Ancient beauty secrets that work

With the start of school in just two weeks, I have to say that I’m a little antsy; and not just for the obvious reasons like the end of summer, copious amounts of homework and generally embarking on something new. It’s natural for people to want to look great on their first day back at school, and after overly examining my skin, my nails and my hair, I realized that there is work to be done before September (at least in my mind anyway).
So that’s where this post comes into play. I decided to look up natural and cheap ways to clear one’s skin, make one’s hair less frizzy etc. I came across pages of natural beautifying remedies that different cultures have been using for hundreds of years. And as simple or odd as some of them may seem, a lot of them actually work.
So to get to the point, this week’s post is about some of those ancient beautifying remedies.

With so many tips about everything under the sun, I will start with just the skin:

One of the oldest that I found was from Cleopatra’s time in Ancient Egypt. And as she may be considered the world’s first beauty icon, those remedies must work, right?
It is said that queens at that time bathed in milk as the rich lactic acid exfoliated and rejuvenated the skin.
But for the non-royalty, almond oil was used to for its power to reduce dryness and skin aging. It can be used for hair as well, but it does a number of things for the skin.

The blog, Fiesta Farms, gives some more tips on the uses of almond oil.

The blog, Fiesta Farms, gives some more tips on the uses of almond oil.


It moisturizes it, fights wrinkles, removes blemishes and gives it a healthy glow. It even reduces dark circles under the eyes. As recommended on Arabia Weddings blog, just massage it in at night and wash it off in the morning.

From India, one simple tip is to use water as a toner. “It closes the pores, improves blood circulation and cell stimulation”, says Krishna on her blog, DIY Beauty Tutorials.

She also writes that for acne prone skin, “mix some onion juice and honey in equal ratio. Apply it as a face mask and wash it after 10 – 15 minutes.”

However, my favourite tip comes from China, which only requires a cup of tea at the beginning or end of every day (and who doesn’t love tea?) Green tea is known as an anti-oxidant.

Alongside its many health benefits, it clears up the skin, reduces wrinkles and fights skin aging.

Those are just a few of the great tips that I have read about. What remedies do you use for great skin?

Hats at the Horse Races

Whether one goes to bet or to just have fun, the one thing that never changes about horse races is the lavish display of hats and fashion.

After several cancelled games at Vancouver’s Hastings Racecourse, due to an unfortunate flu outbreak among the horses, the games are back in gear.

August fifth held the track’s biggest game of the summer, but there are still more to come for this summer and fall.

And although the Kentucky Derby and Del Mar are the most famous of races for both the games and style, the celebration of exuberant fashion still happens here in Vancouver as well.

The idea of showing off one’s style at the track has been around since the early 1900’s; shortly after the Hastings Racecourse opening in 1889.

The Pearley Family at the races 1952.  Photo courtesy of Women's Weekly http://wp.me/p39Uie-7n

The Pearley Family at the races 1952. Photo courtesy of Women’s Weekly http://goo.gl/JV7GU7

The main reason for such a trend was simply for women to show off their wealth and to display their own personal style. At a time where big hats were fading out of fashion, wearing them at the games made it all the more iconic.

Three women headed for the races in 1914.  Photo courtesy of Women's Weekly http://wp.me/p39Uie-7n

Three women headed for the races in 1914. Photo courtesy of Women’s Weekly http://goo.gl/JV7GU7

The early 1900’s marked the beginning of Haute couture, where Vogue Magazine was the first to report this style to the world.

However, over the years, the styles have become brighter and wilder. Women now wear hats adorned with butterflies, feathers or anything else they get their hands on, simply for the fun of it. As contests for the best style at the races take place, women’s hats have become more unique and outrageous.

1999.  An ascot racegoer with her outgoing hat.  Photo courtesy of Women's Weekly

1999. An ascot racegoer with her outgoing hat. Photo courtesy of Women’s Weekly http://goo.gl/JV7GU7

But aside from holding the most unique hat, how does one dress for the horse races?

Danielle Nicole from Fashion Bomb Daily suggests a simple and chic dress so as not to overshadow the hat. She pairs her outfits with colourful or classy heels and sometimes, large sunglasses.

