Skin which is cared for, prioritized and nourished is not only beautiful but it’s comfortable too. Soft, well-treated skin has been at the top of women’s priorities for millenia. The ancient Greeks, for example, would bath in milk, oil and sea salt to soften and cleanse their skin to reach the high standard of beauty they coveted.
We can borrow these easy and affordable techniques to care for our skin in our busy modern world. You’ll be pleased to know that almost all of these techniques are cost-effective and easy to do at home. No expensive potions and creams here!
Even Cleopatra herself was thought to have used rose water in her beauty routine. Why? Because it’s antibacterial, antiseptic, softening, pH balancing, and soothes inflamed skin. Plus, it smells heavenly and makes you feel like an ancient queen each time you use it.
How to use it: choose 100% pure rose water and use it to soothe, hydrate and extra-cleanse your skin after you remove makeup and cleanse your face. Spray it on as a toner before you moisturize, and use as a refreshing spray anytime you need a little lift.
Sweet, sticky, lovely honey has been coveted as a natural beauty tool for many thousands of years, and it’s still a favored key ingredient in many beauty products. You can use 100% natural, raw honey (manuka honey is best!) as a mask, an acne treatment, and a hydrating overnight treatment. Why? Because honey is a humectant which means it draws moisture to the skin and locks it in. It’s also a powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, used for fast healing of wounds even in a medical setting.
How to use it: buy a high-quality jar of manuka honey (it’s expensive but a little bit goes a long way). Create a hydrating, skin-healing mask by combining with a little rosehip or jojoba oil and leave on the skin for 15 minutes before rinsing off. Gently dab honey on to infected skin or breakouts and leave to sink in overnight. Use honey as a hydrating lip scrub by mixing manuka honey with a little sugar or oats and scrubbing onto the lips.
Women have been using yogurt on their skin in countries such as India and Egypt (again, Cleopatra!) for thousands of years. The reason is that yogurt is filled with lactic acid which gently exfoliates the skin, removing dead, dry cells and softening the fresh skin below. Plain, fresh yogurt can help to brighten the skin and reduce lines, wrinkles and dullness.
How to use it: buy a plain yogurt with live cultures, and simply spread it onto the skin and leave for 15 minutes before rinsing off. You can also combine the yogurt with other natural, skin-loving ingredients such as olive oil and honey to create a super gentle yet powerful mask.
Oils such as argan, rosehip and olive are locked firmly in the list of the best skincare ingredients ever. Oils have been used as beauty treatments and skincare for so long, most associated with the ancient Egyptians who would use castor, moringa and olive oils to keep their skin clean, soft and youthful.
Nourishing oils which won’t clog the pores are: rosehip, argan, avocado, apricot kernel, hemp seed and sweet almond oils. Oils provide fantastic fatty acids for softness and moisture, as well as a range of vitamins such as vitamin E.
How to use it: use oils such as rosehip and argan as a moisturizer at night, layered below your usual night cream. Rub oils into dry or dehydrated parts of your skin for an in-depth moisturizing treatment. For acne, dilute tea tree oil with water and dab onto blemishes.
Sea salt contains many minerals which nourish the skin and help with cleansing, detoxing and softening. People have been using sea salt for massages, body wraps and cleansing for thousands of years. While the origins are mostly concerned with health and therapy, it was also used to cleanse and refresh the skin, and even to reduce cellulite.
How to use it: add sea salt to your bath to soothe your muscles and deep clean your pores. Mix sea salt with honey and use to scrub your skin to cleanse, soften and remove dead cells. Bring a little sea salt into the shower with you and use as an exfoliator to help to reduce cellulite on the body.
Looking back to the skincare methods of the past is not only very interesting but it’s helpful too! So many of the methods used then are still incredibly valid today.
Rose water, honey, yogurt, oils and sea salt are all incredibly accessible, affordable and easy to use. They are safe, gentle and most importantly, effective when applied to the skin for moisture, cleansing, killing bacteria and exposing bright skin beneath dry, dull cells. They are perfect ways to keep the skin soothed, comfortable, hydrated and youthful without adding synthetic chemicals and fragrances.