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My Top Cosmetics From Africa

12 October 2020
Malva pudding with Amarula Cream Liqueur
3 October 2020
Classic Amarula Milk Tart
8 November 2020

Skincare for a 30-year-old is no longer a laughing matter. First, you get wrinkles, then some strange dark circles under the eyes (I slept 8 hours and didn’t go out partying, so how did this happen?🤔, discoloration from the sun, and so on. As it is commonly known, well-chosen cosmetics ensuring proper care and anti-aging prophylaxis can be a secret weapon against these types of "ailments".

When I moved to South Africa, I took some of my favourite cosmetics with me, including SPF50 face cream from Pharmaceris, Tołpa face cream for over 30s, and a moisturizing serum with almond acid from Bielenda. All of these brands are well known Polish companies. I guess I'm just a cosmetic loyalist. Unfortunately my supplies ran out quickly and I had to set out to look for my new favourite products.

At Clicks, which is a popular health and beauty chain, I found the Iwori Beauty of Africa brand. At first, I tried a rooibos-based face mask. I knew absolutely nothing about this plant except that I drank tea from its leaves from time to time. To find out more, I took a special trip to the Cederberg region where rooibos comes from. Side note, I had a narrow "escape" from leopards, but I’ll write about that another time. 😱


The 200-year-old town of Clanwilliam, nestled in amongst rocky mountains, is known as the centre of rooibos. At the "House of Rooibos" I had a "tea tasting"; although ...... it isn’t actually tea. This inconspicuous shrub belongs to the legume family. It does not contain caffeine, so you can drink as much as you want of it, even before going to bed. Thanks to antioxidants,flavonoids, minerals (zinc) and vitamin D, it is used in skincare cosmetics (especially for sensitive skin) and anti-wrinkle cosmetics.

Getting back to the Iwori brand, the face mask is made from natural red kaolin clay and rooibos extract. The manufacturer assures that it is a gentle facial detox ritual that helps to purify and soften the skin while deeply cleansing, removing dead skin cells and traces of impurities. So far, this is my favourite mask. I may look peculiar when I apply it, but after rinsing off, my pores are rejuvenated and my skin revitalized and more radiant.


This mask prompted me to research other ingredients that can be found in Iwori products.The main ones are marula, mongongo, baobab and rooibos.

Marula is a green, deciduous tree. It is drought-resistant and well-adapted to the harsh African climate. The female trees bear fruit and the male ones bear flowers. The fruit is also used to make beer and liqueur and the great harvests in February and March are also a time for festivals in honour of the "food of the gods" and quality control of said alcohol. 😉. Even elephants treat marula fruit as a treat. Locals say they get "drunk" on fermented fruit, but this is perhaps rather a tourist teaser as it is controversial and scientifically unproven. There are many legends associated with the marula tree which is considered sacred. Many rituals are performed underneath it. More legends at here.

Marula tree oil contains, among others, moisturising antioxidants, amino acids and vitamins E and C (the fruit contains 3-4 times more of the latter than an orange), which intensely moisturize and protect the skin from the harmful effects of sunlight, a property known and capitalised on for generations by women of the Tsonga tribe, originally from northern Namibia. This has been a key secret of their wrinkle-free skin. The Iwori mask additionally includes bits of natural red clay, which is used by South African women from the Xhosa tribenot only for protection against the sun, but also as makeup.


The Iwori hair mask with mongongo oil, shea butter, and argan oil works miracles instantly moisturizing your hair. It worked for me after a hot African summer when my scalp was extremely dry. Mongongo trees grow in the Kalahari Desert in Namibia as well as Botswana, South Africa, and Zambia among others. They are extremely valuable as a resource to the natives. Nutritious seeds and nuts have formed the basis of their daily diet for over 7,000 years and the oil is used for both cooking and cosmetics. Rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, Omega 6, as well as copper, calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc, it works great against the harsh, desert climate.

The baobab does not need any introduction. The tree is called the symbol of life because each part of it is utilised by various creatures for either shelter or food. The fruit and seeds of baobabs are a real nutrition bomb. They are packed with vitamin C, A, B1, B2, and B6 as well as phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium. It is therefore natural that from the seeds of baobab oil which also store omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids became the beauty secret of African women. The oil absorbs very well and doesn't (at least for me) weigh the hair down. It is also useful for preventing wrinkles, as it stimulates collagen production in the skin. I used baobab extract under my eyes and night cream for a while and my skin was very well moisturized.


At this point I would like to switch cosmetics to test another popular brand in South Africa, which I will write about later. However, I remain loyal to the rooibos shampoo and conditioner (which makes hair grow faster) and apply a baobab seed extract hair mask once a week.Thanks to this, my hair is in really great condition.

Iwori cares not only for the skin, but also for the planet. Most of the packaging is recyclable.Their products are vegan-friendly and not tested on animals. The treatment particles are made of natural ingredients that are not harmful to the ocean. They use biodegradable foaming agents in their washing products. Locally sourced oils and extracts from selected suppliers ensure that the indigenous communities of Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and South Africa are supported. For more information, visit Iwori.


Sorbet Sorbet is another interesting brand in the South African market. Its selection includes a wide range of products from make-up (I love their great eye concealer) to cosmetics. It even has its own network of beauty salons. Their products are available in health and beauty shops across the country and in their dedicated brand stores.

At the moment I use Age Affect day and night creams and I have to say that these are some of the best creams I have ever used. The cream contains Matrixyl® Synths'6 Peptide, coenzyme Q10, and a combination of vitamins A, C and E, which form a magical mixture that instantly makes my skin firm. The only downside is the SPF15 cream for the day. This is hardly sufficient for the harsh African conditions.

Other cosmetics worth recommending from this brand are face masks, but the list is endless as they really do offer a whole range of products. You can find options for under your eyes, face, neck, or decolletage. They contain various ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, other acids, collagen, ceramides, or vegetable extract. Their products are also available in a range of colours to choose from. All of them are in the form of a face mask. I use Sorbet masks once a week. Maybe it's a placebo effect or maybe my skin does react well to these colourful products. It's hard to say, but 15 minutes with a mask on hasn't hurt anyone yet..😁

I am also addicted to this brand's shower products. The scents are heavenly. My favourite is the pink pomegranate, green tea, and currant scented shower gel and scrub. Yum ... A close second is the purple gel, with argan oil and dragon fruit. After using this peeling, you don't even need to use lotion. Your skin is perfectly moisturised.


A client once asked me "Ms. Monika, what do you do with your nails? This isn't a big issue. The Sorbet brand has got you covered. You can find beauticians and manicurists in the salons where cosmetics are sold. The standard price for removing and applying hybrid nail polish is approximately R390 (about $25). The price is the same for both hands and feet.

Apart from manicures and pedicures, the salons offer all other "basic" treatments including: massages, waxing, eyebrow and eyelash henna, make-up, etc. so you can always stop for a quick visit while out shopping. 😁


Although cosmetic procedures are not the main goal while on vacation, I recommend that you bring home a few cosmetics from here, which you probably can't get in Poland. The Rooibos mask won't take up much space in your luggage, and upon arrival, you can apply the red mixture on your face, pour yourself a nice glass of wine (obviously South African) and reminisce about your time spent at the edge of Africa.😉

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