It’s easier to practice self-care and mindfulness when it’s tied to a routine event. Every daily occurrence can be transformed into a ritual when you take a self-loving approach.
We spoke with Christy Whitney-Matz, founder of pAra Botanica — an organic, herbal skincare apothecary — and turned our skincare routine into a mindful ritual.
Splendid Spoon: Hi Christy! Why did you start pAra Botanica?
Christy Whitney-Matz: I started pAra to bridge the gaps between healing, connecting with ourselves, and Mother Nature’s medicine. I’d educated myself on plant medicine for seven years before creating pAra. We lost my husband’s brother to cancer when he was only 30, and they’d lost their mother (also to cancer) at 36. Witnessing this crushing hardship lit a flame in me, and led me to years of studying and healing.
During this time, a lot of friends and family came to me for help; guiding them through their healing journey fulfilled me. I wanted to help more people heal, so I created pAra.
SS: How do you incorporate mindfulness into pAra?
CWM: I want to offer beauty products that focus on healing, not tearing down. The belief that beauty is akin to surface level glamour is gradually disappearing. I want to empower my customers to believe that they already embody all that beauty is — it just needs to be watered and fertilized. Nourishing themselves with unadulterated plant medicine evokes a deep feeling of beauty.
SS: How can we use your products in a self-care ritual?
CWM: One of the best ways is by following the pAra practice. This involves incorporating meditation into your skincare ritual.
Cleanse and tone the skin, then apply a mask. Find a quiet place to sit and practice a grounding, self-love meditation. Light a candle and burn some palo santo to clear energy, raise your vibration, and connect with the Earth. Use our Luminous Moon Oil on your wrists and temples to help you journey deeper into meditation.
Do this practice first thing in the morning to transform how you move through the day. You’ll feel rooted, centered, cared for, and nourished.
SS: How can we take a more mindful approach to skincare? Should we change it seasonally or sync it with our cycle?
CWM: I recommend switching up some of your skincare routine with the seasons. Our bodies move through the seasons just as the Earth does. In spring, the Earth rebirths itself: cleansing rains bring about renewed plant life. It’s the same for us: our bodies move into an internal and external spring cleansing process. Many people see more breakouts during the spring. This is due to the body pushing out toxins — essentially cleansing itself. We can help our body’s detox by eating cleansing foods, using deep cleansing masks, and exfoliating. Also, consider switching to a lighter moisturizer or face oil as summer approaches.
If you have breakouts that seem to be brought on by hormonal shifts, that’s often due to an undetected virus taking advantage of the body’s weak immune system. As we go through menstruation, our body’s burdened with cleansing itself, and the virus, being opportunistic, goes on the attack. It looks like it’s hormones, but it’s often not. To help with this, add treatments to your routine that help heal breakouts quickly, like our Nenekti Mask and Chaya Beauty Balm. Also, boost immunity by increasing your intake of reishi extract [A medicinal mushroom. — Ed.], zinc, echinacea, and lysine [An amino acid which is a key component of collagen. — Ed.].
SS: What routine activity do you try to make mindful?
CWM: Eating. It’s a challenge for me to always eat mindfully. But when I do sit and eat, focusing on who grew my food, where it came from, and how it nourishes me, my digestion is so much better — no post-lunch gastro issues!
SS: Do you have a regular mindfulness or meditation practice?
CWM: A close friend created an online program called Root and Bloom, which offers guidance for creating our own meditation practices. Every week she shares meditations and mantras, which guide us through the lunar cycles and the Earth’s shifts. I listen to them almost every morning, and incorporate them into my pAra skincare practice. The meditations and her teachings have brought about the most significant spiritual growth I’ve ever experienced.