As promised I’m bringing you a few tips on how to create a Moroccan-inspired spa in your own home this week. Of course Hammam (or Moroccan plunge pool) not included…your bathtub will have to do!
But there are a few key things you can do to create the ambiance of a Moroccan spa, and to treat yourself to some Moroccan-inspired and eco-friendly spa treatments.
Start off your spa-day by cleansing your feet and hands in some rose water as they do in Morocco…maybe sprinkle some rose petals in a bowl for good measure…and try this organic Rose Water (below) from Amrita.
Next do a few yoga poses..consider Tree and maybe some seated spinal twists that are extremely cleansing…followed by Savasana.
Then treat yourself to a cup of organic mint tea…a tradition in Moroccan spas…
Next wrap yourself in an organic lush bathrobe…
Then create an atmosphere using some Moroccan lanterns…and maybe some lush pillows in deep Berber reds and burnt oranges. You can find lanterns anywhere, and imitation rugs/pillows are an easy find. Light some organic pale candles to further the ambiance…and try out some relaxing music…I enjoy Goldfish’s song “The Real Deal” when I relax…it puts me in another place (they are a South African band).
Now for the good stuff…
One of the major elements of Moroccan beauty treatments and even their food…is Argan oil.
Argan oil is used by Moroccan men and women, even on their babies, to decrease acne and reverse the aging process. It is said to increase the skin’s elasticity, reducing the appearance of scars and stretchmarks and is a miracle worker on hair, especially ethnic and courser hair.
It is rich in vitamin E and fatty acids which aid in these processes.
Click here to purchase the above argan oil, or just hit a google search for “organic argan oil”.
Argan oil is a product of Morocco’s Argan tree, or what many call the Moroccan “tree of life”. The tree is gnarled and thorny, allowing goats to climb up to eat branches and eat its nuts. The tree is extremely rare yet it lasts longer than olive trees and requires little to no upkeep.
The tree is only grown in the South Western part of the country in the regions of Essaouira and Agadir.
The goats go after the green fruit, in which inside there is a nut. If you want to know why this oil is a little pricey…well get ready….
The goats eat the fruit and nuts….the nuts are ‘passed’…the farmers collect the remaining nuts and turn those into oil.
But the process doesn’t end there. Making oil is a laborious process done in factories or in individual homes. One litre of argan oil may take up to 20 hours to make because each individual kernel must be cracked open.
The great thing about this process is that argan oils are fair trade and they aid in the employment of women of that region in Morocco!
The purchase of this oil will also aid in preventing deforestation, while the argan trees in general aid in holding soil together due to their deep roots.
Here are some spa treatments using argan oil you can create at home…they are espcially good during this time of year, when dry skin and sun damage are wreaking havoc on our hair and skin.
An Argan facial
An Argan body scrub:
2 cups of sugar (or use sea salt if you want a courser scrub)
1/2 cup of Olive oil (or until desired grainy-ness)
1/8 cup Argan oil (or even less…use sparingly!)
a few drops of a favorite essential oil…try either lavender (to calm, orange (to energize), or eucalyptus (to cleanse)
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and head to the bath or shower. Use a natural bristle brush, or I like to justscrub with my hands. And massage the scrub in to wet skinin circular motions, all over. It will leave you glowing, i promise!
Kiehl’s also makes an Argan body cleansing oil…here.
For a Summer Argan Facial for dry/sun damaged skin:
Start by cleansing your skin with your normal cleanser, and then opening your pores over a steaming bowl of water (microwave a bowl and then lean over placing a towel over your head so the steam wont escape.
1 tsp organic powdered milk
1 tablespoon ground almonds
a few drops of Argan oil
1 tsp organic aloe vera
1 tsp organic honey
mix…apply to face…let sit for about 10 minutes…and rinse with luke warm water.
For more information on the Argan tree and its oil in a New York Times article click here.
Most of the time, the oil in households are use for cooking things like amlou. A traditional and delicious Berber dip (kind of like Humus and peanut butter). Check out a recipe below courtesy of moroccanfood.about.com.
Or click HERE for a video on how to make it!
- 1 1/2 cups (6 oz. or 200 g) almonds
- 3/4 cup (180 ml) argan oil
- 3 to 4 tablespoons warm honey
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat an oven to 375° F (190° C). Spread the almonds on a baking pan and roast for about 10 minutes, or until a bit dark and crunchy but not burnt.
Allow the almonds to cool a bit, and then pass them through a meat grinder twice to make a powdery paste. Or, grind the toasted almonds as finely as possible in a food processor on high speed.
Next, gradually stir the argan oil into the almonds, a spoonful at a time or in a very slow trickle. You can do this by hand, stirring vigorously, or with the food processor on the lowest speed. (Note that the amount of oil in the recipe yields amlou with a traditionally thin consistency. Adjust the amount of oil to your own preference.) Next, gradually add the warm honey, sugar and salt in the same manner. Taste the amlou and adjust the sweetness if desired. Serve amlou on a small plate or dish with bread for dipping. Amlou will keep for two months in cool, dark cupboard. Store amlou tightly covered in a jar, and shake or stir before serving.
For cooking: try this Alili organic argan oil..available here at alilimorocco.com…or find it at your local Dean and Deluca!
So we all may not be able to jump on a plane to that Moroccan dream spa I mentioned on Friday’s post…but try creating this little spa in your home! You deserve it!