DIY Beauty Secrets from Around the World

by Sonja on May 4, 2009

I’ve always been fascinated with beauty treatments you can whip up yourself. When I was growing up, my mom would give herself a facial with a homemade mask made of raw egg yolks to soften and moisturize her skin. She had the softest, most beautiful skin – and still does. Personally, I love to make soothing, fragrant mixes of sea salt, baking soda, and essential oils for my bath.

In Spain, they apply thin slices of potato on their eyes to lighten the skin and fade dark circles.

And now there are lots and lots of DIY beauty recipes I want to try, because I’ve been reading Passport to Beauty, a brilliant book by celebrity makeup artist and gorgeous beauty expert Shalini Vadhera. Her book is a travel guide for beauty. As someone who has traveled all over the world, Shalini shares fascinating secrets she’s learned from women from just about everywhere, including Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America, and Australia.

It’s a veritable international beauty cookbook with lots of simple, easy-to-make recipes for things like face masks and scrubs. If you want to learn how to make your own natural beauty treatments and learn about beauty around the world, definitely pick up a copy of this book.

Secrets from Around the World

Here are just a few of beauty tips and tricks Shalini shares in Passport to Beauty.

  • Under Eye Circles. In Spain, they apply thin slices of potato on their eyes for ten minutes to lighten the skin and fade dark circles after a night of partying.
  • Reduce Puffiness. Scandinavian women banish puffiness with 15 to 20 splashes of ice-cold spring mineral water.
  • Softer, More Youthful Skin. In France, they apply freshly cut and mashed grapes to make skin softer and more youthful, because grapes contain potent antioxidants and have moisturizing benefits.
  • Instant Lip Conditioner and Gloss. Italian women rub olive oil on their lips to condition lips and add shine.
  • Soothe Irritated Skin. Greek women massage olive oil onto their skin to soften dry, irritated skin and to treat sunburns.
  • Get Rid of Stretchmarks. In Asia, women use white camellia nut oil to moisturize, condition, nourish, and soften skin. Shalini shares that she knows a few celebrities who swear by this oil for combating stretch marks while pregnant. Women also use it to promote hair growth, treat burns, and strengthen nails.
  • A Cleansing Jumpstart. The women of Zimbabwe drink a cup of hot tea with lemon at the beginning of the day to cleanse the system and jumpstart the metabolism.
  • Strong, Shiny Hair. In India, women massage coconut oil into their hair and scalp once a week to strengthen hair, promote growth, help with split ends, and make hair shiny.
  • Dandruff Fighter. To get rid of dandruff, Australians add a few drops of eucalyptus or tea tree oil to shampoo.

Check out this video of Shalini on The View to see her share some easy beauty recipes that are in this book.

Next Time

Come back for my next post to learn more about Shalini and how she incorporates international beauty secrets into her Global Goddess makeup and skin care line.

Do Tell

What are your DIY beauty secrets? In this economy, are you opting more for DIY beauty? Do tell.

P.S. Check out our regularly updated Beauty Resources page for some amazing beauty deals from companies like,, and Sephora.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 szaza May 4, 2009 at 6:56 am

I love this kind of stuff! Thank you for the post.

I use extra virgin olive oil as a facial moisturiser and I’ll occasionally make a moisturising face mask out of mashed avocado and honey. It makes your skin super soft. I’ve also made a mask out of honey and oatmeal that softens and exfoliates.

This isn’t exactly a beauty secret, but in the wintertime, to keep colds away, I’ll simmer some grated ginger root to make a spicy tea, add in the juice of one lemon, a pinch of cayenne and a teaspoon of honey. It’s not only tasty, but it keeps you feeling warm and cold-free.


2 Sonja May 4, 2009 at 10:07 am

❤ szaza, thanks! I would never have thought of using olive oil on my face (or my body for that matter, really). That’s so cool. The masks sound scrumptious. Your tea also sounds great. I really need to start my days with a tea with fresh lemon for the detox and metabolism benefits.


3 BeautyTalk May 4, 2009 at 10:37 am

Very interesting post! While reading I was trying to think of DIY recipes popular with slavic women… I think lots of natural masks are very international… However slavic women don’t usually use oil on their skin… they tend to use fruit (especially berries in summer), vegetables (sometimes cooked) and dairy products like yoghurt, quark, milk…


4 Sonja May 4, 2009 at 11:06 am

❤ BeautyTalk, thank you! Natural masks are definitely used all around the world but it’s interesting to see how they vary in different parts of the world. That’s interesting that Slavik women tend to avoid oils and sometimes use cooked vegetables. What do they do with cooked veggies?


