Beauty may be only skin deep but we’re seeing a shift beyond products designed to anti-age, slim and plump to ones that prioritise our wellbeing.
Whether it’s tackling poor sleep and anxiousness, or boosting positivity and concentration, women are increasingly looking to invest in a natural approach to self-care – with a luxury holistic tinge.
While “holistic” can bring to mind misty past associations with alternative medicine, encapsulated by musky aromas and promises of the moon on a stick written on leaky dropper bottles, that hippy vibe has been replaced with premium ingredients, expert blending and glossy packaging.
This crossover into wellness is a sign the multi-billion pound industry is finding its feminist feet. Washbag staples are no longer led by superficial chemical-laden fixers designed to make us more presentable to the outside world. We’re becoming less inclined to choose firming shower gels, or the latest brightening concealer to hide dog-tiredness, above promises to nourish, nurture and heal our bodies and minds. “Beauty” has become more personal.
Online beauty curator Cult Beauty says it has seen traffic to wellbeing-related products more than double over the past two years amid a subtle shift in what customers are asking of products to build into their daily beauty routines.
“Product efficacy is of course front and centre, but people are also searching for beauty that supports their emotional state,” co-Founder Alexia Inge tells stylist.co.uk.
“Skincare companies are now complimenting their topical ranges with nutritional supplements as a given and adding aromatherapeutic or Ayurvedic properties such and sleep and stress-aids to their formulas.”
“It signals a new attitude – you’re considering your complete self as well as your looks,” Inge adds. “Of course for many, the two are inextricably linked, but there’s no point in spending hundreds of pounds on products if you’re grey from lack of sleep or permanently frowning from stress.”
It’s no coincidence that many of those driving premium self-care products onto our beauty radar are women. Take world-leading aromatherapist Michelle Roques O'Neil, who blends oils that are geared to balance, detox, calm and energise. She wants to remedy our exposure to the detrimental effects of electromagnetic frequencies that for some, can contribute to feelings of anxiety, insomnia, hypersensitivity and lowered immunity.
Her “stress less - live more” mantra comes without any promises of more youthful-looking skin or firmer thighs and has earned her a cult – and celebrity – following.
"Modern life can be a juggle and can take its toll on your inner wellness,” she says. “My products offer aromatherapeutic solutions to a range of negative conditions by helping regain spiritual balance.”
That’s a beauty routine we can get on board with.
Click the gallery below for our pick of the best healing beauty products...
Uma Pure Bliss Wellness Oil
Use to: Elevate mood, increase confidence and boost positivity.
How? This blend of six essential oils is led by uplifting rose, which is widely used to relieve anxiety and inspire feelings of optimism. Ylang ylang, sandalwood, chamomile, lavender and clary sage all work to eliminate tension and improve mental focus and a sense of wellbeing.
Good to know: It’s totally organic and is grown, hand-blended and bottled at a family farm in India.
£60, Cult Beauty
Prismologie Bergamot and Citrine Body Lotion
Use to: Boost positivity and confidence
How? It contains tiny crystals of citrine – known as the “success stone” with a bright, optimistic energy that promotes confidence. Uplifting bergamot oil is linked to feelings of happiness.
Good to know: This two-year-old luxury body care line divides its collection into colours that best reflect each product’s mood-enhancing ingredients.
Isle of Roses Hair Oil
Use to: Inspire feelings of positivity
How? Fragrance lingers in hair and rose - known as the ‘Queen of Oils’ – gives off an uplifting, comforting scent that’s said to have anti-depressant qualities.
Good to know: It takes around 30 roses to make one drop of oil – making it the most expensive in the world.
£42, Beauty Mart
Aromatherapy Associates Clear Mind Bath and Shower Oil
Use to: Begin each day with a positive outlook.
How? A blend of chamomile and lavender relaxes and de-stresses, while frankincense and bergamot revive and refocus.
Good to know: The iconic British wellness brand made this formula exclusively for Liberty.
Roques O'Neil Therapie Energy Lift Rollerball
Use to: Focus your mind and heighten energy levels.
How?: Powerful essential oils and plant waxes are blended in a base of sweet basil and wild mint tackle stress, anxiety, nervous tension and emotional burnout.
Good to know: Also works on hangovers.
£38, Roques O’Neil
Skin & Tonic London Calm Balm
Use to: Invoke moments of calm.
How? This moisturising balm melds six key ingredients known for their de-stressing properties, including Roman chamomile, lavender and calendula.
Good to know: Apply to wrists and temples or simply breathe in before bed for a more restful sleep.
Mauli Inner Beauty Rituals Body Oil
Use to: “Decompress” anxious feelings
How? This therapeutic blend focuses on balancing an overactive mind through oils including chamomile, frankincense, sandalwood, cedarwood, spikenard, ylang ylang, orange peel and rose damascene.
