My Natural Beauty Routine
Years ago I went to a Wellness event in the city with a friend of mine. It was one of those convention centre type of events, that showcased all different wellness, fitness and beauty products/people. I was just starting to be interested in a more natural approach to beauty, so I was truly shocked when I learnt from one of the speakers, how many nasties and chemicals are in our beauty products. So many of these chemicals disrupt our hormones, and interfere with our body’s health and well-being. Did you know that:
In a study spearheaded by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in collaboration with Commonweal, researchers at two major laboratories found an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants in umbilical cord blood from 10 babies born in August and September of 2004 in U.S. hospitals. Tests revealed a total of 287 chemicals in the group.
Source: find more information here.
Now obviously these chemicals can be coming from a range of sources, such as food, water, air, environment etc. However one that does scare me as a source was beauty care. If you went right now and picked up a bottle of your shampoo or foundation, would you know any of those ingredients on the back? I certainly did not! I am not going to lie, it definitely freaked me out a bit, not knowing what I was putting onto my body. I then decided to do a bit of research into chemicals and beauty products plus the effects it can have on our body’s. I wont go into all the information I found, I will leave you to do your own research: but I will say this… What I found in my research has lead me down a completely new path of beauty care. Natural Beauty.
Over the years, I have tried many different natural beauty routines. I have found what works for me, and what doesn’t. This is my current beauty routine, which I have been doing for over 6 months now. I have tried to be as organic and natural as possible. This is just my external beauty routine. I also practice a daily internal / mental beauty routine. (post about this coming soon!)
Some of these tips I have picked up through other bloggers, books, articles etc. Others have come through my Ayurvedic teachings. Speaking of Ayurveda… according to Ayurvedic philosophy, we all have our own individual constitution of how we are made (Vata, Pitta, Kapha). This means that how our body’s react to things, can be different. What will work for me, may not work for you. Things like age, environment, seasons, overall health and well-being, diet etc will play a part in how well things work for us in our beauty routines.
Playing around with what works for you is key! I would often stumble across some natural beauty advice, only to find that it didn’t do anything for me. (well nothing positive anyway). Below is what works for me: so feel free to try it out! I personally love simple and easy beauty tips, so that is exactly what I will share with you today.
My Natural Beauty Routine
Hair care has always been a biggy for me. I personally have very curly thick hair, so it needs a lot of nourishment. I have always struggled with finding the right balance for my hair, because I would try some products and they would cause my hair to become either too oily, or too dry. I could not seem to find a balance. However I am currently loving what I do for my hair care beauty routine, and I often get lots of comments on how shiny and healthy it looks… So I must be doing something right!
These are my top weekly things I do.
- Oil Soak – Once a week I do a soak with Black Sesame oil. I start at my roots and work my way down. It will depend on how long/thick your hair is, but I usually use around 1/4 of a cup of oil. To start, I love to massage the oil into my scalp, which is so relaxing and helps to calm the mind and nervous system. I then keep spreading the oil down the hair, all the way to the roots. I often soak my ends in the oil bowl, because I use a straighter a lot, so I want to give that area some extra nourishment to help fight split ends etc. I leave this on for 30 minutes to an hour. Then I wash it off. (TIP: When washing off the oil, before you get your hair wet, add the shampoo to your hair. Otherwise the water and the oil wont mix, and the shampoo will have to work twice as hard to get the oil out.) I sometimes have to shampoo my hair twice to get the oil out, then I use a little conditioner on the hair ends.
- Natural Shampoo Bar – I am always looking for new natural beauty products that do an amazing job, and that are eco-friendly/sustainable. So I hit the jackpot when I stumbled across shampoo bars. They look like a normal bar of soap, but they are for your hair. What I love about these is that they are completely plastic free. My current favourite is ‘Rosemary, Mint and Jojoba’ travel shampoo soap by Dindi Naturals. You can find it here.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – I have been doing the apple cider vinegar rinse for over a year now, and still now, I am always in awe at how simple and effective it is for your hair care. It helps to balance the PH of your scalp, it strips off all the build up of hair products (including commercial shampoos etc) and it doubles as a natural conditioner. Check out a previous post I have written about the apple cider vinegar rise here. Just be careful to not get this in your eyes – because it stings!
