In June 2022, My partner and I were in Morocco. We had just left the desert sands of Merzouga and were heading to the general direction of Marrakech. We have been driving for almost three hours when we made a pit stop. I found myself in spice vendor’s store in a souk in Rissani, Morocco. It was here that my travel host, Tracy of Follow Your Heart Tours, showed me this very interesting piece of cosmetic worn by Berber Women.
Right beside the various spices, Garlic, Cinnamon Sticks, dried Lavender and Ammi Visnaga plants was l’Ak3r Fassi (Aker Fassi) – simply called Berber Lipstick. It is a small clay “pot” of sorts with Red pigment that seemed to have been “painted” unto the surface.
This is a traditional form of rouge worn by Berber Women.
Watch that moment here:
What I found so interesting about this particular cosmetic product is that it has roots in Africa. After all, Berbers are the indeginous people of North Africa before the Arabs arrived. It was actually a “breath of fresh air” for me to see this because, most of the makeup I get to play with are “European” or “Asian” in nature.
It was explained to me that Berber Lipstick is made from the pigments of the crushed petals of the Red Poppy flower which grows abundantly in Morocco. I only found out a few months after my trip that crushed pigments from the bark of the Pomegranate tree is also added into the mixture. Hence the very vibrant color this product gives out. The intesity of color depends on how much water you actually use.
If you are someone who is into “Natural” makeup products, it doesn’t get as “Natural” as this.
As I was standing infront of the spices, playing with this “lipstick” on my hands, I was instructed to wet the tip of my Pinky finger with a bit of my spit to activate the pigment. I initially didn’t want to do it, but since I didn’t have water with me at that time, I went for it. A spot of Red appeared on my finger tip.
My travel hostess then told me that I can use my fingers to apply the pigments on my lips, cheeks or eyes. I decided not to do it at that time because I didn’t want to “rush” through the trial phase PLUS I wanted to do a Morocco Haul/Vlog of sorts.
I was pleasantly surprised on how pigmented Berber Lipstciks were. My fingers developed quite a stain just from holding the clay “pot” at the souk. The natural oils from my finger tips absorbed the pigments and left a stain on them.
The pigments are incredibly long lasting once they “set”. I actually washed my hands multiple times at the WC in the souk to remove it because I was afraid of the product accidentaly transfering to my clothes – BUT the pigments didn’t wash off! They didn’t stain my clothes either.
Unfortunately, because of language barrier, I could not get the information that I needed about how the pigments were painted unto the terracotta pot. I had an idea about the process, because the first time I saw Berber Lipstick I was reminded on how similar it was to the traditional Japanese rouge called “Beni”. But I wanted to know what “base” they used to hold the pigments together to be able to paint it unto the surface. Was it some sort of vegtable oil or animal fat? Did this “base” have some natural preservative in it? How long does this product last? Because I mean, it doesn’t come with a covering – it’s exposed to the air and elements. The other thing, water is the main activating ingredient and we know how water spoils everything – fast. So if you are reading this and have an idea, I would love to know your thoughts.
Now, I did try this product out. I vlogged about it as soon as I got home (details at the end of the post). I tried it on my lips and cheeks. I was thinking that maybe I would develop a pimple or some sort of blemish because this is an “all natural” product. Which I was wary about because, I do not know if I am allergic to Red Poppy Flowers and Pomegranate tree bark. I am happy to report that it did not cause adverse effect on my skin. There is no smell nor after taste with this product either.
Out of curiousity I researched about the benefits of using products made of Red Poppy Flowers and Pomegranate tree bark. I found out that Red Poppy Flowers have Flavonoids (anti-inflamatory benefits) and Alkaloids (anti-ageing benefits). The petals are apparently emolient too. The Pomegranate tree bark on the other hand, gives antioxidant care. Imagine if you eat the fruit! Full benefits for sure.
I was impressed.
Anyhoo, while playing around with this Berber lipstick (post vlog), I found that I was able to mix it together with the Vaseline. My lips felt moisturized and gave it a nice glow. I was initially planning of trying to mix it with the Argan Oil that I bought in Chefchaouen but I decided not to because of the fragrance in oil.
I also used the Berber lipstick with the Rose Water I bought from Cooperativ OUL in M’gouna Morocco, to create a cheek stain. It has the same effect as normal water, BUT we all know the toning qualities of Rose water *wink*.
You can use the Berber lipstick with your fingers or a brush. It all boils down to your confidence and ability of how to blend wet/liquidy makeup formulas.
I was incredibly happy to find this piece of cosmetic. It was eye opening. I am reminded on how big the world is and there are many things yet to be known. Can you imagine how this tiny terracotta pot of sorts can hold such power and beauty? It blows my mind that this is a cosmetic product that has been traditionally used by women in Northern Africa. Imagine what other beauty secrets Africa holds.
If you want to see my first impressions and try-on of Aker Fassi, head to the 32:59 mark of my Morocco Haul vlog here ⤵️.
Thank you for watching this video. Purchasing through my affiliate links is highly appreciated. I may receive a small commission when make a purchase through any of the links you click on. In turn, this will help support the growth of this channel.
This video/post is not sponsored. The products that are shown here are the products that I always use, love and have been curious about. The products shown are purchased out of my own pocket and if they were sent to me, I will always let you know.
The products I am using has worked for me and it might not necessarily work for you. Always be discerning when purchasing cosmetics or skin care products. Always read the label and the literature! Always do a patch test before you purchase a product for the first time to see that you are not allergic to any of the ingredients listed.
The videos and pictures were shot using an iPhone 13.
Fun Facts about me:
Name: Tor Torre
Skin Type: Combination to Oily Skin – Warm medium skin with Olive undertones.
Write to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org