Strange Beauty Rituals from Around the World

Clearly, beauty is pain and sometimes danger.

The world's truly universal languages are music, laughter, and feeling dissatisfied with how you look. Consequently, strange beauty rituals have existed in every culture throughout history, from consuming arsenic in 19th-century Europe in order to "produce a blooming complexion, a brilliant eye, and an appearance of embonpoint [sexy stoutness]" to applying radioactive French face cream in the 1930s for "cellular vitality."

Clearly, beauty is pain and sometimes danger. These are just six of the strangest modern beauty practices from around the world.

Japan - Weird Beauty Products

Japanese beauty standards place premiums on large eyes and slim faces, resulting in a booming industry of strange products that promise to re-mold your face. If you're unhappy with your chubby cheeks, you can purchase the Facial Fitness Pao for about $140 US, or you can narrow your chin with the Face Slimmer Exercise mouthpiece, said to "reduce signs of aging by giving sagging facial skin and muscles a much-needed lift." The latter is made by Japan Trend Shop, a private web retailer that offers a range of weird lifestyle products, all promising to enhance your beauty without a face-lift.

These quick fix-it solutions are unlikely to work, but the hope keeps business thriving. Overnight Slimming Socks probably won't tone your legs while you're sleeping, but it feels like self-care to try.

Face Slimmer

India - Cover Your Face in Turmeric

Tumeric was used as an ingredient in Indian beauty treatments for years before it began to catch on in the west. The spice is thought to have anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-aging, and antioxidant properties. Applying the spice to your face is thought to reduce dark undereye circles, reduce stretch marks, fade scars, eliminate dandruff, fight aging, treat acne, and even whiten teeth. Depending on its intended effect, it's applied in a paste made from water, coconut oil, baking soda, or olive oil and left on as a mask.

Who shouldn't try it? If you have very sensitive skin, you could dry out your pores and prompt your skin to overproduce oils, causing acne. More generally, the bright gold pigment is also known to stain the skin.

Kristin Collins Jackson at Bustle

Egypt - Milk and Honey

The tale of Cleopatra bathing in milk and honey to preserve her iconic beauty is mostly true. She'd allegedly add lavender oil or rose petals to the donkey milk. The lactic acid in milk has exfoliating powers, honey is naturally antibacterial and an antioxidant: two properties the skin care industry loves to advertise.

The downsides? That's a lot of milk. Also, honey is expensive.

Korea - Face Tape

Puffy under eyes are actually a positive attribute to some Koreans who believe that "aegyo sal," translated as "eye smiles" or "cute skin," make someone look more youthful. A special face tape is even available to place under the eye and make the skin "pop out." Accentuating the fatty deposits beneath the eyes with facial tape is a cheaper, faster alternative to getting fillers injected or fat grafts. It's still incredibly bizarre.

Face Tape

Greece: Olive Oil

In Ancient Greece, extra virgin olive oil was thought to be the ultimate natural moisturizer. Today, it's still widely used for its antioxidant and antibacterial properties, as well as its fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Some use it as an overnight face mask to penetrate the outer layers of skin, while others apply it as a daily moisturizer (on damp skin to reduce the greasy texture). Mixing olive oil with sea salt can also create an exfoliating scrub that's said to moisturize the newly revealed layers of skin.

Or so they say. Some studies point out that olive oil is too heavy for some skin types, and it can actually clog pores and trap bacteria within the skin. Additionally, low-quality oils can contain additives or chemicals that irritate or even damage sensitive skin. The general rule is to perform a patch test on a small area of skin to test for a reaction.

China - Rice Water

The starchy water leftover from cooking rice is thought to help hair grow. Rice grains are 75 to 80 percent starch, after all, and the remaining water they're cooked in contains amino acids, B vitamins, vitamin E, minerals, and antioxidants. Women in China rinse their hair with rice water to detangle knots, increase shine, and strengthen it.

Scientifically speaking, studies attempting to prove these effects have been inconclusive, but there are no risks to this odd beauty hack, and at least rice water is free.

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Celebrate Endangered Species Day.

An endangered species is not a tragedy, because if a species is endangered, then they aren't yet extinct.

Sadly, there are millions of endangered species across the world, all facing threats that mostly stem from human activities. Still, it's not too late. Take a gander at these majestic animals, and then donate to a wildlife fund or environmental activism group of your choice.

Of course, nature doesn't need saving—humans do—and climate change and environmental destruction are threats to humans as well as animals, but if you need a reminder of the beauty and fragility of the natural world, check out these extraordinary species.


Do Non-Melatonin Sleep Aids Really Work?

Objective makes a chocolate square.

I Can't Sleep.

I truly cannot remember the last time I had a good night's rest. Even before the stay-at-home orders, I was just a little ball of nerves.

