What is it?
Aromatherapy also referred to as “essential oil therapy”. Can be defined as the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize, and promote the health of body, mind and spirit.
The science and art of aromatherapy is based on the various treatments by which essential oils can be used effectively and safely.
The art of aromatherapy has been practiced for thousands of years. Some of the first evidence comes from an ancient Chinese emperor who wrote a book describing the aromatic and healing properties of plants.
The ancient Egyptians were the first to use essential oils. They invented a distilling process to extract the essential oils. Several kinds, such as frankincense, were used in the process that preserved the bodies of the ancient kings and queens before they were embalmed and mummified.
Ways to use Aromatherapy
1. Apply to the skin
Never directly, of course. Very few essential oils can be used directly on your skin. When using essential oils topically you definitely want to make sure that you dilute your essential oils in a carrier oil before applying to your skin. Essential oils are fat soluble, meaning they are immediately absorbed into the skin. Our whipped shea butters contain certified organic essential oils and are already blended with carrier oils. So there’s no need to dilute. You can find them here.
Some other carrier oils that are good to mix and dilute with are sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, and jojoba oil just to name a few. Popular areas of applying essential oils to your skin are on your wrists, your temples, your feet, or behind your ears.
Open up a bottle of essential oil and bring it near your nose and simply breathe in deeply then out through your mouth or you can place 2-3 drops of essential oil on a tissue or a pillow while sleeping, this can be helpful to reduce coughing at night and to encourage sleep. Steam inhalations can also be helpful for coughs, colds, chest infections, and even skin cleansing.
3. Use in a bath
After the hustle and bustle of the workday, don’t you just want to relax and unwind? Well, taking a quick 20-minute Epsom salt bath with your favorite blend of essential oils will definitely calm your senses. Simply mix a few drops to Epsom salt or a light carrier oil , then add to your warm bath water, and enjoy!
These are just a few ideas on how to utilize aromatherapy on a daily basis.
We often take our sense of smell for granted, but studies show that scents are closely linked to memory and can even affect moods and emotions. Depending on the season and your location there are ways in which you can enjoy some “smell therapy”. Visiting a botanical garden, floral shop, farmers market, perfume shop, or even enjoying essential oils, which are derived from the oils of many of your favorite flowers.
What are some of your favorite floral scents? Here’s to the nose!
Share your comments below.
I (Nailah’s Shea) am not a doctor, and I am not here to give you direct medical advice. I may explain health and well-being benefits in blog post topics or individual email inquiries on occasion. None of these health benefits have been evaluated or approved by the FDA. They should not be used in place of personal judgment or medical treatment, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Only your doctor can diagnose and treat disease.
From as long as I can remember I have always been intrigued with learning about other cultures, their natural remedies, and their beauty secrets. I am thankful to be able to have friends and family originally from countries all over the world. We all have so much to learn from one another. This is why I chose to create a blog series I call, Ancient Beauty Secrets from Around the World. Our first stop, Sudan. Let us get started!
Sudan in Arabic means, “Land of the Black”. It was the home of the great kingdoms of Kush and Nubia. Located in the northeast region of Africa, it was once one of the largest countries in Africa. After politics and war ravaged in the land of Sudan the southern half of Sudan decided to split from the north. South Sudan was officially formed in July of 2011; it became the youngest nation in the world. In this blog, we will refer to North and South Sudan as simply “Sudan”.
Dukhan – Smoking Out
What is it?
Dukhan, which means smoke, is one of the most popular beauty treatments done in Sudan.
This traditional beauty treatment is usually given to a bride-to-be before marriage. The woman is first massaged with several types of aromatic oils; she then sits in a chair with a hole in it or just a stool, underneath a clay pot of burning acacia (talih) wood and sandalwood. The woman is covered only with a thick blanket, usually made out of wool. This treatment is sometimes performed twice a day for 40 days for a bride-to-be. The woman does not bathe during this period. During this time, a thick sooty layer is formed on the skin. On day 40, this layer is peeled and removed revealing beautiful glowing skin. The woman will have a lingering scent on her skin that stays on her for days.