One of Nicole's examples for the horse races.  Photo courtesy of Fashion Bomb Daily http://wp.me/p39Uie-7n

One of Nicole’s examples for the horse races. Photo courtesy of Fashion Bomb Daily http://goo.gl/TpFNbS

Rachael Dickhute, winner for this year’s best style at Del Mar, also gives plenty of good advice for fashion at the horse races.
She says in an article for Follow Horseracing that the best way to go is to keep the outfit simple and to accessorize with the hat.

“Women can make a statement with headwear. Whether it’s a fascinator, acorn hat or wide-brim, floppy hat, this should be the most prominent piece of the ensemble,” she says.

So why is fashion such a big deal for the games?
“It is one of the perfect places to debut spring fashion and be seen,” Dickhute explains. “Women look forward to finally being able to wear color and effortless day dresses, not to mention pairing their outfits with a statement-making hat that also serves as functional!”

The fashion worn at the tracks has changed a lot since the 1900’s, but the idea of showing off one’s hats has remained a tradition. For something that has been around for over a century, it still hasn’t lost its charm. So I suggest getting the biggest and most flamboyant hat you can find, and let the games begin!

The Kimono trend this summer

Designers this summer have created a new twist to a very old garment.
The kimono, which has been part of the Japanese culture for hundreds of years, can be seen in stores and on runways in the form of a light outer coat.
Leading the trend as usual, Miuccia Prada brought her version of the kimono-styled coat in a mash-up of Chinese and Japanese styles. Her version, in satin, was made in origami shapes completed with peonies and other Asian-inspired designs

Prada's design of the kimono coat.  Photo courtesy of the guardian http://wp.me/p39Uie-76

Prada’s design of the kimono coat. Photo courtesy of the guardian http://wp.me/p39Uie-76

Like Prada’s look, most of these coats are in silks with flower or nature designs.
Although this new take can be found in stores such as Zara and Topshop, we all know the kimono goes much further back in history than this year.

The Poppy Devore kimono at Topshop.  45 pounds. Photo courtesy of Topshop.  http://wp.me/p39Uie-76

The Poppy Devore kimono at Topshop. 45 pounds.
Photo courtesy of Topshop.
http://wp.me/p39Uie-76

Although the kimono is now mostly reserved for special occasions, this article of clothing was once everyday wear for both men and women. During the Edo period (1615-1868), patterns, colours and length of kimono specified the wearer’s gender, age, status and wealth.
By the seventeenth century, patterns on women’s kimono became larger and bolder while younger women’s were lavishly decorated and brightly coloured.
Young women had long sleeves, but were shortened once they were married. Men as well have shorter sleeves for their kimono.

Kimono from 1800-1830 designed for winter wear. Photo courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum  http://wp.me/p39Uie-76

Kimono from 1800-1830 designed for winter wear.
Photo courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum
http://wp.me/p39Uie-76

Although made from one single piece of fabric, the average kimono nowadays could cost up to $10,000.
The Kimono is still worn today by sumo wrestlers, who must be seen in traditional Japanese wear in public. However, we may know it best as what is worn by a Geisha.
The difference between a regular kimono and a Geisha kimono can be told by the lower neckline, as that part of a woman is considered the most sensual part in Japan.

Geisha photo courtesy of Aline Hagen http://wp.me/p39Uie-76

Geisha photo courtesy of Aline Hagen http://wp.me/p39Uie-76

The apprentice Geisha, known as a Maiko will have pocketed sleeves called “furi” that dangle all the way to the ground. Their costumes are very colourful with an extravagant belt, known as an “obi”.

But this modern day’s twist on the kimono requires no such formalities. Although the traditional is valued greatly, the new westernized kimono coats are also beautiful to look at and a comfortable light piece to throw on.
As shown by Marlien Rentmeester on her blog, Le Catch, or by youlookfab, this coat is worn best with modern simple pieces. I have seen it most paired with skinny jeans or jean shorts and a tank top.

How to wear the kimono jacket as shown on the Stylish Housewife blog.  Photo courtesy of http://wp.me/p39Uie-76

How to wear the kimono jacket as shown on the Stylish Housewife blog.
Photo courtesy of http://wp.me/p39Uie-76

But there are always exceptions to the rule…so how would you wear the kimono jacket?