People see my wedding photos and say, “Wow! Your skin was so fresh then, what happened now?” At that point, I’d be like “Dude, haven’t you heard of photoshop?” But no matter how much credit I give makeup and photoshop, I know there’s one component that deserves some praise as well, and that is the turmeric scrub, aka Curcur.
I first came across the turmeric facial during the “gyaran jiki” phase of my wedding prep. For my non-Hausa friends, “Gyaran Jiki” literally means “fixing the body” and in the context of a wedding, its a series of body treatments the bride has to go through so she can look super glamourous during her wedding. I know what you’re thinking, and no, I’m not talking about bridalplasty. This is more like body scrubs, perfumes and other edible stuff which I won’t go into right now. So we pretty much do gyaran jiki to look (and smell) good. I used this scrub every morning for 3 weeks prior to the wedding.
Since returning to Naija I have noticed it is fast becoming very common practice among Hausa people, even though we borrowed it from the Kanuri people, who borrowed it from Sudanese people, who may have been influenced by Indians. Suffice to say, it may be borrowed but its here to stay cos its pretty damn good!
I hated it at first. Why? Cos I was FORCED to get it done before my wedding. FORCED! Against my will! By my Mum! So I had to hate it at first, just to spite her :) :) but I eventually gave in.
I was skeptical for 2 reasons.
How can a spice that I add in to curry magically transform my skin? What is the evidence base for this practice? Is it on PubMed?
Even if it works, why should I do it? I like my skin just the way it is. I mean, sure the Australian sun might have battered it a little, but its nothing my St. Ives lotion and SPF 30 can’t fix. I don’t want to be one of those brides that have beautiful dark skin and then suddenly go all li’l Kim at their wedding!
Anyhow I was wrong, turmeric doesn’t bleach the skin (thankfully!) but when used regularly, it does give soft, acne-free skin and a yellow undertone that gives the illusion of a glow and then gradually fades out after a few weeks. Kinda like what henna does with red, although unlike henna, turmeric isn’t as pigmented and in most people, you don’t really see a difference in skin colour, only soft and luminous skin.
After suffering in Ibadan, I realised my skin was in a dire SOS mode so why not recreate it? Only this time I wasn’t going to buy the premixed scrub, but make it myself. I twisted the arm of my aunt who makes these for a living and she let me in on the formula for the Curcur scrub. It’s easy and most of the stuff you already have at home!
Here’s what I used
The quantities can vary according to your needs. If your skin is too dry, add more oats! If you are fast tracking like me, add extra turmeric. Just make sure you don’t put too much lemon/lime juice cos its acidic.
Turmeric - 2 tablespoons
Honey - 2 tablespoons
Yeast - 1 tablespoon
Lemon or lime juice 1 tablespoon
Oats - 2 tablespoons
Humrah - a dash (Traditional perfume, I used pineapple flavour)
Lotion - enough amount to last me a week.
Plain flour - if consistency is too runny, add flour, one teaspoon at a time to make a thick paste.
Mixing bowl and spoon
Deep pore cleanser
Here’s what to do
- Pour all the dry ingredients into the bowl and mix them
- Then pour the lemon juice and honey and mix to a paste
- Add lotion to your desired quantity, make sure you add just enough and not too much otherwise your scrub will be runny.
- Add a dash of non irritating perfume (humrah, cologne, eau de toilette or body mist) to the scrub (optional)
- If your paste is too runny, you can add plain flour, one teaspoon at a time and mix thoroughly till you get the desired consistency.
How to use it on the face
- First, I make sure I’ve washed my face thoroughly with warm water
- Then I smear small amounts of the scrub to my face and work it in firm circular motions until every surface is covered.
- I wait 30 minutes or until the scrub dries and then I rub it off in firm circular motions to get an exfoliating effect.
- When its all off, I wash it off. First with water and then with a nice deep pore cleanser.
How to use on the whole body
- Take a shower to wash the body thoroughly then blot with a towel and make sure you’ve dried completely.
- Stake out an area where you’ll stay and cover the floor with old newspapers or plastic sheets or just go to a tiled area that can be cleaned easily.
- Wear no clothes! Just tie an old towel, or an old wrapper or just laze around in the buff. Whatever you choose, don’t wear clothes or they might get stained.
- Work small amounts of the scrub all over the body surface in circular motions until everywhere is covered. You can ask someone to help you with the hard to reach areas.
- Leave the scrub on for about 30 minutes or until its completely dry. It may start crumbling off when its dry, so its best to remain within the news-papered area.
- When dry, go to a bath tub or shower. Start rubbing off the scrub in circles. This will have an exfoliating effect.
- When its all off, have a shower with warm water and use a sponge to wash off any left over scrub.
- Use humrah or a perfumed lotion all over body to mask any odours that may linger.
That's it! I usually avoid the sun when I'm using this scrub but when i have to go out, I use sunscreen SPF 30. Enjoy fresh blemish-free skin! Thank me later :)