How I Found Slow Beauty
My relationship with Slow Beauty came through my own practice. About eight years ago while I was going through the motions of checking multiple emails, voicemails, and social media accounts, I realized that the world had changed forever.
To a certain extent, the changes are positive. We are becoming more connected (virtually), and the exchange of information is easier than ever. Yet on the flip side, this social growth spurt has raised the bar on our busyness and distractibility. We’ve ushered in our new era of rampant stress punctuated with ever-increasing rates of anxiety and depression.
I noticed that I was more disconnected from myself in a way I had never felt before. With that came waves of loneliness, melancholy, and existential musings. I was beginning to do some deep thinking on the implications of a world that showed absolutely no signs of slowing down.
I had already been practicing meditation, yoga, and Ayurveda for almost a decade, yet I felt I had to hunker down even more into my self-care philosophy in order to protect and fortify myself from the frenzy of the external world. My mother’s mantra was, “Health is wealth.” From a young age she taught me the importance of paying attention to what I put on and in my body. We frequented spas—not to luxuriate but for renewal and restoration.
Our Wellness is a Connected Practice
The often elusive intersection of health, wellness, and beauty is something I’ve always known and understood. As someone who works in the beauty industry, I am aware that the current culture of beauty consumption is muddied with superficialities, quick fixes, and instant results. Yet I had always felt diametrically opposed to this anti-aging credo. I sought depth, meaning, and purpose from beauty as an eternal truth. Simultaneously, I felt determined to ground myself in a self-care practice that would allow my inner beauty to unfold and blossom in its own due time.
At the time of my self-inquiry, we were hosting a special houseguest. The guest: my son’s kindergarten class pet, Torti (you guessed it) the tortoise. Torti brought a unique kind of medicine into our home over the two-week period we cared for him. He had his own special pace and it didn’t matter how fast we were moving, Torti took his time, always. Torti’s movements were not only slow, they appeared deliberate, purposeful, and even mindful.
The Satori Moment of Slow Beauty
Watching Torti, I had what in the Zen tradition is known as a Satori moment. The phrase “Slow Beauty” came to mind. In an instant, I had a name for a philosophical approach to self-care. Slow Beauty is a self-care approach that allowed me (and hopefully others) to define their own standard of beauty, in their own time and with their own flair.
A Slow Beauty practice is meant to help ground you in deep and meaningful self-care through recipes and rituals. It is first and foremost a philosophy that helps you make a strong and lasting connection to your self. Slow Beauty is a reminder to literally slow down and become self-reflective as well as a passionate activist for your self-care.
Philosophy of Slow Beauty
Philosophically speaking, Slow Beauty is about designing your inner life, the beauty radiant, always sourced from within. It is inspired by the axiom “as above, so below.” Through Slow Beauty, we learn to seek our internal counsel. We contextualize our own personal beauty standards instead of getting caught up in the frenzy of chasing unattainable standards set by others.
Slow Beauty is also an organizing principle to suit the personal standards you have set in motion. There are many incredible wellness and well-being options; the abundance of offerings is stunning. With so many choices, it is important to select those that make sense to you personally. Slow Beauty encourages you to choose sustainable options for long-term benefit.
Begin by understanding your natural rhythms. Just like the changing external seasons, we too have our very own mutable internal seasons, each with specific needs, longings, desires, and expressions. With Slow Beauty, we honor this process of always becoming. Slow Beauty is the antithesis of quick fixes, instant results and invasive surgeries. Meditations, deep breathing techniques, self-reflective thinking, whole foods, beauty care and movement that are seasonally appropriate set the tone for practice.
I’ve compiled these practices into my new book Slow Beauty that is now available for pre-order on Amazon.
A Day in the Life of a Slow Beauty Practice
AM First Light
Immediately upon waking go outside and expose yourself to the natural light. It may sound counterintuitive, but exposing yourself to the natural light in the morning helps jumpstart melatonin production to ensure a good night’s sleep when it’s time to go to bed.
A vegan matcha latte is one of my favorite tea options. Try utilizing some fresh herbs from your garden. I love fresh basil with a drop of early harvest olive oil as a Teatox. Among many benefits, basil helps to improve memory and is a perfect remedy to brain haze.
I like improvisational dance as well as boxing. I’ve recently discovered Fierce & Foxy in Hollywood, an all-women’s boxing program. Boxing helps to shed some of the excess weight, keeps you toned all over, improves stamina, and helps you feel empowered. I think of Ali’s words, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” This is such a perfect mantra!
Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate, and then self-massage. These beauty rituals support skin cell renewal, increase circulation, detoxify, and purify. The result: renewed skin that is toned with a healthy glow.
One of the products I use is the sugar scrub and body oil from the SpaRitual Passionfruit Agave Skincare for Body collection. The products in this collection are packed with certified organic and nature-derived ingredients to deeply nourish and renew skin. The natural scent is uplifting, and the formula’s textures are rich and delightful.
Each year I do a sweep of my make-up products to refresh and renew. I recently went to Credo Beauty where they were helpful in recommending some incredible products that I absolutely love. These include Ilia Multi-Stick for lips and cheeks, Juice Beauty mascara, Jillian Dempsey Khol Eyeliner, and Josh Rosebrook’s Hydrating Accelerator. Oh, and I also love Trilogy CoQ10 Booster Oil for fine lines, and RMS “un” cover-up, and lip and skin balm.
I recommend the Breath of Joy from the Kripalu tradition. This breathing technique immediately awakens and heightens all of your senses.
I am fortunate to live adjacent to Runyon Canyon where I hike almost every day. I love immersing myself in nature and hiking high above the city to get a bird’s eye view. Spending time in nature is soothing to the central nervous system, increases memory, boosts productivity, and improves concentration.
I enjoy nature inside my home as well with fresh cut flowers from my garden. The art of arranging flowers elevates your mood, decreasing stress and anxiety. A behavioral study at Rutgers University found that the presence of flowers in the home increased intimacy between family and friends.
How Slow Beauty has Changed my Life
Ever since I honed my various self-care practices under the umbrella of Slow Beauty, I am more focused and purposeful about self-care and self-love. I am more grounded and confident in living my life at my pace. I feel better equipped to identify and articulate my needs. Once I understand those needs, I have immediate access to the tools and resources to satisfy them. I feel more present, more creative, and more relaxed with my family, friends and co-workers. Most importantly I feel more joy, more often.
In our increasingly fast-paced world, “slow” has become a buzzword for movements that remind us to be more mindful and to nurture ourselves. My response to the fast world: I am always busy slowing down, grounded in my Slow Beauty practice. When we care for our selves in deep and meaningful ways, we are best able to care for others and life itself.
Shel Pink’s new book Slow Beauty is available through pre-order through November 14. Click here for more information.