In the States, where products are often marketed as "oil-free," some women think of oil as a negative thing. But women in Asia, South America, and the Middle East often use plant-based essential oils in place of moisturizers. "In India, anointing the skin with the right type of oil is a nourishing way to keep your complexion young," says Pratima Raichur, an Ayurvedic physician, chemist, and botanist. For example, smoothing on geranium oilfound in Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil ($49; clarins.com)can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines.
Slow down your skin care
In Europe and Asia, women not only tend to have multistep skin-care rituals but actually enjoy taking the time to do them, notes Kazumi Toyama, global scientific communications manager for the skin-care company SK-II. In Russia, for example, a skin regimen can involve "removing makeup, then cleansing and using toner, a serum or two, moisturizer, and other treatments," says Lexandra Berchik, an aesthetician and educator for Bliss Spas. And Korean women may take even longer to treat their skin by massaging on multiple products each evening, says Susan Kim, director of marketing for Korean skin-care brand Sulwahsoo.
Whether it's a botanical extract from an indigenous plant or a certified-organic skin serum, women the world over know that Mother Nature can rival even the priciest dermatologist."The green movement is picking up speed in the United States, but women in Europe have long known they can get great results with products that use clean, botanically based ingredients instead of synthetics," Nicky Kinnaird, the British founder of Space NK apothecary beauty stores. "I never used (traditional) eye creams because they always irritated my eyes and made them puffy. But once I tried the one from Zelens I was hooked," she says of Zelens Intensive Triple Action Eye Cream ($160; spacenk.com), which was developed in England and features powerful natural antioxidants like Centella asiatica herb.
Take years off at the spa
Don't get jealous, but in some parts of the world, a visit to the spa is as common as a manicure. "The average Russian woman goes for a facial about once a month," Berchik says. And in many countries, spas are more about maintenance and education than indulgence. "In France, once you hit your teens, your mother usually takes you to the facialist to teach you how to care for your skin," Kinnaird explains.
Do you believe that when you eat well it shows on your skin? If so, you've got a worldly point of view. "Greek women believe they have better-looking skin than women from other countries, and I credit their Mediterranean diet," says Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, MD, PhD, a New York City–based dermatologist. Research supports this idea; women whose diets are high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acidscommon nutrients found in Greek-diet staples like olive oil, colorful vegetables, and fishhave fewer signs of damage after sun exposure, according to a recent study.