Steal These Beauty Secrets from Irish Women

Aly Walansky
Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, why not get in the spirit? Use these tried-and-true Irish skin care secrets that will leave you looking and feeling great, no matter what day you’re celebrating.

Give your hair a beer rinse.
While we know you will probably be having a beer or two in the spirit of St. Paddy’s, consider saving your beer for some other concerns. The malt and hops in beer are great for your hair, adding strength and shine. Go for Guinness—it’s the Irish best, after all.

Go red.
Most of us have considered a wild walk on the red side. Going red is a great way to embrace a bit of Irish this season. There are some unique rules inherent to going red, and Clairol Color Director James Corbett reminds us that red hair fades quicker than blonde, brown or black shades, so try washing your hair less often and use dry shampoo in between to stay fresh. You can also try rinsing your hair with vinegar once a week, as this will close the hair cuticle and avoid color fade.

“When deciding to go red, keep in mind whether your roots differ from your ends. If your ends are lighter, the red will show up more. If your ends were previously colored a darker shade, the red may show up on your roots more than your ends,” says Corbett. Warm reds (look for shade names like ‘reddish brown’ or ‘blonde’) will add a slightly red tone to your hair and are best for blonde or light brown base colors. If you’re looking for something more dramatic, look for shades that contain the words ‘dark,’ ‘cherry,’ ‘burgundy’ and ‘plum.’” These work best with medium to dark brunettes with darker skin tones and olive complexions.

Not sure you are ready to take the plunge? Corbett recommends Natural Instincts red shades, like Cinnaberry and Spiced Tea, which can be used as a gloss over any base color to give a little boost of red. Natural Instincts is non-permanent, so the color will wash out gradually after 28 days.

Get a seaweed wrap.
The Irish have been soaking in seaweed-infused baths for centuries. To embrace this tradition, seawater is pumped directly from the ocean into large tubs and then piles of locally harvested seaweed are added in. The seaweed is known to be full of essential oils that are healing and nourishing to skin.

In the early 20th century, there were hundreds of seaweed bathhouses in Ireland. You are probably not likely to find one in your neck of the woods (if you are in Ireland, visit Voya—one of the few seaweed baths left on the Irish coast). You don’t have to travel as far as Europe, though. Many spas around the world still offer seaweed wraps—a reasonable substitute with great skin benefits!

Embrace your Irish traits.
If you are lucky enough to have strawberry blonde/ginger hair and milky Irish skin, flaunt it! Personalize a traditional Irish braid for an updated, sexy feel. “Strawberry blonds and red heads: be sure to use shampoos and conditioners with color protectant to keep your color vibrant and lush,” says John Barrett, a New York celebrity hairstylist, who grew up in Limerick, Ireland. Barrett also suggests you add a little blush to enhance the natural rosiness of the apples of the cheek and, of course, always use a UV protectant on the skin.

Buy some Comfrey.
You may not be into plants, but you should know about Comfrey, a plant native to the British Isles and Ireland. It’s known for its medicinal qualities, and is an awesome topical treatment for everything from painful muscle aches to random skin irritations.  If you don’t have Comfrey growing in your back yard, don’t fret. You can buy some salve online!

Kill that hangover.
Don’t go for the hair of the dog. It may be an Irish saying, but it’s not the greatest idea. Instead, do as the Irish do and drink two raw eggs to minimize  those hangover symptoms like headache, nausea and dehydration.

Have an oatmeal facial.
Whether you go for the homegrown variety—oats from the likes of McCann’s have been made in Ireland since the 1800s—or buy skin care products that include oatmeal, like Aveeno Positively Nourishing Calming Body Wash ($6.99,, we can learn from the Irish and embrace oatmeal in our skincare. Not only are oats a natural remedy for acne, but they are also amazing for soothing dry or irritated skin.

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