Your face can tell so much about you before you even open your mouth to speak. When someone looks at you, do they see a tired, disconnected, unhappy person? Or do they see a beautiful radiant confident soul, that is lighting up the room? For ages I would have definitely fallen into the first category, but oh how I wished I was someone in the second. Now before I go any further, I have to say, that the best way to be the radiant beautiful person, is to let your Light shine from the inside out. We are all beautiful, ALWAYS. But sometimes we get clouded and fogged in by negative thoughts and beliefs, that cause us to shrink and hide our Light deep inside. So my number one tip for helping to radiate natural beauty is:
Heal and clear all out all this fog and negative self talk. Connect truly into your Beautiful Light and know that you are beautiful inside and out.
While you are doing this, here are my current favourite tools/tips I love in my natural beauty routine for my face.
- Less is more – For years I was all about makeup and painting on beauty, because I didn’t believe I was beautiful without it. I would often use cheap makeup and lots of it. Not only was this full of chemicals and would clog up my skin, but it would hide my natural beauty – like I was constantly wearing a mask. Over time I started to wear less and less makeup, and opted for the less is more stance. These days I rarely wear foundation, and if I do (like if I am at an event), then I will use a mineral makeup powder (not tested on animals). But for 90% of the time, I will go bare skin. I will apply a face oil – such as jojoba, and a natural sunscreen. If I feel like it, I will wear a brush of bronzer on my check bones and a little mascara to help showcase my already natural beauty shining through. (It is enhancing, not creating!)
- Natural Makeup – I am going to put this in, because I will have people asking me about it if I don’t. In regards to natural ethical beauty products, I still am browsing around. The bronzer and mascara I currently use are not natural beauty based and are just ones from some of the mainstream beauty brands. However I want to use these up, as I am also conscious of creating waste from these products. They are working for me currently, so I am happy to stick with them while I find their natural and eco-friendly equivalents. (if you have any recommendations of sustainable/natural beauty products please let me know!)
- Exfoliate – Exfoliating is something I do every week. I have noticed a huge difference since I start exfoliating weekly. I personally use a coffee scrub as my exfoliate, however I am very gentle with rubbing it in, as your skin on your face is more delicate than the rest of your body. However another good way to do this is with a handful of salt and a handful of oil. Mix them together and rub on your face. The salt will exfoliate and open your pore, while the oil with nourish your skin.
- Cleansing – Every morning and night I wash my face. As I don’t wear a lot of makeup usually, I don’t find I need to be using a lot of product to cleanse. When I wake up in the morning, one of the very first things I do is wash my face with cold water, then pat dry it off. I find I don’t need to do a proper cleanse in the morning, just the cold water in enough. At night, I often have a shower, so I wash my face in the shower using a face washer and a natural skin wash. (I am currently loving the cleansing milk from Edible Beauty. You can find it here.) If I don’t have a shower, I will use coconut oil as a makeup remover, and then do the natural skin wash. Afterwards I will apply an oil, my current favourite is ‘Glory Oil’ by Eco Tan. Find it here.
- Face Masks – I do a face mask once a week – when I have a bath. I have a few that I love to do, and will base it off how my skin is looking and feeling. If it needs a deeper cleanse, I will use the ‘Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask’ from the body shop – find here. If you use this, I would totally recommend using their ‘Drops Of Youth™ Bouncy Sleeping Mask’ afterwards as this mask is very drying. Another mask I use is a homemade one, inspired by Ayurveda. Ingredients: 3 tablespoons besan flour (sometimes known as chickpea flour), 1 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp clay powder, and enough water to turn the mixture into a paste. (depending on how runny or thick you desire it.) Apply to clean face, and leave on for 15 minutes or so. Wash off with warm water and a face cloth, then massage in some face oil.
One of the biggest things I find in my wellness clinic with clients, is that they are uncomfortable in their own skin. Not just in how their perception in they look, but literally touching and connecting to their body. A lovely self care routine in Ayurveda is Self Abhyanga, which literally translates to: Self Massage. Self Abhyanga is a beautiful way to connect and nourish your body daily. Not only is it a way to add moisture and care to your body, but it is a great way to see if there are any physical underlying concerns. For example, when you are massaging your chest daily, you are going to notice pretty quickly if a lump appears, as your are connecting to this body part daily and will notice the difference. Here are my favourite natural beauty tips for the body.
