Cleopatra was the Queen of the Nile and a legendary beauty. There are many stories about her beauty routine that continue to inspire us today – 3,000 years later. Thanks to history and maybe a myth or two we have some insight into how she maintained her reputation as one of the most beautiful women in the world. If you happened to bump into her in the palace bathroom, here are the beauty secrets Cleopatra would have shared.
If you wipe your face with rose water both in the morning before you put on your make up and in the evening before you’ve removed it, you face will be softer and smoother. Rose water naturally hydrates and nourishes your skin. It’s a really great pick-me-up too; spritzing it on your face or neck on a hot day instantly refreshes your skin and makes you feel cooler, too! If you use a makeup primer, rose water can replace it – after rose water has been applied, the foundation easily glide over your skin. And it smells nice too! No wonder it’s one of Cleopatra’s beauty secrets.
The best thing about raw honey is that is has antibacterial properties. The second best thing is that it contains antioxidants. What this means for your skin is that it is a way to treat and prevent acne that isn’t harsh on the skin, and antioxidants help prevent signs of aging. Besides that, it feels incredible as it moisturizes your skin, so you get that healthy-skin glow. Plus it smells nice!
Although Cleopatra used the milk of a young donkey in her bath, young donkey milk isn’t necessary (or even desirable-beside, where would you get that?) She mixed the milk with fresh honey and almond oil for her baths, but you can use plain old cow’s milk for your bath. Much easier to find. Mix 3 cups of milk with a half cup of honey and 5 tablespoons almond oil (or olive oil if that isn’t available). Pour into your bathwater for smooth and silky skin!
If you’ve just taken that milk bath, it might be the perfect time for an exfoliator, especially since that dead skin is soft now. Don’t use table salt - sea salt is a little coarser and works better. Sprinkle it on your body and rub gently to remove dead skin. Sprinkle it on a washcloth and VERY gently scrub your face for that dewy fresh look. Some people combine the sea salt with fresh herbs and a little water of vinegar to form a paste first, then apply it to the face or body.
Speaking of vinegar, it promotes blood circulation in the skin, which causes it to become hydrated and your face, in turn, to look rosy and healthy. It also regulates the pH of the skin, and has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. This means you can use it to treat or prevent pimples. For a general face tonic you’ll want to dilute it to about ¼ cup in a wash basin or small sink of warm water. Additionally, vinegar is used to treat age spots, only in this case the vinegar is applied undiluted to the spot.
Cleopatra probably had damaged hair just like the rest of us, but it didn’t show because of her special hair treatment. While Cleopatra used honey and castor oil, you can use olive oil if you want. Mix 3 tablespoons of honey with a tablespoon of oil and apply to your freshly washed hair. Let it soak in for about 15 minutes, then rinse out. Damaged hair is repaired and your hair will have more softness and shine.
It’s safe to say there probably weren’t any big name makeup brands back in the day. Although if there were, with Cleopatra’s endorsement we’d probably still be using that make up today. Instead, she used red ochre, a pigment found in some dirt, mixed with fat to color her lips. Antimony sulfide was used to color her eyes, eyebrows and lashes dark. She used henna as a natural nail polish, which colors the nails reddish brown. You can follow her path by using organic makeup and henna and natural kajal.
There is also the story that Cleopatra slept in a gold face mask but that’s not very practical for us modern gals – plus we want our gold to be the bling we wear – no?
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