Masthead

Passport to Pretty

Moms from countries known for their beauty rituals share the secrets to maintaining healthy skin at any age.


By HOLLY C. CORBETT, WOMAN: . BEAUTY PRODUCTS: .
beauty products photographed by PETER ARDITO

Skin this glowing in one step? It’s possible!
Above Image | Zhang Jingna/Trunk Archive
Take a dose of hyaluronic acid for a dewy complexion.

In Korean culture, caring for your complexion is ingrained in girls practically from birth. Nuy Cho, editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Hawaii, recalls as a kid watching her mom perform an intricate cleansing ritual every night that involved steaming, masks, toners, serums, and moisturizers. Not exactly practical, but Cho does recommend using a product that contains a key skin-plumping agent from her mom’s routine: hyaluronic acid. Look for it in one of South Korea’s most popular beauty imports, the sheet mask. Our pick: Karuna Age-Defying+ Face Mask ($28 for a four-pack; ulta.com).

Count on coconut to keep your skin in prime condition.

In Brazil women show lots of skin, so it has to look good. Brazilians turn to ingredients found in the Amazon rain forest—coconut oil in particular—to get their skin glowing from head to toe. “Coconut oil is rich in fatty acids, which makes it an amazing hydrator,” says Wanda Malhotra, cofounder of beauty brand Surya Brasil. Brazilians also exfoliate with ground coconut bark, which you’ll find in Surya Brasil Sapien Women Body Scrub ($37 ; suryabrasil.com).

Add mineral water to reduce inflammation.

Hungary’s famous thermal baths are said to have healing powers, and scientific research on one particular mineral in the water—magnesium— seems to back up this claim. “Recent studies show that magnesium supplementation helps treat skin disorders like acne and rosacea,” says Dendy Engelman, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City. Not surprising then that magnesium-rich mineral water is a key part of the treatments done by many facialists, including Eva Sik, owner of European Facials by Eva, in Winter Park, Florida. She uses Éminence Organic Skin Care Stone Crop Hydrating Mist ($38; buynaturalskincare.com).

Raise a glass to resveratrol.

This compound found in the skin of red grapes has been shown to help skin cells fight the oxidative damage that leads to wrinkles and sagging. “Many French women drink red wine every day because we know that what we put in our body shows on our skin,” says Leslie Couanon-Fasulo, an aesthetician in Coral Springs, Florida, who is originally from France. Why not follow suit? (Preferably with your feet up.)

Reveal brighter skin with rice powder.

In Japan, geishas—who today still entertain social groups through singing and dancing—are experts in skin care. Victoria Tsai, founder of the Japanese-inspired beauty company Tatcha, discovered this firsthand after studying geishas’ beauty secrets. “Each night, they carefully remove their makeup and polish their skin like a jewel,” Tsai says. Rice powder—a Japanese diet staple—is the exfoliator of choice because of its fine texture. You can take Tsai’s signature blend for a test run with the travel-size version of Tatcha Polished Classic Rice Enzyme Powder ($15; sephora.com).