Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Bit of Bali at Home

A Beauty Treatment That Will Make Anyone Feel Like a Balinese Princess

After jumping back to a life full of stressors and to-do lists, I daydream of hopping a plane back to Indonesia where I recently spent my honeymoon receiving $10 massages, soaking in bathtubs filled with aromatic frangipani blossoms, and being in the focused care of Agung—the master body worker whose magic hands knew just how to melt me into a very happy pile of pink putty. I was in married bliss, but the beauty treatments in Bali could take anyone to cloud nine. But the good news is, creating a taste of these ancient beauty rituals is easy and fun!

Since as far back as 800 AD, Indonesian healers created recipes using the herbs and botanicals of their tropical forests and jungles to keep skin healthy and glowing. The queen of treatments is lulur—the spice and yogurt exfoliation and body polishing process practiced in the palaces of central Java since the 17th century. Balinese princesses were given the royal treatment each day for forty days prior to their wedding. Talk about a luxe introduction to married life!

The traditional ritual begins with a deep, full body Balinese-style oil massage.

Then comes the lulur paste - a four hundred year old tribal recipe rich in warming herbs and spices which helps stimulate blood circulation to promote a glowing complexion. This fragrant blend is rubbed over the entire body, sending heat into the cells and chasing away dead skin.

The ritual finishes with a spicy essential oil and milk bath traditionally decorated with several handfuls of fresh and deeply scented flower petals. Anyone would love to have this pampering experience every day for forty days or even one!

Follow the routine I’ve recreated for a delicious indulgence in the comfort of your own home.

1. Practice some serious self-love and treat your body to a rub down with your favorite massage oil. Better yet, blend up a quick batch of your own with virgin coconut oil and a few drops of essential oils of lavender, jasmine, ylang-ylang or sandalwood.

2. I came across several variations on the recipe for lulur. Here's my take on it (feel free to improvise with what you have available).

In a coffee grinder (or with a mortar and pestle if you're really ambitious), combine a mixture of 1 cup plain dry rice, 2 tsp. turmeric, 1 tsp. sandalwood powder (or 2 drops sandalwood essential oil), 2 tsp. clove, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 2 tsp. ginger, and 2 tsp. nutmeg. Pulverize to a fine powder before adding enough water to make a paste.

Spread over your entire body, taking at least fifteen minutes to fully love every limb and toe and curve.

3. Once the lulur has dried, exfoliate by firmly rubbing the paste off the body.

4. Rinse in the shower until the mixture is removed and then drench your wet skin with handfuls of natural yogurt or coconut milk.

5. Sink into a warm bath (flowers, salts, milk and essential oils encouraged!) and take note of how blessed you already are.