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Introducing: Shiffa Skincare from Dubai + Skin Secrets from the Middle East

By Klaudia Tirico / October 31, 2014

As self-proclaimed beauty globetrotters, we’re always fascinated with skincare rituals from around the world. Sure, Asian practices have been all the rage in the past few years (for many reasons), but after being introduced to Shiffa skincare from Dubai this week and speaking with the brand’s founder, Dr. Lamees Hamdan, we’re ready to incorporate Middle Eastern health and beauty customs into our skincare regimens ASAP. 
To describe Shiffa skincare in one sentence, Dr. Hamdan says, “It’s the La Prairie of organic skincare.” That’s a bold statement, but the luxe, high-end line has won numerous awards to back it up. The collection ranges from hair and body oils to cleansers, healing balms and body scrubs. Each product is made with at least 15 active healing ingredients blended with carefully sourced organic elements for crazy good results. Top sellers include the Rejuvenating Eye Remedy, an award-winning eye cream made with spirulina, extra virgin olive oil and carrot oil to tone, regenerate and revitalize; and the cult Healing Balm, an anti-inflammatory all-purpose treatment that works wonders for eczema-prone skin, chapped lips, and even under makeup as a primer. 
“I see aging as many different processes together – increase in pore size and melanin production, skin texture becomes coarser, elastin and collagen become less productive, skin tone diminishes,” says Dr. Hamdan. “You need a product that has ingredients that will target every single aspect of aging. I also don’t ignore the stress level factor in aging,” she says. “My products have essential oils that help the limbic system by relieving stress and tension through the sense of smell.” 
Although it is new to the United States, Shiffa skincare has been around for quite some time overseas. It started out as a spa brand until it launched in retail at Sephora in the Middle East in 2007. Since then, stores like Sephora in Australia, Selfridges and SpaceNK in London, as well as shops in Tokyo have been selling the brand’s skin, body and hair products like hotcakes. While the line is only available online in the U.S. now, we’re predicting the same outcome once it starts hitting brick and mortar stores, too. 
Since Dr. Hamdan was born in and currently resides in Dubai, we had to ask her about Middle Eastern skin concerns and how women (and men!) there take care of their skin. 
“Like all Mediterranean skin, I would say pigmentation, coarse texture and increased pore size are big concerns. That’s what a lot of women there suffer from,” she says. “Cellulite and sagging of skin, as well. Exercise is recently a big phenomenon with us; it wasn’t traditionally.” 
Here are five skincare rituals that are common in the Middle East, according to Dr. Hamdan: 
- “Anything with honey is huge. They always make masks using oatmeal, honey and a little bit of lemon. They mix it together, scrub their face (women in the Middle East love exfoliating and scrubbing) and then leave it on. Even honey by itself. All you do is put it on and pat your skin for about 10-15 minutes and then you leave it on as a mask. It does make a difference.”
- “I remember my mother would put sliced cucumbers [on her face], but I like to bring it to the 21st century and use a mandoline slicer to slice my cucumbers. Then I soak them in rosewater (rosewater is huge in the Middle East), put it in the fridge until it gets cold and put it on my face. It takes away redness.”
- “If you want to take it one step further, try a mint paste. Take fresh mint — you know how the Moroccans love their mint tea — grind it with a little bit of oats, honey and lemon if you have dry skin. If you don’t, add olive oil and almond oil and put that on as a mask.” 
- “Women (and men!) love using olive oil and almond oil. I remember my father used to massage his hair, when he was losing hair, with warm olive oil.” 
- “There is a Moroccan clay that comes from the Atlas Mountains called Rasul. I like to mix a little bit of henna and a little bit of lavender essential oil and eucalyptus, and then put it on as a body mask.” 
Shop Shiffa’s luxe skin, hair and body products at Shiffa.com