issue six : the shape of things to come
How slowing down benefits more than just your beauty practices. It can change the very shape of your wellbeing and limit the impact on the planet's resources too.
You must have heard the term "slow-fashion" by now? But what about slow beauty? Yup, it's a thing. Someone (Shel Pink) even wrote a book on it, aptly named 'Slow Beauty'. While I have not read the book, I completely understand and fully support the sentiment behind the movement. We need to slow down, in everything we do, if we truly want to improve, not only our own health and wellbeing, but that of our planet's too.
This article will explore beauty practices and rituals that help us to slow down and reap the rewards of everything that comes with it. What it won't be, is an article or mindfulness or meditation - because there are lots of other places you can go to read about those (equally important) practices. I want to get down to cold, hard, beauty baby! My hope is that this article inspires you to think a little differently and change the shape of your habits for the greater good.
SLOW DOWN ON SPENDING
I've said it before, and I will say it again (and again and again). In order to slow down and limit the impact on the planet (and our pockets), we simply need to buy. less. stuff. Even beauty products. Slow fashion and #30wears is a slightly easier practice to follow, as they don't go "off" - and even if clothing goes out of fashion, trends generally repeat themselves every few seasons. So my advice when it comes to your beauty products is: If you aren't going to use a product until it is finished, you quite simply don't need it. If you want to try a product, get a sample, or better yet, take your own little (sterilised) pot into your nearest beauty store filled with your favourite untainted alternatives and ask for a tester of the product's you're interested in before you splurge on another product that just lands up on the bathroom shelf gathering dust.
Some beauty bloggers proudly photograph and share their "empties" online. This is a great way to ensure you're finishing product because it gives you a sense of achievement that you can proudly display to the world.
ENCAPSULATE YOUR BEAUTY
Let's face it...most of us have been wearing the same style makeup since we were in our late teens. While many could do with a beauty routine update, I am more interested in the psychology of why we do this. In short, it's become a habit. Sometimes habits can be bad and other times, well, they work in our favour. So, how do we turn our old beauty habits into something current, clean and practical? We create ourselves a capsule beauty collection. It's the same principle as a capsule wardrobe. By now, you know what textures you like in your makeup and skincare. The things that make you comfortable in your own skin - because after 18 years as I makeup artist, one thing I have learned is that the vast majority of women simply like that they like when it comes to their beauty products. Fact. Sure, we can switch to untainted brands, but the textures, consistency's and colours we go for remain the same.
How do I create my capsule beauty routine you ask? Simple! Trust that you know yourself (especially when it comes to your life's routines) better than anyone else ever could. Identify the types of products you cannot live without and those you use daily, weekly and monthly. If you haven't used a beauty product in a single monthly cycle, it's highly unlikely you really need it. Mix up how you wear your makeup. Somedays try just to focus on the eyes, other days you can simply throw on some lipstick. You can even just rock glowing skin and a lashing of mascara! Believe it or not, even a capsule beauty collection has endless possibilities.
Next, use all that extra time you would have put into experimenting with makeup, only to remove it again and slap on what you're comfortable wearing, doing something else. Even if that means locking yourself in the bathroom that entire time and massaging your face instead (which, I might add, does wonder for your beauty goals).
Find Your Feet
The feet. One of the most under-rated, forgotten parts of our bodies and yet, they carry us, support us and even, protect us. Do yourself - and your feet - a favour and use the money you've saved on not purchasing more beauty products that you just aren't going to use and spend it instead, on treating your feet on a reflexology treatment. Reflexology not only gives your feet some much needed TLC, it also benefits your entire body and relaxes the mind.
I recently had the pleasure of returning to the Vaishaly Clinic in Marylebone, London, where I had to most wonderful reflexology treatment by a skilled therapist named Anna. While lying down, my mind was racing, filled with thoughts about my day and the questions I needed to ask about reflexology. Anna, firmly, but very politely, told me to just close my eyes and be quiet - something I am not at all good at doing. But, I listened to her and I walked out of there feeling incredible. Relaxed and yet filled with energy. It was that 'time' that allowed me to think about the ideas in this very article.
TIME TO DECLUTTER
Depending on the size of your personal beauty department, aka The Bathroom, aka Your Dresser - set aside an hour or two one evening or weekend to go through what you have. Identify if each product is still suitable for use. Smelling it is the easiest way of knowing if it's still 'fresh' If it smells a little stale or different to how you remember it, get rid of it!
Ask yourself: Do I actually use this or would use it up if it were in eyeshot? If it is still good-to-go - if you will - put it somewhere you will see it so you use it until it's another empty to add to your Instagram feed. Those products that are no longer fit for purpose, get rid of them.
But please, do so responsibly. Throwing half full products straight into the recycling bin because the package says "recyclable" does not alone, recyclable make. Cut open tubes, empty any old product out, wash in hot, soapy water...then, go ahead and pop it into the recycling bin. Repurpose glass or metal containers.
Old nail polishes often just end up in the bin, but really, they should be disposed of in hazardsous waste! I often use up old nail polishes to decorate my makeup brush handles, so I know which are mine at work, but you could do it just to get crafty and make tired brush handles look spiffy again. Nail polish is also great to paint on glass or metal containers. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
Not only will your mind feel clearer and you will feel a wonderful sense of achievement for having decluttered, you will also be ready for the next action in this to-do list of slowing down.
have a 'tea ceremony'
Ahh, the Japanese, they really know how to boil things down to the most beautiful simplicity.
Chado or Sado, 'The Way of Tea', which is deeply rooted in Chinese Zen philosophy, is how the Japanese not only honour both nature and friendship, but it also teaches us to remove one's self from the mundaneness of life's day-to-day stresses and troubles, and achieve a feeling of true calm and inner peace, if even only for a few moments.
While this ancient art is more beautiful and complex than I could give it its due credit in just a few paragraphs, the sentiment of the ceremony is something that you can bring into your own daily practices to help you slow down. Even if you are still just throwing a herbal (unbleached and plastic-free, obviously) tea bag into a mug and adding boiling water, why not try sit down in a quiet space, with a view of the outside world, and sip it slowly and thoughtfully until it is finished.
Not to mention, the beauty benefits of drinking herbal tea are excellent. Filled with antioxidants and other health benefits, drinking herbal tea also counts towards your water requirements for the day! Now you can be mindful and beautiful while quenching your thirst.
That's my kind of multi-tasking... erm, I mean slowing down.