I left New England last week in the middle of a snowstorm, tired and depleted and in serious need of some island healing. It was vacation time and I was determined to get my body back in balance, so to Antigua I went!
What I found, in addition to the obvious sleep and sunshine, were a few little local remedies that helped me relax and feel like myself again. The first was not that hard to figure out, because they were everywhere: in street stalls, in the supermarket and on the side of the road. It’s grapefruit season in the Caribbean, and I think I ate more of that tangy fruit in one week than most eat in a year! Let’s hope it was a vitamin C shock to my immune system.
The next thing I noticed was that a lot of Antiguans use sand to scrub their bodies while on the beach. I even saw a couple giving each other sand massages! One of the island’s little secrets (which was shown to me, I was not clever enough to figure it out) was at Half Moon Bay: rock and clay cliffs that, when splashed by surf, form little pools of gritty mud that made a great body exfoliant. The catch: to rinse off, you have to hike back to the beach looking like a swamp monster and endure many confused stares from tourists not in the know. But the smooth and soft feeling you are left with is well worth it!
And of course the greatest remedy the island had to give was the sea. I swam at least once a day and let that salt work its magic on me (and my stressed out skin). There’s a lot of buzz these days about what salt water does for your body. I just read an interesting article in Elle here, in case you are curious to learn more. Of course, my hair was not as happy to be sea-bathing with such frequency, and I found Yarok’s Feed Your Sunshine hair serum to be a life saver. My hair literally drank the oil in. Yarok is a great 100% natural hair care line that I’m so glad to have discovered: no more dirty hippie hair and its still gentle enough not to give me eczema!
Other than that, I tried to stick to a pared down beauty regimen, and these products were my workhorses: (I’m proud to report that I managed a full week with nary a sunburn). For my face SPF, I used Josie Maran’s Daily Sun Protection, and for lips (they ALWAYS burn before my face does) I used Badger’s Face Stick. It makes your lips very white indeed, so you have to channel your inner lifeguard while wearing it. I also used it to covered up scars from scrapes, bug-bites and gardening injuries past (yes, gardening can be dangerous) on my legs in order to keep them from darkening. I’m less picky about sunscreen for my body because I go through it so fast, so Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock in SPF 30 did the trick. To give my lips a boost after sun exposure, Weleda lip balm was fantastic, and my Korres lip butter in Pomegranate provided just the right, un-fussy (you can apply with your finger) touch of color for evenings out.
That’s about it, at least on the beauty and wellness side of things. More on my trip to come!