Exploring the intersection between sustainability, shamanism and skincare.
Written By Alena Walker
The skincare industry is known for greenwashing. Oftentimes the words “organic” and “pure” can be misleading buzzwords used to lure customers into a false pretense that the product is beneficial for our bodies and the environment, when in reality, it’s entirely the opposite.
As more revelations about the industry’s unethical actions come to light, there are beauty businesses forging specialized and ethical paths in cosmetics.
Trimaran Botanicals, created by Mimi Young, offers a ceremonial skincare line that fuses cosmetic science, spirituality and our need for a deeper connection to the products we use on our skin.
Boasting true green credentials, Trimaran Botanicals opts for what’s environmentally conscious, such as bottles made of recyclable amber glass, ethically sourced natural ingredients and labels from a FSC certified, carbon neutral printer.
A shamanic practitioner for the past two years, Mimi blesses every product with personalized shamanic rituals, utilizing vibrational therapy and mantras to induce unique benefits.
We chat with Mimi from her Vancouver, Canada home about shamanism, greenwashing and the spiritual processes behind her creations.
When did you decide to begin Trimaran Botanicals?
There were complications during one of my pregnancies and I was put on strict bed rest for about five months. It’s a very, very long time to be in bed. The first two weeks, like any human being, I wasted time on Facebook and Twitter; I read every book that I had set aside with every intention of reading but just never got to it, and then afterwards I asked myself, what should I be doing with my time?
It was very obvious to return and deepen my meditative practice. So it was from there I really tapped into my spiritual energies and started forming Trimaran Botanicals. I was able to connect, see and feel my chakras (energy points of the body). That, in many ways, gave birth to the Good Vibes Elixirs because they are chakra-balancing oils.
One thing led to another and Trimaran basically came to be. The word Trimaran is the main road of my neighborhood, so I named it after that because I felt it was a business that started from home and reminded me of connection and community. Not only does community mean with people, but community with the spiritual entities, the plants, the animals and crystal spirits.
What does shamanism mean to you?
I would say shamanism is an extension of meditation practice. The difference though is with shamanic journeying, you experience that altered state of consciousness, like you always do when you are in meditation, but you travel into the unseen worlds and you start connecting with other entities beyond yourself. It would be returning to yourself and connecting with your deeper or higher self.
I would say if you had to sum up “what is shamanism?” beauty would definitely be one of the words and connection would be another. It just makes sense for a skincare line that not only uses the most purest, bio-energetic, potent ingredients but integrates that spiritual side to because that’s where you offer a deeper, more joyful and soulful beauty.
You call yourself a shamanic practitioner opposed to a shaman — could you explain the difference?
Shamans historically existed in many indigenous cultures. It’s not one country or one culture that owns shamanism whereas certain other religious beliefs — not that shamanism is a religious belief — but for certain other faiths or spiritual practices, it really is quite tied to a certain culture or country. But with that said, conventional shamanism is a very formal right of passage and in many ways it’s been quite protected.
I use the words “shamanic practitioner” out of respect for those other cultures because I have not gone through those strident rituals or tests of faith. I have simply inherited a gift to speak to and to hear the spirit world. I practice shamanic principals and that’s why I use the word practitioner. I, in no way, want to pose any type of disrespect and that’s why I very, very carefully use the words shamanic practitioner.
From your perspective, how can shamanism benefit our health and wellbeing? Why do you integrate spirituality and physical beauty?
I would say a lot of people seem to think we’re very connected, and in many ways, we are. But I also think we’re not really connected? We can’t even leave our house and go to the washroom without our phones. So I started to wonder if we are more disconnected or connected. Are we really connected to ourselves — because I feel like there’s a fair amount of distraction with all this connection, with all this information.
And so why ceremonial skincare, why shamanic skincare, why shamanic beauty? I feel this line is an invitation. It’s reminding people they can continue their own practice of self-connection, to come home to themselves and to truly connect back within so that then they can venture out to others from a more whole and holistic place.
Trimaran Botanicals puts the onus on being good for the skin, mind and environment — what does sustainability mean to you?
In terms of sustainable ingredients, for instance, rosewood is an essential oil that I use in some of my formulations. However most rosewood is from the rosewood tree that is considered endangered. I would say some essential oils have been in such demand that it’s actually put some of the plants on the endangered list. So I use a renewable source.
My rosewood is farmed and I know there’s a lot of discussion about whether farmed is better. I would say it depends. I wouldn’t say all farmed is better but for certain ingredients it is. It’s much better to consume something that’s farmed, that is sustainable, than something that’s wildcrafted but unsustainable. You wind up damaging natural habitats.
With my ingredients I’ve been so strident, picky and really demanding in my sourcing selections. I don’t source from one supplier. I have many different suppliers and they provide me different things. I look at the chemistry, the actual biochemistry of the oils and ingredients and I look at where it’s grown, how it’s grown, how it’s harvested and I look at how it’s been distilled.
So, for instance, if it’s an essential oil ingredient the distillation process is very important. Why? Well, first of all, many essential oils are essentially doped when they are being distilled so it’s doped with things such as alcohols or hexane, which is a terrible toxin, so that it winds up producing more at the end. I don’t do that obviously because it’s bad for us and it’s bad for the earth. So I’m very deliberate in choosing things that have been processed in a very fine way, in a way that is authentic, slow and pure. None of my oils have additives in it and all of them are solvent free and they’re all from the first distillations.
I think we’re in a world where everyone assumes that if it’s organic, it must be good or if it’s vegan, it must be good. It’s not that I’m against organic but there’s so much more to consider than just that. I think a lot of companies know how to market things, they know what people are wanting or think they want — they know what’s fashionable. Those are buzzwords and people respond to that and they think they’re doing something quite wholesome.
What is your ritual processes behind each product?
When I work there is always a ritual. I light a candle and I set an intention. I use my rattle to evoke the spirits from all six directions, that’s typically what most shamanic workers would do. Some of them believe in four directions, I actually work with six, and then, of course, I have my crystals with me and then I go to work.
Let’s say someone places an order online. I’ll print that order out and I’ll examine it like it’s someone’s medical card. I’ll study the person’s name and I ask the spirits to share with me what this person may need in that product, so then I wind up blessing that product with a specific mantra.
So, for instance, if I get the sense that Jill Smith is in need of some grounded goodness then I will design a mantra and I’ll infuse it in that particular facial serum that I made for her. Sometimes I might even write it down, which, of course, I include in all my shipments just so that they can use it for themselves. I place it in my shrine, which is a dedicated space for my assembled inventory, and is filled with plants and crystals and beautiful imagery. I charge that area daily. There’s solfeggio music that is designed to vibrate at different healing frequencies too.
I do bring all those things into my practice. Then once it’s been charged with all those beautiful intentions, I pack it and I anoint the package with sacred sage asking the spirits and asking the sage to protect the order so it’s delivered swiftly without damage. So even the shipment itself has experienced a shamanic intention and a connection with the plants.
What are your thoughts on greenwashing in the cosmetic industry?
I would recommend people to connect with companies and ask questions. I know not all companies can have an owner or the manufacturer themselves available, but for me, I invite this kind of conversation. I feel we are all one. The plants benefit and we benefit, everyone benefits. So it’s important to know what you’re putting on your body and it’s important to know what you’re demanding from the earth.
Another thing people can do is when they start having a deeper connection with themselves, they can start asking themselves, “how does my body feel when I use this product?” I think our bodies will respond. The skin is changing because we are changing. We’re not the same people as we once were yesterday or last year or two years before.
Images c/o Trimaran Botanicals
majestic disorder x Trimaran Botanicals