Another year stretches ahead, with positive possibilities, potential challenges and magic moments. Isn’t there something so lovely about that? The potential for a brilliant year?
At this time of year, many of us burden ourselves with New Year’s resolutions, which often just bring additional stress. We have indulged our way through a very busy Christmas, and now the fasting, censorious, abstemious season has arrived, where we promise to re-invent ourselves. But what if we went a little easier on ourselves for 2019? What if we took the time to ground, calm and centre ourselves before taking on additional activities and responsibilities?
One way to do this is through the use of ritual in our everyday lives. We all have our little rituals that soothe and calm us, even carrying out everyday tasks can become a ritual! The author Muriel Barberry explains this perfectly when she writes: “When tea becomes a ritual it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things – we then know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment.”
Beauty rituals are no different: our daily bathing, cleansing and hydrating routines can also become our own mindful moments. On the opposite page I’ve listed some of my favourite beauty rituals that can be carried out at home and very inexpensively: all they really require is a calm mind and some time just for you. The Goddess Bath alone is so divine it would make you believe that “Ritual is the passage way of the soul into the infinite” as Algernon Blackwood wrote.
Happy New Year to you all!
Six of the best DIY beauty rituals
What is it? Jade rolling has been used for centuries for its skin-boosting and de-puffing benefits. The last few years has seen a surge in its popularity in the West. Doing this ritual even once or twice a week (at night is best) will reap benefits – especially if you suffer from facial bloating and eye swelling. Check out Renee Chow’s online YouTube tutorial (@Gothamista) for an easy step-by-step guide to using jade rollers properly at home. No need to book expensive salon facials when you know this little beauty trade secret yourself!
Use: Yu Ling Jade Roller, €24.50, from cultbeauty.co.uk
What is it? This is a ritual that uses cleansing flowers, healing herbs, salts, warm water and oils to encourage us to dive deep into relaxing mind, body and spirit. Pick a quiet time and light your candles or incense, a sage stick or Palo Santo. Gather your flowers, herbs (see below for options), and oils and/or bath products (see below). Play some chilled music and take your time. Draw your bath, sprinkle in whatever herbs, flowers and oils you wish, focus on cleansing away anything negative from body and mind and float away! After your bath, massage in nourishing skin oil or lotion for silky smooth skin.
Use: ⬤ This Works Deep Sleep Heavenly Candle, €33, from pharmacies nationwide ⬤ Rituals The Ritual of Happy Buddha Energising Ritual, €29.50, from Arnotts, Brown Thomas, Rituals stores and rituals.com ⬤ Healing herbs and flowers: sage, basil, chamomile, lemon balm, valerian, lime blossom, hops all from health food stores nationwide. ⬤ Essential oil: sage, sandalwood, ylang ylang, lavender, lemon balm, rose, lavender, rosemary, gardenia, from health food stores nationwide.
What is it? Masking is such a brilliant way to get a glowy, clear sheen to our faces. I’m forever slapping on a facemask and then flying around the house doing jobs – hardly a relaxing ritual! So, I was intrigued to learn about the art of meditative masking. This is where you take the time to assemble and mix your mask (just like an old-school apothecary) in a bowl, apply it and then lie or sit down and take those few minutes for the mask to work, to be as mindful and meditative as you can. Do it while you have your Goddess Bath (above) for maximum results!
Use: Kaya 100pc Natural Spirulina Mask (with bowl and mixer, suitable for six uses), €35, from sensesofnature.eu
Abhayanga ritual (self-massage)
What is it? With this beauty ritual, you don’t have to book costly spa massages; instead you can learn to do it yourself! All you need is some warmed oils (sesame, coconut and almond are brilliant options) and massage them into the body with light, firm strokes. This Ayurvedic technique is thousands of years old and has been shown to slow skin aging and improve sleep. Do after your Goddess Bath for brilliant results! Use: ⬤ Green Angel Seaweed and Argan Oil Body Oil, €22.95, from pharmacies and health stores nationwide ⬤ Coconut oil from your kitchen cabinet!
