Whether you are a self-identified beauty guru, haircare obsessed, or just looking to spice up your beauty routine, you’ve come to the right place. For hundreds of years, women and, yes, men too, have been practicing self-care in one way or another. The world’s obsession with beauty and looking our best is undeniable. Back in the Stone Age (meaning before the internet) our perception of beauty was somewhat limited to our designated time zone. But thanks to social media, we can finally master that French girl je ne sais quoi, or at least try to. Who says beauty has to have borders?
It’s time we break down beauty barriers and travel across the globe to uncover some refreshing and rather unorthodox beauty ingredients. Remember beauty is not geographically bound or defined by certain “standards”; if you feel beautiful, that’s all that should matter.
- Snail Mucus – South Korea
While the idea of snail mucus, also known as snail slime, might seem a bit unconventional at first, its rich list of skin benefits might change your mind.
Originally, an ancient beauty tradition in South Korean culture, numerous beauty lines have recently modernised snail mucus into serums, sheet masks, and creams. A natural source of hyaluronic acid, enzymes, and peptides, the ingredients in snail mucus work together to hydrate, exfoliate, and tighten the skin. Snail mucus also contains glycolic acid, collagen, and elastin, which work together to smooth, plump, and brighten the skin. Who would have guessed that the secret to that flawless Korean skincare routine was snail slime?
- Rooibos Tea – South Africa
Traditionally, South African rooibos tea, meaning “red bush” in Afrikaans, is made from a shrub called Aspalathus linearis. Grown on the western coast of South Africa, the leaves contain alpha hydroxy acid, a wrinkle-reducing ingredient rarely found in foods or drinks, making rooibos tea one of a kind.
The naturally caffeine-free tea contains zinc, copper, and potassium, which help with eczema, acne, and hair growth. Fun fact, high levels of copper can also help prevent premature grey hairs.
Although herbal tea can be consumed straight, if you enjoy spicing up your warm drinks or are a caffeine addict (no judgement!), rooibos lattes, espressos, and cappuccinos are becoming increasingly popular.
- Saunas and Steam Rooms – Finland
Known for their ability to de-stress users, saunas and steam rooms play a crucial role in everyday life in Finland and other Northern European countries. Besides relaxation, saunas and steam rooms also offer many health benefits. A session in a sauna or a steam bath improves blood circulation, opens sinuses, and works wonders post-workout to loosen stiff joints.
Have you ever heard of aromatherapy? Studies show that adding essential oils to your sauna experience can result in overall mood enhancement and improvement in sleep and quality of life. Aromatherapists recommend eucalyptus essential oil, as well as lavender, birch, and rosemary oils.
While purchasing an at-home sauna is possible, many spas and gyms offer them as amenities if you’re not looking to spend a fortune. If you want to give aromatherapy a go at home, try purchasing a diffuser along with some of your favourite scents.
- Amazonian White Clay – Brazil
Giselle Bündchen, Sofia Vergara, and Shakira—all of them are from South America and all of them are drop dead gorgeous! If you think it might be something in the water, you’d be right! Sourced from the Amazon River, Amazonian white clay is one of South America’s most famous beauty ingredients.
This ancient beauty secret is a natural detoxifier and exfoliator, rich in iron, calcium, aluminum, boron, sulphur, and a few other elements from the periodic table that all work together to create its unique texture. Used as both a face and body mask by Ecuadorian women for hundreds of years, it provides a gentle way to remove dead skin cells from sensitive skin. The clay also absorbs excess oil, helps eliminate toxins and debris from the skin’s surface, and leaves skin clear and glowing.
Rather than a primer, try using a white clay mask for ten minutes before applying foundation for a smooth finish and smaller pores.
- Ocean Hair Spray – Australian
Ever wonder how Australians rock effortless beach waves, even when they’re not at the beach? To keep that beachy hair, Aussies fill up an empty spray bottle with ocean water for when they’re travelling or don’t feel like going for a dip. Like sea salt sprays found at drug stores, the ocean water’s sodium levels help enhance natural curls and control frizz.
Don’t have the luxury of living by the ocean? Follow these simple instructions to make a DIY ocean hair spray: Take one cup of warm water (heated in microwave or stovetop), one tablespoon of coconut oil, and one to two teaspoons of sea salt, pour into a spray bottle and shake. When finished, spray onto damp hair. For enhanced curls, twist and scrunch your hair after applying. If worn out in the sun, sea salt also serves as a lightening agent for hair for beachy streaks.
Brooke Parker | Contributing Writer