Thursday, 17 May 2012

Beauty secrets around the World

                                           Haldi Ceremony in India

From volcanic glacial clay in Iceland to rainforest super berries in Brazil, “backyard” elixirs offer the secret to true beauty for women in all corners of the world. How society defines “beauty” changes across cultures, of course, but tending to one’s appearance has always been a special preoccupation for women. Women in every society have been valued by their beauty, whether it’s for their hair, their skin, or their figure. The indigenous beauty secrets  honor the body as a whole. To glow and look confident is the goal, rather than our culture’s obsession with wanting instant results.

If you want in on some of the secrets of any given country, look no further than its kitchens. A region’s agriculture and their culinary traditions can tell you a lot about their beauty lore. Food and beauty are intimately tied together, and it’s amazing to see the creative solutions women come up with based on what they have available. Call it intuition, but so often the same local ingredients women choose to cook with (those high in antioxidants, minerals, and healthy fats) end up on their faces and hair, where the nutrients they contain feed the skin.
With the advent of lightning-fast communication and high-speed travel, the best of these tonics are making their way into high-end skincare products faster than you can say “babassu butter.” So join me as we take a trip across all five oceans and uncover the ingredients making waves.

Morocco. For thousands of years, the Berber tribeswomen of Morocco have been the sole cultivators of vitamin E-rich argan oil. Nicknamed “the gold of Morocco,” masseuses still use argan for skin massages in the traditional hammams or steam baths. Its high concentration of unique phytosterols and EFAs make it especially good for combating dry skin, wrinkles, and even psoriasis.
Do-It-Yourself: Please see

Egypt. A fairly common seed of the Mediterranean region, fenugreek was prized by pharaohs for its restorative qualities—one ancient papyrus even mentioned it as a tonic that could “turn an old man into a young man.” When crushed, the seeds have a well-earned reputation as a skin softener.
Do-It-Yourself: Crush 1 teaspoon of dried fenugreek seeds with a mortar and pestle and mix with 1/4 cup of almond oil or moringa oil (known as behen oil in its native Egypt). Allow the seeds to sit for 30 minutes; strain the oil and apply it to your face for a time-tested youth serum. This seed’s oil extract also strengthens hair and keeps dandruff at bay. 
Cleopatra’s beauty secret was taking milk baths to soften her skin and remove dead cells. 
Do-It-Yourself: To try the treatment at home, add 2 cups of powdered milk to your bath. It will make your skin look absolutely gorgeous and feel so smooth, silky and soft.

Israel. Believes in the healing powers of sea salt. When you swim in the Dead Sea, all of the salt helps your body rid itself of toxins, and it has also been known to help cure skin diseases. 
Do-It-Yourself: To get the detoxifying benefits of sea salt at home, try this Lavender Sea Salt Scrub recipe:  Mix together ¼ cup finely ground sea salt, 1 pinch seaweed/ green tea powder, ½ cup massage oil (sweet almond oil/ coconut oil) and 10 to 15 drops lavender oil. Apply to skin to gently exfoliate the skin.   

Japan. Many of us already know that drinking green tea, brewed from the Camellia sinlensis leaves, acts as an internal age-defying tonic. But who knew (besides the Japanese) that the oil extracted from camellia seeds delivers its own external skin-saving benefits as well? Omega-3 fatty acids make up more than 80 percent of the oil, giving it the penetrative power to stimulate collagen and elastin growth.
Do-It-Yourself: Green tea powder  face mask -
Green tea powder(Green Tea powder is a form of powdered green tea ground from the highest quality Japanese green tea leaves and is the form of green tea used in the Japanese green tea ceremony) ; Fresh honey, Lemon juice, Yougurt. Mix all the ingredients into a thick paste. Apply on your face and leave it for 15-20 mins and rinse off with warm water.

China. From maintaining silky hair to cultivating creamy complexions, Chinese women know the secrets of soy. Home made Soy milk is used as face wash. It gives the skin a creamy appearance and leave it supple and soft. Studies have shown that topically applied soy milk actually increases the skin’s production of hyaluronic acid, an essential component of younger-looking skin.
Do-It-Yourself: If you’re not keen on letting straight soy milk dribble down your face, soak rolled oats or barley in it for 30 minutes, then apply the mixture to your face as a soothing mask.

