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11 DIY beauty treatments from around the world

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DIY beauty may once have brought to mind streaking your hair with lemon juice on a sunny day, but there’s actually a wealth of skincare and haircare hacks out there using nothing more than the contents of your cupboards (and in some cases, your cutlery drawer).

If you know where to look, of course. Online beauty retailer hairtrade.com has compiled a list of DIY hair and skincare treatments popular in countries around the world, making use of rosemary, flour, garlic, leftover rice water and even the humble teaspoon for results as diverse as glowing skin, strong nails and curly eyelashes.

Read more: The secret to long, strong and shiny hair from an ancient Chinese village

Whether you’re after softer skin, a natural anti-dandruff solution or a way to remove nail varnish stains, find below 11 top global beauty hacks as tracked down by the website’s skin and haircare experts.



Many in Greece are known to rinse their hair with rosemary water. Rosemary is a natural conditioner, which can boost shine and prevent dry scalp, hair loss and anti-dandruff. Greek women make a herbal tea from it, then rinse their hair with the cooled-down liquid after shampooing.


A great way to strengthen brittle nails that constantly break is to use garlic on them. Women in the Dominican Republic mince fresh garlic and add it to clear nail polish. They then leave the mixture to sit for about a week and a half, before applying it to the nails. The smell is rancid, but this is known to eventually wear off, leaving your nails harder and stronger.

Lemon juice
To get rid of polish stains on your nails, the French believe that by soaking your nails in lemon juice for 10 minutes, these stains should disappear. This is a fast and easy technique that can help keep your nails healthy.

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Lemon juice can help remove stains left by stubborn nail varnish


Rice water
According to ancient Chinese herbal medicine, leftover water from cooking rice can be used as a natural facial cleanser. It is believed that the nutrients left from the water can help lift dirt and oil from the skin, while also softening it and reducing the size of pores. It is also believed that you can wash your hair with it, as this will make it grow faster.

Turmeric is not just a favourite in Indian cooking. For centuries, women have been using it for skincare as well. It is custom in India for family members of a bride to give her a turmeric face mask the day before she marries. If your skin is oily, it is recommended that you mix turmeric with yoghurt and lemon juice. If you have dry skin, mix it with coconut or olive oil. Be careful not to use more than a quarter of a teaspoon of turmeric though – the pigments can cause your skin to turn orange.

To combat tired skin, women in Chile have been known to create a face mask containing a handful of mashed-up grapes and a few tablespoons of flour. They leave this on for a few short minutes, before rinsing it off as soon as it starts to harden. They believe the skin from the grape contains important antioxidants that can help make your skin glow.

Milk and honey
In the Ancient Egyptian days, Cleopatra was said to be a big fan of milk baths. She believed the lactic acid exfoliated and moisturised the skin. She also loved adding honey to it, as honey was believed to also have hydration capabilities. Add three cups of whole milk and one cup of honey to a warm bath. Soak in it for 20 minutes then rinse for moisturised and exfoliated skin. Milk and honey can also be combined to make a moisturising face mask.

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Honey is said to rehydrate skin

Brazilian women have been known to take trips to the beach to get their favourite exfoliator – sand. The super-fine texture and properties of sand make it a perfect way to get rid of dead skin cells. Some women believe exfoliating near the water’s edge makes the sand a lot softer and cleaner.


If you’re behind on sleep or suffering from allergies, your eyes will no doubt be a little puffy. In Spain, they believe a way to revive tired eyes is by resting thin potato slices on them for 10 minutes. This is intended to lighten the skin around your eyes.

Women in Mexico use the back of a teaspoon as an eyelash curler and mascara primer. To do this, hold the back of the spoon behind your lashes and use your thumb to press the hairs against the spoon. Leave for a few second before applying mascara to hold the shape.


Argan oil
Now famed, Argan oil is originally from Morocco and has several different uses. It makes for an excellent moisturiser, lotion or bath oil due to its hydrating properties. Additionally, if you suffer from dry hair or dry skin, Argan oil can sort this – just add a few drops to the affected area morning or night. It’s also great to use as a conditioner, can tame flyaway hairs and can make hair easier to brush and style. It can do all of this as well as bringing out your hair’s natural shine.

Images: iStock



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