Krishnamurti observed that “We are second-hand people. We have lived on what we have been told, either guided by our inclinations, our tendencies, or compelled to accept by circumstances and environment. We are the result of all kinds of influences, and there is nothing new in us, nothing that we have discovered for ourselves: nothing original, pristine, clear”
Here's a satirical poem by the Italian poet Luigi Pulci from 1472 about beauty supplies required by the 15th-century young and glamorous Nannina de Medici and the ladies who orbited her court. It is a fun, if exaggerated (and yes, misogynistic--but before you write me about this, the poem dates from 1472) historical perspective to those of us who have tried, are willing to try, or at somewhat curious about a lot of products and techniques that might raise another's filled in and/or threaded eyebrow.
When I have the chance to meet my customers in person, our first connection is through aromatherapy. I hold up spoonfuls of our clay and yogurt cleansers for them to inhale, mist a hydrosol into the air between us and invite them to walk into clean, soft drift. Finally I offer the bottles of our moisturizing oils for them to breathe in. I like to guess to myself which I think they might like best and offer that first. I can't say that I guess correctly, but I have noticed there are specific responses that follow certain oils. The Moisturizing oil with Neroli and Frankincense elicits an expression of relief and resonance, a recognition of something that was once close and safe and dear, but now maybe a bit far off--as if they lost track of it for a little while. Some can't help but affirm-- to themselves more than to me: "oh I love neroli", in a way that is unique for the love of neroli. And why wouldn't they? Spectacularly fruiting and flowering at the same time, the bitter orange tree, Citrus aurantium, var. amara is at once the promise of joy and its fulfillment.
In the mid 1990s I moved to NYC for graduate school and there was much to love: I could walk everywhere, there were independent movie theaters, grocery stores were stocked with asian pears, olives, lots of chocolate, litchi nuts, litchi-flavored gummy Japanese candy, donut shaped peaches, prepared gorgeous meals, excellent teas, Portuguese rolls, and fondue in packages. I regularly called home to describe my trips to the grocery. There was opera and Summer Stage in Central Park, the yoga studio was a quiet, spartan space with florescent lighting and a curtain for a changing room. There was Body and Soul in Tribeca—a Sunday daytime dance club that my best friend attended like church. No velvet ropes, no degrading lines, no alcohol-- just a great stretch of music for dancers wearing sneakers.