Beauty secrets from around the world

Every country has its beauty traditions. Here, six women from around the world share their beauty secrets

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spa relaxation


To regenerate your skin: Spread a paste made from milk and oatmeal on your face, leave it for an hour and wash it off with water, says Renata Klar Divan of Rio de Janeiro. Or rub papaya (the part from inside the rind) on your face and leave it for 20 minutes: It gives your skin an incredible glow.

To help avoid water retention: Eat fresh artichokes twice a week before sleeping. They’re a diuretic, and will make you less hungry.

To freshen hair: Rub talcum powder into the roots to absorb any oiliness. This also means you won’t have to shampoo as often.

For pimples: Use a paste of cornstarch and water to help absorb the skin’s oils.

To soothe puffy eyes: Make a compress from very cold camomile tea and hold it under your eyes for 20 minutes.

For soft lips: Spread a paste made from sugar and honey on your lips, tapping it on gently with your index finger. Wait three minutes and rinse. Finish with a lip protector with SPF.

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exfoliation scrub


Face packs and body scrubs made from a variety of ingredients from the kitchen shelf and spice cabinet are popular in this hot country, says Sheila Sivanand of Mumbai. “These ingredients, either singly or in combination, go into the bathwater: turmeric (antiseptic), sandal­wood paste (cooling), ground almonds (nourishing), fresh cream (softening), dried rose petals (for scent and toning) and powdered orange peel (exfoliating).

“We mash fresh hibiscus leaves with water to form a thick soapy liquid, and we use this as a shampoo. The chlorophyll in the hibiscus gives hair a sheen, and it also cools the scalp.”

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Czech Republic

To calm and refresh: “We often use quark [a fresh unripened cheese with a smooth texture] to make a face mask-it’s not just for making delicious fruit dumplings,” says Renata Cervenková of Prague. Apply approximately 250 grams (8 oz) of white quark on your face to calm and refresh your skin.

For dark circles: Apply fresh castor oil around the eyes, and massage gently.

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Avocado mask for hair


To strengthen hair: Apply a mask of egg yolk mixed with drops of castor oil and lemon juice, says Anna Esden-Tempska of Warsaw. Leave on hair 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse.

To make hair shine: Rinse with an herb brew: For blond hair, try camomile tea; for dark hair, make a brew of walnut tree leaves and oak bark.

To moisturize face: Use a honey mask (honey with a bit of water mixed with cottage cheese). Apply to face and neck, and even hands. Relax for 10 to 15 minutes, then wipe off.

To condition lips: Apply honey; lick it off after a few minutes (if you can wait that long!).

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“The message has finally gotten through and Australians are starting to take the threat of sun damage and skin cancer seriously,” says Paige Kilponen of Sydney.

Not too many Aussies would head out without sun protection these days. “It’s recommended that we apply about one teaspoon [5 mL] of at least SPF 30 to the front of the torso, one to the back, one to the face and one to each limb, and do it hourly. Don’t forget the backs of hands, tops of feet and the ears.”

Meanwhile, self-tanning products are booming in Australia. Best to apply a self-tanner in the morning (let it absorb before dressing) rather than at night; getting into bed with recently applied self-tanner not only makes for an uneven finish, but also stains the sheets. To avoid staining fingers and palms, wash hands and wrists with a soft brush or lightly rub with a pumice stone when finished applying.

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spa relaxation sauna


“Sauna is the ultimate Finnish beauty secret,” says Alma Jylha of Helsinki. “It relaxes you and washes away the worries. Even more, it opens up the pores to deep-cleanse the skin and make it feel soft. Sweating also helps to carry away metabolic waste.”

The effect of lotions and natural ingredients-honey, for example-can be intensified by löyly (the steam and heat of the sauna). Honey is applied to skin before or during the sauna to exfoliate, protect and nourish the skin. It also helps to relax sore muscles. You can use ordinary crystallized honey, alone or mixed with oatmeal, or buy a special saunahunaja, which can contain seeds (such as cloudberry seeds). Just rinse it off when you come out of the sauna.

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