Maissa Lidheb’s skincare rituals are also rooted in Tunisia, just as the ones of Nadia - the founder of Koko & Clay. At her home she greeted us in a traditional Tunisian dress. We drank coffee and slowly looked around her Berlin apartment filled with posters of her favorite films, in which as she underlines 'POC and strong female characters are unfortunately missing'. She’s a screenwriter and film director - all that makes her need a quick and effective skincare ritual, which she can take with her to the film set.
Right before we left her apartment she did her makeup without looking in the mirror, everything with her fingers. At Koko & Clay we will always try to share stories of women who use beauty rituals as ones of pleasure and self-love, not as a necessity or requirement to leave the house. Maissa enjoys a practical and natural approach to taking care of her appearance. She uses the NOURISH White Clay mask for her sensitive skin and the BALANCE Face Oil for the moisturized glow. During our visit she made the mask in one of her Tunisian bowls and poured in water from a beautiful crystal carafe. She got it from her mother and as she underlined for a long time she did not care for the difference between glass and crystal objects. Nowadays she appreciates the incredibly beautiful light that falls through the crystal bottles she owns. Similar to that only recently she asked her mother about the differences between European and Tunisian skincare only to realize she has been performing natural and traditional skincare rituals intuitively since years.
Her mother mentioned that women in Tunisia extracted oil from the nut of the argan trees to help against dry skin. Maissa told us that she is used to using oil as the only moisturizer in her skincare. Moreover, she explained how Tunisian women use Henna for their hair since it helps protect the hair from drying. A beauty secrets she learned from women in her family. For us the most interesting part was to find out that the women in her family used ground lentils as a face mask which they then finished off with rose water to then tighten the skin. As we sat in the living room Maissa sipped her coffee out of a porcelain glass and added ‘Women back then also used ghassoul. This is prepared by using scum of natural rocks mixed with rose water to soften the skin and is still used in hamam practices’. We could immediately observe how asking about her skincare roots became a subject that made us all travel in time and imagination. It filled us with a sense of belonging, to a culture and tradition, to a family, to the idea of self-love.
Maissa washed off her Koko & Clay mask after 5 minutes, sprayed her face with rosewater and began to use the BALANCE Face Oil. She dropped it directly on her already cleansed and glowing skin. She continued with a short face massage, we could see this is something that belongs to her daily ritual. ‘While spending time in Tunisia I observed the use of olive oil for hair and face a lot’ she said as she put the rest of the oil left on her hands into her shiny curls. After the simple ritual we could not be more in awe with her glowing, dewy skin. We chatted some more about her dressing up all in white and elegant for film festivals in the future while she prepared her makeup without looking in the mirror. Shortly after she was off to a photo shoot for a feminist fashion brand. We left with a good feeling - we just observed someone who is always on the run but stays sane because she sticks to her rituals, some learnt from mother and grandmother and some acquired during pleasant surprises of adulthood. Natural, simplistic and calming rituals.
Photos: Weronika Rodowicz