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Babushka's Beauty Secrets: Old World Tips for a Glamorous New You



Esthetician to the stars Raisa Ruder learned her time-tested beauty techniques from her Ukrainian grandmother (or babushka, as they say in the old country). Now everyone can discover the all-natural, better-than-botox secrets the Hollywood stars use to shine on the red carpet! Ruder reveals her sought-after beauty recipes that can fight wrinkles, plump lips, and eliminate crow's feet and acne, using inexpensive, everyday grocery items like ...

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Babushka's Beauty Secrets: Old World Tips for a Glamorous New You

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Esthetician to the stars Raisa Ruder learned her time-tested beauty techniques from her Ukrainian grandmother (or babushka, as they say in the old country). Now everyone can discover the all-natural, better-than-botox secrets the Hollywood stars use to shine on the red carpet! Ruder reveals her sought-after beauty recipes that can fight wrinkles, plump lips, and eliminate crow's feet and acne, using inexpensive, everyday grocery items like eggs, honey, vegetable oil and strawberries (and a splash of vodka for freshness!). At last, by popular demand, Raisa Ruder opens up her babushka's secret pantry and shares her most amazing and effective beauty advice:

  • Skin-saving Soufflés - whipped up wonders that shrink pores, brighten skin, and diminish lines
  • Chocolate weight-loss wrap- a moment on the hips, tightens, tucks, and nips!
  • Hot hair- a cayenne pepper blend that leaves locks silky, soft, and full
  • PediPure- a soothing, smoothing foot scrub made with milk and mint
  • Lustrous Lashes - a simple castor oil serum that thickens and lengthens
  • Perfect Pucker- a mix of salt, green tea, and fruit that plumps up lips naturally
  • And much more...
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In the Ukraine, Ruder's grandmother passed down to her secrets for making facials out of fruit, milk, herbs, and tea. Now, as the owner of an upscale spa in Los Angeles, Ruder continues the tradition. The sought-after esthetician, in collaboration with journalist Susan Campos, brings her inventive concoctions and skin saving soufflés to women of all ages. Using preservative free, restorative ingredients from her "secret pantry" of eggs, honey, olive oil, strawberries, and even vodka, she shares hundreds of quick, easy recipes and beauty tips. Chopped grapes and a dash of wine make an antioxidant rich facial toner, and whipped cream and oats combine for a rejuvenating mask. In a chapter dedicated to what Ruder calls "the ultimate symbol of not just sensuality, but sexuality," she suggests pineapple, rich in the enzyme bromelain and vitamin C, to soften lips and boost the production of collagen. And in another, potatoes, cucumbers, and even cabbage are mixed into balms that reduce wrinkles, dark circles, and bags under tired eyes. Forget expensive spa treatments or department store beauty products, Ruder has your hair, skin, hands, feet, and every other part of you covered. (June)
From the Publisher
"Raisa "Raya" one of Hollywood's trusted industry insiders. If you want to look fabulous, you go see Raisa, no questions....Yup, she's that good." —L.A. Splash Magazine

"After 15 years in the business...she's groomed some of Tinseltown's best brows and bods" —Daily Candy, Los Angeles

"Ruder rattlesoff old Russian beauty recipes the way Julia Child used to throw together a souffle." —The New York Times

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446555869
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/24/2010
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 397,691
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Raisa Ruder was a registered nurse in her native Ukraine when she decided to move to the United States fifteen years ago. For seven years she worked at the famed Anastasia salon doing eyebrows and facials until opening her own West Hollywood salon in 2005. She noticed the large amount of preservatives in American products and decided to introduce her Babushka's old world beauty recipes in her salon. She quickly became LA's go-to-girl. Her clients include: Madonna,Tyra Banks, Molly Simms, Ali Larter, Nicolette Sheridan and others.

Susan Campos is a broadcast and print journalist. She is a former anchor for the national weekend edition of Today. She's reported for Dateline and hosted numerous entertainment shows on MSNBC. She currently writes trend stories on beauty for The New York Times' "Styles" section and its T Magazine, and is a contributing editor for Radar Magazine.

