While all beauty rituals were not healthy (i.e., painting your face with lead for white skin — what?!) what I’m finding is that many cultures used very few ingredients to achieve excellent results. And by excellent results, I mean clear, smooth, and supple skin over decades.
Sometimes we can romanticize the past as if it were perfect. Of course it wasn’t. But nevertheless I benefit from learning about the simple extravagance that characterized women’s lives in centuries past.
In Egypt, there was Frankincense, Myrrh, and Honey. In Japan, there was Camellia Oil, Rice Bran, and Adzuki Bean Exfoliators. In West Africa, there was plantain and shea butter-based Black Soap, Shea Butter, and Limes. In India, there was Ubtan (herb-based microdermabrasion), Rosewater, and Ghee- or Yogurt-based treatments. In Greece: Olive Oil, Yogurt, and Sea Salt.
I say “was” but many still use these treatments today, and many of us in the States and beyond are familiar with and use them as well. We practice these and other rituals that we learn about from research and also those from our families. I practice some of my grandmother’s and mother’s beauty rituals on a regular basis. I love how these rituals and treatments are continually passed down, but I also wonder: what has been lost?
What have you learned about ancient beauty? What beauty rituals have been passed down in your family?