What is it? We all know that using salt scrubs is an amazing and eco-friendly way to cleanse and exfoliate our skin, but did you know that in the holistic and healing worlds, it’s also seen as a wonderful way to cleanse our energy body (or aura) also? If you’re feeling psychically weighed down and “heavy” in your mind and heart, why not rustle together your own ‘Aura Scrub’ that will work at cleansing your skin and hopefully your energy body also?
Use: ⬤ Green Angel Sunrise Body Smoother with lemon and grapefruit, €29.95, from health stores and pharmacies nationwide
⬤ Homemade aura scrub (see below).
Garshana ritual (dry body brushing)
What is it? This is another traditional Ayurvedic beauty ritual that we know as dry body brushing. It is brilliant for shedding dry, rough skin, increasing circulation and draining the lymph system. We know from studies that massage is also one of the only effective ways of diminishing the signs of cellulite. Simply dry brush your entire body and face using strokes that lead towards the heart centre. Avoid broken skin and super sensitive areas. Shower or bathe (if you can handle it, you can enhance the release of toxins, with a few cycles of hot then cold water in your shower). Finally moisturise for glowing skin and face.
Use: ⬤ Remington Reveal Wet and Dry Body Brush, €69.99, from electrical shops and pharmacies nationwide. ⬤ Ecotools Dry Brush, €6.99, from Boots, pharmacies and health stores nationwide.
Homemade Aura scrub
Take a clean, large glass jar and add 4 cups of oil of your choice (eg grape seed, avocado, apricot kernel). Add 2 cups of sea salt or Himalayan pink salt (don’t use iodised table salt) and mix together. Add 15-20 drops of essential oil (sage and sandalwood are great options here but you could choose from lavender, rose, lemon, geranium etc). Sprinkle some dried rose petals or lavender buds on top. Keep in your shower or bath and use liberally.
Ask the expert: Nicola Connolly
Nicola Connolly (pictured) is the creator of Nunaïa Nourishing Radiance Serum – currently the beauty product with the highest organic certification on the Irish market. After spending over a decade in South America, she has a deep understanding and respect for the place of rituals in our wellness and beauty routines.
What are the benefits of introducing rituals into our everyday lives?
Rituals are scientifically proven to help us manage the anxiety, stress and uncertainty that is so common in today’s world. Wellness rituals can help us carve out deliberate, conscious moments of quiet re-connection in our day. As we take a pause, rest and re-set, we can become more in tune with what is truly meaningful and important in our lives.
What are some of the best beauty rituals you know of?
A great beauty ritual for me celebrates both inner and outer beauty and is about much more than just using a specific product to achieve a specific beauty or skincare goal. In the Andes Mountains in Peru I was introduced to a ritual that involved massaging my body with nourishing botanicals. The experience of gathering the plants meant that, not only did I have nourished, vibrant skin afterwards, but I also experienced a deep sense of calm, balance and an acceptance of my body and how it looks.
Are there rituals we can use in our everyday lives to introduce calm and improve our wellness?
Your evening skincare routine is the perfect opportunity to give a mundane task superpowers and create a self-care ritual. By adding a few, easy mindful breathing exercises as you cleanse, nourish and look after our skin, you can re-set and re-balance at the end of a busy day.
Bringing your awareness to your breath throughout the day is another wonderful way to boost wellness levels. Carving out a few moments every morning to practise a simple meditation or breathing exercise is a lovely mindful way to set up our day and can dramatically influence how the day unfolds. During the day, when you start to feel stress or emotions rising up, taking a few mindful breaths can quickly help you to come back into balance. The best thing is it doesn’t cost anything, and you can practise mindful breathing anytime, anywhere – the bus to work, while you are at your desk, or stuck in traffic.
Taking a 10-minute walk outside in nature or without your phone when you hit that afternoon slump at the office can help clear your head, boost your energy levels and re-invigorate for the rest of the day.
Nunaïa serum is available in Avoca Stores, the Kilkenny Shop, and Sea Green. See nunaia.com.
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