I had initially planned to interview you about facial steaming for the Conscious Consumption section, but I was really moved when you spoke about beauty rituals and self-care as a part of mindful living. Can you speak more to that?
For centuries, beauty treatments have been more than taking care of one’s skin and physical appearance. It’s a ritualistic practice which aims to instill a sense of beauty in one’s mind too. In today’s fast-paced, modern society, it’s sometimes a challenge to find time for yourself and the time to take care of oneself - both physically and mentally. Today, beauty practices are embracing more than ever the idea of beauty treatments being an integral part of how one feels on the inside and one’s mindset.
Your skin care time can be the time you take to focus on oneself and focus one’s energies. It is a time to disconnect, put your phone down, slow down and be present in the moment. It’s the ideal time to place your focus on yo and reconnecting with your radiant beauty.
Especially when using natural ingredients in one’s self-care practices, this can be a means to reconnect with the earth and pay respect to Mother Nature. Skin care treatments and the ingredients in your products can also influence a more beautiful state of mind, increase the flow of ‘Chi’ and balance one’s energy internally.
I think it is important to be conscious of how we see ourselves and how our thoughts affect us and the world around us. Our mindset is the starting place of what we reflect onto the world. Take the time to look after your skin with intention rather than having it be a chore. It’s a moment in your busy day to celebrate you and what makes you beautiful.
Mindful practices like yoga also have a host of healing benefits for the skin. Yoga postures can improve digestion, improve circulation, facilitate lymphatic drainage and facilitate the release of impurities- all of which have glow-inducing benefits for the skin.
What are some of your favorite mantras to incorporate into your beauty rituals? Is there one that particularly speaks to you in tying your beauty routine into your mindfulness and meditation practices?
Each person will resonate with their own mantra or unique affirmation. A mantra is traditionally in Sanskrit but can now be recognised to be any spoken word or sound repeated with intent, purpose and focus to aid meditation and manifestation. Mantras can also be repeated internally.
These are words filled with power and spiritual energy. A mantra can be a chant, a prayer or an affirmation. Your personal mantra is like your own spell formula for beauty and wellness. Probably the most well-known mantra for beauty is Surya Mantra, a powerful Hindu mantra of the sun and the Kamdev Mantra for attraction.
I’ve used the same affirmation for years when I want to bring more mindfulness into my beauty treatments. “I am beautiful, I am confident, I am love, I am abundance.”
Because I’ve always struggled with nasty anxiety and depression, I use my affirmation and beauty rituals to align myself with the feelings I struggle with.
Maybe your mantra is that of gratitude. Your beauty time can also be a time to give back. List all the things you can think of that make you feel grateful. I start with the little things like a roof over my head, the steamy cup of coffee I had in the morning, the overwhelming feeling of love I have for my friends, family and cat... when you start, you will find SO much to give thanks for.
Your beauty time, like yoga is a process of letting go as well as inviting in. Products that cleanse like exfoliators, a long hot bath (no baths please if you in Cape Town) embody the metaphysical act of letting go and eliminating that which no longer serves you.
Which herbs, oils, and/or beauty tools have properties that help facilitate mindfulness?
All plants have a unique frequency and vibration. These frequencies have the ability to transmit to our own electromagnetic field and influence our thoughts and emotions, thus influencing our physical bodies and how we feel about ourselves. Many plants hold healing energies and energy that have the ability to increase the flow of Life Force, aid grounding, meditation and clarity of mind.
Some of the most renown plant material to aid mindfulness is Palo Santo, Sage, Sandalwood and Frankincense. These four can all be burnt to release their grounding properties through smoke and the sense of smell. They can also be applied topically by using a hydrosol or essential oil extracted from the source. Essential oils which aid in clarity of mind like Basil and Rosemary are also helpful for meditation. Cedarwood is excellent for grounding. Here in South Africa we have a local medicinal herb called Impepho which can be burnt - much like Sage- for its ability to clear stagnant energy, connect with self and promote mindfulness.
Gemstone facial massage with a crystal Gua Sha board or roller is a simple, yet effective way to incorporate a holistic approach to beauty and wellness. These are highly beneficial to the skin and allow you to reap the metaphysical benefits of your chosen crystal too. It’s a good idea to also smudge your space before indulging in a slow self-care ritual