Whole Beauty

Daily Rituals and Natural Recipes for Lifelong Beauty and Wellness


By Shiva Rose

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A decade ago, after suffering from life-threatening autoimmune disorders, Hollywood actress Shiva Rose set out to discover a more holistic way to natural health and beauty. Growing her own organic herbs and flowers; mixing creams, lotions, and tonics; and following Ayurvedic practices and creating mindful rituals, she has not only healed her life but has also become a leader and entrepreneur in the world of all-natural beauty and lifestyle.Whole Beauty is her radiant next step, a practical, inspiring, stunningly beautiful guide to following a whole beauty practice at home. Here is the recipe for Rose’s iconic rose hip facial serum, as well as 40 other recipes for masks and exfoliants, hair-care products and detoxes, and even DIY deodorant and toothpaste. She explains Ayurvedic practices, such as dry brushing and oil pulling, and home-cleansing rituals, such as smudging with burning sage; shares a dozen tonics, including Celestial Nog and Summer Lover; and offers an entire chapter on the use of essential oils, both on the body and in the home. From natural beauty solutions like a Blushing Bride Chickpea Face Mask to showing how to tap into the full force of female energy, Whole Beauty is a complete guide to revitalizing your life.



I spend hours in our garden, gathering pansies, roses, cherry blossoms, and all the other vivid, scented plants that catch my eye. I collect the petals in a small copper bowl, add a little water from the pond, and with a pestle, mash them until they form a fragrant and vibrant paste.

I take my seat at the edge of the pond and dangle my feet in, piquing the curiosity of the goldfish, sending them swimming to ripple the lily pads across the surface.

I take my flower paste and rub it on my face, breathing in the aroma of the flowers. This is Iran, this is the beginning, but if I close my eyes now, many years and thousands of miles away in Los Angeles, I am there again. I can still feel the wind on my cheeks and the tickle of fish nibbling at my toes and hear birds singing as they dance by overhead.

I was young enough that I didn't think of these pondside rituals as beautifying or acts of self-care. I just saw them as a way to bring myself even closer to the natural world, reveling in the way the yellows, reds, and purples looked before my eyes and how soft the petals felt as I crushed them with my hands. It was a pure moment of creation that amplified my senses and gave me a small gift of beauty to carry with me even when I was called away from the garden to tend to my chores or go to bed.

The first several decades of my life were marked by trauma. In 1979, due to the Iranian Revolution, my family was in danger, my mother being an American citizen and my father a well-known liberal TV personality. They felt it was best that we leave the country, so we escaped Tehran on one of the last flights out. We resettled in Los Angeles, where my parents had a lot of tumultuous times before they divorced when I was a teenager. Not long after that, one of my closest friends was murdered on her way home from a party we attended together. To escape these challenging times, I immersed myself in acting, eventually going on to study theater at UCLA.

I married young and gave birth to my first daughter, Colette Blu, in my midtwenties. Motherhood hit me hard in ways I did not expect. I was achy and tired all the time, and the dark circles under my eyes were visible from a mile away. I was juggling being a mom, being a wife to a successful actor, and pursuing a career as an actress. I kept waiting for a bounce-back that never came. I eventually went to a doctor, not because of how I was feeling but because of a bruise that appeared on my back. That was when I was diagnosed with scleroderma, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis and told that unless I took drastic measures, I might not have more than a year to live.

This was a fate I refused to accept, and I began the process of healing myself through organic foods, herbal medicines, Ayurveda, self-care, and adding healthy fats to my diet. Though my quality of life was less than optimal, I improved. I learned how to manage my symptoms and live with chronic pain. I didn't realize how much pain I was in until years and years later when it subsided. At the time, I counted this minor relief as a small success.

Then in 2008, the perfect storm hit and blew everything to pieces. I had just given birth to my second daughter, Charlotte Rumi Rose; my sixteen-year marriage was crumbling; and to top it off, I was being sued for trying to save a two-hundred-year-old oak tree. Due to all of this stress, my symptoms began to return.

One night, I finally broke. Wearing nothing but a slip, I ran barefoot out of my house into the darkness, not sure that I could handle my life anymore. I was running from my marriage, running from the fractured life that I had created, running from my illness, running from childhood traumas, just running.

I'd been running for an hour when the thought of my baby daughter stopped me. Her face, her violet-blue eyes, propelled me to turn back. This time was undoubtedly my darkest moment, but in that abyss, something bright still glimmered. My maternal instincts compelled me, but I also drew strength from the courageous women of my family's past—the mothers, wives, and daughters of nomads who had crossed the mountains of Persia—and from the powerful combination of my Euro/American lineage: the Native American blood on my mother's side along with that of the hardy souls of my English ancestors. I knew that they were watching me and urging me on. They had known trauma; they had known grief. They had survived, and so would I.

