I learnt the hard way from a panic attack years ago that I, like most of us, tend to do upper-airway shallow breathing – from the tops of our lungs as opposed to from the base, the kind of breathing that feels like you’re not really breathing at all. Just think of when you’re stooping, slouching or slumped on a sofa; there’s an uncomfortable restriction on the ribs and diaphragm. “Nine out of ten people don’t breathe property”, says Amanda Denton, a Vinyassa yoga teacher practicing meditation as an uninterrupted flow of breath, awareness, and concentration. “We take breathing for granted. An average person takes something like 29,000 breaths a day – that’s a lot of air moving in and out of our bodies to keep us alive. It puts it into perspective why the quality of our breathing is so important, just like the quality of food and water we put into our bodies.”

Calmness, peace and a lower heart rate? First, check if you’re breathing properly. Lie down and put your hands on your stomach. As you breathe in your stomach should move up and down like a baby. Then decide what you want to achieve. Alertness? Relaxation? Sleep? The premise is that simply thinking and having the intention to breathe better and deeper means it will happen naturally.

Two breathing exercises I’ve been trying lately:

To wake-up and energize 

Think of this as a cup of coffee. Sit crossed-legged, paying attention to pull in your abdomen. Take short, sharp and fast breaths expelling air through both nostrils. Repeat for a minute.

To calm

Inhale through both nostrils fully then bock off left nostril with your thumb and exhale through right nostril. Inhale through the right nostril then block off and exhale through the left. Repeat 20 times so you get into a good rhythm.

A few other thinks I love to remind me to breathe in deeply:

Aromatherapy Associates Support Breathe Bath Oil,  Breathe Aroma Dough, a yummy mix of eucalyptus, lavender, tea tree and benzoin for wheezes and sneezes and de Mamiel Altitude Oil. And exhale..



Detox like the Swedes who swear by algae baths to tone skin, relax muscles and stimulate circulation. The beauty of this mineral is that there’s no need to rinse it off, as the longer it’s in contact with skin, the longer it can work its magic. Algae’s innate ability to help repair cell damage and increase elasticity in the skin kick-started the trend for powerful micro extracts. Elethea is the first skincare brand to use microalgae from the Rift Valley in Kenya to create five products. Swedish brand Estelle & Thild has a Super Bioactive Magic Duo that combines microalgae with astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant in the war against ageing. Algenist’s Algae Brightening Mask uses patented alguronic acid, a substance that protects and regenerates microalgae cells for immediate anti-ageing effects. Sauna optional.


image: marinespecies.org


S is for super lashes and sapote oil, pressed from the seeds of the mamey sapote, a fruit tree native to South America. Traditionally a herbal remedy for a wide array of conditions and parasitic skin diseases, the oil from the seeds is now being used in mascaras to thicken and lengthen eyelashes with reportedly no irritation. The perfect mascara is something of a Holy Grail in the beauty world. Not too heavy, but then not too light, with absolutely no clumps – we want lengthened, defined and evenly coated lashes in one magic wand. Behold Mascaras de Pestañas Rosita, Mexico’s bestselling mascara – think of Maybelline Great Lash mascara in terms of its cult status. Retailing for roughly $2, it also boasts an applicator that somehow fits every eye shape – no mean feat. Apple Cosmetics Mamey Extract Super Lash Mascara is another brand that follows this lash-boosting trend and is easier to find. Personally I’d rather it was a difficult task and fly to Mexico.


Beauty is heading over to the dark side with charcoal, but for me it will always be the fuel for barbecues and cuties barbecuing around them. Raising the proverbial bar, the description-defying department store Tokyu Hands in Tokyo, dedicates an entire beauty corner to chunks of charcoal soap that come infused with one of the most prized types of wood in the world, hinoki or Japanese cypress. Charcoal in soap sounds a bit weird doesn’t it? Actually, according to our ancestors who used it as a remedy for drawing poisons from the skin, it’s the ‘perfect’ remedy. Charcoal is essentially a specially processed form of carbon, hence said drawing-out-impuritiy power, making it an essential bathroom staple for niggly skin complaints like acne. Try the iconic Morihata Binchotan Soap which has made its way from Japan to US shores. Beth Hopkins Shamanuti range has an Activated Charcoal Cleanser that decongests skin and heals pimples in record time. Origins Skin Diver Active Charcoal Body Wash Black lathers up, which is unusual for a soap with a mud-like texture. Black magic indeed.


image: skjonnhetblogspot



Take volcanic rock and ash, add some alkaline ground water, and allow to blend over millions of years. The result? Zeolite, the natural mineral compound that’s making waves in South Africa. We all know how toxic a world we live in, we just don’t want to be continuously reminded. I’d rather sit back and put my faith in a daily teaspoon of micronized zeolite (in a Juice Press smoothie of course) and pray everything’s going to be okay. I think it should be, as this mineral has the perfect molecular structure for capturing and removing heavy metals from the body according to scientists, along with maintaining the body’s delicate alkaline PH, crucial for good immunity. It’s also the perfect excuse to experiment with a much-needed seasonal skin-care essential—the refining face mask. Just mix two tablespoons of the powder with water to make a potent pore-clarifying paste and apply evenly over face, neck and chest.

image: aquarianbath



Exclusivity is a hard thing to come by in 2014 and whilst I’ve stashed my suitcase full of beauty souvenirs over the years, it’s even more exciting when I know what homegrown beauty addicts are loving in say, Cape Town, Tokyo or Mexico, so I can get straight down to the pharmacy or local supermarket upon arrival. It’s a paradox of the modern world; you need to be in the know, but there’s too little time to find out the answers. To this end, I’ve scoured wide and delved deep to bring you the newest, coolest ingredients in on-the-cusp-of-greatness and already-cult products globally (just leave some room in your suitcase). First up in this Exotic Exports series is the humble etrog.

The Dead Sea isn’t the only natural wonder in Israel. The etrog, a rare cousin of the lemon that thrives throughout the country, is the star in local brand Kedem’s soap. A citrus fruit used in Jewish religious ceremonies during the holiday of Sukkot, its botanical name ‘Citrus Medica’ lead to the belief in its medicinal value. These soap bars will add a real zing to your step and you’ll smell like you should be shaking bundles of tree branches somewhere in the Mediterranean. Cleanliness in the Biblical sense.

Kedem Etrog Soap, $8.95, jerusalemgiftsshop.com.

image: kymp.net


Multitasking oils are the new generation of one-bottle-do-it-all formulations that offer instant gratification, immediately softening skin and regenerating hair. My top two to play with are Diptyque Satin Oil for Body and Hair, a sheeny mix of jasmine, ylang ylang, saffron and avocado oil and Nuxe Huile Prodigeuse (fyi one is sold every 11 seconds globally). I mix a few drops of each onto wet hair and let it dry naturally for subtly perfumed beachy waves that just get better as the day or night go on. I also spend far too much time in the bath with them, because there’s nothing more relaxing than being cocooned in your favourite scents, plus the heat of the water leaves skin feeling amazing and you never ever have to use moisturiser after.