After the marriage, women continue to get the dukhan treatment to detoxify their skin, keep their skin smooth, for the sweet musk smell, and to tighten the private area of a woman (especially after giving birth). Dukhan may also be used as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis or any joint pain you may have.
Dilka – Exfoliating Body Scrub
Dilka is a Sudanese body scrub that leaves the body soft and perfumed. It is made by mixing whole-wheat flour, tea made of cloves and mahleb cherry seed, and occasionally orange peel, into soft dough. Women may also add finely ground sandalwood powder or acacia wood powder. Traditionally the dilka dough is wrapped in a cloth and smoked with the dukhan treatment, this gives a nice fragrant scent and it preserves the dilka dough. Women typically use this body scrub at least twice a week. This scrub helps to remove dead skin, promotes blood circulation, and nourishes and re-hydrates the skin.
Sounds exciting, right? Well, I hope you enjoyed this quick and intriguing read.
If you plan to use some of these beauty regimens, remember to do more research and be careful. Are you from Sudan or have friends and family from there? Have you ever visited Sudan and performed any of these beauty regimens? We would love to hear from you.
Leave a comment below.
BBC World Africa. “South Sudan Country Profile.” (Accessed 1/30/19) https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-14069082
Wikipedia. “Dukhan (traditional medicine).” (Accessed 1/29/19) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dukhan_(traditional_medicine)
Diab, Ola. “The Art of Beauty for Sudanese Women.” (Accessed 1/27/19) https://oladiab.com/2014/08/02/the-art-of-beauty-for-sudanese-women/
African Aromatics. “Sudan’s Aromatic Culture.” (Accessed 1/27/19) http://africanaromatics.com/sudans-aromatic-culture/
Have you noticed that your skin changes according to the season? From hot sticky summer days to extremely cold winter days and the in between weather conditions, it’s not just our wardrobe that changes. Here in North Carolina we are in the midst of winter, so I thought what better time to share a few Winter skincare tips with you.
1. Hydrate from the inside – Dry skin can cause all sorts of discomfort, including peeling, flaking, cracking, redness and itching. Yes, lathering on emollient rich body butter will help soothe your skin temporarily, but, did you know that when you are consistent with drinking water multiple times a day you are hydrating yourself from the inside out. If you don’t care for plain water try adding some lemon or lime slices to your water or even warming your water up and adding some other fruits or herbs to your cup.
2. Eating Clean – I’m sure you’ve heard of the phrase, “you are what you eat”. Well, this statement is so true. One key to having healthy nourished glowing skin is to eat healthy. Eat more fruits and veggies daily as often as you can. Some fruits that are typically in season during the winter months that have high amounts of antioxidants and vitamin C are: apples, oranges, cranberries, pomegranates and kiwis.
3. Wear breathable clothing – Growing up, my mother would always tell us to make sure we wear clothes that are 100 % cotton as often as possible. I had no idea how important this was until I had children of my own. They suffered from eczema and extremely dry skin so I did a little research of my own. According to the National Eczema Society, cotton clothing and bedding keeps the skin cool and allows it to breathe, whereas synthetic fabrics and wool can irritate.
4. Don’t Use Harsh Soap - Use natural soap as much as possible. Without any deodorants or synthetic fragrances – these ingredients tend to be very harsh and drying to your skin. You can find our all natural and organic moisture rich Shea Butter soap here.
5. Moisturize Immediately - Moisturize your skin immediately after showering or bathing, this is crucial. Pat your skin dry with a towel and then apply your moisturizer directly afterwards while your skin is still damp. The dampness of your body will help seal in the moisture from the moisturizer you choose to use. Oil-based rather than water-based retains moisture in the winter.
I hope this information was helpful. Do you have any winter skincare tips you would like to share with our readers? We'd love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and make sure to share this blog with friends!
