Hammam bath and body is a small family run business established in 2018. We are built on the vision to encourage self-nurturance through soulful partnerships and natural indulgence. We believe in old fashioned goodness, and import only the best quality Turkish cotton and Turkish Rose bath and body products.
On arriving in Istanbul during our travels throughout Turkey, a love affair ensued, with the culture, cuisine and craftmenship, and we simply couldn’t resist the calling to share the same with our family and friends.
Being health and engineering professionals, we loved our product selection, but knew nothing about business! We were determined, and immersed ourselves into the world of entrepreneurship, logistics, importing, marketing, and thus resolved to embark on life-long learning.
Our multi-talented daughters Maryam and Fatimah Zahra were involved in product selection, marketing and sales and photography, and we are grateful that it has been an education for them as well. It certainly has been a soulful journey for our family to have taken Hammam Bath and Body from a home based gifting outlet for friends and family, to a warm reception across South Africa.
THE TURKISH HAMMAM EXPERIENCE
Hammam, an Arabic word meaning ‘spreader of warmth’, refers to a communal bath house, and is the quintessential Turkish experience. Literally spreading warmth in the air and in the body, but also symbolically bringing a community together in the warmest and most humbling and respectful ways, the tradition is known to have a curing effect on the mind and body. It does feel a little strange at first, and over stimulating to some, but the feeling on your skin will speak for itself for days to come, and the experience steeped in tradition is priceless.
Inside the Hammam, there is etiquette to be followed. For starters, there is no mixing! Either the Turkish bath has two sections, one for each sex, or it admits men and women at separate times of the day.
You will be given a peshtemal (bath wrap) by your personal Natir (attendant), and assigned a locker. Women mostly keep their underwear or bikini on underneath the bath-wrap, but please ensure that you remain clothed with the bath wrap around you at all times.
The experience begins with a sauna, relaxing the muscles, slowing the mind and detoxifying through perspiration. The next step is to enter the communal bath area. Cladded with pure white marble and copper taps, this often octagonal room shrouded by a hand embellished dome, is a sight for sore eyes. In the centre of the room is the göbektaşı — the central, raised platform above the heating source. Now you will lie on the slab of marble, and feel the warmth on your skin, while being doused and massaged in soap suds by your Natir . Even the soap is hand made with Olive oil!
Your skin is now soft and ready for a thorough polishing! A Kese, or traditional exfoliating mitt made of silk and cellulose fibres scrubs and polishes the skin till it feels ornamental! This can feel battering, but it is worth every moment and will not leave any scars or bruises. Don’t be surprised by the amount of dead skin cells you see just falling away!
You are then allowed to rest, relax and have a nap in the Hammam, until you are ready to leave. Writing this this just makes me want to go back to the bliss!
PESHTEMAL (TURKISH COTTON TOWEL)
The Turkish cotton Towel, or Peshtemal, is a versatile length of woven fabric. One would never guess that it could dry you off after a shower. However, once tried, many have not returned to the conventional bath towel! Turkish cotton is known for its absorbency and quick drying properties, due to the extra long fibers on its plant.
“Turkish cotton is premium cotton that has extra long fibers. … Fewer joins results in stronger and smoother cotton threads. Turkish cotton is long fiber cotton and is grown in the small but productive Aegean Region. Turkish cotton becomes even softer, fluffier, and more absorbent with successive washings.”
They have been used in the Hammams since time immemorial! The factories that produce them are bound by strict regulations and certified processes to ensure ethical and ecologically acceptable standards. Traditional methods are still used to create Stylish and trendy designs.
Gone are days of lugging wet and heavy towels to and from the beach, and they make beautiful sarongs too! Throw them over you couch or wrap your baby in the Pure cotton goodness! The Eco-friendly towels are best hand washed in cool water and hung out to dry. Fabric softener is never used, as they soften naturally after every wash. The quick drying properties translate into towels that are less prone to bacteria and mould.