Every culture has its own set of health and beauty secrets. We’ve recently discovered, for instance, that in Korea they follow a ten-step skin care routine to hone ‘’glass skin.’’ It’s also common knowledge that the people of Greece drizzle olive oil over everything – not just because it’s tasty, but because it’s packed with vitamins and good for the heart. If we travel outside the US, we’ll unearth a wealth of beauty knowledge from around the world that isn’t expensive or complicated either. Maybe we can steal a few!
Some cultures believe in following a set wellness motto that they live by, while others adopt little tips and tricks to use in the case of beauty drama (aka sunburn). It’s fascinating to hear about these secrets because not only are they simple, they really do work! Most of the time, these wellbeing secrets are natural too, so we aren’t causing our bodies any harm or stress, that we sometimes do with our own fad beauty trends.
Bringing beauty secrets together from across the globe, let’s take a look at the remedies these countries use for health and beauty. Best of all, we can start using them straight away in our daily lives and start seeing results quickly too!
20 Singapore: Mash avocado for a hydrating face mask
Devouring avocados has become something of a craze here in the US. How many times have we seen avocado breakfast pics on Instagram? But mashing them and applying them to our faces isn’t something we’ve quite got into just yet. But by the sounds of it, we should, because women in Singapore swear by it for healthy, moisturized, glowing skin.
Avocado is packed with skin-friendly oils so it works as a great face mask too. Just mash the avocado after peeling and slather it all over the face. Leave it on for around 15 minutes before washing it off with water. Simple!
19 Panama: Drink more cocoa – But not the cocoa we think
On the San Blas Islands of Panama, the Kuna tribe drink five or more cups of cocoa per day, and scientists believe this could be the secret to their longevity. We’re not talking about the grocery store instant cocoa. That stuff is loaded with sugar and additives.
We’re referring to the unprocessed, pure cocoa which, if consumed every day, can reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes by 10 percent. Flavonoids, the powerful antioxidants in cocoa, are the magic little gems that make cocoa an elixir of cardiovascular health. We can try it for ourselves by stirring a tablespoon of pure cocoa powder and a touch of honey into a cup of warm milk.
18 Brazil: Soothe sunburn with oatmeal flakes - by bathing in them
Sunburn is a nightmare. We’ve all got it at some point or another, but what is the best way of treating it? To ease the sting, Brazilians believe in the power of oatmeal flakes. Oats are full of anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it an ideal treatment for anything that burns or stings.
Pile a heap of oatmeal flakes into a gauze bandage, twist it so it looks like a sack and tie it around the tap of the bathtub so that cool water can flow through the bag and fill the bathtub with oat-infused water. Bathe in this water for 20-30 minutes and we’ll soon feel that sting fading.
17 Mexico: Use teaspoons as lash curlers - it's not as dangerous as it sounds
Forget eyelashes curlers. In Mexico, women use to kitchen utensils for their beauty regime - specifically spoons, which work as great eyelash curlers. Best of all, it’s easy to do. It won’t take long before we get the hang of it.
Hold the spoon horizontally in one hand so it cups your lid. The edge of the spoon should touch our upper lash line roots. Using our thumb, press the lashes against the back of the spoon – be gentle! Then push the edge up to the ends of the lashes. We can repeat this until we’re happy with the curl, and then apply mascara.
16 Bulgaria: Use Rose water for clear skin - it smells amazing too!
Bulgaria is famous for its Rose Valley, so it's no surprise that Bulgarians use rose water to keep their faces clean and moisturized. It’s a natural product that contains a lot of antioxidants and produces calming effects on the skin. If we get the 100% natural rose water, we can also treat it to gain its health benefits.
To try it, it’s best to buy the rose water that comes straight from the Bulgarian rose valleys. A lot of the rose water we find it stores isn’t natural. It contains all sorts of other chemicals and the problem is, they just don’t work as well. We need the natural rose water.
15 Turkey: Use daisy water to highlight hair - and smell like daisies
Women with blonde hair in Turkey use daisy water as a highlight booster. When we think of boosting our highlights, we think of the sun, but we know that isn’t so healthy on the hair. In other words, the daisy water method sounds safer.
