Beauty products today are packed with natural ingredients, but do you know how these ingredients were used in the past? Beautiful women of prestige such as Cleopatra and Queen Anne of England, to name a few, used herbal extracts and plant essences in all aspects of their lives to benefit mind, body, and soul.
A walk through the history of beauty product ingredients:
Nefertiti and Cleopatra are legendary for their natural and herbal beauty secrets. Both bathed in milk to beautify their skin because the glycolic acid in the milk had a beneficial effect on wrinkles. They also credited aloe as one of their most important beauty aids. Today milk-based products for the bath and shower are used for everything from cleansing to moisturizing to masking. Aloe is used in beauty products to keep skin soft, repair damaged hair and soothe sunburn. Aloe has a pH factor of 4.5 which makes it ideal in hair conditioning and shampoo products.
Queen Anne of England used a honey and oil concoction to keep her long hair lustrous, thick, and shiny. Hippocrates, the Greek physician, created honey-based cures for skin disorders. Today beauty companies are increasingly using honey in cosmetics and skin care products because it is a natural humectant, meaning it has properties that enable it to attract and preserve moisture. Honey is packed with antioxidant properties and is used to protect the skin from the damage of UV rays.
The ancient Greeks used olive oil as a beauty aid to soften and moisten the skin and to maintain a healthy scalp and shiny hair. In the Mediterranean olive oil was used to maintain skin and muscle suppleness, and soothe the burning and drying effects of sun and water. Today olive oil is used in soaps, lotions, and hair care products because it prevents the loss of natural moisture.
Japanese women washed their skin in green tea for silky-smooth skin and used it as a conditioner on the hair. Today, green tea is used in skin care products. The pH of green tea is quite close to skin’s own pH level, making green tea one of the best ingredients in lotions, bath oils, and skin care products.
Native Americans made a paste out of rose petals to soften and heal skin. Egyptians macerated fresh roses in hot fat to produce fragrant pomades. Today rose is used in beauty products to add moisture, soften skin, and as a fragrance.
Queen Nephritis from Cairo used lavender for cleansing the pores of her skin. Indian women pampered their feet with lavender. Today lavender is used in beauty products as an antiseptic and as a fragrance. Lavender essential oil is one of the best natural products to heal skin, especially burns.
Egyptians created beauty treatments with lemon. Today lemon is added to cosmetics because it is high in natural fruit acids, and rejuvenates skin naturally. Lemons have the highest percentage of Vitamin C of all the fruits, which makes it one of the best beauty products to lighten, exfoliate, and tone skin.
The Japanese wore pomanders of mint leaves because of their refreshing scent. In the Middle Ages mint was used to whiten teeth. Today mint is used as an antiseptic for its cooling and soothing properties.
Recipes for natural and herbal beauty care have been around for centuries, healing and beautifying the skin and body—confirming that natural beauty is about feeding your soul and skin.