Ghanaians have been making and using natural health and beauty products for centuries. Beauty products in Ghana, as well as in many African communities in general (such as masks, ointments, steams and other treatments) literally come from the Earth.
African beauty rituals and products (like those used at beauty salons in Accra), remind us who the originators are when it comes to zero waste, organic and natural treatments.
Toxic free and high-quality products, directly from nature
Talk about diversity! Botanical plants like roots, herbs, oils and butters of great quality. Currently, Ghana has many initiatives and projects striving to produce amazing products. The idea is to not be wasteful and utilize what the land has given to purify, heal and beautify from the inside out.
Modern terms such as “clean beauty” are being used by many multinational beauty brands for marketing purposes. This term is actually something very simple: “beauty products that are free from toxic ingredients deemed to be harmful to human beings or the planet”. Whilst many are trying to recreate such products, Ghana already has them by nature.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the most natural and popular beauty products and ingredients you can find in Ghana.
The top 8 beauty products in Ghana
Shea butter comes from the nut of the Shea tree that grows in the Savannah region from West Africa to East Africa. Most, if not all the production is done in the Northern part of Ghana by women’s cooperatives.
The shea butter making process is a lengthy one. It involves many stages and is all done by hand. First, the outer shells of the nuts are removed. Then they’re crushed and slowly roasted into butter.
Finally, the butter is commonly kneaded by hand in a basin of water to separate the fatty acids. These fatty acids, or oils, are removed from the butter, cooled, and hardened to make what we know to be shea butter.
Shea butter is a great moisturiser. It protects the skin from all weather conditions (wind, cold, sun, harmattan season). It is multipurpose; it can be used on the face, body and hair and even for cooking – in Northern Ghana it is used as a cooking oil.
African Black Soap
African black soap has been used for centuries in West African countries. It originates with the Yoruba people in Nigeria and Yoruba communities in Benin and Togo. In Yoruba language black soap is ose (soap) and dudu (black). With time, its use spread throughout many other West African countries, and nowadays is an inportant artisanal work in Ghana, sold worldwide because of the amazing benefits it has.
The base ingredients of black soap are: potash and a fruit derived oil, this can be palm kernel oil or coconut oil for example. Some black soap producers add shea butter to it as well which is specially great for those people with dry skin because it helps by adding a moisturising effect to it.
This vegetable based soap is great for cleansing and exfoliating your skin. It helps fight acne and eczema, and can also be used on the hair and scalp as a clarifying and anti-fungal treatment.
Moringa powder is made from the freshly harvested leaves of the moringa oleifera tree. In Ghana it is also locally known as “miracle tree” due to the high amount of benefits it has concentrated in its small green leaves; it has 20 types of amino-acids, 46 antioxidants, 36 anti-inflammatory compounds and more than 90 nutrients.
Moringa it’s al so used in cooking, especially stews and soups. In fact, it’s one of the most traditional ghanaian cooking ingredients.
Moringa powder can be added in juices and smoothies for a vitamin boost. If you prefer, you can also boil the fresh moringa leaves to make a nice tea. There is also the option of purchasing moringa oil and applying it on your skin directly – great to use as anti-aging product and for skin brightening.
Just as shea butter, coconut oil is another multi use product that can be used on your skin, hair and nails as well as for cooking. This oil is very accessible and cheap in Ghana (you can even find it being sold in plastic bottles in local street markets).
It has a variety of health benefits, from helping to lose weight, due to its high content in fatty acids, aids in helping kill bacteria, protects damaged hair, and moisturises the skin, amongst many other benefits.
Neem oil is an extract of the neem tree. Even though it has a pungent aroma, making it destructive from any other smell, it possesses many health benefits, especially for different skin conditions.
It can treat acne, psoriasis, eczema, ringworm and warts. In fact, it’s hard to find a skin condition that doesn’t soothe. To top it all, it’s effective at warding off mosquitoes and other pests that bite.
This fruit has been assimilated by Ghanaians in the form of juice – noni juice. They have been incorporating shots of this juice into their diets in the morning and evening.
This is because it has numerous health benefits from helping rejuvenate the skin, boosting your immune system, aid in alleviating pain, help reduce muscle spasms, and it’s rich in antioxidants, amongst other benefits.
You can find noni juice in most supermarkets in Accra.
Baobab Oil and powder
Known as “The Tree Of Life” to many, baobab is becoming the emerging leader in the superfruit industry because of its many health benefits.
This massive tree can grow up to 20 meters tall and about 15 meters wide. It can store thousands of liters of water, and when tapped during the dry months, it can offer clean usable water to the community.
When ground down into a powder, it retains a fruity essence and can be added to smoothies and juices and any other foods you desire to give you a huge vitamin C boost. When distilled into an oil, it makes a fantastic moisturiser and, unlike most oils, it works well with water, especially the dampness of skin after a bath or shower, trapping in the excess moisture beautifully.
Theobroma cacao, the tree that produces cocoa beans, has been grown in the wet tropical areas of West Africa since 1590. It is the fat pressed from the beans of the cocoa tree.
After removing the beans from their shell, they are thoroughly cleaned, roasted and ground into a paste. The oil is then pressed and left to solidify into big chunks.
It has been used in high quality cosmetics for centuries because of its antioxidant properties and high vitamin E content. It is used by African women and worldwide in skin care products, to keep the skin healthy and smooth.
It is of course one of the value added products within the Ghanaian cocoa sector.
As our name implies, at Green Views we are committed to supporting all initiatives that promote local products. Be sure to try out all, or at least, some of these amazing products from the African earth!