All we have to do is boil one cup of fresh daisies in two cups of water for a few minutes. Leave it to cool, remove the daisies, and pour the water over our hair. Leave hair to air dry. We don’t need to wash the daisy water out of our hair. The point is to leave it in to work its magic.
14 China: Use rice water to cleanse the face - rice isn't just for eating
While we wash our faces in water (usually with some kind of face scrub or cleanser), the Chinese use rice water. That’s because rice is packed with antioxidants that help clear skin and prevent skin aging. Apparently, it’s purer than washing with water.
However, we need to use Chinese rice in order for it to work – we can buy it from Chinese stores. To give it a try, soak Chinese rice in pure water for 20 minutes. Strain the rice so we’re left with just the water and dunk a washcloth in it before applying to the face for 10 minutes. If we do this once a week, we should see a big difference in our skin.
13 South Africa: Slather the body with Shea butter - it's a moisturizer
We tend to flit from one body moisturizer to the next, but women in South Africa like to stick to what they know best: shea butter. It’s a natural butter that’s highly moisturizing. It’s especially useful in the winter when our skin gets more prone to dryness. Some women apply it to their hair as a hair mask, which also works well, or as a leave-in conditioner.
Derived from karite tree nuts, shea butter is a beauty staple in South Africa. They prefer sticking to something that they know works rather than slapping on new ones each month (something most of us are guilty of!)
12 Romania: Soak nails in olive oil – it prevents splitting
For strong nails, the people of Romania rely on soaking their nails in olive oil and vitamin A oil. This keeps them strong, moisturized, and less prone to peeling or splitting.
To do it ourselves, we just need to make a soak of a few teaspoons of warm olive oil with a few teaspoons of vitamin A oil. Soak nails in the mixture for several minutes before washing off.
Romanians swear by doing this every two weeks for stronger, healthy nails. We’ve already heard of the health benefits of olive oil. We know for instance that some people apply it to the ends of their hair. But to nails? That’s a new one.
11 Sweden: a dry home sauna - to clear the skin
Considering the freezing temperatures in Sweden, we can see how those extreme temperatures would play havoc with our skin. That is why a lot of the people there have their own dry sauna in their homes. Not only does it help them stay warm during the cold months, but it also speeds up circulation making their complexion look its best.
We already know that saunas are good for the skin. That’s the whole reason many people go to spas. But we didn’t know just how much dry saunas are capable of: reducing stress levels, easing asthma, improving skin, and easing pain. They’re just a few!
10 Croatia: Get rid of an itchy scalp with nettles - straight from the meadows
Usually when we suffer some kind of ailment, like itchy scalp or sunburn, we go straight to the pharmacy or beauty store to purchase a bottle or tube of something. In Croatia, they prefer to turn to nature for their cures. And why wouldn’t they when they’ve discovered the perfect natural cure for itchy scalp: a nettle wash.
Forget creams and lotions. This time we’re doing it the Croatian way. That means washing our hair in nettle water. To make it, boil fresh nettles in 3 liters of water and leave it to cool. Then we can wash our hair in that water as a replacement for shampoo – it’s way healthier!
9 Australia: bottle sea water – it’s a free styling product
Tousled, beachy curls can easily be achieved by spraying seawater in our hair. That’s what the Aussie sheilas do anyway. In fact, they don’t get store-bought ocean water. Some of them bottle it up themselves in a spray bottle so they use it to style hair.
Most of us just buy that saltwater spray we see in stores, but according to the Aussies, the best way to achieve beach waves is by spraying the real thing into our hair – and that comes directly from the ocean.
8 Russia: Apply egg yolks, honey, and cucumber from head to toe
Russia's motto for beauty is ‘’More is more.’’ They are not afraid to go a step too far in order to acquire flawless skin. They do, after all, take skin care and beauty as a whole very seriously. However, even though they are known for their innovative beauty routines, they also follow some natural DIY treatments.
One of them is the honey, cucumber and egg yolks mask which is applied from head to toe. It’s believed to be beneficial for the skin and body. They're not afraid of trying something new either and are always on the lookout for innovative beauty treatments.
