6 Hush-hush Brazilian beauty secrets
Brazilian models are among the brightest stars on the catwalks. There’s definitely a whole beauty culture in Brazil that, however, focuses on natural beauty, rather than striving for one single ideal image that all try to get as close as possible to. Brazilian women learn from an early age how to take care of their appearance and they easily turn it into a lifetime routine, which is why we’ve seen such stunning “Miss Grandma” photos. Even though some may say that the traditional makeup associated with Brazilian ladies are bright colours like pink and orange, to complement their evenly bronzed skin tone, that by no means applies to all Brazilians. They are very diverse, especially when it comes to hair: did you know that Brazil is the only country where all 13 hair types, as classified by scientists, can be found? Let’s see what some of their beauty secrets are.
There’s a special kind of massage called lymphatic drainage that rids the body of excess water and pretty literally shapes it. Brazilian ladies like to have it done to them on a weekly basis, to maintain glowing, supple skin and a healthy lymphatic system. The massage originated in the early 20th century in France and was first found to have a beneficial effect on people with immunological problems. The effect on the skin is secondary but no less important. Lymphatic drainage involves massaging the lymph nodes in your face or the whole body, which releases toxins stored in the body and flushes them out. Healthy skin is beautiful skin.
2. Coconut water
Adriana Lima says she drinks at least one every day. Besides being one of the most refreshing drinks there are, which is especially suitable for the tropical climate of Brazil, it contains compounds called cytokinins that have been found to have an anti-ageing effect. As if that’s not enough, coconut water — the liquid inside green coconuts — is also packed with essential minerals, such as magnesium, zinc, and iron, plus the complete set of B-group vitamins. All of these are vital for the skin’s health.
The importance of regular exfoliation as part of a comprehensive beauty routine cannot be stressed enough. In Brazil, the ladies like to do it with sand. However, it’s inadvisable if you’re on the beach to just grab a couple of handfuls and start scrubbing. First, dry beach sand is generally harsh — it contains not just fine little particles of shells but also larger pieces of rock, so scrubbing yourself with it can be painful. Second, it’s dirty, plain and simple. It contains bacteria that can cause diarrhoea. So, if you want to try sand exfoliation, sit in the surf and use the wet sand there. It’s “cleaner”, and it’s also full of minerals, courtesy of seawater.
Carrots are full of beta-carotene, a form of vitamin A. Need we say how important vitamin A is for the skin? It makes cells healthy, it’s as simple as that. But carrots are also packed with vitamin C, one of the most powerful antioxidants there are in nature. Antioxidants slow the ageing process. For the skin specifically, vitamin C promotes the production of collagen — the compound that makes your skin supple and elastic. So, eat your carrots or make a mask. If you have any blemishes or minor irritations, the carrots will take care of these too.
5. Juices and dermatologists
Brazilian ladies drink a lot of fruit and vegetable juices. They’re aware of the importance of vitamins and minerals for their skin, so they make sure they get their daily dose. What’s more, there are fruits specific for the country, such as acai and acerola, with a very high vitamin and mineral content. Then there are the regular visits to the dermatologist. DIY masks and sand scrubs are all very well but a visit to the professional is even better. Brazilian dermatologists make individual prescriptions for skincare products that you can then have made at the pharmacy. All tailored to the particularities of your skin and no one else’s.
6. Avocado and flames
Brazilian ladies spend a whopping amount of money on hair care. Remember those 13 types that are all to be found in Brazil only? Talk about variety. One of their secrets for glossy, healthy hair, regardless of its type, is avocado mask. Avocado adds moisture to dry hair, and it smoothes out frizzy ends because of the oils it contains. Mash an avocado and apply to the scalp and hair, put on a bathing hat and leave it for 30 minutes before rinsing. But Brazilians have more extravagant treatments as well, such as the so-called velaterapia. This involves nothing short of burning your hair. In a controlled way, of course, that gets rid of the split, damaged ends. Beauty experts say it’s not a nonsense treatment, it really works. You’ll just have to endure the smell of burning hair for three hours.
What are your favorite Brazilian beauty secrets?