My Moment: a beauty relaxation ritual by Dafna’s Skincare

This year has been a particularly busy one for me, since both of my kids have gone back to school after summer holidays and started slow, but steady preparations for various tests ahead. They have full-on schedules and by default, so do I. In addition to work schedules, I have to do school runs, piles of homework to supervise & extra work on top of it, as well as dropping off & picking my kids up from various after school activities. By the end of the day, when the kids go to sleep, I end up catching up on e-mails and working late into the night, leaving precious little time to attend to my own internal needs. Even beauty routines have to be quick and at times feel like they are done on the run, so what is one to do? When Dafna, founder of Dafna’s Skincare, got in touch, telling me about My Moments ritual that she has devised, my ears pricked up.

Dafna, as a mother of two, as well as a founder of a successful & growing brand Dafna’s Skincare, knows only to well the restrictions of time and the depletion we all experience at the end of the day. This spurred her to develop a beauty ritual that allows you to relax, while nurturing your skin. Combining Dafna’s skincare, the power of essential oils, modern ayurvedic holistic approach to wellbeing & traditional Chinese medicine, the four-step ritual takes minutes, yet manages to deliver lasting satisfaction. All YOU have to do is simply commit to a few minutes of ‘me-time’ at the beginning and end of your day.

My Moment is your place to relax, to reconnect to your feelings, and go back to loving your skin & yourself

Step 1: Apply a small amount of cream to your fingertips. Inhale the scent of the cream. Take a few deep breaths & let your body relax & mind calm down.

The olfaction sense is the first one we develop. It helps a newborn survive by knowing his mum’s milk is safe for him or her to drink & by helping form a bond between a baby & a mother. By taking the time to smell the cream or serum you use on your skin ( I alternate between Dafna’s ‘Moisture + Light version‘ & ‘Moisture +‘, depending on what my skin demands in the morning & switch to ‘Nutrition‘ in the evening. With the help of this quick ritual I end up feeling more energised, while in the evening calm descends on me, all simply because I take the time to breath deeper, letting my nose & mind decipher the fragrant ingredients of the skincare I apply to my face, neck & hands. Who knew that ‘Moisture +’, which combines extracts of Calendula & figs can lift the spirits, at the time when you might long to go back to bed, but have to run instead? It’s those unseen details that help us get on with our day with more vigour in our step.

Step 2: Tap the cream with gentle movements from inside to the outside & from bottom to the top of your face.

Why tap, you ask? Well, tapping your moisturiser into your skin will help it penetrate better & work more thoroughly on different skin layers, by increasing circulation. It will also help avoid leaving oily residue on the upper skin layer. Another little tip, is the direction of your moisturiser application. As we are all under the effect on gravity on planet Earth, tapping our moisturiser from inside outside & from bottom to top of our face will act against the power of gravity, which over time contributes to skin’s dullness & loss flexibility & suppleness.

Step 3: Continue by massaging the cream in small circles & by applying a little pressure to the temples, between the eyebrows & behind the ears. Take the time to relax and enjoy the simplicity of just being in the moment with peacefulness and no external distraction.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, our life energy should flow fluently. However, our energy flow is often disrupted by various factors, like anxiety, lack or bad quality of sleep & negative effects of stress. By applying small pressure to pulse points on our faces regularly can help release blockages & allow the skin to have more vitality, reduce negative impact of stress & promote general wellbeing.

Step 4: Put your hands on top of your face, gently touching the skin. Take deep breaths, with long exhales, while keeping your eyes closed.

Closing the eyes & inhaling deeply helps us concentrate & reconnect with ourselves. It also helps to focus on inhales & exhales, trying to lengthen them & taking them deeper into our tummies, helping shift stale air & toxins out of our bodies more effectively. Something we were so natural at doing when we were babies, without any intent or laser focus. Now many of us take very shallow breaths, instead of full ones, thus taking in less oxygen. Maybe if we consciously focus on inhaling the positive energy and exhaling all the negative vibes that we might have been accumulating or holding on to internally, it will help us feel more alert & content?!

