What I discovered when I synced my beauty routine to lunar phases
A scientific and spiritual perspective
“The moon is resting, so should you,” my mother would often advise me on moonless nights. As a child this always confused me, but I was accustomed to my mother’s alternative take on wellness that often involved some form of pantry-cupboard beauty sorcery. She explained that when there is no moon in the sky, it’s the first stage of the new moon phase—before the silver sliver of the waxing crescent shows up. This was also my first introduction to her idea of mindful beauty rituals and following the path of the moon. According to her, the start of a new lunar cycle was also a good time to concoct beauty recipes in the kitchen—she found it grounding. I simply followed her example, because that’s just what little girls do, don’t they? I didn’t really understand the true meaning of these lunar rituals until I started experimenting with them four years ago.
In a nutshell, lunar beauty refers to ideas and practices that are moulded according to the essence and physical phases of the moon. On the surface, this may seem all woo-woo, but the concept has its way of blurring the boundaries between science and spirituality. From a spiritual perspective, believers would describe the moon’s spirit as intuitive, nourishing, and even self-healing—a manifestation of the Divine Feminine. From a scientific perspective, we all know how the moon’s gravitational pull influences ocean tides. About 70 per cent of the human body is water, so our curiosity has forged a link between the ebb and flow of tides and human emotions. While modern science has often dismissed the idea that lunar cycles could influence our behaviour, relatively recent studies have found some connections between moon phases and moods. For example: researchers noted that disturbed sleep patterns are more likely to occur on full moon nights.
It’s only logical to schedule certain beauty routines that balance lunar influences. Simran Lal, co-founder of lifestyle brand, Paro reasons, “At one time, living in harmony with these natural cycles was a part of our traditional wisdom and way of life. Each of the six seasons, each amavasya (no moon night) and purnima (full moon night) brings with it a different energy. Becoming aware of these changes is the first step towards creating personal rituals that can help us better connect with our environment.”
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Over a few weeks of practising this, I was fascinated by the significance of the four moon phases. The crescent symbolises the ‘maiden’—young, innocent, without a care in the world. As it waxes towards full, it transforms into the all-giving ‘goddess’. During the full moon, whatever you intend, speak, or practise is believed to be amplified in its impact. The waning phase, or ‘ending,’ belongs to the wise woman, the crone, quietly graceful and resplendent in her wisdom. This phase also signifies a gradual slow-down. If you believe the moon influences our physical characteristics as much as it does our emotions, then, you’ll see why this would be the best time to detox, exfoliate, wax off body hair, or pluck your brows. Hair growth will not only be slower, but also finer. Similarly, cutting your hair and nails during the crescent and waxing moon phase would result in them growing back longer, stronger, and most importantly, healthier. If you’d like them to grow back slower, you should cut them during the waning phase. Rejuvenation rituals, like leisurely baths or a body massage are great during the full moon—metaphorically you can close one chapter and begin another with fresh vigour. Or it simply helps replenish your energy reserves so you can make it to the finishing line.
Can I say that beauty by the path of the moon has worked for me? Certainly! I’ve cut nails in the early waxing crescent phases, and they’ve grown back much faster, and noticeably so. The same applies to haircuts—scheduling a trim around the full moon has always made my hair feel thicker and fuller. I’ve recently transitioned back to wax tub and strips after several years of using a razor. Six weeks later I’m still waiting on any amount of waxable length in hair. Right now, I’m experimenting with a full-body exfoliation during full moons that are symbolic of turning over a new leaf and shedding the old. If you’re wondering how to track the moon phases in a handy, reliable manner, I’d recommend the mobile app Luna Solaria (on Android and iPhone).
There are several beauty and wellness brands that have found thoughtful ways to harness the power of the moon. For example, skincare brand Dr Hauschka follows these methodologies and picks roses at dawn for maximum strength and potent fragrance. British skincare brand, Weleda’s biodynamic gardens continue to follow moon phases to improve plant growth and harvest. If you’re fond of floral blends, Ohria Ayurveda has a line dedicated to raatrani, the night-blooming jasmine that captures the cooling and softening properties of the moon. Dr Mariano Speizia of Inlight Beauty, who is regarded as the father of Britain’s organic beauty movement, is known to place jars of his herbal infusions in moonlight to improve their efficacy. Dr Taruna Yadav, Forest Essentials’ senior ayurveda doctor explains, “As per ayurvedic guidelines, sheet virya (cooling) herbs are usually dried and kept under moonlight for a few days to keep their potency intact. This traditional chandra sputam process ensures that the gravitational pull of the moon draws out the herb’s innate healing properties.”
If you’re still sceptical, here’s food for thought: we definitely believe in the sun’s ability to nourish and reinvigorate, don’t we? We also believe that the moon only reflects the power of the sun. This brings us to an interesting interpretation of a fundamental scientific truth that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; it is only transferred from one source to another. There’s definitely no harm in harnessing some of this energy for your personal beauty affirmations as well.
Featured representative photograph: Neha Chandrakant (Tara Parambi)