It’s always fascinating to learn about the ways that people of the past used to enhance their beauty. They had no drug stores or big cosmetic manufactures back then, so they used the natural resources that they had to hand. What’s really interesting is that, although people like the ancient Greeks may not have had the modern cosmetics manufacturing methods that we have, much of what they used in their beauty treatments is still in use today. Here are ten of the beauty secrets of the ancient Greeks, some of which you will no doubt recognise.
Honey was as widely used in ancient Greek beauty treatments as it is today. Honey has natural hydrating properties and it has antibacterial and antifungal properties too. The Greeks mixed honey with olive oil or milk or they just used it on its own and its main use was in body washes and cleansers. The ladies of ancient Greece liked to have a clear and rosy complexion, so honey was one of the main ingredients used in their skin care treatments.
2. Herbal baths
Herbal baths were a big favourite of Greek ladies, and athletes used them too, as a way of loosening up the muscles and joints. These ancient Greek herbal baths weren’t all that dissimilar to modern bath salts. They contained mixtures of dried herbs and flowers along with sea salt.
3. Olive oil
Olive oil was called liquid gold by Homer and it had an almost mythical status in ancient Greece. It was used a cleanser and in medicines and perfumes. We now know that the reason that olive oil is so good for hair and skin is its fatty acids and antioxidants, so it moisturises, nourishes and protects the skin and hair.
4. Sea salt
Sea salt was valued very highly by the ancient Greeks and it was Hippocrates who first documented the benefits of its use. The Greeks used to bath in sea salt baths and they also added sea salt to olive oil to make body scrubs. The high mineral content of seas salt nourishes skin and makes it soft and supple and was also believed to have had healing and anti-ageing properties.
5. Almond oil
Almond oil was used on the hair and on the skin by the ancient Greeks and it symbolised patience and hope in Greek mythology. Rich in oleic, linoleic, and palmitic acids and a good source of vitamins K and E, almond oil can be used for its deep hydration properties and it is also said to strengthen hair and reduce hair loss.
Mulberries were used by the ancient Greeks to create a lip stain and for using as a blusher. The Greek ladies loved to have a clear complexion, rosy cheeks, and pink lips, so the mixed crushed mulberries with flower petals and seaweed to create a long lasting stain that could be used on both their lips and their cheeks.
7. Honey and lemon for skin lightening
Sometimes, the ancient Greeks would add lemon juice to honey and use that to lighten their skin. As we have already mentioned they knew that honey would keep their skin soft and they discovered the mild bleaching effect of lemons would give them the lighter skin tone that was so prized in ancient Greece.
Greek yoghurt is another natural ingredient that the Greeks have been using for centuries in beauty treatments. It can be used to treat sunburn, fight acne, and it’s also a natural exfoliator. For a very simple Greek style face mask, mix two tablespoons of Greek yoghurt with two tablespoons of honey. It will gently exfoliate your skin, fight bacteria, and it will make your skin wonderfully soft and smooth.
The use of clay in beauty treatments is nothing new either and the ancient Greeks knew all about the benefits of clay masks and clay baths, long before modern cosmetics companies caught on to the idea. Natural clay is rich in minerals and it’s known for its cleansing and anti-inflammatory properties. Some types of clay are now also believed to help draw toxins out of the body too.
10. A healthy diet
A healthy Mediterranean diet isn’t something that is exclusive to the Greeks, but there is no doubt that the modern Greek girls certainly do benefit from it. The Greek diet includes lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, seafood and of course, olive oil. That means that they get plenty of vitamins and minerals, and lots of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. The end result is a lovely clear complexion and stunningly beautiful hair. It’s no wonder that so many people are saying that the Mediterranean diet is the healthiest on the planet.