The following 5 beauty tips are inspired by the Middle East and offer only a small glimpse into the kind of beauty wisdom the region holds.
When it comes to beauty, every culture has its practices. Luckily, when we run out of exciting or effective options that are popular in our own community, we can learn from others around the world. That way, the journey never ends. Middle Eastern women, with their olive skin and thick, lustrous hair, boast strong beauty traditions that are not only effective but also delicious.
The following list of beauty tips touch upon bodily cleanliness, diet and topical treatments, so you can choose from a diverse array of approaches to optimum beauty, and without getting bored.
1. Olive Oil
Apart from being an inseparable ingredient in the Middle Eastern diet, olive oil is a beauty powerhouse. Just two tablespoons of high quality, raw, unprocessed extra-virgin olive oil each day improves heart health. Topically speaking, olive oil protects the skin from UVB exposure and can reduce the change of getting skin cancer. Olive oil’s antioxidants help to keep the skin youthful and energized. Olive oil also lowers the risk of dermatitis and other skin conditions.
Apply a thin layer of olive oil on cleansed skin prior to bed. Olive oil leaves behind a shiny aftermath, so it’s best to avoid using it as your go-to moisturizer in the morning – wait until before bedtime, so that the oil can do its magic while your sleep. For the hair, comb about 2-3 tablespoons into your tresses once a week. Let the oil sit for 30 minutes before rinsing clean. Be sure to only use the highest quality olive oil that you can find. That way, the vitamins, minerals, monounsaturated fats and antioxidants are as potent as possible.
Rose is a beauty staple in the Middle East and widely available in various forms – soap, lotion, tonic and oil. Rose enhances beauty in more ways than one. Stress exacerbates skin disorders, including psoriasis, dermatitis and acne. Rose to the rescue! In one study, rose oil was able to decrease the breathing rate, blood oxygen saturation and systolic blood pressure among subjects, who reported feeling more emotionally relaxed and at ease. Topically, rose products exhibit the same calming affect when directly applied to skin. The plant has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that make it the perfect tool for more youthful and radiant skin.
Try the Suti Rose Water Facial Toner ($34) and bask in its floral glory!
3. Turkish Bath
The Turkish bath (aka a hamam) is an ancient Turkish tradition that emphasizes relaxation and cleanliness – it is a truly emotional and physical cleansing process. A hamam experience starts in a relaxation room heating by dry air. In the center of the room there is heated marble stone, on top of which bathers can lie. After a period of sweating out toxins, bathers are scrubbed, washed and massaged from head to toe.
While a Turkish bath may not be immediately accessible to you, you can mimic the experience by visiting an infrared sauna on a regular basis. Unlike a regular sauna, an infrared sauna heats the body from the inside out, with ambient air remaining relatively cool. It boosts your circulation, burns calories and rids the skin of heavy metals and other toxins, revealing a more beautiful complexion.
4. Milk Bath
Ancient Egyptian Queen, Cleopatra, was famous for her milk baths and now you can reap similar beauty benefits too! Instead of pouring milk into your bathtub, reach for beauty products that contain the same ingredient that makes milk such an effective skincare product: alpha hydroxyl acid. It exfoliates the skin and keeps it smooth and soft.
Real beauty comes from within, and turmeric is testament to just that. Turmeric is a common spice found in the Middle East and South Asia that carries incredible health and beauty benefits – it has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and detoxifying properties. Turmeric also whitens teeth and gets rid of dandruff.
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Photo Credit: Steven Jackson