3 Ancient Beauty Secrets You’ve Never Heard Of

March 18, 2015 47 Comments

When I open the medicine cabinet in our bathroom, what I see is mesmerizing. About 7.5 of the 8 shelves in there are jam packed with mysterious creams, tonics, and scrubs that my wife Michelle swears by as part of her beauty regimen. On the remaining half shelf that has been assigned to me (nomadic Neanderthal husband), sits my toothbrush, herbal deodorant, dental floss, a razor, and a tube of natural toothpaste. You could say Michelle owns this particular piece of real estate in our house and until recently, she alone knew what each of those little bottles of goo were good for.

But while I was down in the Amazon, I came across some ancient beauty treatments still in use today that sparked my curiosity about what women in the States use on their skin and hair. Once I got back to California, I began looking at the contents of some of Michelle’s products and was pleasantly stunned to see that most of the active ingredients are not new. In fact, many of them have been used since antiquity.

The main difference is that: a) the key ingredients in these new formulas are diluted with a bunch of filler substances, b) there is no saying where these new products are sourced from – in fact, only 70% of the ingredients need to be organic to fulfill the FDA’s “Organic” requirement, and c) most of these natural products actually contain a number of potentially toxic chemicals.

I brought it up to Michelle and according to her, the only way to get 100% natural and effective skin and hair tonics is to either make them yourself, or seek out a mom & pop shop on a mountaintop somewhere. A sad state of affairs that will hopefully change soon, because the chemicals that these major natural brands are sneaking into their stuff are not good.

Inspired by this apparent blind spot in the beauty industry, we did a bunch of digging and found some effective and fun ancient beauty formulas that you can make at home. But before we get to those, here are a few of the sneaky intruders that you should be on the lookout for in your favorite organic lotions and shampoos:

1.) Parabens – An extremely common preservative that has been shown to disrupt estrogen production and has also been detected in malignant tumors.
2.) Phthalates – Usually hidden under the word “fragrance,” a known hormone disruptor linked to reproductive defects
3.) Benzoyl Peroxide – Known skin and eye irritant; linked to the promotion of tumor growth.
4.) Triclosan – According to the EPA, this is a serious pesticide. Enough said.

Now on to the good news! Below are some time-tested beauty formulas that are easy to make and extremely beneficial for the skin and hair. As Marvin Gaye once said, “There ain’t nothing like the real thing baby!”

Cleopatra Honey Scrub

Let’s start with one of the most legendary beauties of all time – the woman who made the hearts of both Caesar and Marc Antony go pitter pat. Known throughout the Mediterranean world for her goddess-like appearance, archaeological evidence indicates that Cleopatra and many other Egyptian head turners might have had a little help.

In addition to the extravagant and expensive practice of bathing in milk and honey, women of Egyptian royalty used a variety of natural creams, masks, and exfoliants. Below is a skin scrub formula that was recently discovered on a piece of medical papyrus dating back to the court of Thuthmosis III (1425 BC). Someone was so enamored by this prized formula that they asked for its recipe to be buried with them – if that’s not a rave review, I don’t know what is!


1 part Honey
1 part Natron – naturally occurring mixture of alkaline sodium salts (or use baking soda as a substitute)
1 part Lower Egyptian Salt – (use sea salt)

In addition to the above ingredients, essential oils were most likely added to this base to give it a pleasant aroma and further medicinal qualities. Frankincense and myrrh essential oils were treasured in Ancient Egypt and were likely used in formulas like this. Just a few drops will do!

Making the scrub:

Grind all of the ingredients together thoroughly, let set for 20 minutes and apply when ready. This scrub would have been rubbed onto the skin and left on for a few minutes, before being washed off with warm water. Remember, always try homemade treatments like this on a tiny patch of skin first to make sure you don’t have any allergic reaction to them.

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Maya Hair and Scalp Fortification Wrap

While we were in Lake Atitlan, I couldn’t help but notice how strong and shiny the local women’s hair was – and I’m not the type to notice this kind of thing. 🙂 I didn’t realize the Maya had a secret formula that gave their locks such vibrance!

