For centuries women the world over have used natural ingredientsâ€”from blood oranges to tea-tree oilâ€”to get healthier hair and smoother skin. You could country-hop around the globe to give these treatments a try. Or you could replicate them at home.
1. Asian Facial Purifier
Some Asian women make a rice face mask to deep-clean their skin and get rid of shine and oil. They soak a cupful of rice in warm water for 30 minutes to get the starch to rise to the surface, then blend the water with rice flour to form a paste. They apply the paste to clean skin and leave it on for 10 minutes before rinsing with cool water.Why it works?Rice can absorb oil on your face much the same way it absorbs water when you cook it.
2. Italian Sun-Kissed Glow
Italian women use a fragrant mixture of blood oranges and olive oil to get their skin glowing.Blood oranges are hardy citrus fruits that grow abundantly in the fertile soil surrounding Mount Etna, in Sicily.To make the salve, they mix two teaspoons of virgin olive oil with the juice and finely grated skin of a blood orange. They massage the mixture onto the face, neck, and chest, then rinse it off with cool water.
Blood oranges contain citric acid, which may work as a natural exfoliant, and vitamin C, an antioxidant that may plump up the skin. Olive oil is a rich skin emollient, and it may decrease the irritation that can be caused from the use of a fruit acid.
3. Russian Coffee Body Smoother
In some Russian spas, women use wet coffee grounds as a body scrub. They massage the grounds onto moist skin to slough off flaky, dry layers and leave the skin softer.Coffee grounds are a gentle, natural exfoliant. Since they arenâ€™t overly abrasive, itâ€™s a nice way of removing dry skin on the body.The caffeine in the coffee can temporarily give the skin a toned appearance and quell minor skin irritations.
4. Japanese Hair Gloss
Ages ago geishas coated their hair with camellia oil to give it a lustrous shine. Women would place camellia nuts, which come from the flowering tree that grows throughout Japan, in a cloth sack and smash the sack against a hard surface to release the oil. Then they ran the oil-soaked bag down their hair.
Camellia oil is brimming with protein, that penetrates the hair follicle, adds body and gloss, and enhances the quality of the hair.
5. Brazilian Body Softener
Brazilian women often use the rich oils of locally grown seeds and nutsâ€”including Brazil and buriti nutsâ€”to moisturize their bodies and legs, and to soothe skin irritations from razor burn or waxing. The nuts are roasted, then crushed and pressed to draw out the oil. The warm oil is applied directly to the skin or allowed to cool to a balmlike consistency first.
Why it works: Nut oilâ€“based lotions and creams are ideal because they are loaded with moisturizing agents. They work to hydrate the skin and may promote healing. When you wax or shave, you strip moisture away. Which means that hydrating skin with a good moisturizer is important.
6. Australian Tea Tree Skin Clearer
In Australia, tea-tree oil is widely used to treat blemishes, help freshen breath, and cleanse skin. As early as the late eighteenth century, Aborigines used crushed tea-tree leaves to treat skin infections.
Tea-tree oil is a natural astringent, so it exfoliates the skin and unplugs clogged pores. It may also soothe puffiness, and it typically does not irritate most skin types.
7. Balinese Feet Smoother
Balinese women pamper tired feet by soaking them in a traditional footbath. They layer smooth stones on the bottom of a large basin, fill it with warm water, and spike it with a few drops of eucalyptus or jasmine oil. Sometimes they float fragrant tropical flowers on the surface. Post-soak, they moisturize their feet with coconut oil.
Warm water relieves pain; relaxes muscles, tendons, and joints; and brings blood flow to the area. Eucalyptus oil is a topical pain reliever, and lightly stepping on the flat stones massages the feet.MYNEWSHUB/Text: SARA KHALID