Rosa Mosqueta, Chilean Rosehip And The Story of When Our Ancient Beauty Rituals Faded Away

Rosa Mosqueta, Chilean Rosehip And The Story of When Our Ancient Beauty Rituals Faded Away

We're all interested in natural beauty, which probably makes you wonder what kind of belleza (beauty) rituals your grandmother used, back before they had things like LED therapy masks and retinol and when they relied only on natural beauty recipes. 

Señoras used things in their pantries and gardens, like honey, aguacate/palta (avocado), oats, coffee, and all kinds of herbs that they used for tecitos (teas). They perfected their own hydrating masks, whipped their own face creams, and made their own super simple soaps.

Some of them may have also created recipes out of wild plants or weeds that grew around them, like rosa mosqueta (Chilean rosehip), which is a beauty serum made out of rosehips from the Rosa Rubiginosa rose bushes that grow completely wild in certain areas of the Andes, unbothered by humans, and fed by natural mountain runoff.

Rosehip oil is big business now, but in the past, it was simply an oil made from plants in the mountains you picked up in town from the local soap-making señora.

Our ancestral señoras even dabbled in the beauty supplements that are popular today. Nowadays, you can buy a purple collagen powder to add to your almond milk to make your skin glow. Back then, there were tonics and pills that were supposed to keep your face and body beautiful. 

For example, in the 19th century it was all the rage in Chile to buy “pilulos orientales,” which were supplements that your cousin would bring from her vacation in Europe, that were supposed to give you boobs a glow up. Imagine that!

Other supplements included herbs and plants that we now call superfoods, and that went back to the days of the original Indigenous people of these areas. These included edible things like cacao, maca, superfood berries like maqui and acai. Your señoras’ minimalist way of life was born from necessity rather than a desire to be on trend. They didn’t have the modern tools and resources that you do, particularly if you live in the United States. 

Yet, there was a clear moment in recent history when these ancient beauty rituals started to fade from everyday life: when beauty went global and huge personal care product corporations launched in the Latin American market around 1940. Suddenly,  creating natural skincare solutions for yourself was “out”. 

It's a fascinating history of beauty in Latin America: Revlon opened a factory in Mexico in 1948, Wella launched in Chile in 1952, in Brazil in 1954, in Argentina in 1957, and in Mexico in 1961. Avon launched in Puerto Rico in 1954 and expanded extensively in Latin America, as did Colgate-Palmolive. Essentially, if your grandmother was a teenager then, chances are she began using the brands that were also popular in the United States or Europe. This was unfortunately, most likely the moment when many of our ancestral beauty traditions became lost to history.  

When this shift took our families away from this natural wisdom, we lost important and helpful rituals. We believe it’s time to reclaim our señoras’ ancient wisdom and rituals, like the beautiful and familiar rosa mosqueta from the Andes.

Rosa, like you, is your ancestor's wildest dream!