A slow, gradual approach to beauty and not relying on quick fixes has been my philosophy for years. Beauty starts with being kind to yourself - taking time to eat fresh, seasonal food, getting into a proper skincare routine and taking time to work out regularly. You can use makeup to cover things, but it never looks good if your skin underneath isn’t in a good place to begin with - there aren’t really any true quick fixes.
The skin takes 28 days to renew, so that's the minimum time it takes to start seeing the benefits of anything new
Slow beauty is about sticking with things for long enough that you start to see a positive change in the way you look and feel. The skin takes 28 days to renew itself, so that's the minimum amount of time it takes to start seeing the benefits of anything new – a bit like exercising, results take time. Beauty is as much about diet, wellness and paying attention to your lifestyle as it is about beauty products.
I always try to include lots of fresh, seasonal vegetables in my diet; I don’t go a day without eating vegetables, whether it’s a green juice or a seasonal recipe. I always make sure to drink plenty of water too. I exercise regularly including Kundalini and Yin yoga. I’ve done all sorts of yoga but these are slower, meditative styles. I find that sometimes, when you actually take a moment and go slower instead of rushing and panicking, it makes exercise easier. If you take time going into a shot in tennis, or you take a moment to get into a good rhythm and flow when you’re dancing, it takes the pressure off you and it all comes more easily.
I’m completely obsessed with amazing skin, so I am really disciplined with my skincare routine too. I would never work out wearing makeup. Nor would I ever go to bed with my makeup still on and cleansing is something I always make time for morning, night and at work.
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Not taking the time for yourself will lead you to becoming stressed over time and it will start to affect the way you look and the way you feel. When I am really busy and my schedule is hectic, I try to remind myself to slow down and take time. I am prone to rushing about, so I like to take time to prepare a meal or work out, or spend a few moments indulging in my skincare routine. Just give yourself time out at some point during the day; it doesn’t have to take long, but just preparing a meal and sitting down to eat it, making sure you digest it properly, or spending a few minutes to massage in your cleansing milk when you remove your makeup – it can be something really simple. Sometimes it's nice to go for a treatment somewhere and have a massage or a facial to restore some calm and be kind to the body.
I believe that everyone has their own journey and will do these things in their own time, whenever it’s right for them. Most people I work with are very busy people that need to look good all the time, and so they are already usually quite aware of looking after themselves properly. If your schedule is super fast-paced and you travel all the time, but you don’t look after yourself, then at some point the body will stop functioning properly and burn out.
When my body is relaxed I can see it in my skin. It’s less red and I have fewer spots. You look calm on the outside when you’re calm on the inside. When you do sport and mindfulness exercises and eat well, you have an inner radiance.
My 'slow beauty' staples
Body By Simone and Beth Johnson Nicely in New York do dance classes which encourage this sort of philosophy when it comes to exercise. I went to a beginners tap dance class with Beth recently, the energy felt really tribal and I was sweating like crazy. I also do one-on-ones there - because I’m no spring chicken and I’m quite competitive, so I need to be kinder to myself. Then I can ask her to put on the sort of music I like: Michael Jackson, Prince, Beyonce, Rihanna. I like learning routines and did a dance routine on stage at my birthday party to Madonna (I hired a couple of backing dancers to make me look good!). I find dance really mindful. I can overthink things and when you are dancing you can’t think about anything else, you can just focus on yourself. And it also uses both sides of the brain.
When I'm in London, I do Yin yoga at the Light Centre in Belgravia. I discovered Kundalini yoga at Chiva-Som in Thailand earlier this year and I now have a once a week Skype class with the teacher there.
When it comes to skincare, Decleor is very good at the ‘slow beauty’ approach. Their products can be adapted depending on the season and the aromatherapy ethos of the brand is all about taking time for yourself and being consistent with your routine, which I’m a big believer in. The new Decleor Boutique opened in West London last week and they have a new concept called ‘ Face Shots ’. These are 15-minute drop-in facial massages to help lift certain areas of the face.
You have your massage performed by a therapist in front of a mirror, which has a camera that records it all. They email you the video so you can watch it back at home, like a tutorial, so that you can remember it and keep it up. That’s a great thing to go and do if you want to get started with slow beauty.
When I work out, I’ll only wear a light hydrator such as Decleor Aurabsolu Refreshing Mist , which is light and has essential oils.
Another brand I really like is Susanne Kaufmann – she does some gorgeous organic bath products that are great for after exercise or for when you need to relax and switch off. My favourite is the Herbal Whey Bath powder. It’s very nourishing and whey softens the skin.
Food and supplements
I always notice a difference when I make home-made green vegetable juices and when I take my probiotics and Skinade supplements. I like to use Decleor’s Aromessence Neroli Essential Super Serum too. I use it before I work out, rubbing three drops between my palms to release the essential oils and then I inhale deeply from my diaphragm. It’s a great tip if you want to give yourself a moment to ground yourself before a busy day.
My book, Eat Beautifu l is another slow beauty staple for me. Even though I wrote it, I use it a bit like a handbook as it’s got all of the information in one place that I need to know for achieving amazing skin and nourishing the body from the inside out. Whether it’s a recipe I want to make or a natural remedy I need to look up in the herbal pharmacy section – I use it all the time!
One of the things I find that works really well when I need to get good sleep and prepare myself for a busy time ahead, is through meditating. I wrote a piece about how to get started with meditatio n on my website - it’s something I find that really works wonders. I started with Headspace , which I still use on flights as the have it on Virgin Atlantic. At the moment I’m using an app called Insight Timer which has free guided meditations. Often my clients such as Gisele will send me meditations they are using. Why I can’t do meditation every day I don’t know, but once I have done it I feel great. I like to move and yoga for me is also moving meditation.
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