Beauty and the East: Bizarre beauty remedies from the Arab world

Published October 27th, 2013 - 14:47 GMT

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Beauty in the eye of the beholder or beauty-seeker can be achieved in many ways. But for our grandparents or tradition-keeping folk, the recipe for prettier hair or smoother skin often resulted from methods that today's generation may find a bit bizarre or downright gross, to say the least.

While most day to day beauty efforts go on without the overt use of live animals, these old wives tales take us back to a time before L'Oreal (when Nivea had the monopoly!) and when products derived from your caravanning camel held the mysteries of eternal youth. Continue reading below »

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Mayo in your mane for lustrous locks: Mayonnaise is famed for its hair properties and will make any locks luscious. If you don’t want your partner to mistake your head for a turkey sandwich, add vanilla essence to cut that mayo smell. Make sure not to use every Arab’s favorite garlic mayo concoction and leave out the other white stuff - labneh!
Reduce

Image 1 of 14:  1 / 14Mayo in your mane for lustrous locks: Mayonnaise is famed for its hair properties and will make any locks luscious. If you don’t want your partner to mistake your head for a turkey sandwich, add vanilla essence to cut that mayo smell. Make sure not to use every Arab’s favorite garlic mayo concoction and leave out the other white stuff - labneh!

Enlarge
Bat blood:In some Lebanese mountain villages, it’s believed applying fresh bats blood to a newborn child’s skin will ensure a bodyhair-free life - dodging the epilating, razor routine. Also, if you give that sweet baby a mascara wand for a teether, she will never need to pluck her eyebrows!
Reduce

Image 2 of 14:  2 / 14Bat blood:In some Lebanese mountain villages, it’s believed applying fresh bats blood to a newborn child’s skin will ensure a bodyhair-free life - dodging the epilating, razor routine. Also, if you give that sweet baby a mascara wand for a teether, she will never need to pluck her eyebrows!

Enlarge
Born again virgin: Hymenoplasty is all the rage if you’re seeking a high-end lady-parts upgrade...and it’s “practically painless”! This surgical tightening of the hymen will ensure that “new bride” feeling -- while full hymen restoration isn’t cheap, it’s the obvious choice when you want the best for your vagina (& hubbie to be)!
Reduce

Image 3 of 14:  3 / 14Born again virgin: Hymenoplasty is all the rage if you’re seeking a high-end lady-parts upgrade...and it’s “practically painless”! This surgical tightening of the hymen will ensure that “new bride” feeling -- while full hymen restoration isn’t cheap, it’s the obvious choice when you want the best for your vagina (& hubbie to be)!

Enlarge
Hymen glue, for crafty ladies: This is one DIY job you don’t want to cock-up! Arm yourself with some handy hymen glue for last-minute vajayjay fixes. Bought from any reputable Middle Eastern pharmacy, this PVC or Pritt-stick for your privates promises to restore your flower back to its blossoming bud if you’ve had some pre-marital misdemeanors.
Reduce

Image 4 of 14:  4 / 14Hymen glue, for crafty ladies: This is one DIY job you don’t want to cock-up! Arm yourself with some handy hymen glue for last-minute vajayjay fixes. Bought from any reputable Middle Eastern pharmacy, this PVC or Pritt-stick for your privates promises to restore your flower back to its blossoming bud if you’ve had some pre-marital misdemeanors.

Enlarge
Love the (white) skin you’re in? Beauty for the Arab mind-set is not only skin-deep but skin-white!  If you’re “suffering” from an olive complexion, you can always get yourself a new “race in a bottle”. Skin bleaching, popular in Africa and Asia, has hit the Middle East like white on rice. Now everyone can be 50 shades of pale!
Reduce

Image 5 of 14:  5 / 14Love the (white) skin you’re in? Beauty for the Arab mind-set is not only skin-deep but skin-white! If you’re “suffering” from an olive complexion, you can always get yourself a new “race in a bottle”. Skin bleaching, popular in Africa and Asia, has hit the Middle East like white on rice. Now everyone can be 50 shades of pale!

