Five Middle Eastern women share the beauty secrets passed down to them through their family
Farnoush Hamidian, Model
One of Farnoush Hamidian’s first memories is of her mother applying henna to her and her sister’s hair. “It made our hair healthier and gave it strength,” recalls the Iranian beauty. Her mother also looked to fruit for a natural way of boosting hydration in the skin. “Every time she would feed us fruit, she would put the skin on her face. Even when we were snacking on cucumber, she would use it on her eyes to take away signs of tiredness,” she adds. Natural ingredients were always her mother’s go-to. Hamidian remembers mixing full-fat yogurt and olive oil and using it as a moisturizer. As for makeup, sormeh, the Persian word for kohl, was popular. “We used it to line our eyes,” the model shares.
Ilham Mestour, Hairstylist
Ilham Mestour enjoyed trips to the hamman every Sunday with her mother and grandmother in Casablanca. During the treatment, savon beldi (black soap), made from sun-ripened olives, was used to cleanse and remove dead skin cells. Afterwards, the body was scrubbed using natural ingredients before a homemade lotion was applied to soothe the skin. Mestour’s mother would make ghassoul out of volcanic clay, adding rose water for a 100% natural treatment. “As a curly Moroccan girl, I was always using ghassoul as a mask to tame fizziness,” she says.
Nora Al Ramadhan, Founder of Apotheca Beauty
“My mother is as passionate about health and fitness as she is about beauty,” says Nora Al Ramadan (above, with her mother). “The two really go hand in hand.” The entrepreneur and her sisters, who were raised in Kuwait, have adopted their mother’s principles. “We all start our day by drinking hot water with lemon and apple cider vinegar. We believe that it helps to detox your body, kick-start your metabolism, and boost your immunity.” Her clean, radiant skin is also down to diet. As for her beauty regime, skincare is key. “Be kind to your skin. Gentle products with clean formulations are just as effective as those with highly concentrated actives,” she says.
Lana El Sahely, Fashion entrepreneur
Good skincare was of utmost importance for Lana El Sahely when growing up. “My mother applied creams day and night. She was always moisturizing and taking her time with this ritual,” she explains. El Sahely and her family prefer to use medical products prescribed by dermatologists, rather than cosmetic skincare. Her family’s biggest obsession is fragrances. “We are always hunting for new niche brands,” she says. Her favorite? “Anything that has orange blossom. It reminds me of the smell of spring in south Lebanon, when flowers come back to life after winter.”
Nour Flayhan, Artist
“Growing up, my mother always made sure we ate seasonally. It came from her upbringing with her father, who had orchards and gardens. He grew everything we ate when we visited the mountains,” begins Lebanon-born Nour Flayhan, whose mother was born and raised in Liberia. “We always had shea butter around the house,” she remembers fondly. Using what nature provides was very much her mother’s answer to all beauty problems. “Chamomile soaked cotton pads were used to get rid of dark circles, rose water for puffy eyes, and aloe vera gel to groom eyebrows,” the artist shares.
Originally published in the May 2019 issue of Vogue Arabia
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