7 ancient beauty rituals we can all learn from
Find your new (old) favourite routine...
There’s lots of things we love about modern beauty. Flawless false tans, smoothing blow-dries, and of course, gel manicures have made getting ready far less taxing — but there’s a few beauty pearls of wisdom from the past that have stood the test of time. We’ve hunted the globe from East to West to find old-school beauty rituals that we can still learn something from today.
Don’t worry — we’re not suggesting you bathe in milk and honey a là Cleopatra. There are plenty of ancient ingredients and rituals you can carry out at home with maximum results and minimum faff. So join us on our journey through space and time and find your new (old) favourite routine…
Marie Antoinette might be famed for her decadent, party-girl lifestyle but the glamour puss did know a thing or two about beauty too. One of her tricks was reportedly layering up her hands with thick cream or oils, then putting on a pair of gloves before bed. As she slept, her hands would drink up all the moisture, meaning she’d wake up with silky-soft hands. Clever, huh? Try it at home with Rituals The Ritual of Ayurveda Hand Lotion, or Hand Balm for super-dry hands.
Argan oil may have hit the headlines a few years back for its hair-repairing properties, but did you know it works wonders on your skin? In Japan, as well as Turkey, it’s been used to aid facial massage for centuries with fabulous results. Just like a massage in a spa, using a little oil will help you massage your face gently but effectively. Facial massage is brilliant for plumping and rejuvenating tired-looking skin, as well as boosting blood flow — and you can do it while watching Bake Off.
The Aztec civilisation has fascinated the world for years — their beautiful buildings are some of the most breathtaking in the world, and their culture was rich in spirituality. They also were apparently au fait with 2017’s favourite breakfast topping: avocado. The Aztecs reportedly used avocado oil as a moisturiser. Well, it is very rich in essential fatty acids. You can buy avocado oil neat, or make a face mask out of the mashed up green stuff. Just maybe lay off the chilli and lemon in this instance.
Turkish women are big on beauty — their steam and sauna experience is one of their best-known exports. They’re also very clued up on the benefits of rose water, which also has roots in Ayurveda. A brilliant anti-inflammatory, it’s great for calming irritated skin, as well as eczema and dermatitis. Turkish women historically used it as a toner, after washing their faces, or as a spritz to refresh the skin. You can also find rose in Rituals’ Rose Wisdom Tea, perfect for providing anti-inflammatory benefits from the inside out.
India and Pakistan
Hot on the heels of avocado, turmeric is the other beauty superfood to know in 2017. Except it’s not new at all (well, turmeric lattes might be) — South Asia has been clued up about the benefits for many, many years. It’s been used in a number of beauty rituals, thanks to its anti-inflammatory benefits. Think on-the-spot treatments, homemade face masks, as well as drinking it for digestive soothing.
Morocco, Germany & Finland
Many cultures have their own version of steaming and sauna, from huge bathhouses in Korea that take a day to tour to ‘Sauna Aufguss’ in Germany and traditional Moroccan hammams. Dating back to the Middle Ages, saunas have their roots in Finland, where there are five saunas for every three people. It’s a simple concept — the warm temperature kick-starts your body’s natural detoxification process, clearing the skin, loosening muscle tension and calming the mind. The only downside is all that sweating can leave your skin feeling dry, so make sure to soothe it with a deep moisturiser.
From: ELLE UK