Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder – Tips for Natural Beauty

A quick scan of the latest daily newspapers and glossy magazines  highlights the values and  priorities of our society which rely on consumerism, be it the latest clothes, hair and beauty trends or even luxury goods including shiny fast cars,  glamorous homes, and amazing vacation locations.  It seems as though these ‘things’ make us beautiful, but we are surrounded by man made pictures which define beauty.  Celebrities and models draped in high fashion, usually photoshopped and half-starved to conform to the media view of beauty, and being used to sell us things.

A beautiful beach may feature as a back drop photography shoot, but somehow nature, and Green issues do not feature prominently in the media.  Instead we rely on photographers in other publications such as the National Geographic, and documentaries, to remind us of real, natural beauty – both of real places and real people. Real people who live real lives.  Are they beautiful?  Are they valuable?  Yes.

For thousands of years in many different cultures, people have attended to their appearance, with a goal of improving their beauty. Even in nature animals clean, preen and beautify themselves.  Here are some natural tips for treatments that don’t cost the earth.

Smile

I saw a TV interview of a woman in her late 30’s who had never smiled since she realised that smiling and laughing can lead to wrinkles and creases on her face and around her eyes.  She looked odd.  Her skin was almost wrinkle free, but she lacked sparkle perhaps she did look younger, but she didn’t look particularly attractive as far as I could see.  She just looked miserable.  Smiles and laughter are free and they are one of the best, cheapest, eco-friendly beauty must haves.  What kind of things make you smile – really smile?  Do them more often.  Remember them more often and smile.

Beauty shines from within.  Kindness, peace and happiness shine out on our faces.

Take care of yourself

After one particularly cold winter in Montreal my friend and I sat in front of my mirror and sobbed at the state of our skin.  We were in our early twenties but we felt we looked weather worn and old!  We had been working hard, often outside,  and also playing ice hockey and having outdoor fun  on our days off.    We had not actually been taking care of ourselves.

Never underestimate the value of sleep, fresh air and exercise on our skin and hair. Drink plenty of water.  A balanced diet, particularly fruit and vegetables, organic where possible, practice yoga, pilates, meditation, gentle walking, or any form exercise all contribute to healthy skin.

Avoid exposure to the sun and other weather – cover up, wear a hat, sit in the shade and sunscreen. This is as true not only for skin, but also hair.

The water we use to bathe and shower also affects our skin and hair.  Chlorine and calcium in hard water can make them drier, and duller, as can exposure to very dry air, common in buildings or any extreme weather.    A humidifier, and a water filter can help improve air and water quality at home.

Natural Skin care

I once went to a local department store for beauty consultation. Just to cleanse and moisturise in the morning apparently required 5 different bottles and jars of lotions and bottles of cream. The night time applications were even more complicated.  I have 3 children to get up and off to school, pets to look after, and my own employment to get on with in the mornings.  By night time I am just happy to have a quick wash and drop into bed.   I do not have the time, nor the money for that level of investment in my skin care regime. Imagine the carbon footprint of all those lotions and potions, all laced with goodness knows what ingredients and chemicals.

There are many commercially available eco skin care products.  There are also many natural ingredients we can make for ourselves.

Lots of natural skin care recipes and tips can be found at

http://naturalbeautytips.co/category/skin-care/:

One great natural ingredient is Almond Oil  “Vitamins A, B and E are essential to keep your skin, young and supple. Most big brand skin care products contain these vitamins. Sweet almond oil is naturally rich in having these vitamins and other skin-friendly nutrients in abundance.

Moreover, pure almond oil keeps your skin moisturized. Being noncomedogenic, and medium-light non greasy lubricant, it gets into your skin easily without blocking skin pores. This versatile natural oil for skin care provide following skin benefits and helps to:

(i) Cleanse the skin.

(ii) Enrich complexion and preserve glow.

(iii) Moisturize naturally deep into skin.

(iv) Ease skin irritation and skin inflammation.

(v) Prevent dry, flaky and irritated skin. When applied on oily skin in little quantity, it balances the complexion.

(vi)  Nurture skin, making it supple, smoother and softer.

(vii) Treat chapped lips and body rashes.

(viii) Delay the signs of skin aging.

 

Method: Use this simple homemade almond oil recipe for improving your skin health and enhancing its glow.

(i) Take 1/4 fully ripe avocado, 1 teaspoon each of honey and pure almond oil.

(ii) Puree the avocado and combine all the ingredients together to form a uniform paste.

(iii) Apply the concoction on face and other skin areas, as desired. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes, and then rinse it off with warm water and pat dry.

 

Homemade sugar scrubs are great for exfoliating, softening and freshening up your skin in a natural way. Their fine texture gently exfoliates your skin without drying out the skin like salt scrubs or has adverse impact like beaded scrubs. They don’t leave any harmful residue on your skin to clog the pores. It’s safe to use them even on sensitive skin, face, body or chapped lips.

 

Use certified organic or Eco friendly make-up and fragrances

If you choose to use make up and fragrances, there are many eco options which are commercially available.  Many should be safe to use even on sensitive, delicate skin types as they use organic and natural substances. Unika, our local natural cosmetics store in Calgary can help you out with ideas and gives great advice.

A trip to the spa or beauty salon

For some, a trip to the salon or spa can be a real treat, just what  we need to give us a break or a lift. By taking care of ourselves and taking time out we can increase our wellbeing.

There are professionals in the beauty industry who do care about the environment. They choose good commercial environmentally friendly, perhaps even organic, products and act responsibly to reduce their carbon footprint.  They may even use alternative energy, and support local producers when choosing their products.

Question your local salon owner and encourage them to think about using these, or change your patronage to an establishment more in line with your green values.

An exasperated, rather glamorous friend recently chided me on my lack of a regular beauty regime.  I didn’t know what she meant.  I have a quick shower every day – well most days.  I wear makeup sometimes and my long, naturally curly hair is often washed and not always tied up with a scrunchy.  I exfoliate in the spring, and as and when it seems necessary.  My clothes are clean and I think they suit me.  I brush my teeth morning and night and in between.

Needless to say she religiously follows her daily beauty regime as well as the regular six weekly hair colouring and treatments, and regular shopping trips to replenish her wardrobe with the latest fashion.  To her annoyance when she was discussing her frustrations about me with her husband, her young son chimed in with a different view of me.  He called me “a cornflake girl” and said “Louise is so beautiful. She looks and dresses like she should be running through a lovely, sunny meadow with flowers in her hair in a commercial for Cornflakes! “.

I was as shocked as she was  when she told me. Not being the glamorous type, I don’t describe myself as beautiful. Even as a young boy her son saw beyond there being one type of beauty, associated with make-up and fashion.   I interrupted her most recent attempt at another little “beauty chat “and reminded her that the world is thankfully made up of all kinds of people and all kinds of beauty.  I am probably  at my most beautiful when I am in my overalls, with my hair tied out of the way, probably covered in straw and all sorts of muck, because that is when I am happiest.  Stick me in a stable, out in the chicken house, or on a muddy dog walk, watch me playing with my children or singing and dancing, those are the things that make me smile the most.

Beauty is more than glamour.  Beauty is natural.  Real people are beautiful.  By being true to ourselves and feeling good we can enhance that natural beauty and our well-being. We can follow a green beauty regime which will enhance our well-being, whilst not harming the environment.

Like what we’re doing? Want to share your story or tell others? Do you have a green business in Calgary and want to get in front of a large local audience? Let’s build a green community together!