While summer in Vancouver this year has been cooler, wetter, and greener, it doesn’t mean that my skin feels as vibrant. Having spent more time away (for work, for pleasure, for family grieving) these past months, my skin has experienced dusty winds, icy air conditioning, salty waters, prickly fluctuations, general neglect, and like the fallen fruit that lays on the ground end of summer, I am reminded that while my skin is resilient, she also is craving sweetness and holding not from blush or bb creams, but from care, attention, and time to be. Our skin is precious. I think sometimes we forget this.
Here are my favourite rituals and plant medicines that honour skin that has been over air conditioned, over sun-kissed, wind burned, over traveled, and skin that has had too much of one thing and not enough of whatever else.
Replacing your morning beverage with broth (bone, mushroom, or sea vegetable based broth). If you’re looking for a quality broth recipe that is rich in collagen, minerals, and adaptogens, here’s mine, which has been passed down in my family.
Washing your face before bed and upon waking. (Before bed is obvious, and while you are sleeping, your pores open to release toxins onto the skin’s surface. Washing your face before you apply skincare and/or make up is an important step to prevent toxin reabsorption).
Washing your face with warm water using a soft cotton facecloth, and using a clean cloth each time (dead skin cells and debris get trapped into the cloths, hence a clean cloth each time). I always mention this at my Sacred Skin workshops - the best skincare investment is not your serum, but getting 2 dozen inexpensive cotton washcloths that you can rotate. While travelling and you are staying at a hotel, make a point to request extra facecloths.
When applying skincare, always start with water-based products, followed by gels, then oils last. This optimizes absorption of all products, and minimizes how much you use.
Massage your face upwards, and towards the back of your head.
Your face isn’t flat / 2 dimensional. The muscles on your entire head (yes, your top, side, and back of scalp!!) also can be massaged and stimulated, which in turn, can support circulation, facial muscle tone, detoxing, and general vitality (aka maintaining youthfulness).
Carrot Seed Essential Oil or Extract - promotes cellular regeneration and prevents free radical damage, detoxifies on a cellular level, and is immensely nutritive. Carrot promotes elasticity, suppleness, and a natural glow in the skin.
Helichrysum (Immortelle) Flower Essential Oil - energetically cooling (without becoming stimulating, like say, how Peppermint can be too cooling), Helichrysum can soothe burns and inflammation, and also repairs damaged skin. Many studies have revealed that this flower is far more repairing than Lavender. A prized and precious oil.
Camellia Seed Oil - from the seeds of the tea bush, Camellia is highly moisturizing and absorbing, leaving no sheen on the surface of the skin within a few minutes. Tea has long been associated with mysticism (I offer an On-Demand course, Shamanism + Tea HERE), and as you develop a relationship with plants, you can speak to the actual tea seed oil, inviting her soothing, protective, and grounding properties to come through.
There is something very special about applying a body oil or body butter all over your body, including your ears (they always appreciate a loving massage), toes, and finger tips. My personal favourite at the time of the year is a body oil that contains Douglas Fir, Frankincense, Patchouli, and a hint of Peppermint. Start with 98 ml of a carrier oil you like (I used Camellia Seed Oil), then add 20 drops of Douglas Fir, 7-8 drops of Frankincense, 8 drops of Patchouli (choose a quality, aged one to avoid the ‘dirty hippie’ scent - I write more about Patchouli HERE), and 6 drops of Peppermint. Finally, add 1-2 ml tocopherols (vit E) to enhance shelf life. Avoid eyes and nose when you apply this body oil.
When we take the time to really and consciously honour our skin, to give gratitude to her and to offer a gesture of appreciation, our whole beings benefit. Our skin, after all, is holding us together.
Happy skin honouring,
founder, shamanic medicine teacher + ritualist
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