Might Round The World Rituals Stage Up Your Skincare Routine?

Today’s beauty landscape is a broad church that spans a global influence. Whether you’re looking for advice on how to embrace your natural hair texture, a foundation hater after a foundation or just fancy bleaching your eyebrows; the idea of a one-size-fits -all singular beauty standard feels incredibly archaic.

Rigid and pervasive Eurocentric beaut standards are continually being dismantled in favour of new ideals that champion individuality and inclusivity.


And yet, often when it comes to skincare, our routines are often less innovative. We may be well versed in the importance of regular exfoliating and daily SPF, but is there something we could learn from looking further afield, at say, South Korea’s cutting edge skincare, or India’s holistic approach to beauty? Around the world, generations of women have been using time-tested beauty rituals and ingredients. Whether it’s Moroccan luminous skin techniques or tackling dryness through Egyptian milk and honey based products, below, we chart how approaches from across the globe are fuelling skincare innovations.

The Ancient Greeks were known to use olive oil to effectively care for their body, skin and hair

A Holistic Approach

You may be familiar with the Japanese concept of ‘Shinrin-yoku’, or forest bathing – an activity that centres around spending time in nature as a form of self-care. It may be a buzzword in the UK, but in Japan, the practice has a rich legacy.

The Japanese approach to beauty and skincare adopts a similarly holistic attitude. Rather than trying to achieve a healthy, radiant complexion in a vacuum, it’s about first taking up gentle and nourishing practices that emphasise the connection between nature, body, and spirit.

‘Rooted in the Japanese holistic approach, our Bath Steam is a profound wellness ritual, bridging tradition and modernity’ says Romana Qureshi, wellness practitioner and founder of skincare brand, KŌHĪ (an). ‘It invites individuals into an immersive experience of aromatic steam that aligns with nature’s rhythms’

woman preparing holistic skincare using different types of oil salt and essences

Oleksandra Yagello//Getty Images

New Naturals

Mineral Rich Clay

An easy to incorporate, ancient Moroccan beauty practice is the use of rhassoul clay. This natural mineral-rich clay is sourced in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains, and has been used for centuries as a beauty treatment for skin and hair due to its cleansing, detoxifying, and exfoliating properties.

‘As a Moroccan-born and raised woman, I have long watched my grandmother source rhassoul clay from the Atlas Mountains and prepare it with other women by drying it in the hot summer sun’ says Ikram Elharti, founder of skincare brand Sahara Rose. ‘She would infuse it with ​​ lavender, rosemary, calendula, Moroccan chamomile, and clove’.

For Elharti, rhassoul is a one-way ticket to, ‘gorgeous, shiny hair and the softest skin.’ Applied to your hair and scalp as a natural alternative to shampoo, it can cleanse and remove product buildup.

Moroccan Rhassoul Clay (1kg) by Naturally Balmy – £18 can be used as a detoxifying cleanser, skin conditioner, shampoo or facial and body mask. It softens the skin, reduces sebum secretion, removes dead skin cells, and tightens the pores.

I have long watched my grandmother source rhassoul clay from the Atlas Mountains


Brazil’s beauty philosophy is informed by the rich biodiversity of the country. Brazilian skincare often uses indigenous ingredients such as açai and cupuaçu, which are known for their high-fat content which effectively moisturises skin and hair. These natural resources reflect Brazil’s vibrant ecosystem and demonstrate the profound cultural appreciation for natural skincare. Queila Doyle, Brazilian beauty influencer and founder of My Beauty Squad London (an on-demand mobile beauty service provider), explains, ​​’Cupuaçu, a relative of the cocoa plant, has hydrating properties. The key to its effectiveness lies in its unique ability to absorb water as it can hold more than four times its weight in water, making it an excellent ingredient for deep skin hydration.’

If you have dry and sensitive skin or are intrigued about the power of cupuaçu, The Beauty Oil from Elaluz will keep your skin hydrated. It is 100% plant-based, and this skin-conditioning super oil is designed to help rebuild and rejuvenate skin’s appearance.

Milk and Honey

The use of milk and honey in Egyptian beauty routines has a long history. Milk–rich in lactic acid—gently exfoliates and moisturises the skin, while honey possesses natural antibacterial and humectant properties, making it an effective ingredient for cleansing and hydrating.

‘Honey is a true treasure of nature. It has been used since ancient times for its incredible health benefits,’ says Ingrid Longuet, Nuxe’s scientific communications director. ‘In body scrubs and body oils, honey plays a key role in its ability to promote skin repair after body exfoliation and nutrition when your skin is very dry.’

‘Rêve de Miel’ (which translates as honey dreams) skincare products by Nuxe are ideal for dehydrated and sensitive skin, as they help improve skin suppleness.

