Move over K-Beauty – ME-Beauty has arrived
The ancient beauty traditions from the Middle East region are being resurrected and celebrated and will be hitting the shops and a shelfie near you
Soap is also a mainstay of Middle Eastern rituals and with a return to the lathering bar, instead of plastic-packaged shower gels; it means they’re a sustainable choice too. Plus, there aren't many spa treatments that trump a hammam scrub in a traditional steam room. (Check out the best hammam in London here.)
Dubai beauty blogger, Huda Kattan, agrees: 'When it comes to skincare, women in the region love natural ingredients – like coconut oil to remove our makeup, castor oil for our brows, or using rose water as a toner. These natural alternatives have been a part of Arab culture for generations.'
So, think natural, non-stripping floral waters to help remove makeup and clean-up post-cleanser and Moroccan argan oil to soften the skin. Bahrain-based skincare brand, OMNI Skincare, is a clean and natural range that is concocted in the kitchen of its founder, Jenan Alhashili, who says: 'We evolved because of our love of natural ingredients and the over-the-counter chemist remedies were not working for my hormonal breakouts and constantly irritated skin. So we source some of the ingredients locally and employ remedies like clay from the Atlas mountains, as it’s less harsh than some French counterparts and is particularly good for sensitive skins.'
Argan oil is another eastern beauty staple. It has been utilised by a plethora of international brands, heralded as a brilliant dry skin saviour, while scientists are now proving camel’s milk as a hardworking acne treatment. Dr Maryam Zamani, a facial aesthetics specialist and oculoplastic surgeon at the Cadogan Clinic, and owner of MZ Skincare range incorporates some Middle Eastern magic with a key ingredient in the MZ Skin Soothe & Smooth Eye Cream – derived from the Persian silk tree. She says, 'It is a bark extract to detoxify and strengthen capillaries to reduce dark circles and puffiness. While this is a traditional Middle Eastern beauty ingredient, the ingredient and final formula has been clinically tested in order to substantiate these claims.'
The ME-Beauty movement feels like a simpler alternative to a snail-goo serum or 10-step regime from the Far East – which can only be a good thing.
THE MIDDLE EASTERN BEAUTY PRODUCTS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT
1. Shiffa Healing Balm, £86
This best selling balm, with its secret blend of 15 healing plants, acts as a solid serum, which transforms into a golden oil that helps to heal sunburn, rosacea and burns and leaves skin glowing and radiant.
2. MarocMaroc at Harrods, from £12
This range transports you straight to Marrakech with ingredients that include rhassoul rituals, argan oil and rose marocaine, to scent, smooth and soften dry skin.
3. La Sultane de Saba, from £26
From blingy-gold Insta-friendly face masks to Fairtrade argan oil – there is plenty of Eastern wellness to be found here.
4. The Halal Cosmetics Company, from £8.50
A budget-friendly beauty range that offers skincare and nail polishes that are certified halal, cruelty-free, and contain no sulphates or parabens. Plus, they have products for both men and women.
5. RëS Soaps at Lynn’s Apothecary, £9.80
Rich in vitamins and shea butter, these natural artisanal soaps from a family company based in a small village in the Metn area of Lebanon, are a dream to use and to give as gifts.
6. Omni Skincare, from £24
Every product nourishes and treats skin with kindness.