- Self Abhyanga – As mentioned above this is a beautiful routine to do daily. It has many health benefits: such as; Movement of lymphatic system and circulatory system, calms your nervous system, releases tension and toxin build up, and stimulates internal organs. These amazing benefits, along with moisturising and softening skin, really do help you get a true healthy glow. To do massage: Warm up black sesame oil, then massage into your body, starting at your head and working your way down, finishing with a foot massage. If you can, let this oil soak in to your skin for 5-15 minutes. Then have a warm bath or shower (be careful of your oily feet, and don’t slip!) I especially love this as a way to moisturise my body as the only ingredient I am using is Black Sesame oil. Not nasties or chemicals! (side not, unless your Ayurvedic Coach give you the go ahead, avoid using coconut oil, especially if it is winter or windy, as this is a cooling oil.)
- Exfoliate – Just like exfoliating for the face, body exfoliating is something I do weekly. I have noticed a huge difference to the tone of my skin since I start exfoliating. For the body, I use an exfoliating hand glove from Eco Tan – find it here. As well as exfoliating dead skin cells, it can help to move your circularly and lymphatic system, which in turn will help to remove toxins from your body.
- Tan – Since I have moved back to Melbourne, from sunny warm Byron Bay, I have become a bit of a fake tan fan. But I did not like all the fake tan products on the market. They are laced with so many toxic chemicals, would stain everything and smelt intense. Then I tried the winter tan by Eco Tan, after seeing another blogger using it. I feel in love. I now use their Invisible Tan regularly – find it here. I find it is like a moisturiser, and it doesn’t stain my sheets or clothing. I just put it on before bed, and wake up nice and tanned! I use this tan on my face and body.
- Magnesium Salt Bath – Every week I have a magnesium salt bath. I find baths so relaxing, so they are always a time of self care for me. Magnesium salt baths are great to de-stress, for helping to improve skin hydration, improve blood circulation, decrease inflammation and enhance skin barrier function. I use around a 1/2 cup of the bath salts to my bath, then soak in the bath for a minimum of 20 minutes. Bliss!
When I first started to go down the natural beauty path, I soon was taken in by “green washing” and making things seem “natural” when they are not. If you unaware, “Green Washing” is basically using the ideals of being natural and good for the environment/you in their marketing to draw you in, but they do not actually live up to what they are saying.
“Green Washing is essentially fooling or deceiving consumers into thinking a particular product is more natural and clean than it actually is, through unverified, misleading or false claims,” says Charlie Denton, Founder of Crop Natural, a family-founded beauty brand out of Australia.
My biggest tips to avoid this is are:
- Do your research! When we are in a store surrounded by products, it can be overwhelming and confusing, especially with all the claims of “natural” screaming at us from the shelves. Take your time to explore the different brands, and see what you align with. You may want to check out natural beauty bloggers, articles and natural organic directories to help you out in choosing the right product for you.
- Price doesn’t always indicate quality. Something I always hear when people are turning to natural beauty, is how they are shocked at the price tag. However let’s take a moment and asses this. Look at some of the beauty products from across the board, often brand name dictates price. But a brand name doesn’t necessarily mean better quality. Shop around. With natural beauty becoming more mainstream, there are more brands out there who are going to bring out natural beauty products, to meet the rising demand. More competition, means more competitive prices. Also when looking at price, think about: Shelf life/size of product vs. how often you will use this product, any certifications (has it got a certified Australian organic stamp etc), and any competitors for this product.
- STOP and THINK: Do you actually need this product? In our modern consumerism world we are constantly told we need this product. But do you actually need this product? Is there another product you already have that can do exactly the same thing? Is this product a necessity that you will use daily, or something you just really like the idea of using daily. (but most likely will use once or twice and then it will just sit in your cupboard? I have had this happen to me one too many times!) If you do want and need this, then go for it. Otherwise put it back. Save that money on something you really love!
Since beginning my natural beauty routine, I have noticed such a difference in my skin and general overall beauty. I am more confident, happy and healthy. A friend of mine recently started a gorgeous skin care range called Bopo Women*. Her message is that you are perfect just the way you are. You don’t need the beauty industry to keep telling you their products can “fix you” because you are not broken. You are beautiful in who you are, and there is no mould for beauty that we need to try morph ourselves into. These tips above, are all about honouring and nurturing your true beauty. Never feel you need to be changed or fixed. You were born beautiful, and will be beautiful till the day you die. Let your true Beauty shine brightly! Love Em x
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*You can check out Bron from Bopo Women in her Beautiful Souls Doing Beautiful Things interview here.