The Power Of 'Mystic' Beauty: Why We're Buying Into Crystals Over Chemicals

Can skincare really be spiritual?

09/08/2016 14:11

To say the beauty industry is skilled at capturing the zeitgeist would be an understatement as grand as we’re imagining Rihanna’s new makeup line to be.

The market taps into our deepest desires - so when the world rediscovered spiritualism, our cosmetics did too.

Shelves grew full of chakra sprays, ‘magical’ language and makeup to make you ethereal. And we’re buying it. The Future Laboratory’s new Beauty Futures Report for 2016 encourages brands to focus on this psychic renaissance and embrace “a new holistic and naturalistic identity”.

In other words, it’s no longer just what’s on the outside that counts.

HuffPost UK

The beauty world left 2015 with a big spiritual bang, launching a superfluity of astrology-themed Christmas gifts - most notably Aesop’s constellation-inspired Maps Of Light Gift Kits and Selfridges’ Cosmic Beauty Advent Calendar.

The department store even turned to the space-age for its annual festive theme, ‘Journey to the Stars’, opening a beauty product-filled ‘Astrolounge’ (which will probably go down in history as the first Christmas grotto with Tarot card readings).

The Astrolounge at Selfridges, London

Fast-forward eight months and we now have a ‘galaxy makeup’ Instagram hashtag, dedicated to those transforming into human Milky Ways.

(Super)naturally, the cosmetic industry is still tapping into our obsession with the cosmos too.

Urban Decay’s latest eyeshadow offering is the “otherwordly” Moondust Palette, and Anastasia Beverly Hills just released a Moon Child Glow Kit - boasting six new shades of “magically-metallic” highlighters with a “celestial finish”.

Spiritual teacher Krista Mitchell believes all this interest in the New Age is part of a backlash against the pitfalls of modern society.

“People are looking back to ancient rituals as an answer to overwhelming consumerism,” she told The Huffington Post UK.

“The times we live in are becoming increasingly stressful, demanding and in some ways downright scary.

“Methods of coping from 10 or 20 years ago are no longer sufficient to meet today’s demands so we’re turning back to the old - either due to exhausting our present options, or because ancient remedies appear to have stood the test of time.”

Mitchell believes the influx of occult-esque product names - think L’Oréal’s Mythic Oil haircare and Charlotte Tilbury’s ‘Magic’ creations (below) - are targeted at people’s desire for “something more” in life.

Charlotte Tilbury
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream (£70) and Magic Foundation (£29.50)

“Most ancient remedies sprung from a desire to be in harmony with ourselves, nature, and the source of life,” she said.

“There’s something very primal, nurturing and sustaining in that connection.”

According to the Mental Health Foundation, 59% of adults in Britain say they are more stressed today than they were five years ago. So it’s no wonder we’re looking for a way to feel calm.

Perhaps this explains our fixation with Lush Cosmetics, whose word-of-mouth marketing has catapulted the brand to exponential success in recent years.

The stress-busting power of a hot bath is age-old information, and Lush’s products - like the below, inspired by Cleopatara’s bathing ritual and “based on a medieval love potion” - are an easy sell to those seeking solace in the past.

Lush Tisty Tosty Bath Bomb (£3.50) and Ceridwen's Cauldron Bath Melt (£4.95)

Society’s move towards mindfulness has also been the catalyst for a major change in body and skincare. Moisturisers are not just sold on their skin-aiding abilities, but their mood-enhancing benefits too.

Brands like Neom Organics and Prismologie are utilising the power of aromatherapy and micro-crystals (believed to help balance the body) to create products designed to effect the user’s emotional state.

Prismologie co-founder Sheikha Fatima Al-Sabah, who studied crystal therapy, cities citrine as the stone for boosting happiness, and says rose quartz is your best bet for attracting love.

However Mitchell, who works with healing crystals on a daily basis, says she isn’t sure of their effectiveness in beauty products due to the lack of “direct contact”.

“The best way to use them is by wearing them on your body or holding them in your hands,” she said.

Prismologie Rose Quartz & Rose Hand And Cuticle Cream (£30), Herbivore Citrine Body Oil (£25)

But a crystal-packed ingredients list isn’t all down to spiritualism.

Lucie Greene, director of trend forecasting agency JWT Innovation links the trend to a heightened interest in ‘natural’ beauty products.

JWT’s 2016 Future 100 Trends Report named both ‘mystic beauty’ and the search for a ‘new natural beauty’, as key trends for this year.

“Brands are repackaging the cues of mysticism and gems, connecting them to wellbeing products for a hip millennial audience,” she said.

And wellness sells. The Global Wellness Institute recently revealed the industry is now $3.4 trillion market, (around £2.6 trillion), with beauty and anti-ageing at the forefront of sales.

Global Wellness Institute
The latest numbers for the global wellness economy, from the Global Wellness Institute

Today’s consumers are much more aware of the importance of internal wellbeing in the quest for outer beauty and our GOOP-y preoccupation with organic food has spilled over to skincare too.

But are we right to be fearful of additives and chemicals present in our products? Beauty advisor Shannon Leeman believes so.

“The most cursory glance at ingredient labels should make you shudder,” she told HuffPost UK.

“Recently by accident my nightly face cream squirted on to my bathroom wall and in the morning there were black gauge marks where the paint had been stripped!”

Omorovicza Balancing Moisturiser (£80), Aveda Tourmaline Charged Hydrating Creme (£37)

Yet we can’t put all the blame on Gwyneth Paltrow, or the “hippie approach”, as former Vogue beauty director Anna-Marie Solowij puts it.

Solowij, who now curates e-store BeautyMART alongside Millie Kendall of Ruby & Millie, has noticed a major change in the quality of crystal-infused skincare.

“Most previous incarnations of gemstones used in beauty have tended towards the spiritual, but in this instance I think the approach is modern and technical,” she told JWT.

Brand Omorovicza, for example, claim the ruby crystals in its Balancing Moisturiser (above) “transforms light energy into fuel for cells’ engines”, helping to enhance cell volume and therefore reduce wrinkles.

And - snake oil, or not - it seems the world’s already sold.


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