7 Exotic Beauty Treatments for Your Wedding Prep
By: Holly Crawford
Say "I do" to these primping and pampering ideas from around the world.
No need to hop a plane to add an exotic touch to your big-day prep. We've got your passport to world-class beauty, with secrets practiced by generations of brides-to-be from around the globe.
The Goal: Glowing Skin
The Ritual:Pithi Ceremony
In India, family and well-wishers gather at the bride's and groom's respective homes to paint their faces and bodies with a paste of chickpea flour, rose water, and turmeric. The centuries-old practice "helps purify the skin and may also signify purification for a couple's new life together," says Shelena Lalji, founder and director of Dr. Shel Wellness & Medical Spa in Houston, who did this before her big day. One reason the ritual boosts radiance is turmeric, which studies show has brightening and anti-inflammatory properties.
Quick fix: Try Kiehl's Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Masque ($32, Kiehls.com).
The Goal: Sleek Hair
The Ingredient: Olive Oil
"I grew up listening to my Italian grandmother talk about olive oil's hair benefits," says Unilever/Suave Professionals stylist Leonardo Rocco. The pantry staple is packed with antioxidants that protect hair from damage. Experts this side of the Mediterranean tout it as a hair treatment as well. "Apply two tablespoons to hair weekly, let it sit for 10 minutes, then rinse to help smooth cuticles, add shine, and reduce split ends," suggests New York City dermatologist Erin Gilbert.
Quick fix: Add the emollient-and don't worry about rinsing-with Klorane Leave-In Concentrate with Essential Olive Extract ($18, KloraneUSA.com).
The Goal: Camouflaging Body Hair
The Ingredient: Bleach
Before slipping into something short or sleeveless, many Brazilians (blondes and brunettes alike) forgo waxing arms and legs for a less-painful approach: They bleach fuzz to a barely there blonde with a mix of ammonium hydroxide and hydrogen peroxide. "If you turn facial and arm hair gold, it looks beautiful in photos," says Brazilian beauty expert Camila Pierotti. "Many brides lighten the strands on their fingers for ring close-ups."
Quick fix: Use Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Golden Body Veil, which Pierotti helped develop, to lighten and soothe along with cupuaçu butter, açai, and coconut oil ($39, SoldeJaneiro.com).
The Goal: Silky Skin
The Ritual: Lulur Ceremony
Traditionally performed in the 40 days leading up to the wedding, this Indonesian prenuptial purification custom dates to the 17th century. Many spas offer modern-day versions that might begin with a detoxifying rice-and-ginger body scrub followed by a yogurt mask, which contains lactic acid, a proven exfoliator. The third and final step is a jasmine-flower bath that leaves skin baby soft.
Quick fix: If you don't have a spa date booked, DIY with Lather Forbidden Rice Body Scrub ($21, Lather.com), Soap & Glory Smoothie Star Body Milk ($12, Ulta.com), and Sabon Bath Foam in Delicate Jasmine ($17, SabonNYC.com).
The Goal: Brows That Wow
The Technique: Three-Step Makeup
Traditionally, Filipinas have embraced bold brows (look at the new Miss Universe, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach). "My mom and grandmother had strong eyebrows in their wedding pics, so it was important to me to have them," says New York City–based makeup artist Mally Roncal of Mally Beauty. To get the look, which Roncal says "exudes confidence," start by dotting in sparse areas with a pencil that's lighter than your brow hair, fill in with matching powder, and set it with brow gel.
Quick fix: Mally Beauty Ultimate Brow Kit has all you need ($30, MallyBeauty.com).
The Goal: Supersmooth Skin
The Ingredient: Eggs
Proof that Korean beauties have always taken their skin seriously? A Korean women's encyclopedia from the 1800s recommends applying an egg mask if you have rough or dull skin. While she wouldn't advise putting raw egg on your face because of the risk of bacterial infection, Los Angeles dermatologist Christine Choi Kim says the science behind that advice is sound. "The collagen and albumin in egg whites have an instant toning-and-tightening effect and can give the appearance of smaller pores," she says, while yolks contain lipids, proteins, vitamins, and lecithin to hydrate.
Quick fix: Play it safe with Too Cool For School Egg Mousse Pack ($20, Sephora.com).