You cannot speak of self-alignment with nature and then be blind to the consequences our single existences are causing to our planet. It is a matter of everyone, and everyone has a role to play in it. We have the opportunity of choosing more consciously in every aspect of our lives.
Nature is what keeps me grounded and connected to who I am and who I want to be. Nature is the best medicine for my mental and physical health. Being surrounded by nature helps me disconnect to connect. That’s priceless. That’s something we should care about.
How was your last travel to Japan?
It was my fourth time there and I wanted to explore an unknown face of the country rather than just sticking to the top cities. Thanks to the Japan Foundation in Madrid, I discovered the Kumano Kodo, a sacred pilgrimage route that weaves through the mountains of the Kii Peninsula, south of Osaka. I would need ten (or more!) pages to describe my experience there, so, to keep it simple I’ll say it was spectacular. Just beautiful in every way.
Japanese relationship with nature is so special. It is a matter of everyday life but also something ceremonial.
On my first trip, I was impressed by the coexistence of the two opposites in one same place. You could be surrounded by neon lights, noise, machines, masses of people, and then turn a corner and land in an oasis-like small shrine, wrapped in silence and quietness just altered by some birds chirping and the sound of water. I love how, no matter how modern and techy their society has gotten, they don’t seem to have lost that deep bound and profound respect for nature. We should never lose that.
We’d like to know about your skincare story. We're keen to know what led you to integrate plant-based products in your daily routine.
Since I can recall, I always remember my mother using plant-based products she would get in our trips to Morocco and the Sahara. From argan oil to all kinds of different seeds and flower extracts. She would make her own mixes and I would just love to copy her whole routine applying all kinds of different deliciously smelling natural potions on my skin. Now she’s 70 and she looks awesome, so she’s become the living proof of how applying plant-based and natural products in a skin routine actually works!
What have you learnt from Japanese beauty rituals?
One of the first things I noticed was people’s skins. They have this fresh, clean and soft looking skin you can’t even tell what their ages are. After a bit of researching and exploring (and of course, asking my mom) I found what I think is the biggest lesson on this matter: they call it a ritual because it actually is a ritual. Everything in life, every goal, every objective needs us to put time and care to it. I’ve found that it’s actually more valuable to dedicate 15 or 20 minutes every day (and I mean every-single-day-no-matter-what) rather than erratically applying a handful of expensive products just because we’ve read somewhere they’re the new “must”. Once we understand our skin care as an everyday routine that includes not just what we put on it, but what we eat, how we sleep and how we feel inside, I think we’re there. We’re doing our own skin-ritual.
How has the climate emergency changed your routines?
It has changed everything! You cannot speak of self-alignment with nature and then be blind to the consequences our single existences are causing to our planet. It is a matter of everyone, and everyone has a role to play in it, from the big companies and governments to the people who, as a whole, can vote for change and demand for action. We have the opportunity of choosing more consciously in every aspect of our lives; from the food we eat and the material that wraps every single product we buy to the way we move around a city or whom we vote. Everything is a choice, and choice is everything. And I chose to be part of the change, by learning every day and by being coherent, aligning what I say with what I do, which I think is one of the most difficult things in life.
Tell us about the landscape of your childhood.
I’d say the landscape of my childhood is composed with mountains, hikes, rivers, horseback riding adventures, watching the stars in summer when doing open air camping, picking up mushrooms in fall, making mimosa bouquets in spring, reading in front of the fire in winter... I was put out there into the wild since I can remember and that’s what I’m most grateful to my parents for.
And the most impressive landscape that you’ve ever seen?
I felt incredibly small and breathless in Torres del Paine, Chile. It was indescribable. The thing about nature is that, no matter where, no matter if it’s right next to your house in a city park or 15,000 km away in the biggest glacier, it always has this powerful calming and grounding effect on me.
Everything starts and ends with nature. Nature is what keeps me grounded and connected to who I am and who I want to be. Nature is the best medicine for my mental and physical health. Being surrounded by nature helps me disconnect to connect. That’s priceless. That’s something we should care about.
Irina’s favorite mask
The Matcha Power Mask