If you live in Canada or some other northern place where, in the fall and winter, the wind whips your skin until it resembles a parched landscape in a National Geographic special, then it’s time to visit Keur Fatou, the house of African shea butter. (How’s that for a voice-over for a corny commercial?)

I forgot to mention them in my post-ISNA write up. My sister and I were walking through the bazaar on Sunday lugging 4 bags of presents when a beautiful older African sister motioned me over to her booth. She asked me to put my hands out over a bucket and of course I did so immediately. (You would have too if you heard the way she said it). My sister bid me adieu in pursuit of more presents (by the way, that girl is awesome at putting together the most unique gift ensembles. She’s positively gifted at it. She’s also gifted at escaping merchants who motion). I guess she could tell I was in for a long presentation.

It was long but it was worth the longness. At the end of a spa-like demonstration with the bucket, water from a water bottle, a sea-salt scrub, a shea butter moisturizer and a guessing game involving the ages of all the people at the booth (basically everyone was 3 to 8 years older than they looked), I emerged with hands as soft as though I had not lived in Canada a single day of my life.

And after using the sea-salt scrub and moisturizer combo once a week ever since I bought into it, I can tell you it’s the best thing I’ve tried (the warm vanilla sugar scent is really nice). From hanging around my Somali friends, I always knew that our African sisters had some beauty secrets they passed on between themselves.

Now, we Northerners get to share in on those ancient secrets… (How’s that for the fade-out for a corny commercial?)

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