What is beauty? Science tells us that beauty is a function of our ancient instincts giving us some insight about the health of a person and whether they would be a good genetic match for our own genes to further our species. National Geographic tells us, “studies suggest attractive people make more money, get called on more often in class, receive lighter court sentences, and are perceived as friendlier.” That’s right. We’re a bunch of cover-judgers. We just can’t help it.
With or without the science, “beauty” is a booming industry. It doesn’t come cheap and it’s easy to get swept up in the “buy more to be more” mentality. As you organic beauties know, most of the products out there have chemicals in them and even though those chemicals might help maintain the phenotype of beauty, they certainly don’t help keep your body healthy and strong.
Because we think that beauty is a side-effect of eating well, taking care of our bodies, and taking care of our skin, I’d like to share some inexpensive ways to feel healthy and beautiful.
For Your Face
Herbal Face Steams
Let’s start with the easiest beauty trick out there—and my favorite. Herbal steams are such a good way for your body to receive herbal love. They help hydrate your skin and release impurities.
Just put a few drops of essential oil or a couple of tablespoons of your herbs into a pot of water and let it simmer on the stove. Get a big towel and drape it over your head and the pot of water so that the towel traps the steam from the pot. Take deep breaths of the steam. That’s it! Easy, right? And, because your skin is hydrated and your pores are open, your skin will readily accept your skin care routine. So following up with a hydrating serum or moisturizing oil is a good idea.
There are lots of different herbs you can use in your steam. For an easy, all purpose steam that feels good and smells amazing, herbs like rose, lavender, and rosemary are perfect.
We have talked about face masks before, but I’ll give you another recipe that's a cheap and easy way to keep your face beautiful.
Facial Mask for Normal or Dry Skin:
- ¼ an avocado
- 1 spoonful of plain greek yogurt or kefir
Mix it up and slather it on. Leave it for 15 minutes. Wipe or rinse it off and continue with your routine.
Facial Mask for Oily Skin:
- Juice from ¼ a lemon
- 1 spoonful of raw honey, softened
Mix it together and spread it evenly on your face. Leave for about 15-20 minutes and make sure to wipe or rinse it all off when you’re finished.
For your Hair
The best piece of advice I can give you to growing luscious locks is to make sure that your body gets the vitamin A and the protein that it needs (there’s that health piece). Your hair, skin and nails are made of keratin, which is a tough form of protein made in your body. What you ingest has a huge impact on your production of keratin.
An apple cider vinegar rinse once a week after shampoo and conditioning is great for balancing the acid mantle of the scalp and removing any leftover soap that may be trapped there.
For one rinse:
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
Just pour the mixture over your whole head, massage it into your scalp and let it dry.
I like to add herbal teas that help with the color, for a mixture that's half apple cider vinegar and half tea. I’m fair-haired so I like adding chamomile tea to the rinse. For dark hair, adding a decoction of walnut husk to to the ACV will keep it shiny and nice. Don’t worry, the vinegar smell will dissipate after your hair dries.
Note for you darker-haired honeys: use a dark colored towel because the walnut may stain a lighter color towel.
For herbal hair rinse ideas, see this blog post.
The Best Love is Free Love
The best thing that I have found for the hair is free! Give yourself a scalp massage and finger-comb your hair!
I like to stand outside with my head upside down (it’s a little silly looking but it feels awesome) and run clean fingers through my hair. Your hands are a lot different than a hairbrush because they are porous and thus they are the best at stimulating and distributing your hair’s natural oils.
Plus. the extra oils and hairs can easily be removed from your hands, so you don’t have to worry about the build up on the brush. This is really helpful for split ends, dandruff and for keeping your hair healthy and growing long.
For your Body
I hope you have a bathtub because they can be SO healing for the skin and they're not all that expensive. You'll want to have a tub strainer because you don't want all these herbs going down your drain. It’s not important to measure this out perfectly, but it is important to have fun with it! Here's my favorite herbal bath, you don’t need all of these herbs or salts, any mixture of herbal love is great:
Herbal Bath Recipe
- A cup or two of oatmeal – organic rolled oats are wonderful!
- 2+ cups of good salt – I use Dead Sea salt and Himalayan pink salt but epsom salt or any good salt you have works great
- A couple tablespoons of baking soda
- 1 heaping teaspoon of coconut oil
- Herbs like rose, lavender, kava, skullcap, yarrow and rue are great to add to the bath. The best way to add them is to put them into a little teabag or a sack, but I like to add handfuls of herbs straight to my water and then strain it out when I’m finished.
We have nerve endings in our feet that relate to different parts of our whole body, it’s important to take good care of our hooves so that we can feel great and be beautiful.
It’s like a small scale bath recipe that you can make on your stove and enjoy anywhere in your house – I love to do a foot soak while I’m doing dishes! Just keep your feet in it for at least a half hour (I like it better for an hour):
Herbal Foot Soak Recipe
- 1/2 cup of good salt
- A couple teaspoons of baking soda
- A heaping teaspoon of coconut oil
- Herbs like rose, lavender, kava, skullcap, yarrow, and tea tree are great!
Pro tip: Do a face steam with your pot of water while you’re making your foot soak. Add in a mask while you’re sitting with your feet in a soak and turn it into a special night. 🙂
Mars, B. (2006). Beauty by nature. Summertown, Tenn.: Healthy Living Publications.