African beauty is steeped in history, ancestral knowledge and powerful natural ingredients. African beauty rituals have been passed on from generation to generation and are now making their way onto beauty shelves everywhere.
As a result of Africa’s wealth of natural resources and ingredients made by mother nature such as shea butter, argan oil and coconut oil, African beauty rituals have been making their way into mainstream skincare routines.
As the African beauty industry continues to grow at a rapid rate, African beauty products are a lucrative business. With the industry estimated to be worth around $27 billion in Africa, the world has turned here for some beauty inspiration.
What is it about these decadent natural ingredients that make them so desirable in modern beauty routines?
Skincare and beauty rituals have been practiced by women across the globe long before the evolution of cosmetics. The history of African beauty is a prime example of the experimentation with natural ingredients that leads to beauty rituals that stand the test of time.
Culminating centuries of expertise and tried and tested formulas, African beauty feeds the skin, hair and body with an abundance of natural and organic ingredients. Blessed with nature’s wonders, Africa is home to a long list of natural resources, some that are not found anywhere else in the world.
The use of these simple, effective and healthy ingredients makes for a natural skincare routine that produces nothing but glowing results.
CEO and founder of Agrestal Beauty, Emilia Ramos says of African beauty products;
“ … each ingredient is uniquely sourced from the motherland, offering pure and organic plant-based products that nourish and soothe the skin”.
With a focus on preserving the earth whilst utilising it’s healing and beautifying ingredients, African beauty formulas are inspired by the lands rich produce to deliver promising results.
Until now, African beauty has gone relatively unnoticed outside of the black community. However, as beauty practices inspired by ancient traditions are given a modern twist, such as K-beauty, many have begun to look to Africa’s organic focused beauty regimes and work them into everyday beauty products.
With such an abundance of rich, luxurious and natural ingredients, it is clear to see why so many of Africa’s beauty rituals are born out of the variety of benefits reaped from the natural resources found so close to home.
Much of the continent is split into three main biomes or biological communities. Subtropical desert, tropical savanna and tropical forest, providing a rich bio-environment.
According to Nomshado Baca, founder of A Complexion Company; “There are many efficacious ingredients which are cultivated using native farming practices, while others are sourced through careful wild harvesting by the local population. The connection between community and environment greatly impacts how ingredients are sourced, with many traditional beliefs emphasizing the responsibility of all community members to care for the environment and to have reverence to their ancestral lands”.
Ingredients synonymous with Africa include shea butter, originating from North Africa it is one of the most popular ingredients in African skincare. It is best known for its healing and soothing properties and is ideal for use on dry skin.
Another miracle ingredient is argan oil which has been around since 600BC. Sometimes known as liquid gold, this powerful oil has made its way into a number of skin and hair products due to its hydrating and deeply nourishing benefits.
Many of the natural ingredients previously mentioned, go hand in hand with a number of ancient beauty rituals in order to reap the full benefit. These timeless beauty rituals ensure you make the most of your products and also act as a self care routine with added beautifying bonuses.
The Hammam Ritual is an ancient African beauty practice originally used by North African women to purify their bodies and deeply nourish skin, argan oil is a key ingredient in this ritual. Rich in vitamin E, the argan oil removes damaged skin cells and encourages new ones to grow leaving skin glowing.
If a sea salt exfoliator makes an appearance in your bath time routine, know that its origins come from a popular African beauty ritual. Cleopatra was known to add Dead Sea salt to her bath water and since then exfoliating with sea salt and sugar has become a vital way to maintain healthy, glowing skin. This highly effective combination buffs away dead skin cells, ingrown hairs and boosts the circulation of blood in the body.
Finally, the African black soap ritual. For centuries, African women have been hand making this soap by drying and roasting the leaves of sweet potato plants and cocoa pods, then crushing them into a fine ash. Finally, they add Shea Butter, coconut oil and palm oil to create a rich soap with powerful exfoliating properties.
Rituals that use an abundance of natural ingredients means making these products at home from scratch is entirely possible. However, if you prefer less of a DIY approach there are a number of popular products on the market that harness these ancient beauty rituals and incorporate the raw ingredients that are hailed for their myriad of benefits. Here are some products to try now.
A multi-purpose, 100% natural balm designed to hydrate and moisturise skin and hair. Made using six of nature’s most moisturising and healing ingredients including honey and olive oil, the wonder balm can be used for everything from skincare to makeup, haircare to aftershave, and is a must-have for any beauty buff.
This award winning salt and sugar exfoliator from South African brand Malee is infused with natural oils and skin-loving butters such as sunflower oil, cocoa seed butter, shea butter, avocado oil and grapeseed oil. Buffing away dry skin and boosting circulation, this scrub will leave skin soft, glowing and youthful.
Idan is the Yoruba word for magic and is the perfect way to describe this luxurious body oil. Made with natural, cold-pressed coconut oil sourced from Nigeria into which a Tuberose flower has been immersed, ensuring the wonderful scent of this night-blooming flower is absorbed naturally into the oil by a traditional African process of enfleurage. Perfect for use as an all over body oil or a leave-in hair conditioner, this divinely scented oil is deeply hydrating and irresistibly nourishing.
Packed with skin-essential minerals and a rich fusion of marula oil originating from South Africa alongside baobab and African botanicals this clay-based treatment clarifies and revitalises dull and congested skin, encourages cellular regeneration and accelerates repair for beautifully smooth, supple, radiant skin.
Chébé originates from Chad and is famous for its ability to help achieve long and healthy hair. Salwa Petersen’s leave-in hair cream is enriched with this wonder ingredient which helps to smooth, strengthen and hydrate hair leaving a delicate fragrance, this product is sure to give you the luscious lengths you have always dreamt of.