Peek into any stacked skin-care cabinet these days, and it will feel like you’re taking a mini tour around the world. The best of the best ingredients have made their way into our bathrooms from places like Korea, Germany, and Japan, and our skin-care routines are better for it. And now that we’re stuck inside (with no travel on the books for at least the next few months), it’s worth looking to this big ol’ planet of ours for even more beauty and self-care ideas. Read on for seven of them worth trying for yourself during social distancing.
Japan: Onsen bathing
While it might be hard to experience a traditional Onsen (which takes place in public, around other people) during social distancing, there are a few elements of Japanese bathing culture that you can replicate in your own bathroom. “Ancient Japanese bathing rituals translate to our modern times just as does yoga and meditation. They will bring a sense of ease and calmness into your life that you never thought possible,” Françoise Decatrel, founder of Japanese bathing product brand Amayori, previously told Well+Good. Use warm water and a magnesium sulfate soak, like Naturopathica Sweet Birch Magnesium Bath Flakes ($13), to reap both skin-softening and relaxation-inducing properties.
Morocco: Hammam exfoliation
Since your showers are likely fewer and farther between now that you aren’t leaving the house, it’s important to make it count every time. In Morocco, women treat themselves to Hammams a few times a month where they’re professionally cleansed and scrubbed for silky smooth skin. The treatment utilizes three ingredients indigenous to Morocco—black soap, Rhassoul clay, and argan oil—as well as a special type of exfoliating mitt to slough off every dead skin cell on your body, all of which are easy to integrate into your own shower routine. Start by washing your skin with black soap, then use a Kessa Glove ($10) to exfoliate. Next, cover yourself in Rhassoul clay, and exfoliate with the glove again. Once you are officially devoid of dead skin, apply argan oil all over for an added layer of moisture.
Iceland: Silica mud mask
Iceland’s Blue Lagoon is famous for the skin-softening properties brought on by its silica-infused waters. And though soaking in silica at home won’t earn you quite the same Instagram photo as soaking in said lagoon, it still offers plenty of benefits. Apply a silica mask, like Blue Lagoon Iceland’s Silica Mud Mask ($103), which is made from the same minerals present in the actual Blue Lagoon, to your entire body after you exfoliate. This will cleanse and strengthen the fresh cells that have been brought to the surface once the dead ones have been sloughed away.
China: Gua sha
The Chinese word “Gua Sha” translates to “scraping,” which is exactly what these pretty tools do for your skin. They’ve been around for centuries, but only popularized in the United States in the last few years. While they’ve got some pro-level benefits, they’re wildly easy to use on your own. The small jade stones can be used all over your body for helping to relieve muscle tension, as well as on your face for things like lymphatic drainage, sculpting, and fighting acne.
Sweating it out is great for your skin, so why not turn your bathroom into a Mexico-inspired Temazcal? These steam lodges are meant to help you detoxify your body, and sweating it out offers plenty of benefits for your skin. To try it on your own (without having to jet off to Cancun), turn the heat on your shower dial all the way up, and hang out in the bathroom for as long as you can manage.
Korea: Sheet masks
Chances are, you’ve already embraced the k-beauty sheet masking craze, but there are a few ways to ensure you’re using them properly. You can use them whenever you want, as long as you’re applying to a clean, fresh face and only keeping them on for 20 minutes, max. And once you’re done, feel free to skip out on any additional post-mask steps—the serums they’re infused with should give your skin everything it needs.
France: Face Slapping
While slapping your own face might not sound like the most pleasant beauty ritual to engage in, there’s a reason why French facialists swear by it for the sake of glowing skin. According to pros, slapping on your products (aka a more intense way to apply than the usually blotting or tapping) increases blood flow to to the surface of your skin to activate cells, and allows products to better penetrate through the layers of your epidermis.
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