How U.S. and Brazilian Beauty Routines Differ, According to Alessandra Ambrosio

Audrey Noble

For some people, it takes a traumatic hair incident to get you to really care about your hair. Mine was back in college when I pulled a huge chunk of my hair out when brushing it. It was so tangled and dried at the ends thanks to the Japanese hair straightening treatments I had gotten for more than five years; I had to aggressively pull the brush through the strands to get it to go through. For model Alessandra Ambrosio, it was a Marc Jacobs fashion show that fried her hair.

“They wanted the hair super curly, like the '80s. But it was lots of volume, and my hair takes forever to build up all that volume and to keep it curly," says Ambrosio. "So I remember sitting in the chair for almost three hours having my hair curled and curled again—it was frizzy everywhere. I just felt my hair was going to be so broken after. You just see your hair falling on the floor, on your body, everywhere. That's when you really need a good treatment to fix it."

Earlier this month, Ambrosio became the spokesperson for Brazilian hair brand Marajó. The brand's main ingredient in all its products is the pracaxi nut oil, which is derived from the pracaxi nut found on the island of Marajó and is known for its smoothing and nourishing properties.

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"My hair just looks so much better; it has way more life in it," she says about using the products. "It has more shine and the products actually give body to my hair and make it soft. It's just so much healthier."

Her favorite from the line is the deep treatment butter. "I use it as a treatment or sometimes use it as a conditioner. I'll take it everywhere with me. At the beach, I'll put it in a little after swimming in the ocean. I'll put it all over my hair and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. In swimming pools with my kids, I'll put it on after the pool," she says.

We are never ones to stereotype (we know better), but we really can't help but notice that every single one of our favorite celebrities from Brazil have enviable healthy hair. "You see girls in Brazil and everyone has beautiful hair with a lot of volume; that's always the first thing you notice in Brazil. We just really care about our hair," she says.

So what's the secret? What is the one thing they're doing differently there than here in the states when it comes to hair care? When they say there's something in the water, it might literally be just that. "In Brazil salons, they always get a cold bottle of mineral water and wash your hair with it," she says. "I don't know what [the practice] is called, but it's supposed to be really good for the hair."

It's a trick so good that she brought it back with her to Los Angeles, where she currently lives. "I do that sometimes; I’ll put a little bottle or a cup of [mineral] water and I'll put it right after I shower. I’ll put in the cold water, and it actually feels really good," she says.

We want to uncover more Brazilian beauty secrets, but she says that social media has made it so that routines and beauty traditions in other countries are now easily shared across the globe.

As for how she defines beauty now, she believes that your emotional and mental state dictate how you're going to look on the outside. "It’s about treating yourself with respect with respect. Be healthy. Beauty means enjoying life, enjoying yourself, and loving yourself," she says. "I think when someone is doing something good for themselves, you can see that glow. To me, it all comes from the inside."

Her wellness tips include the typical meditation and yoga workouts, but it's her love for nature that really brings her inner peace. "I love being outside with my kids. If it's a beautiful day outside, I say, 'Let's go to the beach. Let's go to the park to enjoy nature,'" she says. "I just love enjoying the moment and connecting with nature. It's the simple things that people forget; that's what really matters. That to me is how I keep everything in perspective."

All important tips that I, and everyone else, could benefit from. I'll definitely try to incorporate these mindful practices into my everyday life—and I'll be keeping a bottle of Perrier next to my shower too.

Next up, check out what Cate Blanchett has to say about the word "anti-aging" and the power of language.

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