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We're just gonna jump straight into this one...
A Lawyer in her previous life, the copious hours of scrutinising law text books, case law and wikipedia have resulted in the birth of a creature, whose capability to research into the paths less trodden, surpasses most seasoned travellers.
1. Argan Oil
"You want argan oil?"; "argan oil for you my friend?" are the likely yells you will hear directed to you as you tip toe through the medina, trying to simultaneously stay clear of any oncoming motorbikes whizzing through the narrow passageways that entangle the medina. But it is worth pocketing a few bottles for your suitcase as argan oil in the UK can set you back a pretty penny. Yes, you can never be 100% sure that the oils you're purchasing are 100% pure (no matter how many sales demonstrations you sit through), but from experience, I haven't had any issues with the three bottles that I purchased and if in serious doubt, simply purchase from a spa or hammam establishment for peace of mind.
2. Rhassoul (Clay)
Morocco aside from it's historical context, amazing deserts and beautiful architecture, is also widely known for its traditional and natural beauty secrets. Rhassoul or Ghassoul (literally translates into clay in the English language) is a natural clay from the Moroccan Middle Atlas. Conscious of its many cosmetic properties, Moroccan women have adopted it for centuries to wash their hair and their body. If you visit a traditional Hammam in Marrakech, its likely that your wash or cleanse was followed up with a ghassoul mask which gently strips toxins and dirt from your skin. After my spa/hammam treat I felt so refreshed and my skin immediately looked so much clearer!
I purchased my ghassoul infused with crushed rose petals from a traditional herbalist shop found in the Medina.
3. Black Soap
If you check-out my previous post on travel toiletries swaps to beat the 100ml liquid restriction, you will know that I am already a huge fan of the West African version of black soap commonly made from local West African plants such as plantain skins and/or shea. The black soap offered in Marrakech is usually derived from olives and typically includes a mix of argan oil. It is seriously so cleansing but not stripping on the skin so great for sensitive skin types like mine! Again usually used in the hammams as the first cleansing step after sauna, a pinch of soap is normally rubbed onto wet skin and after 5-10 minutes, a coarse fabric washcloth called a Kessa is used to remove dead skin.
4. Hand Mit
"You can not have one without the other" and this saying rings true when it comes to the black soap and hand mit, otherwise known as Kessa. The Kessa is what does the job of exfoliation and helps remove the layer of dead skin with its coarse texture. I made sure to stock up on at least one mit from the souks which went for about 10-20 MAD and I can already see the difference its made to my skin and how soft my skin feels, one week after returning from Marrakech.
So I have a confession to make - I am not the biggest fans of tagines. There I said it. BUT having a passion for beautiful home décor and accessories, I absolutely adored the intricately patterned and colourful tagine pots and other associated pottery lined across most door openings and shelves of the souks. You don't normally find such beautiful and colourful craftsmanship for your plates and bowls in the UK (unless its uber expensive and at times overly priced), so if you have enough space in your hand luggage, I would definitely recommend purchasing a few standout pieces, such as a large bowl and smaller versions of the bowl to decorate your home with.
There's my top 5 items I couldn't leave Marrakech without buying (although I am sure I could make this list longer if I had more time and a larger word count!) Have you ever visited Marrakech and if so, what would you add to the list? If I could add anything else, it would probably be the cool natural poppy lipstick jar (if you've seen how this magical jar works, then you know why!)
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