Photo: Hick Duarte
By Victoria Ceridono as told to Kathleen Hou, The Cut
Modern-day beauty culture owes a lot of gratitude to Brazil. It introduced us to waxing and its citizens make up roughly half of the Victoria’s Secret model fleet. To get behind Brazil’s outlook on beauty, the Cut spoke with Victoria Ceridono, a Vogue Brazil beauty editor who also runs the beauty blog Dia de Beaute. She talks to the Cut about her country’s sense of happy — and natural — beauty, how everyone has custom-made skin care, and how local soap opera stars created a craze for the “Rachel” cut.
Not all Brazilians look like models, but I think everyone in Brazil is more or less conscious of the power of beauty. It’s very clear to Brazilians that beauty can empower you. Beauty here doesn’t come from a place of paranoia, it’s just that people want to feel good. It’s about feeling well and happy with yourself.
I wouldn’t say beauty is pain in Brazil, but it is effort. It’s very common that Brazilians get everything done at the same place — so hair, manicure, pedicure, makeup, wax, and maybe even lymphatic drainage every week. Lymphatic drainage is big here; it’s a way to avoid water retention. You can have the light version, which is a sculpting massage. Many Brazilians have this type of massage weekly as part of their beauty routine. Normally, masseuses go to their house or they go to a clinic, but it’s not a relaxing spa thing; it’s a beauty treatment. The sculpting massage hurts more. It kind of makes your arms a bit thinner. Your thighs can get a bit thinner. It can make your waist more defined.
Also it’s very hot and there’s so much body showing that there is a more natural approach to beauty. It’s always about being a better version of yourself, but in a natural way. To be wearing foundation, concealer, powder, lots of makeup — nah. You don’t want it. It’s kind of like when you go to the beach and want to do less. But it’s important to take care of your skin.
We have a strong dermatologist culture. It’s not so common to have facialists or to go to a beauty counter and talk to the saleswomen to do this and that. But it’s a law in Brazil that dermatologists are not allowed to have skin-care lines. As a result, one thing that is unique are tailor-made skin care products. Dermatologists work with pharmacies, which have all the ingredients and will write prescriptions for the pharmacies to make, like, “This night cream with one percent this and one percent this” for their patients.The pharmacy makes the prescription according to the doctor so it’s custom, which is very common here. It gives them bigger control over what is being used so they can use a higher concentration of actives.
If you start talking to a Brazilian about hair, you wouldn’t believe the amount of things she has to tell you. Everyone has a hair issue and problem. It’s just part of your reality to talk about this type of thing and exchange tips. Many Brazilians do some kind of chemistry with their hair. They might want to be blonde and/or want to straighten their hair. There was data I once heard that researchers wanted to categorize the different types of hair in the world and found 13 types. And these researchers found that Brazil was the only place in the world that had all 13 types.
There is also a misconception that all Brazilians are super tan. They are so not! I’m super pale. Every time I tell someone from Brazil and I’m wearing short-sleeved shirt, l see them look at my arm and face and are like, “Are you Brazilian, really?” People spend a lot of time in the sun so it’s hard to make people see the sun as a harmful thing. But more women are into taking care of their faces, but wanting their body to be tan. Every once in a while, someone will say, “Oh, Victoria, you really have to go to the sun, you are too pale, you are sick.” And I’ll be like, “No, I don’t want to!”
I think Kim Kardashian’s beauty is a type that really resonates with Brazil. She’s curvy and loves her hair; she’s tan. They understand and they like it. But then again, I wouldn’t say it’s such a craze like it is in the U.S. and U.K. In Brazil, all the soap operas are more influential. And of course, Gisele. But the local soap operas have a big impact. People want to know the clothes, rings, the makeup, the lipstick, everything. I remember there were some actresses in a soap opera and in the show, they had a haircut that was sort of like the old Rachel from Friends. And then everyone wanted this shorter haircut! It happens constantly.
We get into global fitness trends. But there are some things, like pedal-surfing, that Brazilians have been doing for quite some time. But there is Spinning here; ballet fitness is very big right now. And also fighting, like muay-Thai. You can have your personal fighter and have fighting classes. This is really big because it makes your body very pretty and lean and strong.