From the pristine, blue waters of Greece to the skyscrapers of Tokyo, the world we live in is a vast and overwhelmingly varied place and beauty can come from different cultures. Sometimes, our differences are subtle and other times, they are pronounced. When it comes to beauty routines, the grass is always greener. From Cleopatra’s milk baths to the 10-step Korean skin-care ritual, beauty benefits passed down from mother to daughter are steeped in a country’s culture; they can be rooted in the landscape, the traditions or even the flowers that flourish there. The way a certain area of the world approaches the art of looking good can change greatly from one passport stamp to the next. Here is a little guide to the global geographical beauty weapons in the anti-ageing arsenal, which will boost your skin as well as hopefully unlocking your inner globetrotter.
Brazil: Oatmeal flakes
When used correctly, oatmeal can be used to soothe the sting of sunburn, skin irritation, and inflammation, which is useful to know in a country that always has a hotter climate. Pile oatmeal flakes onto a large piece of gauze bandage, twist it up and tie it around the tap of your bathtub. Let the cool water flow through the bag and then bath in this water for 20 minutes.
China: Rice water
The biggest kept secret in China is the use of rice water as a cleanser. Rice has antioxidants that can help prevent premature skin ageing. The rice eater is most effectively applied using a washcloth for 10 minutes which should be applied at least once a week.
This beauty secret originates from the ancient Egyptians; it is a well-known fact that Cleopatra would bath in milk to soften her skin and remove dead cells. Milk contains lactic acid, which is less harsh than other exfoliating and chemical peels. Just pour 2 cups of whole milk or powdered milk into your bathtub and add a little honey and enjoy the rejuvenating relaxing beauty bath.
Greece: Rosemary water
If you are looking for the secret to shiny, bouncy hair you need look no further than the land that gave us Democracy, Philosophy and the Olympics. Greek women rinse their hair with rosemary water which deep cleans and removes build up of dirt and excess hair product. Boil fresh rosemary in water, let it cool and then strain the water and pour over your hair. Rosemary water can also be used to combat frizzy hair on a humid day by tightly wrapping a scarf around your hair and leaving it on for a few hours. The compression from the scarf will ‘depuff’ your hair and tame unruly hair.
Saffron, is a popular and expensive spice that is used in food, however its unique colour and flavour give it culinary and medicinal characteristics that make it renowned all over the world. Apart from imparting its exotic flavour and aroma to several recipes, saffron has natural skin lightening qualities and can act against blemishes and acne.
Israel: Mud and salt from the Dead Sea
Many people travel from far and wide to visit and bathe in the healing waters of the Dead Sea. The sea salt has been known to help the body rid itself of toxins, and even cure diseases. The salt can be applied to the skin to gently exfoliate the skin, and mud from the Dead Sea is commonly used in cleansing masks for the face and body. Israeli women cover their bodies with the black mud from the sea and then float in the salty water, or they scoop the mud into a jar and use it later at home.
Italy: Olive Oil
Italian women use a very common kitchen ingredient to get that natural beautiful glowing skin: olive oil. Not only is Olive oil used as a natural face and body moisturiser due to its powerful hydrating properties but also it can be used to soothe sunburns and relieve skin irritation and redness. It is most effective when you massage it into your wet skin while in the shower and then pat yourself dry with a towel after. It can also be used on your lips and cuticles to soften, nourish and hydrate.
Japan: Sake bath
There are many beauty secrets in Japan that the rest of the world cannot even begin to decipher, however the most prominent of all is the use of Sake baths. Japanese women bathe in Sake, a rice wine, to obtain glowing and smooth skin. Kojic acid, found in the sake, exfoliates and helps tighten age spots and other discoloration.
Morocco: Argan Oil
Argan oil is one of the most popular and most used oils in Morocco, often known as Moroccan oil. There are various ways to use the oil such as face moisturiser, bath oil and bath lotion, and even a leave-in hair conditioner, shine booster and frizz tamer.
Turkey: Daisy Water
In Turkey, women with blond or light brown hair use daisy water to boost and define highlights. The way to obtain this secret serum is to boil one cup of daisies in two cups of water for five minutes. When it is completely cool, remove the daisies and pour the water over your hair and leave it to air dry.
Singapore: Coconut Oil
The humidity levels in Singapore soar over 90% all year round so women have to find a way to combat unruly frizz. The beauty secret that is no longer a secret is the use of Coconut oil. This is applied to the ends of their hair before bed or left on overnight. Coconut oil is now used globally as a hair and cuticle conditioner; in fact the miracle uses of the substance are endless.
South of France: Lavender
Beautifully scented with a gorgeous pop of color, Lavender is a multipurpose beauty tool. The scent is wonderful for relieving stress and tension, two major causes of skin aging. It also has wonderful circulatory properties, providing oxygen and nutrition to the skin cells by increasing blood flow. Take a slow, deep breath and inhale your worries and wrinkles away.
Filipino women usually have gorgeous, shiny, healthy hair. They condition their hair with Aloe Vera gel, which can prevent dandruff and hair loss, as well as moisturising your hair and boosting shine. Amongst its other moisturising uses, many people do not know of the benefits the plant holds for your hair.