We have all heard of slow food, slow cooking, slow travel and even slow fashion and now… slow skincare. It is the new buzzword. It’s attractive, instagrammable and it sounds enticing, but what on earth does it actually mean?
What is slow skincare really all about?
In order to properly understand this new phenomenon, where it comes from and where exactly it is taking us, we need to take a journey into the past. To a time before things got fast and furious, and let’s face it, pretty stressful too.
Two hundred years ago people ate what was available locally and in season, pickling and preserving fruit, nuts, herbs and roots to make them last through the winter. Skincare products were also made from the same sources, the oils of plants were distilled or cold pressed to extract their most potent and healing properties. In many cases, skincare, food and medicine were all the same thing.
From health and healing to toxic – Where did we go wrong?
Following the chaos and deprivation suffered all over Europe during the second world war and with the renewed vigour and optimism of peace, not to mention the demands posed by a post war baby boom, it is hardly surprising that the awesome new technological advances were used to massively increase production yield. Sadly, the after effect of this incredible crop producing success was that quality took a nosedive. Everything from food, medicine, cosmetics, textiles and skincare became mass produced and increasingly toxic to our bodies and our planet.
Extreme action was needed.
The future is slow
And here is where our past and future collides. It has been a rude awakening, but we have had to relearn the wisdom of the ancients. Return to our origins. Go natural, local and yes, slow down.
Happily, organic food is no longer a niche market. With consumers demanding healthier and more sustainable produce, services and products, suppliers are being forced to get on board, but we are still a long way from the all natural, ecological, fair trade and organic lifestyle that we want to see.
The next natural step is skincare
Slow skincare is about making sure that what you put on your body is as good for you as what you put in it.
And about the processes that go into making it.
Because what you really want is not to eat it as such, but to feel assured that the same food-grade, plant-based ingredients that you would like to see in your kitchen and on your table are going into your skin creams, hair products and ointments.
Imagine a skin cream that is made entirely of pure essential oils, cold-pressed, artisanal, and extracted from natural and often wild sources, laid on an aloe vera carrier base. Does that sound enticing?
What are essential oils & extracts?
Before we get ahead of ourselves though, let’s have a look at what essential oils actually are.
They are the “essence” of a plant, extracted by cold-press – a very delicate low heat technique that avoids degrading the nutritional quality. They carry within them all the nutrients, fragrances and healing properties of the plant.
Essential oils have been used throughout history in folk medicine as well as in skin care, perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and even food flavouring. The first mention of them dates back to 12th century Spain, when they were used by Pharmacist and Physician Ibn al-Baitar. And it is this quiet little fact that resonates most. Since time immemorial, these oils were the building blocks used to make medicines. And now, once again, we are beginning to afford them the value they deserve