India. Beauty Secrets of India are very popular through out the world as they are herbal and natural in nature . India is a country which is famous for its years old knowledge about the functioning of human body. The secrets are old and proven. Herbal beauty remedies are the most natural way that does not even harm your skin and yet makes you look beautiful and presentable.
For Hair: Whether they are lathering on rich coconut oil or applying henna dyes, Indian women understand how to treat their hair right. One of their favorite tress tonics? Amla fruit, also called Indian gooseberry, which can be rubbed straight onto the scalp to prevent hair loss and dandruff, or mixed with soap nuts (the dried fruit of the soapberry tree, native to China and India) to create a luxurious shampoo. Try: Amla teams up with sesame oil to make a cooling tonic for those suffering from premature graying or thinning of the hair.
For skin: Turmeric Face mask:
1 tsp turmeric powder, 2 tsp rice flour (you could also use garbanzo flour or finely-ground oats), 3 Tbsp plain yogurt (you could substitute milk/ rose water)
Mix everything together to make a thick paste and then slather it on a clean face. Let it dry for 15-20 minutes, and then rinse off, gently scrubbing as you go.Please be sure to wear an old shirt that you don’t mind staining when you use this. 

France and Italy. The great grapes of wine country, from chianti to chardonnay, have found their way onto women’s faces as time-stopping tonics. Their polyphenols and linolenic acids make ideal free-radical fighters—primary enemies in the aging process—but the true superstar is resveratrol, a potent antioxidant credited with protecting the skin from cancer-causing UVB rays.
Do-It-Yourself: Cut a grape down the middle and rub the flesh over your skin, or mash whole grapes with almond meal and use as a mask to reap the additional benefits of the nutrient-dense grape skin.

Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. The tiny edelweiss flower of the Alps grows between 6,000 and 9,000 feet above sea level and blooms in spring and early summer. Its proximity to the sun’s beams has given it UV light-absorbing chemicals, and Eastern European women reap the flower’s protective benefits by steeping it as a tea to use as a face rinse.
                                                     Edelweiss Flower
Brazil. When the nuts of the 65-foot tall babassu palm fall to the ground, local women, known as “babassu breakers,” gather the kernels and cold-press them into a rich oil. Much like coconut oil, the Amazonian babassu oil stays solid at room temperature, but melts instantly when applied to the body, making it a protective emollient and good cooling treatment (since the oil uses the body’s heat to melt).Like coconut oil, You can use babassu oil as bath oil, massage oil or as a normal moisturizer.
                                          Babassu Breakers

Caribbean Islands. The acerola berry, also called the Barbados cherry, beats out all other fruits for its vitamin C content relative to its size (over 30 times the amount found in an orange). When mashed up and used as a mask, the berries deliver a shot of ascorbic acid that helps brighten skin and stimulate collagen growth. Acerola berries also contain a hefty store of minerals like magnesium and potassium, both essential components for new skin cell growth.

Chile. Chilean women credit the antioxidant powers of red grapes for their luminous skin. They create a paste by mashing up a handful of the fruit and adding 2 tablespoons of white flour. They then apply the mask to their face and leave it on for 10 minutes before washing it off. It wakes up the appearance of tired and fatigued skin to give you an amazing glow.

New Zealand. Noted for busting bacteria better than many antibiotics, manuka honey is harvested from the bees that feed on the manuka bush, which is native only to New Zealand. Combating both inflammation and dryness simultaneously (as well as serious problems like eczema and chapped skin), the honey makes a favorite face mask among Kiwi women of all skin types.
Do-It-Yourself: If you can’t find manuka honey at a local health food store, try using regular honey as a healing and moisturizing mask. Mix 1 tablespoon of honey with Yougurt and green gram flour, and leave the resulting mask on your face for 20 minutes before rinsing with cool water.

Australia. The Aborigines have long known the benefits of emu oil as a natural sunscreen, arthritis fighter, and wound healer, but scientific studies are now backing up its claims as a skin soother and inflammation buster. Extracted from the back fat of Australia’s second largest bird, the oil absorbs easily and delivers essential fatty acids to sustain and support the skin’s lipid layer.
Yarrow extract is used by Australian Aboriginal women to prevent stretch marks, thanks to its moisturizing and hydrating properties. Yarrow root is also an anti-inflammatory, which soothes the skin.

