East Coast girls may have smooth skin down to a science while Cali girls have beach waves down pat, but that doesn’t mean the good ole U.S. of A owns the exclusive rights to all beauty secrets. Quite the contrary: we can learn quite a bit from our sisters in France, who have perfected the art of minimalist beauty; our Korean cousins, whose fabulous and affordable skincare products are finally getting the recognition they deserve; and our Indian friends, who have found incredible natural ingredients that help keep their hair glossy and healthy. Though we should all embrace our own unique physical traits–because there’s no such thing as one ideal version of beauty–there’s no reason why we can’t expand our minds when it comes to new products and routines. Here are 8 fantastic beauty secrets from lovely women living around the world you should consider embracing ASAP.
Japan. Japanese women have long been privy to the benefits of drinking daily cups of green tea and maintaining a healthy diet rich in fish and fresh veggies, all of which count as the best beauty “products” in existence, but they’re also incredibly savvy about exfoliation. Rather than rely on products filled with chemicals, one of their favorite exfoliation treatments for the face uses Azuki red bean powder, which nourishes the skin with goodness while removing dead skin cells. But I must let you in on the number one Japanese beauty secret you need to know about this second: Baby Foot, a foot peel that will change your life if you have dry, rough feet. Wear the booties (which contain a gloopy, yucky liquid made from fruit extracts) for an hour, remove them, wash your feet, and wait. Approximately 4-7 days later, you’ll be horrified at what you’ll see: the skin on your feet will shed like a snake, but you’ll love the end result: yep, baby feet.
France. French women have that whole less-is-more attitude when it comes to beauty–one many American women (with our ornate nails and spray tans) sometimes have trouble understanding and mimicking. They use little makeup, aren’t deathly afraid of showing their pores, and value great skin. Instead of stocking their vanities with 150 skincare products, they invest in three or four quality ones. One amazing tip I learned from a French woman is to never use tap water to clean your skin. I’m not suggesting you break out the Evian–Bioderma Crealine (Sensibio) H2o Ultra-Mild Non-Rinse Face and Eyes Cleanser won’t irritate skin or strip it of its natural oils, yet does a sensational job of removing makeup and impurities without so much as a drop of water.
Korea. Korean women are obsessed with skincare, but they aren’t willing to break the bank for it or spend hours upon hours trapped in their bathrooms. White sheet masks are huge in Asia, and especially in Korea, because they deliver a hydrating boost of natural ingredients, such as aloe, sodium hyaluronate, and essential oils, and–thanks to the cut-outs in the eyes–can be applied anytime for a little pick-me-up, even in the middle of the day when your mascara is already gorgeously in place. Banila Co It Radiant Lace Hydrogel Mask Sheet is affordable, refreshing and the perfect relaxing solution to keep acne at bay.
Australia. You can’t peel most Aussie girls away from the beach and the sunshine, but they’ve learned to adapt to the dangers of UVA and UVB rays in a way that should inspire us to do the same. For starters, wear your broad spectrum sunscreen every single day, but choose a moisturizer like Kosmea Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30, which kills two birds with one stone. And instead of rushing home from the beach to wash all of that amazing sea salt from your hair, embrace the texture it gives you by spraying a bit of ELEVEN Australia Sea Salt Texture Spray onto damp hair and then putting your blow dryer back where it belongs: in your vanity cabinet.
Sweden. You can’t hate Swedish women for having gorgeous, glowing skin; they don’t get to enjoy months of direct damaging sunlight, so it’s perfectly fair that they should at least benefit from all of that cold weather. Lack of sunshine has a great deal to do with their flawless complexions, but Swedish women also work hard at it and never neglect the power of serums to combat the effects of aging. Estelle & Thild Rose Otto Serum is a popular choice because it uses ingredients like pine bark and melon extract to tighten and rejuvenate the skin.
Ethiopia. Ethiopian women keep their bodies moisturized using the sweetest (sometimes literally) ingredients that their natural environment has to offer. Shea butter is a biggie and it is used to make the amazing African Black Soap, which also contains oats, aloe, plantain peel, tamarind extract, and palm ash. The benefits of Black African Soap are numerous, but just to name a few: they provide a natural source of vitamins A and E, can double as shampoo, and many pregnant women swear they prevent stretch marks. In the market for a deliciously hydrating moisturizer that contains the same natural ingredients? Try Community Commerce: Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Infused Shea Body Butter.
India. Ever wonder why so many Indian women have long, glorious, grey-free, strong hair? Good genes certainly have a lot to do with it, but it doesn’t hurt that they have a few amazing hair secrets up their sleeves, as well. In addition to using coconut oil as conditioner long before we discovered the oil’s amazing benefits via Pinterest, many Indian women rely on Amla powder, which is dried and powdered Indian gooseberry, to enhance their henna hair color, add volume, and even strengthen curls and waves. Amla powder is vegan and gluten-free, simple to use and–bonus–can even be used to create a facial mask.
For more beauty tips, check out DIY Face masks for every type of skin: Dry, acne-prone, more and 6 foods that are ruining your skin and hair.