To kickstart 2020, I've gone beyond 'skin deep' and put together a few of my tried-and-tested wellness rituals that have helped bring some serenity into my own life.
Our skincare routine is a wonderful opportunity to take a few moments to check in with ourselves - it can provide what I call an 'anchor moment'. Using natural, botanical ingredients that have proven calming qualities is another great way to bring harmony to our lives.
Jane Atherton is the founder of mature skincare line Phytomone, and a clinical nutritionist and menopause lifestyle coach. She is a firm believer in practising a skincare ritual and says that the benefits are apparent on both body and mind.
"By taking time to relax, 'be in the moment' and elevate your skincare routine to a meditative ritual, you will see physical and psychological benefits," Jane says.
She recommends using natural plant oils to stimulate the senses and soothe skin. "Gently massage the beauty oils into your skin, keeping your mind in the moment, and feel a sense of wellbeing and calm engulf you, while the powerful plant hormones restore and rebalance your complexion.
"By making a conscious effort to set aside this valuable self-care time," she adds, "you will become more receptive to the holistic nature and energetic values of your sacred skincare ritual."
To cleanse your space of any residual dense energies, why not start smudging your home in 2020. Smudging is the burning of certain herbs, resins and woods to create scented smoke that lifts and clears the space around your home - and yourself. Think sage for clearing, frankincense and rosemary for protection, and palo santo - a tree native to Peru and Venezuela - for uplifting energies. Simply light the stick and point down towards the flame. Allow it to burn for 30 seconds, then blow it out and place the stick on a heat-resistant surface or dish. Try the Nunaïa Palo Santo Incense Bundle, €12.95, available at nunaia.com
Botanical facial steaming is set to take off in 2020. This DIY steaming kit uses botanicals to amp up the chill vibes. You'll need a pot of boiling water that you sprinkle your flowers into, a heatproof bowl and a towel large enough to cover your shoulders, head and bowl. Keeping your face about 10-18in away from the steam, inhale the scent and try to breathe calmly and deeply. Follow with a mask, serum or moisturiser.
The Beddha As A Flower Botanical Steam,
€35, from thebeddha.com
If want to lighten the energies in your home and infuse it with beautiful, natural scents but don't fancy smudging, try this smoke-free alternative. This is an essential-oil diffuser that uses steam and whatever oil blend suits your mood - think lavender for calm, lime and lemon for brightening and clove for protection. It also doubles up as an air humidifier.
Neom Wellbeing Pod Essential Oil Diffuser, €108, from Arnotts, millies.ie and selfridges.com
If you're serious about addressing your sleep health in 2020, why not try to create your own bedtime ritual, or see a sleep consultant like Lucy Wolfe. She is a sleeping pro who has launched her own line of sleep aids. Try her relaxing 'sleep rub', a natural blend of essential oils including lavender, eucalyptus and clove. Rub onto chest, wrists and the soles of feet 20 minutes before bedtime. Sleep Through by Lucy Wolfe Relaxing Rub, €19.99, from pharmacies nationwide
Dublin Herbalists is another brand that you should keep on your beauty radar for 2020. Once a tiny start-up, this natural skincare line has exploded in the last few years, and for good reason. It's 100pc natural and uses really beautiful, grounding botanical ingredients to make your skin glow and help balance your mood.
Dublin Herbalists Eye Cream, from €29, Kilkenny Shop, Avoca, and health stores nationwide
If you fancy embracing some natural beauty techniques this year but aren't so keen on splashing out on a load of products that you may not necessarily love, try a discovery kit. This brand-new Codex option contains all the essentials you need to nourish your skin naturally - with nary a synthetic chemical in sight! Codex Bia is a new plant-based skincare line created by a Cork-based herbalist that blends ancient Irish herbal knowledge with modern science. Ideal for sensitive skin.
Codex Bia Discovery Set, €50, from codexbeauty.com
Irish beauty wellness brand Nunaïa (pronounced noo-nigh-ya) is all about self-care rituals, particularly when it comes to using this newly launched plant-based facial cleansing balm. Taking moments of quiet in our day to come back into balance with loved ones and ourselves has powerful, scientifically proven wellbeing benefits. This beaut will help send you into a cocoon of tranquillity and calm at the end of a busy day. Massage the solid balm into skin, and then remove with a hot cloth.
Nunaïa Superfood Cleansing Balm, €59, from nunaia.com and exclusively at Avoca stores nationwide
Sinéad de hÓra is an intuitive specialist and founder of Treatment Creations. Having won multiple wellness awards, she collaborates with luxury hotel spas all over the world, as well as hosting workshops and retreats. Here she explains how to heal your energy...
What is energy healing?
Think of it like this: imagine we are sponges and all day, every day, we soak up energy from people we interact with. We absorb energy from social media, the news, our friends, family and, as well as all of that, everything that you think or do has an energy force behind it - but it might not always be beneficial. Energy healing removes any of the 'debris' that the sponge has absorbed throughout the day. By doing so, it will release suppressed emotion and clean your energy from any negativity.
Why should we cleanse our energy?
We need to clean our energy as often as we clean our body. There is no point in cleaning the external house to our soul if we have all of this emotional 'debris' from others hanging around our energies. By clearing or cleaning our energy we will feel lighter, with more clarity of mind. We feel grounded and it helps to enhance our perception, and improve our mindset, mood and overall wellbeing. And, most importantly, when you clean your energy, you make room to connect deeper with your intuition.
What sort of methods do you use?
Everything that I do in a treatment stems from my intuition. I never do a consultation, because I like your body to tell me all that I need to know, and I treat the root cause of an issue or concern rather than focusing on the symptom that you might feel. After reading your energy, I will design a treatment around your needs, combining a multitude of therapies; they could be aromatherapy, reflexology, mindset therapy, visualisation techniques or meditation.
Sinéad will be in Druids Glen Spa on January 9 and 29