Beauty can be such a flighty thing. Just because someone is born with a culturally accepted beautiful face, by no means does it endow the bearer for the rest of our lives with this good fortune. Drug addiction has ravaged the boyish good-looks of an once upon a time pal of mine. The promise of a heartthrob has been thwarted, thanks to lifestyle choices, and that gorgeous face is now sallow, with a crumbly complexion, eyes ringed murky grey. A deadened stare and the absence of teeth are the only greeting for recipients of his smile.
And, by contrast, I know of so many late bloomers who’ve flourished with the advent of mid- life, and even autumnal years, thanks to a foundation of self love and care. Famous examples are Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston, Dame Helen Mirren and Dame Judy Dench.
Yes, I’d consider myself a later bloomer too. I feel far more beautiful in my mid-thirties than I ever did in my twenties. And I believe I’ll only become happier with the girl in the mirror as I welcome in my forties. See, like many, in my twenties I thought beauty equated to copious amounts of immaculate make-up (to hide the hangover), figure-sucking clothes and shiny adornments such as bling earrings. It was all about what I could add to myself to hide the original seeming faulty package.
Now I understand beauty is about radiating out the light within. If you feel good on the inside than your inner sunshine will gleam out of you in lightbeams of beauteous joy, confidence, charisma and passion.
Of course, there are physical helpers to buoy your beauty as well. Below is my golden pot of beauty goodies, all-I know- having direct implications to how positive I feel about my appearance these days, compared to my self abusive twenties. I know, truly, they can do wonders for you too…
1) Go bare-faced as much as possible. Your skin will reward you for it looking dewy, cleaner and clearer. I always use natural products, free from nasties, to cleanse, tone and mositurize my skin at least in the morning. Then if I want to look as though I have subtle make-up on I run some coconut oil or petroleum jelly like Vaseline on my eyelashes to replicate mascara using my thumb and forefinger to apply. Do you know that putting Vaseline on your eyelashes helps them to grow too? Tame and gloss your brows with a comb and a finger swiping of coconut oil/Vaseline. To finish the look, sweep your favorite tinted lipbalm over your lips. My absolute favorite is Maxfactors Color Intensifying Balm. The photo below is a selfie I took yesterday, pre-shopping, following exactly the bare-faced beauty regime I’ve just outlined. No makeup, aside from the tinted lipbalm.
2) Coconut oil is a desert island beauty item; there is no end to its fabulous uses. I use it in cooking (to stirfry/saute, etc) as a face and body mositurizer, a leave-in hair conditioner, a fake mascara, eyebrow tamer and glossing agent and as a cleanser. To discover more ways to use your shiny new tub of coconut oil, take a look at this excellent article:-
3) If you feel as though you have a problem area on your body, target it. For me, its the classic cottage-cheese thighs, better known as cellulite. Most days I exercise my thighs with a succession of squats and leg lifts. X Hit is a wonderful free YouTube physical trainer for you, and if you want to work on your cellulite too- or indeed any other area of your body-there is a video for it on this channel…
Contrary to popular belief, you do not need a spare hour per day to exercise effectively-or even half that. Most of these videos are under fifteen minutes. Once you know a few exercises you can do them anywhere; squat whilst waiting for the kettle to boil, leg lift whilst watching TV. Exercise is the best way I have found to both feel and look great.
4) Healthy teeth are a smiles greatest ally and are very often one of the first physical thing people notice about you. I had front row crowns and months of painful dentistry treatment including gum surgery, multiple root canals and fillings due to lack of knowledge of how to take care of my teeth and gums. I haven’t spent all those hours staring at the ceiling in a variety of dentist surgeries without picking up a tip or two. Here are my best:-
*Floss, everyday. How else can you stimulate your gums and get rid of all that nasty food inbetween your teeth?
* To remove the white sticky plaque that rings your teeth and oftentimes evades your toothbrush run a rubber tip stimulator around your gum line.
*Also, use a tongue scraper to cleanse your tongue, a neglected tongue often harbors bacteria which leads to smelly breath.
*If you’ve got sensitive teeth like me, use Sensodyne toothpaste but avoid Sensodyne Pro-Enamel, which I’ve been advised negates to really clean the teeth as well as Sensodyne’s other versions.
* As well as an electric toothbrush, use a smaller toothbrush to get to those hard to reach teeth. I use a small-headed child’s brush to get to those awkward back teeth.
*Make sure you don’t swill or suck acid eroding drinks around your teeth such as wine, juices or even healthy warm beverages such as lemon water.
Once the health of your teeth is taken care of, why not treat your teeth to a whitening treatment?! Just make sure its approved by your dentist. For more oral hygiene inspiration read this
5) Beauty sleep; yep, your mum was right. Try to get 7-9 hours a night for bright eyes and a fresh complexion. I could never be without eye cream too to ward away sunken, pasty under eyes and wrinkles.
6) Drink pints of water throughout the day, till your pee is clear, till you feel naked without your trusty bottle of water by your side, wherever you are. What other way can you wash away all the accumulated toxins in your body?
7) Eat foods that are alive with life force– fruits, vegetables- and leave you feeling light, energized and clear-headed, not bloated, tired and guilty. For bouts of hunger eat wholegrain products and snack on nuts and seeds. If you drink enough water, you’ll find that your ‘hunger’ subsides. It really is true; you are what you eat. That said, I would never be without the odd naughty treat too, now and then its good for the soul to relish that bit of chocolate or slice of cake.
8) The best thing you can do for your hair? Leave it alone. Like many, I used to wash, blow-dry, apply styling products and iron straighten my hair at least four times a week. Now I only do so on special occasions. I credit my new healthy head of hair with washing less (twice a week) and air drying. I also wear it up most days to prevent over exposure to pollution, the elements and becoming over-touched and greasy.
9) Build in relaxation time. Practice yoga, read, watch heart-warming shows and movies, meditate, listen to music, hang out in cozy PJ’s with your favorite people. Doing little, on occasion, does a lot for your appearance.
10) Really, I’ve found beauty rides along in the steam train of our passions. So jumping aboard and allowing what drives your thirst for life brings with it beautiful rewards, a vibrancy and glow that cannot be matched by any face cream nor spa treatment. No doubt that’s why we tend to feel our most beautiful during the hot flushes of a new love relationship, whilst firmly in the clutches of such passion. Once we ‘get’ that the connection of what we feel and think inside directly correlates to the expression of how we look, then the beauty we’ve always aspired to is ours for the plucking.
“A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” (Roald Dahl)
Namaste, my beautiful friends.
Alright, Bright Siders, what are your natural beauty tips?!