This world renowned Maya hair therapy is the epitome of DIY beauty care. Come to think of it, I have all the necessary ingredients for this nourishing Mesoamerican formula sitting in my kitchen right now. Chances are, you do too!


1/2 Avocado
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Banana
1 Egg Yolk

Making the wrap:

In a small mixing bowl, whip all ingredients together until they form a batter. Massage the mixture into the hair and cover it using either a shower cap or other moisture resistant wrap. Let it sit for an hour, and rinse using your shampoo of choice. For longer hair, use a whole avocado and banana.

Ayurvedic Skin Toner (for oily or acne-prone skin)

Some of the remedies we dig up are pretty bizarre, but others like the skin toner below just make sense. Examine the three ingredients that make up this powerful skin mask – each one of them packs a medicinal wallop.

Goat yogurt, the base of this recipe, is back in mainstream use due to its pro-biotic potency and nutrient density. The peppery turmeric is a strong anti-inflammatory that is high in anti-oxidants – currently praised by natural and clinical doctors as a super-herb (particularly for its favorable effects on cancer cells). And the fragrant sandalwood tree has a long documented history of use in beauty formulas, both for its delightful aroma and its desirable toning effect on the skin.

(In addition to balancing out the oils on the skin, this toner has antiseptic and antibacterial qualities and functions as a gentle cleanser.)


3 tsp goat yogurt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp sandalwood powder

Making the mask:

Simply mix all the ingredients together and let stand for 1/2 an hour in the refrigerator. Apply it to your face and wash off with warm water after 10 minutes.

I hope you find these three ancient beauty formulas to be useful. If you’re the rugged male type who isn’t wild about pampering your skin, you might want to forward this on to your lovely partner, sister or mom – who will be shocked that you know a little something about the finer things in life. I know my wife was!

Last but NOT LEAST, when interrogating my wife about her products, she told me that there is one beauty brand with true integrity that she and all of her friends use, hailing their oils, mists, and hair tonics as being absolutely pure and heartfully crafted.

The company is called Annmarie Gianni Skin Care, and you can check out their line of wild-crafted serums, scrubs, and oils at the link below:


That’s all for now!

Stay curious,


Filed Under: Herbalism

About Nick Polizzi

Nick Polizzi has spent his career directing and producing feature length documentaries about natural alternatives to conventional medicine. Nick's current role as executive producer of the docuseries "Proven: Healing Breakthroughs Backed By Science" and "Remedy: Ancient Medicine for Modern Illness" stems from a calling to honor, preserve, and protect the natural healing knowledge and earth-based medicines that our ancestors passed down to us.

View all posts by Nick Polizzi

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  1. James Simister says:

    My new favorite site.Thank you Nick,I am always curious!

  2. Tina Ouellette says:

    Hello Nick,
    I just want to say thank you, and that your wife is a lucky woman. I’ve worked as a cosmetologist for years, so natural products are prudent to me having poisoned my body with chemical toxins for way to long. Thanks again. Didn’t curiosity kill the cat, lol, scratch that!

  3. Alawon Bremen says:

    Yikes! I wouldn’t have Tom’s in my cabinet! I make my own. A lot cheaper too.

  4. Simone Moore says:

    It’s a shame that each of these beauty products contain an animal product, being a living being has suffered greatly for us to us their body excretion (yes honey bees suffer terribly at the hands of humans including chickens and goats, see you tube for informative videos about this). I use totally natural and vegan homemade products for all my personal hygiene and beauty needs so it is possible to be natural, beautiful and completely cruelty free! Much love, Simx

    • T says:

      I love Sanre organic ski food products. I wish i could find a great shampoo!

      • Cat says:

        Check out Suzann Somers organic skin and hair care line. She worked hard after her cancer to find non-chemical products and finally decided to make her own. As far as I know there are no animal products in her line, and she keeps a small town in California employed making these wonderful product in small batches. I absolutely love her shampoo, her organic skin serums and her body lotions.

