8 Beauty Tips From Around The World
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From Cleopatra's milk bath to the ancient Roman habit of using ground oyster shell as a skin lightener, beauty rituals have abounded through generations and geographies.
But we've come a very long way since the days of using lead as a face mask and sheep sweat as night cream. Time has perfected our rituals -- we know what works and what doesn't. There's much to be learned, then, from the at-home beauty tips of women around the world. "Beauty rituals are as ancient as time. When I travel across the world, I see all sorts of natural remedies. And now, many of those products are being used in Western cosmetics," says beauty expert and HuffPost blogger, Carmindy.
Got a zit? Indian women swear by turmeric. Dry skin? South Americans recommend smearing an avocado. Want perfect teeth? Imitate the calcium-consuming habits of Masai women. We've compiled a list of eight of the best tips from around the world. Take a look.
Turmeric -- the herb that gives a curry its distinctive yellow color -- is also an antiseptic with anti-inflammatory properties. In India, it's common tradition for brides and grooms to apply a paste of turmeric and chickpea flour before their big day. In addition to turmeric's bacteria-killing powers, chickpea flour is an exfoliant and a moisture-absorber. The herb is also used by brides in Indonesia. "(The traditional ceremony) begins with a <em>lular</em> scrub combining all the benefits of turmeric, rice, jasmine flowers, ginger and other herbs to energize the body," writes beauty expert Shalini Vadhera in her book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Passport-Beauty-Secrets-Becoming-Goddess/dp/0312349629" target="_hplink">"Passport To Beauty."</a>
Pawpaw ointment, made from pawpaw or papaya, is commonly used as a cure-all in Australia. "It helps sunburn, bites, rashes and dry cracked skin and lips. I always have it in my medicine cabinet. I frequently put it on my cuticles," says beauty expert and HuffPost blogger Carmindy.
Shea butter -- now the stuff of drugstore moisturizers -- comes from the nut of the karite tree of West Africa. In addition to its hydrating properties, it's known for its ability to protect skin from free radicals and prevent wrinkles. "In parts of West Africa ... Pregnant women give their expanding bodies a daily gentle rub with the vegetable butter. Many of my friends there have assured me that this daily routine prevents stretch marks," writes Jessica Harris in <a href="http://www.amazon.com/World-Beauty-Book-Wonderful-Natural/dp/0062510924" target="_hplink">"The World Beauty Book."</a>
Argan oil has been long known in Africa as a miracle of nature, and it's now becoming famous in the West too. Produced exclusively by Berbere women in Morocco, the oil -- extracted from the nut of the Argan tree -- is high in <a href="http://travel.nytimes.com/2007/11/18/travel/tmagazine/14get-sourcing-caps.html" target="_hplink">vitamin E and other fatty acids</a>. It has anti-aging properties, is an excellent moisturizer and is believed to help everything from acne to wrinkles. "Moroccan woman have beautiful hair because they've been pouring argan oil on it forever," says Carmindy.
An infusion of Tahitian gardenias and coconut oil, Monoi oil is used by Tahitian women to soothe and protect their hair and skin. It's both an emollient and a natural perfume. "I've never seen women who had such beautiful hair and skin who also smelled so great. I shipped back boxes and boxes of it for myself," says Carmindy.
Camellia Nut Oil
According to beauty expert Shalini Vadhera, camellia nut oil or tea seed oil is used by Japanese women as an antioxidant, to nourish and moisturize skin, treat burns, stretch marks and strengthen nails. It's high in vitamin E, antioxidants and oleic acid. "Two drops of camellia oil mixed with a tablespoon of sake is all it takes for clearer, smoother skin," writes Vadhera in <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Passport-Beauty-Secrets-Becoming-Goddess/dp/0312349629" target="_hplink">"Passport To Beauty."</a>
With their high fat and vitamin E content, avocados are both delicious and good for you. South American women use the fruit to nourish their skin and hair. "Virtually all parts of the avocado can be used in beauty treatments," says Jessica Harris in the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/World-Beauty-Book-Wonderful-Natural/dp/0062510924" target="_hplink">"World Beauty Book."</a> Take the peels and rub the interior on your face. The slightly grainy texture of the inside of the avocado peel is exfoliating, and the peel itself is rich with avocado oil. The combination is great for those with problem skin." Carmindy recommends a face mask made of avocados and honey. "Honey has anti-inflammatory properties and avocado hydrates the skin."
This might sound unappealing, but <em>uguiso no fun</em> or nightingale droppings have long been used in Japan to clear sun-spots, acne marks and pigmentation. The bird excrement -- rich in proteins and a whitening enzyme -- is sterilized, ground into a powder and sometimes mixed with rice bran. The powder is then applied to the face and washed off with water. It's the beauty treatment of geishas and Buddhist monks alike.