Shel Pink—who founded SpaRitual, a line of beauty products designed to encourage us to maintain a “Slow Beauty” practice—believes we should all spend a little more time savoring the everyday rituals of self-care (and a little less time on social media). Here’s why.

LivingHealthy: What’s your take on the current state of women and beauty?

Shel Pink: In the past, women were just following what was promoted to us as the definition of beauty. Now, we question what we see. We’re redefining beauty and expanding that to include health and wellness. I believe it’s more about sustainable self-care as opposed to a race against the clock or a drive for perfectionism.

LH: What does “sustainable self-care” mean?

Pink: It means understanding we have to support ourselves and care for ourselves first in order to support others—not in a narcissistic way, but in a caring way. Before, beauty was a pursuit of vanity. Now, we acknowledge we have an inner life that we need to nurture, protect and develop. More women are waking up to and connecting with this idea.

LH: Do you think the cosmetics industry supports or undermines how we think of beauty?

Pink: A lot of campaigns for women are starting to shift. When we see images, they have an effect on us subconsciously. Look at social media. Even being aware of that helps us take control and lets us be the pilot of our own health and wellness and beauty.

LH: Is this the message behind Slow Beauty?

Pink: Slow Beauty is ultimately about the practice of sustainable self-care, every day. As part of the practice I’m suggesting we include more rituals in our lives. If you look at the great religions of the world, there are reasons why there are blessings, prayers and milestones. They help ground us and connect us and create meaning in our lives. We can create rituals out of simple beauty routines, and expand our beauty routines to include health and wellness practices beyond just using products.

LH: What’s a Slow Beauty ritual that anyone can try at home?

Pink: A morning ritual involves a sugar scrub, cupping it in your hands, breathing in calm and breathing out stress. You start your day with a multisensory connection—you use [the scrub] to wash your hands, and then apply a hand serum and hand salve. It takes five minutes or less, but there’s a slow-breathing exercise involved and it feels great. The idea of this ritual is to begin your day in a state of calm. In the evening, a ritual before bed could be soaking your feet in water, using a sugar scrub and foot file, and again doing the cupping and breathing exercise. Massage your feet with a foot balm, then spray SpaRitual Close Your Eyes fragrance mist over your bed. The idea of this ritual is to return to the state of calm in which you began your day and create space for a good night’s sleep.

LH: How did you come up with the idea of Slow Beauty?

Pink: It is something I’ve been practicing for as long as I can remember, yet I didn’t name it until seven years ago when my son asked if he could bring home the class pet, Torti the tortoise. He became our houseguest and I really connected with his slow pace. There was no rushing—this was tortoise medicine for me. It was a Zen satori moment. I observed his slow way of life and the term “slow beauty” came to mind. Torti was a great inspiration to me.

LH: Did this inspire your SpaRitual line of beauty products?

Pink: My upbringing did. It was my mom teaching me that health is wealth and that we have to pay attention to what we eat, what we put on our body and the toxins in the environment. In college I discovered yoga and meditation, and after I graduated, I learned about Ayurveda. When I had the opportunity to create a line of beauty products, I wanted to offer a healthier option for professional service providers, since they work day in and day out with the products. They also have the unique opportunity to educate their clients on making healthier product choices. From the beginning, SpaRitual has been about sustainability. SpaRitual provides some of the tools to help people develop a Slow Beauty practice.

LH: What makes SpaRitual products “a healthier option”?

Pink: The entire product range is vegan—we do not formulate with animal by-products. For our nail lacquer range, we do not formulate with formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene or DBP. At first, it was a challenge to sell to spas and salons because there was a perception that if it was “eco-friendly,” it wouldn't work. We don’t come across that anymore. It’s too big a movement now. 

LH: What are your future plans for Slow Beauty and where can we learn more about it?

Pink: My blog is SlowBeauty.com. I want people to know that the idea of Slow Beauty is not stagnant, it’s fluid, and I hope readers will contribute their ideas of what Slow Beauty means to them and how they practice it so that together we can move things forward. Each and every person can be the visionary for her own life. Being inspired is great, but being your own visionary is better.