The very first time I came across sesame oil on a shelf in a grocery store, I remembered the magic words, “OPEN SESAME” which I first heard in ‘Ali Baba and the forty thieves’ as a TV animation I saw as a kid. So, I immediately became eager to discover the magic I could perform with it and now, here I am, unlocking all the secret codes to the benefits of this wonderful natural oil.
From achieving glowing, soft, and supple skin to brilliant, shiny, silky hair, sesame oil does wonders that most expensive beauty products are yet to achieve. And I am so excited to share this secret with you.
Sesame oil is extracted from the flower sesamum while the seeds on the pods are edible. It is mainly used in many Asian delicacies. However, the cosmetic secrets of this oil have not been unlocked by many of us. Just like a lot of natural beauty products, sesame oil is very affordable and has a very long shelf life, which means it can be stored for a long period of time.
Before I get started, let me state here that sesame oil has a very nutty fragrance but you need not be bothered, there are various ways of getting rid of it if you can’t put up with it. Here are the secrets to unlocking the magical doors of the sesame oil.
- FACIAL SKIN
When I was going to resume studies at the Law School in Yola, Nigeria, everyone thought that I was going to return home with severely sun burnt skin. Yola is the sunniest city in Nigeria with very intense heat. However, it turned out that I returned home with a bright glowing face. The secret amongst secrets was sesame oil.
If you work or live in a continuously sunlight-exposed environment, you will need to apply sunscreen almost every day, and what better way to do this than the green way? Sesame oil will not only act as a sunscreen but will also protect you against oxidation and free radicals. It also slows down the skin aging process as it contains an antioxidant called sesamol which effectively prevents the appearances of wrinkles and fine lines. To achieve this, you need to use only 100% pure sesame oil.
For more advantages and to eliminate the nutty smell, mix it with other essential oils such as clove, rosemary, sweet orange, or lavender. The appropriate proportion is three drops of any of these essential oils per teaspoon of sesame oil. Simply apply the solution all over the face or body but be careful not to swallow or allow direct contact with eyes.
- BODY MOISTURISER
Sesame oil acts as both moisturiser and emollient for full-body skincare and it reduces bacterial infections. It contains a lot of Vitamin E as well as linoleic acids and palmitic acids which nourish the skin. It is advised to use this oil all over the body every day for maximum results. You can do this by mixing it with a few drops of olive oil, castor oil, or almond oil to eliminate the nutty fragrance.
Choose which method works best for you. Personally, I do what is called ‘layering’. This means I apply sesame oil all over when my skin is slightly wet and leave it for about 2 minutes before applying my body butter. Another wonderful method I enjoy so much is by pouring some drops of it into my bath water. It works excellently for my dry skin as my skin feels soft and slippery after bath.
Apart from moisturising, sesame oil can also be used for detoxification as some toxins are soluble in oil. Warm a little amount of sesame oil and apply it on your skin, leaving it for 20 minutes. Then, wash off the oil with warm water without soap for best results.
- HAIR TREATMENT
Naturally, I have a thick curly-coily hair as a dark-skinned person. I used to straighten my hair with relaxers because it was easier to maintain that way and that was how I used to feel beautiful with my hair … until recently, when I decided to go back to my roots – just the way Allah SWT created me and since then, it has been wonderful. I never imagined my natural hair being this beautiful. But let me tell you this: sesame oil is a major part of my hair beauty regimen as it has great penetrating properties and works a lot of wonders.
It helps to promote hair growth, deep conditions, treats premature greying, dryness, dandruff, head lice and hair loss, as well as giving your hair a shiny look. I use sesame oil for my hair in various ways. Most times, I only massage a few drops into my hair to add shine to it. When pre-pooing, I mix it with olive oil and palm-kernel oil in the ratio 3:1:1 and deeply massage it into my hair, leaving it for about 30 minutes before shampooing. When conditioning, I add a tablespoonful of it to hair mayonnaise and a capful of Apple cider vinegar. Then I apply it all over my hair and cover it with a plastic cap and a hot towel, leaving it for about 30 minutes before rinsing off. Sometimes, I use it for overnight deep conditioning with my natural hair smoothie and wash it off in the morning.
I advise you use sesame oil with other natural ingredients that work well for you. Explore and discover. A little trial and error may be fun too. That’s what being green is all about.
BONUS: Sesame oil can be used for massage therapy as it helps to repair damaged skin cells and improves blood circulation. Mix sesame oil with other types of vegetable oils for a soothing experience.
I wish you a fun-filled beauty adventure with this wonderful DIY secret. Expect more green secrets to come in the next issues of YMM insha’Allah.
“And have you seen that [seed] which you sow?
Is it you who makes it grow, or are We the grower?”
The Qur’an, Surah Al-Waaqi’ah (Chapter of the inevitable) 56:64-65
Wardah Abbas is the Earth Care writer for Young Muslimah Magazine, she writes for SISTERS Magazine, and she celebrates Islam and highlights issues affecting women on her blog.