Slow Beauty Personal Essay – Coveteur: Inside Closets, Fashion, Beauty, Health, and Travel

In the fall of 2017, my body started to change. I started gaining weight rapidly; random breakouts erupted across my face; I felt constantly bloated; my menstrual cycle became irregular, something entirely new for me; and I experienced persistent fatigue to the point where it felt like my body was on the verge of shutting down. I saw multiple doctors who conducted numerous tests for hypothyroidism, liver disease, diabetes, allergies, and PCOS. The test results came back negative, and without any clear explanation for my ailments, the doctors unanimously attributed my symptoms to stress. They said everything would return to normal if I reduced my pace and relaxed. And when it came to getting my menstrual cycle back on track, I could go on birth control, they added, or take the hormone Provera to kick-start my period.

As someone who worked out regularly and thought I was making healthy choices, I couldn’t understand how my stress levels could be high enough to manifest this way. I took the doctors’ advice, but also wanted to explore alternative guidance, so I decided to reach out to a naturopath, homeopath, nutritionist, acupuncturist, and holistic food coach. While costly and time-consuming, I was determined to get to the bottom of this. My body was in a state of crisis; the best path toward recovery was to slow down, reassess my routine, and start anew.

In addition to reevaluating my dietary and lifestyle habits, I turned my attention to my medicine cabinet and examined every aspect of my routine. After countless trials and errors, my menstrual cycle returned, my skin cleared up, and most of my symptoms significantly alleviated.

Over the last five years, I’ve undergone several holistic changes in my life, including practicing slow beauty and living. It has dramatically changed my life and improved my physical and mental health. As a beauty writer, I’ve delved deeper into sustainable brands that incorporate thoughtful processes into their business. During this time, there was a growing awareness in the fashion and beauty industries, highlighting the importance of slowing down. The shift aimed to benefit our planet and influence our overall decision-making regarding what products we bought.

What is Slow Beauty?

The more familiar term for conscious-minded beauty products is clean beauty, but slow beauty is more expansive in meaning and process. Jennifer Black Francis and Alice Kindred Wells, founders of slow beauty brand Kindred Black, say that while “clean beauty is solely focused on ingredients,” slow beauty takes this a step further to consider a product’s packaging, including who made it and where the materials came from. For example, Kindred Black’s collections “are fully plastic-free, packaged in hand-blown glass bottles and sealed with wax and cork, the [same] way ancient people sealed their oil and wine jugs for storage and travel.”

Slow beauty isn’t just a category of sustainable beauty products in eco-friendly packaging; it’s about taking a mindful and holistic approach to beauty. “Slow beauty to me is the relationship we have with nature and each other,” shares Céline Semaan, founder of the environmental and social justice nonprofit organization Slow Factory. She aims to buy products with ingredients that are good for the body and sourced in regenerative ways.

How Can I Practice Slow Beauty?

If you’re new to the slow beauty movement, note that there will be a learning curve, and go easy on yourself. Take time to understand why this lifestyle change is essential for you.

Simplify Your Routine

Anna Ayers, founder of haircare brand Rahua, shares that people can shift to slow beauty practices by “simplifying your routine, focusing on one or two steps that you love, and taking the extra time to turn it into a ritual.” When I first switched to slow beauty, Rahua, a brand that sources handmade and ceremonial ingredients for its products, was one of the first haircare lines I used. I loved how the products made my hair just as voluminous and shiny as the conventional hair products I’d used for years. Turns out, I didn’t have to compromise on performance.

Look Into What You Buy

When considering the shift to slow, pay close attention to the brands you’re buying—read about their stories and determine their unique proposition.

Many incredible brands implement slow and sustainable methods. I’ve recently started using Good Time products because they’re 100 percent plastic-free and pledge to donate 50 percent of their profits to support clean water initiatives. I’ve also recently incorporated Babor into my skincare routine. The doctor-founded skincare line has strict and mindful ingredient standards, and according to Tim Waller, co-CEO of the brand, they “want 95 percent of all packaging materials to be fully recyclable to German standards by 2027.”

From what I’ve learned through practicing slow living and sustainable beauty, it’s about using what you already own and being patient with yourself. Not everything I purchase or do aligns perfectly with slow and sustainable beauty standards, but I am proud to have developed a new habit that makes me more conscious of what I use and buy.

Scroll to Top