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  • Susan Porter

11 global beauty rituals to try at home Part 2

As a diehard traveler, I have done all sorts of escapist things to try to replicate my beloved globetrotting vibe while stuck at home during Covid. I’ve cooked traditional recipes from around the world, I’ve taken the time to organize my photos from past trips, I’ve read and watched countless transportive books and movies.

If you want to travel to Morocco specifically:

...turn your bathroom into a hammam

As one of the oldest self-care traditions around the world, a hammam is a steam room where people go to cleanse themselves — fully naked. “A hammam purifies the skin by removing all of the dead skin and sweating out toxins in the heated room,” explains Malika Rojhani, spa director of the Royal Mansour in Marrakech. “The black soap and traditional Kessa mitt (basically an exfoliating glove) is the base of every hammam, but you can adjust to use local items as well,” she continues.

To recreate a hammam at home: run a hot shower or fill your bathtub with hot water until the bathroom is quite steamy. Then, soak in the hot water for several minutes to prepare your skin for the scrub — it should be hot to avoid irritation, Rojhani advises. Once your skin is ready, apply traditional Moroccan black soap all over your body, leave it on for about two to three minutes, and then rinse it off. If you don’t have traditional black soap, you can use regular soap, too, but it must be oil-free and fragrance-free, Rojhani cautions, as the hydrating ingredients will not allow the scrub to work properly. (Pro tip from the Kessala, the women who do the scrubbing in traditional hammams: add a few drops of lemon juice if you have oily skin.)

After you’ve rinsed off all the black soap, scrub your entire body with a Kessa mitt to remove dead skin cells. For the final touch, Rojhani recommends taking a cue from Royal Mansour’s signature treatment and whipping up a natural body wrap using traditional Moroccan Ghassoul clay powder (you can find it on Amazon), rose water, and one tablespoon of Argan oil. Leave it on for five minutes after you finish scrubbing, then rinse it off. “Your skin will feel purified and extremely soft,” Rojhani says.

If you want to travel to China/Southeast Asia:

...try gua sha

Gua sha is an ancient Chinese beauty tradition that dates back more than 4000 years, and is all about scraping your skin with massage tools to improve circulation. “In the US, gua sha is largely tied to its ability to sculpt the face, but many people don’t realize that it has a rich history and so many healing capabilities that go far deeper than physical looks,” explains Lin Chen, founder and CEO of the sustainable beauty company Pink Moon. “As a big part of traditional Chinese medicine—or TCM—gua sha is great for relieving tension anywhere in the body, in addition to improving blood flow, inflammation, sinus pressure, congestion, and lymphatic drainage. It can also help your skincare products work more effectively, as gua sha tools can push the nutrients into your skin.”

To try gua sha at home, pick up a tool online or at Chen’s shop Pink Moon (the heart-shaped rose quartz tool is seriously beautiful). While most people are familiar with the jade roller—one of the more popular gua sha tools—Chen says that her heart-shaped stone is especially great for beginners. “Rose quartz has a cooling effect that helps soothe inflammation and reduce puffiness, and in terms of energetic healing, it’s also tied to self-love, compassion, and kindness,” she continues. To do it on your face: clean off all your makeup, apply a thin layer of face oil (though any face oil will do, you can also get it at Pink Moon), and use the tool to gently push your skin up for about five minutes, using light to medium pressure and upward strokes only.“The key is to keep the stone as flat and close to the skin as possible—at about a 15-degree angle—to make the most of the energetic healing effects of the stone,” Chen advises. To do it on your body: apply a thin layer of oil or balm to the area you are treating, and then use quicker strokes that go upward or downward; you can also use harder pressure than you do on the face. Doing gua sha on your neck is particularly useful for lymphatic drainage—which removes toxins and waste from your body tissues—but for this, downward strokes are best.

If you want to travel to India…

...try an Ayurvedic stress-relieving scalp treatment called pichu

Known as the sister science to yoga, Ayurveda is the ancient Hindu medical system of holistic healing that originated in India around 5000 years ago. “Ayurveda teaches us that each person has a unique energy pattern and makes it clear that a one-size-fits-all approach to healing isn’t the best path for genuine wellness,” explains Ayurvedic practitioner Dr. Pratima Raichur, founder of Ayurvedic brand Pratima Skincare. “An Ayurvedic health journey shows us that true healing involves an ongoing participatory process where close attention to the ‘right’ diet, thinking, lifestyle, and herbal supplementation can lead to a more absolute state of health and beauty—from the inside out.”

To try an Ayurvedic treatment at home, Dr. Raichur suggests pichu therapy. To make: heat up one quarter cup of sunflower oil in a small pot so that it’s only slightly warm (be careful not to overheat it). Then, add three to five drops of either rose, jasmine, or sandalwood essential oil—whichever one you like best. Next, dip a small washcloth in the oil, gently wring it out, and fold it in half. Finally, sit back or lie down, and place the cloth horizontally on your head, starting half an inch above your eyebrows and going over the top of your scalp. When the cloth starts cooling down, place it back inside the warm oil mixture and repeat.

“This whole treatment reduces mental tension, activates the ‘third eye’—a point within the frontal lobe associated with intuition—and quiets the mind from ‘mental chatter,’ known as chitta vritti,” Dr. Raichur explains. Sounds pretty perfect for our current state of affairs, right? I don’t know about you, but in these trying pandemic times, filled with all sorts of uncertainty and anxiety, the ability to quiet my mind may just be exactly what I need.

If you’re longing for your next great adventure, let’s talk travel! Join in the upcoming February 2022 tour. You can get in contact with me to schedule your over the phone complimentary planning session https://ComplimentaryplanningsessionwithSusanPorter.as.me/.

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