True Beauty

“Happy girls are the prettiest girls” Audrey Hepburn

The wonderful Audrey Hepburn was not only an inspiration for elegance and beauty, she was also a very wise woman. She knew that true beauty comes from within.

I know this is a blog that should be encouraging you to buy Belle&Basil products, and they are lovely products which will help to improve the health and quality of your skin, but at Belle&Basil we are interested in so much more than persuading you to buy our skincare.

We agree with Audrey Hepburn that beauty comes from happiness. It is why we include Rose, Patchouli and Sweet Orange Essential Oils in our skincare, they are used by Aromatherapists to relieve the effects of stress. We also add our homemade Daffodil and Crab Apple Flower Remedies in all the Belle&Basil moisturisers because they can help support our emotional well-being:

  • Daffodil Flower Remedy brings lightness into our hearts and spirit, just as the sight of daffodils do after the long Irish winter
  • Crab Apple Flower Remedy helps us to accept the parts of ourselves that we judge and criticise, the parts of ourselves that we don’t like. When we accept these parts, our hearts soften and become happier.

Audrey Hepburn also says:

“The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows & the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years”.

So it is our happy hearts and generous souls that give us true beauty. Amazingly the Buddha says something similar.

The Buddha states that there are 11 benefits from regularly practicing the Loving Kindness Meditation, and the 8th benefit is “a clear complexion”.

It would be a little mad to meditate just to get good skin, but it is definitely one of the surprising benefits of regular meditation, especially when the focus is on loving kindness.

I try to use this meditation every day and can see the difference in my skin if I miss a few practices, it becomes duller. As soon as I start regularly doing the meditation again my skin brightens and looks clearer again.

The good news is that there are other wonderful benefits of practicing the Loving Kindness Meditation: sleeping well; feeling well when you wake up; not having bad dreams; being loved and appreciated by everyone around you; and being able to concentrate. To say nothing of the fact that it turns you into a happier, kinder person.

Please scroll down if you are interested in reading instructions for the Loving Kindness Meditation.

We really hope you enjoy trying this meditation and experimenting with seeing how your happiness also gives you happy skin.

Loving Kindness Meditation

It is usually regarded as a Buddhist meditation but it is not religious in any way and suitable for anyone who is interested in getting a happy heart (and great skin!) and there are some excellent teachers on You Tube who explain it well. Pema Chodron teaches it beautifully.

The basic instructions are as follows:

Sit in a comfortable but upright position. Spend a couple of minutes slowing down. You can do this by focusing on your breath, taking a couple of deep breathes in and letting them go with a loud and satisfying sigh. Or doing a body scan (also lots of good options on You Tube).

When you feel settled get an image of yourself as you look right now. If you aren’t a visual person get a sense of how you feel now instead. Then smile at that image or feeling and offer loving kindness to yourself. You do this by silently repeating one of the following statements.

May I be happy
May I be well
May I be free of suffering
May I be safe

You can make up your own statement, but these are 4 of the traditional statements to use so it’s good to start with 1 of them.

Keep offering the statement you have chosen to yourself until the image of yourself (or feeling inside) becomes light and bright.

The 2nd stage is to visualise someone you love and/or respect and offer one of the statements to them e.g. May you be happy. Keep offering the statement you have chosen until their face is also light and bright.

The 3rd stage is to visualise someone ‘neutral’. This is someone who you know but have no positive or negative feelings towards, it could be your postman, or the assistant in your local shop, or a work colleague. Offer one of the statements to them and keep offering it until their face becomes light and bright.

The 4th stage is to visualise someone who has hurt you. This can be a tough one to do so start with someone who has just annoyed you before going on to someone who caused serious damage. This practice helps us to get in contact with our feelings about the person and will hopefully support the process of letting go of hurt and anger, not so much for the sake of the other person as for the lightness and happiness of our own heart.

The 5th stage is to visualise a group of people. It could be your family, everyone in your local area, your country, slowly building up the practice and the muscles of our heart until we offer loving kindness to all sentient beings on the planet (even mosquitoes).

It’s a lot to get through all 5 stages. Just sticking with 1st stage is good to start with as when you are happy you tend to want to make everyone around you happy too.

Let us know how you get on or if you have any questions about meditation, please contact us or find us on Facebook and Instagram.