Weeber says:

    my sister used Dr.Me Ping Gel and thanaka grade groz from s-organics Which is an soothing Gel for natural non-laser permanent hair removal from facial and body areas really works superbly with full of benefits,…

  55. miemie says:

    how i can buy THANAKA POWDER? IM AT malaysia

  56. Paula Emmerson says:

    i have used “Thanaka Grade GROZ Powder and Kusumba Oil” along with Kusumba Oil for my facial unwanted hairs which helped in removing the hair in just 2 weeks without any side effects…

  57. Paula Emmerson says:

    i have used “Thanaka Grade GROZ Powder and Kusumba Oil” along with Kusumba Oil for my facial unwanted hairs which helped in removing the hair in just 15 Days without any side effects…

  58. Paula Emmersons says:

    i have used “Thanaka Grade GROZ Powder and Kusumba Oil” along with Kusumba Oil for my facial unwanted hairs which helped in removing the hair in just 14 Days without any side effects…

  59. neeti says:

    mam can you suggest me how to get this thanaka powder from a myanamrese company selling it … any website or contact of that company so i can buy directly

  60. neeti says:

    i want to buy grade A thankana powder imported from email id is

  61. vanitha says:

    Now Siobay website is not opening its expaired, mobile numbers are not working,
    please give me the other links if any

  62. Ingyin says:

    Hi… I’m a Myanmar girl but shamefully I don’t where to buy that powder. And it’s not for me since I can anyhow. I want to give presents to my Sector head for his wife and daughter who are Japanese and friends from Asian countries. I am proud that they are interested a lot. So I want to give them and want to be so pure organic and doesn’t want chemical things. The powder you showed seems so organic and could you tell me where can I buy? In Yangon, where? Thz and I will look forward your reply. 😍😃

  63. Fouziya says:

    How can I get it in India?

  64. Zareen says:

    Hello friend, I’m from Tamil Nadu. I need thanaka, could you please supply?

  65. Erica says:

    I can supply if you’re interested!


  66. Erica says:

    I can supply you if you are interested!


  67. Erica says:

    I can supply you are interested!


  68. Aung Kyaw Moe says:

    Hello lady, I am Burmese guy from Myanmar. My parents and uncle plants around 30000 trees in my Village. In Myanmar, all citizens use daily like a lotion or cream on the skin. Mostly all farmer ladies are working under the sun nearly 4-6 hours daily for their harvesting in rural. So they always put thanaka powder mixed with water on their face , legs and hands to protect sun burning. But most of women, children , men use thanaka tree for sun protection, smooth skin and whitening. This thanaka tree only can grow up in the middle region in which region weather is 35 – 41 degree C temperature in summer. We also use Root of thanaka tree for cure some disease. I think that This powder can protect you from sun burning and skin disorder from dust , chemical and other effective. I can’t say exactly because I used it usually and daily when I was young (from 4 years to until 14 years old ). All boys use daily because this is our traditional lotion or cream for us. But when we get aged above 16 years old, we only use it at the night time to repair our skin because men are not compatible to put it in the day time. All women/ female use it daily before they passed away LOL.

  69. Aung Kyaw Moe says:

    You can’t buy in Myanmar because you know that all burmese don’t use powder. We prefer to use Bark with branch and smooth rock.

  70. Jennifer Samuel says:

    I am interested in buying the pure Thanaka Powder. Do contact me Thank you.

  71. Ritika says:

    Have you really used it or just promoting. Please tell the truth. I have asked many doctors and they said that these types of products are not good.

  72. Ritika says:

    I have heard about products like grade groz thanaka powder and kusumba oil from siobewhich promises hair removal permanently without side effects.Do they really works. Or are fake products.

  73. Angelica Yang says:

    I like some thanaka powder

  74. Abc says:

    From where did you get grade groz powder ? And is it 100% natural?

  75. rohit aggarwal says:

    Thanks for the information
    rohit aggarwal last post is: Hello world!

  76. Angelin says:

    Hi I want the powder.. can you help me to get the original powder

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