...and be warned, this is a long blog, so digest it in chunks with a cuppa and a dip-in!
How good does it feel to be on the receiving end of kindness? When, out of the blue, someone is very considerate or generous without expecting anything in return, it's a beautiful thing. The smallest acts of kindness can alter how we feel for the day. A stranger smiling and holding a door open can change how we behave towards the next person we see struggling. We then feel good because we know we've probably just made someone's day.
Kindness is a positive energy exchange that's a win-win for everyone and Sharon explain's some of the reasons why...
BE KIND to your skin. It will thank you in the long run!
I founded MV on the principle of kindness by focusing on nurturing and gentle practices that respect the skin's microbiome. The foundation of this 'kind' approach is MV's 3 Minute Ritual - the ultimate act of self-care which brings the focus to the breath and to touch, scent and feel rather than a mundane or mechanical routine you just have to get through each day.
Education has been essential from the very beginning because, back in 1993, 2 years after I graduated from Beauty College, I unwittingly damaged my peachy English complexion. Salons all around Australia were buzzing with excitement over this new glycolic acid skincare line from the US and with it came a salon-strength peel.
No matter our age, our skin type or our skin condition, we (Beauty Therapists) were all encouraged to embrace this miraculous new peel, so on the bed we all jumped, one after another. Within weeks I went from peachy glow to recovering burns victim. An acid peel is the polar opposite of kindness - put simply, it's skin trauma. And certain traumatic skin experiences can take many years to recover from. I used to explain that my skincare company was started almost by accident while helping someone with a skin issue, but really - was it an accident? MV was exactly what my own skin needed to heal and repair. And that's exactly why I was so determined to go against the grain and promote being kind to the skin.
The MV approach comforts and soothes the skin, coaxing it into a healthy glow. No harsh scrubbing, no peels, no acids, no retinol but still achieving outstanding results with skin-supportive plant extracts that have a natural affinity with the skin and body.
Being Kind to your skin means avoiding anything 'unkind' such as stripping foaming cleansers, harsh exfoliants and acid peels, strong laser treatments, microdermabrasion and prolonged periods of sun exposure.
So, in what ways can you be kinder to your skin?
First, before you begin your daily skin ritual - and promise me you'll try this - close your eyes, smile gently (defs no cheesy grin!), then take a long s-l-o-w deep breath in; hold for a moment then exhale, dropping your shoulders as you do. Repeat twice more, then open your eyes slowly. Don't tell me that didn't feel good!
Now - for your skin.
Switch to a creamy cleanser - so much kinder than a wash-off product.
Embrace warm compressing to remove your cream cleanser - it's like a hug for your face and who doesn't love a hug!
Never skip your night cleanse - it's as essential as brushing your teeth.
Protect your skin pre-shower by smoothing two drops of Pure Jojoba over your face - the ultimate act of kindness for anyone, especially those with sensitivity.
Kind application is key - with relaxed palms, smooth your favourite products over your face, neck and décolleté in long, gliding movements - this is the ultimate tactile experience that turns a routine into a ritual. And as a little side note, MV is not 'patted' into the skin. Patting is not an MV application technique - get those palms of yours ready for some serious skin-loving massage.
BE KIND to our precious planet.
Be Kind to the planet because it's the only one we've got!
The wonderfully charismatic Naturalist, Sir David Attenborough has been bringing the magic of the natural world into our living rooms since the 1950s and also warning us of the damage being done for decades.
Attenborough is a lifelong hero, but two much more recent heroes have emerged in the form of Zac Efron and Darin Olien of Down to Earth fame. If you haven't watched this epic Netflix series, you're seriously missing out - not to mention the latest series made right here in Australia while Efron was 'trapped' during a Covid lockdown.
As most of the 'news-watching' world would be aware, Australia is no stranger to natural disasters. Who can forget the images of the devastating 2020 wildfires?
These freak or once-in-one-hundred-year weather events have now become the norm. So, what can we do in our own small way to be more kind to this magnificent planet we call home?
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Reduce your consumption of single-use plastics and packaging, and reuse and recycle whenever possible.
Eco-friendly products rule!
Choose eco-friendly products such as biodegradable cleaning products and reusable shopping bags.
Turn off lights and appliances when you're not using them and make the switch to more energy-efficient products where possible.
Catch public transport, cycle or carpool if you can. Every single person reducing emissions slightly adds up to A LOT.
Plant a tree.
Trees absorb carbon dioxide and help to combat climate change, so support a tree planting programme or plant one in your own garden.
