If you think about traditional Irish beauty regimes, and you have an Irish granny, your mind probably goes straight to Pond’s Cold Cream and Vaseline, but Irish ladies' beauty regimes have really come a long way in the last few decades. However, I'm not exactly sure that oatmeal facials, seaweed baths, and Guinness hair rinses are quite as popular as online beauty sites might like use to believe.
Now, I wouldn’t say that I am in any way an expert on beauty products or regimes, but I will say I do spend too much in the drug store on products I probably don’t need and I absolutely love to treat myself to the occasional pampering facial and massage. So, I’m no novice either nor are my friends.
Also, I’m born, bred, and live in Dublin and have a suspicion that the folks revealing these “Irish beauty secrets” most certainly are not from the Emerald Isle.
I should also say that some of the beauty tips were really funny (such as the fact that Ireland is the biggest producer of Botox in the world, you’re welcome) and helpful (like embrace and look after your fair skin and hair) but some were laughable and bizarre.
Here’s a rundown of some of the notable beauty tips we found around the internet:
Barley tea / water
Apparently “Irish women have drunk barley tea for years,” according to Byrdie.co.uk. It sounds like a great idea, but I don’t know one person who would have barley tea in their kitchen. Now if it’s the Barry’s or Lyon’s or even chamomile or peppermint you might be onto something.
Byrdie reported that barley can “reduce signs of ageing” when applied topically or “when digested… releases several antioxidants and nutrients like selenium for clear, younger-looking skin.” Sounds amazing!
Slice.ca says, “The Irish know that the benefits of barley extend far beyond its nutritional value” and say that we’re always drinking barley water.
Do they mean Robinson’s Lemon Barley Water cordial, made popular by Wimbledon in the 1980s? I doubt it.
This one I am familiar with but again…who’s using seaweed products? No one I know.
The same site states that “since the 20th century, seaweed baths were built in Ireland and were pumped full of fresh seawater and actual seaweed leaves to heal body aches, boost circulation, and soothe the skin.”
In fact, this one is all over the internet. Stylecaster says “the Irish have been soaking in seaweed-infused baths for centuries.”
Of course, we do know the benefits behind iodine-filled seaweed but it’s not like we’re all lathering ourselves in the stuff. In fact, one of Ireland’s most famous seaweed brands Voya, while absolutely lovely, is not cheap.
Even if you Google map search for “seaweed baths” two come up in the whole of Ireland.
Again… nope! I’ve never had one and I’ve had many different facials but, funnily enough, not porridge based.
Get this one: “Since the 1800s, Irish women have washed their faces with oatmeal and a wet component like buttermilk or rain water.” I think the only fair reaction to that sentence is “Wow!”
Again, we do realize the benefits of oatmeal – “moisturizing, cleansing, anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory” – it’s just we rather this one in a bowl with some fruit, seeds and maybe honey.
Apparently “malt and hops in beer are great for your hair, adding strength and shine. Go for Guinness—it’s the Irish best, after all.”
I really don’t think I even need to comment on this one!
This one was totally new to me. I know the Irish have fully embraced homeopathic remedies such as arnica (for bruising) and echinacea (to boost your immune system) but comfrey is totally new to me and my friends.
So, this one can be used for everything from “painful muscle aches to random skin irritations” and the plant is “native to the British Isles and Ireland.”
A “potato facial”
We’re not even joking! Slice.ca reports, “There’s no food more Irish than the potato, so put one to good use by placing thin slices of raw spud over your eyes to calm, soothe and depuff. [sic]”
We’ve heard of cucumbers or teabags on the eyes, or, dare I suggest, an eye mask but spuds? No, that’s new to us.
Will you be grating a raw potato and applying it to your skin for a few minutes?
I mean it does sound beneficial. Apparently, it’s full of “catecholase, a naturally occurring skin lightening agent, that can improve skin tone, lighten discoloration and brighten the eye area.”
We'd still rather our spuds in crisp (chip) form, preferably Tayto.