African skin care history has witnessed some best natural ingredients in the world. Let’s know about some natural ingredients used by women from Africa during the past and present times.
African skin care history is rich with the locally found plants and herbs because Africa has been blessed with nature’s wonders, and some plants are not found anywhere else on this earth but Africa.
Skin care has always been practiced by women worldwide, even before the evolution of cosmetics, skin care has found its existence along with humans. Skincare is essential anyway because there’s nothing that can beat the beauty of glowing skin.
And African skin care history is the proof that women have experimented and found the natural ingredients in the past, that was so effective that their use had been passed on through generation.
Let’s get to know a little more about these magical natural ingredients from African Skin care history.
African Skin Care History-12 Amazing Ingredients!
1. Black Soap
Black soap is a very famous beauty product that comes from Africa. The black soap translates in the local language as ‘Dudu Osun’. It is said that black soap was originated by a tribe living in Nigeria. Later it was introduced in Ghana by women traders who were into spice trading.
Black soap is made from ashes of plantain skin, palm oil, cocoa butter, Shea tree barks, and honey; it can be made by mixing different other fragrances and oils. Not only the black soap is used for bathing, but it is also used for washing hair.
Now, this soap has a plethora of qualities inside. For starters, it has skin-soothing properties and skin tone corrections and is used for the treatment of rashes, acne skin diseases like dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis. It is also used by pregnant women to prevent skin dryness and stretch marks, also used on newborn babies’ skin.
2. Castor oil
Castor oil is another popular oil that comes from the tropical African region. Later with the increase in trade, its cultivation started in different areas like India, China, and Brazil. The castor plant is specially grown on a large scale for medical and commercial purposes.
The castor oil is extensively used for hair and skin care purposes as it provides deep moisturization and brings a natural glow to the skin. But to be careful, the seeds contain a toxin that can be lethal if consumed raw.
3. Shea Butter
Shea butter has originated from North Africa and is one of the most popular ingredients from African skincare history. The shea butter tree grows in over 21 countries of Africa, which is a remarkable fact in itself.
She butter has its fame in the ancient Egyptian times when Cleopatra used it on a large scale. It is best known for its medicinal properties like soothing skin rashes, stretch marks, acne, prevents dryness and sun protection. Shea butter has lots of hair benefits as well. You can say that is it one all-rounder product you need for your skin and hair care.
4. Marula oil
Another miraculous oil from the African skin care history is becoming popular in the world. There is an interesting saying in African tribes related to the Marula tree that if you want a baby boy, you should drink tea made from male Marula tree fruits, and if you want a girl, drink tea from the female tree’s fruit.
You can use marula oil to have natural skin, which is soft, hydrated, and supple. Marula oil is used for treating stretch marks, anti-aging, and shiny and healthy hair. Some skin care products also use this oil for nails and lip moisturizer.
5. Rhassoul or ghassoul clay
This clay has been in use from the 8th century by the North African women. Rhassoul clay is a natural mineral-rich clay extracted from the Atlas Mountains, which is in Morocco. The clay is rich in potassium, sodium, iron, and silica, and has been in use for body, skin, and hair care.
When used as a facial mask, it significantly results in softening skin, removing dead cells, and tightening pores. Earlier it was popularly used in Moroccan Hammams and Turkish Baths. It is not found anywhere else, but the Atlas Mountain chains make it a rare and unique product of African skin care history.
6. Baobab oil
Baobab trees can be found in several regions of Africa, and because of its medicinal properties and many other uses, it is called the tree of life by African people.
The Baobab oil is rich in texture with a mild aroma and is one of those ingredients from the African skin care history used in its raw form. It has soothing properties and can provide deep moisturization, anti-aging, and vitamins like A, D, E, and F.
7. Argan oil
Argan oil is treated like liquid gold, but it didn’t become famous overnight in the world. Argan oil was always present in the African skin care history, as its presence has been found from 600 BCE. It was a common skin care ingredient used by the Berber tribe in the North African region.
Almost every part of the Argan tree is used by the people, as the woods and fruits are used for fire and food, the kernel is used for extracting oil, and the butter is used with slices of bread. The oil is used for moisturizing, natural beauty aids, and skin treatments.
8. Mongongo oil
Also known as Manketti oil, the trees of Mongongo can be found in the Kalahari Desert. The oil is extracted from the kernels that are found within the nuts of the tree.
The mongongo oil as part of African skin care history as it has been in use for a long time. The oil protects the skin from the extreme heat of the sun. It has several essential elements and is also used for hair care. Nowadays, it is used in several beauty products like lotions, sun protection products, lip balms, etc.
9. Alum Stone
Alum stone is one of the most common items used around the world. But the origination of Alum stone dates back to the 2nd century. It is said that the western desert of Egypt was the source of alum in the country.
Nowadays, alum is found and used in abundance. It’s vastly used by men as an aftershave because it has healing properties. It is also effective in skin tone lightening and whitening. It removes excess oil and effective in eliminating acne scars.
10. Yangu oil
Yangu oil is one rare oil extracted in Africa. It’s is an ancient oil which is extracted by cold pressing the seeds of the Cape Chestnut tree’s which are not commonly found in Africa. It is known for its effective sun protection feature.
As South Africa is an extremely hot continent, ancient people put lots of effort in finding natural solutions for their skin protection and nourishment. Nowadays, Yangu oil is used in many skin care products like body oils, lip balms, and soaps.
11. Lavender oil
Lavender oil is one versatile oil, extracted from the lavender plant. The African skin care history mentions the use of lavender oil for various purposes because the origination of this plant is believed to be in South Africa. It is found in many other places like the Mediterranean region, Australia, India, and some parts of Europe.
Apart from its beautiful purple flowers, lavender oil has amazing healing effects; its aroma just pleases your sense-making you feel relaxed. It is believed to be very useful in healing bug bites, burns, sting, rashes, infections, and irritation.
12. Mafura Butter Seed Oil
Mafura Trees originated in the Sub-Saharan African region. Still, it is found extensively in other parts of Africa where high rainfall and rich soil can be found. The unique three-lobed shape of its fruits releases butter and oil when pressed.
Tribal women of Africa have commonly used this unique tree from the African skin care history. Mafura Butter seed oil is rich in fatty acid and suitable for nourishment and revitalizing hair and skin. You can read about the properties and extraction process of Mafura oil in detail here!
We saw that African skin care history has lots of oils to offer to the world. If you are looking for some more amazing essential oils for skin and hair care, read about it here!
These were a few natural ingredients that were extensively used by the African people for skincare. The invention of these oils, soaps, clays, and other natural beauty products were done in Africa because the weather conditions and overall environment is arid and hot.
And for surviving in such conditions, skin and hair care is essential, and maybe that is why Africa is also rich in natural medicinal plants and trees. This naturally designed wonderful continent has beautiful people and has offered great natural products to the world from African skin care history.
This was an article on ‘African Skin Care History: 12 Amazing Ingredients!’. If you have anything to add, please feel free to share your thoughts with us!