My Natural Beauty Experiment

I'm on a new obsession this spring, based on a very simple idea:

What if I took the time that I normally spend putting on makeup in the morning, and instead invested that time in natural beauty care?

Here's what I mean. Instead of painting an old barn over and over to cover the dark circles, eye bags, sagging skin, uneven skin tone, irritated red sinus patches beside my nose, etcetera, what if I worked on correcting all those issues from the inside out?

Now don't get me wrong. I love my makeup. I love putting it on, and I love wearing it.

But, I'm almost 50. You can only ignore the signs of aging for so long, because they get more and more obvious every year.

And I don't want to spend all day every day on my looks. I mean, I'm fairly vain, but not to that level of time investment. I'd like to spend 20 minutes or so daily, and get maximum results for non-maximum effort.

My Plan

First, I thought about all the things I could do to enhance my natural beauty--without makeup. I came up with the following list:
  • Whiten teeth
  • Improve skin tone
  • Reduce pores
  • Enhance natural glow
  • Reduce bags under my eyes and dark circles
  • Tighten skin on my jaw and neck
  • Hydrate my hands so they look "plump" and younger, and fade the sunspots I'm starting to see on the backs of them
  • Hydrate my cuticles and nails
Then, I went through beauty supplies I already own--teeth whitener kits, face creams, masks, and treatments, lotions, potions, etc. and assembled a line-up in plain view in my bathroom.

You can get this "Shea Moisture" brand at Walmart or Walgreens for not a ton of money, and I'm really liking it. It's all natural and feels great on my skin.

To this I added an inexpensive mud mask and some green tea sheet masks I purchased on Amazon dirt cheap. I also bought some lash and brow growth serum plus clear mascara that's also supposed to nourish and grow your lashes.

My favorite dental care lineup at the moment.

My Natural Beauty Routine

  • Face scrub and mud mask or green tea sheet mask
  • Moisturize, loving Estee Lauder Revitalizing Supreme face and eye creams right now because they leave an awesome glow
  • Clear gel on eyebrows, combing them in a neater shape :)
  • Teeth care
  • Lip balm, sometimes a slightly tinted one like Revlon Kiss
  • Throw hair up in some kind of comfy bun or loose style without over-thinking it (ha)
  • Face/lymph massage with Vitamin E oil (see YouTube for how to massage your own face)
  • Wash that off, then night eye treatment and moisturizers of choice (Estee Lauder Night Repair for me please)
  • Teeth
  • Hand scrub and Shea Butter (massage it into your nails and cuticles too)
  • Lash and eyebrow growth treatments (I tried to get the most natural one I could find that wasn't a million dollars. Final reviews still out on the one I'm using...)
  • Hair up in a loose bun to keep it from getting greasy on my face while I sleep
  • Lip balm (Aquaphor)
Once a Month

Facial at a salon, either a light chemical peel (using all natural ingredients like apple wine) or a microderm. I scrimp on other things (masks, dental care, and now, zero makeup purchases) so I can afford other things (facials, Estee Lauder.)

Me in January, right after quitting my job and moving again, about a week after starting this experiment. :)

I also went to work on a full-body detox as well as a stress detox. Health and happiness = a natural radiance no makeup can imitate. That was my hope, anyway.

My Full-Body Detox

Now be warned. Some of this is not for the faint of heart, but it's what I do and know works for me.

1. Diet.

My current obsession is incorporating as much raw plant-based food as I possibly can into my daily diet.

I'm obsessed with the following recipes at the moment; can't seem to get enough of them:

When you eat a lot of raw foods daily - say, 80% raw or more to 20% cooked or less, you start detoxing rapidly, which can mean headaches, digestive issues, and the like, so I try to drink plenty of water.

I'm also obsessed with green tea and mate for hot drinks (ALWAYS obsessed with hot drinks of all kinds,) and staying away from coffee except for the occasional treat.

I'm noticing that with the dietary changes over the past month that my skin is glowing, overall skin tone improving greatly, and I seem to be dropping some belly fat. (Note: I already don't eat sugars of any kind, including maple syrup, honey, agave, or dates. I also don't eat white or wheat flour or oats. But that's another story for another time. :))

2. Procedures. :)

No, not Botox or anything like that. Just, erm, something I've wanted to do for a long, long time (well, ever since I first read Dr. Norman Walker's Fresh Vegetable and Fruit Juices book) and that is, start getting colon hydrotherapy treatments. I finally got up the nerve a little over a year ago, found someone online, and did a series of about 15 colonics over a period of 6 months. Then I moved away from my therapist and went without treatment for almost a year. I just recently started back up again and I just need to tell you how good you can feel if you get regular colon hydrotherapy. The process is not as cringy as I feared with the closed system my therapist uses, plus she's a very cool person that I enjoy being around, so the whole experience is relatively pleasant if you can believe it. But the REAL reason to do it is to get cleansed from the inside out in a way that is nurturing, hydrating, and thorough. I can't tell you how much better I feel and look now that I've started getting them again.

You have to do more than one, and based on my experiences with it, once every two weeks for a couple of months or more is best to start off. You'll kind of know when you're pretty clean. After that, you'll need to maintain it. (Your body will definitely let you know how much it wants that cleansing.) I plan to maintain it at the rate of one a month once I get past the initial catching-up cleansing.

My Stress Detox

Again, some of this is kinda extreme. I'm just telling you what I did. If you're as desperate as I was, I hope I inspire you to take some drastic action because freedom from stress and anxiety is worth a million safe-and-secure careers.

1. I quit my hated, stressful job.

2. I ended some toxic relationships.

3. I invested in some core supportive relationships.

4. I started living out my dream life, and realizing what that was, exactly.

I'm still definitely in progress, as always, but like I said, so far I'm really enjoying the results of this experiment.

Here is a non-filtered selfie of me around the first of January, after I quit my job and before I started rebuilding my health inside and out:

Red eyes, bags, dark circles, neck hang, and a lovely beanie imprint. :)

Here is me in San Diego a few weeks ago (three months after the above photo,) also un-filtered:

I've still got a ways to go, but this feels and looks much, much better.

I really believe that we as a society need to get back to basics--water, sleep, activity, sunshine, air, healthy food, doing work you enjoy, and nature--and heal from the inside out. You can see gorgeous women on Instagram with amazing talent at applying makeup and transforming themselves into real-life Barbies. I don't want to take anything away from that--it's fun, it's visually stunning, and there are entire industries built around it. But as I age, I'm looking to pursue a different kind of attractiveness, that of just being "me."