By Shalini Vadhera Author of Passport to Beauty
My love for travel began at an early age. I was always so enchanted by the women I would meet from so many exotic countries. How was it that Indian women had traffic-stopping shiny hair? Or Chinese women never seemed to age? And Brazilian women? Their bronzed skin is beyond radiant. I had to know how and why! I found that most of their beauty secrets had been passed down for centuries.
I got so excited about this treasure chest of tips, I wrote a book called Passport to Beauty, for which I traveled the world searching for the best beauty secrets. Here are my favorite ancient skin secrets for gorgeous skin.
You Glow, Girl!
No one should have a more visible glow than a blushing bride. Indian women make their skin radiant on their special day with a traditional mixture of chickpea flour (absorbs oil), turmeric (a great anti-inflammatory and antiseptic), and almond oil (talk about moisture!). Their face and bodies are instantly exfoliated, softened and brightened.
Indian Bridal Glow Mask
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 3 tablespoons of turmeric (powdered form)
- Almond oil (enough to form a paste)
Mix into a paste. Apply to the face and body, and let sit for a few minutes. Remove by rubbing the mixture off with your hands. This motion will add to the exfoliation process and also helps with the removal of fine facial hair, better known as pesky peach fuzz. Wash the rest of the mixture off and enjoy fabulous baby soft skin! I personally use this mask once a week.
A Veggie a Day Keeps Dryness Away
I used to work with the most beautiful makeup artist named Jacqueline. Noticing her stunning skin and sing-song accent, I was immediately taken and went on the hunt for her beauty secrets. After discovering that Jacqueline was from Zimbabwe, I had her give me the dish on the beauty secrets from her homeland.
Because it can get so hot, women in Zimbabwe are all about hydrating and protecting their skin. And they do so with okra. Try this exotic vegetable mask to hydrate your dry skin:
Jacqueline’s Okra Hydrating Mask
Take a handful of fresh okra and boil until soft. Let cool. Mash it up, into a slimy consistency, and apply it to the face. Let it sit on your skin for 5 minutes and rinse. Your skin will feel quenched and smooth.
Undoing the Damage
If you have age spots, sunspots or struggle with hyperpigmentation, you don’t have to spend a fortune on skin-correcting or lightening serums. Take a cue from Korean women. After soaking rice to ready it for cooking, Korean women use the starchy, milky water to wash their face. They dip a washcloth into the water and apply it directly to their skin.
Rice is high in PABA, ferullic acid and allantoin, which are all high in antioxidants, and have natural anti-inflammatory and skin-protecting properties. The result is a soft dewy complexion and, over time, a reduction in the appearance of dark spots.
Grapes for Great Skin
French women have taken their love for good wine to another level. These gals use freshly cut and mashed grapes on their skin to make it feel softer and more youthful. The linoleic acid and polyphenols in every part of the grape (we’re talking the seeds, skin and pulp) are potent antioxidants with moisturizing benefits, and are known to also help fight the aging battle.
Women in the Dominican Republic swear by the film on the top of boiled milk for softening their face. Boil milk and let it sit. When it cools, it creates a soft film on the top. Peel the film off by dabbing your finger into it (it’s sticky); mix gently with a little salt and rub on your face. This works as the perfect skin softener. The milk’s lactic acid is a natural exfoliant. The salt gives it a little grit so you’ll be well on your way toward glowing skin.