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First Chapter

Babushka's Beauty Secrets

Old World Tips for a Glamorous New You
By Ruder, Raisa

Wellness Central

Copyright © 2010 Ruder, Raisa
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780446555869

Chapter One

My Babushka’s Beauty Secrets

NAME: Raisa Ruder
HAILS FROM: Ukraine and Moscow
OCCUPATION: Esthetician (with leanings toward the Green Party)
CURRENTLY RESIDES IN: Los Angeles, California
AGE: Once you become a Hollywood citizen, there’s no need to reveal your true age.

Above are my vital statistics. For the past fifteen years, Los Angeles has been my home, where I work as an esthetician. In the Ukraine, my grandmother (or as we say back home, my babushka) taught me everything about being a natural esthetician. By taking items such as fruit, milk, herbs, teas, and other ingredients, we’d whip up fabulous facials. Rather than use creams and lotions laced with preservatives, we preferred applying natural products—it saved our skin and it saved us money!

Who knew several decades later the recipes my grandmother concocted would become all the rage in Hollywood. In a city always on the cutting edge of beauty, it seems ironic to be applying my babushka’s age-old recipes on some of the most famous faces in Tinseltown. While I love doing oxygen facials, power peels, and lasers, my true passion is brewing up beauty and saving money doing it. The recipes in this book are (mostly) all-natural remedies I use to maintain Hollywood’s youthful glow—from exfoliating scrubs to vitamin C serums to hair treatments. I’ve mixed up my favorite concoctions—some of my grandmother’s original Ukrainian recipes—as well as others I’ve doctored up since moving to the United States. Here’s my motto: Why spend hundreds at a department store makeup counter when you can create it yourself for a fraction of the price? After whipping up and trying these recipes, I promise you’ll feel like you’ve spent hundreds! Just as the weekly magazines show us how to get celebrity clothing for less, Babushka’s Beauty Secrets creates glowing skin for under $5.

My grandmother didn’t believe in being wasteful. She saved everything. My clients love hearing stories about how my grandmother was virtually a pack rat. Her house was so neat and clean but she couldn’t help saving every item or finding another purpose for it.

You see, strictly out of necessity we were making the equivalent of modern-day products without the fancy names, pretty packaging, and preservatives. Decades later, I still believe my babushka’s beauty remedies can go head to head with any department store brands. Rather than pay $250 for expensive labels, my grandmother’s recipes were fresh, fantastic, and inexpensive! The box below reveals what we were brewing in our tiny village years ago and how it prices out against department store products today.

Department store vitamin C serum      =$250 vs. Babushka’s olive oil, orange, and lemon serum      =$1.95     

Revitalash      =over $100 vs. Babushka’s castor oil concoction      =less than $1.00     

Eye moisturizer      =$150 vs. Babushka’s apple/honey remedy      =$0.50     

Quick dry for nails      =$28.59 vs. Babushka’s sunflower oil      =$0.25     

Deep hair conditioner      =$90 vs. Babushka’s mayonnaise mask      =$2.00     

Alpha hydroxy cream      =$78 vs. Babushka’s strawberry mask      =$3.50     

The satisfaction of knowing you saved hundreds by using products that are just as good (if not better) and preservative free in most cases      = PRICELESS!     

The beauty business brings in $40 billion a year. Most of it is wrapped up in pretty packaging. This book proves that a bigger price tag isn’t necessarily better—homemade products can produce the same results without bursting your bank account. Many dermatologists even agree that expensive brands aren’t always better. In fact, many of the products they tout are heavily diluted by the time they reach department store shelves.

