Brazil is known for its bountiful beauty — and that includes its confident and glamorous women. It's no wonder that stunning supermodels like Gisele Bundchen, Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio call the South American country home.
So, what are their secrets (besides great genes)? Here are some of the best beauty tricks, tips and techniques that Brazilian women swear by. The question is: Are you bold enough to try them?
1. Brazilian blowouts
Second only to the infamous body wax, this hair-straightening technique is arguably Brazil's best known beauty export. A Brazilian blowout smooths out the cuticle of the hair, helping those with frizzy texture achieve silky strands. A company called PrimePro is most commonly known for their line of formaldehyde-free Keratin products — and it's finally making its way stateside for salon use. Some drugstore brands, like Garnier Fructis, have also jumped on the Brazilian straightening bandwagon with at-home treatments and shampoos.
2. Candle-cutting (don't try this at home!)
This process isn't about shortening the length of your hair — it's about burning off the split ends throughout your head. The stylist twists small sections of hair and runs a lit candle up and down the length to seal open cuticles. Next, a hydrating, deep-conditioning hair mask helps restore strand strength. Sound crazy? Well, maybe a little, but Alessandra Ambrosio is certainly a candle-cutting fan.
3. Hair Botox
While a Brazilian blowout restores shine, a Botox treatment is the best bet for rebuilding hair bonds that may have been damaged by color, heat or exposure. Don't let the name fool you: There aren't any needles or medical procedures necessary — it's just adding in the product and then blow drying and flat-ironing the hair.
Keep in mind that these benefits don't come cheap. An in-salon treatment can cost anywhere between $180 - $230, according to Fernanda Lacerda, the owner of Maria Bonita Brazilian salon in New York City.
4. Sand as an exfoliator
Beach-loving Brazilians take advantage of more than just the sun and surf; they also take advantage of the sand right under their feet. By scooping up small handfuls, they use this natural resource to exfoliate skin and stimulate circulation. Rumor has it, this beauty trick can also decrease appearance of cellulite — and it's completely free!
But if you're willing to spend a little money, massages that focus on lymphatic drainage (to remove toxins and lessen water retention) are all the rage.
“Spa treatments in Brazil are very affordable, so it's common to go for a cellulite treatment," said Marcela Duarte, a former Braziilan beauty queen. "We would just do it every week ... We pamper ourselves much more since it's so cheap.”
5. Brazilian manicures
These manicures focus on removing the cuticles, rather than pushing them back as a standard American manicure would do. The manicurist will also paint to the edges and all the way onto the skin, cleaning it up afterward, to make sure the nails are painted from edge to edge.
6. Bikini facials
Described by Lacerda as a facial for your “private parts,” this procedure goes hand in hand with the infamous waxes. By using treatments that are similar to a regular facial — exfoliating, extracting and soothing — all areas that can be seen in a revealing swimsuit will be beach-ready.
7. Bum Bum Cream
One of the more popular products featured in Sol de Janeiro's line is its Bum Bum Cream. The rich cream focuses on a Brazilian-favorite body part: the bum, or as it sounds with a Portuguese accent, the “boom boom.” The moisturizer features Guarana Extract (which has five times more caffeine than coffee) to plump the skin. As an added plus, this incredibly rich lotion can also help soothe a sunburn.
8. Hair lighteners
While Brazilians may be known for their hair removal methods, Camila Pierotti of Sol de Janeiro explains that it is common to simply leave body hair on and lighten it. Certain products help create an optimal “golden peach fuzz” that lessens the contrast between dark hair and pale skin without removing the hair entirely.
9. Clay as a beauty ingredient
South America is a go-to for effective beauty ingredients, thanks to a lush ecosystem chock full of natural oils, fruits and plant extracts. The cosmetic company Tarte, for example, sources nutrient-rich clay from the banks of the Amazon river and includes it in a number of their makeup products.
And while confidence may not be a "trick," per say, Brazilian women are known for their unapologetic attitude. "It wouldn't be unusual to see a woman in her 50s or 60s in a bikini," says Steve Shubert of PrimePro. " The way she carries her confidence, that's really the most attractive thing that can stand out."