What all have I put on my face?

By Veronica Laishram

Indian Ayurveda

While I was growing up, I still remember that it used to take an entire village to feed me a glass of milk. Well drinking milk was a task, but I decided to retain all its goodness locked into my skin. I waited for the milkman to arrive so that I could scrape out all the milk foam out of the container and put it on my face. My skin always felt nice and smooth after application.

Soon fruits found its way on to my face (well it finds its way into my stomach too…I like eating lots of fruits). After breakfast, I would gently rub the last few leftover pieces of papaya, watermelon, cucumber and slices of tomatoes, potato, aloe Vera and even washed my face with tender coconut water and waited for the natural extracts to do its magic.

In India many kitchen ingredients pertaining to Ayurveda, still play an important role in our daily beauty regime. Turmeric, besan, masoor dal, multani mitti (fuller’s earth) neem, sandalwood and tulsi powder are the most common ones and accessible. But this was only me, trying to get the best from the natural extracts present in a normal household kitchen. Sooner, I realized that kitchen was not the limit.

Women since the ancient times have used many bold ingredients in their daily beauty regime. Every country, every civilization had its own beauty standards and had incorporated the best suited natural ingredients for themselves.

Some were interesting and I personally wanted to try them on. But few raised my brows and I realized that I was better off without them. And why I say so? For that, lets do a small beauty skin care history about what and to which extent women have gone to achieve the glow on their faces.

 

LAND OF PYRAMIDS

On the banks of river Nile, the first Egyptian face masks were made out of clay. It is said that Cleopatra applied a dead sea mud face mask twice a week to cleanse her skin. Additionally, she also applied egg whites to tighten pores and give her skin a youthful look.  Some face masks used were also made (rather questionably) out of crocodile dung, as it purportedly improved the appearance of skin.

 

THE SILK ROUTE

 

Along the silk route in ancient China face masks included popular ingredients like ground pearl powder, ground mung beans, crushed tea leaves, rice water and mint leaves. Carefully chosen ingredients would be ground into a paste and applied all over skin to protect it against dark spots, wrinkles, and other signs of ageing.

 

Ancient Rome

Roman women regularly used face masks as part of their beauty routine. Oils, honey, vinegar, basil juice and goose fat were popular ingredients. They also used some rather exotic ingredients such as placentas or stools of animals like kingfishers and cows.

 

Europe

In pursuit of the most radiant and fair skin, women in the middle ages in Europe, followed some creative and dangerous ways to make their skin look paler. Some even used blood-sucking leeches to achieve an appearance of somebody on the verge of fainting. Others resorted to applying the blood of calves or hares since they believed that these kinds of treatments were supposed to rejuvenate the skin and remove freckles.

The pale look continued to be popular well into the times of Elizabeth I. Face masks containing lead and mercury were incredibly popular because they so effectively bleached skin – that was, they were popular until the connection between these products and heavy metal poisoning was made and they were banned.

Well thanks to modern day technology one doesn’t have to bear so much of pain to achieve the desired skin.

 

 The K beauty pop up

The rage of sheet masks awakened in Korea have made skincare regime easier. Sheet masks are being absolutely revered as the height of skincare technology – a sheet of cotton- based fiber is soaked in an essence formulated with skin-loving ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. It beautifully hydrates your skin and leaves your skin plump and soft.

It’s like a mini facial kit which one could use twice a week without having to pay much. Even if one doesn’t follow the entire 10 step K beauty skincare regime, putting a sheet mask after face wash is the easiest way to pamper your skin and then, putting a moisturizer afterwards. It’s application not only makes your makeup on your face look flawless, but also enhances your skin by making it look more supple, pump and hydrated. With many of its kind present in the market, skincare treatment has become easier and cheaper as they cost around Rs150 to Rs 200 per sheet. Due its affordability and instant results sheet masks have found an important space in our day today life.

Making my life easier and less messy sheet masks have found a special place in my vanity and heart. Pre party and post hangover, it comes very handy. Achieving a healthy and a glowing skin is that easy. It’s a no pain and so much to gain deal for me.

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