Ancient Beauty Secrets From Around the World

Sudanese Beauty Tips - Nailah's Shea


​From as long as I can remember I have always been intrigued by learning about other cultures, their natural remedies, and their beauty secrets. I am thankful to be able to have friends and family originally from countries all over the world. We all have so much to learn from one another. This is why I chose to create a blog series I call, Ancient Beauty Secrets from Around the World. Our first stop, Sudan. Let us get started! 

Location of Sudan - Nailah's Shea

Brief History

Sudan in Arabic means, “Land of the Black”. It was the home of the great kingdoms of Kush and Nubia. Located in the northeast region of Africa, it was once one of the largest countries in Africa. After politics and war-ravaged in the land of Sudan the southern half of Sudan decided to split from the north. South Sudan was officially formed in July of 2011; it became the youngest nation in the world. In this blog, we will refer to North and South Sudan as simply “Sudan”.

Dukhan Smoking Out - Nailah's Shea

Dukhan – Smoking Out 

What is it?

Dukhan, which means smoke, is one of the most popular beauty treatments done in Sudan. 

This traditional beauty treatment is usually given to a bride-to-be before marriage. The woman is first massaged with several types of aromatic oils; she then sits in a chair with a hole in it or just a stool, underneath a clay pot of burning acacia (talih) wood and sandalwood. The woman is covered only with a thick blanket, usually made out of wool. This treatment is sometimes performed twice a day for 40 days for a bride-to-be. The woman does not bathe during this period. During this time, a thick sooty layer is formed on the skin. On day 40, this layer is peeled and removed revealing beautiful glowing skin. The woman will have a lingering scent on her skin that stays on her for days.

After the marriage, women continue to get the dukhan treatment to detoxify their skin, keep their skin smooth, for the sweet musk smell, and to tighten the private area of a woman (especially after giving birth). Dukhan may also be used as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis or any joint pain you may have.

Dilka Scrub - Nailah's Shea

Dilka – Exfoliating Body Scrub

Dilka is a Sudanese body scrub that leaves the body soft and perfumed. It is made by mixing whole-wheat flour, tea made of cloves and mahleb cherry seed, and occasionally orange peel, into a soft dough. Women may also add finely ground sandalwood powder or acacia wood powder. Traditionally the dilka dough is wrapped in a cloth and smoked with the dukhan treatment, this gives a nice fragrant scent and it preserves the dilka dough. Women typically use this body scrub at least twice a week. This scrub helps to remove dead skin, promotes blood circulation, and nourishes and re-hydrates the skin.

Sounds exciting, right? Well, I hope you enjoyed this quick and intriguing read. If you plan to use some of these beauty regimens, remember to do more research and be careful. Are you from Sudan or have friends and family from there? Have you ever visited Sudan and performed any of these beauty regimens? We would love to hear from you.

​Leave a comment below. 



BBC World Africa. “South Sudan Country Profile.” (Accessed 1/30/19)

Wikipedia. “Dukhan (traditional medicine).” (Accessed 1/29/19)

Diab, Ola. “The Art of Beauty for Sudanese Women.” (Accessed 1/27/19)

African Aromatics. “Sudan’s Aromatic Culture.” (Accessed 1/27/19)

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"Some of the herbs I use are from my father’s garden and the Greensboro Farmer’s Curb Market. The palm oil is sustainable. The raw shea butter is fair trade, from West Africa, and all my ingredients are certified organic!

That’s the way I like it – only the best ingredients."

Camilia Z. Majette