Beauty routines from around the world
Women around the world know a thing or two about beauty treatments. We've picked six of our favorites — one from each of the globe's inhabitable continents — for you to work into your routine.
Shea butter in Benin
Although Americans are starting to see shea butter in their moisturizers, it has long been a natural skin care treatment in Africa. You can only find shea butter growing in the savannah regions of West and East Africa, and this product packs an awesome antioxidant and fatty-acid punch for reducing wrinkles, soothing blemishes and protecting skin from the elements. What's more, shea butter production in West Africa is known as "women's gold" because it is a lifeline to income and self-sufficiency for young women. Look for shea butter in your moisturizer to reap the benefits of its nutrients and healing properties. If you're not sure where to start, Out of Africa Shea Butter is made from 100 percent unrefined shea butter, and profits go to support women's co-ops in Benin.
Ayurveda in India
Traditional Ayurveda does not focus primarily on beauty. Rather, Ayurveda is a form of traditional medicine that is practiced in India and that focuses on healing, balance and natural treatments. A large portion of Ayurveda, however, is the ritual of personal care. Practitioners use a variety of spices like turmeric and cardamom as both supplements and skin treatments. For a luxurious Ayurveda treatment, find a massage therapist who practices Ayurvedic massage. The therapist will pour warm oil and herbs on the skin and scalp prior to the massage to lubricate and nourish the body.
Coffee in the United States of America
There's only one state in the U.S. that produces quality coffee beans, and that's tropical Hawaii. Lately, mainstream cosmetics companies have touted caffeine as a makeup additive because it works as a vasodilator that constricts the skin, thus firming and toning wrinkles and sags. Coffee is full of caffeine, and Hawaiian spas are starting to offer coffee-ground scrubs to exfoliate and firm the skin. Additionally, coffee contains natural acids that slough off dull skin cells for a more youthful appearance. You can just take used coffee grounds and rub them on your skin to cleanse, or you can add a touch of coconut oil before applying.
Olive oil in Italy
In ancient Rome, women and men would go to their local bathhouse to swim in pools of water, and then they would cleanse their body by pouring olive oil onto their skin and scraping off the oil and dead cells with a scythe. Now you don't have to participate in public nudity to enjoy this beauty treatment. Olive oil is full of vitamin E, so it does a great job of reducing free radicals and moisturizing the skin. Make your own olive oil scrub by mixing 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 cup olive oil and squeezing the juice of an entire fresh lemon into the scrub. Check out Olivella for a variety of skin care treatments featuring olive oil from Italy.
Pawpaw in Australia
The pawpaw tree grows on several continents, but its flowers and fruits are en vogue in Australia as a beauty treatment. Vitamins A and C in pawpaw promote cell turnover and health when they're ingested, and pawpaw's enzymes and fatty acids break down dead skin when the fruit is topically applied. As a result, raw pawpaw is a wonderful treatment for eczema and other patches of dry, inflamed skin. If you don't want to rub the fruit directly on your skin, find a salve like Lucas Pawpaw.
Avocado in Argentina
Across Latin America, the avocado is known for more than guacamole. Avocados are used as skin treatments because of their vitamin and fatty-acid properties, and they're often used to make hair look lush and healthy. If you want to try an avocado hair mask, mash one avocado with one egg yolk and one teaspoon of olive oil. Massage the mixture into your hair and scalp and let it rest for 30 minutes before washing. The avocado will trap moisture in your hair to make it look shiny and strong.