Stylist tracked down the world’s leading beauty editors to learn about the £1 mascara Mexicans can’t get enough of and why Canadians use maple syrup as a facemask.
India: Parizaad Khan, 31
Parizaad is the beauty editor of Vogue India. India’s traditional beauty rituals, such as brow threading and ayuverdic ingredients in skincare, have long been embraced by the West but as Parizaad explains, Indian women are now borrowing from Western techniques.
“For centuries, Indian beauty centred on big, almond-shaped eyes and a curvy, hourglass figure. But for many Indian women, beauty begins and ends with hair. Lustrous and healthy; waist-length, dark hair is the Indian woman’s badge of femininity and desirability.
We have at-home hair rituals, where a visiting ‘maalishwali’ massage therapist oils the scalp with pure coconut, almond or sesame oils then massages it in, increasing blood circulation to boost hair growth. We also get regular blow-drys.
It’s rare for an Indian woman to perform treatments herself; all our beauty treatments mostly happen in ‘parlours’. Indian women are obsessed with getting rid of body hair; waxing is an essential part of our routine – the Brazilian is really popular at the moment – and though laser hair removal is growing, most women opt for sugar-based wax. When it comes to make-up, just try to separate an Indian woman from her black kohl pencil. For us, eyeliner is the easiest way to look made-up. Because smoky eyes were always the focus of our make-up, nude lipsticks were a must-have but recently bright colours have become more enticing, so heavy eyes are being swapped for bright lips – pops of colour in coral and tangerine.
Beauty in India is at a very exciting stage – ditching our trusted henna hair dye for glossy golden highlights – we’re embracing new products and technology from the West while searching for updated ways to stay true to India’s rich beauty traditions.”
Mexico: Beatriz Portuguez, 34
Beatriz has been the beauty editor of Marie Claire Mexico and Latin America for three years. She is a skincare addict and has tried every brightening product available – both in Mexico and northern America – and at last count had 12 fuchsia lipsticks in her bag.
“Try and spot a Mexican woman without perfect hair and make-up – you’ll have a hard time. We love our trusted brands. Mascaras de Pestañas Rosita, a mascara made with oil from the seeds of the mamey fruit, has a cult following; it’s an extremely black formulation and we swear the oil boosts lash growth. It’s 24 pesos (about £1) and Mexico’s bestselling mascara.
We also use lots of herbal and botanical extracts. Almond oil prevents stretch marks, coconut oil removes make-up and we heat aloe vera sap until it’s liquid then apply it on sunburn – it’s so reparative. Women pick this up from their mothers.
We obsess over pigmentation. I call us the decaff version of Asian women who are also obsessed with that subject. Our skin loves the sun but sadly not the effect that the UV rays have on it. Around the age of 30 our skintone starts to look uneven. This is why brightening products are a must-have – every Mexican woman has tried a brightening or illuminating treatment – and pretty much every woman makes a date with a dermatologist to address it. I use Shiseido’s White Lucent range to reduce dark spots and a sunblock daily.
Salma Hayek represents our beauty best: tanned skin, thick, dark hair and a beautiful curvy figure. But although she may be the common denominator, Mexican women come in all shapes and sizes – many are pale skinned, blue-eyed and blonde. There’s a perception that we are all beautifully curvy but in reality, we have the second highest obesity rate in the world. Women in their 20s are body-conscious though and exercise classes – salsa, samba and yoga – are popular with them.”
Canada: Vanessa Craft, 37
Vanessa has been the beauty director of Elle Canada for two years. A die-hard beauty addict on first-name terms with both models and make-up artists, there is nothing she doesn’t know about beauty. She’s fiercely championing a bright bold lip and chic nude nails for spring.
“As stereotypical as it sounds from a Canadian, our beauty concerns are driven by the environment. It gets crazy cold here, which means dry, flaky skin and hair conditions, but it also gets super-hot in the summer.
As a result, we love anything containing argan oil that we can smother on our hair or repair wind burnt or dry skin. Ingredients wise, fruit stem cells are big news right now and, true to their Canadian spirit, B Kamins harness the antioxidant powers of our ubiquitous maple syrup to hydrate and brighten.
Effortless beauty is the ideal. No ‘try-hard’ looks. That’s not to say you can’t roll with graphic blue eyeliner or an edgy buzz cut – everyone in our office is working the pastel hair trend, from lavender streaks to delicate pink ombres and half-moon manis (reverse French) are all over the place – but the true standard is to look naturally gorgeous like you just woke up that way. Thick, glossy hair, beautiful skin and don’t-care-cool: that’s what we want.
We spend more per person on beauty products than our American counterparts ($212 per person to their $171). Our cities are full of a huge variety of ethnicities. We have giant Asian supermarkets (where we first spotted the BB cream trend years ago), and tons of West Indian hair shops to pick up hair oils.
The smaller, yet diverse Canadian market is often used as a ‘tester’ for brands before they launch in the States, too. Mac, Ojon, Bite Beauty, and the infamous Moroccan Oil were all born in Canada – Joe Fresh is the latest make-up brand on our lips – and though we’ll elbow an old lady out of the way to get our Chanel or La Prairie eye creams, we are very loyal to homegrown brands.”
South Korea: Okja Chung , 3 8
Okja has been the beauty editor of SURE Korea for four years. If you want someone to help you get your skincare routine sorted, she has a wealth of knowledge, spending no less than 20 minutes a day cleansing, toning and moisturising. She is also an oracle on anti-ageing.
“Our beauty ethos centres around youth; women’s beauty concerns are skin dehydration, wrinkles and discolouration. We strive for a flawless complexion through our obsession with skincare. Seoul is one of the driest cities in the world and leaves skin withered so Korean women are meticulous when it comes to moisturising; we take it very seriously.
After cleansing, I apply a toner or emulsion, then a moisturising essence (a very concentrated formula to tackle dark spots or wrinkles) and 5-10 minutes later I finish with a hydrating cream (such as Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream or Su:m 37 Day Cream) and SPF.
During the day most women ‘mist’ their faces to stem dehydration. Twice a week I apply a face mask and for added moisture I’ve started taking innerB hyaluronic acid capsules. It’s been a decade since BB creams launched here. CC creams emerged more recently but our attitude is they’re pretty similar to a BB.
This year’s runaway success is undoubtedly Hera UV Mist Cushion SPF 50+/PA+++. There were waiting lists. It looks like a foundation compact but has an emulsion-like texture formulated to hydrate, cool skin down by two degrees and has an SPF.
For middle-aged women botox is common but it costs up to £750 per treatment so women in their 20s and 30s tend to stick to ‘petit-surgery’; fillers (strategically placed to alter nose shape or plump cheeks) and laser treatments (IPL, Polaris and Fraxel) to brighten, tighten and tackle discoloration.”