We scoured the globe to bring you the best natural beauty secrets
All around the world, women from various cultures have their own unique tips, tricks, and home remedies for softer hair, smoother skin, and fewer wrinkles. Here’s a sampling of some favorites from across the globe:
Africa. Shea butter, from the nut of the karite tree, is among the most prized beauty ingredients from Africa. It’s used to soften and nourish hair and skin, and is a key component of black soap, legendary for its ability to calm eczema, psoriasis, and other skin irritations. Other healing compounds native to Africa include buchu, which reduces inflammation and prevents oxidative damage to skin. Baobab oil, derived from the seeds of the baobab tree, is rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids, and has anti-inflammatory effects to soothe irritated skin. Rooibos, or “red tea,” is an indigenous herb from the Southwestern Cape region of South Africa that’s a potent antioxidant for skin.
Beauty tip: Use shea butter as a shave cream or after-shave cream to minimize red bumps and deeply moisturize.
India. The leaves, roots, and seeds of the neem tree have been used medicinally in India for thousands of years to treat various skin diseases, infections, inflammation and gum disease. Neem has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties that prevent and heal acne, and it’s used in hair products for its strengthening effect on keratin, the chief protein found in the hair. Neem also strengthens and soothes irritated gum tissues. Turmeric, taken internally, can heal inflammatory skin conditions, and gooseberry (also called amla) is rich in vitamin C and is used to reduce pigmentation and lighten dark spots.
Beauty tip: After cleansing skin, apply a few drops of neem oil over problem areas. Neem’s antibacterial properties help to clear blemishes, remove blackheads, and tighten pores.
Japan. Japanese women can often be found sipping green tea. Green tea is rich in polyphenol antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that shield the skin from sun damage, wrinkles, and signs of aging. Green tea polyphenols also protect against skin cancer, both internally and when applied topically. The traditional Japanese diet also tends to be high in omega-3 fats, which mitigate signs of aging from sun exposure. Seaweed, another component of the traditional Japanese diet, is rich in iodine, essential for strengthening hair. Seaweed is also rich in polysaccharides, which help firm and tone the skin, and other compounds that reduce blotchiness and redness.
Beauty tip: Make a green tea mask: After brewing a cup of green tea, open the bag and mix leaves with raw Manuka honey to form a paste. Apply to cleansed skin for 10–15 minutes, rub to exfoliate, and rinse.
Philippines. Aloe vera has long been used in the Philippines to soften skin, heal irritations, and soothe sunburn. Aloe also makes hair smooth and glossy, and helps tighten and tone skin around the eyes. Papaya, another ingredient native to the Philippines, contains papain, an enzyme that gently exfoliates by breaking down the proteins in dead skin cells.
Beauty tip: For added volume and shine, apply pure aloe gel from roots to tips of shampooed hair. Leave on for 10 minutes, then rinse and condition as usual.
France. Taking good care of skin rather than covering flaws with cosmetics is a priority for French women, who indulge in regular facials and hydrate by drinking lots of water and spritzing their faces regularly with mineral water. And while drinking alcohol is deleterious to skin, red wine, rich in the antioxidant resveratrol, is ubiquitous in France. Taken internally as a supplement, resveratrol may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and protect against other diseases of aging; topically applied, resveratrol is 17 times more potent than idebenone, an antioxidant used in some antiwrinkle creams. Fruit-based masks and peels, central to the beauty routine for French women, contain enzymes that gently exfoliate dead, dry skin. Milk-based products, another cornerstone of the French beauty routine, contain lactic acid to improve skin’s texture and naturally hydrate. And sunscreen is a must: Most French women won’t leave the house without it (and neither should you); choose a natural brand without fragrance or phthalates.
Beauty tip: Carry a mineral water spritzer in your handbag at all times for a dewy complexion.
Good Buys ...
Alaffia Baobab & Shea Butter Skin Renewal Face Cream features unrefined shea butter to deeply moisturize and encourage cell regeneration.
Botanique by himalaya herbal healthcare Neem & Turmeric Face Wash cleanses away impurities and helps to reduce pore size with a fresh, soap-free lather.
Reviva Labs Hawaiian Seaweed Day Cream is rich in minerals and polysaccharides that leave skin feeling super silky and help shield skin from the elements.
Derma E Anti-Wrinkle Vitamin A Glycolic Cleanser with Papaya includes enzymes from papaya that gently exfoliate, deeply cleanse, and encourage cell renewal.
Reserve age Nutrition Resveratrol 250 mg, made from organic French grapes, lets you enjoy the health benefits of red wine without the alcohol.