In many ways our own wellbeing depends on the steps we take to look after ourselves and an excuse that many of us make – ‘I don’t have the time’ – becomes quite lame, when we pause to consider the consequences of the lack of our own actions to safeguard our future. Dafna’s ritual, which has its roots in aromatherapy, yoga, meditation and mindfulness, allows you, when practised daily, to bring some meaningful moments that will nurture not just your skin, but your mind & your soul. Self love & self care, something that women who are mothers feel particularly guilty about, are in fact the tools that allow us to nurture others. After all, you can’t pour from an empty vessel & when you have a few moments of peace in the calming space that is your bathroom, it allows you to be more grounded in your intentions & more at peace with yourself. It will also empower you & make you more productive, when combining personal & professional schedules.

And for those days when I feel too tired to nurture myself with intention, there are always little hands that start giving me a massage, as I lie down on the floor, listening to my children reading out loud. They help to form precious moments the power and meaning of which in my life is never underestimated or taken for granted. The future is unpredictable, so take the time to savour every minute of every day, no matter what you do or what life throws at you. Rituals & gratitude create a powerful armour that we all need in the battlefield of life.

For more information about Dafna’s read more

Wild for A.S. Apothecary Beauty Balm Concentrate

Sometimes it’s hard not to feel drowned in by the amount of new beauty launches and to choose wisely, not impulsively. But the older I become, the better I understand not just myself, but my skin & body needs, so they are the ones to dictate my skincare choices, not the marketing or advertising. As consumers we also develop affinity with certain brands, which makes us keep an eye on their new launches & A.S. Apothecary is one of those brands for me. Amanda Saurin‘s latest launch, Wild Beauty Balm Concentrate No.30 came about ‘over a series of months, meetings & musings’, including with yours truly. Once I tried one of Amanda’s early samples of the balm I was intrigued, after using the launched balm for about a couple of months, I can now say that it has become tightly woven into the fabric of my daily skincare routine.

Unscrew the lid, close your eyes & take a few deep, slow breaths, inhaling the indulgently flowery, uplifting scent that brings an almost instant feeling of calm & comfort. Open your eyes & continuing to take deep breaths, dip your finger into the smooth surface of the balm (and feel the satisfaction, as it sinks into a rich texture, releasing its aroma even more).

Amanda developed this balm over months, testing & refining it tirelessly, trying to create a product that will nurture not just your skin, but your soul as well. Several moons ago, when I visited Amanda in her studio in Lewes, well before she opened her beautiful store, I showed her a multipurpose balm that I use for healing the skin. I stock up on it in Moscow during my visits, as I came to rely on it due to its multiple purpose use, but it has a big minus, as its texture becomes too runny when it is warm, which led to quite a few accidents during my travels in the past. A lovely, but in someways imperfect product (and not 100% natural), which clearly gave Amanda some food for thought & the end result of her creative process continues to blow me away with its nurturing loveliness. As I was writing this post & exchanging e-mails with Amanda, it was important for me to incorporate her wise & creative voice into the conversation about this product, as noone understands the process behind its birth better than she does.

‘I also find ridiculous pleasure in opening the new pot and pressing my finger hard onto the surface, feeling it give way to reveal the soft buttery interior…’ read more

Beauty brand in the spotlight: Berezka Lab

A few months ago, in March, I have introduced my readers to the first truly luxurious Russian natural brand of skin & bodycare called Berezka Lab. Since then I have been expanding their presence on my bathroom shelves & now want to introduce you to two more of their products, Nail Serum & Body Oil that I have been testing since August.

In July, when I was in Moscow, I had the pleasure of catching up with brand’s founder  Dana & the more we talked, the more I caught myself thinking how much I admire her professionalism & drive. Raising three kids is a full on job in itself, but Dana also started her brand & continues building it in the not so easy current economic & political environment in Russia. Yet, she doesn’t show any signs of stress – she is calm, smiling & very focussed on what she wants to achieve. She continues to develop & add more products to the already impressive range, does events & engages directly with consumers & retailers in a personal way. No task is too difficult, no target unachievable, if Dana puts her mind to it. She just puts her head down & makes things happen, while giving consumers products that engage their senses & nurture their skin.

