There are so many old-school Latinx traditions that we carry from generation to generation, whether or not they work or are true at all. Growing up, you probably heard your Latina mom or abuela tell you not to go outside with wet hair because you’d catch a cold or to use Vivaporú to cure all of mankind’s ailments. We’ve heard these suggestions so much they’ve practically become instilled in our culture. But, it’s only natural for our generation (and younger ones) to want to challenge and verify if these remedies or life hacks are for real or not.
So we did some digging and found some old school beauty hacks that were used in Latin American countries way back when, that really work, and are still being used today. Added bonus? A lot of these are inexpensive, easy to use, and feature natural ingredients.
Witch Hazel for Puffy Eyes
While it is advised to get an alcohol-free formula (it can irritate and dry skin), witch hazel is still often used as a face cleanser, toner, acne treatment, and even to help de-puff eyes, While there are options online for as low as $0.78, probably the most popular option for witch hazel today is Thayers Alcohol-free Rose Petal Witch Hazel with almost 11,000 reviews on Amazon an for only $8!
Coffee Grounds for Cellulite
Another inexpensive, natural, and effective beauty hack is using coffee to diminish cellulite. You can either create a scrub that includes coffee grounds, that you rub onto your skin, or you can create a mix that you then wrap on your problem areas with saran wrap. The caffeine in the coffee dilates blood vessels, which improves blood flow to the area, as well as plumping and tightening the skin. Its antioxidants also are said to increase collagen production.
Setting Your Eyeliner on Fire
I grew up seeing my Titi take a lighter and set flame to her Maybelline black eyeliner pencil. I later learned that this is a great way to get your eyeliner to be more rich and intense in color. You don’t actually light it until it catches a flame, but rather run the pencil back and forth over the flame quickly. And don’t forget to blow air on it so it cools, and test it on your hand so you know it’s not too hot to place on your eyes!
Petroleum Jelly for Everything (but with a Healthier Alternative!)
Is it really a Latinx household without there being a tub of petroleum jelly in the bathroom or hall closet? Traditionally, we have used petroleum jelly (most likely Vaseline) for everything — moisturizing our lips, adding sheen to the eyelids and cheeks, moisturizing our feet at night worn with socks and more. It’s still a good way to hydrate, but since petroleum and other chemicals can seep into the skin and trap them in, let’s modernize this old school beauty hack by using a healthier option! Waxelene, Carol’s Daughter, and Third Day Naturals are just a few brands that make a natural non-petroleum-based jelly.
Mayo and Avocado Masks for the Hair
What’s great about some of the old household beauty hacks we still partake in, is that they are inexpensive, using everyday products we often already have in the house. A few belleza tips that we definitely heard of growing up were to deep condition our hair with either mayo or avocado and olive oil. They’re both super hydrating options that will leave your tresses conditioned. It’s a perfect option for some cheap yet effective pampering!
El Tubi/Doobie/La Toga/Torniquete/La Manta/Etc.
I grew up doing this cool hair wrapping beauty hack known as la toga in Colombia, although it is known by other names such as el tubi, doobie wrap, la manta, torniquete and more. Basically, you wrap the hair flat against the head and secure with bobby pins. My experiences doing la toga also included a large roller on the top of the hair. You can finish the style with a cap or net to keep the protective style in place. Some women keep it on just for a few hours while others sleep with it overnight. Either way, you’re left with sleek, straight, and super shiny tresses.
A Honey Mask for Skin
Honey is a great item to have in the house. Raw honey is rich in antioxidants, antimicrobial, antifungal, is hydrating and has a ton of other benefits. The same way you can throw it in your tea and yogurt, you can also use it in your hair and on your skin. Making a mask out of honey, as demonstrated in the Instagram video above, helps to really moisturize your skin, as well as help acne-prone skin, relieving inflammation.
Coconut and Olive Oil for healthy shiny hair
A lot of the great vintage beauty tricks and tips we grew up hearing about and seeing the women in our family embrace, have to do with hair and keeping it shiny, full, and healthy. There are so many natural ingredients just lying around the house that have been used to take your hair to a whole other level, including coconut and olive oil. You can make a quick conditioning mask with these oils, apply them to your nails and cuticles for stronger nails, and of course use them as the ultimate natural, protective face and skin moisturizer.
Red Grape Paste for Skin
You may already know that red wine has notable health benefits, due to its antioxidants (which include resveratrol), as well as vitamin C, vitamin K, and more. But you don’t have to get a buzz to help get great skin. In Chile, women make a paste with red grapes and flour to keep their skin looking glowy and young.
Manzanilla and Lemon Juice to Lighten Hair
I grew up using Manzanilla Grisi (their manzanilla shampoo) to help lighten my hair when I wanted it lighter and like I had lived at the beach all summer. Latinxs have been using manzanilla to naturally lighten hair for what seems like forever. Lemon juice is another natural aid we have used. Just spray it onto the hair with a spray bottle and lie in the sun. The lemon will bleach your strands. With both, keep using to lighten until you get your desired hair color.
Salt, Sand, and Sugar Scrubs
The next beauty hack we are going to look at involves exfoliation. Sugar and salt scrubs are super easy to make (check out Pinterest for a ton of recipes!), but you can also scrub your skin with sand. In Brazil, savvy, resourceful women on the beach exfoliate with sand to slough off dead skin cells and reveal invigorated new skin. Genius!
Garlic Nail Polish
I hadn’t heard of this next beauty tip, but it’s also genius and worth trying! You take any clear nail polish (although I aim to try to find polishes now that are as low in harmful chemicals as possible) and add minced garlic. Garlic is naturally antifungal, antiviral, and antiseptic, and putting it on your nails will help them grow strong.
Hair Conditioner for Shaving Your Legs
Multitasking is a way of life for most everyone these days, and we want products that can do the same. If you run out of shaving cream, don’t use it, or want to reduce the number of products you load in your bathroom, why not try hair conditioner for shaving your legs? It gives you that smooth barrier you need when removing hair, plus it’s super moisturizing! Added bonus? If you use a natural conditioner, you are also now replacing two products known to be loaded with harmful chemicals with a much healthier option!
A Spoon as An Eyelash Curler
The last Latinx-tried-and-true beauty hack we had to share is using a spoon to curl your eyelashes. While some curl them with the spoon groove facing the eye, and others do it the other way, the result is usually fabulously curled lashes. Here‘s a video you can check out! FYI, you can also use a spoon to help you get a bolder mascara look; check out the video here.