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We just thought we were mates. When all along and we never knew it , we have been practising Ubuntu – the African experience of life in which, recognizing our interconnectedness. we bcome better humans. Together.

Which basically means gossiping.

We have great fun at work. We – most of the girls and two men we know for certain- share one thing. That’s the hatred of wrinkles. If anything brings us together its anti-ageing.2021-03-12-10.54.33

We all come from different backgrounds – some with degrees , some without – but we all know about one study the same thing. Our skin and the best way we can keep it healthy.

Every tea and coffee break  and quite a few lunch times become forums to discuss the latest wonder potions and beauty products.  We are all experts of skin and hair care, cuticle consultants and  amateur dermatologists.

That’s why we decided to compile an A-Z of Beauty.

Beginning with A-Beauty.20210608_191324-1

And Syria.

South African warthogs love it. Sub-Saharan African rhinos love it. Sub-equatorial baboons have been known to get intoxicated on it. And quite a few other South African animals are turned on by it.

Murala is how elephants keep their looks and keep the free radicals at bay.

Have you ever wondered why vervet monkeys never suffer from split ends? And how elephant maintain such young-looking, healthy, hydrated skin? How they protect themselves against acne, UV damage and other environmental aggressors?ALSOAP1

It’s their diet. Not knowing about its proven microbial properties and that it provides  ultra-effective after-sun care  for sensitive skin types and caring more about its nutritious proteins,  elephants eat  prodigious quantities of marula.  And humans are now utilizing the multi-benefit superfruit in a variety of healthy-giving, cosmetic ways.

Companies like “Africology!” use marula oil which is anti-microbial and non-comedogenic , keeping the skin hydrated by preventing trans-epidermal water loss.

“!Africology”  also uses the African potato ( rich in  sterols and sterolins helpful in the treatment of acne, eczema and psoriasis) , “rooibos” ( red bush  which contains alpha-hydroxy acid, a compound beneficial for maintaining healthy skin, and is also  rich in iron, potassium, copper, manganese, magnesium, calcium, zinc and sodium. Native to southern Africa, aloe ferox leaves are used for sensitive complexions. African tribeswoman have been using the flora surrounding them for centuries for skincare.


The Swaziland Queen Mother has her own job creation and poverty alleviation projects.  She even has her own cosmetics label,  “Swazi Secrets” , which produces  not only cold-pressed, wild-harvest marula soaps but also ximenia ( sour plum) and trichilia (Cape mahogany) skincare and spa products..

African Botanics” makes Marula  Stretchmark Body Oil.

Grounded in ancestral knowledge and abundance, A-Beauty is buzzy. “At Epara we believe luxury is not about ostentatiousness or glamour, “ says founder Ozoh Adio who went to Oxford University and worked in finance, strategy and business development.


“It’s a precious quality of handcrafted products with a true spirit of authenticity. Our customers deserve skincare that treats them to the finest in natural luxury.”  Ingredients include plankton extract, Kenyan moringa oil, Moroccan argan, Madagascan ,ylang ylang, Ghanaian shea butter, and Egyptian neroli.

Epara means “to cocoon oneself” in the Nigerian dialect of Ebira. It is a collection of handcrafted skincare products tailored to the underserved needs of women of colour. One woman’s quest to discover luxury skincare that caters to the unique issues affecting women of colour led to a bespoke beauty brand created especially to nourish and protect.

Ozohu Adoh uses advanced scientific formulations harness the healing, antioxidant and nurturing properties of African botanicals with particular focus on hyperpigmentation and hydration.

Epara is a line of high quality, scientifically-proven products derived from the rich soils of Africa that will wrap you in an all-natural luxury. Epara repairs and pampers, leaving skin moisturised and hydrated.

Africans have been seeking even skin tone , targeting their imperfections and ways to reduce hyper-pigmentation for centuries. Humans and elephants included.

But Aleppo is an ancient beauty product  birthplace too.


Aleppo soap has been produced in Syria for centuries. Conflict-torn Aleppo in north-western Syria, 193 miles from Damascus,  is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world, having been  inhabited since as early as the 6th millennium BC. It was at the end of the Silk Road which passed through central Asia and Mesopotamia. Its hard soap still symbolizes peace (olive) and glory (the laurel wreath).

Aleppo soap boilers and curers work during the winter from November to March.  Their soaps contain no animal fats or additives.

Also known as Sabun Ghar or Sabun Halabi, Aleppo soap was brought to Europe from the Crusades.  Although its antimicrobial, antifungal, anti-viral and anti-itching agents were probably not recognized. Or that it was good for rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis.


The Aleppo Soap Company works with the Signes-based Tadé Pays du Levant , an ethical French company which since 1994  has produced authentic, origin-certified Aleppo Soaps.

Thadee and Adeleine de Slicewicz work with Baroudeurs de L’’Espoir to revive and preserve the region’s soap-making tradition as well as provide psychological reconstruction through sport and children’s education programmes.

Thadee arrived in Syria in 1990 as a geographer and has helped sell soaps manufactured by the country’s two oldest soap-making families since 1995.


You also get it from Yorkshire.


Neil Lowrie was born in Lebanon and now lives in Sheffield where he sells Aleppo soap supplied by displaced Syrians living in Beirut.

“My father worked for a church society and my mother’s Palestinian,” says the project manager at Sheffield University who spends his evenings in his spare room packing Middle-eastern soap for delivery. He supports a Lebanese children’s cancer charity.

“I’ve never liked the cheap supermarket soaps. The scents are very artificial and leave my skin dry. I also don’t like the plastic waste associated with bottled soaps. I came across Aleppo soap when visiting Beirut a couple of years ago. Bay trees are commonly grown in Syria and Lebanon and the dried leaves are used in Middle Eastern cooking, But I hadn’t known you could also extract oil from the leaves, which could be used in making soap.


“The shop owner, Mahmoud, had to leave Syria due to the war. I bought a suitcase-full in Jan 2020 and is sold fairly quickly on eBay, so I set up a website.”


Pain D’Alep, using only olive oil and laurel( sweet bay laurus nobilis )oils cooked in huge cauldrons with soda from sea salt, is traditionally hand -cut  into blocks, hand -stamped and then stacked in towers  or pyramids of loaves in cellars and air dried for nine months until it has a golden brown exterior and, when cut , a glossy emerald heart


Adds Lowrie who donates all sales proceeds to The Children’s Cancer Center  of Lebanon :  “ The local economy is heavily deficient in manufacturing and Aleppo soap is one of the very few products that can be made locally and exported so soap sales ultimately help family-owned firms and people living in different environments.”


Jump into the shower for a good cause. Use a soap with a heart.

£7.50 per bar/  5 for £28/ www.alepposoap.uk