I’m always looking for new ways to achieve baby smooth, bump-less skin. Whether it’s cooking up my own at-home body scrub — coffee grounds mixed with olive oil is my fave — or drowning my body in organic coconut oil immediately after coming out of the shower. Exfoliating really is just as important as hydrating but believe it or not, I’ve gotten better results from a $2 product I got in Marrakech, Morocco than from any fancy dry brush I’ve ever purchased. That’s right girls, the Moroccan hammam scrubbing exfoliating mitt — known as the kessa mitten — cost me less than a cup of coffee in NYC but works wonders. I legit can’t live without this and I’m mad I didn’t seriously stock up while I was out there.
If you haven’t been to Morocco yet, I highly recommend hitting up a hammam spa while you’re out there. I learned a lot about the significance of the hammam spa during my ATW Beauty Marrakech trip. Similar to the Turkish bath, hammams are public bathrooms where Moroccans go to clean themselves. Most Moroccans visit the hammam spas on a weekly basis and it’s considered a social and sacred weekly ritual. These traditional baths have been a significant part of Moroccan culture for centuries — dating back to the Roman and Ottoman Empires. They began back when most Moroccans didn’t actually have baths or showers in their homes, so they had to attend these bath houses to wash themselves for the week. They hold integral importance to women especially. It’s where many gather to connect, catch up, and share ideas.
At a traditional hammam spa you’re completely naked and receive a bucket, some black argan oil soap, a mat to lie on, and the traditional hammam scrubbing mitt. You can clean or scrub yourself but in many cases you can hire someone to do it for you. My experience was slightly different since I attended a hammam spa at the ES SAADI Marrakech Resort, where I was mostly naked but left to wear a disposable thong. In a public hammam you’d be fully naked among other folks, but I was fortunate where at the resort I had a little something to cover up down there and the only other person who was in the room with me was my friend Julie.
First, I was lead to a steam room where I sat and relaxed for 15 to 20 minutes before having one of the spa aestheticians pour warm buckets of water over my body. Afterwards, I was asked to lay stomach down on a marble bed where the spa esthetician scrubbed my entire body using black soap and the hammam mitt. She then finished off by applying a calming body clay mask — the traditional Ghassoul clay — and left it on for a few minutes before the final rinse off. Lotion was applied to my body and I was handed a robe before being lead to a relaxing room where I could relax and enjoy a kettle full of Moroccan mint tea with my friend.
The mitt initially felt like sandpaper but really did an amazing job at scrubbing the heck out of my body — removing all those dead skin cells — and leaving my body super soft. It was definitely intense but also well worth it. So much so, that I had to get my hands on a pair of those mitts before leaving Morocco. We hit up the Medina markets in Marrakesh where every beauty product you could think of was sold and at pretty nifty prices too — if you negotiate well with the sellers. I managed to get my hands on a hammam exfoliating mitt for only two bucks, it cost close to $10 dollars if you buy it online — but still not bad though. Since coming back to NYC I’ve made sure to use the hammam scrub at least once a week. I lather my body oil wash or the Moroccan black soap on it and then scrub every inch of my body from the neck down — excluding my breasts and vaginal area, obviously. My skin feels so good afterwards you’d think you were touching a dolphin. I always follow up by pat-drying with a towel and then applying a generous amount of coconut oil to my body and layering on organic cocoa butter to lock in moisture.
This Is hands down the quickest and most cost-efficient way to the smoothest skin ever. Not only does the mitt leave my skin feeling literally like a one-month-old baby but it also brings me back to the hammam spa experience which I will never forget. My time at the hammam taught me what it means to take care of my body and the significance of that. It’s hard to believe I’ve lived most of my adult life without this mitt.
Written By Johanna Ferreira