Enlarge
Straightening your hair the Granny way! You may love your straighteners, but Teta’s way of straightening locks still holds like an extra strength can of lacquer. Use the iron on your hair exactly as granny would de-wrinkle granddad’s shirt. But forget granddad’s coat, you’ll look incredible and slick if you stick to Teta’s hair remedy!
Reduce

Image 6 of 14:  6 / 14Straightening your hair the Granny way! You may love your straighteners, but Teta’s way of straightening locks still holds like an extra strength can of lacquer. Use the iron on your hair exactly as granny would de-wrinkle granddad’s shirt. But forget granddad’s coat, you’ll look incredible and slick if you stick to Teta’s hair remedy!

Enlarge
Still smiling: While chemical peels and microdermabrasion are viable options for wrinkle free skin, not moving your face can also help. According to 100 year-old beauty tips, immobility is foe of aging. So next time you see a poker faced Mideast women -- they're not angry or oppressed, they’re just penny pinching...on wrinkle cream.
Reduce

Image 7 of 14:  7 / 14Still smiling: While chemical peels and microdermabrasion are viable options for wrinkle free skin, not moving your face can also help. According to 100 year-old beauty tips, immobility is foe of aging. So next time you see a poker faced Mideast women -- they're not angry or oppressed, they’re just penny pinching...on wrinkle cream.

Enlarge
Beesting botox? Not as excruciating as it sounds, this nature-inspired process is said to be used by such famous people as Kate Middleton and Angelina Jolie. The secret is the bee venom infused into a facial mask which is then applied to your face. A mild stinging sensation later your skin is taut and plumped...wrinkles have buzzed off!
Reduce

Image 8 of 14:  8 / 14Beesting botox? Not as excruciating as it sounds, this nature-inspired process is said to be used by such famous people as Kate Middleton and Angelina Jolie. The secret is the bee venom infused into a facial mask which is then applied to your face. A mild stinging sensation later your skin is taut and plumped...wrinkles have buzzed off!

Enlarge
Beer with Lemon...Corona Time? So THAT’S what the beer is for in the Middle East…“hair lightening”. Yes, beer (even halal brews will do) has been used by women to lighten their locks the au naturel way . The process usually involves some time in the sun so this might be a counter beauty tactic to the skin bleaching impulse.
Reduce

Image 9 of 14:  9 / 14Beer with Lemon...Corona Time? So THAT’S what the beer is for in the Middle East…“hair lightening”. Yes, beer (even halal brews will do) has been used by women to lighten their locks the au naturel way . The process usually involves some time in the sun so this might be a counter beauty tactic to the skin bleaching impulse.

Enlarge
Camel eau de toilette: Camel urine is the answer to any medical issue you might have..including hair loss. Camel urine is said to be a remedy for male pattern baldness and keeps ladies’ locks shiny and beautiful. While getting the urine fresh IS an option, you can also get camel wee in pill or powder form.
Reduce

Image 10 of 14:  10 / 14Camel eau de toilette: Camel urine is the answer to any medical issue you might have..including hair loss. Camel urine is said to be a remedy for male pattern baldness and keeps ladies’ locks shiny and beautiful. While getting the urine fresh IS an option, you can also get camel wee in pill or powder form.

Enlarge
Milk it for what it’s worth! Camel milk is said to have moisturizing and anti-aging properties and is also a great, healthy alternative to your daily dairy products. Whether it's bathing in it or slathering it on the face for skin as smooth as a baby’s bottom, it seems that everything camel is the Bedouins’ best kept beauty secret.
Reduce

Image 11 of 14:  11 / 14Milk it for what it’s worth! Camel milk is said to have moisturizing and anti-aging properties and is also a great, healthy alternative to your daily dairy products. Whether it's bathing in it or slathering it on the face for skin as smooth as a baby’s bottom, it seems that everything camel is the Bedouins’ best kept beauty secret.

