Tuesday, June 06, 2006

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. Posted by Picasa


At 2:38 PM, Blogger greeneyes said...

Marrakesh...how exciting! I hope you have a wonderful trip. :)

At 5:12 PM, Blogger Shwapp said...

How exotic! I wish i could try some of the dried poppy rouge. Sounds way pretty.

At 5:40 AM, Blogger kanashimi blue said...

I wouldn't recommend wearing middle eastern khol. They contain heaps of impurities like lead. That's why they've been banned from sale in the US. Just google 'kajal' and 'lead'

At 11:00 AM, Blogger Beauty Chick said...

Kanashimi Blue - thanks for the advice! Even though I was just planning on having it around as a cool keepsake, now I know not to play with it at all.

At 12:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Though I will be researching its contents, I too purchased the khol in Marrakesh. Despite being shown by the salesman, I can't seem to apply it correctly. Any suggestions?

At 10:21 AM, Blogger Yasmeen said...

Marrakech is really exiting! I also was impressed by Marrakech! After traveling to medina and to the labyrinths of Marrakech you will have indelible impressions in your memory. The bright carpets overhanging from the roofs of houses, which people buy to decorate Morocco property interior, the smell of spices in air and the voices of people in the market Djemaa el-Fna create its unique atmosphere. Marrakech is framed by red desert and time can’t influence on this city.

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