African Beauty Traditions

Minimal and clean beauty isn't just about natural health - it’s a holistic approach to life that extends to your bathroom cabinet, too. Here are some of heritage African beauty secrets that you can gradually add to your beauty care regimen or simply learn from to fuel your interest to discover more:

Rooibos tea, also known as African red tea is a plant found exclusively in South Africa. This plant has been used for many years by the Khoi and San people of South Africa for its potent anti-allergen properties. Rooibos tea doubles up as a great cosmetic aid as it has a high amount of antioxidants which can protect the skin from free radicals and toxins, making the skin look young and supple. This tea also contains high levels of zinc and vitamin D2 which are important for a healthy skin. Rooibos has been proven to treat skin conditions such as inflammation, rashes, acne, eczema and dermatitis. It can also be applied directly to the skin or ingested as drinking tea. 

Lavender oil, extremely well known and popular worldwide, originated in North Africa. Due to its fragrance, lavender was initially used by women in North Africa to keep skin glowing and husbands happy and nowadays, it is used as a natural deodorant, tonic, antiseptic and hugely for it’s therapeutic properties. Apart from the fragrant aspect of Lavender, naturally works as an astringent and helps to fight off acne, skin rashes and inflammation. Although the use of lavender today will not be to keep your husband sweet tempered, it is definitely a source for glowing skin and calmness in regards to aromatherapy. It should be noted that lavender should strictly be applied topically or inhaled (for aromatherapy), as ingesting it can lead to health issues such as blurred vision, vomiting and diarrhoea.

African black soap, originally known as Ose dudu, is very familiar to many people of African descent for its skincare benefits. The origins of African black soap comes from the Yoruba people in Nigeria and the Yoruba communities in Benin and Togo. The Yoruba words ose (soap) and dudu (black) literally translates to the words ‘black soap’. Traditional black soap is typically a mixture of water and the ashes of plantain skins, cocoa pod powder, and palm oil. It is more commonly used by West African Nigerians and Ghanaians have used black soap for centuries for bathing and for reducing body odour. African black soap was used to relieve oily skin and certain skin conditions, such as acne and eczema. It also was, and still is, used as a shampoo for hair, not only to cleanse, but also to alleviate scalp itchiness and irritation. It has been known to soothe skin irritations and diseases from simple rashes to contact dermatitis and psoriasis, as well as fading skin discolouration and evening out skin tone. Basically an all in one medicinal, cleansing and beauty benefits soap. 

Moringa powder is believed to have originated from the Moringa tree in northern India and was being used in Indian medicine around 5,000 years ago, and there are also accounts of it being utilised by the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians. Now we are more aware of the various benefits of Moringa, one of which is that it is bursting with vitamin A and it's one of the most potent vitamins out there for near perfect skin.

Last but most certainly not least, is Shea butter, probably the most popular and well known of all the four ingredients listed above. For thousands of years, Shea Butter has been extracted from the nut of the Shea tree in West Africa and used as cosmetic and therapeutic skin care lotion. It’s origins go as far back as Cleopatra’s Egypt, where it was carried in large clay jars for cosmetic use. Not long after, the healing properties of Shea Butter were discovered and optimised for use throughout the West African wooded savannah. Nowadays the trade of Shea Butter has spread throughout different regions of Africa and even other parts of the world in particular, it’s various uses have now to diversified into things like soap and nasal decongestant.

This list above does not scratch the surface of the list of other ingredients still to explore and there just might be a series of Holistic beauty to follow.

Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu - A person is a person through other people

Translation: 'I am because of who we all are'

Zulu Proverb