Moroccan Hammam Ritual
An Ancient Beauty Ritual for the Body and Soul
To Travel to Morocco is to Discover the Richness and Rituals of an Exotic Culture that takes pride in its unique Ancient Traditions. One outstanding quality of the Moroccan people is their generosity and openness to sharing their Culture with you. If you want to discover the Beauty Customs and Secrets of the Moroccan Women, The Moroccan Hammam is the place go!
What is a Hammam?
The Hamman is a Public Bath House for the Community. Hammam Culture is perhaps strongest and most popular in Turkey and Morocco. However, the Culture of Hammam is prevalent throughout the Middle East, Mediterranean and North Africa. While Spas and Public Baths are also part of cultures in Asia and other parts of the world, there are rituals that make the Hamman Culture unique. Most tourists visiting Morocco will experience the Hammam in a Hotel or Riad as an individual Spa treatment. However, the traditional Hammam is a center of bustling activity found in every Moroccan neighborhood. It is a gathering place where Beauty, Health, and Culture meet.
The Hammam originated to serve the necessity of Cleansing and Bathing. In ancient times and even today, it is not uncommon to find a large family of 8-10 people living together in small quarters…all with one bathroom to share. The neighborhood Hammam is where most Moroccans go to bathe. Hammam visits are a weekly ritual for a Deep Cleansing of the Body and Soul. Special Hammam visits are made in preparation for prayer, weddings, parties, and other events. And like most other activities, the Hammam is an opportunity for Moroccans to socialize. There is a Hammam for the Men and one for the Women. However, in the Hammam itself you will find Women and Men of all ages and Social Classes Bathing together, socializing, and connecting.
The word Hammam comes from the Arabic translation meaning “House of Vapor, House of Warmth, House of Steam.” Truly the Hammam is a place where the social aspect also spreads Warmth and nourishes the Soul and Spirit. Therefore, you can see that in Morocco, the Hammam is a place to go for Cleansing the Body, Replenishing the Spirit, and Nourishing the Soul.
Hammam Ritual of Morocco
Entering the Hammam, you are greeted by a Local Attendant. The women working there are usually local neighborhood ladies and are eager to get your supplies together while engaging in friendly talking and gossip. The Attendant gives you your Hammam Bucket, Kessa (exfoliating) Glove, Black Soap, Towel and Hammam Shoes.
From Here you undress down to your underwear or bathing suit bottoms. The Hammam Attendant then guides you into the Dry Room where you sit in the warmth of the Room to start relaxing and getting accustomed to the heat.
Next you enter the Steam Area where you go to let the Steam moisten and warm your skin. Steam allows you to sweat and begin detoxifying through deep sweating. It also prepares your skin by softening it and opening the pores.
The Bathing Area, the Main area of the Hammam, is next and it is where the cleansing activities and rituals take place. There are stations of Faucets with warm water. You will sit here and begin filling your bucket with water and pouring it over your body and head. Moroccan women will often help one another by pouring water over each other’s heads and bodies. It is not uncommon for perfect strangers to do this to each other. There may be some cleansing soap here for the first step of preparing the skin for the scrub.
After your body drenched with water, the Black Soap Ritual begins. Black Soap is a gelatinous paste made of Olive Oil, Olive Paste and Essential Oils. Your Hammam partner will then help you to rub the Black Soap all over your body and let it penetrate for several minutes or more. The Black Soap softens and nourishes the skin and prepares it for the scrub. Black Soap purifies the skin of toxins and adds nutrients and moisture to the surface of the skin.
