Mountain Makeup of the High Atlas
When I'm traveling, it's always fun to learn about local beauty rituals. Right now, I'm in Marrakesh, the former capital city of Morocco. It's a wonderful city, set against the mountains, where snake charmers, beaded slipper sellers and carpet salesmen compete for every tourist's attention.
Deep in the labrynthine market alleys, we visited a pharmacy where locals go to get nature-made remedies for every ailment. Rose oil is said to eliminate under-eye bags, and jasmine oil smells lovely and has the benefit of helping mosquito bites (in which I am covered). I also saw how Berber women use kohl to line their eyes and dried poppy juice to rouge their lips and eyes. Of course, I had to get examples of these natural and centuries-old beauty treats, which come in wooden and clay jars (which look like mini tagines, the conical clay pots in which the most delicious stews are cooked). You apply the kohl as eyeliner by dipping the wooden stick into a reservoir of ground minerals inside the wooden bottle at left. The dried red poppy powder can be applied dry as rouge to the cheeks, and if you dip your finger into water, you can apply the resulting crimson liquid to your lips. The salesman promised that the pigment would last 24 hours - I think I have found the original mineral and long-wearing cosmetics!
Here's hoping I'll have more international beauty secrets to share in the coming weeks.