Beauty Secret's Learned with Himba Women in Africa. January 22, 2016 2 Comments
Photos By Jeremy Lock™
My husband and I spent five weeks in Africa in 2015. Two of those five weeks were spent traveling in Namibia with our guide and friend Jaco van der Westhuizen of African Days, a Namibian travel company. My husband is a photojournalist, and he really wanted to spend some time with the Himba tribe, an indigenous people that call the Namibian desert region home. The Himba are one of Southern Africa's last traditionally living pastoral tribes who live according to the traditions and customs of their ancestors. They live very distant from the "modern-western" world. Although they have contact with western society, the Himba people have managed to maintain their traditional culture and lifestyle.
One of the interesting facts about the Himba women is that they do not bathe. The area in which they live is accustomed to droughts. The men traditionally are the only people allowed to bathe in their culture and to this day, the women take a daily smoke bath in order to maintain personal hygiene. Despite this fact, the women are some of the most beautiful in all of Africa and oddly enough, they do not smell the way Westerners would expect them to. They have a sweet smoky smell that is quite pleasant and inoffensive.
The typography of The Namib Desert is ancient, severe and beautiful all at the same time. It will grace you with dust, drought, stifling heat and harsh conditions. It will deprive you of necessities like water and food. However, in the harsh conditions emerges the beauty that you see in the typography, the landscape that has produced such treasures as the Namib Sand Sea and the Skeleton Coast.
The same beauty can be seen in the tribe of the Himba people, whose women use the stone of the ochre to beautify their bodies. They mix the ochre with butterfat to make something they call otjize. It is sometimes scented with aromatic resin. The Himba women apply this mixture each day to their skin and hair, giving them a distinctive red hue. It is considered their “makeup” so to speak, and according to them is used for aesthetic purposes only and to distinguish them from the men. However, the ochre is actually Hematite. Hematite is made from iron and ochre is its powdered form. Hematite has many important beauty benefits including blocking hair growth on the body, possibly repelling insects and protection from the sun, which in the Himba’s harsh climate is a definite advantage.
Why is Hematite important to me? When researching my product line, Hard Night Good Morning®, I searched the world over for unique and effective ingredients, and Hematite was one of the ingredients I chose for my Nighttime Moisturizer. Hematite has amazing regenerative capacity and is a known healer of wounds and bruises. It helps with collagen 1 synthesis, and restores the radiance and tone of skin. It is called an “anti-aging” jewel. Combined with vitamin C as it is in our Nighttime Moisturizer, Hematite helps to optimize production of good quality and functional collagen, helping to fill wrinkles in-depth, for a plumping effect on the skin. As we age we lose collagen in our skin. This is the main reason we “appear” our age. Hematite combined with vitamin C restores the skin’s texture and tone and smoothes and renews the skin to give you a more youthful ageless appearance.
The Himba are a tribe in Southern Africa whose customs have transcended time and technology to maintain a tribal lifestyle that has been virtually unchanged since the 16th century. It’s amazing to think that with their primitive lifestyle, their women found a timeless beauty secret in Hematite. This secret can be yours too just by trying our Nighttime Moisturizer!