At all times, foreigners who visited Russia excitedly talked about the amazing beauty of Russian women. Of course, the natural beauty plays a major role here, but any modern woman will say you that it is not so simple to support it. So how did Russian single ladies take care of themselves, and which the traditions have survived to our days?
Russian women have always been very attentive to the skin of their face and have known how to make it smooth and silky, as in modern creams advertisings. Unlike the modern women, they had nor cosmetic shops, neither a huge range of products. There were only food and herbs and they were able to skillfully use them so that nothing more is required. For instance, Russian beauties used the milk, sour cream, yogurt, butter, fats and egg yolks in order to make their face look healthy, attractive, as well as to get rid of wrinkles. And, of course, every woman has known that parsley brew and cucumber juice in order to whiten the skin. While for the oily and porous skin they mostly used cornflower infusion. The morning of a Russian lady has always been started with the obligatory washing with soap and rose water (rose hips brew), or of chamomile brew.
The same attention was paid to the body skin: the procedures aimed at preserving its beauty were conducted at least once a week. Considering ancient Russ sanitation, it was pretty often. The basic skin care procedures were carried in the bath houses. The skin was being purified with special scrubs, as well as massaged with aroma balms. Russian women knew how to make the body both look and feel fresh. They massaged it with ointments made of herbs and used the so-called “jelly” – an infusion of mint. Moreover, the baths house service included removing hair of the body. This procedure was rather painful, and the effect was no worse than of the modern hair removal. In order to give the smell of a freshly baked rye bread, they poured some beer on special hot stones. Less wealthy girls, whose family did not have their own bath house, had to wash and bathe in a Russian furnace.
Painted matryoshkas with roses on their cheeks have always been a symbol of a Russian woman. Well, what did Russian beauties use as decorative cosmetics? Instead of blush and lipstick, they used raspberry, cherry juice, and rubbed their cheeks with beet. A black soot, and sometimes brown paint, were often used as an eyeliner, brow liner and eyeshades. A modern make-up foundation and powder were substituted with flour or chalk, which made the skin brighter.
However Russian women (especially noblewoman) were often accused of abuse of decorative cosmetics. They used to dye their hands and necks in blue, white and brown, dyed their eyebrows, and eyelashes. As a rule, Russian ladies with black eyebrows wanted them to become light-brown, and those who had blond eyebrows desired for black ones.