4 Ancient Beauty Practices You Should Try—They Really Work

If all the legends hold true, Cleopatra must have ruled ancient Egypt from her bathtub. Various reports say that she enhanced her renowned beauty by bathing in milk and rose petals, red wine, or a mix of olive oil, milk and honey. Surprisingly, modern science suggests that she was onto something. Here are 4 age-old beauty rituals that are still worth performing.

Following a daily water ritual. The ancient Romans elevated their daily baths to a sophisticated regimen. The communal public baths of Rome were a combination of gym, spa and social club where people spent time socializing as they moved through a series of cold, warm, hot and cool areas often followed by a massage. The lesson for us today? Relax and de-stress during your cleansing routines. And even if we can no longer easily combine bathing and socializing, it’s important to spend regular time enjoying friends’ company—it’s good for your mental and physical health.
Exfoliating after a bath or massage. You may not want to use a dull metal blade to scrape your body as the ancient Romans did, but a vigorous rub-down with a textured cloth once a week keeps skin looking healthier, while stimulating circulation and encouraging fresh cell growth. The Japanese, who still follow the ancient communal-bathing tradition at hot-spring spas called onsen, use a special long, narrow nylon-polyester bath cloth for this purpose before entering the tubs to soak and relax.
Applying oils and unguents. Beauty aficionados haven’t used the unlovely word “unguent” for the last 500 years or so, but that doesn’t mean that fragrant oils and liquid ointments (aka unguents) aren’t still as effective as they were in Greek and Roman times for soothing and perfuming the skin and smoothing and nourishing the hair. In addition to mixing olive oil in her milk baths, Cleopatra also reputedly used almond oil—a better choice, since it is lighter and more easily absorbed. You might want to consider trying a modern favorite like argan oil.
Using bee products. The ancient Greeks were the first to document honey’s medicinal use to protect and heal wounds. As a beauty treatment, honey has been used for eons to moisturize and strengthen skin and hair in the bath or as a mask. Royal jelly, the food that honeybees reserve for their queen, has historically been associated with longevity and vitality. This nutrient-dense substance, which contains a complex mix of amino acids, lipids, minerals and vitamins, is now found in JAFRA Royal Jelly products. Royal jelly’s royalactin is the protein that seems to have the most positive effects on skin health.

Take our Beauty Rituals Quiz here to learn more ancient secrets!
Anne M. Russell is a writer and editor living in Los Angeles. She is the former editor in chief of VIVmag, previously having served as editor in chief of Shape. Prior to that, she was the editorial director of Fox Television’s Health Network, where she oversaw the Network’s website as well as on-air content. https://www.linkedin.com/in/annemrussell

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