Stress, exposure to the sun, a sedentary lifestyle, environmental pollution, and today’s modern lifestyle, all contribute to wear and tear. Nature, however, provides wonderful ingredients that can help anyone to protect themselves against these daily exposures. This is the subject of the book “Beauty Elixirs” that the beautician Dimitra Goula recently published, and she talks about how natural cosmetics work, for the magazine “STIGMES”, and also presents recipes based on Cretan products.

By Riki Matalliotaki – photographs by Yiannis Velissaridis

The objective of your studies and your career is beauty. But is beauty something that is measurable, something that can be enhanced, or is it something that is totally subjective?

For sure beauty is something that is entirely subjective, each culture and each person has completely different criteria on how to define beauty. The objective of my studies though, is aesthetics, the science that contributes to helping skin remain healthy over time, that does not change style or characteristics. Aesthetics is not plastic surgery.

When does the search for beauty and youthfulness become vain? And till what extent can we intervene in nature and the natural wear and tear of time?

Nature guides us and we should follow it. It always shows us the limits that we should not exceed. We intervene only to repair wear and tear, not to correct nature. It is perfectly natural to age, and we should feel grateful for this, we have an obligation to ourselves to age with dignity. Whatever we do to improve our appearance is acceptable, as long as it looks natural. What does natural mean? It is that which does not alter our characteristics, our features, or our distinctiveness.

Beauty care is not everything though. What else should a person do to safeguard himself from the increasing demands of today’s modern life?

What I’m going to say about how to reverse the side effects of stress, sun exposure, a sedentary lifestyle and environmental pollution, that we face in our everyday lives, may perhaps seem familiar and trivial. Exercise supports the blood supply to the tissues and oxygenates the skin. A diet should be rich in fruit and vegetables in order to maintain high levels of vitamins in the blood. Drinking lots of water helps to detoxify the body and to hydrate the cells. Using sun protection products helps to prevent photoageing. Think positively. Happiness promotes ant-ageing.

In your book “Beauty Elixirs”, which you recently published, you present recipes for cosmetics based on natural ingredients. What is the logic behind this, that would justify us to choose natural products over nicely packaged commercial products recommended by large companies?

The packaging of products is not what’s important, and I want to address the essence of the matter here. This is exactly why I wrote this book, without being sponsored, and without any other interests behind it. There is a basic principle, which I want to share with you, and which constitutes the basis of my book: homemade, natural cosmetics are completely compatible with our cells. To put it simply, our cells are encompassed by a protective membrane, which exercises a conducting role. This cell membrane “selects” which elements it will allow to permeate the cells, and which not. Synthetic elements are not recognised by the cell membrane, and they do not receive “permission” to enter the cell. On the contrary, natural elements are unquestionably recognisable by our body, they pass through the cell membrane and penetrate right through to the centre of our cells, resulting in immediate and impressive results. Of course, the advertising campaigns carried out by the large companies in the field of beauty, have managed to convey the message to us that commercially manufactured products are more powerful and more effective than natural products. This, however, is not the case.

Homemade, natural cosmetics have some indisputable advantages:

• As they do not keep for very long, they are always fresh and their nutritious elements remain rich and unimpaired

• They are pure and favourable to the body

• Their cost is minimal

• They have an immediate effect on the skin, as they penetrate deep inside our cells

• Their ingredients can be found everywhere, in the garden, in the kitchen, at our greengrocer, at the supermarket

You were born in Chania, you grew up in Heraklion, and you maintain close contact with Crete, for sure you must have found many Cretan products that are excellent ingredients for natural cosmetics?

Cretan land is a land that produces elixirs. Thyme, rosemary, olive oil, bay leaves, oregano, and hundreds of other herbs, plants and oils, which are indeed elixirs of youth. We just have to learn how to use them.

Could you recommend some of these recipes based on characteristic Cretan products to the readers of “STIGMES”?

The most characteristic Cretan product is olive oil, which offers complete hair and skin care, and is the most valuable of all natural oils. Olive oil contains high levels of calcium and vitamin A, but also vitamin E, iron, copper and phosphorous. It is good for dehydrated and sensitive skin, for brittle nails and for damaged hair, and it also acts as a mild sunscreen.

Moisturising facial peeling:

1 teaspoon of brown sugar

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Massage your face with the mixture for 5 minutes, avoiding the sensitive area around the eyes. Rinse off with warm water.

Revitalising face masks, with an olive oil base:

Oily skin – 1 teaspoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of yoghurt, 1 teaspoon of clay, 2 drops of dittany essential oil.

Normal skin – 1 teaspoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of thyme honey.

Dehydrated/dry skin – 1 teaspoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of almond oil, 1 tablespoon of banana puree.

Mix all of the relevant ingredients of each mask together, until the mixture becomes uniform, and apply it to the face and neck, avoiding the area around the eyes, for 20 minutes. Remove with warm water.

Nourishing sunscreen hair oil:

200 ml of olive oil

1 tablespoon of finely chopped bay leaves

1 tablespoon of dried rosemary

Put the olive oil in a glass bottle and add the rosemary and the bay leaves. Leave the bottle out in the sun for 7 days, to allow the mixture to become enriched from the beneficial elements of the ingredients. Apply the oil to your hair from the hair ends to the roots when you go to the beach, and re-apply the oil each time you come out of the sea.

Brittle nails – Chapped hands:

100 ml of olive oil, 20 olive leaves, lemon juice.

Put the olive oil in a glass jar, together with the olive leaves and allow it to stand for 24 hours. Add a few drops of fresh lemon juice to one teaspoon of the olive oil mixture, and lightly massage your nails, cuticles and hands, every night. In twenty days, your nails will have unbelievably strengthened, and your hands will be nice and soft, however, continue to use the mixture and also enrich your diet with calcium and yeast.

Revitalising – moisturising body oil:

100 ml of olive oil, 30 drops of lavender essential oil.

Add the lavender essential oil to the olive oil and stir the mixture. Place it in a glass bottle, and use it every night, after showering, with a light massage. It deeply revitalises, nourishes and moisturises the skin.

Read the digital version of the interview HERE, or download the below PDF file.

Happiness is anti-ageing (STIGMES magazine)