These beauty rituals may be hundreds of years old, but they’re still highly effective and simple enough to do in the comfort of your own abode.
Beauty and wellness rituals have been around for almost as long as human civilization. As far back as centuries ago, people from different cultures found ways to keep themselves looking and feeling good. The most astonishing part is that these little wellness secrets are as effective today as they were back then.
Sure, the skincare and beauty industry has evolved a lot. Products made with advanced technology and complex ingredients abound; but there’s nothing wrong with returning to the basics. In fact, this may be a great option for people who are looking for natural solutions to incorporate into their beauty regimes.
“Ancient practices and approaches to looking after the body, mind, skin and hair have been drawn from the Earth and nature,” shared Kathryn Bishop, a member of strategic foresight consultancy The Future Laboratory, with BBC Culture.
“They are often aligned with particular seasons and seasonal events, celebrating the Earth and the flora and fauna that it kindly provides, respectfully using them in adornment or cleansing or as food and drink,” she continued.
If you want to learn more about these ancient beauty traditions, below are four simple rituals that you can do at home:
Bentonite Clay Mask
Humans have been using clay as a natural remedy for hundreds of years. Bentonite clay, in particular, remains popular for a number of reasons. Though people first discovered the clay in the Montmorillon region of France, experts believe that civilizations have been using it since ancient times.
The aluminum phyllosilicate substance is an effective detoxifying agent, according to a study published by the National Library of Medicine.
Most toxins have a positive charge, while bentonite clay has a negative charge. As such, the clay’s negative charge is able to attract and absorb positively charged toxins through an ionic pull, effectively removing impurities and oil from the body. This is why people often use it in skincare regimes as a natural face mask.
You can buy the clay in powder form, then mix it with clean water in a 1:1 ratio. You can also add a bit of apple cider vinegar, as the vinegar helps bolster the clay’s exfoliating properties with its natural alpha-hydroxy acids. Avoid using any kind of metal to hold or stir the mixture, as it may affect the effectiveness of the clay’s ionization.
Since you can place the clay powder in a reusable, non-metal jar and wash the mask off, it also leaves a smaller carbon footprint on the planet compared to disposable face masks.
The Berber women of Morocco have been using Argan oil in their beauty routines for generations. In fact, its use dates as far back as 12 B.C., according to CNN Travel. The oil comes from the kernels of the Argan tree, which is native to Morocco, and is usually golden in color.
Brands have been using the oil as an ingredient in their beauty products for years. However, you can actually use the oil on its own. Cosmetic-grade Argan oil (not to be confused with culinary Argan oil made for cooking), is rich in vitamin E, antioxidants, and fatty acids. As a result, it keeps hair and nails shiny, as well as skin taut and glowing.
Research shows that the oil can improve skin hydration and elasticity, according to Medical News Today. Certain studies on animals have also shown its potential for healing wounds, specifically second-degree burns. It’s incredibly versatile and also easy to use, as you only need to apply a small amount on your hair, skin, or nails to start seeing its benefits.
Everyone knows that milk is an excellent source of calcium; but it also happens to be pretty good for the skin. Historians say that Cleopatra incorporated “milk baths” into her beauty regime to exfoliate and lessen wrinkles on her skin. This might seem a little absurd, but the science behind it makes sense.
Milk contains nourishing ingredients for the skin like proteins, fat, vitamins, and minerals. It also has lactic acid, a mild alpha-hydroxy acid with gentle exfoliating properties. As such, milk baths “have tons of great benefits for your skin,” shared Dr.Michelle Henry, a clinical instructor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College, with Good Housekeeping.
A good soak in a milk bath can smoothen skin texture, lessen wrinkles, hydrate, and even decrease inflammation. That said, you shouldn’t use it in place of actual medicine. It’s always best to consult a dermatologist if you have hesitations with trying it out, or possible allergies.
That said, for the most part, Henry states that it’s generally “safe for most people.” You can create a milk bath at home by mixing two cups of milk with ¼ cup of honey and a few drops of essential oils (or bath salts). You can also use different kinds of milk, such as coconut milk, goat milk, and even soy milk. For optimal results, it’s best to sit back and soak in the tub for at least twenty to thirty minutes.
Gua sha is a type of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that dates back to the Ming dynasty. The East Asian beauty secret gained immense popularity in recent years after it went viral on social media. That said, the hype is certainly warranted. Many Chinese women continue the tradition to this day. It involves massaging the face with a smooth material (typically jade, quartz, or ceramic plates) and solution like water, face oil, or petroleum jelly.
The practice has been backed up by studies, including those conducted by American researchers. Massaging certain areas of your face stimulates better blood circulation and helps with lymphatic drainage, as per a report from NBC News. When done regularly, the practice can also relieve muscle tension, giving the face some much needed rejuvenation.
If you’re looking to incorporate this simple yet effective practice into your daily beauty routine, there are a number of good video tutorials available to help you get started.
Banner photo by Chelsea Shapouri via Unsplash.