Tahiti and Fiji. Found only on a few islands of the world, the tamanu nut contains barely any oil when it first falls from the 80-foot-high trees on which it grows. Only after the nut has dried for two weeks does oil start to appear on its surface. Tahitian women put the oil on wounds to speed healing, and even on their babies to prevent diaper rash. Its skin-regenerating properties, thought to come from the unique fatty acid calophyllolide, make the tamanu nut oil especially useful for reducing the appearance of scars and wrinkles.

Region-specific beauty tips go beyond the best local ingredients. Here are a few techniques—ranging from the mundane to the out-of-this-world—guaranteed to get your whole body glowing.

Dry brushing: This daily exfoliating technique is popular in both Japan and Scandinavia. Brushing the skin (skip your face) with a dry, vegetable-fiber loofah (or brush) in circular motions towards the heart stimulates lymph flow, which helps the body eliminate toxins that can otherwise show up as blemishes or dry patches. For best results, begin in the shower. Start with your feet and brush your whole body before you turn the water on. Alternating warm and cold water in the shower can help boost circulation even more to further aid the detox process.

Thalassotherapy: Literally translated as “sea therapy,” this Mediterranean healing treatment transforms salt water, sand, and seaweed into a spa therapy. As the skin’s positive charge pulls the negatively charged salt water deep into the epidermis, the trace minerals and nutrients in the seawater help balance and detoxify the skin. True thalassotherapy centers should only be a few thousand feet from the coast (the only one in the US is Gurney’s Inn in New York, but you can also find them in Mexico, Ireland, Scandinavia, and the south of France). Treatments usually include seaweed wraps, exercise in seawater pools, and yes, even long walks on the beach.

The Lulur Ceremony: Javanese princesses enjoy this rejuvenating experience every day for 40 days before their wedding. The ritual starts with a coconut oil massage, followed with a scrub of turmeric, ground rice, and ginger to clear away dead skin. The scrub is removed with yogurt, and the bride finishes her treatment in a bath filled with jasmine and frangipani petals. A little luxury goes a long way, according to royals; they believe that the more relaxed the bride, the higher her chance of conceiving on her wedding night.

Mehndi ceremony of India: Henna or Mehndi is also known worldwide for its medicinal properties. It was, in fact, used as a cosmetic in earlier times due to its therapeutic features. Mehndi is widely adopted around the world as a conditioner and dye for hair by both men and women. It is a natural dye that renders a beautiful color on hair and creates a lustrous look. Also, mehndi is popular for its cooling effects, thus, used in hot climates in India and other countries. It can also help in lowering body temperature and soothe headaches, fevers, burning feet and even hysteria or a violent temper. It can increase the luster of nails, is effective in muscular rigidity and even in Jaundice. 
Mehndi Ceremony is among the pre wedding rituals in Indian weddings performed a day prior to the marriage. Just as Haldi ceremony symbolizes cleanliness, mehndi signifies beautification.  Mehndi-Ki-Raat is usually a private affair with close relatives, friends and family members, celebrated amidst lot of dancing and feasting. Even the color of mehndi is given high importance in Indian culture as the darkness of the color signifies the degree of husband's love. It depicts love and affection between the couple as it is believed that the longer it retains, the more auspicious it is.
Mehndi Ceremony 

Haldi ceremony of India: Before the mehndi ceremony, there will be a ceremony known as the haldi ceremony.  Haldi, which to most of you is probably better known as tumeric, is an unbelievable important/popular spice in India. It is added to almost all dishes, is used in many religious rituals and has many other uses due to it's medicinal properties. In this case, it is used for it's beautifying and purifying properties.
As per tradition, the haldi ceremony takes place the day before the wedding.  A paste is made out of a mix of haldi, rose water and sandalwood powder and applied to bride and groom's face, arms and legs. The beautifying and purifying properties of haldi, come into play here, as application of this paste to the skin has wonderful effects on it and leaves the bride and groom with glowing complexions.
To match the colour of haldi, the bride-to-be traditionally wears yellow clothes during this function - however these days anything goes - so long as it isn't black or white. The guests, especially the female guests, are also encouraged to dress up colourfully. Not just for this ceremony, but for all of them - it's heaps of fun.

   If you know any beauty secrets used by women from different countries, please feel free to share in this Post via comments. Until then, bye from PetalDew - With Love from Nature.


  1. wow! would be an understatement! Way to go Bhuvani :):)

  2. Very much useful with authentic
    information from around the world.Photographs
    are also excellant.