But lately, it's been awful. I toss and turn, it's always too hot or even too cold, sometimes I make myself tea and read for a bit, but when I'm still up at 1 a.m., I reach for my phone and then I'm up until 3. My sister and I have a weekly call, and our small talk about our exhaustion turned into an hour long conversation about sleep.

I Thought I'd Tried Everything. Even Melatonin.

My sister asked why I hadn't gone for the old staple, melatonin and I reminded her about the time we traveled abroad, and it gave me the weirdest nightmares (the horrible kind where you wake up in your dream and you're still in a dream). Chamomile tea didn't work, nothing worked.

She said she had a friend who swore by something I definitely hadn't heard of.

They Were NOT Pills, Teas or Anything I'd Seen Before.

A company called Objective makes Fast Asleep, a sleep solution delivered as chocolatey treats. They're created with saffron and GABA. If going to sleep was as easy as eating a piece of these chocolatey, minty delights every night, I'd be sold.

What Exactly Was In It?

Cocoa contains caffeine, so I didn't know how this would help me sleep. After talking with my sister, I went online and saw that the calming, sleep-supporting ingredients cancel out any of the very little caffeine content.

Saffron, the spice, is apparently known to help with staying asleep, and their GABA is a fermented version of the neurotransmitter that's known to help you relax and fall asleep faster. In a study, 100% of customers saw improvement in their sleep quality thanks to saffron. One hundred percent!

Do I Try It?

A bag of 30 pieces was only $40, and they had a money-back guarantee.

They're keto-friendly and only 30 calories a piece, so not too decadent before bedtime.

They were chocolatey-minty, which is my favorite flavor, so I was sold. I ordered a bag to try.

The First Night, I Wasn't Impressed.

I took one piece (super yummy!) - 30-60 minutes before bedtime is recommended - but when I climbed in, I didn't notice a difference. I was worried I'd wasted my money.

However, once I fell asleep, I stayed asleep until my alarm went off, which hasn't always been the case for me.

I checked the site again, and noticed that many people didn't notice a real difference until the third or fourth night - it builds up in your system over time, so I decided to keep an open mind the rest of the week.

The Second Night Was Completely Different

Without doing anything differently from the first night, my second night was amazing. I felt calm and sleepy as I was getting ready for bed, and once I hit the pillow, I was out the whole night.

It had to be these sweet treats. The next day, I even felt more balanced and relaxed - Fast Asleep helps boost serotonin levels and reduce cortisol (the stress hormone), and I definitely noticed a difference in my overall mood and alertness.

I Already Ordered More.

Just In Case! There's nothing habit-forming about this product, so it's completely safe to take every night, and I honestly always want to keep it in the house. I'd also love to offer it to anyone staying over in the guest room, whenever we have guests again.

Now that I'm getting a healthy 8 hours of sleep every night, I feel more equipped during the day to tackle the things I need to do and deal with some of my daytime stressors. I finally had the energy to clean the kitchen, which had been bothering me so much for the past few weeks.

With Objective's Fast Asleep, I get real sleep and balance my levels, so I don't have to feel tired during my waking hours. Sleep in the form of chocolate squares sounds so weird, but oh my goodness, do they work.

Our partners at Objective Wellness are currently offering a 25% discount if you use the coupon code STAYHOME. Check them out here!

Food & Drink

The Best Apps for Craft Beer Delivery

Try beers from all over the world–from your phone.

With breweries and distilleries out of business for the foreseeable future, your favorite beer may feel particularly out of reach this time of year, especially with the weather changing. But don't let quarantine suck all the fun out of summer. Luckily, thanks to technology, a lot of craft beer is now deliverable straight to your door step. Here are a few of the best apps to help make sure you stay up to date on the latest trendy brews.



Simplistic and elegant, Tavour allows users to easily fill up a box of beer over a period of time before shipping. The app offers more than 650 different breweries both local and national and is perfect for those who like to experiment. It's easy to use, and their menu rotates regularly so you and your beer never grow stale.



TapRM offers a wide range of both craft beers and hard seltzers. While based almost exclusively in New York City, the app offers fast, same day delivery from some of the best beer brands in the world. They also provide a unique selection of beers to help you find your new favorite. All you need to do is download the app and place your order!


Offering a stark variety of craft beer, Drizly allows its users to mix and match 12-packs, sixers or by the bottle. Their guarantee is that they can have whatever you order delivered to your house in less than an hour. You can even schedule your delivery for a specific time, with each delivery taking around 20-40 minutes.


Saucey takes delivery very seriously. When you order with them they guarantee that they'll deliver in 30-minutes or less, or they guarantee two day shipping. Also, beer aside, their entire liquor cabinet is also up for grabs. From tequila and whiksey, to vodka and wine, nothing is off the table for Saucey.

Beer Menus


For those who enjoy strictly local beers, BeerMenus features a tap list from local bars and a broader stock list from your neighborhood beer store. With that, you can make sure to create a list of your favorite beers in your neighborhood, so that when they're in stock you can be ready to go.