Global Beauty Secrets: Primpn' All Over the World

by Christie Cash June 10, 2015

Global Beauty Secrets: Primpn' All Over the World

A beauty closet of shelves spilling with American-made products like Kiehl’s, Aveda, Yes to Carrots, and Philosophy is a beauty closet well-stocked. However, there are a plethora of incredible tips, concoctions and tricks available to you just a plane ride away. How do ladies around the world achieve their smooth skin and shiny hair? Lucky for you, there’s no language barrier when it comes to sharing beauty secrets.

INDIA AND SRI LANKA: Vetiver Oil for Even Skin Tones

Vetiver oil is famous all over the Indian Subcontinent, but if you asked a Sri Lankan lady about the product by that name, she might not know what you’re talking about. Popularly known by “Khus” or “Khus-Khus,” it is widely used in the perfume and food and beverage industries. When extracted from the grass from which it is derived, the oil has a very mild, musky scent with a cooling effect on the skin that is ideal for extremely hot climates.

Qualifying as a cicatrisant agent, the substance promotes the growth of new tissues in injured areas, replacing the dead/discolored tissues and helping achieve an even tone by aiding in the fading or complete disappearance of scars. For this reason, it is very useful for dark spots, burns, and post-delivery stretch marks for pregnant women.

RUSSIA: Banya to Detoxify the Body

With a product that enhances appearance while providing some much-needed refreshment, it sounds like women in Sri Lanka have the pampering thing all figured out. Russian women would agree to disagree, although their idea of indulgence is a bit more aggressive: enter the banya (ба́ня), a sauna-like room where ample amounts of steam are created with water and hot air.

One of Russia’s oldest traditions, a visit to the banya involves sitting or lying on the wooden benches inside the hot room to clean and soften the skin, then exiting to immediately dip into a pool of cold water. Next, special brooms called veniks—made of bound twigs and leafy branches from birch or oak trees—are dipped into cold water and then briskly smacked all over the body. The Russians swear by the health benefits of banya visits, claiming that toxins are eliminated from the body thanks to the hot steam and circulation is improved by the sudden temperature change. With results like that, maybe we could swap our tranquil spa day for something slightly more hard-hitting!

AFRICA: Black Soap for a Healtheir Complexion

To eliminate fine lines, brighten dark spots, ease eczema, soothe razor bumps and erase blemishes, African women seem to have found the gorgeous-skin Holy Grail in black soap. Made from the ash of plants and barks such a plantains, cocoa pods, and shea and palm trees, this locally-harvested beauty find was a natural choice (literally) to cleanse and protect skin. The skin of the plantains provides the soap with a dose of Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and iron, and because the product has the highest shea butter content of any soap, it also offers UV protection.

Black soap can be found in bar, cleanser and scrub form, and can also appear as a shampoo, conditioner, hair masque, and moisturizer. Its all-natural properties make it ideal for sensitive skin, helping to balance oiliness for clearer complexions, and it gently cleanses hair while removing buildup from styling products and soothing a dry, itchy scalp.

GERMANY: Hair Beer Rinse for Smooth, Shiny Locks

Of course, “all natural” beauty products can be loosely interpreted. Some ladies may require their bathroom counter bounty to be natural enough to eat, and in the case of beer rinses, they’re as close as it gets! If a German woman’s hair has a drinking problem, it’s a problem we’d be happy to adopt.

Exactly what they sound like, a beer rinse is the practice of cleansing the hair with beer to provide more softness, body and shine. Due to Vitamin B and amino acids, beer helps prevent hair fall and breakage and regulates oil production. How do you achieve a good hair day without smelling like Day 16 of Oktoberfest? Crack open a cold one and relax, it’s easy!

  • Step 1: Take 1/2 to1/3 glass of light or non-alcoholic beer and let it go flat (either leave it open for a day or two or simmer it). This will help lessen the beer scent, but if you’re still worried about smelling like a frat party, you can always add a few drops of essential oil.
  • Step 2, Option 1: Dilute your shampoo with about two tablespoons of beer and wash hair as usual. Rinse with water or with the rest of the beer.
  • Step 2, Option 2: Wash as you normally do and use the beer solely as the rinse. Either rinse again with water or leave be.
  • Step 2, Option 3: Wash as you normally do, then rub half of the beer into your scalp, wait 15 minutes then rub in the rest. Do not rinse out.

As the effects of a beer rinse are relatively long-lasting (a couple of weeks, at most), it is not necessary to do very often. Benefitting hair of all types with added strength and bounce, raise a stein and say prost to revitalized locks!

FRANCE: Egg Yolk Hair Mask to Repair Weak Strands

If you’re looking for a hair helper that’s a little less boozey, French women would suggest a slightly more gourmet alternative. An egg yolk mask paired with a vinegar and water rinse can leave hair feeling stronger and looking shinier on the cheap. Eggs contain lecithin and protein, which help fortify and moisturize hair, and the yolks also have a high sulfur content, which can help relieve dandruff symptoms. Vinegar breaks down product build-up, resulting in reduced scalp irritation and more volume overall.

Try this très simple concoction out: Apply 2-3 egg yolks (depending on hair length) or yolks mixed with olive oil or honey to dry, detangled hair, and leave on for 20 minutes. Rinse with a half-and-half blend of apple cider vinegar and cold water. Voilà, instant hair fabulosity.

AUSTRALIA: Zinc Oxide to Avoid Premature Aging Skin

Australian women have a holistic approach to beauty, so an emphasis on eating healthy and exercise is a part of everyone’s routine. Needless to say, the latter means spending as much time as possible in the gorgeous sunshine, but requires these ladies to be very skin smart. UVA rays can do deeper damage at the cellular level and can be responsible for skin aging and wrinkling, and not all run-of-the-mill chemical sunscreens and adequately protect against them.

Zinc Oxide is a natural, physical sunscreening agent that sits on the skin reflecting both UVA and UVB rays. It does not dissolve into sunscreens or into your skin, so it provides a more powerful barrier against the harmful side effects of enjoying the outdoors. Many Aussie brands are rejecting chemical UV filters to create a true broad spectrum product without the thick, white, obvious veil of other sunscreens, so you can stay safe and still rock the Coral Reef Surf Goddess look.

KOREA: Alpha-hydroxy Acid (AHA) for Glowing Skin

A healthily bronzed complexion is key for our Aussie friends, but Korean women take skin care to an entirely different level. If the BB-Cream craze, snail secretion fad, and the buzz about sleeping masks have been any indication, it seems that the Korean beauty industry has the secret to having great skin on lock, and thank goodness they’re happy to spill the beans.

The one ingredient that appears in several of your coveted Korean products is Alpha-hydroxy Acid, or AHA. These cleansers, creams and anti-aging treatments are designed to break the bonds that hold dry, damaged skin cells together, allowing healthy, fresh and youthful skin to shine through. They’re gentle enough to use every day and deliver amazing results, allowing you and your skin to feel pampered and restored.

It’s easy to get stuck in a beauty routine and cling to your favorite Made-in-the-USA products, but if your neighbors to the North, South, East, and West have a beauty tip to share and a potion they swear by, it’s definitely worth reorganizing your vanity to make some extra room. Give these products and procedures a try and do a little research about other primping tips from all corners of the globe. Look and feel like a jetsetter in the comfort of your own home!

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Christie Cash
Christie Cash


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