Before Sephora and department store counters, women around the world kept themselves beautiful on the outside they way they did on the inside: with good, uncomplicated food. Whether you’re looking to relax or desperately trying to rid yourself of dull skin, you do not have to go to the spa. There are inexpensive and effective options right in your pantry. Here are 10 food-related beauty hacks from around the world.
For this list, we made it a point to only choose items that you probably already have in your kitchen, or foods that are just one grocery trip away. So while it was so tempting to list international superfoods like African baobab, which has more calcium than two pints of milk, more vitamin C than six oranges, and more iron than red meat — all of which shows in your skin — we figured we’d leave those rarer specialties to be bottled by the beauty experts. You can eat your way to healthy skin (or avoid foods that make your hair look flat) while spending no more money than you already would on food anyway.
We found these 10 items by consulting various sources, including the fantastic blog The Global Girl, Dr. Oz, and international editions of Women’s Health magazine, and made sure we steered clear of beauty myths. Many of these hacks are quite easy and non-time consuming, but if you’re having a major beauty emergency, we recommend reading about what brides would do under pressure.
We mean it when we say you will most likely have all of these ingredients in your kitchen. We are even 100 percent sure you’ll have the one particular tool women in Mexico use for dramatic, voluminous lashes: a teaspoon! You’ve probably assumed you’ll find items like milk, a staple in hand lotions with beauty-enhancing properties that have been celebrated since ancient Egypt, on this list, but you might be surprised at what you can put on your eyes when you kick back for some me time. Hint: it’s not cucumber.
Invite your friends over or take some time to treat yourself. Your journey to natural beauty starts in your kitchen.
Egg Whites (Italy)
Before you scoff at the thought of putting mayonnaise in your hair, know that applying a hair mask of two egg whites (whipped into a frothy mousse) to your hair for 10 minutes will prevent your follicles from drying out and give them a rich, healthy Mediterranean glow. You’ll never again wonder what to do with leftover egg whites when you bake recipes that call for yolks only.
Garlic (Dominican Republic)
The process of using garlic to strengthen your nails is long and smelly, but completely worth it (and the odor will eventually lose the olfactory battle to the strong scent of nail polish). Mince garlic and add it to a bottle of clear nail polish, then let it sit for 7 to 10 days. Add to nails for a natural shine that looks excellent on its own.