Let’s Talk Arab Culture Inspired Beauty: Woman’s Guide Sits Down With Ms. Rima, Senior Product Manager at Vatika

Ms. Rima, Senior Product Manager, Vatika, a nature-based brand providing hair care and skin care solutions inspired by Arabic culture, talks about how hair care rituals and ingredients commonly used in the Arab world is going mainstream

1. Throughout the Middle East, long, lustrous, thick, and long hair is generally considered a sign of beauty. So, how do you think Arab women keep their hair looking healthy?

The secret to their strong, shiny hair is careful care with natural ingredients common to the region like Garger, Argan, Blackseed, Cactus, Henna, Aloe Vera and trusted items from the pantry like garlic, honey, castor oil and olive oil. 

These traditional Arabic remedies that nourish, heal and protect your hair, have now acquired widespread interest, with brands rapidly introducing these ingredients in their haircare products.

Here are a few haircare rituals every Arab woman has adopted from her Grandmother!

A. Hair oiling pre-shampooing and mixing different types of hair oil

Traditionally, oiling hair has been a bonding time for Arab women of different generations under one roof. The gentle massaging of the scalp during oiling stimulates the hair follicles to sustain wholesome hair growth. Importantly, when you wash your hair after oiling, it leaves the scalp clean and restores the moisture balance. Regular oiling can help prevent hair fall, dandruff, hair breakage etc. It is advised to oil and massage your scalp at least twice a week. Most used oils Olive, Argan oil, Castor oil, Sesame oil and Coconut oil.

There is a popular tradition among Arab women to mix different types of natural ingredients to take care of their skin. For example, Yoghurt, lemon juice, turmeric, honey, cinnamon etc., are quite common home remedy ingredients for skin care.

Similarly, they also mix different types of oils at home to treat different hair problems and to maintain healthy hair. Most used oils for mixtures are Almond, Olive, Cactus, Garlic, Argan oil etc. Arab women mix these oils to experience the benefits of more than one type of oil.

Regular use of these signature oil mixes helps to reduce specific hair problems. For example, a mixture of Almond, Coconut and Sesame oil helps to bring back the softness and shine to rough and dry hair.  Similarly, a mixture of Cactus, Garger and Garlic oil helps to prevent hair fall due to continuous exposure to harmful environment. 

There are other natural ingredients such as Blackseed, popularly known as “Seed of Blessing” that have been traditionally used for its healing properties as it contains essential amino acids, fatty acids and minerals that strengthen hair strands, and adds shine.

B. Hammam Zeit

There is a fresh focus on the age-old Arabic hair salon tradition of Hammam Zeit which is extremely popular in this region. Used once a week as a treatment, Hammam Zeit contains many herbal ingredients like blackseed, cactus, lemon, coconut, almond or honey. 

After shampooing or a normal wash, apply the rich Hammam Zeit on your hair from root to tip. Enjoy the wonderful aroma of its natural ingredients and leave on hair for 10-15minutes. You may keep your hair wrapped in a hot towel. However, the Hammam Zeit works well even without the usage of a hot towel. And then rinse off hair as usual. Hammam Zeit is especially good to treat hair problems such as damaged hair, dry or frizzy hair

2. What are some Commonly used natural hair care ingredients in the Arabic culture

-Olive oil: This has long been used as an effective way to promote hair health. Rich in antioxidants, as well as vitamins A and E, it safeguards the natural keratin in hair helping to “lock in” moisture and replenish the natural organic balance of your hair.

Along with many other benefits of olive oil, it can also help in hair growth, preventing hair loss, keeping the scalp healthy, eliminating dandruff and regaining lost hair. A light massage of the scalp with olive oil may stimulate and recondition the scalp. This will increase blood supply to the scalp and nutrient supply to hair.

-Almond oil:  The delicate yellow oil extracted from almonds contains vitamins E and D as well as other beneficial vitamins and minerals, which help to strengthen and moisturize your hair from root to tip creating a lush and silky look.

-Henna:  It is mixed with other ingredients coat hair fibre and transforms its surface giving intense shine.

-Egg:  70% of your hair consists of the fibrous protein keratin. Whenever it becomes damaged, this substance can often be repaired by applying egg protein which fills in weakened spots along the hair strand and adds renewed strength and suppleness to it.

-Honey: A natural humectant, honey attracts moisture. It is also full of antioxidants and nutrients to feed hair follicles that house the live part of hair, encouraging hair growth.

That being said, it also needs a medium to help spread it around, otherwise you can end up with just a sticky mess, so it is mixed with other natural ingredients that help you restore dry hair to health and luster, from the scalp up.

-Castor oil: Castor Oil has been used as a medicine for centuries. The reason behind the popularity of the usage of castor oil for treating hair problems lies in the presence of ricinoleic acid in the oil, which is germicidal, insecticidal, and fungicidal. So, using the oil will keep the hair from microbial and fungal infections, thus, reducing hair loss.

Regular treatment of the scalp and roots with the oil helps prevent drying of the hair, and within months, hair growth is an obvious result. This is achieved by the Omega-9 fatty acids in the oil. To keep the hair looking soft and shiny, moisture has to be retained by the hair, and Castor oil assists in this as it is a humectant, meaning, it has the ability to lock hair moisture which helps in improving the texture and shine of your hair.

-Cactus:  The high omega fatty acid content in cactus oil has been found to have many benefits in terms of hair loss prevention and the encouragement of hair growth. Because of the low moisture environments in which cacti thrive the oil has a high concentration of vitamin B5 which allows the plant to store water for incredibly long periods of time. This property means that it is a naturally effective moisturizer offering lasting protection to weak, falling hair.

-Garlic: Garlic is a rich source of sulfur which happens to be a vital component of many different types of proteins including keratin. Due to the presence of keratin protein, the hair does not turn brittle. In other words, keratin makes the hair stronger, promoting hair growth. Sulfur is also good for improving the skin condition of the scalp. Hence, when hair products containing garlic oil are applied on hair, it controls hair fall and promotes hair growth.

– Garger: This natural remedy helps nourish hair from root to tip.

-Coconut:  Coconut oil has been in use as hair oil for thousands of years, and it has shown remarkable results. Certain components in it keep the hair strong, nourished and protected from the effects of premature aging, like baldness and excessive hair loss.

-Yogurt: It helps to replenish essential moisture and nourishes dry hair making it ultra-smooth and manageable.

-Blackseed:  For thousands of years, the world has recognized the tremendous healing properties of a legendary Black Seed herb and its seeds are widely regarded as “Seed of Blessings”.

Black Seed contains various amino acids, fatty acids, minerals and carbohydrates that deliver complete protection, growth, strength and shine to your hair.

Lara Geadah


Lara is an entrepreneur, marketing agency owner, content creator and the founder of Woman’s Guide Middle East. During her downtime, Lara likes to watch horror movies or shoot content. Keep up with her on the gram at "Lara's Happy Work"

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