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Beauty Secrets From Around The Globe

Beauty Secrets from around the globe. Amid a booming beauty industry, age-old wisdom is often forgotten. We embark on a global odyssey through the enchanting tapestry of natural beauty rituals to uncover the very best beauty-enhancing secrets.

The universal pursuit of beauty across the globe has given rise to a fascinating array of natural beauty methods that are as diverse as the cultures from which they originate. Often using pure and potent resources found in local environments, alongside traditional practices that reflect cultural values, traditional beauty methods offer a treasure trove of inspiration and insight.

In the quest for fewer wrinkles, lustrous hair — or whatever your beauty kryptonite — look to the bounty of wisdom found in
time-honoured natural methods. From ancient rituals to contemporary practices, we explore the varied tapestry of natural
beauty regimens.

Australia

Beginning on home soil, Australian Aboriginal women have been harnessing the power of the native Kakadu plum for skincare benefits for centuries. This potent fruit is the highest bioavailable natural source of vitamin C known on the planet.

An efficacious antioxidant, vitamin C is a skincare holy grail for achieving a youthful complexion. It works to protect skin cells from oxidative damage, supports collagen formation, brightens the skin and visibly reduces the signs of ageing, such as the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Try a double dose of Kakadu plum by opting for a native powdered supplement (add a teaspoon to a smoothie or tonic) and finding a quality natural serum rich in the botanical active to add to your daily skincare routine.

Japan

Not just a health-boosting tonic, matcha is beloved by Japanese women for its potent age-defying benefits when applied topically. Steeped in ancient Japanese tradition, from tea ceremonies to Geisha facials, matcha green tea powder is packed with
antioxidants, including the powerful EGCG, which helps to protect the body and skin from free-radical damage. It is even used in a DIY ritual said to promote lush locks and prevent hair loss, which involves concocting a mixture of matcha, egg and coconut oil, then generously massaging it into the scalp.

Another famous skincare secret inherited from Geishas is to use camellia oil (or a similar lightweight plant-derived oil) instead of water to cleanse your face. Not only is oil incredibly effective at dissolving makeup and sebum, but it also nourishes your skin
barrier, lending to softer, healthier skin.

India

In India, the pre-wedding beauty regimen involves applying turmeric paste to the face. This vibrant spice, known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, not only imparts a natural glow but also contributes to skin health. It is rich in curcumin, a potent antioxidant which has long been used to lighten and brighten the skin. Curcumin inhibits acne-causing bacteria on the skin and has been shown to be 36 times stronger than azelaic acid, an irritating chemical used in many acne treatments. Its anti-inflammatory properties also mean that turmeric can soothe irritation and calm redness.

In the Ayurvedic tradition, beauty rituals are intrinsic to self-care, epitomised by the ancient art of abhyanga (self-massage with oil). To create your own abhyanga ritual, in the morning, before a shower or bath, simply massage a quarter to half a cup of
warm organic oil into the skin to nourish the skin and support detoxification inside out. It’s no coincidence that the Sanskrit word sneha means both “to oil” and “to love”.

Greece

Embody the rich bounty of Mediterranean beauty with a timeless secret — olive oil. Not only is it a star in the skin-loving Mediterranean diet, but Greek women also often incorporate the antioxidant-abundant oil into their skincare routines to leverage its moisturising properties and help combat signs of ageing. Olive oil can also be applied to the dry ends of hair as a leave-in moisture-replenishing treatment — let your strands soak up the nourishment anywhere from 15 minutes to overnight — before washing out.

Korea

Korean skincare is renowned for its emphasis on massage techniques. Traditional methods involve massaging skincare products into the skin to enhance the penetration and efficacy of active ingredients, contributing to a healthy, radiant complexion.

In the K-beauty world, a special kind of facial massage, known as Golki therapy, claims to have results akin to a face lift without going under the knife. This aesthetic “bone-setting massage” focuses on facial bones, with a technique that lifts and sculpts the face, notably imparting a slimming and contouring effect that naturally achieves the coveted V-shape by resetting the facial bone structure.

