Traditions and beauty secrets from around the world explored.
What do different countries value as beautiful and how do they achieve it?
Asia: Prevention is Key for a Smooth White Complexion
Japan: Chasing a Youthful Glow
Japan focuses on restorative products that fight signs of aging. The main goal of Japanese skin care is to create a creamy light-skinned smooth and even complexion. In order to achieve this, young women learn about prevention from an early age. Women will always have sunscreen on, and even in the hottest weather, they can be seen wearing long sleeve UV reflective shirts or carrying lightweight parasols. There is a lot of care put into avoiding sun damage so they can achieve their poreless milk-white complexion.
South Korea: Less is Not More
South Koreans are known for their intense beauty routines, which can feature more than ten steps. The process involves extensive pore care, intense hydration, and their famous double-cleansing. Gentle water and oil-based cleansers dominate the market, but the Koreans have perfected many add on products. Sheet masks, sleeping masks, essences, and more all focus on delivering moisture and botanical benefits to the skin. If you are looking for a lightweight sunscreen, then Korean products are perfect for you. They have developed water-based sunscreens that they incorporate into their everyday routine to help prevent skin darkening and sun damage.
China: Preventing Pollution Damage
The same pigmentation that creates a yellow undertone in Asian skin types is also a natural anti-aging protection. This benefit fades later in life, and that's why Asian nations focus on prevention while they're young and the signs of aging show. To get the ideal luminous white skin, the Chinese focus on whitening treatments as well as vitamin c serums and face peels that resurface the skin and get rid of pigmentation. China has the additional problem of fighting environmental stressors from pollution. To combat these problems, there is a focus on thorough cleansing.
Europe: Simple Curated Routines
France: Natural Beauty
The French have simple tailored routines that usually don't include more than three steps. France focuses on natural beauty, which means the skin is glowing, soft, and clean. To achieve this, they have created gentle cleansing methods and powerful moisturizers. Micellar water, which has micelle particles instead of soap or alcohol, has recently become internationally popular as a makeup remover and skin cleanser. The French are not distraught at the idea of aging, and there is not a big focus on powerful anti-aging products. French products are full of healthy botanical benefits that act as light anti-agers in their everyday products.
UK: Products for Rain and Shine
The United Kingdom faces a wide range of skin concerns with the passing seasons. The harsh winters mixed with their summer heatwaves means they take a hardier approach to their skin routine. Because of the frequent overcast and rain, there is a habit of not wearing any UV protection in their everyday routines. This means that there is a big focus on targeting pigmentation issues later in life. The sun damage and spots as a result of their lack of prevention means anti-aging treatments and products for an even complexion are frequently used later in life.
South America: Embrace the Sun
Brazil: Sunbaked Skincare
Brazilians face heavy sun exposure year-round, and that means it's always bathing suit season. This year-long sunshine means there are more full-body treatments and moisturizing. Full body exfoliation, especially the feet, is popular countrywide. The country goes to the dermatologist more frequently than most others. These regular visits are also fueled by the fact that dermatologists can mix up individual personalized medications that you can later pick up at your pharmacy. Massages are also frequently used to get rid of bloating and water retention, which slim down the body in a healthy natural way.
Africa: Using Your Surrounding Environment
Ghana: Clear Skin and Healthy Hair
The use of African black soap, which originated in West Africa, is not country-specific but is commonly used across the continent. This soap made up of plant ash and oils can help fight bacteria, acne, eczema, and other skin concerns. This helps nourish the skin with vitamins, improve your skin tone, and combats redness by reducing irritation. Shea butter is also found in this soap and is commonly used as a staple of African beauty routines. This deep moisturizer is used to fight the sun and can soften skin and natural hair. Rooibos tea is also very popular both as a drink and skin product. Rich in antioxidants and enzymes, it can help fight acne and skin discoloration. While there is little concern for anti-aging products, there is a big market for skin bleaching creams, which are dangerous and damaging.
Morocco: Community Meets Skin Care
Morocco is a large producer of beauty products that they export all over the world. Argan oil has recently become popular but has been a large part of their beauty routine for centuries. As large producers of roses as well as Argan tree products, there is a large market of rose oil and water products. Moroccan mint tea, which is full of green tea antioxidants and mint, promotes health inside and out as a skin-replenishing drink, anti-ager, and scar treatment. Hammams are also an essential part of Morocco as both a skin care treatment and community activity. These steam rooms, similar to Turkish baths, help refresh the skin and get out toxins. At the Hammam, you sit in the sauna-like room to sweat out your pores, exfoliate, do a full-body clay mask, and deep moisturizing. Clay is also a huge local product to get tighter pores and get healthy botanicals to the skin.
If you are visiting any of these places try out some of their local skin care traditions. You might find a product that changes your life!