Big beauty companies know the importance of ingredients such as retinol (vitamin A), antioxidants, vitamin C, and alpha hydroxy acids. These are buzzwords commanding big money for beauty in a bottle. But I’m going to show you how there are quick, inexpensive ways to get a boost without buying expensive brands. Below are three of the hottest ingredients on the market today and different ways to mimic their effects on the skin naturally:

1. Alpha Hydroxy Acids. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) are the hottest ingredients to hit the beauty business. They are found in a number of expensive beauty lines and are perfect for sloughing off dead skin. But before you go spending hundreds of dollars, just know that foods such as pineapples, strawberries, apples, and even milk are overflowing with AHAs. So why not go directly to the source? Many of the recipes in this book are filled with AHAs. When applied to the skin, they penetrate the upper layer to peel off dry skin and welcome new healthy cells. If you pamper your skin constantly with AHAs, it will begin to regularly exfoliate—as it did when you were in your teens.

2. Vitamin C. Vitamin C serums are big in beauty as well—in some cases selling for hundreds of dollars for a few ounces. There is nothing better for a beautiful glow than a little serum on the skin. But it’s so easy to duplicate the magic in a bottle. This book has tons of easy recipes filled with vitamin C. Do you have lemons, limes, oranges, tomatoes, or raspberries in your home? You don’t need them all; one will do. Those are just a few of the natural products with heavy doses of vitamin C. No need to pay hundreds of dollars when it’s already in your home.

3. Antioxidants. Antioxidants are a brilliant way to preserve younger-looking skin, fight free radical damage, and promote overall health. With all the recent talk about antioxidants, why not embrace fruits such as blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and pomegranates. Beauty companies put a small amount of these fruits (or green tea) in their products and tout them as high in antioxidants. Can they help reduce aging when used topically? I say yes, they can! But know you can do it for less! Why not go directly to the source and save money at the same time.


My grandmother did go directly to the source for everything. Without all the research, she innately knew it worked. This is a woman who ate raw garlic every day. In addition to believing it was a natural antibiotic, she loved what it did for the skin. Sure her breath took a hit, but she thought it was well worth it. My grandmother was so resourceful she made her own breath mints to combat the odor.

She had a natural remedy for everything. It seemed as if she never left the kitchen. If she wasn’t cooking a meal, she was brewing up beauty. You see, my babushka’s recipes are ingrained in my mind after watching my mother and grandmother create masks ever since I was a little girl back in the Ukraine. Without even knowing it, my babushka was a kind of visionary in the world of green beauty. When I was young, we were making masks every day—cooking up preservative-free potions, recycling, reusing, and doing it all on a bare-bones budget. Even as a young teen I truly idolized my babushka. She was like a rock star among certain women in our small Ukrainian village. With all the information stored in her head, she was a brilliant esthetician. She could whip up a natural bromide for everything from acne to puffy eyes to blackheads. I’d watch as she’d rattle off age-old beauty recipes the way Julia Child used to throw together a soufflé.

Beets (a favorite in the Ukraine) would be the main ingredient to naturally color the lips of a brunette, while blondes might get a concoction with carrots. She didn’t have set fees for facials. Instead women would pay whatever they could afford. It was an honor system and it didn’t matter to my babushka because she was passionate about natural beauty.

As a teenager, my grandmother began getting interested in these natural recipes, but she didn’t really hit her stride until the age of thirty-two. In her small Ukrainian town, they’d use herbs and natural remedies to heal cuts and bring down fevers. Over the years she began to manipulate and reformulate recipes. People couldn’t believe the results! She began building a name and a very modest business.

As the matriarch of our family, she believed every woman should be a good cook. It was incredible to watch her maneuver around a hot stove, whipping up masks and potions. Slowly her friends began spreading the word and my babushka’s house became a hot spot in our small town.

Women entered our tiny, low-ceilinged home, and my grandmother would throw together one of her famous natural remedies. Imagine three generations of women (my grandmother, my mother, and myself) running a makeshift spa from a tiny house perched at the end of a long dirt road.

A coterie of women would literally stand in line waiting to see my babushka. The walls inside the tiny kitchen (the heart of our home) were lined with rows and rows of shelves—filled with everything from special salt to rare Russian herbs. And the refrigerator was no different—it was packed with every kind of fruit and vegetable we could get our hands on. Like any patriotic Ukrainian (remember, we were once part of Russia), we were always sure to stock two items: potatoes and vodka.