If you’d prefer to experiment with ingredients, antioxidant-rich ginseng is revered for its revitalising properties, and Korean women often use ginseng-infused skincare products to promote a vibrant and youthful complexion. The herb’s adaptogenic
qualities are believed to enhance the skin’s resilience to stressors.

France

French women are celebrated worldwide for their effortlessly chic style, and their skincare routines are no exception. The French approach to beauty emphasises simplicity, quality and consistency. Behind the understatedly elegant, natural-yet-flawless skin they often flaunt, French women prioritise cleansing to maintain a clear complexion. Micellar water, a gentle and effective cleanser that removes makeup and impurities without harsh chemicals, is a skincare hero in the region and ensures a clean canvas for the rest of your skincare routine, meaning greater penetration and efficacy of actives. A cardinal rule in French skincare is the consistent removal of makeup.

Culturally, the French have a very age-positive stance on beauty and believe in enhancing your features tastefully as you age, celebrating your appearance at every stage of life rather than trying to remain eternally young – a powerful self-love message.

Nigeria

Shea butter, derived from the nuts of the African shea tree, takes centre stage in Nigerian beauty routines. Renowned for its deep moisturising and nourishing properties, shea butter is applied generously to the skin and hair. This natural emollient
not only enhances skin elasticity but also promotes healthy, glossy hair. Find shea butter readily available in natural skincare and haircare formulas or purchase versatile pure shea butter to use alone or in combination with other ingredients, such as
essential oils.

Egypt

Egyptian beauty traditions are all about luxurious pampering — think milk baths à la Queen of the Nile, Cleopatra herself, that leave the skin feeling soft and rejuvenated. Abundant in lactic acid and casein, milk bathing harnesses the natural fats and proteins to moisturise, exfoliate, soothe and diminish signs of ageing. To indulge in a milk bath, pour two to four cups of whole milk into a warm bath, stir, soak for 15-30 minutes and rinse, allowing the moisturising and exfoliating properties to enhance your skin’s texture and appearance.

Cleopatra was also said to have slept in a face mask of gold leaf to help maintain her youthful appearance. Prized for its luminosity-boosting properties, topical application of gold leaf contributes to diminishing the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles while improving circulation. Additionally, it provides skin hydration and cultivates an incandescent glow to the skin.

Peru and Ecuador

In the highlands of Peru and Ecuador, the versatile succulent aloe vera plant is hailed as a skincare elixir. Its moisturising and hydrating properties make it a staple in beauty routines, keeping skin nourished and revitalised in hot and dry climates. Try incorporating it into your own skincare regime with a fresh plant, with leaves you can break off and use as needed. For a soothing, glow-boosting DIY ritual, apply the fresh gel to your face and leave it on for 10-30 minutes. For a simple update, look for products that contain aloe vera as a featured ingredient.

Bali

Bali’s beautifying rituals are intertwined with the region’s tropical surroundings. Floral-infused face masks and coconut oil hair treatments are common practices, reflecting the lush and vibrant essence of the island. Steeped in tradition and emphasising the use of local ingredients, Balinese indulge in the Boreh scrub, a cultural blend of ginger, turmeric and rice powder that’s known for stimulating blood circulation.

Drinking the island’s flagship wellness tonic, Jamu, which contains turmeric, tamarind, ginger and honey, delivers radiant skin from the inside out, as well as supporting general health and vitality. You can try making your own Jamu at home — it’s delicious!

Morocco

Moroccan beauty rituals celebrate the transformative properties of Rhassoul clay. Clay face and body masks, an integral part of the country’s skincare routines, are known to purify and revitalise the skin. At home, combine a shop-bought clay power with water to make a skin-detoxing paste and leave until almost dry. Other popular clays include kaolin for gentle cleansing and bentonite for deep pore purification, so you can cater to your individual skin needs.

