During a trip, a friend gave me the gift of a little stone and said it was one of her beauty secrets from Iran. Knowing how much I love skincare, she said it was the best body exfoliator she’d ever tried. She went on to tell me that her family members brought it to her. We were in a rush, but she told me that I just have to wet it and apply it to my skin and I’d see all of the dead skin roll-off.
Once I unpacked my suitcase I couldn’t wait to try it. I jumped into the shower, rubbed and scrubbed and felt nothing. The next day I rubbed the stone onto a hand mitt and gave my arm a good scrub and to my surprise, it worked! I touched my skin and felt a weird texture. Realizing it was dead skin I went crazy using it all over my body. As an esthetician, I figured why not use it on my face? I used it as gently as I could, but wow – did I suffer for that–to the point that I had to use Cherry-O balm for 3 days to soothe my chafed skin. As for my body skin, it never felt so smooth.
Kiseh and Sefidab Exfoliation History
Kiseh کیسه حمام and sefidab سفیداب have been used for traditional Persian skin care for thousands of years. A kiseh is a special, hand-woven exfoliating mitt while a sefidab is a chalk-like ball. The kisse or kisseh mitt used to be made of wool, but fabrics have evolved over the generations and now there are synthetics. This skincare duo is deeply rooted in Persian history. Archaeologists have found evidence of its use dating back to 2000-4500bc. Sefidab means “white water” in Farsi. Rooshoor is another name for this ancient beauty secret from Iran.
Why it works? Sefidab contains animal fat mixed with various natural minerals, such as zinc. Animal fat has a pH of 3.4, making it mildly acidic. For reference, salicylic acid has a pH range of 3-4. This gives it both chemical and mechanical exfoliating properties. The acid fat may react with the skin in a way that allows it to be easily sloughed away by the minerals and the kiseh mitt.
10 Steps to Exfoliating with the Sefidab and Kiseh
Personally, I would suggest using these beauty secrets while showering instead of bathing due to the amount of dead skin that will slough off during the process.
Step 1: Rinse your body with water, but do not use soap prior to the process. You can soap up afterward.
Step 2: Slip your hand into the mitt and put it under running water.
Step 3: Rub the stone back and forth onto the mitt 3-4 times.
Note: You will not see a lather of any sort.
Step 4: Start at your opposite shoulder and vigorously massage in a circular motion. Work it up and down your arm and rinse the mitt. Continue rubbing the stone onto the mitt, repeatedly, until you’ve covered one side of your body.
Step 5: Next, use the mitt on both your feet and be careful between your toes where the tissue is delicate.
Step 6: Remove the mitt and rinse. Slip the mitt onto your other hand and repeat the process on the other side of your body.
Step 7: Take off the mitt and wash it with soap and hang to dry. Rinse and rub your entire body with your hands while trying to remove the collection of dead skin.
Step 8: Use your regular method of cleansing to completely remove all of the debris.
Step 9: Rinse well with water and gently towel dry.
Step 10: Apply your favorite body lotion or cream and feel the way it penetrates like never before.
How Often Should I Exfoliate?
There are various recommendations on how often to use this exfoliation method. Some say once a week while others suggest once a month. It seems to me that it is a personal preference. After using it a few times, I fall into the once a week category. However, I previously wrote a post called How Much is Too Much Exfoliation which you may find interesting. That said, your skin should feel soft and rejuvenated, not red and raw (like my face was).
Vegan and Vegetarian Ingredients
While typically I do not write about products containing animal fats, the sefidab is one of the beauty secrets from Iran that has been around for thousands of years which I thought was worth exploring. The fat used in the sefidab is a byproduct of meat production so animals were not killed specifically for the product. All of my Shop World and Amazon Storefront recommendations are vegan and vegetarian. There are plenty of exfoliation options on my site and I am not selling or linking to the sefidab since it does not fit into my niche.
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4 Comments Add yours
Hi, I log on to your blogs like every week. Your story-telling style is awesome, keep it up!
You’re very kind. Thank you so much!
Hi, I just started reading your blog.
I love your writing style.
Do you know how kiseh cloths compare to other exfoliating methods? Like Italy towels/Korean towels? I was thinking of buying one, but after reading your blog I’m wondering if I should buy a kiseh instead.
Dear Jennifer, Somehow this note escaped me! My apologies! I’m sure you made a decision already and I’d love to hear what you decided. Thank you so much for your kind words and for continuing to read my blog –happy holidays, Shelley