5. Germany: Footbaths
almost daily in her beauty routine is a German footbath with bath salts.
“Almost every household in Germany would have a special tub specifically for soaking the feet,” says Britta. In her busy role as a wine steward, constantly in and out of the hotel’s wine cellar, she rarely sits down, and says nothing is more relaxing and restorative at the end of the day than a 15- to 20-minute foot soak with Epsom or mineral salts. She likes Foot Bath from the German brand Gehwol, which contains lavender, thyme, rosemary oil and mineral salts. She follows the soak with an exfoliating scrub with a pumice stone to remove any developing corns and calluses, then finishes off with a deliciously rich foot cream, such as one from the Gehwol line.
6. Russia: Kefir
Few of Anna Kalashnikov’s clients can believe the Russian-born aesthetician and registered holistic nutritionist is 51. One of her secrets? Each night she drinks a glass of homemade milk kefir, a fermented drink similar to yoghurt that originated centuries ago in the Caucasus Mountains.
It’s a tart brew that may take some getting used to, but if you do like it, kefir is rich in probiotic organisms, low in calories and high in calcium, protein, nutrients and vitamins (particularly B vitamins). Scientific studies have shown it also promotes healthy digestion and inhibits microbes like E. coli, salmonella and other common diarrhoea-causing bugs. “Kefir is the elixir of youth,” says Anna. “It makes your digestive system work so much better and it makes your skin glow.”
Anna makes her own by adding a starter culture of kefir grains to milk, then leaving it in a jar on her kitchen counter. In Slavic countries, she says, kefir is also used topically in a wide range of beauty treatments, including a bath soak, massaged into hair as a conditioner, as treatment
for dandruff or oily hair, used to remove makeup, or left on the face as a skin-brightening masque.
Kefir is found in health food stores, or you can try making your own by adding a starter culture of kefir grains to milk and leaving it in a covered glass jar. For beauty recipes using kefir, as well as tips on how to make it at home, visit kefir.biz/beauty.htm
7. Iran: Threading
The daughter of an Iranian ambassador, Moe learned threading from her aunts, and even practised the method for clients while working as a make-up artist in the 1990s. It’s easy to learn, she says. “Unlike waxing, it doesn’t pull and stretch the skin, so it’s great for the sensitive skin
around the eyebrows,” says Moe, who still threads for friends and family.
Another Middle Eastern hair removal tradition is body sugaring for hair removal. Unlike wax, which cannot be removed by water, body
sugar easily washes off – and it’s even edible. Want to make your own? An easy way is to mix 1 cup sugar with the juice of half a lemon and 1⁄4
cup of honey. Microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes or until the mixture is bubbling. Wait until it cools enough to comfortably touch, then spread on areas you wish to remove hair from with a clean pop-stick or blunt knife. Feeling brave? Remove with strips of cotton by pulling against the direction of hair growth.
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