Every culture has certain beauty techniques and products unique to them, and the Arab world’s geographic location has made it a birthplace for many beauty practices derived from its accessible natural resources. The majority of its beauty products have been used for eyes, skin and hair care — three very important physical aspects for Arab women.
Here are a few beauty secrets taken from my experience with Arab culture that you can also use.
A favorite among the queens of Ancient Egypt, this eye cosmetic is made from ground lead sulfide or organic charcoal and is applied like regular eyeliner. Kohl’s use has been handed down for generations in the Arab world, and a lot of women choose to use it as an alternative to typical eyeliners because of its unique intensity. Several makeup stores like Sephora and Ulta have also been selling kohl eyeliners. So, if you want to get the full “Arabian eyes” look, make sure to add this product to your makeup routine for an eye-catching and dramatic finish.
2. Gardenia and oud perfume
If you want to feel and smell fresh throughout the day, gardenia and oud perfumes are the perfect options. These two scents are the go-to choices for Arab women enduring the heat and humidity of the Middle East.
Personally, my absolute favorite is gardenia perfume. Gardenia is one of the scents that remind me most of my childhood in the Middle East. This white flower is a favorite for an Arab grandma’s garden and daily body spray.
Although gardenia is more popular in the Levant region of the Middle East (i.e. Lebanon and Syria), the Gulf region has its own scent, oud, which is derived from the wood of the tropical agar tree. The scent of oud can best be described as a mix of floral and spice aromas coexisting. Many popular brands like Versace and Giorgio Armani have launched their own types of oud perfume. But, if you want to get the authentic oriental fragrance, you can purchase pure oud perfume from Kilian.
Nowadays, it seems like a henna booth can be found at any festival or fair, as henna has become a well-known form of art in mainstream American society. But henna has been a part of Arab culture for centuries and a loved body art by nearly all Arab women. The common floral and geometric patterns can be seen frequently adorning hands and feet, especially during celebrations such as weddings. If the traditional style of henna doesn’t suit you, you can always use henna as a sort of temporary tattoo instead.
Another old Middle Eastern beauty technique that has been slowly creeping its way into American beauty culture is sugaring. This is a form of hair removal that is less painful than waxing and made of natural ingredients easily found in your kitchen.
To make the sugar paste, you will need:
2 cups of sugar
¼ cup of water
¼ cup of lemon juice
You can start by adding the ingredients in a saucepan over low heat. The mixture will begin to melt, so make sure you’re mixing it continuously to prevent the sugar from sticking to the pan. Once it begins to bubble and turn into a golden-brown color, you can remove it from the heat and leave it to cool down until it reaches room temperature. For the best results, place the paste in a container and wait 24 hours before using it on the preferred area of your body.
5. Argan oil and olive oil
Disney’s Aladdin may not have been an accurate depiction of the land of Arabia, but Jasmine’s hair was definitely the result of an Arab women’s hair care routine. Argan oil and olive oil are the most valued natural oils used by Arab women to optimize the strength and shine of their hair.
Growing up, I would always hear about the great wonders of olive oil and argan oil helping with split ends and making hair appear luscious. So, I’ve always made sure to integrate these products in my hair care routine. I personally love using Moroccan argan oil conditioners and sprays after showering to keep my hair smooth and healthy. OGX has a very good line of argan oil products that can easily be applied to nourish your hair.
Using these Arab beauty practice favorites, you can enhance your beauty routine with products you may have never even considered. Let your hair shine, skin glow and eyes pop with these beauty secrets that are based solely on natural ingredients.