5 pam munro May 4, 2009 at 1:25 pm

Oh, there are so MANY diy frugal beauty tips (I hve a small collection of bks on the topic) - here are a few I like:
Put baking soda in with your shampoo in the first application - it will help your scalp & rid your hair of product buildup.
Have dandruff? Boil eculyptus buttons to make a medicinal rinse for your scalp.
A dab of witch hazel under your eyecream will boost its potency (it’s a common ingredient in higher priced brands.)
Mayo is supposed to be a remedy for dry hair and scalp.
You can touch up greying sections of hair (at temples, etc.) with strong black coffee. (not for blondes!)
Regular hydrogen peroxide on DIRTY hair, kept on for 15-20 minutes before washing out will provide reddish streaks to hair.
Camomille tea is said to be a good rinse for blonde hair.
Cranberry juice has been used as a rinse for red hair.
Hydrogen peroxide is also a gentle drying agent for pimples and skin eruptiong.
And you can use 1/2 hydrogen peroxide + 1/2 water for a mouthwash.
Salt + baking soda can be used as toothpowder.
Apply whipped eggwhites to face for a firming mask.
Throw oatmeal in your bath if you have problems with itchy skin.
(You can put it in a mesh bag to make clean up easier!)

More daily hints at for beauty & thrift.


6 Sweet Fuzz May 4, 2009 at 2:16 pm

I love stuff like this. My beauty secrets are massaging jojoba oil on my face before I wash it to loosen up dirt in my pores and washing my face with honey which leaves my skin super soft.


7 Steph May 4, 2009 at 7:04 pm

wow, i have all of these things at home! Really helpful post. :D


8 Chic Looks May 5, 2009 at 5:17 am

ohhhhh I love these, homemade beauty remedies are my favourite, ive been completely natural for some months now, you always come up wth great remedies, ive been doing the oil cleansing method you once mentioned for a few months now and its works great its also cheap, perfection.

I also use mayo mask for my hair once a week as well, its a bit like magic for dry it works great.

I use olive oil for my skin too. great post :)


9 deryik May 6, 2009 at 2:22 am

apricot/ kernel oil is a wonder to soften the skin in case yours is very dry. olive oil doesnt only soften but also clean the skin deeply, as used in soaps. it makes an obvious difference on skin to use %100 olive oil soaps, it doesnt irritate or dry up the skin. and tomatoes are also great for facials.

yoghurt masks are good for oily skin, really balancing the ph level and detoxing.

i used to make a short steam-bath (only for my face) with cammomile, dried oregano and dried mint in hot water to open up pores before cleansing. it works perfectly fine.

oh btw, with cammomile tea on hair, if you are gonna boil the dried plant yourself, make sure you clean out all the leaves so that your hair doesnt turn green. been there done that :)


10 Sonja May 6, 2009 at 10:36 am

❤ pam munro, thanks for all the great tips! I’m gonna have to try the coffee as a hair dye!
❤ Sweet Fuzz, thanks for the oil tip. I love oil cleansers but hadn’t thought to simply use oil alone.
❤ Steph, thanks! Have fun!
❤ Chic Looks, thanks! That’s great that you’re using so many natural remedies to beautify. Very cool.
❤ deryik, I need to try the yogurt mask for sure. I love the herbs you add to the facial steam. Very nice. And that’s so funny about the chamomile tea on blond hair. That would have never occurred to me. Thanks for the tips!


11 Laura May 11, 2009 at 9:54 am

This is great, I love finding things like this that you can do at home. I’ll be sure to give some of these a try!


12 Sonja May 11, 2009 at 10:35 am

❤ Thanks, Laura! Would love to know how they work out for you!


13 nico May 14, 2009 at 6:32 pm

i use brown sugar mixed with milk as a scrub once to twice a week on my face, followed by a mask of whole milk yogurt. as well as coconut oil on my hands, feet, knees and elbows…and once a week i do either a mask of aspirin mixed with aloe vera or a mask of aztec clay with apple cider vinegar.


14 Sonja May 15, 2009 at 3:45 pm

❤ Wow, nico, your DIY-ness is inspiring! Thanks for sharing!


15 capitolagirl May 17, 2009 at 9:52 am

Neat tips, I like the idea about coconut oil. My new morning treat is homemade spa water — water with slices of cucumber and oranges with a splash of rose water. MMMmmm good :)


16 Sonja May 17, 2009 at 10:15 am

❤ capitolagirl, thanks! Your spa water sounds fabulous!


17 Prooldtroup May 20, 2009 at 3:30 pm

Great website.. i will visit once more:D


18 Sonja May 21, 2009 at 12:48 pm

❤ Prooldtroup, thanks!!


19 Aloe Vera Juice September 24, 2009 at 10:42 am

Great post Sonja. I love Aloe vera and use it everyday.


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