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Sensing Health (part 2)

Updated: Jul 22, 2020

Anointing the body and hair with scented oils is an ancient beauty and health practice. Scenting the body and hair with naturally fragrant oils feels sensual, spiritual, centering and healthy. To me it allows for a touch of euphoria and a state of higher being, even if fleeting. Smelling good is a sign of health, a full-stop primordial measure. One we should intuitively trust and celebrate. We seek our mates by scent, babies recognize their mother’s through scent and we can know our bodies are in balance through scent. Why then has so much of the scent industry focused on masking rather than blessing? Why hasn’t scent been more thoughtfully utilized to bring nutrients, vitamins and minerals to the skin? Why are the mood boosting powers of aromatherapy still hanging out on the fringe of pseudo-science? I personally see and feel the beneficial effects of natural scent on every part of my life. Because it's at the top I will start with my hair. Washing my long hair more regularly than ever would be a concern and a chore were it not for the sensory pleasure (and shiny results) of the clean and purifying ingredients of French Lavender Hair Wash followed by the Ocean or Moonflower Hair Conditioner These are rich in herbs that tingle on contact, open the airways and leave a clean, fresh aromatic, botanical, plant worship wonderfulness on hair. I can’t stop inhaling all day long. Little things make up the term “hair wellness” and at Red Flower we have mastered the ceremonial art of ritual to even the smallest daily cleansing routine.

Hair care is an artform starting with the scalp, intensely invigorate the scalp with the fingertips every step of the washing and conditioning process and rinse with cool water. This stimulates blood flow, helps revive the hair follicles and adds an element of contrast hydrotherapy that seals moisture into strands. Natural scent binds quickly to the hair and adds to the purifying and softening steps. I always follow with a few mists of Japan Rose Camellia Soft Water Mist to help reverse any damage of hard water and boost with a delicate, all natural rosy, plum scent and shine.

Now to the body, where to begin? Wash with Japan Yuzu Mimosa Sea Algae Wash to capture the delicate burst of pink flowers that are mimosa. Release the glow of yuzu citrus under hot running water. Stimulate, invigorate, connect to the spiritual aspects of cleansing by letting the mind be on a scent voyage to a faraway Japanese Onsen. These are essential moments of immune boosting prevention and the high dose of antioxidants and vitamin C concentrated and naturally occurring in this wash heighten the immune response with aromatherapeutic induced relaxation. Relaxation is coveted, anxiety is real and one of the few places you are nearly guaranteed relief is in the shower. To me, it is a necessity to take that bathing practice seriously and completely. Just look at the science behind what I have coined “shower moments” where more solutions to complicated academic problems have been resolved while showering. This is no scientific lark, but well documented neurological proof that when we enhance our time in the shower with ingredients that smell and feel good, our brains relax and become more effective and productive.

I believe in layering smell and choosing what moisture to apply based on listening to our bodies. Just like acknowledging cravings as a way to manage a healthy and lasting diet, listen to your body when it asks for something grounding and spicy versus a citrus or floral aroma. I like to keep three oils and three lotions/creams at my vanity, smell each and explore how they make me feel - in broad strokes spicier scents are grounding, herbs tend to be balancing, florals heady and citrus stimulating. Layer oil on when skin is damp directly after bathing and for creams and lotions directly over oil. The molecules in oil penetrate more quickly so help to restore moisture balance. My special combinations are Cardamom Amber Oil followed by Palo Santo Softening Lotion to feel grounded, Italian Blood Orange Aromatherapeutic Body Oil paired with Hammam Tangerine Butter Fig Cream to warm and stimulate or Japan Kinmoxie Wild Lime Silk Oil followed by Ocean Softening Lotion for a glowing summer cool.

By thinking of the cleansing and moisturizing aspects of daily life as a practice and engaging in the fullness of the moment you can transform the mundane to the ceremonial. Bathing with whole plant essential oils that are rich in glorious scent give back to every sense. Flower power in action.

Yael Alkalay, CEO and Founder, Red Flower

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