7 Korea: A skin care routine isn’t a skin care routine if it doesn’t include these 10 steps
We weren’t exaggerating when we said the beauty-conscious in Korea follow a 10 step skin care routine. It’s the truth! Generally, Asian women do follow a complex skin care routine that includes multiple products, but no regime comes close to that of the Koreans.
A typical beauty regime consists of 10 steps, including makeup remover, double oil cleansing, foam cleansing, toner, face serum, eye serum, eye cream, face moisturizer, and a neck cream. On top of that, they like to use a sheet mask once a week. In other words, it’s not a lazy person’s skin care routine. This regime requires complete dedication.
6 Greece: Add olive all to everything – even our skin
Greece is known to have one of the healthiest diets in the world. Known as the Mediterranean diet, it’s a diet plan often followed in Spain and Portugal too. Basically, we just have to eat more vegetables, fruit, nuts and fish, and less meat and carbohydrates.
The Greeks also drown their food in olive oil. From salads to vegetable dishes and even on bread, they like to make olive oil a part of their daily diet. That’s not a bad thing though – olive oil is packed with essential fatty acids, which are great for the hair, skin and nails. The women will even apply olive oil on their skin and at the ends of their hair.
5 Netherlands: ditch the car for a bicycle - it will save our lives (literally!)
There’s a reason Dutch drivers live up to 14 months longer just by ditching their car for a bicycle. Due to the extra exercise, it reduces their risk of premature fatality. Even though most of us don’t like to admit it, we know we spend way too much time driving instead of walking or biking.
The Dutch, however, are more than aware of the health benefits of cycling. That’s why it’s their main form of daily transformation. Apparently, the average citizen bikes an average of 1.5 miles per day. Not only is this healthy and prevents weight gain, just think of all the money we’ll save on gas!
4 Japan: Hara hachi bu - Chew food 20 times before swallowing, basically
Here in the US, we tend to consume our meals at lightning speed. Our explanation for it? Our ever-growing to-do list. We feel like eating is a necessity that disrupts our workflow, so we try to eat as fast as possible rather than enjoying the moment. Clearly, we’re doing something wrong.
In Japan, they know a thing or two about calorie control – that’s why they live longer than anyone else on the planet. We’re listening! One of their tricks is called hara hachi bu, a cultural practice that involves eating until we feel 80 percent full. We can do this by pacing ourselves when we eat and trying to chew food 20 times before swallowing so that we recognize when we’re 80 percent full.
3 Thailand: Start popping down chilli peppers - to stay fit
Thai food is the spiciest in the world. Now we know not everybody likes hot food – some people can’t stand it. However, a little extra spice every day can help lower blood pressure, cholesterol and prevent blood clots from forming. Spicy peppers can also boost our metabolism.
Hot peppers curb the appetite too, which makes us less likely to overindulge. Chilli peppers are packed with vitamin C and a host of antioxidants. Even though they’re not for everyone, try adding them into your diet to reap their health and beauty benefits.
2 India: Flavor food with turmeric – for a stronger brain
Indian meals contain a variety of different spices, all of which contain countless vitamins. The most nutritious of all is turmeric, a spice that’s been used in India for thousands of years. Research shows that turmeric contains numerous antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, which can prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
In fact, the lowest rates of Alzheimer’s are found in northern India. But if they’re eating plenty of turmeric, it’s no surprise.
We can start adding turmeric to our meals to reap the health benefits. It works well with vegetables and chicken. The good news is, we can go as heavy on it as we like because it’s totally healthy for us.
1 Germany: Tread in cold water – it’s called a Kneipp treatment
In Germany, many people indulge in Kneipp treatments for improving their blood circulation and overall immune system. Combined with the consumption of local asparagus, it’s these Kneipp treatments that keep them healthy. There are a variety of different Kneipp treatments, which all involve water. A popular one is water treading.
Want to try it? Fill a bathtub with cold water to just below the knee. Then walk in one place, taking one leg completely out of the water with each step. We can do this for several minutes until the cold stimulus feels too strong. It’s also supposed to help us lose weight.
References: medicinehunter.com, huffingtonpost.com, womenshealthmag.com, elle.com, oprah.com, refinery29.com