From antioxidant-packed serums to peptide-laced moisturisers, skincare has come a long way from homemade soap of the yesteryears due to modern science and technology. As more new power products inspired by Nature and traditional skin-gredients pop up over the beauty counters, we’re left wondering if our ancestors deserve more credit for their cosmetic wisdom.
As frequent traveller due to job requirements and a self-confessed beauty junkie, I’ve compiled the killer tips and gems discovered from girls all over the globe. The best part is, you don’t have to travel any farther than the produce aisle of the supermarket (or perhaps your own kitchen!) to start reaping the benefits.
Here are 4 of my favourites that have been tried and tested:
EYGPT: ALOE VERA
Worshipped and prized by ancient Egyptian queens for its healing powers, the medicinal value of pure aloe vera gel was recorded as early as 2200 BC. Chinese, Ayurvedic, and Islamic medical literature all assert the wonders of aloe vera which is said to ease burn pain, reduce swelling, treat wounds, heal bruises and soothe boils.
A recent study finds that using aloe vera gel along with a retinoid acne cream was more effective for reducing acne (90 percent) vs using the acne cream alone (65 percent). Skin redness that’s often associated with vitamin A creams was also diminished.
DIY Recipe: Mash up a small handful of blueberries and mix in cold aloe vera gel for a Blueberry Aloe Mask that’s bursting with antioxidants. It serves as an invigorating treat for dull, fatigued or over (UV) exposed skin, as well as dark undereye circles.
In a Bottle: The fragrance-free The Body Shop Aloe Soothing Day Cream calms, heals, and provides lightweight hydration for sensitive or sensitized skin.
Read More: How to Deal with Acne Scars
Christopher Columbus called it the “fruit of the angels”. The papaya (or paw paw) originated in Central America, but is now well-loved worldwide for its delicious sweet taste and health benefits. What you might not have realised is its multitude of beauty pluses. The natural enzyme, papain, gently exfoliates dull dead cells and plugged pores to reveal a clearer complexion. Vitamin A boosts cell renewal and collagen regrowth to fight off sun damage and ageing.
DIY Recipe: For instant summer glow, concoct your own Fruit Enzyme Glow Mask by blending 1/2 cup of papaya with equal parts of pumpkin with an egg.
In a Bottle: Sloane Inc Fruit Enzyme Renewal dissolves away acne-causing clogs and pimple marks, while a soothing cocktail of aloe vera and thyme heals sensitive pimple-ravaged skin.
Read More: Top Myths about Adult Acne
Rice and rice water have been traditionally used by the Japanese and Chinese to maintain a porcelain, fair complexion. It contains a natural whitener and vitamin E to fend off the damaging effects of sun and free radicals while keeping skin hydrated and soft.
DIY Recipe: Our favorite Whitening Rice Mask is a breeze to make. Simply stir some honey into rice flour and slather on for a translucent and brightened complexion.
In a Bottle: Based on the signature pitera-rich rice water ferment, SKII Facial Treatment Essence remains the go-to ‘miracle water’ for radiant skin after all these years.
Read More: Your Kickass Anti-Pigmentation Guide
Besides lending curries its characteristic yellow colour and aroma, this brilliant spice has remarkable antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, age-proofing and cancer-fighting properties, thanks to compounds like curcumin.
Indian brides (and grooms) are known to smooth on a paste of turmeric and flour before the big day to imbue an all-over enviable glow. Indonesian beauties, on the other hand, prefer to polish and energise their body skin with a sensuous prenuptial lular scrub which combines all the benefits of turmeric, rice, jasmine flowers and herbs.
DIY Recipe: Add 1/2 tsp turmeric powder to 2 tsp plain yogurt and 1 tsp oatmeal. Honey (to soothe and balance dehydrated skin) or a few drops of lemon juice (for oily blemished skin) are optional. This inexpensive homemade mask is awesome for keeping breakouts and sensitivities at bay for those with light honey to darker skin tone (warning: the bright yellow spice can stain very fair skin for a few hours). Be careful not to get it on your clothes too.
– By Magdeleine Lim