Last month I searched high and low for places that did the Moroccan bath. I found a few places but chickened out. Because I was informed that you cannot wear anything except a little plastic underwear. Needless to say, I was mortified and decided not to go. If you don’t know what hammam maghrabi is, it is a traditional deep skin cleansing bath which is very popular among Arabs. I’ve wanted to get this done for a long long time but the fact that you’ve to strip down to nothing in front of a complete stranger petrifies me. So, I decided I will do it home.
First, you need to buy black soap and ghassoul clay. You’ll find both these things in any shop. They sell hammam maghrabi kits as well but the kit includes a lot of unnecessary things which you can do without, also the quantity is less. I bought the black soap and ghassoul separately in large containers so I don’t have to go out and buy them every now and then. You will also need an exfoliating mitt. This mitt is different, it is more abrasive than the ones we normally use. By the way, the black soap is actually made of olives.
The list of spa products
Here are some picture so you know what each of at home spa kit look like.
Preferably do this bath before sleeping. Because your skin might be greasy from the oils and pink from the exfoliation/steam too. By morning your skin will be perfect.
Preparation for Hammam at home
Now to set up your bath at home. You need to use the smallest bathroom in the house. It should have a water heater because we need hot water. We are going to create a steam bath. Also, get a stool you can sit on and enjoy the entire process because you’re going to be in there for a while. Once you’ve had everything shut the door and close the exhaust. Additionally, for an intense steaming session, you can close any small areas like space under the door. Some people start to feel dizzy because of the steam so keep a cold water bottle and a cool towel nearby. You can also burn some oud in the bathroom. Choose oud that has a feminine fragrance. Or just use a candle. I like to go the traditional way and use oud. But, this is completely optional.
I put my hair in a bun under a shower cap because direct hot water is damaging to it. But, if you want a complete spa you can apply a deep conditioning hair mask or olive oil to your hair before getting in the shower. Put on a shower cap after you apply it. The heat from the steam will help the mask in deep condioning.
Turn the shower/tap on to the highest temperature you can bear to touch. Don’t burn yourself! Just hot enough to fill the room with steam. Take a shower for about 10 mins in the hot water. The room should be filled with steam and your skin will also have softened.
Soap & Lather
Now, sit down comfortably and completely lather your body with the black soap. Massage it into your skin. Be generous with the amount that you apply. Leave this on for about 10-15 mins.
It’s time for the exfoliating mitt! Wet the mitt and start working from your legs up. Sit down and get comfortable because you should give this time. Give yourself a good scrub as this is meant to be deep exfoliation. Be careful and don’t overdo it as well or you might bruise your skin. Do it slowly and calmly. After you’re done, rinse off. You might see a ton of dead skin literally washing away. It’s disgusting! But, so satisfying.
You will need to prepare this before getting started, Take some of the pieces of ghassoul clay and mix it with whatever you like. Some options are apple cider vinegar, rose water or just plain water. Apply it all over your body and even face. Leave it on for 10 mins because it’s not really going to dry up completely. And, then rinse off with cold water. You can shampoo your hair as well.
This is the last step. Apply olive oil or your favorite moisturizer all over the body. Massage it into the skin.
Optional: You can mist your body with rose water before you moisturize. Just for that added fragrance. This is completely optional. When you step out your skin might be pink because of the heat and the exfoliation. But, that’s alright. It will become normal by the next morning.
I love how successful this bath was. I love taking care of myself. I didn’t have to step out of the house and it was very very private. Just how I like it! I planned to do this every Friday. But, life gets in the way. Depending on your skin you can take this bath once every week or once every two weeks or even just once a month.