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5 ancient African beauty rituals

Beauty is worse than wine; it intoxicates both the holder and beholder- Aldous Huxley. It is safe to say that whatever fashion or beauty trend is in vogue now has a history of existence, and as such, a lot of cosmetic trends and hacks today have their origin from very ancient times.

Smoke bath

Long before factories began to make cosmetics, various cultures across the globe had beauty rituals for skincare and haircare. They primarily used natural resources that contained natural active components for nutritious and healthy skin.

The following are a few of the many ancient beauty rituals that may have been incorporated into the modern-day:

1. Exfoliation

Exfoliation has existed for many years, primarily practiced by the ancient Egyptians. The dry brushing technique was one common exfoliating method here; it was believed that dry brushing promotes proper circulation and exfoliates dead cells. This technique cleared pores and gave an overall glowing skin. Cleopatra also added Dead Sea Salt to her bath as a major exfoliant.

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2. Steam Bath

The Hamman Bath, known as the Turkish Steam Bath, is an ancient beauty ritual in the Northern parts of Africa by women as a form of body purification. Argan oil is a major component of this bath ritual. The steam bath, in collaboration with the argan oil, helps in hydrating the skin and in retaining of the natural elasticity of the skin. Extracts from the Argan are used to produce beldi soap, a body mask mixture used all over the skin.

3. Face masks

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In Zimbabwe and Ethiopia, face masks are a huge deal. In Zimbabwe, they use Okra face masks; the Okra is boiled until soft; it is then mashed and applied on the face for about 5- 7 minutes before washing off. Due to the high level of nutritional components like antioxidants and vitamins contained in Okra, the face mask leaves the skin with a very hydrated and soft texture.

In Ethiopia, Qasil leaf powder is used; this is used as a form of exfoliating face mask; it moisturizes the skin and helps to improve skin complexion. The Qasil powder can also be used to treat dandruff in the hair.

4. African Black Soap

The origin of the African black soap stems from Western and Central Africa. The black soap has been used for centuries by African women, made originally from dried leaves of cocoa pods, a few drops coconut oil, palm oil, and Shea butter. It is a natural moisturizer that doubles as a natural UV protector. The African black soap does wonders for the skin, giving the skin a healthy and glowing look.

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5. Smoke bath

This is popularly called Sudanese Dukhan, usually peculiar to the bride-to-be. Still, over the years, many other people have opted for this beauty regime because of the beautiful effects it gives. This ritual involved the bride sitting in a smoke bath of acacia wood two times a week before the wedding, without showering. This bath forms a layering on the skin, which peels off on the last day of the bath, leaving the skin glow and radiance.

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