Cade, Matteson. “How to Moisturize From the Inside Out.” (Accessed 1/17/19) https://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/moisturizing/basics/moisturize-from-the-inside-out3.htm
National Eczema Society. “Itching and Scratching.” (Accessed 1/17/19) http://www.eczema.org/itching-scratching
I want healthy glowing skin! Many of you have said this. Well one easy step to take is to exfoliate. What is exfoliation you ask? We will get into more details about exfoliation later but real quick, exfoliation refers to the removal of the dead skin cells on the skin’s surface. Exfoliation can be performed mechanically, by using slightly abrasive scrubs on the skin or chemically, by using scrubs that contain special kinds of acids that dissolve and remove the dead skin cells without scrubbing.
Now that we know what exfoliation is, let’s discuss the differences and benefits of using sugar or salt to exfoliate, why should you exfoliate, how to exfoliate using a scrub, and how often should you exfoliate.
The main difference is the size of the exfoliating granules.
Sugar: Sugar granules tend to be smaller and finer, making sugar scrubs less abrasive than salt scrubs and excellent for sensitive skin and delicate areas of the body. Sugar has naturally occurring Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) or glycolic acid. According to research from Naturopathica, AHAs were found to promote softer, smoother skin, faded wrinkles, lightened age spots, and decreased blemishes. Generally, sugar scrubs can be used all over your body, literally from head to toe.
Salt: Salt, has antiseptic properties and is more "detoxifying" to the skin, making it a great option for foot and body soaks. Salt granules can be a little larger and coarse, excellent for extremely thick calluses, feet, elbow, and knees. Some salt scrubs that are made of Himalayan or Dead Sea salt are full of naturally occurring beneficial minerals.
Why should you exfoliate?
Cell regeneration slows down as we age and our body is slow to shed new skin cells and generate new ones. Our old skin cells then start to pile up, and can often leave our skin looking dull, rough, and dry. In turn, the build-up of dead skin cells can result in excess oil and clogged pores, leading to blemishes and acne. Exfoliation removes the barrier of dead skin cells clogging the skin and uncovers fresh new cells below. This opens the way for moisturizing products to penetrate more deeply into the skin, which makes them more effective.
How do you exfoliate using a scrub?
When using Nailah’s Shea’s Exfoliating Sugar Scrubs, we recommend to first wash and rinse with our organic handcrafted Shea Butter soap. After cleansing; take a small scoop of the scrub and gently rub in a circular motion on damp skin. Rinse off when done. Then pat yourself dry. To seal in the moisture from the oils in the sugar scrub choose your favorite moisturizer like our organic whipped Shea Body Butter.
How often should you exfoliate?
Yes, exfoliating your skin is one key to achieving that healthy natural glow but you don’t want to over exfoliate your skin. Over exfoliating your skin can leave your skin dry, irritated, and damaged. Exfoliate at least 1-2 times a week.
I hope you found this blog helpful. Now let’s continue our journey to healthy, naturally glowing skin!
Please share this blog on your social media pages or email it to a friend.
Welcome back! Let’s recap, in Part 1 of Combating Winter Skin – “Show your skin some love”, we discussed 4 tips. First we discussed how it was important not to turn your heat up in your home to more than 71 degrees Fahrenheit because it will dry your skin out. Next, we suggested using a humidifier for added moisture in your home. We advised taking short lukewarm showers and finally, not using harsh soaps which can be drying because of the synthetic chemical make up.
5. Moisturize Immediately
Moisturize your skin immediately after showering or bathing, this is crucial. Pat your skin dry with a towel and then apply your moisturizer directly afterwards while your skin is still damp. The dampness of your body will help seal in the moisture from the moisturizer you choose to use. Oil-based rather than water-based is more likely to retain moisture in the winter.
6. Drink plenty of water
Even I have been prone to want to drink more warm beverages like teas and coffee during the colder winter months. But don’t forget, glowing skin comes from being hydrated from the inside out. Because I don’t like to drink cold drinks, I sometimes drink warm water with a bit of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar when I feel like grabbing more than one cup of coffee a day.
