In winter (зимо́й – zimoï), taking care of one’s health (уха́живать за собой – oukhazhivat’ za soboi) is not just a good thing, it’s a necessity, so as not to fall victim to the biting cold (хо́лод – kholad)! This month, CREF would like to offer you some tips, in Russian, on how to go about taking care of yourself in Russia!
For starters, there is tried and tested advice, as well as a few old recipes (ста́рые реце́пты – starye retsepty). Fashion magazines (мо́дные журна́лы – modnye journaly) are full of useful advice (му́дрые сове́ты – moudryé saviéty). We, of course, do not have enough room here to provide you with all the details and names of specific products, but we offer some tips that will serve you well during the winter.
Hands (ру́ки – rouki), for example, are one of the most exposed areas of your body, so make sure to apply some cream (наноси́ть – nanassit kriem). In the same way, applying a hydrating cream (увлажня́ющий крем – ouvlazhniayoushi kriém) to your feet (для ног – dlia nog) at least once a day also helps.
For the rest of the body (те́ло – tiéla), why not opt for a light scrub (пи́линг – peeling) from time to time? A hot bubble bath (горя́чая ванна с пе́ной – gariyachyaya vanna c piénoi) can also help restore your spirits (хоро́шее самоощуще́ние – kharosheyé sama-ashoushénié). You are also aware, we are sure, that nothing comes close to a Russian bath (ба́нья – banya) when looking for an all-in-one cleanser, allowing you to improve blood circulation, moisturize (увлажня́ть – ouvlazhniat’), and soften the skin (смягчи́ть кожу – smigtchit’ kozhou). What is a Russian bath? It is a heated room with a brick oven, on top of which one places stones (ка́мни – kamni). One pours water over the heated stones, which then creates steam (пар – par). Humidity (вла́жность – vlazhnost’) in the Russian batch can reach around 60%, which is perfect for your sweat glands (потовы́е желе́зы – patavyé zhélézy)!
But the goal is twofold: to open the pores (поры – pory) of your skin in order to eliminate toxins and to increase blood circulation. This is why it is generally customary to gently whip your body with young birch branches (ве́ник из берëзы – venik iz beriozy). Some also exfoliate using a horsehair glove (мочалка для пилинга – machalka dlia pilinga) or salt, for example. The process of Improving blood circulation (кровообраще́ние – kravaabrashénié) is completed by exiting the sauna and diving, briefly, into a tub of very cold water (those with heart problems should avoid this). Your entire body starts to tingle as your blood circulation improves and your pores close. The principle of the Russian bath is to repeat (повторить – pavtarit’) this cycle three to four times. After the Russian bath, your skin (кожа – kozha) feels soft (нежная – niézhnaya) and you are ready to face the Russian winter (ру́сская зима́ – rousskaya zima)! Note that some people might feel embarrassed because, in general, everyone is naked (голый – golyi).
Even if grandma’s recipes (бабушкины рецепты – baboushkiny retsepty) are no longer very fashionable (в моде – v modei), here is a rejuvenating facial mask recipe (омола́живающий крем для лица́ – amalazhivayoushi kriém dlia litsa) that is said to be “French” but is actually quite exotic: whisk together some cream (сли́вки – slivki) and egg (яйцо – yitso), add in some lemon juice (сок лимо́на – sok limona), 100 ml of vodka and a teaspoon of glycerine. Mix everything together and leave it to set. Next, spread this mixture (миксту́ра – mixtoura) on your face and neck every evening and rinse (смывайте – smyvaïtié) after an hour.
But perhaps you are more like those modern Russians who prefer to take advantage of the latest advances (последние достижения – pasliédnyé dastizhenia) in this field. For example, it is a well-known fact that one’s skin is exposed to extreme variations in temperature in Russia, caught between negative temperatures (минусовые температуры – minoussavyé témperatoury) in the open and the warm temperatures provided by heating (отопление – atapliénié) in apartments. It is therefore necessary to hydrate, but not necessarily at any time. It is best not to hydrate just before going out, as the cold will negatively affect your skin. It is advisable to hydrate one hour before going out. But if you stay inside, use moisturizer (увлажняющие масла – ouvlajniayushchié masla) instead of creams, because cream removes water from your skin, and the ambient air (окружающий воздух-akrouzhayushchyi vozdoukh) is very dry.
It is important to remember that your body needs vitamins (витами́ны – vitaminy), so choose foods that are rich in them. Some Russian berries (я́годы – yagody), such as sea buckthorn (облепиха – ablépikha) contain almost ten times more vitamin C than oranges, as well as other vitamins in large amounts. At restaurants or cafés, you can ask for sea buckthorn tea (облепиховый чай – ablepikhavy chai) instead of coffee. Note, however, that a Russian superstition (русское суеверие – russkoyé souyevérié) advises against going out just after drinking honey tea (чай с мëдом – chaï s miodom), or else you might become ill. You have been warned and, as they say, forewarned is forearmed, which is similar to the Russian proverb “the man who protects himself, God will protect him” (Бережëнного Бог бережëт – bérézhonnava Bog bérézhot).
Finally, in Moscow, it would be almost a crime not to take advantage of the incredible number of beauty salons (сало́ны красоты́ – salony krassaty) for the things that you cannot do on your own: manicure (маникю́р – manikiour), pedicure (педикю́р – pédikiour), etc. The range of services on offer is extremely extensive (обши́рная – abshirnaya).
Before going out, avoid the shock of biting cold which we spoke about earlier and cover up well; here, the cold doesn’t kid around (не шу́тит – nié shoutit’)!