From Brazil to Scandinavia, the best beauty secrets are found in the kitchen. And they are often more effective than pricey lotions and potions, which is why they have lived on for thousands of years. So, I’ve scoped out some of the best natural beauty recipes from across the world for your benefit – each one tried, tested and timeless. But first put down that passport! You don’t have to travel any farther than your local market to start reaping the benefits.
Thai women attribute their flawless, glowing complexion to the detox benefits of lemongrass. To replicate at home, chop up a handful of lemongrass and add some crushed ginger, basil and jasmine. Boil everything in a litre of water and let simmer for 10 minutes, then cool the liquid. Finally, add the juice of half a lemon and sip through the day.
Global beauty recipe #2: Philippines’ aloe vera hair treatment
Women in Philippines have a simple beauty recipe for glossy hair: break an aloe vera leaf in half (or get some organic aloe vera gel) and massage the juice into your scalp and strands. Let it sit for half an hour, then wash with your regular shampoo. The chemical composition of aloe vera gel is very similar to keratin (hair’s natural proteins), which allows it to be easily absorbed into the hair shaft. Once absorbed, the strengthening powers of protein combine with the plant’s natural amino acids to break down old sebum (natural oils) and dead scalp cells, strengthen the strands and boost lustre. Added bonus: aloe vera works a dream at controlling frizz without weighing down the hair.
To get glowing skin, Japanese women take a sake bath. The brew’s high level of kojic acid exfoliates and helps lighten age spots and other discolouration. It’s a simple beauty recipe to replicate: just add four six-ounce glasses of any kind of sake to your bath water. Then soak. And glow.
Global beauty recipe #4: Tahiti’s Monoi oil
Monoi oil – extracted from coconuts and infused with tiare, frangipani and vanilla flowers – allows Tahitian women to maintain their lovely skin despite the region’s intense heat and daily exposure to salt water. They coat their strands with this fragrant oil to prevent hair damage and massage it into the skin to retain moisture and elasticity while protecting against environmental assault.
Global beauty recipe #5: Israel brings home the Dead Sea
Swimming in the Dead Sea is an excellent way to detox the body and cure skin problems. To get these benefits at home, use this potent beauty recipe: mix together ¼ cup sea salt, 1 pinch seaweed powder, ½ cup almond or olive oil and 10-15 drops lavender oil. Apply to skin and gently exfoliate, using circular motions.
Global beauty recipe #6: Britain’s mustard bath
Soaking in a hot mustard bath is a traditional English remedy for tight, achy muscles. Think it’s weird? Mustard has healing compounds that draw out toxins, improve circulation, relax tight muscles and speed up the healing of damaged tissues. To make a mustard bath, mix 2 cups of epsom salts, ¼ cup baking soda and ¼ cup dry mustard powder. Add this healing mix to hot running water; soak for 20 minutes, then rinse.
Global beauty recipe #7: Australia’s dandruff cure
Dandruff? Do like the Aussies and add a few drops of tea tree oil to your shampoo. No more white flakes!
Global beauty recipe #8: France and their love of grape-seed
Grape-seed oil contains powerful antioxidants and is regularly used by French women to keep their skin beautiful and ageless. And no, grapes cannot compare in antioxidant potency to grape-seed extract – you would have to eat 1.5 pounds of table grapes to receive the benefits you would get from 50 mg of grape-seed extract.
Global beauty recipe #9: Scandinavia’s skin-boosting face wash
Scandinavian women have amazing skin. And their beauty recipe has to be the simplest ever: not only do they drink plenty of mineral water, it’s also used as a face wash. Minerals help condition and hydrate the skin, while the cool, fresh splash of moisture rinses off impurities and helps reduce redness and swelling. The key is that it needs to be icy cold and you should indulge in at least 20 splashes to wake up the skin.
Global beauty recipe #10: Turkey’s highlight booster
Daisy flowers make for an excellent highlight booster, especially for blond or light brown hair. Boil one cup of daisies in two cups of water for five minutes. Let the liquid cool, remove the daisies, pour the water over your hair and let it air dry; no need to rinse out.
Greek women rinse their hair with rosemary water to deep cleanse and remove buildup. To try it now, boil fresh rosemary flowers in water, let the liquid cool completely, strain out the rosemary and pour the water over your hair. Result: shiny, bouncy locks.
Global beauty recipe #12: Chile’s red grape glow
Chilean women credit the antioxidant powers of red grapes for their luminous skin. They mash up a handful of the fruit and add 2 tablespoons of white flour. This paste is applied to the face and left on for 10 minutes before washing off. It instantly rejuvenates tired or fatigued skin and imparts an amazing glow.
Global beauty recipe #13: Jamaica’s simplest skincare DIY
The signature Jamaican beauty recipe combines a pinch of baking soda with enough water to make a paste. Dab this on a pimple; as the paste dries and hardens, it will suck dirt and oil out of your pores.
Global beauty recipe #14: Brazil’s sunburn twister
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 and bathe in it for at least 20 minutes to soak up the cereal’s anti-inflammatory goodness.
What’s your secret natural beauty recipe? Do share.