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5 Ancient Native Beauty Secrets to Use on and off the (NYC) Runway

Runway Ready! 5 Ancient Native Beauty Secrets for All
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New York Fashion Week started on Thursday, but for the next five days, the fashion world will continue to rock, rent and work the runway until the lights go out and fashion week returns to the city in September.

But, fashion week isn’t all about the clothing and accessories; it’s also about the glam, aka makeup, aka beauty products, that finish a model’s look.

Many ingredients in modern day beauty and makeup products, like the Aloe Vera used in makeup remover, the jojoba in face moisturizers, and the Yucca used in firming facial serums were discovered (and used) by Native elders hundreds of years ago.

Those beauty products are used backstage at New York Fashion Week where top manicurists, makeup artists, models, and hairstylists from all over the world share a wealth of beauty knowledge.

Dani Fonesca, a Mehron makeup artist, who’s working this year’s event, used Au Naturale at Isabel Marant, Alexander Wang, and Chloe’s fashion shows.

"This oil-free and fragrance-free cream makeup delivers satin-smooth, buildable coverage that is non-greasy and great for all skin types," Fonesca told Beauty World News. "It contains powerful antioxidants such as vitamin E, pomegranate and Aloe Vera, which all help to soothe skin."

Here are five Native beauty secrets (by Gerrie Summers) for you to try before NYFW ends on February 13.

Juniper root for shiny locks



The berries from this evergreen scrub (also called creeping cedar) were made into a tea that was used as a wash for skin problems. Juniper root was also soaked in water to wash the horses, making their coats shiny. It’s now used in hair care products for shiny and healthy hair.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

Native used Aloe Vera to soothe and heal the skin, as well as to hydrate and protect it from extreme climates in areas like dry deserts. It was also used to treat sunburn and for soap.

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Wild Mint for hair and skin


Wild Mint

The Cheyenne Indians in Montana used a decoction of the wild mint plant as hair oil. The Thompson Indians of British Columbia used the whole plant soaked in warm water to make a solution that was used in hairdressing. Mint was also used in bath water to alleviate itchy skin.

A mash of Rose Hips was made for skin problems


Rose Hips

Now cosmetic companies use rose hips oil in creams and lotions to soothe the skin, as well as in anti-aging face creams, because it is thought that rose hips oil can reverse wrinkle formation.

Yarrow for fragrant hair



Native Americans used an infusion of the leaves from this strong-scented perennial plant as a hair wash. The Okanagan Indians of British Columbia mixed the leaves and stems with white clematis (a perennial with bright yellow flowers) and witch’s broom branches to make a shampoo.

Source information:

Native American Ethnobotany Database/University of Michigan-Dearborn?

Exploring Kainai Plants and Culture/Galileo Educational Network