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Beauty Treatments from Around the World
Written by Cadi Jordan   


photo of woman from different area of the world

Beauty treatments come in many different forms, especially when it comes to traveling the world. Some of these treatments may seem mysterious and a bit odd, but nonetheless they have their purposes. Most of these treatments make use of the native plants and materials that are found in each country and have been around for centuries. Some of the methods are so popular they have caught on in other areas of the world or are added to beauty products. Here I share with you a journey around the world in the land of beauty treatments.


Vietnam, Japan and Asia - Many have heard of the fish that eat the dead skin off your feet. This is a beauty ritual and treatment that is done in many Asian countries. Individuals put their feet in the water and small fish nibble the dead skin off leaving the new and clean skin underneath. This beauty treatment has been featured on TV shows including Oprah, several news shows, and most recently on The Bachelor.


photo of woman from different area of the world

Japan is also known for their use of nori, which is seaweed. Nori contains iodine, which is something that is consumed internally and used in vitamins that give Japanese women the long lustrous locks that we often see. The Japanese have also become well known for bird dropping facial masks to help individuals remove skin from their face. The mask of the nightingale containing nightingale droppings is very well known in Japan and may be found at many beauty salons throughout the region. I’m not sure you could get me to try this one!


If you prefer, the Japanese have added a red wine pool to a local resort menu. It can reverse the signs of sun damage and firm the skin, so they claim. After all, grapes are also an antioxidant! A giant bottle keeps the pool refreshed throughout the day.

Japan is also known for the fire facial. Towels are soaked in alcohol and their homemade concoctions, applied to the body and then set on fire. Or you may choose to keep your youthful skin with a 24-karat gold facial treatment Claims are that it will boost cell renewal and is also an antioxidant!


photo of woman from different area of the world

Russia has an interesting spa treatment where individuals hit their skin with dried branches from the white birch, oak or eucalyptus trees. This is said to stimulate the circulatory system and is followed by a sauna and massage. The treatment dates back to the early 1900’s.


Much like the Russians, Europe, Ukraine and Macedonia use banyas that exceed 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Birch branches are used to increase sweat and circulation. This is a longstanding tradition among European Jews. The use of felt hats is also part of this beauty treatment to protect the head from the intense heat. Really?

The Chinese first adopted hot stone massage as therapy. This is something that gave relief to individuals suffering from a variety of maladies and has been incorporated in spas throughout the world. Those who have used these treatments, including the Hawaiians and the native Americans, have sworn about the relaxing effects of hot stone massage for years. Hot stones are placed on various pressure points on the body for a relaxing effect and treatments now incorporate the use of cold stones for circulatory benefits as well.

Chilean women use the antioxidants in red grapes as a beauty treatment that gives antioxidant support to the skin. Specifically it is the properties of the red grapes that are used for maximum results. Chilean’s make a paste of red grapes along with two tablespoons of flour and apply it to the face. Today in our western culture, the antioxidant properties of red grapes are found in many main stream skincare lines.


photo of woman from different area of the world

Italy has long used olive oil and yogurt applied to the hair and thoroughly washed out to give hair a beautiful sheen and shine. Olive oil as a conditioner is used by many Mediterranean cultures and seems to be something has been giving a sheen to women’s hair for years.

Stimulate your metabolism and boost immunity the Italian way. This treatment consists of being wrapped in hay and soaking in a hot water bed. And we thought hay was for horses!

In the Dominican Republic, the use of garlic is something well known to keep nails strong. The secret is to chop up some garlic and let it stew for a few days. Then add the garlic juice to a bottle of clear nail polish and have a polish that will keep nails strong and healthy for days and weeks to come. I can’t imagine the smell!

Swedish women attribute their healthy and glowing skin to consumption of plenty of healthy antioxidant-bearing fish and berries. The berries are full of antioxidants and can help to bring a healthy glow to skin all year round. Many people admire the fresh faces and the glowing skin of the Swedes who also seem to have the most beautiful skin. The Swedes, interestingly enough, also use saunas that are used to rid the body of toxins. The heat gets down to the core and sweating brings out the toxins. To get the effect of a sauna at home, individuals recommend using a handful of rock salts, adding a dash of olive oil and approximately 10 drops of eucalyptus oil. This mixture can be rubbed all over your body and then finish with cold water. This is one way you can mimic the effects of a Swedish sauna at home. The Swedes are also famous for their Swedish or deep tissue massage technique that is found in spas, wellness centers and health clubs all over the world.

