Before the emergence of modern times beauty products, different cultures all over the world had ancient beauty regimes that they used to maintain their skin.

Here are some of the ancient beauty regimens and rituals that were used on the skin back then.

Osun (cam wood)

If you are from the Yoruba tribe you are probably familiar with the word, ‘osun’ the camwood pterocarpus osun. The calm wood is also referred to as sandalwood too. It is a common tree in which leaves are being plucked down, dried, and then grounded into a very fine powder. The fine powder is rubbed against the skin which causes the removal of dead skin tissues. With the emergence of new skin, exfoliating products’ use of skin exfoliation can be traced back to its ancient roots. Some people still use these products as it is believed that it is more effective than the chemically produced ones.

Calabash chalk

The calabash Chalk is popular among people in the East, the Igbos call it nzo. It is gotten from the earth. The calabash Chalk is mostly craved by pregnant women as it is believed to control spitting and vomiting. Before the existence of powders and foundations used on the face, calabash Chalk was used. It was used as facial powders, aantiperspirants, and sunblocks.

Local eyeliner (tiro)

The word tiro doesn’t sound foreign to a Nigerian especially amongst the Yorubas and the Hausas. Back in the days even till this modern time people still use tiros on their lower eyeliner and lashes. The tiro is a Greyish black mixture made out of charcoal and lead. It is put inside a distinctive metal conical container. Both men and women apply tiros on their eyes for beauty purposes. Some believe it helps clear the eyes although there have been no medical records to prove this fact.

Black soap

The black soap is very popular among different tribes in Nigeria and even Africa as a whole. It is a special kind of soap made out of palm kernel and sometimes cocoa pod. It has a very black appearance and a distinctive kind of smell which is very unique. Black soap was used as bathing soaps. It makes the skin very clean. It retains the natural color and beauty of the skin unlike the modern soaps being used today. Even now, black soaps are being used in making different skincare products.


The most popularly used oils on the skin back then were palm kernel oil, coconut oil, Shear butter oil. These oils when being extracted from their pods are used as body creams, hair creams. These oils act as an emollient which helps protect the skin. They make the skin smooth and soft during harsh and dry weather conditions. In the cosmetic and beauty industries today these oils are highly treasured. You will hardly find any African home today and not find one of these oils there.


This ancient beauty practice called Henna also known as Lali is mostly done by females around the northern regions. Ladies draw beautiful floral designs on their skin. It is mostly on their hands and legs, color their nails with this natural dye. The dye is gotten from the henna plant Lawsonia inermis. The color of the paint varies from reddish-brown to black. Most times during festive seasons, marriages lady’s draw beautiful patterns on their body with the dye.

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Tribal mark

Unlike now where people are being discriminated against and stigmatized for having tribal marks. Back in the days, the tribal mark was seen as a thing of beauty. Ladies were admired by their tribal marks as they felt it made them feel attractive and beautiful. The decorative mark was used as a means of identification to tell what tribe and clan you belong to. Even to date some people still believe in giving their female children tribal marks.

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