When it comes to our outer appearance, it’s easy to become a product junkie — buying something new for every little bump and blemish that surfaces.
And while we know that drinking lots of water, eating plenty of leafy greens and consuming good fats all help you glow from the inside out, there’s more to consider as well. I’ve pinpointed three beauty essentials, that are likely already in your home, that will take the chemicals out of your beauty routine and allow for happy, healthy skin the all-natural way.
1. Pure aloe extract
What is it: The best aloe to use comes straight from the plant sitting in your window, not from the drugstore shelf.
Why it’s beautifying: The hydrophilic property of aloe works towards it’s moisturizing effect. Specifically, the mucopolysaccharides, one of the many types of carbohydrates found in the gel, help in binding moisture into the skin. This lends to retained moisture in the cells, decreasing the appearance of fine lines.
We know to use it for sunburns, but it’s effectiveness for healing rashes, eczema and psoriasis is unparalleled. Taken internally (without the outer skin that is highly laxative), it’s very healing and soothing to the lining of the digestive tract as well.
How to use it: Use either aloe gel or the leaf of a whole plant (be sure to filet off the outer green peel). Rub the pulpy center right on your skin to make a face mask, or onto irritated, inflamed skin. You can also run the plant through your food processor to make a gel that can be massaged into the scalp for a nourishing scalp treatment. Internally, try soaking a small piece of an aloe plant in a glass of water and letting it soak before drinking the water (remove the piece of aloe first).
2. Chia seeds
What is it: Chia seeds are powerhouses of nutrition. They’re seeds that are commonly used in warm or cold cereals, smoothies and/or sprinkled on salads.
Why they’re beautifying: The high level of omega-3 fats in chia seeds is ideal for decreasing inflammation. These fats are vital for healthy skin, and they feed the nervous system, meaning you’ll be less stressed and anxious as well.
How to use it: Make a face mask by soaking chia seeds for 10 minutes. Combine them with some lavender essential oil and spread on your face for a nourishing, skin healing and soothing mask that will help calm redness in the skin. This mask also promotes quick healing of blemishes and irritation.
3. Digestive bitters
What is it: Bad breath, belching and indigestion are not cute. Digestive bitters, which are usually just blends of bitter herbs, can include gentian root, goldenseal and black walnut among others. They promote digestion in the stomach and the secretion of bile from the gallbladder.
Why they’re beautifying: Optimal digestion is one of the keys to glowing, radiant skin. Bitters are an ancient remedy that will not only help with acute digestive challenges but, taken 20 minutes before your meals, will support your body’s ongoing digestive health.
We might not be what we eat, but we are what we digest, absorb and metabolize. If we’re not properly digesting our food, we’re more susceptible to breakouts, skin inflammation and a sallow look.
How to use it: Digestive bitters usually come in a small glass tincture bottle with a dropper. Take one dropper full either 20 minutes before you eat, or right after and let the bitters swish in your mouth for about 30 seconds. The bitter taste (prepare yourself) stimulates the production of digestive juices.
Bitters can offer near-instant relief from chronic IBS, burping and other conditions of maldigestion. Once we start breaking down what we’re eating, the nutrients can run into the bloodstream more effectively and start giving us clearer eyes, shinier hair, stronger nails and clean-looking skin.
Remember, it all starts with digestion. The aim is to have you feeling beautiful in your skin fresh out of bed in the morning and naked to the day. The fewer chemicals you can put on your skin, the better.
Meghan Telpner is a Toronto based nutritionista and bestselling author of UnDiet, Eat Your Way to Vibrant Health. Her online cooking courses and health programs are improving the lives of people around the world. Meghan’s creating a revolution in how people think about their health. Join her community on twitter @MeghanTelpner. For more visit MeghanTelpner.com.