Exfoliation with the Black Soap is done by your Hammam partner, which is usually a family member or a “Scrubber Lady”. Every Hammam has a “Scrubber Lady”, a woman assigned to exfoliate the dead skin from your body after the Black Soap preparation. These women have extraordinary strength and are often a bit militant in there kraft. “The Scrubber” throws you to the tiles and begins rigorously scrubbing your dead skin off with a special exfoliating mitt known as a Kessa Mitt. She takes pleasure in scrubbing every bit of dead skin from your body and showing you the dead skin as they go. She turns your over to get the front and will not miss an inch of your body. It is not uncommon for the other ladies in the Hammam to watch and laugh as the “Scrubber Lady “exfoliates you. By the time the “Scrubber Lady” is done, you will have a fresh layer of skin glowing from the Olive Oil. The exfoliation not only removes dead skin, but it also increases circulation of blood and oxygen to the skin cells and tissues. It also helps to encourage Lymphatic drainage therefore improving immunity.
A “Ghassoul” Clay Mask follows the Black Soap ritual. There are different Ghassoul and Herbal masks for the Body, Face, and Hair. Moroccan women customize their masks by purchasing the dried herbs and clays from the local Souk, or market. Ghassoul is a fine powder that becomes Clay when mixed with water. Traditional Ghassoul comes from the Volcanic ash in the Atlas Mountains. It is rich in minerals and functions to draw impurities from your skin. It also replenishes your skin and hair with minerals and nutrients that make it soft, silky, and youthful. Different herbs and essential oils added to the Clay Mask give the Mask added benefits for health and beauty. After 15-20 minutes the Masks are rinsed thoroughly from the Body and Hair with Shampoos and Soaps.
The Final Beauty Ritual in the Hammam is the Argan Body and Scalp Massage. Argan oil is found in only one region of Morocco, however women from all over revere it for its Beauty and Health benefits. Often the Argan oil is mixed with Rosewater and Orange Blossom water. Argan Oil, known as Liquid Gold, is from the seed of the Argan Fruit of the Argan Trees which are only in Morocco. The Argan is deeply hydrating and nourishing. It penetrates the skin and hair leaving it impossibly beautiful and glowing. The Argan Massage may be done by a Professional or a family member. The golden glow of the Argan oil on your skin and hair is the perfect Grand Finale for the Hammam Beauty Ritual.
As the Argan Oil is soaks into the skin, the ladies in the Hammam sit together sharing stories and laughing. In some Hammams the women will play drums (the plastic water buckets), sing and dance. This is an extraordinary experience to behold.
Truly the Hammam Cleanses the Body, Revives the Spirit, and Nourishes the Soul.
The Moroccan Hammam Ritual is an Ancient Tradition remains a cornerstone for Moroccan Beauty and Social Culture. Experience this wonderful Ritual and you will glow with Beauty and Radiance from the Inside Out!
Experience the Hammam Beauty Ritual at Home
You don’t have to go to Morocco to experience the Beauty Ritual of the Hammam. Moroccan Elixir brings the Hammam to the comfort of your home. We recommend that you do this weekly for the best benefits for Health and Beauty.
Home Hamman Ritual:
- Warm your skin with a warm shower or bath.
- Apply the Moroccan BLACK SOAP evenly to your Skin and let it penetrate for 5 minutes.
- Use the Kessa Exfoliating Mitt to scrub the dead skin from your body. Using Circular motions and make sure you cover all the areas of your body.
- Rinse the Dead skin from your body with warm water and Argan Shower Gel.
- Apply the Mask of Ghassoul Clay to your Hair and Body. You may also use the ARGAN HONEY HAIR Mask in your hair. Allow the Mask to penetrate and draw toxins for 10 minutes.
- Shower and rinse the Ghassoul Clay thoroughly from your body using the REVITALIZE Shampoo followed by the Conditioner.
- Mist your Face, Body, and Hair with either Mediterranean ORANGE BLOSSOM Water or Moroccan ROSEWATER.
8. Apply Argan Oil to your Freshly prepped Skin and Hair for Maximum beauty Benefits. All can be used to moisturize and hydrate the body. Apply evenly to the arms, legs, and trunk area.
REVITALIZE Argan Hair Oil: Apply evenly to the scalp, hair shaft and endings. Use small amounts if you have thin Hair.
AGELESS Renewing Argan Face Oil: Apply evenly to the Face and Neck.