Beauty Around The World

China, Extras, Spa & Beauty, Vietnam — By on December 13, 2011 at 12:00 pm

by J’Nisha Towne

The first in our series about what women around the world 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.

The Beautifying and Bizarre: Beauty Rituals Span Continents

“Who you do this for?” Ping asked me as my legs swung forward and my eyes watered from the stinging swipe of hard wax being ripped from below my navel. “Bikini season?” I whimpered, wiping my eyes. Only moments earlier, I had informed Ping, salon owner and waxing professional, of an alarming observation: nervously laughing, I pointed at the hardened glob of wax. “Look- it’s too late…” Ping had only replied with a calm “No—wax good, just right,” and with a swift flip of her wrist, she ripped a strip from my bikini line, revealing bare, raw skin. I was left, mid-breath, caught between debating whether my choice of spread-eagle stretches and tubs of hard wax warranted a razor-free summer of skimpy bathing suits. As Ping left me to observe the damage and pick off bits of waxy remnants and forgotten hair, I considered the trade-off, inevitably waddling to the mint jar to schedule a second appointment.

China:  Human Placenta and Needle Massages

A visitor to China wrote about the great attention women paid to their bodies: “Nowhere are they better skilled or practiced in the art of arresting or repairing the ravages of time.” (Genders, 1972)

There is a term, placentophagy, used to describe the practice of eating one’s own placenta after giving birth with promise to a glowing complexion. As the placenta is rich in minerals and vitamins (namely nutrition for a growing child), B6 vitamins are noted as the secret to ageless skin. Baked or added to soups with testimony of rejuvenated, ageless skin, placenta has been eaten by the Chinese for than 2,500 years. So grab a spoon- soup’s on!

Not for the faint-hearted or needle-resistant, a new procedure continues to remain a mainstay of youth maintenance in Hong Kong. Known as the micro-needle roller, a needle-studded roller is massaged over the face following application of a topical anesthetic. As tiny wounds created by the roller pierce the skin, the claim to ageless skin lies in enhanced blood circulation resulting in an increase of collage production. Though precautions have been issued concerning the “potentially lethal” procedure, the lure of rosy cheeks has surpassed the warnings.

Vietnam:  Black-stained teeth

Prevalent to women fifty years and older, blackened teeth and bloody lips are a cultural and traditional sign of beauty. Caused by chewing betel nut, fruit of the Areca tree, women in Vietnam use a combination of resin and alcohol to dye their teeth black. Even today, the older generation of Vietnamese women continue to chew the betel nut which, when mixed with saliva, creates a dark brown color that stains the teeth. The betel chewing has been linked to euphoria, salivation, and alertness leading to increased capacity to work. So get to chewing girls…no whitening toothpaste needed!

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  • China can really have the most amusing methods. I think it’s widely known that human placenta has skin rejuvenating benefits, there are even placenta soaps sold in the market.

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