Berezka Lab Nail Serum

Nails take about four months to grow from base to the top, so looking at them an experienced practitioner would be able to tell quite a lot about your read more

In time for autumn equinox: Bodhi and Birch Limited Edition Bath & Shower Oils collection

As autumn arrived on our doorstep, with cooler temperatures & beautiful foliage strewn across the roads, it also heralds peaceful contemplation of the changes to your skin & body care routines. With showers being quicker & easier, but baths being more indulgent & relaxing, new limited edition Bath & Shower Oil collection from Bodhi and Birch offers you ultimate moments of indulgence not just for your senses, but for your body as well, which is going through seasonal adjustments.

Jumping into shower is second nature to most of us, but an occasional indulgence with a long bath shouldn’t be underestimated. Elijah Choo, founder & creative force behind Bodhi & Birch, contemplated this, as he hand-blended finest essential oils in his lab in order to create antidotes to the stresses of modern life. With my kids firmly in the grip of a new school year & after school activities, I feel that we all need another holiday & as it isn’t forthcoming until Christmas, running a bath & inhaling the new scents that Elijah crafted, allows me to let go of the worries, while doing poetic escapades in the depth of my mind, aided by intriguing notes that my nose & mind try to decipher.

A beautiful box that fits into the palm of your hand, has beautiful art motives in blues & purples, providing a calm vision before your eyes, before you slide the box cover to reveal three pretty bottles nestled inside. The first intriguing aspect is that while each clear bottle with a black screw-on lid looks one colour against the white box background, it change magically, if you hold each against the light. A little meditation in itself – stop, pause, discover. Longer & deeper breaths that make us feel more grounded & calmer. A journey of discovery begins.

Rosa Verde  promises to ‘gently lift your mood, restore the spirit & awaken your soul’. Rose is renowned for its rejuvenating & renewing powers over our senses, while Lime & Geranium help to sooth & uplift the frowns from the forehead & Frankincense grounds & helps to balance the hormones.

The way to use each of the bath & shower oils in this collection is to pour a cupful into a warm bath & enjoy the aromatherapeutic benefits. Alternatively Elijah recommends massaging a few drops onto your torso, breathing in the aroma & making sure you take deeper breaths & then stepping into the shower to wash day’s grime or troubles away.

My eldest is a big fan of Bodhi & Birch bath products & chooses them in the evening before his shower, depending on what kind of a day he has had. Interestingly enough, this one turned out to be his favourite out of the three. Do be aware that those products were developed for adults, not children use, so make your judgement accordingly.

I, on the other hand, found it a little bit too feminine, as the scent developed on my skin after direct application. I thoroughly enjoyed the full renewing benefit though when I poured the oil directly into the the running water, inhaling the scent as the bath filled up. Later, luxuriating in the bath, while reading Maria Sharapova’s biography, I appreciated the olfactory experience provided by this particular oil more fully than in the shower.  Not sure if Maria is a bath fan, but I am a big fan of her talent, as well as Elijah’s !

Jasmin de Lune ‘is a powerful blend for helping relax your body & mind’. Jasmine Absolu reduces stress & promotes quality sleep ( I am truly addicted to Jasmine Falls bath & Shower Therapy, which help me sleep like a princess & look as relaxed as a queen in the morning ), High-Altitude Lavender soothes the senses, while Vetiver acts as a natural sedative, without the side effects or drowsiness. It’s worth noting that high-altitude Lavender is more potent compared to other types of lavender, so expect a deeper sense of relaxation all around.

This is the product I would recommend you reach out for when you feel really tired or had a truly stressful day, when stress seems to linger & holds you in its tight grip. This bath & shower oil is up to the task of breaking the uncomfortable grip for good. I also want to note how soothing this & other two oils in this collection feel on the skin when you apply it directly to it – do make sure to do a patch test though, if you are new to essential oils or have skin sensitivities. My skin felt not only nurtured, but well moisturised after the bath, so when I was testing those bath & shower oils I didn’t feel the need to moisturise my skin after gently towel-drying my skin. Part of the reason was that I don’t use the water that is too hot, as it dehydrates the skin. The other contributing factor is that Elijah fuses the essential oil blends with a carrier Safflower oil, which is a potent hydrator. Safflower Oil is also packed with essential vitamins that keep skin soft & supple. It worth noting that using those bath & shower oils isn’t recommended, if you are expecting.

La Botanica, the most intriguing of the trio for me personally, ‘revitalises the body & revives the senses’. Lemon & Eucalyptus oils energise read more