* The Allure: that porcelain complexion *
Secret Ingredients: rice and seaweed
Rice Body Rub: In the old days, rice bran was a substitute for soap. You’d bring your little cotton pouch to the local bath house and fill it up with the bran. Then you’d soak and scrub your whole body, including the face. People still do this. Beyond sloughing off the dead skin layer, rice bran oil is known for its potent vitamin E and other antioxidants that brighten the skin. To see for yourself, fill a pouch with rice bran, and rub your body. If you’re bathing, leave the bag in the tub and let the nutrients seep into the water.
Kelp Face Pack: Seaweed has long been used in Japan as a beauty aid. The best recipe for a face mask requires about 7 ounces of raw seaweed (if you can’t find any, reconstitute the dried kind.) Thoroughly soak the kelp to rinse out the salt; then drain and place in a pan with 16 ounces of water, and cook at a low heat, stirring, for 10 minutes. Next, pour it into blender and make a creamy paste, mixing in a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice once it cools. Refrigerate for three days (freeze what you won’t be using) and apply for 20 minutes.
Sun Style: Ever considered opera gloves for the car? Japanese women are so picky about their skin aside from using the traditional umbrella in the summer, they wear long gloves—past the elbow—when they’re driving. They want to make sure the sun from the window doesn’t age their hands or arms.
* The Allure: wild, luxurious hair *
Secret Ingredients: rainforest plums and desert limes
Kakadu Plum Paste: Aussie hairstylist Kevin Murphy became obsessed with natural beauty as a result of eczema. His favorite discovery is the kakadu plum. The Aborigines have been using it medicinally for 40,000 years. The dumpy little rainforest fruit has the highest known vitamin C content of any plant on the planet. Its antioxidant power saves hair from serious dye-job damage. Try it by mixing one part kakadu plum liquid extract—health food stores sell it (or you can squeeze the liquid from gel capsules)—and five parts virgin olive oil. Apply the paste ASAP post-coloring, and sleep in it before washing out.
Desert Lime Spray: Another Down Under treasure is the desert lime, a plant that flourishes in scorching temperatures. You may be able to find desert lime locally or online in an extract or tea. If so, boil it up and strain it a few times until you get a clear liquid. Once it cools, pour into an atomizer and use it to spray your hair before you work with a hot blow dryer or styling iron.
* The Allure: fresh-faced model appeal *
Secret Ingredients: milk, olive oil, egg white, grapes
Milky Skin Wash: Eastern European women are extremely vain. These women have always taken every effort to look wonderful, even in Communist times when so little was available and they had to rely on home remedies. A tried-and-true remedy is milk. We know about Cleopatra taking milk baths. The reason is the lactic acid, which now, we chemically alter for peels. But you can just use a little milk to rinse your cleanser off and it’s great for the skin. If your complexion is dry, she advises, use whole milk; if oily, go for low fat.
Egg White Oily Skin Lift: A little egg on the face apparently makes an amazing mask for oily skin: Beat a few whites until they’re not tacky, stir in a bit of baking soda, and add some shredded lemon and grapefruit peel. Brush on the mixture and let it harden. You’ll feel a undeniably youthful, fresh lift.
Olive Buff: Women ‘schmear’ themselves from head to toe in olive oil, and stay in it for hours, and when they rinse it all off, the skin is like silk. You just have to be careful because your face can break out.
Grape Splash: The juice of grapes (packed with antioxidants) is also great for your skin. Rub it in, and if you crush the seeds, you’ve got a great scrub, too.
* The Allure: silky skin *
Secret Ingredients: almonds, orange peel, watermelon, extra virgin olive oil
Almond Scrub: Like rice bran and grape seeds, the almonds make a good exfoliator. The home remedies really haven’t been surpassed by high-tech microdermabrasion products. As for the coconut oil, it has anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties and may be good for keratin, which the outer layer of skin is made of. You can whip up your own scrub with coconut oil and finely ground shells—if you can’t find the young almonds, use coconut shell (soak first & shred it.)
Crushed Orange Watermelon Mask: Another skin secret from her homeland: Take a dried-out orange peel and crush it into a fine powder. Add a little lemon juice, water, or in the summer, mashed watermelon, and apply the mixture on your face for 20 minutes before going out for the evening. It smells good, your makeup goes on easily, and your skin looks so nice and bright.