The only good thing about hitting rock bottom is that you have nowhere to go but up, and as I limped home that night— declining a ride from a kind neighbor who saw me and pulled over to the side of the road—I knew it was time to wipe the slate clean. I could choose to treat my anxiety and depression, which were symptoms of my pain, or I could face the pain and overhaul my being. I chose to do the latter, because I knew that I didn't just want to survive, I wanted to thrive.

I had to start over from an earthier place, burn the house down and rebuild. I got divorced, and I didn't take much with me—clothes, books, a poster. I set about finding a new house for my tiny tribe: my daughters and myself. I didn't know where we would land, but I knew that we had to be surrounded by green.

In Iran, I had grown up near the mountains. Close by were bustling markets—a far cry from the supermarkets of America—and bursting gardens, and I resolved to reestablish that connection to the natural world. I wanted to dig my fingers into the earth. I found solace in feeling and smelling the soil. I grew my own vegetables and learned how to compost. I then began raising chickens and eventually honeybees.

Everything that followed was a natural progression. I focused on being in rhythm with the cycles and seasons of nature. I started to make my own skin-care and cleaning products. Inspired by my new philosophy, I was drawn to a community of like-minded people who had a similar ethos. Overhauling my life and sharing my experiences became my work, and I realized that I was doing what I loved. Once you are on your true path, opportunities will present themselves; the important thing is being open enough to recognize them.

I started my blog, The Local Rose, because I wanted to share and document what I was doing. I met all of these incredible practitioners along the way as I was changing my life, and discovered that there were a lot of us searching for inspiration. I wanted to show that it was possible to be green and conscious and still be chic, and have a platform to talk about what was important to me without being preachy. At the time, almost eight years ago, natural beauty was mostly relegated to health food stores, and was seen as mundane cleansing rather than pampering. I felt like it deserved to have the same elevated elegance of the luxurious (yet often highly toxic) products from high-end beauty counters. As women began to come to me with questions or to share their own stories, I realized that while my journey was a personal endeavor, the benefits of it radiated far beyond me.

In our modern, fast-paced era, women are stressed and under more pressure than ever before, and as a result have lost the essence of being sensual in many ways. Sensuality is about having a connection to yourself, your soul, the luscious fruit that goes into your face mask, the music that makes you want to dance, the wind caressing your cheek—indulging in all the things that make you feel alive and beautiful. Approaching beauty with reverence and ritual can help awaken your feminine fire and stoke the flames of vibrancy and passion. Beauty and self-care nourish us so that we can continue to give to others.

I truly believe that beautifying ourselves holistically is an integral part of self-care, health, and healing. When we treat our body, our vessel, with intention, we are honoring not just ourselves but the essence of femininity that has coursed through us since the beginning of time.

I hope to inspire you to start on your own wellness journey and to not give up as you traverse the peaks and valleys. The process is not linear. In art and architecture, there is a belief that things that have straight lines with defined beginnings and endings are masculine, whereas the feminine is represented by spirals, curves, and circular forms. This is a feminine journey in that it is circular; it spirals inward, and there are steps forward and then steps to the side or backward. The path meanders and moves not unlike a dance. But this dance is authentic and rhythmic and is led by the music of instinct and intuition.

I planted the seeds for my healing years before I returned to truly tend to them. It is deeply rewarding to connect with yourself, to tune in and settle into your spirit.

chapter one

Making Space & Time for Daily Rituals

As women, we are inherently tribal. We are meant to gather with other women, to care for one another, participate in ceremony, and be in circles. Unfortunately, we often lack this connection in our modern lives, where we work in cubicles, frequently care for our families alone, and have mothers and sisters who live far away. Our days pass without a sense of reverence and community, and we're left with a powerful yearning for connection.

For me, rituals provide that connection. When I perform them alone, I am able to connect with the source of all being (our own, personal version of a higher power) and my deepest levels of self. When I gather for ceremony with other women, I connect with the divine feminine and form strong bonds with my teachers and friends, new sisters and mothers. Ritual and ceremony provide us with an opportunity to refuel, reenergize, and even reinvent ourselves. Just a simple beauty ritual can trigger a profound shift into a more self-healing modality.

I experienced my first ritual almost two decades ago, and it really enlightened me and opened me up to a whole new realm of healing. I was in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with my family, and it was the middle of winter. In the coldest months, New Mexico is a magical, mystical place, with its dusty, red landscape awash in drifts of white snow. My former mother-in-law and I traveled to a small adobe house on the outskirts of town, where a Native American shaman held ceremonies in her sweat lodge.