Honey is a true treasure of nature. It has been used since ancient times for its health benefits

Mediterranean Olive Oil

In Ancient Greek and Mediterranean cultures, olive oil was a cherished skincare ingredient thanks to its abundant antioxidants, vitamins, and fatty acids. Due to its high quality and beneficial properties, extra virgin olive oil use is often recommended for deeply hydrating skin, as well as conditioning hair. Ioanna Zacharioudakis, head of marketing at APHRODITE, a natural Greek beauty brand, explained to ELLE UK that, ‘The Ancient Greeks were known to use olive oil to effectively care for their body, skin and hair. Hippocrates called olive oil the “Great Therapeutic” because of its extensive health and healing properties. Olive oil is often called “liquid gold” because it is a natural ingredient and one of the most superior substances on earth, cementing itself as a key pillar in any good beauty routine.’

Fani Mari, a London-based Greek wellness and lifestyle writer also advocates for smart ways to use the kitchen staple. ‘Olive oil can be used in a plethora of ways, from a makeup remover to a hair mask, but it’s also a lovely ingredient within other formulations. Depending on your skin type, you can use it straight (even as a face oil to moisturise) or on the scalp as a hair oiling treatment.’

Jjungl Japanese Bath Steam

Jjungl Japanese Bath Steam
Credit: Jjungl

Naturally Balmy Moroccan Rhassoul Clay - £18

Naturally Balmy Moroccan Rhassoul Clay – £18

Elaluz Beauty Oil

Elaluz Beauty Oil

Nuxe Paris Honey Rêve de Miel

Nuxe Nuxe Paris Honey Rêve de Miel

Face Theory Emolliating Olive Squalane

Face Theory Emolliating Olive Squalane
Credit: face theory

Innisfree Intensive Hydrating Serum with Green Tea Seed

Body Innisfree Intensive Hydrating Serum with Green Tea Seed

Perfumes's Club Agave Cooling Hydrogel Eye Mask

Petitfée Perfumes’s Club Agave Cooling Hydrogel Eye Mask

Now 29% Off


Derma Organics Turmeric Root Bar

Derma Organics Turmeric Root Bar
Credit: derma organics

Facetheory’s Emolliating Olive Squalane -£17 is a great product to introduce olive oil into your routine. Derived from 100% olive oil, it’s rich but gives the skin a dewy glow and a silky finish while also being perfect for priming your skin before putting makeup on and or taming frizzy hair.

herbs spices and seasonings used for natural medicine and skincare

Catherine Falls Commercial//Getty Images


China has significantly impacted global skincare through the influence of traditional Chinese medicine. For sensitive or irritated skin, the polyphenols, (a type of micronutrient that occurs naturally in plants) in green tea can help to soothe and calm the skin. It’s also been found to help regulate sebum production, making it suitable for individuals with oily or acne-prone skin. ‘Green tea acts like a superhero for your skin, using powerful antioxidants to fight off the bad guys called free radicals. These antioxidants, like catechins and EGCG, help protect your skin from getting wrinkles prematurely’ says Sammi Lami, founder of tea-infused skincare brand Chatea Skin. ‘By using products with green tea or sipping on a cup now and then, you’re giving your skin a natural boost that’s been trusted for centuries. It’s like a little secret to keep your skin happy and healthy.’

Innisfree – Intensive hydrating serum with green tea seeds (80ml) – £26.68

Also known as maguey, Mexico has a rich heritage of using nectar from its native agave plants in a wealth of beauty products. Agave has long been esteemed in Mexican culture for its medicinal properties and as a natural remedy for skin conditions.’Agave has been used by indigenous populations for centuries,’ says Mexican-born, New York based beauty influencer Nina Vargas. The plant itself is really special because it can draw moisture from the air and retain it. Beyond promoting healthy skin, it can also prevent premature ageing and the appearance of fine lines and help with your overall complexion.’

Ideal for anyone with concerns such as puffiness, dark circles, and dryness around the eyes, the Petitefée – Agave Cooling Hydrogel Eye Mask – £19.29, which will calm and soothe fatigued skin.

Green tea acts like a superhero for your skin


While Western skincare is often targeted towards anti-ageing properties or tackling ‘imperfections’, India’s Ayurvedic approach favours an ancient holistic healing system. Loosely translating to ‘science of life’, Ayurveda forms the cornerstone of the country’s approach to well-being as well as skincare. Turmeric is a common component featured in many masks, cleansers, and creams. Beauty and wellness writer Noma Nazish, told ELLE UK, ‘Turmeric is widely used in India to boost natural glow and treat uneven skin tones or darks spots. Preliminary studies show that regular use of turmeric in skincare may help treat acne, hyperpigmentation, dark spots, photoaging, and psoriasis, among other skin concerns. It also contains a bright yellow active compound called curcumin, which is known for its antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties.’

Derma Organics Turmeric Root Bar (100mg) – £13. This potent soap boasts organic Indian Turmeric Root. Its active ingredients will tackle skin issues such as acne, eczema, dark spots, and dullness and reduce skin irritation.

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