Global Beauty: Skincare Traditions From Around the World

From spicy body masks to seaweed soaks, the world's women turn to nature in their quest for perfect skin and lustrous hair (21 Photos)

Katie Alberts and Fiorella Valdesolo on Jul 10, 2013 at 7:23PM

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Japan: Rice Powder as a Facial Exfoliant and Detoxifier

Source: Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images News

Japanese beauty rituals range from earthy (facials of nightingale droppings) and practical (anti-aging beverages packed with collagen) to downright scary (pedicures that include soaking feet in a basin swimming with flesh-eating fish). But one of the most beloved beauty ingredients is also one of the most common: rice.

Each tiny kernel boasts an array of skin-friendly characteristics. The rice starch milled into a fine dust is used as an oil-absorbent face powder. Rice bran, the brown outer layer, is rich in hydrating minerals and antioxidants, and the hull is often ground into a gentle but highly effective exfoliant. Even sake, a rice-based liquor, has been prized as a beautifier since the time of the geishas, who would reportedly splash their faces with it to let the liquor’s naturally-occurring kojic acid help lighten discoloration and eliminate age spots.

Cultural practice: Many Japanese women add a few glassfuls of sake to a warm bath for a glow-inducing and detoxifying effect.

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