We've Gotta Have it
Dry Skin Killer? Egyptian Magic
This winter has been brutal on my skin. But I found a salve that would have made Nefertiti happy
I’d had it. The other day, I woke up feeling parched and that the skin on my face felt, and surely must have looked, like dry, cracked mud. We’d had a spell of dry, frigid weather, albeit with brilliant sun and blue skies, but this high pressure front, with the pulsed heating in my house, had taken my skin’s dryness to beyond that of the Sahara. I needed help fast, and in the back of my mind, I remembered something called Egyptian Magic.
I recalled that VIP Hollywood esthetician and skin care entrepreneur Melanie Simon, who I interviewed for a story about the damage masks are doing to our facial skin, had mentioned this salve as being a highly effective multipurpose moisturizer and skin care product. I jumped on Amazon at 2 am on a Sunday morning, ordered the four-ounce size from the Egyptian Magic store on Amazon for $31.99, and had it delivered that same Sunday at 5:30 pm. (How does Amazon do that?)
Egyptian Magic, an apparent cult beauty product that you’ve probably never heard of, is a game changer. Launched in 1991, it’s made from 100% natural olive oil, beeswax, honey, bee pollen, royal jelly, and bee propolis. Royal jelly is a secretion of honey bees, while propolis is a bee substance made from beeswax and bee pollen that is considered to be like bee cement; it is used in hive construction. Egyptian Magic is less tacky to the touch than Vaseline or Aquaphor, less hard when congealed than coconut oil, and spreads easily, comfortably on your skin. It does not get too liquified after the product goes from your fingers to your place of application. As soon as it arrived, I washed my face, used some alcohol-free Witch Hazel as a toner, and spread the goo all over my face, eyelids, lips, neck, and decollete. I heard my skin breathe a sigh of relief — well, at least I thought I did. Before going to bed, I smoothed it over my cracked hands. I woke up and my skin was soft and smooth.
“The six ingredients create a moisturizing balm unlike any other. No additives, preservatives, fragrances, chemicals or parabens. It is the best and so moisturizing but not heavy,” said Simon, after I reached out to her to let her know my excitement about her distinctively named cream. “It is one of these products that has so many uses and I can not live without it,” Simon said.
Egyptian Magic claims it can be used to treat everything from dry skin and eczema to psoriasis. It can be used as a hair conditioner, or for tattoo aftercare and to help fade scars. Somehow, I’d missed all the celebrities, including Kate Hudson, Eva Mendes, and Rooney Mara, who have mentioned Egyptian Magic as a key part of their beauty routine. The label on the jar brags that the product is “The Ancient Egyptians’ Secret All Natural Cream,” a claim that has not been completely verified even though some of the ingredients, notably beeswax and olive oil, were indeed used in Egyptian cosmetics.
The salve’s origins are as odd as its name. Owner and founder Westley Howard has maintained that he was approached in a diner in Chicago, where he was on business, by a stranger named Dr. Imas who told Howard that he had a formula to share. Over two years, Imas met Howard in Washington, DC, to show him how to blend the ingredients and ultimately the right combination was achieved resulting in Egyptian Magic…and Howard changing his name to LordPharaoh ImHotepAmonRa. Twenty years later, roughly 1 million jars are produced annually at a state-of-the-art FDA-approved manufacturing facility in Dallas, TX, according to a company spokesman. Sales during COVID have surged, the spokesman noted, but declined to specify by how much.
Sure, I could have tried to get that old humidifier in my basement up and working, but I was happy to have an excuse to add something to the basket on my nightside table already overflowing with all the lotions and potions I keep on hand and which have been, until now, very effective. And had I not bought Egyptian Magic, I would not be able to enjoy the blessing “Life takes from the taker and gives to the giver. Above all, let your word be your bond,” written in French and English on the blue, white, and red label that features a pyramid with the Ankh symbol of life on one side, and a full and crescent moon with words “peace” and “love” on the other.
Egyptian Magic sells for $26 for a 2-oz jar or $39 for a 4-oz size on the company’s website. Because the product is regularly counterfeited, the company advises buying directly from them, approved retailers listed on its website, or via the Egyptian Magic store on Amazon.