Authentic hair and beauty in Mexico and Brazil
One of the most effective secrets we should steal from our South American sisters is beauty sleep, aka. the siesta. The practice originated in Spain, but made its way across the ocean. There’s no better way to boost energy levels and give yourself a fresh-faced makeover than by hitting the hay for a short afternoon nap like they do in Costa Rica, Ecuador and Mexico.
Beauty ideals prevalent in Mexico have been influential in North America over the decades, with Latina, Chola and Chicana subcultures travelling seamlessly across borders. These persist today, but are also being redefined thanks to the Xicana movement, which questions archetypes of Latin American beauty. It involves analysing traditional ideas of what makes a woman beautiful and how narrow beauty ideals can be limiting. Nevertheless, many Xicana women strive to be authentic by embracing their heritage, including indigenous elements, and proudly wearing styles that emphasise their voluminous, heavy hair. Their looks often pay tribute to feminist icon Frida Kahlo, who in turn looked to the matriarchal society of Tehuantepec for hair, beauty and fashion inspiration.
American women south of the equator generally appreciate long, wavy and voluminous hair, often streaked with natural-looking highlights. For example, if you want to know which looks are trending on Ipanema Beach, look no further than supermodel Gisele Bündchen and the Brazilian Victoria's Secret Angels that have followed in the footsteps of Adriana Lima. However, Brazil can be humid, so anti-frizz treatments are as important as nourishing shampoo and conditioners. Velaterapia, also known as candle-cutting, gives a whole other meaning to the cliché of fiery Latin American beauty. The technique popularised globally by Brazilian models and their enviable hair involves burning split ends with a candle, giving a trim without losing length. If this seems a little intimidating, stick to a pampering care regime instead.