7. Do eat plenty of fruits and veggies
Eat more fruits and veggies daily as often as you can. Some fruits that are typically in season during the winter months that have high amounts of antioxidants and vitamin C are: apples, oranges, cranberries, pomegranates and kiwis.
I hope this blog was helpful. If so, please share it with your friends or on your social media pages. I would love to hear your feedback and learn more about your winter skincare routine.
Living in North Carolina, I have learned that the weather here can be somewhat unpredictable. From 30 degrees Fahrenheit one day and the very next day 60 degrees. What to do, what to do? Shaking my head. Imagine how our skin may be even more shocked by the change of weather. Here are a few tips on keeping your skin moisturized, hydrated and glowing all winter long.
1. Don’t turn up the heat
With the bitterly cold weather outside and cold winter breezes we can be tempted to turn our heating systems up too high. This in turn causes our skin to become even drier than before the winter season. Keep your thermostat at a comfortable temperature around 68-71 degrees. Your skin will thank you and in addition you’ll cut down the energy cost in your home.
2. Use a humidifier
Try setting up a humidifier in your home. Set one up in the main sitting room or your bedroom – both if you can. Using a humidifier will keep moisture in the air and will also help your skin from drying out during the winter. You can even purchase humidifiers that give you the ability to put essential oils in or around them and the steam that it blows out is aromatherapy for your home.
3. Short Lukewarm Showers
You may be tempted to take long hot showers during the cooler winter months – don’t’ do it! The hot water will dry your skin out even more. Try taking warm showers and limit your time in the shower to less than 15 minutes.
4. Don’ t use harsh soap
Use natural soap as much as possible. Without any deodorants or synthetic fragrances, these ingredients tend to be very harsh and drying to your skin. You can find our all natural and organic moisture rich Shea Butter soaps here.
Stay tuned in for Part 2 of Combating Winter Skin – “Show your skin some love”, where we’ll share more tips on how to keep your skin soft and glowing all winter long.
2018 is here! Have you found yourself year after year making resolutions that are half fulfilled? I know I have. My goal this year is to enjoy being ME and embracing all of me.
Starting with Self-Care
The Oxford Dictionary’s definition of self-care is “the purpose of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health”. We can dig a little deeper and break self-care into the 4 key elements – physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and how to incorporate them into our daily lives for overall wellness for you and your family.
Self-care involves taking care of you physical health and incorporating a healthy lifestyle. From walks in the park, going to the gym, eating healthy and drinking lots of water. Also, unplug from time to time. Step away from the computer, phone, television, etc.
Emotional self-care may include surrounding yourself with positive people. People you care about and people who care about you. Setting clear boundaries for yourself when it comes to your time and energy. Try not to harbor any ill feelings or emotions inside but take time to express how you feel in a positive and receiving way.
Psychological self-care may include giving attention to things that are in your control. Doing things to stimulate your creativity, professionally or just for fun. This may include reading, journaling, meditating, perfecting your craft, or even turning what you are passionate about into a business. Take time for self-awareness, to learn, to think, and grow.
Spiritual self-care may include prayer or meditation. You may want to take time to reflect and practice mindfulness and gratitude.
There it is guys, the 4 key elements of self-care. You may be saying that you are already incorporating these elements in your daily lives. If so, sit back and reflect on how to improve them and make sure to involve your family in them as well. If you feel it’s too much for you to incorporate in one day then choose a one day out of the week to practice self-care.
I would love to hear how you plan to incorporate self-care in to your life this coming year. Feel free to leave a comment below.
Wishing you all the best!
Can you believe it’s been a little over a month since the National Folk Festival (NFF) was here in Greensboro? It’s amazing how time flies. Well, as promised I wanted to share with you the experience I had meeting with all of you at the NFF and I also wanted to share an experience of meeting little ones fascinated by the art of soap making. From the process, to the herbs and then the smells, oh what fun we had.
