In recent years, the Egyptian skincare market has seen the emergence or popularization of multiple brands promoting a return to nature and traditional healing methods. As prices of imported skincare products soar and environmental awareness rises, these brands fill a growing demand for local, organic, and sustainably-produced remedies.
Skincare is by no means a recent invention: since the invention of soap in 2800 BC, a wealth of natural ingredients have been used to address different skin conditions and needs. Below are a few organic products made by local brands for a basic skincare routine, and why their respective natural components are thought to be beneficial.
The first and most basic step in any skincare routine is cleansing, or washing the face twice a day to remove oil, dirt, and other pollutants from the skin’s surface.
Goat Milk Soap from Nefertari or Black Lotus: Alongside its gentle dirt-removing properties, goat milk soap helps strengthen the skin barrier, increase elasticity, and assist the prevention of acne and eczema. Owing to these qualities, goat milk is said to have been used as far back as ancient times.
Tea Tree Soap from Meraki or Raw African: Tea tree oil contains several compounds that have been shown to kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi. As such, the natural substance is a powerful remedy against certain forms of acne that are caused by bacteria and resistant to traditional antibiotics, making it especially well-suited to acne-prone skin.
Chamomile Soap from Raw African or Nefertari: Chamomile’s healing, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties make it a popular means to treat redness, aging, and scarring. For this reason, the flower extract is believed to have been used for these purposes as far back as ancient times, in Egypt and Greece.
Every two to four weeks, our skin naturally sheds dead cells to make room for new ones. Accumulating dead cells result in dry, flaky patches and clogged pores, sometimes causing acne breakouts.
This is where exfoliation – the process of removing dead skin cells with a granular substance – comes in. In the long term, exfoliation can also promote the production of collagen, a protein that increases skin elasticity and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Hibiscus Rice Scrub from Urban Ducks: The hibiscus flower contains an antioxidant called anthocyanins, which helps to prevent aging and inflammation, and is also believed to be a natural sun protectant. Rice, meanwhile, is highly absorbent, and helps mattify oily skin – hence why the two substances are often combined for face masks and scrubs.
Coffee Scrub from Black Lotus or Areej: Caffeine helps dilate the blood vessels under the skin and improve circulation, which reduces the appearance of dark circles and sun spots. Additionally, coffee is also a rich source of Vitamin B3, which researchers believe could be helpful in preventing certain types of skin cancer.
Salt and Mandarin Scrub from Nefertari: Salt is a natural absorbent that draws out dirt and oil, which is why a swim in the sea often leaves your skin smoother and sometimes even reduces acne. Meanwhile, mandarin is rich in antioxidants and fiber, which give the skin a healthy glow.
Moisturizers are creams, lotions, and oils designed to increase the water content of your skin to keep it hydrated. Dermatologists recommend moisturizing after a hot shower or bath, which can leave the skin feeling parched and dry, and particularly after exfoliating.
Sweet Almond Oil from Hathor Organics, Raw African, or Nefertari: Almond oil is known as a carrier oil, which means it absorbs other essential oils deeper into the skin. It is also rich in Vitamin E, helping to reduce stretch marks, and sun damage, in addition to hydrating the skin. For this reason, almond oil has been used cosmetically in Egypt, Rome, and Greece for millenia.
Aloe Vera Cream from Imtenan or Meraki: Aloe vera is another skincare remedy dating back to ancient Egypt. Made from the gel-like substance inside the plant’s leaves, aloe vera cream has cooling and anti-inflammatory properties and is used to treat sunburns, psoriasis, and acne. Its hydrating properties also make it a powerful moisturizer.
As summer rolls around and daylight saving time makes the sunny hours stretch on into the evening, the key to protecting your skin – and the benefits reaped from the rest of your skincare routine – is to apply sunscreen daily. All-natural Egyptian options are available from Hathor Organics and Black Lotus.
Nonetheless, whether opting for an organic or more conventional sunscreen, dermatologists advise checking its Sun Protection Factor (SPF), a relative measure of how well it protects your skin from the sun, and choosing a product of no less than SPF 30.