Face and Body Masks - An Ancient Ritual

Face and Body Masks - An Ancient Ritual

It is easy to picture our ancestors, long before having gathered into something resembling civilization, tending their skin with clay and honey for both medicinal and spiritual purposes.  There are only a handful of things that we can all confidently say with certainty that each of our most ancient relatives must have done.  They splashed water on their faces to refresh or cleanse, with certainty.  They rubbed a stick between two palms to start a fire, with certainty.  And they rubbed earth, herbs, and honey on their skin, with certainty.  It is a timeless gesture.  It is innate.  It is a practical and spiritual habit that has co-evolved with our being human.  It takes us all the way home.  This is why we love masking. 

Ancient cultures ranging from pan-Asian, African, Greek, Roman, Native American and many others (likely all) utilized Clay masks on their body for cosmetic beauty, skin health, wound healing, spiritual ceremonies, prayer, hunting and battle.  Clay is known to help balance the skin while simultaneously cleansing and detoxifying.  A famous example of cosmetic Clay usage can be seen in the darkened circles seen around the eyes in representations of men and women from ancient Egyptian art.  These dark circles were seen as aesthetically beautiful, functional for sun protection, and spiritually important to protect from evil spirits.

Honey masks are similarly an ancient practice, with famous skin remedies chronicled by Hippocrates and beauty rituals recorded from Cleopatra to China.  While we were traveling in Costa Rica, a local woman described as “an indigenous witch doctor” prescribed honey for a rash outbreak my daughter experienced from eating too many mangoes.  Needless to say, it worked fantastically well.   

Although masking is in “all of our blood”, I can say that in our family, the practice of masking began with my wife Velisa.  Every single morning, for many years, she produced a new daily concoction of clay, honey, dried superfoods and fresh leftovers from the kitchen fridge (maybe the end of a yogurt, or vinegar, a slice of avocado, some coffee or tea grinds, salt, or even a splash of wine, depending on the day).  Her ancestral heritage is of mixed descent, including Spanish, African, and Taino (Native Caribbean American).  It is well documented that all of these cultures engaged in clay and honey on the skin for reasons ranging from practical (skin protection), esthetic (skin beauty), medicinal (skin healing), to spiritual (adornment, Nature connection, and in tribute of the dead).  The Taino people in particular were experts in healing and caring for their skin using clay and herbal poultices. Without realizing it consciously, I am certain Velisa’s innate passion for masking is deeply rooted in the cultural evolution of her ancestors.

After years of observing her morning routine, I decided to bring this experience to life during our Be Here LIVE events.  Every Be Here LIVE experience will at some point involve (or at multiple points) painting your face or body with honey, mud, mushrooms, superfoods, and biodynamic botanicals.  The experience is so enjoyable, and yet, trying to capture this experience into a shelf-ready product seemed as though it would be impossible (or involve lab derived ingredients that we do not endorse).  

In a bit of a lightbulb moment, I had a memory of baking a “Betty Crocker style” cake mix as a child (where the dry ingredients come in a box and you are instructed to add the wet ingredients at home).  This simple memory inspired me to separate the wet and dry ingredients of our mask into two stand alone products (which we now sell as Wet Mask and Dry Mask).  Each Mask is incredible in its own right (as a primarily Clay based mask and a primarily Honey based mask), and yet, if you mix them together you will be enjoying the same experience our guests receive at the LIVE events.  We now call this the Super Mask (the mix of both masks together) and it is how we personally enjoy masking at home.  

The Masks are simple enough for a child to execute on their own.  I say this from experience, as our daughter finishes school each day she draws herself a bath, paints on a mask, and decompresses while listening to a story.  Personally, I like to leave the masks on for hours, often enjoying some yoga, meditation, Nature time, a meal, and maybe even a sauna before finally showering it off.    

Masking our bodies with elements of the Earth is a timeless tradition that puts you directly in touch with the living planet as well as our ancestors.  Putting the Earth directly on your skin is the oldest and purest way to acknowledge the Mother from which we all come.