Nowadays skincare routines are all over the place. A new product that promises the perfect skin is released every day and influencers are constantly sharing their tips on Instagram on how to get that glowy look.
However, care for the face and body is nothing new. Since antiquity, humans from all over the world have applied natural products to the skin to make it healthier and prettier, according to that time’s beauty standard. Despite the long passage of time, many of these ancient methods remain efficient. Knowing them, besides being useful, also makes it possible to immerse in different cultures and understand how the relationship with appearance takes place elsewhere.
Before testing the methods listed below, it is important to make sure you are not allergic to any of the products and to consult a dermatologist if possible.
- Honey, Greek Yogurt, and Olive Oil Face Mask from Greece
Greeks are historically known for their worship of beauty. Taking care of your skin and body was, among other things, considered a form of adoration to gods in ancient Greece.
Honey, Greek Yogurt, and Olive Oil might seem like a weird combination of ingredients, but Greeks have been doing it for centuries. They claim to have been the first people to use honey as a remedy for skin. The substance produced by bees is well known in the beauty world for its anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties, which can help heal acne, eczema, and psoriasis.
Greek yogurt is added because of the lactic acid it contains (the exact reason why it is said that the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra had milk baths). This alpha hydroxy acid can help clean out the pores and exfoliate the skin, as it dissolves dead cells. Olive oil, a typical Mediterranean product, comes in with moisturizing and nourishing abilities. Rich in vitamins A, D, K, and E, as well as in squalene, it can help prevent the premature aging of the skin.
One possible homemade recipe is mixing ½ teaspoon of olive oil with 2 tablespoons of honey and 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt. Apply the mix on clean skin and leave it on for 10 minutes. Then wash it off with lukewarm water.
- Turkey’s Rosewater
Rosewater is the solution made from the mixture of rose petals in the water. It is possible to make it at home or to buy a concentrated version in the drugstore.
Full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, released by the flowers, it has been used by Turkish women for over two millennia to moisturize and soothe irritated skin, reduce redness and refine epithelial texture.
It can be used as a facial cleanser or as an after-wash toner. You can also put it on a spray bottle and use it to reduce stress or fix makeup.
Turkey’s relationship with roses does not only appear in skin care. During the existence of Byzantium (a.d 330 – a.d 1453), the rose was considered the official flower of the Empire and could be seen in various parts of Constantinople. After the Ottoman invasion, a new palace was built to house Sultans. This palace’s gardens were called Gülhane (“house of flowers” from Persian) Roses Park and can be visited today in Istanbul.
- Aztec Avocado Face Mask
The Aztecs were a pre-Columbian civilization that developed in Mesoamerica from the 14th to the 16th century. Its capital was Tenochtitlán, located where Mexico City now stands. The Aztec people were composed of different ethnic groups from central Mexico.
A very important natural product for the Aztecs was the avocado, present in both cooking and medicine, to this day it is an essential component of Mexican culture.
The fruit is very rich in healthy fats and is also a great source of vitamins E and C. Besides that, it has a lot of antioxidants. Because of that, it moisturizes the skin, makes it softer, improves its elasticity, and prevents premature aging. It can also be used as a post-sun treatment.
Avocado can be applied to the skin in various ways, as an oil, face mask, and even with the actual fruit’s flesh. One easy face mask recipe is mixing 1 tablespoon of coconut oil with ½ of an avocado and 1 teaspoon of honey and one teaspoon of water.
- Indian Turmeric
Turmeric is a plant in the Ginger family, originally from Southeast Asia, where it is still predominantly cultivated.
Because of its nutritional richness, it is one of the most recurrent elements in Indian medicine, known as Ayurveda (a term meaning “life science” in Sanskrit). Ayurveda is the oldest health system known in the world. “The focus of Ayurveda is not just physical vigor, but harmony between body, mind, and soul – and it looks like traditional science has already reaped evidence of some of its benefits. The purpose of this system is to maintain the balance of the individual with himself, with nature, and with other beings”, explains an article on the subject published by the magazine Veja Saúde.
Even though it is quite an expensive product, small amounts of turmeric can do wonders for your skin, according to specialists. With its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it can contribute to the treatment of acne, reduction of dark circles, spots, and wrinkles, calm irritated regions, moisturize the skin, and especially guarantee an extra glow to the face and body.
It can be applied to the skin in multiple ways, through homemade face masks, oils, and tonics, or even through industrialized products. One easy recipe to make at home that involves some of the ingredients mentioned above is a face mask made of a mix of a tablespoon of honey, a teaspoon of turmeric, and a few drops of rosewater.
- Argan Oil from Morocco
Argan oil is a vegetable oil produced from the kernels of the argan tree, endemic to the southern region of Morocco. It is a product with several uses, ranging from cooking to cosmetics. As a result, it is of great significance to the Moroccan economy.
The SomeMoroccan website elucidates the environmental and cultural importance of the argan tree. “At the beginning of the 90s, the tree that gives the fruits of which we extracted the oil of Argan was almost extinct. The demand for other crops was gradually replacing the use of this oil, however, due to all the properties beneficial to health and its immense history, in 1999 UNESCO recognized the Argan tree as a world heritage.”
The benefits of argan oil for hair are well known, however, for the skin, its properties are not so widespread.
Because it is neither too heavy nor too light, it can be used on all skin types. It is, most importantly, composed of vitamin E, and omega fatty acids, such as Omega 6 and Omega 9, carotene, and squalene, which can help moisturize the skin, reduce wrinkles and soften the skin’s texture. In addition, it also offers a protective barrier against air pollution.
After you are done with your skincare routine, you can apply one to three drops of argan oil on your face and neck for extra moisture and protection.
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