Russia

In Russia, beauty-boosting rituals include an unusual ingredient — sap from local birch trees. Collected during early spring when the sap rises, birch sap is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and renowned for its hydrating and rejuvenating
properties. Locals use it to nourish the skin, promote elasticity and contribute to a youthful complexion.

How about a bowl of borscht? This beetroot soup is not just a delicious, classic Russian meal, but a beauty elixir too. Bursting with betalains, vibrant beetroot is known for its anti-inflammatory and detox powers, promising clearer and healthier skin.

Italy

Rose water, derived from rose petals through steam distillation, has been used as a beauty elixir in Italy for centuries. It is said that the Florentine women of the 1800s would not be without it in their beauty arsenal. The benefits? A natural hydrator, rose
water helps maintain the skin’s moisture balance and provides a refreshing sensation, making it particularly beneficial for revitalising the skin in warm weather. The slightly acidic nature of rose water helps balance the skin’s pH levels — crucial
for maintaining a healthy skin barrier, preventing excess oil production and reducing the likelihood of breakouts.

Brazil

In Brazil, beauty regimens revolve around acai berries, celebrated for their antioxidant properties both when ingested and used topically. A delicious way to feed your complexion with the free-radical-fighting anthocyanins abundant in acai is to blend up
an acai bowl for breakfast or dessert.

Lymphatic drainage techniques are also integrated into Brazilian beauty routines, promoting circulation and reducing puffiness for a refreshed appearance. Brazilian lymphatic massage, known as drenagem linfática, detoxifies and rejuvenates the skin by
stimulating the lymphatic system with gentle, rhythmic strokes. It reduces swelling, improves circulation and promotes smoother skin, making it popular for post-surgery recovery, sculpting and toning the body, and supporting an overall state
of wellness.

China

The Chinese tradition of using rice water to cleanse the skin has been passed down for centuries. Enriched with vitamins and minerals, rice water is revered for its potential to bestow radiant and youthful-looking skin with a historical reverence for
the staple natural ingredient.

Chinese beauty traditions also incorporate ingestible wonders, such as the schisandra berry and tremella mushroom. The schisandra berry, celebrated for its adaptogenic properties, is believed to contribute to overall skin health and vitality. Meanwhile, tremella, known as the “beauty mushroom”, is cherished for its moisturising benefits and shares hyaluronic
acid’s ability to hold up to 500 times its weight in water, promoting a hydrated and supple complexion from the inside out.

Romania

A quick and effective tip from Romanian beauty enthusiasts is to prioritise the health of your nails by soaking them in a plant-based oil, such as olive oil. This age-old practice adds strength and nourishment to the nails, nail bed and cuticles to promote long, healthy and strong nails and soft skin.

Sweden

The Swedish sauna tradition reflects a holistic approach to wellbeing and beauty, combining relaxation, social interaction and an appreciation for nature’s tranquillity, as saunas are traditionally in natural surrounds. Swedish dry saunas, or bastu, promote detoxification through sweating, which helps cleanse the skin and pores. The heat increases blood circulation, delivering nutrients and oxygen to the skin. Additionally, the relaxation induced by sauna sessions can reduce stress, which often contributes to skin issues. Experiment with some sauna sessions in your own routine to reap the benefits of this cherished practice.

The diverse landscape of skincare traditions reveals the potency of various ingredients and the time-honoured wisdom embedded in these practices. From the simplicity of ancient remedies to the sophistication of modern skincare, embracing these rituals not only elevates your own self-care regimen, but celebrates a collective appreciation for nurturing ourselves inside and out.

Article Featured in WellBeing 209

Lolita Walters

Lolita Walters

Lolita Walters is an Australian freelance journalist, editor and lifestyle writer focused on wellness, beauty and travel. She enjoys life by the ocean, whether she is residing in Sydney as a North Bondi local, or is spending time at her overseas home in beautiful Bali.

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