As above, so below, as within, so without—this is the slogan of Urban Tiger, a Budapest-based holistic retreat. But what does a holistic retreat look like in reality? What do slow beauty, skin neutrality or SRT mean? Dóri Murvai and Anita Farkas did not only tell us, but they also showed us how they think of the harmony of beauty on the inside and outside in the 21st century.
Anita and Dóri both came from the creative field, they did a BA in aesthetics and art history, then later studied design and art management. They’ve worked for the same Hungarian architecture studio for years and turned their years of knowledge and experience into their own business with a strong aesthetic vision and creative concept.
“During the pandemic, I started wondering what I wanted to do with my life, where I’m headed. Beauty has always amazed me since I was a kid, so I thought about studying to be a beautician. It was a tough decision to make, as I found it crucial to have a degree. In the end, I came to the conclusion that if I checked this box and worked for years in the field, maybe I could begin to let go of the expectations (of the society) and start something else. It took me about a year to finish my studies as a beautician,” Anita begins. “I have a very similar path. I, too, was distracted by Covid and I lost a friend, which was a huge red flag to think through what I really wanted, but I didn’t dare to do. The urge that’s been driving me all my life to look within for answers to the problems and questions of my life led me to start my studies in naturopathy and to learn a therapeutic method, SRT (more on this later). Like so many people who choose a helping profession, I was led to help others by the sad and burdened events around me, by working through and resolving my own losses and illnesses,” Dóri continues.
The girls sincerely believe that the body and the soul should be treated together and that the two cannot be separated. This is the basic ideology of Urban Tiger. “If you’re suffering on the inside, your body will reflect it. If something’s not right on the outside, you’ll feel it inside. Our aim is to clear things down that stop us from reconnecting with ourselves. Whether the obstacle is related to your looks or your emotions,” they believe. “I’m a fan of the Hungarian language, it’s so expressive. The word ‘önmagad’ (‘yourself’—the Transl.) contains the word ‘mag’ (‘core’—the Transl.), the inner essence, and you cannot spell the word ‘szépség’ (‘beauty’—the Transl.) without ‘épség’ (‘integrity’ or ‘health’—the Transl.). This is how we see it, you have to work on your core, and if something is healthy, it is beautiful. In our brand name, the word ‘tiger’ refers to the flaming inner drive. This inner fire is what we’d like to lead our guests back to. I think, the most important thing is to be able to live passionately,” Anita adds.
But what should people who visit them expect?
Urban Tiger’s urban oasis is a quiet Buda apartment salon, with a living room atmosphere in the best sense of the word. Anita’s in charge of the cosmetic side of the business, the external, while Dóri handles the internal side. The slow-beauty treatments are roughly equivalent to those offered by a traditional beauty salon, with the difference that there are no unnatural or radical treatments. The atmosphere, however, is completely different: absolutely relaxed and without the slightest hint of an assembly line. The interior and Anita’s personality contribute to this, it’s like having an old friend treating your face.
“I do not only put lotion on your face, I consider treatments as rituals. I dived deep into the biological part of my profession, as well: I can tell which skin problems refer to which health issues and I can help you find the causes. I emphasize self-love, too, not concealing the flaws on your skin and not applying products that might make it worse. We place so many expectations on ourselves that poison our relationship with our skin. Why is it the face that has to be flawless? Why would you only be worthy of love if your skin’s perfect? The point is that we should trust our skin and try to restore its health. This is what skin neutrality means. As body positivity might be a step too big at first, so is skin positivity. It’s extremely difficult to love something which we’ve been taught to hate, conceal, and dry out for years. I recommend with skin neutrality to look at your skin the way you look at the rest of your organs as a mirror of your inner thoughts and health. I think this might be a start for a healthy connection,” Anita shares. Their slow approach is also reflected by their slower, deeper, more thorough processes instead of quick, instant, spectacular results.
“Here’s when I come into the picture with the Spiritual Response Therapy (SRT). The therapy is basically about solving psychological problems: trying to find the root cause of things, whether it’s a blockage or an obstacle in any area of life, and unblocking it to start positive change. The system evolved from an earlier psychotherapeutic method called Response Technique in the 1980s and accesses the blocks in our subconscious that largely control our life choices through the body’s ideomotor responses. An ideomotor response, a signal emitted by the body, is a muscle movement, such as the raising of a finger, which is triggered by the subconscious in response to a question that needs to be decided, bypassing the conscious mind. People often think it’s like fortune-telling or magic because I’m working with a pendulum. But it’s not like that at all. It’s collaborative work, with guests as active as I am. Spirituality itself has a lot of negative connotations and is over-mystified for a reason. We are trying to reinterpret it in a 21st-century guise and put it into everyday life in a practical way. Because it’s essentially about being peaceful and loving with ourselves and our environment. It’s about having faith and trust in ourselves that things can be better if we take care of them,” Dóri says.
Currently, they only have one joint treatment, a sound bowl facial (one of the most heavenly things I’ve had recently), but they have a good number of clients who visit them both, so they can effectively address problems from both sides. Their goals include more joint treatments and community workshops, and they are looking forward to Dóri starting to practice as a naturopath, further complementing Urban Tiger’s holistic approach. If you’re lacking more self-care or feel disconnected from yourself, you’re guaranteed to be in good hands here!