These products respect the skin and hair of women with natural ingredients. In addition, its fragrances evoke the stories of “Thousand and One Nights.”
Taking care of yourself to feel good and attractive is a tradition that Middle Eastern women have practiced for thousands of years. With simple and natural ingredients, they achieve impressive results.
Iraqi-born dermatologist Rafah Alhaddad, who has studied medicine and cosmetics in the United States, the United Kingdom and Iraq, explains that Arab women pay special attention to three parts of their body: skin, eyes and hair.
SOFTEN THE SKIN: HAMMAM, SIBDAJ AND HALAWA
For the skin, they have the ritual of the hammam or Turkish bath, a relaxing process that she describes as “pure ecstasy.” Although the concept of the modern spa is becoming more popular throughout the region, the traditional ritual can still be enjoyed.
It starts with a massage. Follow up with a grain skin polish and horsehair glove scrub. The skin is then cleansed with pure olive oil and laurel oil soap, also known as Aleppo soap, because it is originally from this Syrian city. The last step of the hammam is to wrap the body in towels to achieve complete relaxation.
With the sibdaj, a soft stone found in Iraq and Iran, women in the Middle East achieve a homogeneous complexion. This stone is rubbed into the skin to remove uneven pigmentation or melasma, says Alhaddad. This same stone, powdered, is used as an exfoliator, especially before threading. It can also be used as a makeup base.
A very important aspect to achieve smoothness in the skin is hair removal. In the Middle East, there are two natural methods: threading, which requires a lot of skill, and halawa, also known as Arabic or Egyptian waxing (halawa means “candy” in Arabic).
Its ingredients are 100% natural (sugar, water and lemon juice) and it is easy to make it at home:
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- In a pot with 250 ml of water add 500 g of sugar.
- Boil over medium heat until the sugar has completely dissolved.
- Add a tablespoon of lemon juice and continue to boil until it has a malleable texture.
- Let it cool and use the same technique as waxing.
A DEEP LOOK THANKS TO THE KHOL
To highlight the eyes naturally, Arab women outline their eyes with jet black. They use khol, also called kajal in India (the word khol is Arabic).
The khol eyeliner was already used in Ancient Egypt as makeup and as a bactericide. It is made with different plants depending on the region.
VIGOROUS HAIR STRENGTHENED WITH HENNA
To give hair shine they use henna, obtained by spraying the dried leaves of a shrub called henna. Water is added to the powder to make a paste with which to coat the hair.
Henna is a natural dye commonly used in the Middle East and North Africa. In addition to coloring and covering gray hair, henna, explains Alhaddad, gives strength and shine to hair, preventing breakage.