At the NFF I saw some familiar faces from around Greensboro as well as many new faces. Among these faces were families that were traveling from all across the US to spend the weekend in town enjoying the festivities that the NFF had to offer. Greensboro, being home to several colleges and universities, meant many college students visited our booth at the NFF. One young lady in particular that stopped by was a student originally from New Zealand. She was very interested in working in rural Uganda with needy children and families and I’ll always remember her determination and selflessness. Wishing her all the best!
Check out the picture below of a familiar face you may have seen around town too.
This is off topic a bit but I just have to tell you. Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to share the art of soap making with some elementary school kids (500 of them).
The school celebrated their own "State Fair" and I was asked to be an exhibitor. Of course I couldn't make soap for all of them. However, I shared the process of soap making with them. The children were ecstatic! They enjoyed hearing about the process and smelling the herbs that I brought with me (rosemary, mint leaves, lemongrass, and lavender). They learned about Shea Butter and where the Shea nut comes from. The children had the opportunity to touch and use the Shea Butter. They held a real coconut! They also left with a piece of soap from a soap maker. LOL :-)
I couldn't stop smiling after I was given “Thank You” cards from the students. Just reading them made me feel so happy that I had the opportunity to spend the day with them and share with them my passion.
Scroll down to see the cards that they created for me.
What's your passion? Share your thoughts below.
What is the National Folk Festival? The National Folk Festival (NFF) is a national festival that has been taking place in Greensboro, North Carolina for the past 2 years with plans to be in our state for years to come. Sponsored by the Arts of Greensboro and a host of other co-sponsors the NFF has been anticipated since the beginning of the year. Check out the pictures below of the opening parade.
Did you know that Guilford County is home to North Carolina’s largest refugee population? Moreover, the diversity of the population is truly astonishing. In Guilford County you can find individuals from more than 141 countries. Wow, how diverse is that?! All of this diversity is manifested at the NFF every year. We enjoyed performers of music and dance from across America with ties to North Carolina. The NC Folk Life Area celebrated and showcased the living traditions of North Carolinians embracing the theme, One State, Many Worlds. Have you ever heard of the Bahamas Junkanoo Revuew? Check them out below.
The NC Arts Marketplace, (where you could find us), featured hand-crafted creations from the finest artists and craftsmen in NC. If you had a chance to stop by our booth you were able to not only catch a whiff of how divine our area smelled with our natural essential oils looming in the air, but you were also attracted to our art, handmade jewelry and accessories that embraced our booth. It was as if you stepped into a little piece of me. :-)
Speaking of me, my name is Camilia Zuleikha Majette and I am the Founder and CEO of Nailah’s Shea, LLC. I was born in Washington, DC and raised in a small town in NC called Ahoskie, I journeyed to Greensboro, NC when I was 18 years old to pursue my undergraduate degree at NC A&T State University in Journalism and Mass Communications, I have since graduated with a Master’s in Health Services Administration and I now call Greensboro my home for 16 years.
My diverse and multicultural background starts with my father’s love for travel and humanitarian work. He is African American with Tuscarora Native American decent and originally from a small village in North Carolina called Rich Square. My mother is an American citizen of Zanzibari descent whose origins and ancestry can be traced back to Zanzibar Island, Tanzania (East Africa), Oman, Baluchistan and Pakistan. I've had the opportunity to travel to several African countries as well as the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia. I have met with the finest crafters and artist in these regions. I take pride in learning from them and sharing their work with you.
Our next entry will be about “Meeting you at the National Folk Festival.” Take the journey with me! I look forward to your thoughts and comments ~ Camilia
Camilia Z. Majette, MHSA
Camilia, Founder and CEO of Nailah's Shea, LLC is a mom, wife, global traveler, humanitarian, and entrepreneur. She loves to share her knowledge and passion about natural living and wellness with everyone she meets.