Enlarge
Bedouin eye-liner: Going “all natural” was invented in the Middle East by Bedouin men, of course! Eyeliner at its best, raw from source, is made from the resin of nearby trees. The resin is then burnt and turned into kohl which is collected in small jars. A wand is used to apply the kohl to the lovely and very manly Bedouin lashes.
Reduce

Image 12 of 14:  12 / 14Bedouin eye-liner: Going “all natural” was invented in the Middle East by Bedouin men, of course! Eyeliner at its best, raw from source, is made from the resin of nearby trees. The resin is then burnt and turned into kohl which is collected in small jars. A wand is used to apply the kohl to the lovely and very manly Bedouin lashes.

Enlarge
Labneh for sunburn: Move aside zaatar, the best partner for labneh is your sunburnt skin. Applying Labneh to your hot bod may feel strange but will feel like the coolest compress once applied. The fat in the labneh will moisturize your burn after 15 mins. The creamy goodness can then be wiped off with some bread and you have yourself a meal!
Reduce

Image 13 of 14:  13 / 14Labneh for sunburn: Move aside zaatar, the best partner for labneh is your sunburnt skin. Applying Labneh to your hot bod may feel strange but will feel like the coolest compress once applied. The fat in the labneh will moisturize your burn after 15 mins. The creamy goodness can then be wiped off with some bread and you have yourself a meal!

Enlarge
Arugula power: Rocket for your rocket member! Leafy green Arugula is considered to be an ancient love potion and is a science-backed aphrodisiac. The lusty leaf contains minerals that block absorption of poisons thought to negatively impact your sex drive. With its peppery taste, your woman will be pleased to add it to everything you are eating.
Reduce

Image 14 of 14:  14 / 14Arugula power: Rocket for your rocket member! Leafy green Arugula is considered to be an ancient love potion and is a science-backed aphrodisiac. The lusty leaf contains minerals that block absorption of poisons thought to negatively impact your sex drive. With its peppery taste, your woman will be pleased to add it to everything you are eating.

Enlarge

1

Mayo in your mane for lustrous locks: Mayonnaise is famed for its hair properties and will make any locks luscious. If you don’t want your partner to mistake your head for a turkey sandwich, add vanilla essence to cut that mayo smell. Make sure not to use every Arab’s favorite garlic mayo concoction and leave out the other white stuff - labneh!

Image 1 of 14Mayo in your mane for lustrous locks: Mayonnaise is famed for its hair properties and will make any locks luscious. If you don’t want your partner to mistake your head for a turkey sandwich, add vanilla essence to cut that mayo smell. Make sure not to use every Arab’s favorite garlic mayo concoction and leave out the other white stuff - labneh!

2

Bat blood:In some Lebanese mountain villages, it’s believed applying fresh bats blood to a newborn child’s skin will ensure a bodyhair-free life - dodging the epilating, razor routine. Also, if you give that sweet baby a mascara wand for a teether, she will never need to pluck her eyebrows!

Image 2 of 14Bat blood:In some Lebanese mountain villages, it’s believed applying fresh bats blood to a newborn child’s skin will ensure a bodyhair-free life - dodging the epilating, razor routine. Also, if you give that sweet baby a mascara wand for a teether, she will never need to pluck her eyebrows!

3

Born again virgin: Hymenoplasty is all the rage if you’re seeking a high-end lady-parts upgrade...and it’s “practically painless”! This surgical tightening of the hymen will ensure that “new bride” feeling -- while full hymen restoration isn’t cheap, it’s the obvious choice when you want the best for your vagina (& hubbie to be)!

