Want to feel vibrant from the inside out? Try a mini beauty detox
A mini beauty detox does more than just reset your system; it may also be your ticket to feeling wholeheartedly beautiful and vibrant from the inside out.
If you could rewind your past, what would you change? Would you become a slimmer, svelte version of yourself? Make bucketloads of cash? Live off the grid, just you and Mother Earth? Visit more far-flung exotic places? Run off with your first great love?
While we can’t go back and press reset, we can move forward in a positive, proactive and life-affirming way. It begins by taking time out to pause and ponder, to reflect and take stock of old habits — discarding those that no longer serve you well, in all areas of your life, which includes your beauty routines and habits.
A holistic approach to natural beauty takes into account mind, body and spirit. Eating clean and green to rid the body of toxins, nourishing your mind and nurturing your spirit. After all, true beauty shines from within.
Toxins are all around us in the form of everything from air pollution and pesticides to the food we eat, the shampoo we use, the clothes we wear and even the multimedia images we’re exposed to.
Exposure to toxins over time can create a toxic overload, impacting implicitly on how you look and feel. It can manifest in things like headaches, irritability, low energy, unusual body odour, physical pain, disease, skin conditions and sensitivities, as well as IBS or constipation.
The human body does a good job of naturally detoxifying, with the lungs, skin, liver, bowel and kidneys all playing a part. But there are plenty of ways you can get your body’s natural detoxification systems working to their optimum so you can look and feel fabulous.
Learning to love yourself
Before you begin the process of detoxification, start with the right mindset. Naturopath Sally Mathrick from Sound Medicine says it all begins with self-love and self-acceptance. “The starting point is saying I’m OK where I am, but now I’m going to become more aware and make choices that nourish the trueness of who I am,” she says. “Loving yourself is the most detoxifying thing you can ever do.”
Mathrick says it’s important to filter the choices you make every day in a positive way. “Every breath you take puts you into the matrix of wellness,” she says. “We’re all part of the whole, all part of this planet. With that mindset it then becomes natural to think, ‘Why would I hurt the earth by pouring hair products with bleach down the sink?’” she says.
Mini beauty detox guide
Clear your diary, turn off your phone and take some time to do a mini beauty detox.
Ditch your make-up for a weekend and let your skin breathe naturally. Dermatologist Dr Anita Patel says even make-up that claims to be non-comedogenic (formulated to not block pores) can still cause blockages if used for a prolonged period. “I see it often in women of all ages,” she says. “Repeated exposure to any product also increases the likelihood of irritation, so taking a break from it lessens that risk.”
While you’re enjoying a make-up free weekend, do a make-up health check. Patel says make-up definitely has a use-by date. “Over time, the product degrades and there’s [an] increased risk of bacterial growth,” she says. “The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission recommend a lifespan of six to 12 months for beauty products.” Look for changes to the product’s colour, consistency and appearance, or any faint or odd odours. If it doesn’t look quite right, toss it in the bin. Your skin will thank you for it.
Embrace natural beauty products
Some beauty products contain synthetic fragrances that can be sourced from petroleum, synthetic preservatives including parabens, emulsifiers derived from petrochemical gases, as well as many more potentially harmful substances.
There are countless organic alternatives to store-bought beauty products. Many of the ingredients will already be in your pantry. Before your mini detox, source some recipes with all-natural ingredients and stock up on any additional supplies so you can experiment to see what works best for you. It’s easy to make your own deodorant, hair treatments, face masks, scrubs and moisturisers.
All-natural face mask for any skin type: All you need are fresh raspberries. Mash them up and apply to your skin, leaving for 10-15 minutes, and then rinse off with warm water. Your skin will feel silky smooth.
Shiny hair treatment: You need two egg yolks, 2½ tablespoons of cognac and 1½ tablespoons of apple-cider vinegar. Whisk egg yolks and cognac together and work the mixture into clean, wet hair, brushing with a wide tooth comb. Rinse out in warm water. Then rinse again, adding the apple cider vinegar to the running water.
Recipe courtesy of All Natural Beauty by Karin Berndl and Nici Hofer.
Do a dry brush
The practice of dry brushing boosts circulation, exfoliates the skin and aids the lymphatic system to remove toxins from your body, which in turn strengthens the immune system. Afterwards, your skin will have a healthy, translucent glow. With a loofah or dry body brush and using a circular motion, brush towards the heart. However, when brushing the abdomen, make sure you brush in an anticlockwise direction to benefit digestion. After you’ve finished, take a warm shower.
Have a detox bath
The sheer bliss of soaking in a bathtub is ultimate relaxation. Set the scene with some soy candles and calming music.
