Since antiquity, humans have been searching for ways to preserve beauty. For example, milk from the much-ridiculed creature was once feted by no less than Her Majesty Cleopatra who was reported to have bathed in it mixed with fresh honey and almond oil to maintain her skin’s softness and glow. And legend has it that around 700 donkeys were required to provide the amount necessary for the queen’s daily milk bath!
White Lead And Chalk – Really!
The womenfolk in ancient Greece relied on common everyday ingredients like olive oil and sea salt. They also mixed olive oil with sugar or salt to exfoliate dead skin cells. Interestingly, pale skin was a sign of prestige and beauty back then as it meant the Grecians were rich enough and did not have to toil in the fields to earn a living. Their skin was proof that they belonged to the well-to-do upper class and that they had the best skin care solutions. One of the more bizarre skincare rituals was women painting their faces with white to look fairer. As white lead was toxic, it inevitably contributed to the early demise of women in their effort to attain porcelain skin. Chalk was another source, albeit a last resort one as it wore off quite easily.
Best Skincare Solutions: The “Fairy Powder”?
Empress Wu Ze Tian of the Tang dynasty – the one and only female emperor of China – was also a renowned beauty even as she advanced in age. And what was her secret beauty potion? A famed “fairy powder” (comprising specially harvested and prepared Chinese motherwort) mixed with cold water which the Empress used as a facial cleanser every morning. This was the best skin care solution for the one and only Chinese Empress.
Coffee, Coconut And Rice Water
In the old Malay world, a well-known traditional practice in Malaysia was for women to wash their faces with fresh coconut water or rice water due to their rich emollient effect. The old Malays also had their own unique concoction of beauty brew: ground rosebuds, jasmine plus other ingredients stored in a banana leaf to be taken daily before breakfast with warm water or honey. The concoction was hailed as an effective way for women to balance their hormones.
In Turmeric And Tamarind They Trust
Peek and probe into the ancient India Vedic Texts and one will find that the turmeric plant was an important staple in women’s beauty regimens. It would be made into a paste and spread over the women’s bodies before they bathed. The skin was believed to be rejuvenated from turmeric’s deep cleansing efficacy. Furthermore, as the plant has long been perceived to increase longevity, it continues to play an integral part in the beauty care ritual for many modern South Asian women with sandalwood added for greater antioxidant power. In Siam (now Thailand), the tamarind was a skincare rock star. As a local saying goes: Thai beauty comes from nature, it goes through the heart and then to the mind. No wonder Thai women have fair skin, they have their own share of best skincare solutions.
Beauty Starts From Within
Intrigued enough by any of the beauty regimens of the past to give it a try? If yes, you are strongly recommended to do deeper research before attempting to replicate or emulate any of the rituals compiled in this article.