Time-tested beauty tips are passed on by generations of Russian women. They are mainly simple solutions that can be done at home to always look your best. Of course, they are not salon-level procedures, but will save you a ruble and can easily become a part of your weekly beauty routine.
All about the herbs
Herbs are easy to come by in Russia. They are fairly cheap and a wide selection are available in any pharmacy. They are used to treat a number of health problems and are frequently prescribed by doctors. But even for a healthy person, these herbs can be put to good use. Dabbing a thin cloth in a herb decoction can help dry or oily skin. Herbs are used in mixtures for hair masks and can just simply be boiled and drunk to clear out toxins. The trick here is not to overdo it. Use herbs in moderation and wisely. As with anything in excessive amounts, too many herbs can cause more issues than bring benefits.
Extensive hair care
Long, thick hair was considered a symbol of beauty for centuries. Not so much now as long braids are giving way to more convenient hairstyles, but thick and luscious hair is still very much in fashion. There is a multitude of hair care options out there and most of them are easy to make with a few simple ingredients. A popular product for hair growth and strength is mustard. A simple homemade shampoo of a herb mix – as mentioned above herbs are cheap and easily available in pharmacies – and a few spoons of mustard powder. Now this homemade shampoo won’t be as fragrant as commercial shampoos, nor will it do the cleaning job, but will bring all the goodness of natural products. Just make sure to rinse thoroughly.
Getting some steam
Before the age of showers there were only a few ways to stay clean, and on top of the list were Russian steam rooms called banyas, which are similar to saunas. Thankfully we’re now passed the times when banyas were the only method of maintaining hygiene, but they remain just as popular today for their beauty benefits. Apart from having substantial benefits for the health, sitting in a hot steam room opens up the skin pores and sweats out toxins. With some exfoliation on top, your skin feels extremely soft and tender afterwards.
Natural face masks
A lot of Russia’s beauty recipes are homemade. Basically because throughout the pre-revolution ages cosmetics were not widely available, and all through the 20th century there was little or no access to modern cosmetic products. Women still wanted to look beautiful and naturally like a little pampering. There are a number of time-tested recipes. One for the summertime is a strawberry mask: just pick a strawberry from the garden, bite the tip off and rub the rest around the face. Perhaps not the most attractive look, so it’s better to do these procedures in private.
One more important step in skincare is exfoliation. Once again, there are many commercial options available in shops with exotic ingredients and delightful flavours. But if you want to be in control of what goes into your scrub, these can again be made from scratch at home. A very simple solution is a scrub made of salt. All you will need is your ordinary household salt (or sea salt if available) grated into small particles. The larger ones can be a little painful on the skin. Then add a little olive oil to the concoction and use as any other scrub, rubbing the skin with a little bit of pressure. Make sure to avoid cuts and grazes as it may cause a bit of discomfort.
Hot body wraps
When it comes to losing weight, all sorts of measures are employed to achieve results as fast as possible. Body wraps have become a popular activity at home, especially since the procedure at a spa salon can be quite pricey. One of the common ingredients for wraps is honey. It helps speed up your body’s metabolism and to get rid of toxins faster, or so they say. Making it a hot body wrap does not mean heating up the honey. All you need to do is apply honey to problematic area (typically tummy or thighs), cover it in insulating layers of cling wrap and get under a warm blanket for up to 30 minutes, waiting for the heat to build up. This procedure needs to be consistent to show results, so get ready for at least 10 body wraps of sticky goodness.
Everyday nail care
Taking care of your nails is a very important part of the beauty ritual. Whereas going to nail salons takes time and the cost will add up with regular visits, doing some simple procedures everyday will help preserve healthy and beautiful nails. A simple solution is making nail baths with essential oils, such as olive, buckthorn, or linseed oil. This will help strengthen the nails and soften the skin around them. Another easy trick is rubbing your nails with a slice of lemon for a few minutes, a quick treatment to whiten the nails and give them a shiny coating.