Our “Live Simply” series profiles experts in their fields who are helping people save themselves from their complicated, overscheduled, exhausting lives. Although the approaches are diverse, the end goal is the same: Less stress, more joy. Today, meet a spa entrepreneur who can help you elevate your mundane beauty routine to a mind-body ritual.
Shel Pink is the founder of SpaRitual, a brand known for its eco-friendly products and conscientious approach to beauty. Their motto is “Slow Beauty for a fast world,” and those aren’t just words—Slow Beauty is a way of life for Pink. And she thinks it should be for you, too.
Pink innately understood what Slow Beauty meant the moment the term existed. “SpaRitual was always about the mind-body-spirit connection,” she says. That connection is what the practice of Slow Beauty illuminates, but Pink knew that she needed to find a way to explain that “mind-body-spirit” magic. So she outlined the "7 Outposts of Slow Beauty"—a guide that organizes the concepts of Slow Beauty and makes it accessible and practical.
Before you look at the list below and see more entries for your to-do list, you should know that Pink says you don't have to do all seven. “What can you fit into your life easily?” she asks. “Once you open the door and add one thing that becomes part of your natural routine, then you have space for more.” Also: Don’t force it. If you go to a meditation class that doesn’t resonate, skip it next time and try something else. “This is about surrendering to the pieces that resonate with you and bring you wellness of your own creation.”
With that in mind, here is your road map to a life full of mindful beauty, in every sense of the word:
Spa Tradition. “The history of spa has been about health and wellness and education,” says Pink. But the concept of “spas” took a turn in the 80s and 90s. "It became about luxury and an overpriced, unattainable experience.” Pink sees the industry slowly returning to the tradition of wellness and the idea that everyone should partake. “Having a spa habit is important,” says Pink. “It does wonders to mitigate the stress that is aging us and causing disease.” Your task: Start a regular practice of self-care for your body, whether that means a vacation at Miraval or a weekly $20 visit to the corner reflexology spot.
Mindful Consumption. “Look at brands and think about what you want to support. What is the company philosophy? How is their packaging? Are they giving back and standing for something you feel good about?” Pink believes that everything has energy, and that having more things in your life can create clutter, both in your physical space and in your mind-body-spirit. Your task: Pause before you buy something. Consider where it comes from and whether or not you need it—where in your home it will fit, what in your life it will serve. If you’re unsure, don’t buy it.
Rituals. “Elevate the routine,” Pink advises. That means if your beauty habit involves cleanser, toner and lotion with SPF, think about more than just the products. “Ritual includes nutrition, self-massage, breathing, bathing…” says Pink. The slowbeauty.com blog can guide you in every aspect of these elements. Your task: Instead of rushing to put on lipstick in the morning and get your teeth brushed at night, linger a little. Let your beauty routine become a self-care ritual that rejuvenates you.
Renewal. “It is all about a good night’s sleep,” says Pink. “Resting calms your central nervous system.” Renewal also has to do with the concept of cleansing, which doesn’t necessarily mean juice fasts (unless that’s your thing). Pink recommends seasonal cleansing as a way to tune into your body and keep it in tip-top shape, the way you do with oil changes for your car. That might mean avoiding alcohol for a week, cutting back on sugar or even adding more green foods—whatever your body is telling you when you take the time to listen. Your task: In addition to eight hours of sleep, find down time to daydream, to do nothing, to be still and listen to your body—even if it’s just 10 minutes and you have to put it in your calendar and wait for the ding. Baby steps.
Meditation. “Studies show that people who regularly meditate live years longer than people who don’t,” says Pink. “I see meditation as the new yoga—in a few years everyone will be finding a practice.” Pink does transcendental meditation two times a day for 20 minutes, but your way might be very different. As long as you’re taking a timeout to go inside yourself and refocus, it doesn’t matter what the meditation looks like. “Stillness rejuvenates us on a cellular level,” says Pink. Your task: Find a practice—even a three-minute one—that you can fit into your life, and give it a shot. See where it takes you.
Self-Expression. “There is a lot of focus on looking beautiful in our society, but what about doing something that creates or celebrates beauty in the world?” asks Pink. As our schedules fill, time for self-expression is one of the first sacrifices we make, but Pink thinks that’s a huge mistake. “Being in the space of creativity—writing poetry, drawing, making music—leads to the spirit of play and innovation,” she says. “It’s essential to develop levity and bring beauty out from inside of yourself.” Your task: Let at least one part of your day involve something creative. That could mean something as big as starting a novel or as small as being mindful enough to turn on a Beatles record while you make dinner (don’t forget to enjoy the music).
Nourished Mind. “We think about what we’re putting in our bodies obsessively, but we don't often consider what we’re feeding our minds,” says Pink. Steady diets of reality TV and Facebook aren’t uncommon (hey, they’re fun distractions, right?), but balance is key. “Nourishing your mind means life-long learning.” Your task: Make time for mental engagement. See a play, read a challenging book, visit a museum (and make a habit of these things, in between Real Housewives episodes).
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