Have you ever wondered who the ancient Egyptian version of Pat McGrath was? The love of beauty has been around since humans have; we once shared beauty tips beneath the shadows of the pyramids and skincare tips outside the temples of Venus.
Different cultures and different times have perfected the art of makeup and style. While some ancient beauty secrets aren’t safe or in style anymore, a lot still are. You’ll find many of these ingredients in beauty products on your shelf today.
Exfoliate with Salt
The ancient Egyptians used salt to exfoliate their skin. Simple, natural, and refreshing. Wherever there is salt, someone has been using it to make their skin softer. Just don’t use it on your face because one thing we know now that we didn’t realize then — micro-tears.
Milk and Honey Face Masks
Lounging around in face masks is a millennia-old practice. The ancient Egyptians used a blend of honey and milk to soften skin and stay wrinkle-free.
The Egyptians were decorating themselves with dye from the Henna plant well before tattoo parlors were ever a thing.
Rice Bran Powder
In ancient Japan, rice bran powder was used as a gentle and inexpensive exfoliator. It’s still used today for the same reason — it’s natural and gentle.
Native Americans used ground-up corn to exfoliate their skin, just like the Japanese used rice for the same purpose. One thing history shows loud and clear and something your esthetician always reminds you: don’t forget to exfoliate.
The Celtic women of Ireland enjoyed a relaxing dip in baths full of seaweed. The seaweed contained essential oils beneficial for soft skin.
There are still a few traditional seaweed bath spas in Ireland today. There are many seaweed-based bath products to buy online, like The Seaweed Bath Co. Whole Seaweed Detox Bath, if you can’t make it to the Emerald Isle.
Aloe, Agave and Prickly Pear
The Native Americans of the West also lived in a hot and dry place, just like the Egyptians. The aloe plant, which grows in tropical climates, is not indigenous to the United States, though it arrived almost 300 years ago. Before that, a similar plant called Agave was used to keep skin soft and rehydrate.
On the East Coast, Native Americans used the oil of the seeds from the Prickly Pear to keep hair clean, healthy, and strong.
Unsurprisingly, olive oil went a long way in ancient Greece. The Greeks used olive oil to keep their skin protected in the sunny climate. The antimicrobial power of olive oil is still well-known today. You can use it today to keep skin soft, but add a little water to your face first, so it doesn’t feel as greasy.
One beauty ingredient still beloved today is shea butter, which the people of West Africa have been harvesting from the shea butter tree and using it to moisturize skin for centuries.