Support sustainable farming practices.
Buy food from local farmers who practice sustainable farming methods that prioritise soil health and biodiversity. It doesn't have to be your entire weekly shop. Start small and build on that.
Eat less meat.
No explanation needed!
Reduce food waste.
Plan meals, buy only what you need, and compost food scraps if you are able to.
BE KIND to yourself.
Being kind to yourself is essential for a more content and balanced life, so no matter your age or life experiences, it's never too late to put yourself first. This is often hardest for Mums because they give to their whole family around the clock but often forget about themselves. If enough time goes by without a recharge, batteries run low, health suffers and poor ol' Mum, like a car being driven too fast in a low gear, eventually breaks down! So, please make this a daily habit - even if it's something small - and stick to it until it becomes a habit.
Here are some simple ways to be kinder to yourself...
Make time for yourself to do the things that make you feel good - book a massage, take a candle-lit bath, read a beautiful book, take yourself off for a walk or simply give yourself permission to do nothing but daydream for 10 minutes.
Practice positive self-talk.
Challenge negative self-talk by consciously replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. Instead of saying "I can't do this," say "I can absolutely handle this."
Take time each day to reflect on at least one thing in your life you are grateful for. This can help shift your focus away from negative thoughts and help you see the positive aspects of your life more clearly.
Set realistic expectations.
Be kind to yourself by loving your imperfections. There's a saying that goes something like 'Perfection is the imperfection.' If we were all 'perfect', life would be indeed boring!
Get enough rest.
Make sure you are getting enough rest and sleep. This can help improve your mood and energy levels. And if you have trouble nodding off, we highly recommend the Calm app for its mesmerising sleep stories, tranquil nature sounds and guided meditations to help with the daily wind-down.
Eat well - most of the time!
Eat a healthy, balanced diet and avoid extremes. Our founder is a big fan of the 80:20 rule. If you're good 80% of the time, then when you have that sweet treat or take-away fish and chips on a Friday night, don't beat yourself up about it. Enjoy every bite with a smile on your face.
Spend time with supportive people.
Spend time with people who uplift you and support you as this will have an immediate positive physical and emotional effect on you. I mean, you know who do avoid, don't you? Yep - those people who suck the life out of you!
Exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety, and it's a great mood boost. Join a yoga class, or a walking group, or, if you love sweating up a storm, head to the gym or go for a jog. If you prefer something a little less energetic, head to your local park, take your shoes off and stand in the grass for 10 minutes. There's nothing quite like breathing in some fresh air while you feel the grass (or the sand) between your toes - connecting to the earth.
Take a break from your phone/devices.
Make a conscious effort to take a break every day from those addictive devices. This will help you re-set and re-focus which means you'll then be more productive. We know it can be hard but try to strike a balance.
Forgive yourself for any past mistakes - we all make them. Be kind and understanding toward yourself, just as you would be to a good friend.
BE KIND to each other.
Being kind to each other is essential for building positive relationships and creating a more harmonious and inclusive society. Being kind doesn't cost a cent, it's free. Sometimes it's important to remind ourselves that we are all unique - like a thumbprint - so embracing our uniqueness and accepting this in others is a great place to start.
Here are some simple ways to be kind to each other:
Practice active listening.
Listen attentively to others, without interrupting or judging and respond thoughtfully. Not everyone wants advice or an opinion all the time, sometimes people just need to be heard.
Try to understand other people's perspectives and feelings, and respond with compassion and understanding. Even a hand placed gently on someone's shoulder can often mean the world.
Treat others with the same respect you would like to receive yourself. Dead simple!
Be patient with others, especially when they are having a hard time or struggling with something. Try taking a few deep breaths before you react and also, try to put yourself in someone else's shoes.
Show kindness in small ways.
Small acts of kindness, such as giving up your seat on public transport, holding a door open or offering a smile, can go a long way in brightening someone's day.
Include people from different backgrounds and cultures, and make them feel welcome. And, if English if your first language and it's the only language you speak, then stand in admiration of anyone trying to master a second language.
Apologise and forgive.
Apologise when you make a mistake or hurt someone, but forgive others when they apologise to you. The word 'Sorry' goes a very long way - don't underestimate it.
Stumbling upon Kindness
From time to time we all stumble upon kindness and I am no exception.
I've stumbled upon kindness in some random and unexpected ways of late, so I'll share the 3 most meaningful and possibly even life-changing encounters...
An encounter with Rutger Bregman - Author of Human Kind - A Hopeful History.
