Mindset

Slow Beauty in a Fast World

Shel Pink’s approach to beauty and spa rituals draws on ancient wisdom
BY Tara MacIsaac TIMEJune 17, 2022 PRINT

Shel Pink sat mesmerized, watching a tortoise on his slow—somehow self-satisfied—walk across her kitchen floor. Step by deliberate step, he seemed in a constant state of meditative calm. Pink’s son had brought home his class pet, Torti, and what a contrast he provided to Pink’s own fast-paced life.

That was about 10 years ago, and “it was just the beginning of all these social media platforms,” Pink said. “I was beginning to feel the stress of checking these multiple voicemails and multiple emails and the smartphone, and I knew things were just going to keep speeding up.”

Torti inspired her to create “Slow Beauty.”

Slow Beauty is a philosophy and a regimen. It’s about slowing down just a little each day, about establishing daily rituals that nourish the body and mind.

Her book, “Slow Beauty,” outlines the thought behind it all. Her product line, Sparitual, provides oils, lotions, and more for daily rituals; the recipes are inspired by ancient spa traditions and tap into nature’s healing power.

“It’s more intentional than just getting a lotion at the drugstore and putting it on,” Pink said. Her products were sustainably sourced long before that was something people thought much about. Pink takes pride in being green.

Traditional wisdom and the beauty business have blended naturally in her life. Her mother was into alternative healing methods and an organic way of life. Pink’s father-in-law, Jeff Pink, is the founder of the well-known nail polish maker Orly. Pink joined the family business and began to see how she could weave her wellness-focused upbringing into the beauty industry.

“We live in this hyper-productive world, but we have to remember how important it is to slow down. You almost need to have courage to do it,” she said. “Taking this time out is vitally important to showing up more in life, to being productive in a more productive way.”

All the go-go-go, “I’m so busy, I’m so busy” is an addictive behavior, Pink said.

“This is what’s leading to stress, anxiety, disease, burnout, and adrenal fatigue.”

The Daily Ritual

Slow beauty in a fast world
Shel Pink (Mediacraft)

Pink’s daily ritual includes dry body brushing before her shower, a self-massage with nourishing oils after her shower, spending time in nature, and moving her body. Much of her ritual is inspired by the ancient Indian approach to wellness called Ayurveda.

“Trends will come and go,” Pink said. “But I think the [practices] that are most beneficial are the ones that are ancient traditions. … They’re proven. They’ve been around for thousands of years.”

Dry body brushing, an Ayurvedic practice, exfoliates the skin and promotes circulation. It’s invigorating because it stimulates the nervous system. It’s said by some to detoxify the body by stimulating the lymphatic system and unclogging pores for sweat to carry toxins out more easily, though some experts say these benefits are unproven.

Pink’s post-shower oil massage is called abhyanga in Ayurveda.

“When we apply touch and nourishing ingredients to our body daily, it has a cumulative effect,” she said. Touch is good for the body, she said. The oils also make for healthy skin, and “when our skin feels healthy, we feel healthier.”

In the traditional practice, sesame oil is used because it’s so nourishing and you even rub it into your hair. Pink gets an ayurvedic practitioner to do the whole shebang for her every once in a while, but she does it herself a little differently on a daily basis. She rubs the oil only up to her neck and she has developed a different massage oil because sesame tends to stain clothes. Her oil includes jojoba, shea, and cacao because they also nourish but absorb more easily.

Pink takes daily walks on nature trails near her home.

“It’s so important to immerse yourself in nature. There are so many benefits to helping with stress and anxiety and regulating your nervous system. It increases your vitamin D levels to have that exposure to natural sunlight, which helps regulate your moods.”

Meditation and yoga also help her. She recalled her college years, in the late 1980s, when she had to seek a yoga studio far off campus because “there weren’t yoga studios … on every corner like there are now.” Pink’s mother raised her to be ahead of her time.

 

Sunflower Shea Summer Oil Recipe, “Slow Beauty” by Shel Pink

“She oil makes a great summer base because it’s light and absorbs quickly. No tonly that, but it’s extremely moisturizing and rich in vitamin E. Sunflower oil promotes hydration, while hole basil essential oil increases endurance and relieves joint pain.”

 

Makes 4 ounces

¼ cup shea oil

¼ cup sunflower oil

3 to 4 drops holy basil essential oil

Pour the shea and sunflower oils into a glass measuring cup or beaker and stir them together. Add the holy basil essential oil and stir until all the ingredients are combined. Transfer to a storage container. Use approximately 1 tablespoon per day for your self-massage.

 

Ahead of Her Time

As a child, Pink learned to consider the ingredients in home and beauty products. Her mother taught her how to check labels. Her mother distrusted plastic, fearing health effects from leaching, so she had milk delivered in glass bottles. She was concerned about the pesticides used in their Michigan neighborhood—a worry confirmed, Pink said, in Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” a seminal book for environmental science.

“Everyone thought my mom was eccentric at the time, but it turned out she was just several steps ahead of the world at large,” Pink said.

When Pink started putting together her organic, sustainably sourced line of beauty products to sell to spas about 16 years ago, she was also ahead of the world at large.

“In the beginning, it was so niche and so many people thought with these cleaner ingredients it wasn’t going to work,” Pink said. Yet the few who were on board were very enthusiastic.

Now, it’s common for companies to make sustainability pledges, and the beauty industry has more ethically sourced, natural products. “This is a wonderful thing,” Pink said. But she suggests consumers remain wary and favor brands that are truly transparent about their ingredients and sources. “I’m really happy to be a legacy brand,” she said. Sparitual has earned trust over the years, she said.

More spas have gotten on board with incorporating traditional practices, including Ayurveda, Pink said. She is also interested in traditions from Japan, including wabi sabi, which is the idea that the “imperfections” of nature are beautiful. Pink cites this idea in her book as a way for people to love themselves and see their own beauty, a way we can create a new standard of beauty.

She also likes the idea of kintsugi, the Japanese art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with gold seams. It’s often seen as a metaphor for making broken things even more beautiful than they were whole, even the broken parts of oneself.

‘Beauty Is Inherently Spiritual’

Pink’s approach to beauty includes, and even sees as most important, working on inner beauty. Mind and body are one, she said, and “beauty is inherently spiritual.”

She speaks of being present, not dwelling on the past or dreaming of the future. She speaks of not seeing failures, but only lessons. She speaks of the courage to walk one’s own path and not sign onto something just because others do.

In her book, she helps the reader design his or her own map to wellness. It includes spa rituals and seasonal recipes, but also considerations of what music one listens to and what one surrounds oneself with and fills oneself with. It’s about “designing your inner home,” she said, choosing the furnishings and decor. She is intentional about what she puts into her “inner home” and also what comes out.

“What if each word we spoke was a blessing we put into the world?” she wrote. “Speak poetically about yourself and others. When you speak, you are concretizing ideas. You are giving them a form that lives in the world, in someone’s ear, settles in their mind, and that may one day flow from their lips. Choose your words wisely.”

​​Tara MacIsaac is an editor and reporter who has worked on a variety of topics over the course of her 10 years with The Epoch Times, including science, the environment, and local New York news. She is currently working with The Epoch Times edition based in Southern California.
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