If you’ve never done it, give yourself a day of active people watching the next time you visit a big city. What you’ll discover: the disparate beauty that comes from different cultures–whiteblond locks that can’t be found in a bottle, complexions that appear poreless, and makeup techniques that aren’t taught at a Sephora counter.
To ease the sting of sunburn, pile oatmeal flakes onto a large piece of gauze bandage, twist it up like a sack, and tie it around the tap of your bathtub. Let cool water flow through the bag, then bathe in this water for 20 minutes to soak up the grains’ anti-inflammatory goodness.
For shiny, bouncy locks, women in Greece rinse their hair with rosemary water; it deep-cleans and removes buildup. Boil fresh rosemary in water, let it cool completely, strain out the rosemary, and pour the water over your hair. To ditch frizz on a humid day, a Greek woman will tie a scarf tightly around her hair and wear it for a few hours. The compression de-puffs hair and brings it back down to earth.
To get glowing body skin, Japanese women take a sake bath. Add three to four six-ounce glasses of any kind of sake to your bath water. Kojic acid in the sake exfoliates and helps lighten age spots and other discolouration.
Women with blond or light brown hair use daisy water as a highlight booster. Boil one cup of daisies in two cups of water for five minutes. When it’s cool, remove the daisies, then pour the water over your hair and let it air-dry. Another secret: To smooth rough heels, Turkish women sprinkle coarse salt (such as sea salt) into a palmful of lotion and use it as a scrub.
Many women in China use rice water to cleanse their faces, because rice has antioxidants that help prevent premature skin ageing. Give it a try: Soak rice in bottled water for 20 minutes. Strain the rice out of the water, then dunk a washcloth in it. Apply the damp cloth to your face for 10 minutes. Do this once a week.
For centuries, Indian women have lined their eyes with kajal (aka kohl), a homemade blend of ashes mixed with an oil such as almond butter. The result is a gleaming gunmetal hue that makes eyes pop. Historically, it was applied around the eyes and along the inner eye rims to deflect sun glare in the desert.
Women all over West Africa use shea butter to soften their skin. It’s also applied thickly to hair as a hydrating mask, or in a smaller amount as a leave in conditioner. The “butter” is derived from nuts of the karite tree, which grows in the savannah region across West Africa.
To temporarily shrink pores, combine equal parts orange juice and water and swab the mixture across your face (avoiding the eye area) with a cotton ball. Leave it on for a few minutes, then rinse. Want to get rid of redness or bumps on your elbows or armpits? Add the juice of two lemons to one tablespoon of baking soda; rub the paste onto skin for 20 minutes and rinse off with water. Follow up with a moisturizer.
The sun in southern is very strong, and drying for hair. To prevent damage and boost shine, Italian women make their own egg-white mask: Whip two into a frothy mousse and apply it to wet hair for 10 minutes, then shampoo and rinse with lukewarm water.