More often than not, I find myself lost in thought—today's daydream had me traveling back to the prehistoric cave(wo)men days and wondering how the world around us has gotten so darn complicated since then. These people were rooted in nature, human connection, and survival. Sure, there were some sabertooth tigers to hide from and the occasional mammoth stampede, but I could totally dig that simple, primal lifestyle.
I doubt those cavewomen were too worried about how flawless their skin looked, or if their hair seemed just right. They didn’t spend hours looking at themselves trying to impress others. Hell, the only reflection they saw of themselves was likely in the water of a lake or stream while they were out doing bigger things, like giving their cave-children a bath or foraging for dinner. Wild caught salmon, anyone?
But, today, reflections of who we "should" be are plastered on billboards and store aisles, magazine pages and music videos, internet sites and, of course, social media channels. If we take an honest look at today’s beauty marketplace, many products, goods, and services that are sold to us are targeted at peoples’ insecurities rather than their true needs. Dark circles correcting serum, wrinkle prevention cream, tanning salons... The advertisements are invitations to judge our humanness and see if we match up to some elusive societal ideal. C’monnnn ladies, don't we know we are better than that?
Arguably just as damaging as the emotional manipulation these companies use to market their products are what large CPG companies are putting into the physical products they're selling. Our skin is our largest organ. Everything we put on it and around it has the potential to make it’s way into our bodies through our pores. The addition of harsh chemicals and heavy fragrances in our lotions, shampoos, and make-up can play a role in hormone disruption and various skin conditions like eczema, acne, and chronic dryness. I don't know about you, but I'd prefer to leave these creepy chemicals untouched.
If you are wondering what ingredients are found in your everyday home/beauty products, check out the Environmental Working Group's website at https://www.ewg.org/.
While many brands claim to “help,” “heal,” and “correct,” I am a believer the body has the power to help, heal, and correct itself when it’s out of balance if given the chance. A good sweat and a diet rich in protein and fats are your best bets if you truly want to glow from the inside out.
A part 1: Exercise boosts endorphins, aka the feel good hormones. Along with the sparkle in your step that comes with feeling happy, the physical "sparkle" you get after a workout has its benefits too. Sweating is a natural irrigation system for your body to release environmental toxins we come in contact with. This includes things we ingest (alcohol being the chief example) but also dirt, makeup, smoke and other undesirables you may face (pun intended). Think about it- the process of sweating opens up your pores and allows your skin to breathe easier!
A part 2: A diet rich in the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA (like those found in the aforementioned salmon!) has been noted to help nourish and hydrate our skin. Our cell membranes are made up of fat, so this correlation makes complete sense. Wild-caught fish, which also include mackeral, sardines and anchovies, are the richest source of both DHA and EPA. Don't hesitate to throw these on your salads AND on your pizza! But if you aren't feeling fishy, other foods you can eat for a natural beauty boost include walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds. If you’re curious about the science, you can read more about eating for healthy skin here. If you're curious about digging deeper into nutrition for beauty, more deets on my favorite read "Eat Pretty" can be found here.
Q: But, Lauren, what's a girl to do when blemishes, dry skin, and other irritations do pop up?
A: I've so been there. Just a few weeks ago, I had the least sexiest zit I've ever met make an appearance on my face. In short, let's just say I'm humbled. And enlightened. Trust me when I say I feel your pain, and I'm #hereforyou.
Along with noshing on nutrient-rich foods, many of the items found in your kitchen can work wonders when placed topically on your skin. Here are my bare necessities when my skin is in need of some extra support...
MOISTURIZER (for dry skin)
- Mix equal parts avocado oil and coconut oil in a small container. Apply with hands in the morning after washing your face or at night before bed. For a bonus? Add a drop of peppermint essential oil to feel refreshed and open your pores.
EXFOLIANT (for dull skin/breakouts)
- The Dirty Lamb's coffee scrub. One try and you'll know why. If you treat yourself, use the discount code ROOTED at purchase for a complimentary lip scrub from Lam herself. Thanks girl!
TONER (for oily skin/breakouts)
- Mix one part apple cider vinegar and three parts water. Apply to face with a cotton ball. The water to ACV ratio is CRUCIAL. Once upon a time I attempted to use ACV alone. Once upon a time I also had a burned face that lasted a full 24 hours. Ouch.
- For spot treatment on blemishes, try a drop of melaleuca oil. Melaleuca (also known as tea tree oil) is known to be anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial. It can also be used to help prevent or reduce acne scars!
SOOTHER (for rashes/sunburns/irritated skin)
- Mix 1/2 avocado, a squeeze of honey, and a drop of lavender essential oil into a small bowl. Apply onto your face for 10-20 minutes and wash off with warm water. During those 10-20 minutes, insert other 1/2 of avocado oil in bowl, mash with fork, and eat with spoon.
*If you are using any prescriptions for your face, talk to your doc before trying out one of these masks. Your current regiment might not jive with other face treatments!
While I am a sucker for a good face mask, I know the real key to looking radiant is to feel radiant. It took me a while to learn that beauty has an emotional component as well. At the root of it all, no amount of makeup and no mixture of face products can hide sad eyes or a RBF. Self-love is the best support for a lasting, radiant glow. When we learn to love ourselves, the way we approach the rest of our beauty routine becomes a lot easier. And a lot less expensive. Also, can I just say self-love has to be the best way to combat those wrinkles you middle-aged women are so hyped about. Zero frown lines!
So, equipped with this knowledge, you now know that beauty is an everyday choice. The best way to be pretty is to feel pretty. Pretty worthy. Pretty comfortable. Pretty confident.
Ready to rise each day rooted in this truth? You glow, girl. ♥