Women in France are known to take meticulous care of their skin all year long, which means many facials. Mashed cherries and pomegranate seeds are used for at-home facial treatments that began in ancient times. Again, these are naturally derived from foods that are known to be high in antioxidants.

In Greece, women eat a maritime diet that is high in omega 3 oils. Their diet nourishes the skin and makes the skin less likely to look dried out. They also use effective sunscreens to protect them from the damaging rays of the sun. These are some of the things they use as part of their beauty rituals. They also say that their high use of olive oil keeps their skin smooth and less likely to show wrinkles.

Ayurveda is from India and is an ancient philosophy of living based on your body constitution, or what they call your dosha. Many different herbs, oils and plants are used for a variety of health-based treatments based on what your body needs. Ayurveda has been implemented in spa treatments throughout North America.

Australia is famous for it’s paw paw treatment made from the paw paw bush, which is a great treatment that can be used to heal sunburn, rashes and cracked lips. It is one that has been used for centuries and is a staple in many Australian creams, lotions and gels. It allows individuals to use natural ingredients to heal skin issues and blemishes. Another secret of the Aussies is to use yarrow root. Yarrow root can prevent stretch marks and has many moisturizing and hydrating properties. It is a used as an anti-inflammatory, which can help to calm the skin of facial breakouts, redness or other issues that may be affecting it.

The use of milk baths in Egypt has been around since the time of Cleopatra. They are said to make the skin smooth and white. According to tradition, simply two cups of powered milk added to a bath at night can make skin soft, smooth, manageable and soft. This is one treatment that is often recommended for skin and has been adopted into many cultures for a ‘milk bath’ treatment inclusive of essential oils.

In South America, all parts of the avocado are used for beauty treatments. Avocado is high in fat, oil and vitamin E. Virtually all parts of the avocado can be used for skin and hair treatments. This is one treatment that has been used consistently for years. Simply mash the avocado and apply to the area of the body or the hair that you wish to treat. In more western cultures, avocado oil is an ingredient for skincare products.

Moroccan argan oil is something that has gotten a great deal of positive press lately as being one of the best conditioners you can use for hair, but the people of Northern Africa, and particularly Morocco, where this is harvested, make Moroccan argan oil a great beauty treatment for hair.

Spanish women rinse their hair with cranberry juice to bring out natural highlights. This works great on brunettes. Simply add onequarter cup of cranberry juice to hair when washing it. Then rinse. It brings out a natural color and adds sheen to the hair. Blondes may not want to use this method, however, as it can turn their hair pink. Olive oil, as you would expect, has been used for generations in Spain. It is used for its natural sheen and is a great and inexpensive conditioner for hair.

Spa treatments in Turkey include taking a dip in a gigantic hot tub! Only after the bathing is complete does an individual get a massage. Saunas may also be a part of this treatment and may or may not include a massage after.

Anyone up for a tattoo? Or should I say, Tittoo? This technique is not for the faint of heart and has been sweeping the UK. Local anesthetic is required and yes... it is a tattoo to darken the nipple area. Or if you prefer, in London, you add organic bull sperm to your hair treatment to help repair and hydrate for shiny locks?

Are you stressed? You can always unwind with a snake massage from Indonesia. If getting up close and personal with a python can’t get you into a full state of relaxation I don’t know what will? This is definitely a unique treatment that provides an adrenalin rush like no other. Indonesia is dishing out other treatments such as beer bath massage and massages by practitioners dressed in gorilla suits. Not sure how that converts to a beauty treatment!

West African’s enjoy the use of shea butter, which is now incorporated into many western products. It has been used in Africa for years as an anti-wrinkle treatment. This particular product also softens skin and smoothes it.

Israeli women living in the areas along the Dead Sea have long used the mud to make a facial mask. They apply this to the face to strip away impurities from the body when it is washed off. Dead Sea salts are also said to be beneficial for the skin. They also use non-venomous snakes for massage treatment.

No matter how we look at it, women around the world love their beauty treatments. Some the western culture has adopted and some we may choose to leave behind. Which treatments would you rather take on as part of your regimen?

Cadi Jordan -

Jordan Consulting/ Cadi Jordan is a respected social media & marketing strategist through North America. Her forte is in training, coaching and online management in the spa, health and wellness sectors and beyond. Cadi is also a columnist at Spa Inc Magazine and you can hear Cadi speak at Social Media Camp in Victoria May 1-3, 2014.