Despite bitter cold weather, women would trek through the snow to get an appointment with my babushka. In the beginning, it was a few people every couple days, but by the time I turned ten, there were up to fifty women of all ages coming through our home each week. It was incredibly rewarding to see how the salves from my grandmother’s humble kitchen brought smiles to the faces of so many women in our town. One treatment and they became converts.

In addition to slathering potions on a client, my babushka would dish out advice on everything from saving one’s marriage to getting a man. Whether a problem of the skin, or one of the heart, she wasn’t afraid to tackle it.

Clad in a full-length black skirt (her pockets filled with herbs), a traditional Ukrainian shirt, and a shawl wrapped around her shoulders, she’d putter around the kitchen with purpose. Oh, I almost forgot the most important part. She would always wear a scarf around her head (the term babushka, referring to a folded kerchief that is tied around the hair, originates from the fact that older Russian women customarily wore the traditional head wrap).

My grandmother was truly passionate about her products. The first thing my babushka did each morning was boil hot water and make a huge pitcher of black tea with a dash of cognac (those tea leaves would later be used for a facial she would whip up for a client since nothing went to waste). Then she’d fire up the stove and start cooking her concoctions.


Not only did my babushka empower women by creating beauty on the outside, but she also taught them to take control of their personal relationships. When they were having difficulties with their husbands, she was famous for saying, “A woman is the neck and a man is the head. And the head can never move without the neck!” Ironically, I heard the same line years later in the film My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I thought, “Greek women get it, too.”

Known for her enthusiasm and energy, my grandmother was a real character. She would always create a fun environment. Just as you might see in a restaurant, my babushka would even offer up a daily special using different kinds of food we had around. For instance, if we had an excess of potatoes (it’s such a Russian thing), we’d whip up something special with them. (You can’t believe what a potato will do for bags under the eyes!)

We made complicated masks without blenders or measuring cups. Because my babushka knew all her recipes by memory, she never used traditional measuring devices. She would literally bend down to table level and eyeball the ingredients. She’d pour a little bit of this or a dash of that—then stir, smash, and mix everything up to perfection!

When I came to the United States and people would ask for recipes, I’d literally say things like a “handful of flour” or a “squirt of buttermilk.” Babushka’s measurements worked something like this:

One dash = teaspoon
One pinch = teaspoon
A sprinkle = 1 teaspoon
A squirt = 1 tablespoon
A handful = ¼–½ cup (depending on the size of your hands—my babushka’s were huge!)
A double handful (cup both hands together) = ¾–1 cup

Don’t worry: For the purposes of this book, proper measurements are included in each and every recipe. While I still don’t use measuring cups, I do love modern household conveniences such as blenders and food processors. We did everything by hand! My grandmother would have loved a blender.

Recycling was big, too! We’d often use the skin of a potato, the shell of an egg, or the seed of a grape rather than throw them away. There was no waste when mixing up our recipes. Decades later and thousands of miles away, those strict guidelines are still a major part of my practice. When I was fifteen, we had the rare luxury of getting a pumpkin. I was about to throw away the seeds when my grandmother shot me a dramatic look. I stopped in my tracks. It was like throwing out diamonds and pearls. She took them out of my hands and explained how pumpkin seeds have so many nutrients. “This is where it all starts,” she explained. She smashed them up and we used them in a body scrub.

Those days, working side by side with my mother and grandmother, were some of the happiest and most creative times of my life. Back then, my grandmother was my mentor and I became her eager apprentice. By the time I was thirteen, she trusted me to diagnose a problem and make up a mask on my own.

We all had our favorite ingredients and would experiment with different masks. While my mother and I loved working with fruits such as berries and papaya to create various masks, my grandmother was old school and preferred potatoes. We would try out different concoctions on one another and fine-tune the end product. They taught me how to whip up a natural remedy for just about any skin problem.

