August 1, 2023

What's Old Is New in Beauty

It's funny how things that once seemed primitive can suddenly become the height of sophistication. Like all the rage about fermented foods, for example; my grandmother used to make her own pickles and sauerkraut out of sheer necessity and here I am, actually paying for these things now, just because they’re marketed as ‘probiotic’, and supposedly good for the gut! It seems like as far back as the times of Cleopatra, people have been using basic ingredients they could find in nature for beauty purposes, and somehow, these age-old secrets continue to remain relevant even today. Getting that beautiful skin or lustrous hair doesn’t necessarily mean spending a fortune on high-end products. Sometimes, all it takes is a back-to-roots approach, using what nature has generously, and permanently on offer. So, ladies and gentlemen, put on your metaphorical archaeology hats, as we delve deep into the beauty rituals of our ancestors, and uncover some precious handed-down beauty secrets which might just come in handy.

Unveiling the Secrets of Naturally Beautiful Skin

When it comes to beauty regimes my mother and grandmother handed down to me, I'll confess that for a long time I didn't pay much heed to them. You know, I was the cynic wondering why people would smear mashed avocado on their faces when there were perfectly good cleansers, moisturizers, and toners on drugstore shelves. But as I started paying more attention to ingredients lists (and the number of syllables in them), I began to appreciate the wisdom in opting for natural beauty methods. It started with the occasional use of fuller's earth as a face pack, the famous 'Multani Mitti,' which comes from India. Then, noticing its immediate effect, I started experimenting more with these natural resources. You see, 'Multani Mitti' is not some exotic magical mud—it's just plain old natural clay, and it has the capacity to suck out the oil and impurities from your skin, leaving it fresh and glowing.

Let's Go Nuts for Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has long been worshipped in Asian communities as the ultimate natural beauty product, and they might be onto something here. My wife, she swears by coconut oil—and not just for cooking! She uses it as a natural moisturizer, lip balm, and hair conditioner. I wouldn't be exaggerating if I told you that we've gone through barrels of this stuff over the years. It's packed with healthy fat that helps repair and restore your skin’s natural barrier, and it's also a very efficient hair moisturizer, leaving you with shiny, manageable locks. And the best part? It's completely devoid of any harmful chemicals that could aggravate your skin or scalp.

Lather, Rinse, Smile: The Power of Dilute Apple Cider Vinegar

Talking about vinegar sounds like the most un-glamorous topic imaginable. But just bear with me. My daughter Minerva noticed that her hair wasn’t as lustrous and was more prone to tangling and breakage. A quick Google search later, and she comes back to me indicating I have hard water. Now, what's interesting is one of the common ways to mitigate the impacts of hard water on hair is to use... you've got it... apple cider vinegar. Vinegar, specifically apple cider vinegar, has the ability to break down mineral buildups and balance out pH levels. Minerva, decided to give it a go and actually noticed a significant improvement after only a couple of rinses! Her hair was smoother, shinier, and generally healthier. Fair warning though - you might need to condition with something nice-smelling afterwards to mask the pungent aroma of vinegar!

The Magic of Raw Honey

When it comes to raw honey, I've got a bit of a sweet story. My son Elton was getting a lot of breakouts, being in the peak of his teenage years. Since he doesn't appreciate being used as a guinea pig for facial treatments, we had to be a little bit more strategic. My wife, the eternal experimenter, suggested raw honey. Yes, the same honey you drizzle over your pancakes. Turns out, it's a natural humectant, meaning it attracts moisture and keeps your skin hydrated. It also has natural antibacterial properties, which can help tackle acne. Moreover, honey has been used in skincare for thousands of years, for its moisturizing, antioxidants, and healing properties. Long story short, Elton tried it and lo and behold, his skin began to clear up, and he seemed to have less frequent bouts of acne. Now, every time he spots a pimple, his immediate go-to is honey, much to my amusement.

Stirring Up Memories with Oatmeal

I can't wrap this up without talking about my own personal relationship with oatmeal. As a kid, I used to dread breakfast time at home because it almost always meant a bowl of this seemingly tasteless glop. But, as an adult, I've grown to appreciate it not just as nutritious food but also a very effective beauty remedy. When applied topically, oatmeal can help to alleviate dry skin and irritation because of its high content of polysaccharides, which have a gel-like texture when combined with water. This forms a protective layer on the skin that can help to ease inflammation and itchiness. Who would have thought that the breakfast I had to coerce myself into eating would later become one of my go-to remedies for skincare?

In the end, it all boils down to this: our ancestors knew what they were doing when it came to beauty rituals, and their wisdom is very much relevant even today. Choosing these natural beauty methods and ingredients can not only be a safe and healthy option, but it can also give us a beautiful sense of connection to history, tradition, and the simplicity of nature.