4 Healing Beauty Rituals for Summer
The heart of conscious beauty is your relationship to your ingredients and the ritualistic care with which you engage them.
When I think of summer beauty, I am picturing that loveliest of human visages—the gently sun- kissed, no-makeup, fresh-from- being-outdoors look that money can’t buy. Sun, sand, and salt water are reflected in that certain glow of carefree summer living.
If this sounds like a distant memory, or one that you only observe in children, then you are past due for something to bring these facets of summer life into your own. I would recommend giving yourself permission to make a day trip to the beach or a lake, and upon your return, lock the door to the bathroom and spa it up. Or, head to the backyard. As you sit in the shade and drink a tall glass of iced tea, spritz, rub, and massage your homemade recipes on, crack open your “beach read,” and let the abundance of this season’s ingredients do their magic.
Abundance is not only the feeling of being sated and full up, it can also be the feeling that you are already overflowing with everything you could possibly imagine you might want. Summer gives you the opportunity to feel the absolute, overflowing luxury of nature’s bounty at your fingertips. Your relationship to your ingredients and the ritualistic care with which you engage them, is the heart of conscious beauty.
Cooling Aloe-Vera Face Mask
The aloe-vera plant is a superstar succulent, used by people all over the world for centuries to heal and treat burns and other skin conditions. My family uses it liberally all over our bodies after every day at the beach. In this recipe, the yogurt and cucumber cleans, and the aloe-vera moisturizes and soothes, leaves the skin cooled, moisturized, and soothed.
- 4 tablespoons of aloe vera gel
- 2 tablespoons of plain organic yogurt (regular or vegan)
- 6 tablespoons of freshly juiced cucumber
- Mix all ingredients well and gently apply to face and neck.
- Let mask set for 15 or 20 minutes. Rinse gently with lukewarm water, and then a final rinse with colder water to close the pores. Pat face dry.
Sunflower Seed Exfoliating Mask
Hydrate, smooth, brighten, and balance all skin types with this essential summertime beauty recipe. Sunflower seeds are packed with nutrients including vitamins A, B6, D, and E, as well as iron and magnesium for feeding and nourishing skin. The wheat germ and flax are also nutrient dense, so this is one powerful cereal/serial beauty mix.
- 1 teaspoon raw, hulled sunflower seeds
- 1 teaspoon wheat germ
- 1 teaspoon flax seed
- 1 tablespoon sunflower seed oil (cold pressed, if possible)
- Grind seeds and wheat germ to a fine powder in a coffee-bean grinder or blender.
- In a small mixing bowl, gradually add the oil, a little dribble at a time, and mash with a spoon to make the consistency of paste that you desire. It should be spreadable, somewhat like peanut butter.
- Apply mask liberally to a clean, dry face. Let mask dry and harden up a bit, at least 15 to 20 minutes.
- Wash off with lukewarm water. Splash with cold water to close pores. Pat dry.
Lavender Bath Cookies
Lavender is one of nature’s most versatile plants, and summer is one of the most useful times for it, as it is a cure-all for many skin issues that the season brings. In general, you can use cotton balls soaked with a little lavender oil for relieving the itch of bug bites, for treating your own accidental kitchen burns, for dabbing on acne breakouts, and for treating heat rashes, sunburn, and mild cases of poison ivy. Lavender is one of the few essential oils that can be put directly on the skin with no reactions or side effects (others should first be diluted with carrier oils, such as almond or avocado).
Although lavender has excellent antiseptic properties, it is also very gentle on the skin. These bath cookies are the quintessential use of lavender. When dropped in a cool bath at the end of a long hot summer day, “exquisite relief” comes to mind.
- 5 tablespoons ground flax seeds
- 6 tablespoons water
- 2 cups Dead Sea salt (finely ground)
- ½ cup baking soda
- ½ cup cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
- 3 capsules vitamin E oil (break open and add to mixture)
- 5 drops lavender essential oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large bowl mix the ground flax seeds with water and soak for 5 or 10 minutes for the seeds to become gelatinous. Stir well.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the flax mixture and combine to create dough.
- Shape dough into teaspoon-size balls and place them on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden. Do not overbake. Cookies will harden as they cool.
- Store in a tightly sealed, dry container until used.
- Drop two cookies in the tub and let dissolve. Makes 24 cookies.
Summer Hair Care
Summer brings out the water baby in all of us, so your hair will most likely be overexposed to lots of saltwater, chlorine, and sun. If you’ve noticed how your bathing suit colors are fading and the material is becoming dried out, the same damage is happening to your hair. Here are a couple of my favorite hair-care remedies that will revitalize and bring back a luscious shine to your active summer locks.
The vitamin E, and fatty protein of the avocado are terrific for nourishing sun-fried and chemically fried hair.
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1 tablespoon plain organic yogurt (regular or vegan)
- 1 teaspoon olive, coconut, or hemp oil
- 3 drops lime essential oil
- Mix ingredients. Massage into hair and leave on for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Rinse off thoroughly with warm water.
Excerpted from A Year of Living Mindfully: Seasonal Practices to Nourish Body, Mind, and Spirit (Motivational Press, Inc.; 2016). All rights reserved.