Importing these recipes to America was never part of my grandmother’s master plan. Nor was it really mine. She’d be proud to see some of her original recipes in this book, and wouldn’t mind the fact I’ve doctored up others since moving to the States. She’d be proud of my new creations as well. Most are all natural, and in only about 10 percent of the recipes do I permit store-bought creams or canned goods strictly for the sake of saving time (but you’ll still save money, too). I often think my babushka would suffer sticker shock to see the prices of lotions and masks today.


1. Potatoes: I think it was because they were so available. However, they do serve multiple purposes.

2. Vodka: Again, it was so available and a national treasure. Just know it is the best preservative.

3. Milk: She loved the vitamins in milk and how it acted as a sort of bleaching agent for the skin. I always think how she’d love those “Got Milk?” commercials.

4. Olive oil: Olive oil was a luxury for my grandmother. If it hadn’t been so expensive back then, we would have used it daily. Sunflower oil became the substitute. The winters were so brutal that oil became a daily ingredient in all of her recipes. Throughout Europe, women love olive oil for the skin.

5. Eggs: Since she used every part of an egg, my babushka really got every penny out of it—from the shell to the yolk.

She’d be outraged to see the prices consumers are paying in the name of beauty. Simply put, pure products are more effective than those laced with tons of preservatives. You get better results and it’s much healthier for the skin.

Like my grandmother, I became a passionate natural esthetician—moving to Moscow to attend school and work. In 1994, I brought my family to Los Angeles. I remember coming to California and working in a Beverly Hills salon doing eyebrows, power peels, and oxygen facials. The results were fantastic but I couldn’t get my grandmother’s recipes out of my head.

On the weekends my Russian friends would come over and we’d experiment with new masks. Suddenly there were new ingredients available to me. I was like a kid in a candy store since the grocery stores in the Ukraine didn’t even remotely resemble markets in the United States.

In the beginning, I’d just do my babushka’s recipes on the weekends since the thought of trying them on a client was a bit intimidating. Then one day I got up the nerve to try a natural recipe on a Beverly Hills client. When she picked up the mirror and saw her glowing reflection, she grabbed my hand and asked, “What did you put on my skin?” A few days later, I broke out the natural remedies on more clients. Word spread quickly through Hollywood.

At my salon, masks are mixed up in minutes. With this book, you can do the same in the privacy of your own home. Simple ingredients found in most American kitchens can change your skin. Just load up the grocery cart with fruits, vegetables, and dairy products and welcome to the beauty business. My clients love how leftovers can shave five years off their faces, or how recycling ingredients can give their skin a calcium shine, or how one simple ingredient (no prep work) can literally save them time and money and create glowing skin!


The longer I work in L.A., the more I am convinced women share the same concerns. In my practice the most common complaints are:

1. Cellulite

2. Wrinkles

3. Acne

4. Weight

5. Dry skin

There is no reason to spend excessively on beauty products. Rather than blow $100 on some expensive mask, save it for a purchase you really need. The recipes in Babushka’s Beauty Secrets are inexpensive (most are under $5), natural, and effective! In this book, I offer up mixtures for everything from getting rid of age spots to banishing acne. You’ll learn that bananas aren’t just good to eat but brilliant for diminishing crow’s-feet and fine lines. If you want to have baby-soft feet, just add a little sugar or salt to your body lotion. Both are fantastic for removing dead skin from the feet and even bringing up those stubborn ingrown hairs.

There’s even a chapter dedicated to leftover recipes. Maybe your husband only drank half a beer the night before. Don’t throw it out! There’s nothing better than flat beer to give the hair a little lift. I also believe there are certain recipes that are good for specific age groups. Chapter 12 is dedicated to the issues of the different decades of life. Maybe the problem is acne in the twenties and dry skin in the sixties. What about when you have only a couple of minutes and can’t put too much energy into prep work? Chapter 13, one of my favorites, introduces you to “one-ingredient wonders.” With one ingredient, you can give your skin a little glow! You won’t believe the results!

