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It's Time To Do Natural, The Non-Hippy Way

January 2, 2013

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Just about every woman I talk to these days wants a natural, healthy beauty routine but is frustrated and feeling frumpy after forgoing nail polish, throwing away fancy hair products, ditching deodorant and using mascara that flakes off in less than an hour. 

Sound familiar?

That's ok, it's happened to the best of us. It took me a few years to figure out that I can be natural and still wear my black heels and lipgloss. 

It's not about giving up glamour; it's about taking care of yourself from the inside out. 

Here's how you do natural, the non-hippy way:

1. Be mindful of surface area and the amount of product you use. 

We absorb a lot of what we put on our skin into our bloodstream - that's how things like nicotine and birth control patches work. Be thoughtful of everything you rub onto your skin, and, most importantly, the amount used and the surface area it's applied to. A tiny bit of drugstore mascara on the tips of your eyelashes isn't going to hurt you, but rubbing gobfuls of toxic lotion onto the majority of your body everyday will.

The solution? Use organic coconut oil, cocoa butter, or pure aloe leaf gel as body and hand lotion; it smells fantastic and will make your skin soft and smooth without the cocktail of chemicals found in most (even "natural" labeled) body lotion.

2. Smell nice the healthy way. 

Use an aluminum-free deodorant, which can be found at health food stores and work great. It's not really the deodorant that's unhealthy, it's the antiperspirant that prevents the sweat and toxins from escaping your body. We sweat under our arms for a reason; we have major lymph nodes in that area that are moving waste out via sweat. Don't lock it in with an antiperspirant. 

The solution? Day-to-day use a natural aluminum-free deodorant, I like the Alba Lavender stick. Deodorant doesn't prevent you from sweating, it just helps prevent you from smelling unpleasant. (I've been told a dab of coconut oil rubbed under the arms works well, too.) For days that you have a big speech, wedding, or event where all eyes are on you, just go ahead and use high-power regular stuff. Using antiperspirant one or two days a year won't hurt you, using it everyday will.

3. Understand that effective does not equal healthy. 

While some beauty products are effective in what they claim, there can be a huge trade-off in your health for that effectiveness. Do you really care that a cream will fade a spot on your face if the active ingredients in it are processed through (and can cause damage to) your liver? I'd say no way. It might actually fade the spot, but the damage is done on the inside. The active ingredients in most acne medications and topical prescriptions can be detected in your urine, meaning they were processed and metabolized through your liver and kidneys. 

The solution? Don't let testimonial photos fool you, think health before effectiveness. Plus, the way your skin looks is far more related to the food you eat (and don't eat) than what you apply topically, so focus on a healthy diet low in sugar and high in fiber, anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals and good fats to keep your skin glowing and healthy. 

4. Instead of looking at what your beauty products should contain, focus on what they shouldn't contain. 

Look for products that are free of parabens (butylparaben, ethylparaben, anything ending in paraben, etc.), sulfates, synthetic fragrances, and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, all of which are linked to a myriad of health issues.

The solution? Shop for your beauty products at a health-food store you trust. Tons of natural beauty lines have sprung up over the past few years, and the health food store generally does all of the label reading for you before they allow it on the shelves. Also, look for healthier alternatives to mainstream products if you're shopping at a conventional drugstore; large companies are now making formaldehyde-free nail polish, paraben-free and sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners, mineral-based makeup and other healthier versions of your favorite stuff.

5. Pick your poison - but not a lot of it.

Just like with the food we eat, I believe in a 90/10 lifestyle. 90% must be pure, healthy & organic, and the other 10% can run wild. I'm mostly green smoothies, fresh juice, salads, nuts, beans and hot lemon water. But a slice of gorgonzola flat bread with a glass of wine on an occasional Friday night? I'm there. The same philosophy applies to your natural beauty routine. 

The solution? Live by the 90/10 rule. Be as healthy as you can, and if you still love that one hair product that you just can't replace, go ahead and use it every now and again, just don't let it be part of your daily routine.

To a naturally glamorous you!

Elizabeth Rider is a leading nutrition and whole living expert helping women around the world become even more successful by teaching them not just how to live well, but how to become the absolute BEST versions of themselves. As a Board Certified Health Counselor (AADP), and graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, Elizabeth’s philosophy isn’t just about eating well; it’s about all of the other aspects of life that makes us human, too. From personal relationships to career, spirituality to finances—and more—Elizabeth isn’t joking when she means “whole living.” As the founder of the Enlightened Living International, Wellness Business Bootcamp, and her popular WholeLivingBlog, cultivating the ideal lifestyle isn't her passion, it's her religion. And ready or not—she’s here to spread the word.