In my previous blog, I wrote about what I learned from the Ladies of the Himba Tribe of Namibia, and how I incorporated their beauty secrets into my Hard Night Good Morning Nighttime Moisturizer by adding Hematite to the formula. Today, I would like to share what they learned from me!
My husband, Jeremy Lock and I visited with the Himba Tribe on our trip to Africa in August of 2015. Jeremy is a photojournalist, and I learned from him that in order to really get a good story it is necessary to visit with your subjects more than a few times so that you can earn their trust. Then they really start to relax in your presence. Once this is accomplished, they will go about their days as they would on any normal day, instead of “performing” or “acting” for the camera. A good photojournalist captures something that “happens” when nothing is really “happening”!
Whether my husband and I are traveling together on an assignment or project he is working on or we are working together in our various humanitarian responsibilities, my role is to integrate with the women in the culture within which we find ourselves. To live as they are living, I immerse myself into their society and practice their daily duties with them. That integration usually includes some type of food preparation, child care activity and a list of daily chores, which are part of their local customs. We might have to fetch water a long way from the village, garden or farm some land, and of course, there is housekeeping in every culture! We all know that cooking brings people together, and I find that after I have helped in the preparation of a meal, I am endeared towards these women as sisters.
What did the Himba ladies want to know about my beauty routine? Because I had removed my hair extensions before our trip, that wasn’t of interest to them. Due to the language barrier, I couldn’t really explain what I did with them or how they were applied, so that wasn’t a topic to bond over (no pun intended). However, they giggled as they touched my silky straight hair.
Makeup…that was the thing we REALLY bonded about. They shared their red ochre (Hematite) powder and butterfat with me and applied it to my skin, making me an Honorary Himba. I brought my makeup kit and shared my various beauty products with them. They didn’t wear any eye makeup or lipstick at all, and they didn’t understand why I wore makeup. They thought it was silly—a lot of men probably feel the same way-Ha! Ha!
The two products they were most curious about were my mascara and eyeliner. They kept touching my eyelashes and asking why I would put this black stuff on my lashes and around my eyes. It was a fun girly moment between us. I showed them how I applied the liner and mascara and tried to do the best in showing them “before” and “after” photos of myself, so they could see that as a Caucasian woman my eyes didn’t really “pop” without some extra oomph in the form of an eye pencil and a lash lengthener/enhancer! They got a real kick out of my eyelash curler too! Besides me, I don’t think many foreign women in the middle of the African desert, make getting “dolled up” each morning a priority. Oh well, old habits die hard…especially in Texas. Unfortunately, I was not traveling with false lashes. I had to eliminate something on the trip—there is a charge for excess baggage (please, God, don’t let my husband read this)! False eyelashes would have been a HUGE hit with these lovely ladies.
In the end, like most women and girls do, we had fun playing a form of “dress up” or “makeover”. In my travels and as a beauty expert, I have found that women across the world bond in many ways. Sharing beauty secrets is just another one of those ways. We all have them, and we all enjoy trading them. Whether you are a simple girl who only likes to use one brand of soap, or if you cover your body from head to toe in red ochre and butterfat like the Himba ladies, or if you have a rigorous beauty routine like me, it doesn’t really matter; we all have our opinions and tips on how to feel our most beautiful .The Himba ladies have their secrets and I have mine. Now we have shared these with each other and they are no longer secrets. They are a common knowledge and experience we share as sisters in a special “beauty bond”!
*Please read my next blog where you will read about what the Himba Ladies had in common with American women and with me, and how I endeared myself to them, so they felt comfortable asking me about my beauty secrets.