Image 3 of 14Born again virgin: Hymenoplasty is all the rage if you’re seeking a high-end lady-parts upgrade...and it’s “practically painless”! This surgical tightening of the hymen will ensure that “new bride” feeling -- while full hymen restoration isn’t cheap, it’s the obvious choice when you want the best for your vagina (& hubbie to be)!

4

Hymen glue, for crafty ladies: This is one DIY job you don’t want to cock-up! Arm yourself with some handy hymen glue for last-minute vajayjay fixes. Bought from any reputable Middle Eastern pharmacy, this PVC or Pritt-stick for your privates promises to restore your flower back to its blossoming bud if you’ve had some pre-marital misdemeanors.

Image 4 of 14Hymen glue, for crafty ladies: This is one DIY job you don’t want to cock-up! Arm yourself with some handy hymen glue for last-minute vajayjay fixes. Bought from any reputable Middle Eastern pharmacy, this PVC or Pritt-stick for your privates promises to restore your flower back to its blossoming bud if you’ve had some pre-marital misdemeanors.

5

Love the (white) skin you’re in? Beauty for the Arab mind-set is not only skin-deep but skin-white!  If you’re “suffering” from an olive complexion, you can always get yourself a new “race in a bottle”. Skin bleaching, popular in Africa and Asia, has hit the Middle East like white on rice. Now everyone can be 50 shades of pale!

Image 5 of 14Love the (white) skin you’re in? Beauty for the Arab mind-set is not only skin-deep but skin-white! If you’re “suffering” from an olive complexion, you can always get yourself a new “race in a bottle”. Skin bleaching, popular in Africa and Asia, has hit the Middle East like white on rice. Now everyone can be 50 shades of pale!

6

Straightening your hair the Granny way! You may love your straighteners, but Teta’s way of straightening locks still holds like an extra strength can of lacquer. Use the iron on your hair exactly as granny would de-wrinkle granddad’s shirt. But forget granddad’s coat, you’ll look incredible and slick if you stick to Teta’s hair remedy!

Image 6 of 14Straightening your hair the Granny way! You may love your straighteners, but Teta’s way of straightening locks still holds like an extra strength can of lacquer. Use the iron on your hair exactly as granny would de-wrinkle granddad’s shirt. But forget granddad’s coat, you’ll look incredible and slick if you stick to Teta’s hair remedy!

7

Still smiling: While chemical peels and microdermabrasion are viable options for wrinkle free skin, not moving your face can also help. According to 100 year-old beauty tips, immobility is foe of aging. So next time you see a poker faced Mideast women -- they're not angry or oppressed, they’re just penny pinching...on wrinkle cream.

Image 7 of 14Still smiling: While chemical peels and microdermabrasion are viable options for wrinkle free skin, not moving your face can also help. According to 100 year-old beauty tips, immobility is foe of aging. So next time you see a poker faced Mideast women -- they're not angry or oppressed, they’re just penny pinching...on wrinkle cream.

8

Beesting botox? Not as excruciating as it sounds, this nature-inspired process is said to be used by such famous people as Kate Middleton and Angelina Jolie. The secret is the bee venom infused into a facial mask which is then applied to your face. A mild stinging sensation later your skin is taut and plumped...wrinkles have buzzed off!

Image 8 of 14Beesting botox? Not as excruciating as it sounds, this nature-inspired process is said to be used by such famous people as Kate Middleton and Angelina Jolie. The secret is the bee venom infused into a facial mask which is then applied to your face. A mild stinging sensation later your skin is taut and plumped...wrinkles have buzzed off!

9

Beer with Lemon...Corona Time? So THAT’S what the beer is for in the Middle East…“hair lightening”. Yes, beer (even halal brews will do) has been used by women to lighten their locks the au naturel way . The process usually involves some time in the sun so this might be a counter beauty tactic to the skin bleaching impulse.