    • Martha says:

      Thank you , Simone, for pointing this out. Your post stated very well what I immediately felt. I was very sad to see these “recipes” when I expected to see something that we could use in joy and gratitude without hurting others. I would love to know the products you endorse. I happily use vegan and all natural Astara Skin Care.

  5. Sharon Houghton says:

    Hi Nick, Thanks for another great article. I love your passion when it comes to all-natural and herbal healing, and now beauty care. I do want to say though, that there are many all-natural companies out there now. I’ve spent the last 12 years getting many of these companies together so that they can be found by those looking for truly natural beauty care. I offer 3 sites where there is loads of solid information about going all-natural with beauty and grooming and great companies that are amazingly pure! I hope that you’ll visit and take a good look around. I think you’ll love what you find. Thanks again! http://www.anbPortal.comhttp://AllNaturalBeauty.ushttp://www.AllNaturalBeauty.com

  6. ann says:

    Living Libations products are also amazing and totally pure. They have a great shampoo and conditioner and great products for teeth also

  7. sandra myatte says:

    all is use is organic coconut oil on my face and body, scrub I make using coffee grinds mixed with coconut oil. The way nature intended.

  8. Kim G says:

    I really enjoy your articles and appreciate you making an effort towards getting people to try some more natural skin care products but as soon as I saw what brand of toothpaste you mentioned using, I cringed and almost stopped reading. Was this a deliberate plug for a brand that is owned by a mega corporation known for their heavy use of unhealthy chemicals or are you just not aware of the background of the brand mentioned and how they are masquerading as a “natural brand” for those who are not inclined to do their research? I would love to see you remove their name from your blog for the sake of any sheople who may be reading this.

  9. Priscilla says:

    Thanks so much for this g eat info!

  10. Elena says:

    Thank you – great simple recipes.

  11. Janet says:

    Does the Tumeric not stain fair skin?

  12. susan says:

    turmeric powder? it stains everything orange! wouldn’t it do the same to your face?

  13. Shirley says:

    Thanks so much. I look forward to trying these.

  14. carmel says:

    Thank you so much for these tips. Please could you give me recipe for body cream moisturiser . l love all your articles. Carmel

  15. fariba says:

    Thank you Nick for great information.

  16. Susanne Chakan says:

    thank you …I love this information. I use a lot of Ayurvedic products. But I am still looking for an eyeliner that doesn’t have chemicals. If you come across one or know how to make one…Please let us know. Thanks again.

  17. F.M. says:

    Thank you for the great info. I appreciate great leads like this. I have a daughter that has been considering making her own cosmetics because of the garbage found at retail. This will help her out so much, because she does not have the time or resources for trial and error.

  18. Marilyn says:

    Alway looking, searching for truths ..thank you

  19. Maricarmen says:

    type your comment here…This is awesome! thanks so much for all the wonderful info!! Love you!

  20. Earth Angel says:

    It’s wonderful to see you blog about this. Many of us are fooled by clever marketing words. It is exactly this that led me to http://www.dazzleorganics.mionegroup.com Where the products are actually Certified (to FOOD standards) Organic and actually feed your skin. I have yet to find a purer product. I recommend paying customs duties up front. The founders of ONE group are a big part of why ingredients listings have become more common. Best wishes xx

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  37. Ramona Flowers says:

    I cant fathom the struggle ancient women went through just to have smooth and soft skin. Thank God for modern science that I am able to use Solvaderm. By the way are those ancient skin care tips tested in today’s science if it is effective?

  38. Joanna says:

    Great article! Thank you for sharing! I’m a cancer survivor turned health geek and “mom on a mountaintop” bath & body product maker, and I’m always looking for more ideas and inspiration about natural, nontoxic beauty products and what was used in ancient times. If you’d like to see what I make you can check out my products on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Natural-Beauty-Products-by-Joanna-1691008577804364/

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