Enjoy the Turkish Delights of a hammam spa!
You have probably heard about the Turkish Hammam Spa but always wondered about what it really is and how it benefits your skin. Here is a detailed break-down of all the steps of this Turkish delight!
1. Steam and sauna
A hammam session usually starts with a quick shower before you move into a warm room. Here, you'll find yourself engulfed by a misty steam. The idea is to stay there for around 5 minutes, to warm up your skin and ready it for the treatments that follow. Next step is the sweat room, which will be heated to around 50 °C, with a 100% humidity level. Lots of people prefer humid heat, as it's less stifling than the dry atmosphere found in saunas. But bear in mind that water conducts heat better than air, so these rooms can feel even hotter! You'll immediately sense your body heating up, your pores will open and your blood flow will move up a notch.
2. Black soap exfoliation
No hammam session is complete without the Eastern promise of black soap. Being 100% natural, it's suited to all skin types. Black soap is a dark slab that doesn't foam up, but rather melts when it comes into contact with water. Bursting with vitamin E, it deeply nourishes skin. Black soap can be used all over the body and prepares skin for exfoliation. It's soft, light texture is great for getting rid of dead skin cells. You just need to leave it on for a few minutes, so it can work its magic.
3. Loofah scrub
To gently scrub your body, rinse off the black soap using a loofah. Although loofahs may look rough, they actually don't harm the epidermis. Quite the opposite - they unclog pores, soften skin, boost circulation and help our skin to produce new cells. They're also great for zapping cellulite on our bums and thighs! Most hammam spas include a professional loofah scrub, undertaken by a masseuse. Once your loofah session is done, you'll find that your skin is a zillion times softer.
4. Pumice stone
A m'hekka (or clay pumice stone) scrub works a treat on stubborn areas - heels, soles, knees, elbows and so forth. These small, ochre clay 'stones' polish our skin without irritating the epidermis. Our tip: wet your skin, lather on some black soap and scrub using the m'hekka stone.
5. Mineral clay mask for skin and hair
Rhassoul mud is a mineral clay that comes from the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. A Maghrebi favourite, it's a real multi-tasker that can be applied to the face, body and hair. It has the ability to suck up impurities. When applied as a mask, it absorbs excess sebum and closes pores. A thick layer is applied using cleansing, circular movements. After leaving it for a few minutes, it's then rinsed off. Result: supple skin and a healthy, shiny mane!
6. Oil massage
Bursting with natural health and beauty-boosting molecules, argan oil, or 'liquid gold', is another Moroccan ingredient, derived from argan trees that scatter the country's deserts. This turbo-charged oil hydrates, revitalises and nourishes skin. Its high vitamin E content also makes it an anti-ageing superhero! Its ability to revitalise, reinforce and add shine means it works wonders on nails and hair. But there's nothing better than a full body massage if you want your skin to soak up its goodness! It combats dry skin and restores elasticity.
Hammam sessions finish off with an all-over moisturiser, in this case shea butter, known to protect skin from the elements and repair any dry patches. Bursting with vitamins (A, D, E, F) and fatty acids, it deeply nourishes skin.
Don’t forget to drink lots of water after your session to make up for all that sweating and prevent dehydration! Note: anyone suffering from circulatory, heart or some dermatological conditions should avoid hot environments. If in doubt, check with your GP. Hammam spas are also not recommended for pregnant women.
Even though you might have thought of a Hammam as a regular day at the sauna, remember that we're not talking about a quick steam: hammam spa sessions can last all afternoon! You should also put some post-spa time aside - the heat and treatments will leave you so relaxed, the last thing you'll need is a packed diary. Plus finishing your session with a cleansing cuppa (green or mint tea!) is all part of the ritual.