Rutger is a Historian and one of Europe's most prominent thinkers, not to mention his book made it onto the Best Seller list for 2022.
I rarely make quick decisions about books. I like to ruminate over what I'm going to read, mainly because I have very little free time so I can't waste it on something that isn't going to enrich my life or set my heart a pit-a-pat.
I picked this up in a bookstore in Euston Station in September 2022 when I was heading North to visit my family and friends - beautiful people I hadn't seen in years. I had a four-hour journey ahead of me but - thanks to my Uber driver - I was cutting it really fine to catch my train. In fact, I was in such a panic I almost walked out without paying. Certainly the best spontaneous book purchase I've ever made and I managed to avoid getting arrested!
And what's so great about it you might ask? In a world that seems at times to be devoid of hope and seriously lacking in kindness, this is truly worth taking the time to read. Rutger is a world-class researcher, leaving no stone unturned in his quest for a deeper understanding of human behaviour. Be prepared for some startling facts and revelations along with a whole lot of hope thrown in on the subject of kindness.
There's a stack of great reviews but a Daily Telegraph journalist sums it up best for me.
"The book we need right now...might just make the world a kinder place."
Now for someone who personifies kindness...
A recent encounter with Melissa Hemsley - UK Chef and Author championing 'Feelgood Food'
First, let me set the scene. Melissa has recently revealed her past two miscarriages, her IVF journey and now - at long last - a successful pregnancy with a baby due this UK summer. When I arrived in the UK on a business trip in September 2022 I had my fingers, legs, toes and eyes crossed that we would reconnect, as I love her dearly. She has been unbelievably kind, supportive and generous with her time on previous trips (pre Covid), but I fully understood her schedule would be chockers. When I invited her to a dinner event in Central London - quite a hike from her then home in East London - I presumed there was no way she could make it, especially as I was aware by then she had embarked on IVF.
At the time in Melissa's life when she should have had her feet up at the end of the day, snuggling with her beloved dog on the sofa, she instead enthusiastically agreed to attend.
For anyone who knows me, media events are not my favourite thing. They are super challenging because I find it really hard to sell myself. It's the Cumbrian in me!
On business trips, I'm in my happy place giving beauty and fashion journalists and VIP clients my signature treatment - MV Radiance Therapy. For me, being 'hands-on' is not a job or even a career choice, it's a vocation. It's what I believe I was put on earth to do. I feel grounded, still and present - I smile from the inside out as I'm working. I don't smile from the inside out making small talk with influencers in their early 20s talking a load of nonsense. That's my idea of purgatory!
In the midst of the purgatory, in walked a ray of sunshine - Melissa - lightening up the room, and in an instant, validating me more than anyone else in the room ever could. She was genuinely there for me. Not for a free dinner, not for a box of Aussie luxury organic skincare (that most in the room would put aside after the event), and not to network with other journos and influencers. When Melissa should have been at home resting, she trudged to Central London to support me because she is a kind and generous soul. That's golden!
I relaxed as soon as I knew she was in the room, and because Melissa makes everyone feel relaxed, we got the party started. Although she wasn't sitting right next to me, that didn't matter - her vibration could easily be felt from where I was sitting. She left a little early - for obvious reasons - but it truly made my trip seeing her smiling face and, once again, being on the receiving end of her kindness. It's hard to express my appreciation to such an exquisite human being so I'll keep it simple - because Melissa loves the KISS principle.
I've stolen a word or two from Harry Styles, hope he doesn't mind - Melissa, I ADORE YOU.
Melissa is a British National Treasure and KINDNESS on steroids, as is the next person I randomly encountered...
An encounter with Mr Harry Styles - the Love on Tour Concert in Sydney, March 2023.
He's left Australia now, but if you can catch him as he works his way around the world, then do. I'd call him the King of Kindness and be warned, he is no ordinary pop star; this guy is a phenomenon. First you see it, then you feel it. BOOM!
I'm in my 59th year and hardly Harry's demographic but the take-home for me that cannot be ignored is another layer to this young man that's hard to put into words.
He has given people across the globe permission to be themselves, but more than that, he's raising the vibration wherever he goes spreading kindness, joy and love.
Each and every one of us is capable of spreading just a little more kindness which can create a ripple, a wave, then a tidal wave. Harry is fast-tracking this by creating a kindness tsunami.
It really doesn't get better than that!
BTW, when it comes to Harry Styles, forget 'demographic' - it's irrelevant. 9,19 or 90 - it really doesn't matter.