There's no doubt about it: Our sisters across the pond know their beauty stuff.В We've already established that Asia is light-years ahead of the U.S. when it comes to skincare technologies and innovations-but what about an area of the world where beauty secrets are passed down through generations, lovingly shared by mothers to their daughters? We're talking about South Asian countries like India and Pakistan, as well as areas in the Middle East. There, beauty rituals are more about understanding the importance of ancient, natural-based rituals that have withstood the test of time-because they work.
вЂњEver since I was very little, I remember my mother encouraging me to use natural things at home,вЂќ celebrity makeup artist Kirin Bhatty says (she's worked with everyone from Jessica ParГ© to Alessandra Ambrosio). вЂњOf course, as a kid, all I wanted were the chemical-laden things my friends had-but now, as a makeup artist, everything has come full circle.вЂќ We asked asked if she could share these natural-minded beauty secrets, and lucky for us, she was happy to divulge.
Scroll through for seven beauty secrets from the Middle East, India, and beyond.
Rose WaterHeritage Store Rose Water $10Shop
вЂњTo this day, I always have rose water in my makeup kit, as well as in my personal makeup bag,вЂќ Bhatty says. вЂњI use it on my clients' skin by spraying it from a spray bottle, as well as on myself, as a toner, applied with a cotton ball at home.вЂќ She swears by its refreshing, softening, brightening, and toning effects. вЂњAlso, it smells amazing,вЂќ she raves. вЂњIt was something that the princesses and queens used way, way back.вЂќ She says there's no need for fancy formulas-a simple, inexpensive bottle from any market will do the trick.
Store your rose water in the fridge to help make the product more soothing and depuffing to the skin.
вЂњTurmeric is amazing,вЂќ Bhatty says. Specifically, she mentions the skin benefits it delivers when used in a traditional homemade mask calledВ uptanВ orВ ubtan. вЂњYou can use this mask at any time of the year, but it's deeply rooted in Indian and Pakistani wedding tradition as part of the beauty rituals for brides-to-be,вЂќ she says. вЂњBefore a woman gets married, the women closest to her will make this concoction and apply it to her face and body-it's a cure-all that encourages skin clearing, brightening, and softening.вЂќ Of course, we begged her to share the recipe.
2 tbsp. gram flour (besan)
A pinch of turmeric (haldi)
A pinch of ground sandalwood
2 tbsp. of rose water
2 tbsp. of milk
Mix all of the ingredients together to create a paste.
Apply it to your face and keep it on until it dries (15 to 20 minutes).Dabur Vatika Enriched Coconut Hair Oil $10Shop
When it comes to oils, Bhatty is a fan-but she didn't used to be. вЂњIВ hatedВ oils as a kid-I just wanted to feel like everyone else!вЂќ she says. вЂњBut now, as an adult, I appreciate them and am so grateful to my mom for making them a part of my beauty routine.вЂќ The oil she still swears by? Coconut. вЂњNowadays, it's everywhere-but back in the day, it wasn't,вЂќ she says. вЂњEvery other weekend, my mom would scoop out a chunk of coconut oil in her hands and warm it up by rubbing it in her palms. Then, she'd apply it to my hair and scalp and comb it through, and then I'd sit in the sun for about an hour to let it soak in.вЂќ The result? Long, thick, shiny locks. вЂњTo this day, my hair routine is super simple,вЂќ Bhatty says. вЂњI credit coconut oil to my hair's health, length, and shine.вЂќ
Mustard Seed OilDabur Mustard Oil $10Shop
Mustard seed oil is a bit controversial because though it's long been used in Indian and South Asian cuisine, it was banned by the FDA in 2012 to be sold as a cooking oil because of the high levels of erucic acid.
Applying it to your hair, however, is a different story. вЂњMustard seed oil is used for hair growth, conditioning, and shine,вЂќ Bhatty says. It's filled with selenium, an antioxidant that protects your cells; omega-3 fatty acids, which nourish your strands from the inside out; and protein, which is essential for hair growth (lack of protein can cause your hair to fall out and shed). вЂњIt smells a bit though, so beware,вЂќ she warns. вЂњBut it really works!"
Bhatty recalls the days when her mom would pick a lemon from the tree in their backyard, cut it in half, and rub it over her face. вЂњThen, she'd take the rind of the lemon and use it as an exfoliator,вЂќ she says. Bhatty's mom (and thousands of women from South Asia or the Middle East) had the right idea: The acids in lemons make it the perfect natural skin brightener, blackhead buster, and exfoliator.В
HennaSilk & Stone Natural Henna Powder $9Shop
вЂњHenna was aВ bigВ deal at home,вЂќ Bhatty says. вЂњWe know that henna is still used to this day all over South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa to adorn the hands and feet of brides and wedding guests, but we used it all the time for hair enhancement, too.вЂќ She remembers how her mom would color and treat her hair with henna (вЂњIt left her black hair tinged with natural auburn highlights-so beautiful!вЂќ), but recommends following with a coconut oil hair mask after washing it out, since henna can be drying. But unlike chemical dyes, henna doesn't do permanent damage to your locks-instead, it strengthens, adds texture, boosts, shine, and can even help with dandruff. Curious about using henna on your hair? This blogger put together a greatВ instruction manualВ for beginners.Stocksy
Why bother with perfume when you can make your whole home smell fragrant? вЂњIt always smelled like a gorgeous garden in my home,вЂќ Bhatty says. вЂњI realized why, when I discovered all of these little plates and dishes scattered around my house, filled with a handful of blossoms from our garden.вЂќ She remembers how she found these little plates on every end table and every corner, holding lemon blossoms, orange blossoms, a gardenia or two, and even honeysuckles. вЂњThey were never in water,вЂќ she recalls. вЂњThey were just scattered about like potpourri, but not dried. The house always smelled like flowers because of it. Always.вЂќ
This story was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.