By Betsy Aaron
O joy, the hols. ‘Tis the season that makes me cranky. I’ve spewed forth before on why I’m out of sorts this time of year: I don’t like the red and green palette, the ubiquitous tuneage in heavy-rotation and above all, the pressure to appear jolly. I’d rather spend the month in India—and maybe next year I will. For now, I’ll indulge in the uplifting art of self-gifting.
My holiday-induced despair stems from not having been raised with the traditions. I did however attend a neighborhood midnight mass as an interloper. I found the ritual dark, exotic and distinctly other. I associate these feelings now with frankincense. It’s not for everyone, scent-wise. If you like girly florals, prepare your nose for something completely different. It’s wintery, peppery and, if you were raised with or drawn to exotic, churchly rituals, it will take you back like cookies from Proust. Frankincense is potent stuff. Rejuvenating Frankincense Facial Serum, Hydrating Cream, Firming Neck Cream, Shower Cream and Body Lotion from Neals Yard Remedies now comprise my ritual of preference. They promise to target signs of aging like visible wrinkles, dryness and reduced elasticity–and reader, they do. The products are light on the skin, refreshing, readily absorbed. They are deeply fragrant and leave your skin feeling soft, smooth and satiny. Ah, I feel good.
At this time of year, necessary indulgence has no limit. The Sensory Renewal Body Oil Collection from Primavera provides a multitude of ways to self-pamper. This gift set, so perfect for self, includes body oils in ginger lime for energizing, lavender vanilla for relaxing, rose sallow thorn for restoring and juniper cypress for cleansing. These scented soothers are my new secret for managing, and softening, my oh so many holiday-induced moods.
To relieve the pressure of making the perfect entrance at mandatory holiday soirees, Rejuvenate Cocoa Bean Targeted Wrinkle Treatment from Amala is simply a must. It’s miraculous at erasing facial fissures on contact and it fits inside the tiniest pouch or purse for touch-ups on the go. If you only get yourself one gift, make it this.
Available: http://www.amalabeauty.com and ABC Home, New York
Kiss winter snakeskin au revoir by giving yourself the gift of shea butter.
Hair and Body Butter from Yamerra comes in flavors like Sultry: Mango, Lemon-Fire Bliss: Lemongrass and Be Bodacious: Tangerine Grapefruit. I use them from top to toe to condition my hair and soften my mitts, heels and elbows. For moisturizing and maintaining an aura of wellbeing, a little goes a long way. If you are lucky enough to have a winter escape, these balmy beauties are just the right size for travel.
Next year in Pondicherry I’ll be speaking French, eating Creole and smelling divinely Indian. For now, I’m cleansing and moisturizing my personal temple with Satvik Revitalizing Shower Gel, Ashwagandha Gentle Face Cleanser and Revitalizing Body Moisturizer from Au Naturel Ayurveda. The shower gel and body lotion are scented with vetiver, which smells something like burning leaves, in a good way. They nourish the skin and leave it moisturized, revitalized and cloaked in scent all day. The facial cleanser gently cleanses and leaves skin glowing. This luxurious trio makes me feel more at peace with myself, more in harmony with the hols and closer to where I want to spend them—India. Au Naturel Ayurveda’s philosophy is to provide total bliss and they succeed.