I always make a point of making a trip to the hammam one of my first stops on arriving in Morocco in order revive, rejuvenate and relax after the long flight from New York. Nothing puts me more quickly and completely into a Moroccan state of mind than the immersion into the ritual and scents of the hammam. And there is no more key element in the hammam experience than the cleansing and exfoliating step using Moroccan Beldi Soap, aka Savon Noir, and “kessa” exfoliating mitt.
First pores are allowed to open with hot water and steam. Then Beldi Soap is applied liberally to cover the body, working into a slight lather, and then allowed to penetrate skin for 3 – 10 minutes. Typically, the beldi soap is scented with eucalyptus for additional therapeutic properties. After rinsing, the skin is scrubbed heavily in a circular motion with the kessa exfoliating mitt. I am a regular dry brusher and exfoliator at home, but it is always astonishing how my skin literally rolls off with this treatment at the hammam.
Beldi means “traditional” or “authentic” in Moroccan. The gel-like soap made from saponified olive oil acts as a body masque and is a Moroccan specialty. Women will pick up their serving (25 grams) of Beldi Soap from the spice shop or apothecary in the souk on their way to the hammam, carrying it with them in a plastic bag. I am thrilled to have found a high quality version of the soap to share with our customers. As with traditional varieties, Kahina’s Moroccan Beldi Soap is all-natural, made with pure olive oil and scented with eucaluptus essential oil.
For a limited time only, with every purchase of our Moroccan Beldi Soap on our website, we offer a complimentary pharmacy grade kessa mitt so you can replicate the hammam experience at home. If you don’t happen to have a steam room or sauna, I recommend heating the shower before entering to allow steam to rise – or soak skin in the tub before applying to soften. Multitask by applying a hair mask and/or our Antioxidant Mask to face while you wait for the Beldi Soap to penetrate. The Moroccan Beldi Soap may also be used for simple cleansing as a deliciously scented soap replacement.
In 2009 I had my first experience at a traditional Moroccan hammam, which I wrote about in a previous blog post.
For a more luxe, yet still traditional hammam experience in Marrakech, I recommend Le Bain Bleu, an oasis in the heart of the medina.