Russian Women Share Their Family Beauty Secrets: Ice Cubes and Onion Scalp Scrubs
There's more to generational beauty than inheriting your mom's beautiful eyes and charming smile. For many Russian women, their moms and grandmothers have played a significant role in their beauty routine by sharing the skincare, haircare, and wellness secrets their family has been using for decades.
Rumore asked four Russian women currently living in the United States about the influence the female figures in their lives had on their beauty regimens—and what Russian beauty treatments they still use and love to this day. Here's what they had to say:
My mom's approach to her beauty routine has always been “less is more.” Well, huge contributing factors to this were the general poverty in the USSR and the lack of beauty products on the shelves (for those few who could afford them). So from an early age, I watched my mom use anything she could find in the kitchen to enhance her skin and hair: cucumber peel face masks, sunflower seed oil for body lotion, sour cream to heal sunburns, and frozen tea bags to soothe puffy eyes.
But probably the most remarkable thing about my mom's looks, even now when she's 60, is her gorgeous hair. For as long as I can remember, she has been using stinging nettle rinse at least once a week. She takes 1/2 a cup of dry nettle leaves and brings it to a boil with two cups of water, covers it all with a lid, and lets it infuse until it's cool. She uses the rinse after shampooing and doesn't wash it off. Stinging nettle is believed to stimulate hair growth and make hair stronger and healthier. Every time my mom visits me in the US, she brings me a box or two of dry nettle so I can perform her beauty ritual.
My mom and grandma always worked pretty hard and didn't have much time to indulge in beauty rituals or pamper themselves. But they had some express beauty tricks and skills that allowed them to maintain their youthful look. I'm assuming that they inherited their tips from their moms and grandmas.
- Russian Banya
A session inside a hot and steamy place like Russian banya opens up pores and helps rid your skin of toxins naturally and faster. Once you warm up, you can treat your body to a fresh honey massage. Let it stay on your skin for a few minutes and wash it off with warm water after. Baby-soft skin guaranteed!
- Masks from Fruits and Veggies
Russian people love growing their own veggies and fruits! While most of the harvest goes into preparing delicious (and healthy!) meals, some go into homemade beauty products. Growing up, I spotted my mom walking around the house wearing cucumber slices on her eyes or face or having a red face when wearing a mousse made from fresh strawberries. She said that mask made her skin look younger. And it did—my mom has incredible skin to this day!
- Ice Cubes or Very Cold Water
I do it pretty often after taking off my makeup and cleansing my face. I take a few minutes to rewash my face and neck with just cold water, as I believe the change in temperatures is like an express workout for my skin. It helps tone my skin and minimize the appearance of pores. I heard many Russian women use ice cubes and glide them all over their face and neck, but I stick to just water. After that, I continue with my serums and creams. My grandma used to take hot and cold showers every morning to help boost her immunity, which kept her in excellent health and looking great. #Goals
My mom has always preferred the natural look. She doesn't use many cosmetic products and favors natural treatments, such as cucumber or strawberry masks.
My friend and I had a go-to recipe for shiny, strong hair! I don't recall where we got it from—it must have been my mom or mom's friends. It smelled pretty bad, but it worked like magic. My friend and I would mix burdock root and grated onion. We rubbed it into our scalp and covered it for two hours with a shower cap? It was quite an effort (and an amount of water!) to wash it off, but our hair felt much stronger and shinier the next day. My friend said hers was even getting thicker.
I haven't used this recipe in awhile—I forgot about it, actually. Maybe I'll do it this week. The benefits are totally worth the bad smell.
My mom has always been a supporter of homemade beauty products and natural cosmetics. Her favorites are masks made of eggs, rice flour, honey, and medicinal herbs. Maintaining healthy hair has been a big priority for women in my family, too. My grandma always applied a hair mask made of nettle decoction and egg yolk, and my mom would rinse her hair in rice water.
While I used to follow these recipes when growing up, I don't anymore. Luckily, many great skincare and haircare products on the market have beautiful formulations and natural ingredients. Whenever I go to Russia, I stock up on products containing natural, herbal ingredients.
Rumore Beauty FAQ: Before you give these DIY treatments a try at home, consider consulting with your dermatologist. Or, at the very least, conduct a patch test to ensure the specific ingredient(s) won't irritate your skin upon application. Even though these creative Russian family beauty secrets work wonders for our interviewees, this doesn't necessarily mean they will do the same for your skin.