Between St. Patrick’s Day, Kendall Jenner and Jamie Dornan, it seems the Irish are taking over our world. Which is not surprising, considering the beauty of the Irish has been renowned across continents for centuries. Which is why we’ve dug up some of the most unusual Irish beauty secrets ladies have kept to themselves for generations… after all, why should the wee little technicality of not being born in Ireland stop you from looking like a bonnie lass!
Not only is oatmeal healthy, delicious and filling, it also has proven skincare benefits. That’s because oats are a terrific source of skin nurturing avenanthramides and beta-glucan, which relieve itching, tackle acne, lower redness and inflammation, firm and moisturise – all in one go. Plus, finely milled oatmeal sticks to skin’s surface irritants, which can then be gently rinsed away for thorough cleansing sans the dryness.
So, try this popular Irish face mask: Take a quarter cup of very fine oatmeal and combine it with a beaten egg white. Spread this paste over your face, leave it to dry (15-20 minutes) and remove with a towel soaked in warm water.
Added points for authenticity: Use McCann’s oats, which have been an Irish staple since the early 1800s.
Irish beauty recipe #2: Drink barley water
My taste buds are not too fond of barley water but even science swears by its health and skincare quotient. Drinking a cup everyday will cool down your body, control acne breakouts, sort out urinary tract infections, digestive problems and sore throats, while boosting energy levels. So, go ahead and guzzle up some barley water like the Irish do. Right NOW.
Ireland = beer = Ireland. And even if it’s bad for the waistline (though see if I care!), beer makes for a phenomenal beauty product. The delish brew is chock-full of proteins from its malts and hops, which bind to the hair shaft to restore its strength, shine and suppleness. Plus, it couldn’t be easier: Shampoo you hair, then douse the wet strands with enough beer to coat the tresses from root to ends. Let sit for a minute, then rinse and condition as usual.
Added points if you go for Guinness – it’s the Irish cult classic, after all.
Irish beauty recipe #4: Indulge in a seaweed soak
The Irish have known for centuries what global spas are just discovering: seaweed is brimming over with alginic acid, a silky compound of essential oils that helps purify, firm up, nourish and rehydrate the skin. Plus, it also has a potent combo of vitamins and minerals that are easily absorbed as this gelatinous substance’s unique molecular structure is very close to that of human skin. It also slows down ageing and boosts cell generation, all while improving skin texture and tone. Plus it makes tresses super shiny and stimulates blood circulation to promote hair growth.
Traditionally in Ireland’s bath houses, seawater was pumped directly from the ocean into large cast iron tubs, into which piles of locally harvested seaweed were added. Today, you can bring a close enough copy of this experience right into your own bathtub. Simply fill up the tub with warm water, add a cup each of sea salt and dried seaweed. Mix and soak till the water runs cold.
Irish beauty #5: Comforting Comfrey
Time to hunt out the comfrey – a plant native to the British Isles and Ireland that’s famous for tackling everything from super-sensitive skin to muscle aches. Ireland is not in your backyard and you can’t find fresh comfrey anywhere? Don’t fret: over-the-shelf organic comfrey salves work just as well. But do remember: While comfrey is super-safe when used topically, doctors warn against ingesting or applying it on open wounds.
Irish beauty #6: Soak up the showers
Trust the laid-back, happy going Irish to find the easiest, most chilled out way to look fab! Simply walk out into a rain shower and allow your hair and skin to soak up the soft natural moisture. What could be easier? Or more refreshing?
Beer or beauty? Which Irish traditions are inspiring you on St. Patrick’s day?