For most, bathing is a purely functional operation, a “let’s get this done” kind of thing. I get it. We all lead busy lives, so we have to plan our day efficiently, including our bathing routine. Most of the time, I too am in this crazy rush, so I’ll jump in and out of the shower between yoga, meetings, drinks and deadlines or at the end of a long day. BUT, as often as I can, and on nights when I stay in, I will take the time to indulge in a detox bath. I’ll fill the hot tub with a cocktail of salts and oils for a good soak to release toxins and clear my mind.
For as long as I can remember, I have been very interested in the traditional bathing techniques of the Hamman. It all started when I was studying abroad in Granada, Spain, and and visited the world famous Hammam Al Andulus, an Arab bath house made up three spaces of water pools, all set at different temperatures. Years later I found myself in a similar setting in New York’s Aire Spa, which I lovingly covered here. And most recently, I interviewed one of my best French friend’s Nadia, who’s mother is from Tunisia. Nadia described her experiences in the traditional Moroccan Hammans, sharing my same love and appreciation for this particular type of bathing tradition. She even brought me back black soap, straight from Morocco, which really got me going!
The black soap, or Balti, is this translucent mud-like paste that you apply in the shower on damp skin to aid in the exfoliation process. It’s one of the key elements in the full Hamman treatment. When you know how to apply it in the right way, in circular movements, your skin will glow and feel perfectly smooth. I am addicted to this stuff. I use it so often that I run out of it rather quickly, and when I did a little research online to try and find more, I was shocked to discover that even in a huge city like New York, it is impossible to find. Not the real stuff.
As luck would have it, I was invited to a private Moroccan dinner at a pop-up called The Secret Souk in Soho. The team of stylists and entrepreneurs behind the two-week event has long been mesmerized by the beauty of Morocco and wanted to bring its magic to New York in an unexpected surrounding. The dinner featured Moroccan travel treasures like Beni Ourain and Berber wool rugs, tiles, antiques, copper pots, table wear, lanterns and other home goods. The idea was to blend the elements of the retail experience with the dining experience, fully immersing you in the vision of the event. Imagine a real like Moroccan souk, being perfectly transported into a New York City apartment. It was pretty cool. The dinner was amazing, but it was the beauty element of the whole experience that got me really excited.
The beauty selection was out of this world. I spoke with Nicole Francesca Manfron, who was in charge of the look, feel, design and buys, who personally picked up everything in Morocco herself. I admit, I was a little skeptical at first, thinking, “Oh, they probably bought everything at ABC.” I was quickly proved wrong. She brought over all the Moroccan beauty elements needed to recreate the Hammam experience at home. More on how-to Hammam…coming soon.
For now, I wanted to share with you the items that I went home with:
Beldi Soap – This natural therapeutic Beldi Soap from Morocco is made from 100% virgin black olive oil. To use, apply in the shower to damp skin. Use an exfoliating scrub glove, and scrub your whole body head to toe. After you are done scrubbing, rinse with water to remove all soap. You will be left with exceptionally soft skin. This is the first step in the Hammam treatment.
Stone Scrub – This super abrasive stone is perfect for everyday use on the feet and arms. It’s super effective in removing dry, dead skin, which I love.
Glass Jars – The Beldi Soap that I bought came in a 3.7 oz. jar that I can’t wait to put my cotton balls in once I’ve run out of soap. How cute?!
Argan Oil – I just couldn’t resist pure 100% Moroccan Argan Oil.
Unlike a true Moroccan Souk, you can buy these babies ONLINE! Checkout all the other amazing finds in the beauty department and more here. And get excited for my soon to come step-by-step Moroccan Hamman treatment how-to.