Beauty is truly a “whole body” experience, which goes beyond the face. A sad reality is that many of us don’t like the way our bodies look. At its core, one’s natural beauty derives from a healthy perspective over sensory assaults (often in social media) that tell us we are not good enough. If we’re not too fat, we’re too thin. If our thighs are firm, our bellies are bloated. Both women and men contend with insecurities such as the puckered, or dimpled skin condition known as cellulite, which is in truth a natural body characteristic possible across all genders.
So alas, though June is a time to enjoy the sunshine, cellulite often comes to mind as we dress down for the weather. Cellulite is typically found on the buttocks and thighs, although it can be found anywhere on the body. It is important to understand that cellulite is not a blight or flaw of which to be ashamed. It is a natural factor inherent to our bodies, and to focus on it with open dissatisfaction is self-defeating. While there is no non-invasive cure for cellulite, there are methods to reduce its appearance. Enclosed is a wellness practice to lay the groundwork for a healthy mind and body. It is meant to ease tension, exfoliate the skin, and energize the body for sunny days ahead. The idea behind June’s Cellu-Lymph Body Oil recipe is ritual: we combine this oil with dry brushing and positive self-affirmation to lay the groundwork for a sustainable, healthy lifestyle.
Dry brushing stimulates blood circulation, exfoliates the skin, and stimulates the senses. The physical action aids in skin radiance and glow, and the circulation promotes a plump, fresh appearance. It helps remove dry skin cells and makes your skin more receptive to moisture and therapeutic oils. It is a simple and invigorating self-care activity which allow us to “check in” with our bodies and connect with our feelings pertaining to self-image.
Neither your body nor the brush should be wet while you dry-brush. This enhances the exfoliating effect. The brush should have long, natural bristles. At Kolya, we favour the gentleness, efficacy, and biodegradability of P. Jentshura Facial Brushes and Merben Body Brushes. Jentsura’s handles are constructed from beechwood and their bristles are made with hairs from the soft manes of living horses who are not harmed by the process. Merben’s body brushes are hand-made from jute, a natural vegetable fiber.
The single most powerful decision you can make for yourself is self-love. We often negatively impose our own ideals onto our physical selves. While spoken affirmations may sometimes seem cheesy, like a crummy self-help book, understand that when you tell yourself you’re “not good enough,” you’re still engaging spoken affirmations: bad ones. The body listens to what the brain tells it, and true beauty lies far from that which tells us we are not good enough. Your body may not be exactly where you want it to be, but think about how far it has taken you. Your body, cellulite and all, has carried you through sickness, wellness, sadness, and happiness: it deserves respect.
Ritual is at the heart of this month’s blending bar recipe. It is specially formulated by Gordon, our in-house botanical sage and skincare alchemist.
“It comes together quickly,” assures Gordon. “Because let’s face it, summer is short. It’s time to get our butts to the beach.” Five powerful essential oils are diluted in a blend of unique carrier oils for a blend that is earthy, bright, and completely delightful. It’s designed to complement a dry-brushing self-care routine in preparation for the sunny days ahead.
A quick Google search will confirm all the wonderful qualities of vitamin A in hair, skin, and nails. Kolya’s Cellu-Lymph Body Oil starts with carrot infused organic sunflower oil. This infusion is rich in beta-Carotene, which is a precursor for vitamin A. Oryza sativa, or Rice Bran oil, is suitable for all skin types but is especially useful on mature or listless skin. The germ and inner husk of rice contains vitamin E and omega 9 and omega 6 essential fatty acids. It is moisturizing and protective with strong antioxidant potential. After we add our essential oils, we top up the bottle with sesame seed oil, a natural anti-inflammatory and potent antioxidant that may neutralize oxygen radicals in the lower skin layers. As it is highly penetrating to the skin (and thus less greasy than many other carrier oils) it may aid in delivering the qualities of our essential oils deep into the skin.
Bay Laurel is an evergreen tree native to the Mediterranean. The ancients made honorary crowns from laurel leaves: it represents strength of character, body, and mind. Scott A. Johnson of Evidence-Based Essential Oil Therapy states that application of the essential oil stimulates the lymphatic flow, while the cedarwood tree is thought to boost circulation and lymphatic flow and frequently employed in cases of anxiety and tension. Cypress, similarly, is a coniferous evergreen whose qualities are both circulatory and restorative. It is used in cases of varicose veins, fluid retention, and cellulite, and especially useful for menopausal fatigue and muscle exhaustion. The essential oil of juniper comes from the juniper berry, best known as the main flavouring in gin. It is fresh-smelling, green, and fruity. We use the oil here for its anti-inflammatory and circulatory qualities, including bloating, anxiety, tension, and sluggishness. Our final oil is the humble and wonderful grapefruit. Its characteristics combat fluid retention, physical exhaustion, poor circulation, and stress.
As always, essential oils are potent and require dilution. Always patch-test on a small area of the skin. More is not “more effective,” so stick to the recipe for the safest possible blending. This blend is best avoided during pregnancy or breast-feeding, and is not meant for long-term use. As grapefruit oil is a low-risk sun sensitizer, wait several hours to overnight before prolonged sun exposure, and always wear proper broad-spectrum UV protection.
In a 30 mL/1oz dropper bottle, pour the carrot-infused sunflower oil and rice bran oil, five drops of each essential oil, and top up with sesame oil. Cap, shake, and enjoy. The final product’s aroma is as sweet, soft, and herbaceous as it is balsamic, camphorous, and spicy.
The ritual is simple. Once a week, before a shower or bath, brush your entire body in gentle, upward movements. Direct the strokes towards the heart. Take care on sensitive areas such as the breasts and décolletage, and do not apply pressure to the brush: be gentle. As it stimulates sensory nerves it can be invigorating, and so best done in the morning (or whenever you need an energetic boost.) As you dry-brush, take a moment to breathe consciously. Oxygen energises the entire body, and deep belly breathing improves cell health and eases tension. Shower or bathe as normal and towel off while the room is still steamy. Take a dropper full of Cellu-Lymph Body Oil and massage into areas of your body which cause you anxiety. Go slow. Massage deeply into skin. Dry brushing has left your skin receptive to moisture, so be sure to apply until fully absorbed. Engage deep breathing techniques during this process. Ensure every movement is with mindfulness and positive intention. You are beautiful. You are enough.
As you commit to this affirmative practice, anointing your body with Cellu-Lymph Body Oil, make the decision for self-love. Worry less about looks and concentrate on growing wise. Mindfulness and intention are the starting gates: with a healthy mindset, we may have healthier motivations with which to move forward. From there, you may engage in practices of sustainable self-care and incorporate other wellness habits into your life. For the month of June, forgive the parts you don’t like and celebrate the bits that you do. A well-loved, well-nourished body is the most beautiful body of all.
Fear less, hope more,
Whine less, breathe more,
Talk less, say more,
Hate less, love more,
And all good things are yours
Johnson, Scott A. Evidence-Based Essential Oil Therapy: The Ultimate Guide to the Therapeutic and Clinical Applications of Essential Oils. Scott A. Johnson Professional Writing Servies, LLC. 2015. Print.