From perfumes supercharged with sacred stones to crystal healing manicures, we examine the latest trend of incorporating ancient pagan practices into modern beauty routines
While certain sceptics might dismiss crystals as hippy dippy nonsense, the metaphysical stones and their healing powers are no longer a new age niche reserved for tree-huggers. Mysticism has officially gone mainstream, and now that the beauty industry has jumped on the holistic bandwagon, spiritually-supercharged beauty is the new normal.
Recently, it feels that everyone and their mum has been touting the benefits of healing crystals, whose powers can allegedly cleanse negative energy, uplift your mood, nurture relationships and manifest your dreams. With promises like those, it’s no wonder we’re grinding, infusing and soaking our beauty routines in gemstones and minerals.
Between healing skincare and crystal laden make-up, there’s a wide range of products and treatments that have worked the occult into their formulas. Glossier’s Haloscope highlighters come in the shades “Topaz”, “Quartz” and “Moonstone”, all eponymous of the crystals they’re infused with, giving you that Kardashian glow while simultaneously providing you with internal enlightenment. Herbivore’s Pineapple and Gemstone mask is infused with Brazilian white tourmaline that promises to “illuminate and energise” your complexion. Walk into any Urban Outfitters and you can buy perfume “supercharged with sacred stones to channel inner strength, balance and luck.” Or if you’re looking for something more hands-on, L.A.-based celebrity nail stylist Mazz Hanna offers a Crystal Healing Manicure for £265. The list goes on.
“Consumers are drawn to mystic beauty because they're seeking a connection with something benevolent, like an external source of support that may help them cope with the constant hustle we find ourselves in, trying to keep up with modern life” – Tama Driessen, healer and author of The Crystal Code
Of course, it was only a matter of time before beauty brands started catering to a generation so obsessed with the esoteric. From meditation and tarot, to crystals and astrology, these hallmarks of the occult have become the pseudo-religion of the Instagram age. Although there is little to no scientific evidence of crystals’ healing powers, we’re prioritising faith over facts if it means finding serenity in a chaotic world, and it’s translating into our beauty and wellness routines too.
“Consumers are drawn to mystic beauty because they're seeking a connection with something benevolent, like an external source of support that may help them cope with the constant hustle we find ourselves in, trying to keep up with modern life,” says Tama Driessen, healer and author of The Crystal Code, a modern guide to crystal healing. “The concept of products infused with crystals, charged by the moon or designed to associate with the zodiac makes them a convenient way to add some mystic energy into people's daily routine when they might be too busy to do something else that might help them find some inner peace - such as meditation, practising yoga, going for a crystal healing treatment, having a massage.”
As more and more brands tap into this mysticism craze, it raises questions about the authenticity of their intentions. “It’s wonderful that spirituality is having such a powerful moment right now, and that the beauty industry is embracing spiritual practices,” says New York-based seeress and shaman Deborah Hanekamp (aka Mama Medicine). “That being said, we have to be a bit careful of spiritual materialism and thinking that there is something we need to buy to feel spiritual, rather than simply recognising that just through our ability to love ourselves, others, and the world we live in, we are already magnificently spiritual.”
Wicca and other pagan-based faiths are more than just a trend or marketing ploy, and while this surge of mystic grooming products may seem recent to many of us, their purported significance is not. Both brands and consumers shouldn’t be so quick to appropriate what is an ancient and sacred belief just because the amethyst you bought in a Shoreditch boutique looks good in your Instagram flatlay.
“The beauty industry, like any industry, needs newness to keep innovating. They will probably move onto something else when the hype dies down,” says Sushma Sagar, reiki healer and founder of The Calmery, a London energy healing practice. “But spirituality is here to stay, because it isn’t a bandwagon. People are craving connection and finding meaning in their lives, it’s a modern malaise because we aren’t taught to look within for our answers. The irony is that we shouldn’t be reliant on products for our own healing.”
While Sagar and Hanekamp believe this fresh new take on pagan practices can only make spirituality more accessible, we should remain weary of the beauty industry’s attempt at co-opting it. “Some people, including the beauty industry, are once again trying to claim something in order to make money,” says beauty and self care blogger Grace Victory. “It blows my mind that people can try to profit from something so natural and sacred. Discernment is an act we should practice, but even more so with corporate businesses and capitalism. Consumers are sucked into anything and everything if it is marketed right [and] advertising is geared towards promising women a way to 'fix' themselves. Sometimes these things are just the same shit, covered by incense.”
That said, Victory is all for incorporating crystals in beauty rituals, although there’s a caveat. “I use them in my ritual baths, to meditate with and to make elixirs with. But it’s all about your intention. Healing and getting closer to Spirit/God/Source/Universe is an act that transcends 'beauty', it is simply who we are. Crystals just amplify and help.”
"It blows my mind that people can try to profit from something so natural and sacred. Discernment is an act we should practice, but even more so with corporate businesses and capitalism" – Grace Victory, beauty and selfcare blogger
Hanekamp explains that the best way to benefit from the grounding and calming properties of stones is to use them in their most natural form possible as massage tools. Take for example Jade facial rollers, one of Cult Beauty’s best selling products and a staple in Driessen’s beauty routine. “I don’t think crushed rose quartz does much for the skin, and I could see it blocking pores if too much is used,” Hanekamp explains. “That being said, I love the idea of putting the frequency of crystals into beauty products [and] letting crystals soak in the product on an auspicious date. Crystals ground and calm us and a relaxed look is a radiant one.”
If mystical skincare provides a feeling of ethereal escapism to counteract the cynicism of modern life, should that be something that's encouraged? As Driessen herself concedes, “it raises awareness of mystical and spiritual practices and may act as a gateway for some people to seek a deeper connection that they wouldn't have heard of otherwise...”