Bali. The island of the Gods.A feast of colours, culture, beauty and devout faith. With such beauty all around such as the Jatiluwih rice terraces, it’s no wonder Bali boasts such a rich tradition of beauty and spa rituals whose names alone evoke the most exotic and luscious of pampering experiences: boreh, lurlur, temu-temu, avocado cream bath, spice bath – I could just picture myself in one of Ubud’s secret gardens being scrubbed and massaged with rare oils and exotic spices while watching traditional Bali dance.
Alas, my spa experience in Ubud was nothing of the like: the massage therapist had spindly fingers that were more akin to knitting needles and seemed to have the greatest of interest in poking my ribs, and my avocado cream bath was executed with products that stank of cheap and chemical; leaving me smelling like a freshly-permed grandma. And thanks to the ridiculous, hair-abusing, backcombing blow-dry aftermaths, l actually looked more like a poodle.
Fortunately, I came across a brand of products that brought me back to the grassroots and let all my sensuous Balinese spa fantasies go wild in the comfort of my own guesthouse’s secret garden. Enter Utama Spice.
I stumbled upon the brand by accident while buying a bottle of hair oil called Well Kiss, an earthy and sweet blend of aniseed, lemon and patchouli that smelled so heavenly good that I soon made it my own. The best part was to read the 100% natural ingredient list: coconut oil and pure essential oils. No chemical additives, no preservatives, no parabens, no binders, no colorants, no synthetics. I was in love.
Ubud born and bred skincare company Utama Spice uses ancient traditional Balinese herbal and medicinal spa recipes, creating natural products with spices, herbs, plants, tree barks and essential oils to heal and treat the skin. Every effort is made at Utama Spice to source the ingredients locally in a slave-free, fair-trade and sustainable manner.
On paper, Utama Spice is everything I want from a cosmetic company: an environmentally friendly, eco-minded bunch of people whose products are so natural you could in fact eat them – but most importantly, in practice, the products are simply supreme and deliver all what you would hope for in top-quality luxury spa products, at very reasonable prices, leaving my skin smelling delicious and looking gorgeous. I wanted to share with you my faves.
Liquid Antiseptic Soap
This soap smells medicinal and herbaceous; I find it extremely invigorating, yet super gentle to my sensitive skin. The antiseptic properties of the oils also make it ideal to wash my face and help get rid of imperfections. An uplifting and healing multitasker that is bound to become a faithful travel companion.
Cocoa Love Butter
The ingredients of this rich face and body butter are cocoa butter, coconut oil, vanilla and cinnamon bark. Just imagine how heavenly this smells – oh, but you’re not even close. I may or may not have tasted it. This is another multitasker that I like to slather on my dry, sun-abused face and body. The consistency is solid at room temperature in colder climates, but it melts on skin contact, so run a wee chunk between your palms before rubbing it in. It is quite greasy at first, but absorbs into the skin quickly. I apply this all over before bed and wake up feeling smooth and hydrated. No need for dessert.
Balinese Boreh Body Scrub
Utama Spice’s scrubs are unlike any I have used before: a powdered mix of rice, spices, herbs and tree barks to which you add a little water until a goop forms that you then apply to your body and leave to dry for 5 or 10 minutes before scrubbing it off and rinsing with water. The first thing that makes this so different from any other scrub is the tingly, warming feeling it gave to my skin thanks to the spices it contains. It felt more like a body mask, also coming from the fact that it’s not excessively scrubby. I guess in French I would call this a ‘gommage’. I like that this scrub calls for slowing down and taking time for yourself – and did I mention it smells like heaven? Something reminiscent of an Indian bakery. Sweet and spicy. Mmmm… To jazz things up and add extra moisture, you could mix it with a little coconut oil. Absolute exotic amazing freaking bliss.
Lavender hair oil
The hair oil is what made me fall in love with the company in the first place, so naturally I had to get more. Putting coconut oil in your hair is just about the best thing you can do for it. It moisturizes, heals and protects. My hair is quite dry and brittle, so I apply this to my split ends after washing, but you could also use it as a mask prior to washing. I also put it all over my hair before a day at the beach to protect it from the sun and the salt, and I’ve made my own “surf spray” with it, mixing it with equal part sea water that I spray on my clean hair when I’m missing that slightly disheveled, wavy beach look. Best beard softener as well.
Rose Allure face and body lotion
All of Utama Spice’s body lotions are light yet hydrating and glide on like a dream, leaving your skin feeling super soft and smelling gorgeous. The Rose Allure one reminds me of my usual day cream so much (Rose Nectar by Melvita) but at a fraction of the cost. I’m a convert.
Yoga Mat Spray
My yoga mat comes along everywhere I go and sometimes ends up smelling a little funky after being dragged in the sand, grass and in buses’ undercarriage. This spray kills bacteria and smells of cinnamon, making child pose a hell of a lot more pleasant. I also spray it on my backpack, running shoes and, ahem, day old t-shirts! It is apparently also good to keep puppies from chewing on things! If you are looking for a yoga experience in Bali, there are many yoga retreats to check out in Bali.
Can you feel the exotic yet?
Well, you’re just about to feel it a lot more, because Utama Spice is giving away gift sets to three of Mostly Amélie’s lucky readers! To enter, simply visit Utama Spice’s website and write in the comments below which product(s) you would like to try. To gain extra entries, follow Utama Spice and Mostly Amélie on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the Gleam widget below! The contest is open internationally and closes on 13th October 2014 at 11:59:59 PM (Pacific Time (US & Canada). The winners will be announced on my blog, so stay tuned. Good luck!