Beauty Around The World – Part 3

Europe, Spa & Beauty — By on February 7, 2012 at 12:00 pm

by J’Nisha Towne

The third in our series of what women around the world will do in their quest for beauty and eternal youth.

Beauty regimes, whether waxing stubborn hair from sensitive body parts and injecting fat into facial creases to eating animal entrails and smearing bird droppings onto blemished skin are performed with a variety of beautifying and bizarre methods across the four corners of the world- Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America.

Europe:  The Power of Leeches, Semen, and Cold-water Beating with a Side Beer 

During the 1940’s, Europe began manufacturing ageless beauty through machinery. Facial machines with claims that massaging skin could lessen the look of age grew with popularity through France, Germany, and Austria. The infectious onset of anti-aging marketing lent inspiration to the endless array of collagen-stimulating and anti-aging products and procedures. A variety of procedures have continued to pique the curiosity and empty the wallets of consumers across the region; leech therapy, semen-laden conditioning treatment, and broom-beating.

Planning to visit Austria to nosh on chocolate Mozart-balls and consume liters of Stein lager? Tack on another itinerary to-do: leech therapy. Leeches applied to the skin, an old tradition provided in Austrian spas today, contribute to a claimed “detoxifying” skin experience. Doctor of the ancient practice allowed leeches to serve as medicinal methods of usurping body ailments of dying patients. Leech therapy is now touted as a form of detox by first immersing a client’s body in turpentine before then attaching leeches to the body. The leeches are then left to feast and fatten. Be not wary of the belly-button…the spot is leech-friendly!

Bed-head…again? Hari’s, a London hair salon in England provides a service for unruly hair based on the semen of an Aberdeen Angus bull. The semen-dense conditioner is high in keratin and further toted as a moisturizing cream with a mixture of plant extracts. Applied to the head after shampooing, the treatment is packed with protein for unruly hair with claim to reinvigorate colored, dry, troubled tresses.

The plethora of exfoliating products and treatments cannot be reduced to a shelf or package. In Russia, another option is available in the form of branches, olive oil, and cold water. Enter broom-beating where splashes of cold water bring relief to a sore, bare back that has been thwacked by oak-leaf branch brooms.  Providing a new meaning to, “Your skin has taken a beating,” the treatment lays claim to stimulating blood flow, relaxed muscle tension, and skin exfoliation. After several minutes of being beaten by an olive oil-laden oak-leaf broom (venik) in a steam-filled bathhouse, a bucket of cold water is poured upon the individual’s back to “seal” the process and provide relief to the sting. The leaves are noted to contain a natural astringent that open pores and removes toxins as well as invigorate the senses, if your senses are indeed still intact by then.

Germany is known for large pretzels, friendly locals, exquisite castles, and beer. Lots of beer. With the highest per-capita consumption of beer in the world (116 liters annually), Germany revels in the mainstay beverage as a signature beauty treatment for shinier tresses and softer skin. Fortified with brewer’s yeast, malt, and hops, beer baths are a popular skin-soothing method of relaxation. Offered at a handful of spas, beer baths coat hair and body with B vitamins, biotin, and protein compounds known to be healthy for tangled tresses and scaly skin. Take time to simmer in a brew bath – side effects include glossy strands, smooth skin, and no need for Motrin.

Photo credit:  OakleyOriginals, dicktay2000/flickr

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