Back in the day, our beauty routines were all about looking better: A little makeup to cover imperfections, a blow dryer to flatten out frizz and some shade of red or pink polish to make our nails presentable. As someone who spent the early 2000s with a straightening iron plugged in and concealer in my back pocket, I can attest to the fact that the focus of beauty has traditionally been more on the final product than the process itself.
Now, though, we’re finally starting to realize just how critical our beauty routines can be to our overall health and wellness.
“Today, we use a beauty routine to care for ourselves, to care for our skin and hair and nails and to feel better about ourselves both physically and mentally,” says Pamela Friedman, CEO of CV Skinlabs. “When we deep condition the hair, exfoliate the skin or enjoy a rejuvenating mask, it’s not about vanity—it’s about living a lifestyle that reflects our commitment to wellness overall and our desire to be at our best for as long as we can be.”
For me, “beauty” has become more about treating myself to a nightly, natural face mask and a long bath than covering up my zits or worrying about whether or not my nail polish is chipped (because really, who cares?).
Here are four ways beauty can be about more than just refreshing your look. It can reset your wellness too.
Detox your body with beauty treatments
Whether it’s going down at a spa or DIY-style, ditching toxins is an extra important part of any routine, says LaKeisha Entsuah, founder of Elements of Aliel. Soak in a salt bath, dry brush your skin (bonus points for its circulation-stimulating properties) or go for a lymphatic drainage massage for a treatment that checks the “beauty” and “detox” boxes on your to-do list.
Use natural moisturizer to defend yourself
Slathering on moisturizer every morning, noon and night can do a lot more than just make you look hydrated if you choose a quality natural product. “Simply moisturizing your face … can be about delivering antioxidants that help protect you from UV radiation and that keep your skin clear of inflammation and allergic reactions,” says Friedman. Plus, the right moisturizer may help protect your pores from pollution and any other icky external elements that can wreak havoc on your glow. Beauty, health and wellness? Check, check, check.
Eat for your skin
Your beauty routine is as much about what you put inside your body as what you put onto it, which means a healthy diet is just as important as using healthy products. “If your diet isn’t right, then one of the first places it will show is in your skin and the whites of your eyes,” says author, nutritionist and yoga teacher Lola Berry, who suggests loading up on antioxidant-rich foods, ditching anything refined or high in sugar and chugging as much H2O as possible to keep skin looking (and feeling) dewy and fresh.
There’s a reason why “self-care” has become such a major buzzword among the wellness set. It really is important—especially as it applies to beauty. “Being intentional about the steps you take and the products you use is a form of self-care,” says Entsuah. Treat yourself to a hot bath and some good-for-you natural products, or even just take a few minutes to luxuriate in your routine, and you’ll see the results written all over your face.
Supplements with serious hustle
Paula Simpson, beauty and nutrition expert, shares three natural ingredients that serve up some serious beauty and wellness double duty. Ask your health care practitioner about the best ones for you.
Adaptogens: Treat your body to inside-out beauty with adaptogens, aka herbs that help to rebalance the stress response in the body. Adaptogens help to reduce adrenal fatigue and support healthy blood sugar levels.
Probiotics: We all know that consuming probiotics via fermented foods and supplements (in capsule, tablet or liquid form) can have major benefits for your digestive pipes, but probiotics can work wonders on your skin, too. These “good bacteria” can strengthen the skin barrier function and calm inflammation.
Omega-3s: These essential fatty acids encourage the development of healthy, strong skin cell membranes and soothe inflammation, which keeps skin looking plump and dewy. Consider an algae-based omega-3 supplement.
Everybody wear vitamins
An SPF 30 natural sunscreen should be part of your daily beauty routine as it protects against UV rays. But sunscreen won’t necessarily protect you from skin-damaging air pollution. Choosing skincare products with vitamins C and E may be your best defense against assault by airborne toxins.
Really show up for your shower
No time for a leisurely soak in the tub? Even your daily shower can take on some extra self-care significance if you
- fill the bathroom with moisture-loving plants (don’t be shy about hanging them right inside the shower!)
- try a natural shower bomb (like a bath bomb, but with a focus on aromatherapy)
- create a spa-like steam room (tie a bundle of eucalyptus from the shower head, or flick a few drops of essential oil onto the shower wall)