This was my introduction to the use of cleansing herbs, such as sage, and to the power of prayer. The lodge was the hottest place I had ever been, and we were naked for the three-hour ceremony. It was a test of strength, will, and spirit. I openly cried as the chants and smoke and sweat unearthed the demons I thought I had so carefully buried. There were many moments when I wanted to leave, but even when my mind told me I wouldn't last a minute longer, my spirit told me to stay.

In these moments, I would lower myself to the ground and put my naked breasts against the cool earth. I felt the feminine power of the earth supporting me. As I breathed in the cool air that rose up to revive me, I knew that if I could survive this, I could survive anything outside of the lodge as well.

After the sweat, I emerged renewed, and my senses were alive. I saw rainbows and shimmering orbs. The shaman had laid out a beautiful feast of hummus, crackers, olives, salads, and fresh juices, and all the food glittered like gems. Everything tasted incredible, and I felt like I had been stripped raw to reignite my passion for beauty and pleasure.

During this ritual, the shaman told me that I was connected to the wolf, and she used the word lupus, which is the Latin translation. This was my first inkling of my autoimmune disorders, and I would be formally diagnosed with lupus a short while later.

I don't think we have to go to this extreme to have ritual in our lives. That just happened to be my initiation into this newfound world. When I come together with my sisters, most of the rituals we perform are very simple. We will gather flowers, make a mandala, and call in the Four Directions, which is a Native American tradition that represents a universal way of connecting with the earth. For a small ritual, often with just one other person, a tea ceremony connects us to nature and roots us in the moment. Something as simple as lighting a candle and saying a prayer can take ordinary life and elevate it to a higher realm.

The most important thing is how you approach what you are doing. Mindfulness and intention are the only requirements for turning a routine into a ritual. Are you approaching your beauty treatments as a chore or as an act of self-love? Are you distractedly slathering on body oil or taking the time to anoint yourself?

In a world that dulls the senses with overstimulation and overextension, women are losing touch with their desire and need for pleasure. As a result, we are starving for these very things. We need to be illuminated and filled up by the divine, and we can do this by creating moments of happiness and abundance in our lives.

Creating a Sacred Space

The temples on either side of the forehead are reminders that we can create temples (sacred places) wherever we go just by closing our eyes and imagining them—no money or design experience needed.

However, I do think that actually creating a sacred space in your home can make you feel closer to the rituals and awaken your desire to do more. Your sacred space can be a whole room or a tiny altar on a table, but it will become the place where you apply your beauty masks, meditate, do yoga, read cards, write in your journal, or set intentions for the new moon.

It is the place where we go to connect to the source of all being and hone our intuition. As women, we're inclined to create atmosphere, we're inclined to create beauty around us, we're inclined toward being sensitive to our environment, and altars are a beautiful way to honor these inclinations.

Altars represent your life. When you clean the altar, you can imagine you're cleaning your life. When you offer flowers, or fruit, or incense, you're offering those to your life. Anything you do for the altar is also a meditation and intention for your life.

I personally have a few different altars. I have a nature altar, which is where I keep my crystals and things from the natural world. My children and I will add flowers in the springtime, seashells in the summer, fallen leaves in autumn, and pinecones in the winter. I have an altar to my womb, which is just a very simple space on the floor with a candle, a big rose quartz, and a beautiful piece of silk fabric. I'll light incense there, and this is where I'll sit to do my yoni egg exercises (see a here). I have an altar for mother energy and the sacred feminine, and an altar where I practice Nichiren Buddhism. Altars don't have to cost a lot to make, but they embody the idea of creating a sacred space that's just for you. An altar alters you. Virginia Woolf is famous for saying that every woman needs a room of her own, and I think we can take that sentiment and say that every woman needs an altar of her own.

Making Your Own Altar

Your altar can be as malleable and ever-changing as you are. You are not always in the same mood, dealing with the same difficulties, or pursuing the same goals, so you can adapt your altar to reflect whatever you need to honor or bring into your life at that specific point in time. There is no right or wrong way to build an altar, and the best way to do it is to let your intention guide you. You may include any or all of the following and more.

• Crystals

• Flowers

• Pictures of loved ones

• Images of goddesses

• Family mementos (like a beloved relative's jewelry, or something made by your children)

• Things found in nature (rocks, feathers, shells, sticks)

• A bowl of coins (for abundance)

• Incense

• Essential oils

• A mirror (helpful for doing beauty rituals in front of the altar)

• Candles (I choose the color depending on what emotion I want to bring in, a practice I've adopted from Wiccan literature; see the list at right)

candle colors and their meanings










Peace and Healing






Removing Negativity

Space Clearing

When I got divorced, one of the things that was most upsetting was knowing that my daughters and I would have to leave the beautiful 1914 Mission-style house that we loved and called home.

