Reducing stress and elevating mood through rituals
We all know that beauty is way more than skin deep, and we also know that no one ever feels beautiful when they are feeling stressed, sad, grumpy, anxious, tired, or plain angry. It is hardly surprising then that now, more than ever, the beauty and wellbeing industry have an invaluable role in helping to lift the moods of our clients, and ourselves, of course.
We are living in extraordinary times with a global pandemic, climate and planet crisis, and political and economic instability worldwide. The beauty and wellbeing industry has historically provided accessible and affordable ‘pick me up’ options in challenging times.
“The Lipstick Effect” can be traced back to the Great Depression of the 1930’s – when even in such desperate times, lipstick sales increased as women needed to have something to help them feel good about themselves. Nearly 100 years later, con nections between beauty, wellbeing, and mood/mental health are widely acknowledged, and we all realize that the way we are feeling has a lot to do with how we are treating ourselves.
Major brands have embraced the ‘hashtag’ #selfcare into their media campaigns, including their professional treatment protocols and at-home product application advice. As industry professionals, we should all be able to incorporate both mood-boosting elements into any professional treatment and offer wellbeing after-care advice for clients to take home. We all know the value of a happy client – one that keeps coming back to YOU for more!
Creating Rituals in the Treatment Room
‘Ritual’ is back as a beauty buzzword, as brands encourage us to consciously connect with skincare routines. Introducing a ritual element to every treatment, no matter how small, gives us a great opportunity to practice mood-boosting beauty. Creating a ‘Signature Opening and Closing Ritual’ for your treatments can help set you apart from other service providers. A signature opening will help your clients relax into the treatment and help the body to recognize this as a time of regeneration and repair. The closing ritual will gently bring the client back into the real world and reinforce the feeling of overall wellbeing, that good work has been done, and that they are ready to step back out into the world.
Igniting the Senses
Inhaling aromas is one of the easiest and quickest ways to change your mood. Using clean, natural candles, diffusers, or burners in your treatment area can immediately create a sense of calm, peace, and relaxation before treatments even begin. As an aromatherapist, I have read many clinical trials on how aromas in products can directly affect your mood. With a growing interest in aromatherapy (working on emotions and physiological effects) and aromachology (the study between smell and purely mood), from both consumers and practitioners, there is an increasing need to understand how it works.
Once odorant molecules bind to olfactory receptors in the middle part of the nasal cavity, they initiate a cascade of neurological processes that activate different parts of the brain and finally lead to the conscious experience of smell. The perception of smell then feeds back to the neurophysiological processes to modulate mood, emotions, cognition, and behavior.
Different aromas help with different moods, and many products now refer to both the mood and physiological effects the consumer will be looking for. For example, a product smelling of zesty, fruity, minty ‘high notes’ will often claim circulation-boosting, wake-up, energy-boosting effects. Conversely, a product with more heavy, earthy notes is likely to be good for calming anxiety, grounding, relaxation, and sleep.
Use the appropriately scented products in your opening and closing rituals. Having a choice of rollerballs or pre-blended oils (relaxing, reviving, head-clearing, emotional release) to offer the client to ‘choose their mood’ adds a personalized touch. Opening each treatment with a two-minute relaxation hand massage or head or shoulder massage and including some guided breathing techniques are really simple and effective ways to ignite the senses and initiate the mood-enhancing effects of treatment.
The Power of Breathwork
Empty the lungs of air, breathe in quietly through the nose for 4 seconds, hold the breath for the count of 7 seconds, and exhale forcefully through the mouth, pursing the lips and making a ‘whoosh’ sound. Then repeat the cycle up to 4 times. Try this 4-7-8 technique with your clients to improve their mood state before a treatment. You can enhance this inhalation by heating a product with a relaxing aroma between your hands (rubbing hands together to release the aroma of the product), then floating your cupped hands’ palms down, above the client’s face as they inhale – removing them for the exhale. This 4-7-8 technique is not only a good way to close a treatment, but also a great ‘take-home’. Giving your client tools and products to continue a mood-boosting beauty routine at home adds value to your treatments and their experience.
The Rise of Self-Care Beauty
Facial massage guides and using beauty tools like gua sha – the application of products is now as important as the ingredients contained within the products because mood-boosting effects cannot come just from a bottle.
The consumer has to participate, engage, and connect to achieve a mood boost. In this digital age, where we purchase online and watch ‘how to videos’, missing the counter-demonstration and deprived of human touch, we are learning again how to care for ourselves, which takes us back to perhaps the most prominent beauty ‘hashtag’ right now, #selfcare.
And it’s not just for Sundays – although creating a weekly routine and carving out extra ‘Me-Time’ on a Sunday is a great way to get yourself facing in the right direction, on a positive path, and heading into the new week positive and energized.
Mental Health Benefits
More and more people are becom ing instinctively drawn to treatments, methods of application, and products that promote a mood-boosting and wellbeing connection. The beauty and wellbeing industry is celebrating how morning and evening skincare and makeup routines have the power to change moods.
Supported mental health research findings demonstrate that a routine can be hugely beneficial to those struggling with anxiety, creating a moment for reconnection with the self, bringing back a sense of calm and focus. This shift in consumer interest, away from products which simply change the way we look to also the way we feel, means we are more interested in daily rituals for home application too.
From AM and PM routines, facial massages, to cleansing the skin with intention, it is important that we encourage our clients to dedicate time to not only better their skin, but improve their mental health through self-care practices. After all, the grass is greener where you water it, and being happy in your own skin is a deep-rooted and long-lasting form of happiness that can be passed through generations. Let’s be proud of our industry and the part it plays in people’s everyday wellbeing. How amazing it is to be able to do a job that helps change someone’s mood for the better.