There is no better time than now to adopt new beauty rituals, as we are all social distancing and self-isolating at home awaiting our grand reveal to the world in the weeks to come.
All over the globe, one of the greatest side effects of protecting oneself against catching the COVID-19 virus has undoubtedly been having dry hands, due to of course the new thorough and necessary hand-washing habit we have all embraced. Dry hands, course hair and pale skin seem to be the norm these days as we while away the time indoors. However, there are a number of tried and true natural self-care treatments that are popular in Turkey that will help you feel beautiful and stay healthy while at home.
Turkey, the land of rose water
Did you know that Turkey is one of the biggest producers of rose oil and rose water in the world? Well, it is and with all of its wonderful healing properties, it is about time to take advantage of that fact. Rose water has wonderful benefits, from healing a sore throat to easing a headache, but is especially comforting used as a facial tonic. Its anti-inflammatory properties help reduce the redness of irritated skin and acne and relieve dermatitis and eczema. Rose water is also believed to prevent the development of wrinkles and thus this is the perfect time to adopt a regular ritual of spritzing or using a cotton ball to douse the face in rose water, while not having to worry about smelling like someone’s grandma.
St. John’s Wort for body and soul
While the extracts of the St. John’s Wort plant have become a trendy natural anti-depressant in the western world, its flowers have a much more popular and abundant use in Turkey. You may have seen bottles of a bright red oil sold at local farmers’ markets, which are referred to in Turkish as “Sarı Kantaron Yağı.” The oil is lavishly spread on the body in order to prevent stretch marks, and thus this is a practice we should all be partaking in to ensure there are no lasting effects on our bodies from any weight gained from being sedentary these days.
Turkish hair treatments
Have you ever wondered how Turks have such luscious hair and just chalked it up to good genes? Well, while admittedly the Turks do tend to have healthy and lustrous hair, there may also be a number of “tricks of the trade” that the Turks have been practicing for eons.
Almond oil, conveniently sold in small bottles at pharmacies, has long been a popular beauty care item used as a fortifying treatment for hair to give it shine. Simply rub it in and let it sit for as long as you can stand, and when you wash your hair, you will feel it become silken soft. The same treatment can be done using olive oil if that is more easily at your disposal. Not to be mixed like you would for a salad dressing, vinegar is also a product that is used on hair, but in this case as a pre-shampooing rinse done in the shower, also known to make hair glisten.
If it is highlights you seek and the appearance of sun-bleached hair, then boil up some strong chamomile tea and douse your hair in it. Then, try to find some sunshine, whether it be from your balcony or a window, as the combination of the two is believed to bring out natural light-colored highlights.
Getting rid of the gray
One of the biggest gripes among self-isolators has also been the growing out of our gray roots and the aversion to trying to dye your own hair. While these treatments may not cover the entire spectrum, there are a number of ancient practices in place in Turkey geared toward preventing the development of gray hair from the get-go.
The “Bıttım Sabunu” is a special soap bar used on hair as well as the body that is produced in Siirt from the region’s pistacia terebinthus, in other words, wild pistachios. Known for having antiseptic properties and aiding skin conditions such as fungus and eczema, Bıttım soap is also believed to delay the development of gray hair. Another method used by Turks to wash that gray right out of your hair is the tea of onion skins. Yes, you read that correctly. The practice of boiling onion skins, red onion skins for darker hair and white onion skins for lighter hair, and then letting your hair soak in the onion skin tea is believed to have two benefits. It is thought to increase circulation and thus improve healthy hair growth due to the sulfur prevalent, said to increase collagen development in the body. It is also believed to halt the development of gray hairs.
Henna has been around in the Mesopotamia region since at least 1,500 B.C. and the time of Ancient Egypt and has maintained its popularity throughout time, inspiring the impressionist artists and becoming a mainstay ritual in Turkish wedding ceremonies. However, instead of using henna on the hands, henna is a popular hair dye and treatment that not only fortifies the hair, but also gives it a beautiful red hue, which can be adjusted according to how much water, black tea and olive oil is added to the green powder as a mixture. Simply blend the ingredients until it becomes a toothpaste consistency and then rub it all over your hair, making sure to also protect your clothes with plastic. After an hour or so, shorter for a lighter effect, longer if you desire a more intense red color, wash your hair thoroughly and behold the magic of henna on your hair. The advice to use henna on your hair however must come with a major warning if you have previously dyed hair or plan to dye your hair over the henna in the future as there have been instances where the henna and chemical dyes react to create unwanted colors, damaged hair and even the rare occasion of hair going up in flames.
Bringing the mud bath home
We may not be able to visit the wonderful mud baths that exist in many of Turkey’s wondrous natural settings; however, you can order the clay from regions such as Dalyan to your home to be used as a face or body mask and get much of the same benefits. Believed to relieve joint pain and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, as well as flush toxins, mud baths or masks can also simply be a great way to unwind and relax.
Sponge Bob and Pumice Paul
Did you know that Turkey is the largest producer of pumice stone, where it is said to have originated? This igneous rock with a foamy appearance is used regularly all over the world as an abrasive to scrub the bottoms of our feet. Likewise, the best-quality natural sponges in the world are obtained by sponge divers in Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean. Porous, soft yet sturdy, they make for the perfect tool to rub your hands or body with soap, which as we all know these days is the most important thing and the best self-care treatment we can be doing!
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