From Niche Oils to Natural Pigments: 7 Moroccan Beauty Secrets Everyone Should Know

Beyond the hammam.

Salima Issaoui



When you think of Moroccan beauty, your mind probably wanders to the hazy, hot hammam—but what if we told you there was so much more to it than that? Luckily, Salima Issaoui, founder of new Moroccan-born, Barcelona-made brand Uzza Skincare has shared with us seven little-known Moroccan top-to-toe beauty secrets that you'll want to try immediately. "One thing us Moroccans do is think in whole-body—not just skincare—routines," she explains. "It is really about taking care of each aspect of your body, from hair to nails, in a natural way."

If you haven't heard of Uzza Skincare, it's well worth a look. Issaoui has launched with one product, the cinnamon-scented gel-to-milk Open Sesame ($31) cleanser, with plans to roll out more products soon. The brand champions diversity (it really is a brand for all) and sustainability—the packaging is made using ocean waste plastic, while the main ingredients come from Moroccan women’s cooperatives. The products are created in Barcelona using high-quality natural and organic ingredients. What's also great about the brand is that you can take an online survey to customize your own Uzza Skincare routine to know exactly which products you need as they launch.

But back to beauty secrets. Keep reading to find out the 7 Moroccan beauty secrets, straight from Issaoui herself.

Body Brushing Two Ways

"For shower time, there are two options:

Dry brushing: Start dry brushing your body with a Kessa glove. Then, jump in the shower and cleanse your body using black soap, rinse it off and apply ghassoul (clay), wait for a couple of minutes, rinse the clay off, jump out of the shower and moisturize with oil. We love using oil! Not only the world-famous argan oil, but almond oil and olive oil are also super common to use in beauty. We also love to mix oils; we usually add some drops of Moroccan rose oil or clove oil—these last two have always been recommended for when you have period pain or you're tired. 

Wet brushing: Run some really hot water in the bathroom to create some steam. Once your skin is warm and wet, cover your body with black soap. Wait two minutes and start brushing your body with a Kessa glove. Rinse well and moisturize your body with some oils."

Kessa Glove
Hammam Beauty Kessa Glove $10
Zakia's Morocco Moroccan Black Soap - with Argan Oil $17
Ghassoul Clay
Mystic Moments Ghassoul (Rhassoul) Clay $3

Henna for Strong Nails

"Since I was a little kid, I’ve been told to use henna almost everywhere. Hair loss? Use henna! Got a wound? Use henna! Migraine? Henna! Taxes to do? Henna! Henna is our hero!

My favorite way to use henna is to color and strengthen my nails, but also to color my hands and wear playful designs as tattoos. It’s also something that keeps us really connected to our roots and makes us feel protected (lately, I’ve been so obsessed with dr.azra henna designs). Henna masks are also great for hair and body."

Aker el Fassi for Eyes, Lips and Cheeks

"If you check the makeup cabinet of any Moroccan, you’ll probably find a little bottle with some red powder. That is Aker el Fassi, my favorite cosmetic in the world!

It’s a totally natural makeup made from red poppy and pomegranate extract that has traditionally been used by Berber women. We love using pigments to make up our lips, eyes and as a blush. I really love them when they are a bit darker, almost brown and I can mix them with my body oil and get a subtle shimmer in my body."

Prickly Pear Seed Oil for Glowing Skin

"This is a must! Prickly pear oil, also known as barbary fig seed oil, is native to Morocco, just like argan oil. The process of extracting the fruit from the seeds is a manual operation and the season only lasts for a few months. It is worth noting that half a ton of these cactus fruits only produces one liter of prickly pear seed oil. Each seed only contains 5% oil and it is this combination of factors that makes prickly pear oil one of the most expensive beauty oils in the world.

Prickly Pear Oil
Valentia Prickly Pear Oil $34

Seriously moisturizing, it contains 150% more vitamin E than argan oil and is rich in essential fatty acids, including omega 6 and 9, antioxidants, polyphenols, amino acids and vitamin K. The amino acids help to stimulate collagen and the vitamin K brightens pigmentation and dark circles."

Sesame Oil for Removing Makeup

"To remove makeup, we use oils. That is something we wanted to reflect on our facial cleanser, Open Sesame ($31), that has been formulated with sesame oil and six other natural oils to end up with a clean, soft and moisturized skin. In addition, its gel to milk formula turns the oily phase into a soothing milk, when it comes in contact with water.

Uzza Open Sesame
Uzza Skincare Open Sesame gel to milk cleanser $31

Orange Blossom Water for Soothing

"Orange blossom water is used for herbal infusions, yummy recipes and beauty concoctions. Orange blossom water is obtained by distilling the petals of the orange blossom (citrus aurantium). This natural ingredient of Moroccan origin has unique attributes for skincare, thanks to its moisturizing, astringent, antiseptic, antioxidant and soothing properties. Leaving aside that, we love orange blossom water for its aroma, which is capable of transmitting calm and at the same time being a subtle aphrodisiac. We love it because for dry skin, it provides much flexibility and resistance. For oily skin, thanks to its astringent properties, it helps to control excess sebum, keeps pores open and reduces excess shine. But this is not all—another of the great cosmetic benefits of orange blossom water is the prevention of bacterial infections by its antiseptic properties, along with the neutralization of free radicals that helps prevent skin aging and the stimulation of collagen production and cell regeneration."

Shea Terra Organics Moroccan Orange Blossom Ester-C Beauty Water $14

Turmeric for Teeth

"Our neighbor prepares this amazing natural toothpaste with turmeric and coconut oil as a teeth whitener. It’s amazing! But keep in mind that your tongue will turn a bit yellow in the beginning."

turmeric powder

Next up, how to tell the difference between stress acne and all other breakouts.

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