Persian Hammams and the Origins of BOA

BOA Founder, Masoomeh Wake

In the old days in Tehran, many homes didn’t have much in the way of plumbing and so neighborhoods had public baths. We did have our own bathroom but going to Hammam was social and a fun event for the family. Entire families would make a day of it, bringing food and swapping all the local gossip.

In the public area, a hot room dominated by the heated marble “navel stone” in the center, the female attendants would wash, soap, scrub and shampoo the clients.

But in the private chambers with our own shower and steam room, my mother would be our attendant. She would let us stay in the steam room and play. The food, drinks and fruit desserts would be served in the side room, where we disrobed. This was essential, as the whole ritual would take hours.

The exfoliation was always the most important part of the visit. My mom would take our steamed, hydrated bodies and would use something that is called “Kisseh” and apply the exfoliant called “Sephid Ab” to it. This Kisseh + Sephid Ab was then used in a back and forth motions all over our bodies. Only when the “Cherck” (dead skin, I know there is another meaning for this word!) or the visual signals started to pour out of our body, would she be satisfied that we have been completely cleansed.

Example of Cherk:

In the public area, before and after the scrub, everyone was welcomed to relax atop the hot stone and gaze through the steam at the shafts of light coming in through the domed ceiling of these bathhouses. Poetry was recited by some to promote contemplation and savouring of the moment.

A glass of tea or a glass of water was served afterward to rehydrate the body. My favorite moment after this experience was the feeling of fresh air on my newly baby-smooth skin after we left the Hammam. That sensation has had an everlasting impact on me. 

My expectation for clean skin and the desire to recreate this sensation led me to create BOA - bringing the hammam into the modern bathroom and giving you the ultimate baby-smooth, clean skin.

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