Africa’s ancient beauty secrets are finally coming to the fore. Even though the continent produces some of the world’s most beneficial & unrivalled organic and natural ingredients for natural skin and hair care, its own ancient tribal traditions have been largely ignored. Until now. Glossy hair, glowing skin, even complexions – African women are gorgeous! We just had to find out what makes them such beauty icons to women around the world – and of course, borrow their secret ingredients for ourselves. So, learn the secrets of Africa’s ancient beauty, from our cosmetics to our skincare, African products are created to celebrate Africa’s tribal beauty traditions and customs while ensuring that people get the full benefit of this inherited wealth of knowledge. Enjoy!
The Sudanese ‘Dukhan’ Beauty Regimen
There’s a beauty ritual performed by Sudanese women that they swear by for their beauty regimen. Called ‘dukhan’, which means ‘smoke’ in Arabic, it gives their skin slight tan, while reportedly relieving joint problems and arthritis. Similar to the Somali ritual it involves stoking charcoal until it glows. After placing the hot coals into a container, you cover them with perfumed acacia and sandalwood, disrobe and carefully sit on a chair or stoop above the container, covered in a blanket, creating a small body tent while the sweet smoke billows around your body. It leaves users deeply relaxed and with a tan. This tan comes from the tinting effect that acacia wood has when it’s burned. Dukhan is a ritual that many married women do at least weekly. And it’s a tradition with history. Incense bathing goes back thousands of years to the ancient northeast African Kingdoms of Meroe and Nubia. However, dukhan leaves a strong woody scent that lingers on the body for days which could be distracting to those who aren’t familiar with it. For those with no access to any form of Dukhan, you can buy dukhan cream through some stores online. Squeeze the acacia paste out, rub it on your body and it smells and looks like you stepped out of a dukhan
The Somali ‘Uunsi’ Sensual Scent & ‘Qasil” flawless skin
Known for their long, lean and elegant looks, Somali women are beautiful both inside and out, so let’s delve into just how these women stay beautiful: A familiar beauty custom in the Somali household is the ‘Uunsi’; sugar resin, frankincense and rich oils that burn on top of the coal. What’s released is an alluring smoke that hugs onto everything in sight. The Somali woman will sit down and let the smoke envelop her skin and clothing which will give her a deep, sensual scent that lingers for weeks at a time. Most women will do this every week but, on special occasions such as a wedding, Somali women replace the sugar resin something more expensive, luxurious; Sandalwood or Oudh is usually the scent of choice.
Also, in many a Somali household, it’s a common sight to see mothers walking around the house, doing the chores with huruud (turmeric) and qasil mixed with water on her face, and henna sitting in her hair. Huruud is naturally cleansing and is infamous for the glow that it gives Somali women whilst mixing Henna with lemon juice and sesame oil will give you shine as well as a deep colour. Using henna isn’t just limited to the hair, however. Somali women sport elaborate designs on their hands and feet on a daily basis. Women will dip their nails, fingertips and the soles of their feet into the henna and will create designs. Each henna design that decorates the skin of Somali women you see is different.
Somalia is abundant in dates so it’s only right that you use what grows naturally. Pureed dates and ghee is scrubbed all over the body with a loofa and will leave the skin glistening. Pour it into your hair and it’ll leave your hair exceptionally hydrated. Leave it on the face for 30 minutes and you’ll notice softer cleaner skin. Ghee itself works well on the hair as many Somali women pour it, then wash it off after a few hours. Seriously, this is stuff you need to try!
Somali women are big on their saunas and steam rooms too! Drenching their hair with olive or sesame oil, they’ll soak up the heat and indulge their hair at the same time. You’re only as old or young as you feel!
Chad with the long hair secrets
The Basara Arab women of Chad have hip and thigh-length hair, and they credit it to a product that has been passed from generation to generation in their society. As such, they’ve perfected the exact regimen that pretty much eliminates breakage. One key factor is a blend of locally harvested ingredients that, combined with the application method, keep their hair extremely hydrated and moist. In essence, they apply a liquid (water), powders ground from grains, and an oil/hair butter Since these women don’t really have a weekly wash routine, they perform a “strand ceremony” while they moisturize and seal. It’s during this process that they are able to create unbreakable hair.