The secret to Moroccan beauty is in the oils and exfoliation.
For hundreds of years, Moroccans have been extracting oils to apply to every part of the body from head to toe. Oils are essential to beauty and wellness because they provide some of the purest forms of fatty acids and vitamin E, with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Below are some of the most widely used organic beauty products from Morocco.
For head to toe cleansing in the hammam and at home, Moroccans use what is called “black soap.” Most commonly made from vegetable oils and black olives, the soap is used to detoxify pores and prime the skin for scrubbing.
Most black soap has a thick, buttery consistency that can be applied to wet skin and removed with warm water and an exfoliating glove. Leave the soap on longer to penetrate more deeply into the pores and help remove dead skin cells more thoroughly while exfoliating.
Try: Nubian Heritage African Black Soap
Rose water has been used for centuries for fragrances, skin-conditioning and medicinal purposes with its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Rose water is a byproduct of rose oil distillation, but be sure to check the purity content, as many common rose water products contain chemicals and artificial preservatives. Also be aware of the difference between rose water and rose essence, as the latter is water with the scent of rose added.
Once you find true rose water, it should be cherished for its many benefits, including facial cleansing, pore shrinking, makeup setting, freshening spray for body and home, medicinally to treat minor wounds and as a mood enhancer to combat depression. For a full list of rose water treatments and DIY uses, check out GAIA Health Blog.
Try: Kenza International Beauty
Avocado oil is most commonly used in Morocco for its anti-aging and skin-rejuvenating properties. Typically, avocado oil that is found in cosmetics is cold pressed. When shopping for avocado oil, look for products that use natural extraction methods, rather than chemical extraction. Avocado oil provides direct healing while smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles through the oil’s fatty acids, vitamin E, and free radicals fighting properties.
Avocado oil is commonly applied to the face, but can be used as a moisturizer over the entire body. Researchers are now studying the ways that avocado oil can be used to fight acne and prevent skin damage caused by eczema.
Try: Now Foods Avocado Oil
Argan Oil is extracted from the kernels of the Argan tree fruit, native to Morocco. The most popular use of the oil is in haircare products--to add moisture to unruly locks--but moisturizing does not need to stop at the hair. Argan oil, much like avocado oil, contains vitamin E and essential fatty acids that repair dry, damaged skin. This oil is acne's enemy, as it leaves no grease and restores balance to skin dried by acne treatments.
To prevent stretch marks during pregnancy, rub a bit of argan oil to the affected areas throughout the pregnancy and the vitamin E will restore elasticity and reduce the effects of skin stretching. The best part is that argan oil can be used in its pure form, applied directly to the affected area and it’s not necessary to blend it with other moisturizers.
Try: Kahina Giving Beauty or Sheaterra Organics
Moroccan people make weekly visits to the local hammam. A hammam is a public bath house and steam room that offers a deep cleansing and exfoliation for every inch of the body. Hammams are separated by women’s and men’s quarters and are not for the shy, as bathers are typically asked to bare it all to the other bathers (bathing suits are acceptable for conservative individuals).
Once in the hammam, bathers can expect to be drenched with hot water, soak in the steam, and receive a deep exfoliation, leaving no spot untouched. Prior to exfoliation, bathers will lather their body with black soap to release the dirt from their pores and assist with scrubbing away the dead skin. After a visit to a hammam, bathers can expect to have gentle tingling and slightly red skin for a few hours as the skin rejuvenates. Complete the experience with local moisturizers that include the most popular essential and natural oils.
Heading to Morocco? Be sure to contact the creators of Atlas Tajmil, natural, locally sourced and created cosmetic products with the essential oils traditional to Moroccan life.
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