From Morocco With Love
I may have blonde hair and light eyes, just like my Meme (French grandmother), and although those are not typical Moroccan characteristics, Moroccan she was. Growing up, my Mom painted beautiful, sun soaked pictures for my sisters and I about their life in Rabat – beach trips to Plage de Salé, the big Saturday night communal shakshuka suppers and traditional Moroccan beauty rituals, like a hammam steam bath. In recent years, another Moroccan beauty staple, argan oil, (from the argan tree, which can only be found in Morocco) has become a beauty phenomenon and can be found in everything from foundation to shampoo. I’ve been lucky enough to have a glamorous and gorgeous Meme and Mom who have taught me many more Moroccan beauty secrets though, and here are my best kept.
This reddish brown clay can only be found in the Atlas Mountains that border Morocco. Higher than other clays in a whole whack of minerals, rhassoul has a high level of ions, which means it takes out the gunk and exchanges it for nourishing and detoxifying minerals. Skin is left toned and enriched, but that’s not all rhassoul is good for. When mixed with a bit of water and applied as a paste to hair, this mask removes buildup and leaves hair incredibly soft and moisturized.
I have a very distinct childhood memory of being sick and my mother placing a steaming bowl of lemon water or rose petal water under my face with a towel over my head to clear me up. Not only does this feel great, but it makes your skin all dewy and fresh, too. Rose oil can also be mixed with water and misted onto skin, or for a more potent punch, a drop or two can be applied directly to skin. Rich in retinoic acid (a vitamin A derivative and many dermatologist’s favourite ingredient) rose oil speeds up cell regeneration, meaning scars, dark spots and wrinkles are reduced.
Food and Drink
Every meal in Morocco is followed by mint green tea, which aids in digestion and up your daily antioxidant intake dramatically. Moroccans also cook with lots of spices, especially turmeric and cumin, which both make you beautiful by easing bloat, boosting metabolism and flushing out toxins in the liver. Along with mint tea, all Moroccan meals are to be finished with honey cigars: almond paste wrapped in crispy phyllo paper and drizzled with honey, because everyone knows appreciating the sweet things in life makes you happy and beautiful, too.