Every country has its own unique ancient beauty secrets - cosmetic rituals that have been followed by both women and men for several generations. Sadly, as with many traditions, these often end up dying out, resulting in a precious pocket of culture being lost forever.
The only way to preserve these traditions is to keep that fire going. Fortunately, when it comes to those from Croatia, there are several that are still very relevant today. Here are five ways to bring Croatian traditions into your beauty regime:
Olive Oil as a Moisturizer
Home to some of the largest olive groves in the world, Croatia is famous for its locally-produced olive oil. In addition to consuming this golden goodness, Croatians have been using olive oil on their skin and hair for centuries.
It’s easy to see why - olive oil can prevent premature aging, repair sun damaged skin cells, and strengthen the skin’s protective barrier. It’s a popular beauty ingredient in many Mediterranean countries, where it’s applied directly onto the skin at the last stage of a person’s beauty routine.
Although beneficial, there’s no denying that using pure olive oil on your skin can get a little messy. One alternative is to look for products that have been formulated with olive oil instead - check out this Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream review for one example!
Thermal Springs to Detoxify and Heal
Croatia is packed with thermal springs. These natural water sources are brimming with minerals, which gives them powerful healing properties.
The hot springs of Croatia have been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times. In addition to treating everything from rheumatism to heart disease, this mineral-rich water, along with the mud that lies at the bottom of each spring, works wonders on the skin.
Today, many of these springs are contained within thermal spas. However, there are still several “undiscovered” springs dotted around the country that are free for public use.
Nettle Water to Soothe the Scalp
The next time your scalp feels dry, itchy, or irritated, skip the shampoo and try this Croatian beauty secret instead. Simply gather up some stinging nettles (wear gloves!) and then boil them in water for a few minutes. Leave the water to cool and then use this to wash your hair, instead of a shampoo.
This may sound a little strange, but nettles are packed with silica, sulphur, and hair-boosting minerals. Not only can they treat numerous scalp issues, but they’ll also prevent hair loss and encourage hair growth.
Native Herbs for Anti-Aging Skincare
There are thousands of herbs that naturally grow around Croatia and many are brimming with anti-aging compounds. While the skin does benefit from herbs that you eat, applying those ingredients directly to your skin means that all of those antioxidants can be delivered directly to your skin cells, bypassing your digestive system.
One particular herb that locals used to use to fashion into a skin balm is Immortelle. Also known as the everlasting flower, this herb is favored by Croatian skincare brands, who add it into anti-aging formulas. Everything from lavender to oregano can also be found growing wild around Croatia, and have been used on the skin for generations. They also form the base of different essential oil blends, which are then also used for beauty purposes.
As mentioned, Croatia’s water sources are bursting with minerals. After these have made their way down the country, they end up in the Adriatic Sea. You may think that those minerals are just a small drop in the ocean, but research shows that the Adriatic Sea is actually 7-14% saltier than other seawater, all because of those minerals.
The high salinity of the seawater around Croatia has made it a go-to for those suffering from various skin conditions. A simple seawater bath can treat acne, reduce skin infections, heal psoriasis, reduce inflammation, and deeply nourish the skin - what’s not to love?!
Although nothing quite beats Croatian seawater, a regular seawater bath is still worth trying to give your skin a boost. You could even add sea salt to your bathwater at home to replicate the experience.
With such a diverse array of natural resources to turn to, it’s not surprising that many of Croatia’s cosmetics customs rely heavily on nature. Native herbs, mineral mud, rich fruit oils - they’ve been used by locals for centuries, yet are still prevalent in modern-day beauty. If you’ve been looking for a way to elevate your skincare routine while embracing the lessons of the past, these are the Croatian beauty traditions to try.