A client told me how she was having breakfast at a restaurant recently and put several one-ingredient wonders into effect outside the home. There was a slice of orange on her plate, and she began rubbing the pulp on her skin. She also asked for a side of avocado, and when she didn’t eat it all, she smashed it up and applied it to her skin in the restaurant! Not to be outdone, her friend (also a client) did the same! It can be done anywhere if you’re brave.

I don’t expect women to be so brazen in a restaurant but I know all of our homes are filled with beauty products we don’t even realize exist. There is nothing better than the pleasure of pampering the body and face. Imagine being able to enjoy that feeling in your own home—without the big bill. So put on a mask, sip a glass of wine, and watch one of your favorite television shows. Let’s get started!


Excerpted from Babushka's Beauty Secrets by Ruder, Raisa Copyright © 2010 by Ruder, Raisa. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Esthetician to the stars Raisa Ruder learned her time-tested beauty techniques from her Ukrainian grandmother or babushka, as they say in the old country.

    Now everyone can discover the all-natural, better-than-Botox secrets the Hollywood stars use to shine on the red carpet!

    Ruder reveals her sought-after beauty recipes that can fight wrinkles, plump lips, and eliminate crow's feet and acne, using inexpensive, everyday grocery items like eggs, honey, vegetable oil, and strawberries (and a splash of vodka for freshness!). At last, by popular demand, Raisa Ruder open her babushka's secret pantry and share her most amazing and effective beauty advice:

    Skin-saving souffles - whipped-up wonders that shrink pores, brighten the complexion, and diminish lines.Must-have mustard wrap - an invigorating treatment that smoothes the thighs and reduces the appearance of cellulite.Hot hair - a cayenne pepper blend that leaves locks silky soft and full.Pedi pure - a soothing, smoothing foot scrub made with vitamin E and lavender oil.Lustrous lashes - a simple castor oil serum that thickens and lengthens.>Perfect pucker - a moisturizing mask to light up your lips.And much more. (excerpt from back cover).

    My Review:

    It's taken me awhile to post this review, not because the book has so many great and simple recipes to use, but because my oldest teenage daughter and her friends have been experimenting with this book and they absolutely love the ideas contained within the pages.

    The recipes are simple, inexpensive and enable most of us to jump right in with most of the ingredients right from our own pantries and kitchens. There are tips for making a sun burn balm that takes the heat and sting out of the burn, ingrown hairs, brown spots, age spots, self tanners, dry hair, calluses, oily skin, eye make up remover, and the list goes on and on.

    One such example for dark circles and bag under the eyes. Here is what Raisa had to say:

    Potatoes were my grandmothers thing. She loved to eat them and use them to remove dark circles and puffiness. The skin around and under the eyes is the thinnest and most sensitive on the entire body. Puffiness under (or above) the eyes is quite common. Sliced potatoes work wonders for puffiness and dark circles. To banish bags, simply put on a potato and poof...the puffiness is gone.

    1 Potato
    1 Tablespoon Vitamin E

    Here is the brilliant part of this recipe - there is no cooking involved (but don't get used to it!). Wash the potato well. Cut two 1/8-inch slices from the middle (save the rest for the next several nights). Apply one on top of each eye for 20 minutes. Remove the potatoes and apply vitamin E in a circular motion around and under the eyes. Total time 2 minutes.

    Not only that but the book gives tips on creating your own day spa at home right down to candles and music and food ideas. What a great way to celebrate a baby shower or bridal shower for the girls or even for your own family as well.

    I received the book, Babushka's Beauty Secrets, Old World Tips For A Glamorous New You by Raisa Ruder and Susan Campos compliments of Hachette Book Groups. It's a definite must have. Just think of all the money you will save making your own remedies versus buying store brand name products filled with chemicals. These are all natural and organic! This book is available in hardback and eBook formats!

    For more information on this book, the author and where you can pick up a copy for yourself or as a gift, click on the link below:

    I am giving away 3 copies on my blog at ht

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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