What got me through that time was imagining what I wanted in my life. I couldn't quite see the style of the house we would live in, but I did imagine a glass wall of green—as if we could look out into a forest of some kind—and lots of light. A friend of mine kept referring to this feeling as "the call of the wild." I also needed to feel content and connected to our new home, feelings I'd experienced over the years and wanted to experience again.

After a year of looking, our time was running out. One day I saw a house that wasn't very suitable but had wonderful trees. When I first walked in, I was instantly charmed by the couple selling it, who had been married for almost half a century and were still very much in love. They'd built the house in 1949 and though it was dilapidated, the caring energy within it was palpable. As I moved from room to room, it grew increasingly clear that renovating the place would pose an enormous challenge. However, when I went outside into the garden and took in the majestic oaks, I began to cry. I knew the trees had drawn me there. I had to quiet my racing mind (The cost to restore this house will be too much. It needs a new roof. The carpets are stained with dog urine. What about the electrical wiring?) and listen to my gut, my heart, and my spirit. The energy of the house called to me, and said, "This is home. You are home." I feel so grateful that I listened to my intuition rather than my pragmatism or ego.


  • “Shiva Rose’s Whole Beauty book holds the secret to inner well-being.”

     “Shiva Rose’s new book will turn you into a goddess.”

    Whole Beauty overflows with soul-nourishing rituals. . . . Lush photography is balanced with Shiva’s galvanizing writing on how to live a life of intention. . . . Shiva’s insights on choosing crystals, drawing the most de-stressing bath of all time, and finding your mantra are reason enough for keeping Whole Beauty bedside; we thumb through it whenever we’re feeling a bit adrift.”

    “Shiva’s book is loaded with good advice and wisdom. I will be prescribing it to my patients.”
    —Alejandro Junger, MD, author of Clean and Clean Gut
    “This book is literally life-changing. Shiva makes us think about taking care of ourselves both physically and spiritually, and I love that she shows us how to do it step by step.”
    —Molly Sims, actress, model, and author of Everyday Chic
    “A devotee of ancient beauty practices and yet elegantly modern, Shiva advocates self-care with soothing rituals and luxurious flora-focused recipes that release inner radiance. This beautiful book is like a spa day for my senses and my soul.”
    —Nadine Artemis, creator of Living Libations and author of Renegade Beauty and Holistic Dental Care
    “Shiva has been shedding her light on all things wellness and beauty for years. The beauty in Shiva is that she is completely herself. She shines, whatever the weather, with a sensuality, a freedom, and a generosity that you will fall in love with when reading Whole Beauty.”
    —Garance Doré, photographer
    “Being around Shiva constantly reminds me to slow down, live naturally and beautifully, and make time for self-care.”
    —Jenni Kayne, fashion designer
    “These pages hold the graceful wisdom, sacred journey, and genuine alchemy of Shiva’s personal transformation, consciously gathered and reminding us of the magic in nature’s bounty.”
    —Carolyn Murphy, model and actress
    “Reading Whole Beauty will gently cradle you back to you. To your innate, true path. Whole Beauty offered me the most soulful and gentle advice in how to transform my self-care into ceremonious rituals steeped with intention, pleasure, and joy.”
    —Athena Calderone, creator of EyeSwoon and author of Cook Beautiful
    Whole Beauty is exquisite—a crystallization of Shiva’s unique perspective, sensitivity, research, intuition, and intelligence that teaches us about the multidimensional nature of beauty, its ability to transcend the physical, space, and time and to heal deeply.”
    —Nitsa Citrine, creative director of SunPotion
    “Shiva’s work in the wellness movement has been a trailblazing force of change. She is a maverick artist, mother, and Earth guardian.”
    —Guru Jagat, founder of the RA MA Institute

On Sale
Apr 3, 2018
Page Count
224 pages

Shiva Rose

Shiva Rose

About the Author

After overcoming life-threatening autoimmune conditions, and through a desire to celebrate authentic, healthy living without sacrificing beauty and glamour, Shiva Rose created the holistic lifestyle website the Local Rose. She developed her own nontoxic, all-natural skin-care line that nourishes the body, skin to soul, leaving the skin with a luminous glow. She is the author of Whole Beauty. Rose lives with her daughters, honeybees, chickens, and cat in the Santa Monica Mountains, where they try to live in harmony with Mama Earth.

Learn more about this author