Za’atar facial review: Is smearing food on your face good?
While the noun ‘Za’atar’ most often conjures up mouth-watering imagery of herby croissants or late night drop-ins to Al Reef Bakery, the Mandarin Oriental, Dubai, has found an altogether different use for the traditional, Middle East spice-mix – the Za’atar Detox.
An alternate take on the traditional Hamman, the detoxifying and antioxidant ritual promises to ‘draw out impurities to leave the skin firm, smooth and revitalised’. So far, so tasty – but we’ve decided to try it out and see if the proof was in the, er, flatbread.
The therapy room itself was a self-contained medley of the various (and eclectic) components that made up the treatment. While the conventional blue tiles and low lighting of the shower, steam room and side-bench felt deeply traditional, the futuristic waterbed on which we were asked to lay took on an aesthetic that would have been more befitting for the set of Blade Runner.
As explained via a thorough consultation, the treatment begins with dry-rubbing to remove any excess dead skin–in the knowledge we were about to be rubbed with a spice medley, this act took on a decidedly ‘tenderising the steak before the grill’ feeling. Next came the main event; a Za’atar and peppermint scrub. While the sensation itself was entirely pleasant, the candy-cane and herb aroma that built in strength became quickly reminiscent of Manoushe Street during the festive period.
The result, however, was worth every scent. After a full-body Moroccan Clay masque, deep head massage, experience shower and moisturising finish, essential oils overpowered the Za’atar and we felt cleaner than a new born baby.
Evidently, Za’atar is more than just a product of the pantry and although we’d advise against any home use methods – think of the crumbs! – we’d recommend remaining in the hands of Mandarin Oriental’s herby treatment specialists.