For all the beauty products and routines we have today, there are older methods that remain mostly unchanged, and we can apply them to our modern self-care rituals. Groups of people all over the world have their secrets to grow strong, luscious hair, and there are several natural ingredients every skin type can benefit from. Let’s not forget the importance of oral hygiene in beauty, as well as rest and relaxation. With that being said, let’s take a look at how we can widen the scope of our routines with traditional beauty regimens!
Chébé Powder & Oil
The women of the Basara tribe in Chad have a longstanding haircare secret: Chébé powder. This miracle powder retains hair length and elasticity for curly hair textures.
Traditionally, a Basara woman gathers croton (chébé) seeds, clove, mahleb cherry seeds, and acacia gum resin, and roasts them gently over a small fire. The mix is then ground into a fine powder. The other woman receiving the hair treatment picks her preferred oil to pour chébé into. A thin layer of the paste is then applied to the hair strands — not the scalp, as that will cause hair loss — and the hair is then braided. The hairstyle is maintained for up to three days before washing.
As chébé’s popularity grew in western natural hair communities, many use the paste as per tradition, while others add it in their deep conditioner, which is kept for a couple of hours before washing. Some haircare brands have chébé-infused hair oils, which are just as beneficial. It’s not hard to find, and can be a great addition to one’s haircare routine.
Turmeric Face & Body Mask
Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory root used in Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Not only is it a tasty spice, but it’s also a natural fabric dye, and its incredible set of properties are good for the skin.
Known as haldi in Hindi, the bride and groom are covered in turmeric paste before the couple’s wedding day in traditional Indian weddings. It’s applied to the skin not only as a blessing, but also for beautification of the skin, and there’s a good reason for that.
A turmeric face or body mask, which is essentially paste, brightens the skin thanks to the spice’s ability to prevent dark spots and promote a natural glow. It also strips the face of dead skin cells and if you’re prone to redness, turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties help reduce that, too.
Bear grease is a multi-purpose, natural Native American remedy for pain relief, cuts, and skin irritations. In a skincare routine, bear grease acts as the perfect moisturizer, especially if you’ve got chapped or damaged skin. And for your hair, it helps retain length while providing an unbeatable sheen.
If you want to try out the miracles of bear grease, many small business retailers provide it in North America. Thankfully, bear grease products don’t contain any preservatives, which is perfect for anyone interested in building a collection of beauty products with a simple list of natural ingredients.
Do you want to ditch your toothbrush for an antimicrobial, plastic-free, biodegradable alternative? Consider the miswak — a phenomenal twig known as the world oldest toothbrush. The miswak is used in Muslim communities in the Middle East and Africa, as recommended by the prophet Mohammed. It has ancient origins dating back to Babylon, Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome.
Born from the arak tree, the miswak contains antibacterial compounds that prevent gum disease, plaque, and bad breath. You can ditch your toothpaste, too, as it’s not necessary when using this natural toothbrush!
Hammam is a traditional Turkish bathhouse that contains public steam rooms. They were an important part of ritual cleansing in certain Arab communities, and the original concept is derived from Roman bathhouses. Today, hammams still thrive, and they’re now spas for everyone, all over the globe.
Visitors are taken through a step-by-step experience that begins with sitting in a steam room, then they’re given a full-body scrub-down by an attendant. Lastly, visitors get to enjoy a Turkish-style massage. This is a great way to experience deep relaxation and self-care, while taking care of your whole body.
Josephine Mwanvua | Contributing Writer