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Over the millennia, isolated human populations found various ways to keep their hair, nails, and skin in good shape using simple ingredients from the environments around them. Now, with increasing globalization, we have access to a whole world's worth of accumulated beauty knowledge. Keep reading to check out these 10 cool recipes and secret ingredients from spots around the globe.
China: Camellia oil Worried about stretch marks? Camellia oil is one of the most common cooking oils in southern China, but it's also renowned for its ability to prevent stretch marks and discoloration.
Mexico: Tepezcohuite The bark of this tree has tons of astringent tannins in it, making it great for preventing infections and keeping scars from forming.
The Dominican Republic: Garlic Here's a smart secret from the DR for strong, healthy nails: chop up some garlic, throw it in a bottle of top coat, and then, after letting it soak for about a week, start using it as normal. It makes your nails stronger and also has antifungal and antimicrobial properties.
India: Neem Want glossy, strong hair? A weekly head massage with neem and coconut oil is Indian women's go-to treatment for gorgeous hair and a healthy scalp. Recipes for the combination have a long history in Ayurvedic medicine.
Japan: Sake Want an easy skin softener? Try a sake bath. Sake is high in kojic acid and enzymes that soften skin and help reduce hyper-pigmentation.
New Zealand: Manuka honey People have been using honey for its antimicrobial properties (and its deliciousness) since prehistoric times. The Kiwi type of honey, however, is even better as an antibacterial and antimicrobial than the regular kind, and it's even used in poultices to protect wounds.
Ghana: Black soap This great Ghanian soap is legendary for its gentle cleansing properties and skin-softening abilities. It's made with plantain skins, which have loads of vitamins A and E, and moisturizing shea butter. What you get is a cleanser that removes dirt and oil but doesn't strip skin of any natural moisture.
France: Milk Milk is full of gentle lactic acid, which exfoliates and softens without the harshness of stronger acid types. Pour some fresh whole milk or cream into your bath along with honey or lavender to get a gorgeous glow.
Morocco: Argan oil This antioxidant-packed oil is great for hair and skin, and it absorbs much more easily than common skin oils like apricot and avocado.
The Amazon: Passion flower oil Passion flower oil, aka maracuja, has been used in the Amazon for thousands of years because of its anti-inflammatory abilities, but it's also high in fatty acids and vitamin C.