Last week we learn how Roman women’s extended ingredients for a night mask, Cleaopatra’s elegant moisturizing milk bath and eye serum, Queen Elizabeth pre-makeup egg white mask and toxic lead & vinegar face paint, Marie Antoinette’s luxurious signature mask which is still used by Parisian women to this day & Princess Diana’s secret to impeccable beautiful skin. This week, we are going to continue our journey through ancient beauty ingredients and rituals from all around the world. Starting with the colorful India.
The best beauty secrets are the ones that has been passed down through generations. When it comes to skin and hair care routine, grandmothers and mothers are the only people you will seek. In India, women choose home remedies and natural treatments to treat hair and beautify their skin. The ingredients might be ancient to us, but they are still effective as it was first discovered. Like most home and natural beauty remedies, ancient Indian beauty secrets are chemical-free, as organic as it can be, skin and hair friendly, inexpensive and convenient. Ingredients like neem leaves grows everywhere in India, so it is easy to find. Neem is a tree. All the parts of the neem tree has a purpose; the bark, leaves, and seeds are used to make medicine to heal illnesses. Because neem leaves are anti-bacterial, ancient Indian mostly use neem to naturally and effectively kill acne problems. It is also used to treat dandruff and hair fall; this is done by boiling the neem leaves for 15 minutes and then use the neem water to rinse the hair after shampoo-ing. Like in our market today, we have luxury masks which are used occasionally to pamper and treat your skin, while in India, ancient Indian used saffron to treat their hair and skin every now and then. Saffron is packed and powered by Vitamins A,B & C, and it is the best home remedy for lightening the skin and as a toner substitute by mixing a few strands of the precious spice with milk and lemon juice, then just massage your skin with it, after ten or 15 minutes, rinse it, and feel the difference on your skin. Our next magic ingredient that has endless benefits when it comes to skin care and health, is the Tumeric or in Indian, haldi. Tumeric fights off acne, heals acne scars and helps reduce wrinkles and dark spots. Regularly putting on a mixture of turmeric, sandalwood and honey as a mask, you will achieve a flawless and glowing skin.
We all need to know by now that it is bad to expose your skin to the sun. That is why sunscreen is important and essential in any beauty regime. In Myanmar (Burma), for 2000 years, the Burmese have used thanaka (pronounced tawn’-uh-kuh). The thanaka tree is widely used in Asia, medicinally. But only in Myanmar the thanaka tree is used cosmetically as a sunscreen! Aside from being a good protection from the sun, it also lightens the skin and even works against acne. Plus, it is also very cooling. The thanaka bark is grind against a flat surface, wet stone and then applied to the face. The yellowish-white paste is used every day by most females, young boys and men. The cheeks are typically the part of the face that is visibly coated by this paste. Children in the other hand, usually applied the thanaka paste thickly to avoid sun damage and retain a youthful skin in the future. Although widely used as a sunscreen, during the night, thanaka is applied after bathing for an anti-inflammatory therapeutic benefits. This is a beauty regime that has been believed to have first written in a poem in the 14th century. No wonder Myanmar has centuries of beautiful Burmese women!
A fragrant elixir that has been around since 2000 years back, Monoi oil is one of the most ancient preparations of Raau Tahiti – the use of healing plants in Tahitian medicine. Polynesian use the elixir to purify sacred objects, medicinal to alleviate common ailments and as a multipurpose beauty ingredient to soften and smoothen skin and hair. Monoi oil is produced according to a very specific standards that has been passed down through centuries of South Pacific healer generations. The specific method in producing the monoi oil includes, after the flower buds of Tiare flower is picked, it must be used within 24 hours of harvesting. The process must last a minimum of 10 days and requires at least ten Tiare buds per litre of refined oil. Aside from specific preparation method, what makes this elixir so unique? The monoi oil is known by the locals to be deeply hydrating and it protects both the skin and hair. It soothes the skin and deeply hydrates without stripping the skin off of its natural oils. The people of South Pacific have traditionally used monoi as a full body moisturizer to protect their skin from damaging harsh winds, the intense tropical sun and drying salt water of their environment. Dr. Whitney Bowe tells Huffington Post Style: “Monoi oil contains coconut oil, which has been shown to have tremendous moisturizing benefits for the skin and hair. The essential fatty acids in coconut oil, like lauric acid, may repair hair damage and increase shine.” We probably be wondering why this particular beauty secret of the South Pacific people have passed it on from generation to generation. Well probably because of its second benefit, which is delaying the signs of aging. The monoi oil’s base is coconut oil and coconut oil is an incredible superfood packed with protective antioxidants like Vitamin E and ferulic acid – which neutralizes the free radicals that causes fine lines and wrinkles and delay the signs of aging.
As we can see, beauty secrets are naturally passed down from generations to generations to retain culture and legacy. Different countries, families, grandmothers and mothers have different beauty ritual discoveries that they record down for their future generations. We should always look back and appreciate their efforts of preserving cultures and continue to do so.
Tell me in the comment section below, what did your grandmother or mother or a woman you look up too, did to in their days to maintain beautiful skin and hair?
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