Image 9 of 14Beer with Lemon...Corona Time? So THAT’S what the beer is for in the Middle East…“hair lightening”. Yes, beer (even halal brews will do) has been used by women to lighten their locks the au naturel way . The process usually involves some time in the sun so this might be a counter beauty tactic to the skin bleaching impulse.

10

Camel eau de toilette: Camel urine is the answer to any medical issue you might have..including hair loss. Camel urine is said to be a remedy for male pattern baldness and keeps ladies’ locks shiny and beautiful. While getting the urine fresh IS an option, you can also get camel wee in pill or powder form.

Image 10 of 14Camel eau de toilette: Camel urine is the answer to any medical issue you might have..including hair loss. Camel urine is said to be a remedy for male pattern baldness and keeps ladies’ locks shiny and beautiful. While getting the urine fresh IS an option, you can also get camel wee in pill or powder form.

11

Milk it for what it’s worth! Camel milk is said to have moisturizing and anti-aging properties and is also a great, healthy alternative to your daily dairy products. Whether it's bathing in it or slathering it on the face for skin as smooth as a baby’s bottom, it seems that everything camel is the Bedouins’ best kept beauty secret.

Image 11 of 14Milk it for what it’s worth! Camel milk is said to have moisturizing and anti-aging properties and is also a great, healthy alternative to your daily dairy products. Whether it's bathing in it or slathering it on the face for skin as smooth as a baby’s bottom, it seems that everything camel is the Bedouins’ best kept beauty secret.

12

Bedouin eye-liner: Going “all natural” was invented in the Middle East by Bedouin men, of course! Eyeliner at its best, raw from source, is made from the resin of nearby trees. The resin is then burnt and turned into kohl which is collected in small jars. A wand is used to apply the kohl to the lovely and very manly Bedouin lashes.

Image 12 of 14Bedouin eye-liner: Going “all natural” was invented in the Middle East by Bedouin men, of course! Eyeliner at its best, raw from source, is made from the resin of nearby trees. The resin is then burnt and turned into kohl which is collected in small jars. A wand is used to apply the kohl to the lovely and very manly Bedouin lashes.

13

Labneh for sunburn: Move aside zaatar, the best partner for labneh is your sunburnt skin. Applying Labneh to your hot bod may feel strange but will feel like the coolest compress once applied. The fat in the labneh will moisturize your burn after 15 mins. The creamy goodness can then be wiped off with some bread and you have yourself a meal!

Image 13 of 14Labneh for sunburn: Move aside zaatar, the best partner for labneh is your sunburnt skin. Applying Labneh to your hot bod may feel strange but will feel like the coolest compress once applied. The fat in the labneh will moisturize your burn after 15 mins. The creamy goodness can then be wiped off with some bread and you have yourself a meal!

14

Arugula power: Rocket for your rocket member! Leafy green Arugula is considered to be an ancient love potion and is a science-backed aphrodisiac. The lusty leaf contains minerals that block absorption of poisons thought to negatively impact your sex drive. With its peppery taste, your woman will be pleased to add it to everything you are eating.

Image 14 of 14Arugula power: Rocket for your rocket member! Leafy green Arugula is considered to be an ancient love potion and is a science-backed aphrodisiac. The lusty leaf contains minerals that block absorption of poisons thought to negatively impact your sex drive. With its peppery taste, your woman will be pleased to add it to everything you are eating.

Reduce

No pain, no gain

Whether we are talking store-bought mayo treatment or hunting down your very own bat which can only be found in a dark cave hundreds of miles away from the comfort of your home, being beautiful takes some effort. And the zealous female denizens of the Middle East, hardwired to strive to glow with glamor, will leave no pumice stone unturned on the drive to beauty.

We’ve scoured the history books of our Tetas (Arabic for grandmothers) to discover by-gone beauty tips and tricks that Middle Eastern ladies have been using for decades. There’s a reason the region's fairer sex are famed the world over for their exotic looks - here’s the bizarre, berserk and sometimes 'barbaric' world of Arab beauty.

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