While I've been no stranger the benefits of alcohol in recent times, I didn't realize that I should have been slathering it on rather than chugging it down.
I got turned around when I learned about the mezcal body wrap, a new, two-hour spa treatment created by the spa team at Hotel Matilda in San Miguel de Allende. Like any good beauty enthusiast who has read way too many fashion magazines in her lifetime, I know all about Caudalíe, the vino-therapeutic, oneophilic collection based on the healing properties of the grape (they have a a whole line called "Vinoperfect"), to say nothing for the natural flush one gets after a third Aperol spritz in the sunshine (just me?). But the benefits of mezcal, the carb-free swill of choice for the lithe and lovely set? I had to know more, so I reached out to Tania González, Hotel Matilda's Spa Manager, for answers.
What inspired you to create a mezcal spa treatment?
When the therapists and I were studying for a deep certification on Mexican herbalism, we became interested in the ancient knowledge of herbs and their health and beauty benefits. In the old traditions, mezcal was used to cure and clean, and was also blended with herbs in a poultice and placed on a wound or injured muscle. We were really happy with the results after we experimented with applying this natural process to scrubs, body wraps, and massage oils. The way it works on the skin is magical, the smell is something to enjoy, and the whole treatment is relaxing.
What are mezcal’s wellness benefits?
Drinking mezcal (not in excess!) offers different health benefits, such as helping to control cholesterol and lipids and promoting the proper functioning of the intestinal flora due through its microbiota. Because it's relaxing, mezcal can also help with insomnia. In terms of beauty, we like mezcal as a transdermal conductor for other beneficial ingredients, like clay and rosemary in this body wrap, for the way it helps to balance skin pH, and because it increases the blood microcirculation.
So while the best way to experience this in full effect would be at Matilda Spa, González was nice enough to give us an at-home version.
DIY Mezcal Body Wrap
4 heaping tbsp. red clay
4 oz. pure warm water
1 oz. mezcal (their preferred brand is Mezcal Lineal for its double distillation and smoky, sweet notes, but feel free to use your favorite)
5 drops rosemary essential oil
A clean bowl
Note: Double or triple the recipe depending on the quantity you need.
Don't Forget Relaxing Accessories: Like candles and dark towels.
1. Prepare the mix: Combine the red clay and half the water in the bowl and mix together. Add rosemary oil and mezcal. Check the blend, gradually adding more water until the mix is a homogeneous paste (you want it to be easy to apply). Don't forget to inhale the smoky aroma of the distillate as you mix.
2. Set the mood: Prepare your room with candles, relaxing music, and dark towels (the clay can be hard to remove from lightly colored towels).
3. Time to treat: Start by giving yourself an exfoliating scrub with a plush glove or natural bristle brush, always starting from your feet and working your way up to your neck. Once your pores are clean, start applying the mask to your body with your hand or a gentle brush, then wrap yourself in towels while the treatment sinks in. If you're really clever, you'll have someone apply the scrub for you.
4. Lie down for 15 to 20 minutes while the treatment works its magic.
5. Take a shower and rinse off all the clay. Finish the treatment with your favorite body cream.
The clay, which is good for mature or sensitive skins, is astringent and draining, so your skin might be a little red from increased circulation. Your skin should feel hydrated, your muscle tension or pain should feel released, and you should feel totally relaxed.
Sounds like it's time to pour yourself a glass of mezcal.