Ah, the quest for beauty – the endless search for the one product that will give us that eternal inner glow or the silver bullet that will erase all wrinkles.
Desiree Pais, natural beauty and creator of the uber-natural skincare line, Benshen, suggests that rather than spending all our time searching for that one fix, perhaps it’s time we look inward and create beauty rituals that allow inner beauty to shine through. Though she does have her go-to natural products, her secrets to beauty lie in what she doesn’t do, rather than what she lathers on. Read on for her take on creating a daily ritual to create beauty…
It took me a while to write this article on beauty rituals because I realized, as a busy New Yorker, most of my rituals were actually quick-fix, despite being natural. Oh, the irony. It got me questioning, once again, the whole concept of beauty and how rituals, in my opinion, are the catalyst for radiance.
The most beautiful women I know radiate from the inside out. They have a sparkle in their eyes, their skin glows and they always seem to be smiling. I started thinking about ancient beauties, how they spent so much time engaged in rituals around beauty. I began daydreaming about movie stars from the 1930s and how much time they spent pampering. I’ll never forget an article I read on one who said she never ever picked her face so she could maintain her crystal clear complexion. My mind went to Paris where I imagined French women renowned for their love of beauty, products and the luxury of self-care. While it may seem like these are all vain or superficial examples, it made me realize that no matter what the reason, the more love and attention you give to your body, the more beautiful you look, feel and radiate in return.
I took the last month to slow down and actually incorporate consistent, daily rituals into my life in order to experience true beauty. The changes, which are still unfolding, have shown me that the more effort we put into taking care of the one body we ever get, the more beauty and vitality the body will radiate outward. Light some candles, burn some sage, play some nice music and get real romantic with yourself as you dive into the art of simple beauty.
I used to overdo it with way too many products and switching everything up every other day. I have found that the more simple and consistent the ritual, the more profound the benefits. I recently stopped using everything except for evening primrose oil every evening mixed with a few sprays of rose or lavender hydrosol. Most mornings I will do ishnaan (cold-water shower and yes, it’s freezing…), and at night, I cleanse with a very gentle natural cleanser. Then, I spend at least 1-3 minutes massaging the mixture of evening primrose + hydrosol into my skin. I close my eyes and imagine white healing light coming out of my hands. If I feel any bumps or pimples, I bless them. Massaging will also bring fresh circulation of blood to the area, which provides an extra boost of healing.
My absolute favorite beauty ritual. In the evening on most nights when I get home, after showering, I’ll do a mask of raw manuka honey mixed with a little bit of fresh lemon juice. Manuka honey is incredibly healing with potent enzymes for rejuvenating and clearing the skin. It’s also known for its rich moisturizing properties. Lemons help to tone the skin as well as lighten any scars from blemishes.
Inspired by Cleopatra’s love for this oil, it’s become one of my favorites. I mix castor with rose + immortelle and use it on my eyebrows, as its known to help make the brows grow thicker. I love to use it on my eyelids to give them a healthy shine. At night before bed, I’ll put it around the outer corners of my eyes as well to prevent and heal fine lines. I use it as a lip gloss too. It’s an all around favorite!
How often do you give your body love? It’s so rare that we take the time to do something nice for our bodies, which work so hard for us all day long. In the evenings after I shower, I’ll give my body an oil massage, starting at the feet and working my way up. This also helps to move stagnation in the meridians so that blood and lymph can flow more smoothly. Stagnation of blood can cause toxins to build up and create the space for diseases to manifest in the body. I make a blend of sesame oil, evening primose, clary sage, palo santo, and rose geranium, which gets me into the space of rooting into the ritual of beauty.
This is my number one beauty ritual. I practice kundalini yoga and what actually drew me to the practice was that the women I knew who practiced were the most powerful, radiant, and beautiful women I had ever seen. I wanted to know what they were doing and when I found out, I jumped on board. On top of its many, many other benefits, kundalini yoga powerfully heals and balances the glandular system, which is our hormonal system. When our hormones go out of balance, we begin to see things like acne, wrinkles, dull skin, thin hair, dark circles and so on. Practicing kundalini yoga helps to balance out the glandular system so we can experience vitality and reverse hormonal imbalance. You actually start to look younger if you practice on a regular basis! And those coveted sparkling eyes and glowing skin follow suit. There is even a meditation for brightening the radiance!!
Out of the Mirror, into the Heart
This is my new mantra. As women, we spend way too much time staring into the mirror, picking ourselves apart, emotionally and physically. I began noticing how much time I spent looking in the mirror, picking my face, complaining about how I look, and so forth. By making the choice to spend less time in the mirror (I only use the mirror for a quick look, with a smile, and never up-close), I could spend more time manifesting what I wanted to see and using affirmations to make it my reality. If I look in the mirror everyday and see acne, I will begin to obsess over it, which just perpetuates the problem. If I stay away, trust that my skin is healing and clearing up, it will do so. A healer once told me, “The mind creates the blueprint and the body follows.” We just need to give the body enough time to catch up to the mind.