We all know that popular truism “be yourself, unless you can be a mermaid, then always be a mermaid,” right? Well, those words are something I happen to take very seriously, particularly because it’s winter, and that means it’s cold...at least here in NYC. The climate right now is so decidedly unfriendly to mermaids, which is why I have taken it upon myself to create a mermaid ritual in the confines of my apartment.
I am a creature of habit, and honestly, I think the steps of taking care of myself sometimes have more of an impact on my emotional state than the actual products I use. The products are great, sure, but the actual experience of taking time for myself is what is really therapeutic. For example, I am a creature who is always on the move, so I have developed a very bad habit recently of taking my meals standing up, piece by piece, as opposed to taking the time to create a full on plated experience for myself that I could actually sit and enjoy. No good. Why? Well for one thing, it’s rife territory for a life that is only experienced passively, and it also deeply unsatisfying. But, this we know.
Same thing goes for a mask. Applying one and doing a million other tasks might be productive, but does it really make that self-care time enjoyable? No. And every once in awhile this is fine, but in 2017, I want to spend more time being mindful of my experiences and this means being present for them. Not thinking about those million other things I need to be doing.
Back to mermaids. A few months ago, I discovered a face mask that is made for a mermaid lifestyle. Seriously. It’s wonderful, tropical and it makes your skin look like you just walked out of a fairy tale. Not to mention, it’s made of distinctly Hawaiian ingredients, so you can’t help but feel like you are basking in the sun, glistening tail in view. Oh, did I mention it’s seaweed green?
Meet the aptly named Mermaid Mask by Leahlani. This little pot of emerald goodness packs a very serious superfood punch. Why is the potent paste green? Well, for starters, it contains organic spirulina and organic chlorella, which are superfoods known for their purification properties. Leah Kaslovsky, the founder of Leahlani tells me, “The organic premium chlorella we use is perhaps the world's best known superfood due to its well-balanced ratios of proteins, nutrients, vitamins and minerals. This green beauty has high levels of skin-loving vitamins A and C, and will deeply cleanse and renew the skin with each use.” So into it.
Add that spirulina and chlorella to raw honey, clay algae, orange and chamomile essential oils, white lotus flower absolute and coriander seed, and what you get is a tropical concoction that was made to purify the skin. Perfect for cleansing yourself of too much indulgence over the holidays.
You get the antiseptic and antimicrobial properties from the honey, the spirulina helps calm acne and redness, the chlorella helps purify, all the while all of the lovely clays included in the formulation drink up the impurities and oils from your skin that might cause issues. That’s the magic of most of the products formulated by Leah. Leahlanis succeeds at leverage the healing vibes from the ocean in a very holistic way so you can gently, but effectively treat your skin. What’s better is, you feel like a mermaid while wearing the mask, because it’s formulated to stay damp throughout the application—an amazing bonus when you feel like your skin is parched from all the forced heat you've been basking in.
I have taken to using this mask like a mermaid would, but instead of sitting on the beach, I draw myself a warm bath, preferably with Kai bathing bubbles. It gives the whole bathroom a really lovely white floral scented haze, the kind that makes you instantly feel like you are on vacation somewhere balmy. Bonus points because these bubbles are argan and coconut oil based, and thus non drying. That’s always a concern of mine, but particularly when we get to January, maintaining a moisture barrier for my whole body becomes a point of obsession.
Bubbles and candles during a mask are all well and good, but I wanted a way to up my relaxation factor, so I asked the mermaid queen herself for a little advice on how to boost my mask regime into a ritual that feels nourishing beyond its effect on my skin. Turns out, Leah believes in the “mermaid munchies,” and so generously gave me a recipe that made for a quick, easy and healthy snack.
3 tbsp coconut oil
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
1 tsp spirulina
Himalayan sea salt & extra coconut oil to taste
Says, Kaslovsky, “You can simply sprinkle the spirulina powder onto your already made popcorn or pop your own! Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan on the stove at medium to high heat. Add two kernels and wait until they pop, then add the rest of the kernels and give the pot a shake to make sure each kernel is coated in the oil. Cover the pan and continue to gently shake, allowing steam to escape. Remove the pot from the stove when the popping slows or stops and pour your popped kernels into a large bowl! Sprinkle with the spirulina powder, sea salt, and extra coconut oil as you desire.”
All in all, adding a culinary element that required me to prep the food made for a more relaxing bath experience. Yes, it took more time, but the act of going through the steps made me be present for my relaxation time. I had to focus on what I was doing, and thus focus of getting to my point of relaxation. It felt like a labor of love for myself and I really needed it.
So, the next time you are feeling drained, make the extra step to take a simple routine and make it into a ritual that engages you. Whether that’s munching on some mermaid snacks while you mask and read, or mask and chill -- that’s your call. It’s up to you to be the kind of mermaid that you wanna be.