Good to know: This three-year-old luxury British bodycare brand uses Ayurvedic principles for products that “encourage self-nurturing, stillness and letting go”.
£47, Space NK
H. Gillerman Organics Stress Remedy
Use to: Unwind and de-stress
How? Don’t be fooled by its size, this blend of high quality, organic essential oils is highly concentrated, with lavender, red mandarin and tangerine for a calming and soothing effect.
Good to know: It comes with relaxation tips and exercises.
Rawgaia MSM Organic Beauty Cream
Use to: Feel more balanced and positive
How? It contains organic MSM (that would be methyl-sulfonyl-methane, rather than the press Donald Trump doesn’t like), an organic sulphur compound that helps make skin cells more permeable so the other ingredients, including frankincense and myrrh can be better absorbed. The latter two are associated with positive and calming energies.
Good to know: This multi-award winning cream is handmade in Brighton.
1001 Remedies Air Purifying Spray
Use to: Create a tranquil and invigorating environment.
How? The blend of soothing cinnamon, warm and spicy ravintsara and uplifting peppermint make for a room spray with a difference. Developed by a new mum and a French aromatherapy laboratory, the formula is designed to promote a sense of calmness and positivity in the most natural way possible.
Good to know: Cinnamon is also immune-boosting.
£24, Cult Beauty
Yuni Pocket Savasana Aroma Concentrate
Use to: Get a relaxation hit on-the-go.
How?: Grounding sage, centring neroli, uplifting bergamot and energising ylang ylang are combined in a nifty mini rollerball bottle that’s applied to pulse points as needed.
Good to know: Yuni aims to emulate yoga’s stress-relieving properties.
£26, Cult Beauty
Neom Organics Nourish, Breathe & Energise Hand Balm
Use to: Revive and energise
How? It contains rosemary, which is said to stimulate positive energy and alertness and grapefruit, which is known for its antidepressant properties.
Good to know: All Neom Organics products are designed to benefit both skin and mind and use 100% natural fragrances, made in Britain from ethically sourced, sustainable origins.
£15, Marks & Spencer
Kiki Health Magnesium Oil Spray
Use to: Reduce tiredness and revive aching muscles.
How? Known as the “beautiful mineral” in Chinese medicine, magnesium is not commonly associated with external beauty application but this saturated solution is absorbed through the skin and can be applied to specific areas or used as a sleep aid.
Good to know: Spray on skin after a shower or bath as the pores are open, which aids better absorption.
LotusWei Inspired Action Anointing Oil
Use to: Improve focus and motivation
How? A totally natural perfume, or elixir, made from five flower essences linked with creativity, motivation and focus.
Good to know: Lotus Wei boasts a celebrity following and effusive endorsement from Oprah Winfrey’s O magazine.
Botanical Alchemy Digital Detox Face Mist
Use to: Maximise your screen break
How? Rich minerals, essential oils and herbs combine to counteract the effects of energy-zapping digital devices. Includes detoxifying frankincense, purifying magnesium salts and powerful marine algae.
Good to know: It’s made with silver-rich spring water from Amly - a wild-flower meadow in East Sussex.
Bed of Nails Acupressure Mat
Use to: Relieve stress, aches and pains and encourage the body to release endorphins and oyxtocin for relaxation and restful sleep.
How? A Scandi take on the ancient bed of nails, this comes with non-toxic mini plastic spikes that mimic acupuncture needles.
Good to know: Beginners should wear a t-shirt and gradually build up the amount of time they spend on the mat.
£55, Cult Beauty
Roques O'Neil Therapie Himalayan Detox Salts
Use to: Detox from digital surroundings for a deeper, cleaner sleep.
How?: prized powdered amethyst, the purple variety of quartz that’s believed to soak up excess charges in the body, are mixed with Himalayan salts, which contain more than 80 minerals known for their healing properties. Other key natural ingredients, such as rosewood, juniper and grapefruit, help promote good circulation, ease congestion and promote feelings of happiness.
Good to know: An award-winning favourite of beauty bloggers.
£40, Roques O’Neil
Bamford Botanic Pillow Mist
Use to: Enjoy a deeper, calmer sleep.
How?: Spray lightly onto bed linen for frankincense, lavender and marjoram to soothe you as you doze.
Good to know: Made using only natural, organic ingredients.
Roques O'Neil Therapie Sleep Drops
Use to: Lull yourself into a deep, restorative sleep.
How? It’s a megamix of organic ingredients known to soothe and sedate, balance the senses and also inspire confidence and happiness. Best used after a shower or bath, just before bed.
Good to know: The drops were launched at the start of the year by world-leading aromatherapist Michelle Roques O’Neill.
Plant Apothecary Calm Down Bodywash
Use to: Calm and quieten a busy mind.
How? Through the power of ginger and lavender, which have been infused in an all-natural, organic honey-like gel.
Good to know: It’s made with the help of adults with physical and mental disabilities at a workshop in New York.