Friday, July 15, 2011

Beauty Care

I challenge you to find a magazine or newspaper that doesn't have a single reference to beauty care. More probably you will notice the latest fashion in clothes, the new trend in hairstyle, different cosmetic products, or new skin creams guaranteed to remove most of the thin lines on your face. Or better advertisements for the best spa in town.

I live in Florida where so many women fight the aging process with Botox injection or Restylane products that add volume and fullness to the skin and correct facial wrinkles and folds. A good percentage of wealthy Floridian women brave their fears and undergo surgical facelifts. Whether these procedures are effective or not is another story and a risk they are willing to take.

Years ago I tried a new cream right before my son's wedding. Instead of losing a few lines, I developed an incredible rash that lasted a month and sent me crying to a dermatologist and begging him to help a desperate mother of the groom. Only a thorough treatment of cortisone allowed me to avoid scratching my face out during the wedding ceremony. I learned my lesson and wisely accepted the lines --I don't like the word wrinkles-- the Lord has given me.

But recently my cousin convinced me to experiment with natural products I mix in my kitchen: A concoction of honey, yogurt and one egg with one crushed vit. E for mask.

A cream made with 1 tbp of yogurt + 1 tbp of honey + a quarter of a banana to soften the skin. Don't forget to cover your closed eyelids with slices of cucumber while relaxing and plotting your next book.

Caring for your beauty, my lady, is a concept as old as the world. Several Bathes of Cleopatra have been discovered in Alexandria, Egypt. They are natural whirling pool encased between rocks-- the ancestors of our Jacuzzi.

In this excerpt from Osiris' Missing Part, you'll see how Ancient Egyptian women cared for their beauty.

The two priestesses ushered Isis to a small room at the end of a narrow hallway. A white and gold beaded silk dress lay on the couch. A bath had been prepared for her in a ceramic tub. She gladly shed her dusty clothes and stepped into the warm water sprinkled with rose petals. The priestesses fussed over her. Shadia sponged her back with a lotus-scented soap and Foza lathered her hair.

“Am I massaging too hard, my lady?”

“Is the water temperature to your liking?”

“Everything is fine.” Isis reassured them with a smile.
“Now, my lady, a tub of heifer milk and honey awaits to soothe your body."

Isis had never indulged in such vanity although she had often heard that a mixture of heifer milk and honey provided the best lotion to keep the skin fresh and soft. Without hesitation, she immersed her aching body in the soothing bath. She chuckled and brought her wet thumb to her lips. It tasted good, sweet and refreshing. If she used milk baths, would her skin become softer? Would Osiris notice the difference?

A moment later, Shadia draped her body in a cotton towel and dabbed her face, neck and chest with a napkin dipped in the fragrance of jasmine and lotus blossom. Until today, no one had ever dared pamper the proud goddess and frankly she had never allowed herself to depart from her intimidating attitude and indulge in such vain frivolities. Maybe not that vain if they could help smooth the way to Osiris’ heart.

Foza proceeded to untangle her long tresses with a silver comb and rubbed them with geranium oil to a glowing shine. She braided strands on each side of Isis’ head and brushed her dark bang over her forehead.

Together Shadia and Foza slipped the gown over Isis’ head. “Please sit down for the final touch, my lady.” Shadia brushed rice powder over Isis’ face and contoured her eyes with a line of kohl that extended and widened at the outers corners.

Isis resisted the urge to hurry her pampering. When the priestess finished her task, she backed up, admired her art work and crossed her hands over her heart. “Oh my lady, you are so beautiful. Now allow me to put on your shoes.” She crouched and slipped a pair of golden sandals on Isis’ feet.

Isis examined herself in the long gilded mirror hanging on a wall. “A bit transparent.” The diaphanous white skirt woven with gold thread revealed Isis’ long legs. Golden sequins highlighted the round deep d├ęcolletage. “Who chose this dress?” A dress made for seduction. Isis suppressed a chuckle as she tried to imagine Osiris’ reaction. Would his face flush with desire, his fingers touch hers with eagerness?

“We did, my lady,” Shadia said with a trembling voice. “If it doesn’t meet your approval, we can bring another. Although, you look gorgeous, my lady. The white and gold contrast so dramatically with your dark hair.”

Isis smiled. “The dress is lovely. You have good taste. Thank you.”

“Oh my Goddess, you are so beautiful.” Both girls touched their hearts and bowed.

“Let me adjust your crown over your hair,” Foza added.

“I don’t have my ceremonial crown here. Only a coronet in my bag.”

“Toutmess gave me the crown Almighty Osiris kept in his shrine for you.”

Isis’ eyes moistened and her breath caught in her lungs at the tall conical headdress. Two plumes flanked representations of the asp and the sun, emblems of Osiris’ power. The sacred crown he saved in his shrine for his future wife and queen.

Could it be possible he already had feelings for her before his death? Feelings other than lust or friendship? Had he decided to officially introduce her to his subjects as his chosen one?

But he hadn’t even asked her to marry him.

When the evil god, Seth, killed his brother, Osiris, cut him into fourteen pieces and spread them over Egypt, Isis, goddess of family, found and reassembled thirteen body parts. She used a human substitute to replace the fourteenth missing part, his male organ, where his godly power is stored.

Love blooms between the charming Osiris and Isis as they fight evil gods and search for the missing member, but can Isis forgive the sins of his past and their unexpected consequences?


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Sandra Cox said...

Good tips, Mona. And of course, great excerpt.

Vonnie Davis said...

Loved the natural beauty concoctions. I also enjoyed the excerpt. I'm betting you had a grand time doing research for this story.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Sandra,you'd never believed the number of beauty procedures I found while researching the mythology.

Mona Risk said...

Vonnie, I tried some of the natural comcoctions. Thank God, I didn't get any bad reaction. The ones with honey really soothe the skin.

Barbara Monajem said...

That face mask recipe sounds like fun! I've heard about cucumber slices over the eyes -- sounds very (literally) cool.

Cara Marsi said...

Mona, I love the excerpt. It sounds wonderful to be pampered that way. I want to know if the yogurt-honey concoction you put on your face worked. I use my share of face creams trying to stem Nature's tide. My most important products are my hair care products. I have very fine, straight hair and I can't use just anything on my hair. I'm very obsessive about my hair care products.

Mona Risk said...

Barbara, cucumbers should work. they contain astringent chemicals that pull at the skin. During my last cruise, they put in our cabin a mask containing blue water, the type you have in freezing bottles. You cool the mask in the fridge and then apply it to your face. Very soothing. I used it a couple of times.

Mona Risk said...

Cara, I have coarse hair so I use olive oil products, creams, solutions and conditioners. For thin hair, I am not sure. My cousin who has thin hair washed it with egg yellow once, but it was a mess to get it out of her hair. She was crying and I couldn't stop laughing. Not funny.

Mary Ricksen said...

Damn you're good Mona!!
One really wonders what works??

Mona Risk said...

Hi Mary, try the natural recipes. They are easy.

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