Try a ginger-lemon oxygen bath to help rid the body of toxins. Use 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide (handle the product with care, wear gloves and mix well in the bathwater), as well as ¼ cup freshly grated ginger and the juice of one lemon. Pour a bath with hot water, enjoy a soak for around 30 minutes and then hydrate well afterwards.
Recipe courtesy of Homemade Beauty by Annie Strole.
Before you reach for a caffeinated drink to kick start your day, drink a glass of room temperature water (cold water slows down the digestive system) with a splash of citrus juice. Sip at least two litres of water daily. Add some lemon, lime and mint to spruce it up.
A note on caffeine: It’s a legal drug. Try cutting down your intake and swap out coffee (86.9mg caffeine content per 100ml) with green tea (12.1mg per 100 ml) to enjoy green tea’s antioxidant benefits.
The art of breath
Breathing correctly promotes physical healing and creates a sense of calm. Practising the art of breathing properly ensures plenty of life-giving oxygen fills your lungs and is absorbed into your body. According to Winnie Abramson, the author of One Simple Change: Surprisingly Easy Ways to Transform Your Life, the blood needs to maintain a pH of 7.35 to 7.45 for optimum cell function.
Breathe Project co-founder Kat Tucker says there are three key elements to breathing correctly. “Firstly, your nose is designed to filter air and make it the ideal temperature and humidity for your body, all the while activating the parasympathetic nervous system (calm and connect state),” she says.
“With each inhale, breathe in from bottom to top, starting by expanding your belly, this ensures you’re using your diaphragm (breathing) muscle, then opening the ribcage and rising the chest. And each exhale, release back down from your chest to your belly.
“Finally, focus on each and every breath becoming a little bit slower and a little bit smoother.”
Do a snooze health check
Getting enough sleep is vital to replenish your energy reserves, and to prevent dark circles appearing under the eyes. To improve your snooze time, vow to go to bed at around the same time each night so you can develop a sleep routine. Did you know that taking a morning walk or even just sipping a cuppa in the morning sunshine can get you in the mood to snooze at night? It boosts the body’s serotonin levels, which can help to promote a restful slumber.
Create a cozy sleep environment by de-cluttering your space and introducing cool, relaxing colours like blue and green. Add a leafy plant in a pretty pot. Indoor plants can help to remove toxins, including carbon dioxide and formaldehyde.
Walk in the sunshine with your family, jump on some pushbikes and peddle to a park, or pack a picnic and head to the beach.
Take a little time to clear out the emails cluttering up your inbox. Then, have a screen-free weekend with your family. You may have to physically wrangle devices from horrified teens, but stick to your guns. Rediscover board games and the lost art of conversation. Walk in the sunshine with your family, jump on some pushbikes and peddle to a park, or pack a picnic and head to the beach. While you are there, kick off your shoes and go barefoot — that truly unites your spirit with the earth.
Think about your relationship with technology and devise a plan to only check social media once a day (or twice if you simply can’t resist). Also, ban it from the bedroom so you’re not tempted to take a sneak peek before you sleep — the light is a stimulant.
Eat clean and green (and yellow, red and orange)
Fill your plate with a rainbow of colour. Natasha Murray, an accredited dietitian from the Dietitians Association of Australia, says different coloured fruits and veggies offer different benefits. “Red has lycopene, a great antioxidant; greens are a good source of folate; and yellows and oranges are an excellent source of beta-carotene,” she says. Upping your intake of beta-carotene will also give your skin a healthy glow.
Reduce your sugar intake. The latest Australian Health Survey shows Australians consume around 14 teaspoons of sugar a day, which is roughly double the World Health Organization’s recommendation.
Excessive sugar wreaks havoc on the skin, leading to inflammation, aching joints and breakouts. For your mini beauty detox, and in the future, Murray suggests cutting out added or refined sugars. “They’re just empty calories. Lactose or the sugars found in milk, and fructose or fruit sugars, are a much healthier kind of sugar,” she says.
Set aside time to go through your cupboards and fridge and evict foods that aren’t healthy. And add these items to your shopping list to eat your way to beautiful skin: avocadoes, fatty fish, capsicum, tomatoes, walnuts, brazil nuts, tofu, blueberries, sweet potato and pumpkin seeds.
While you’re at it, have a booze-free weekend. Alcohol is not only a depressant, it’s also filled with sugar and is dehydrating on the skin. Consuming too much alcohol can also lead to bloating and puffiness. Try making some energising mocktails with lashings of juice and zesty fruits for a delicious alternative.
Murray says it’s important to make small sustainable changes — and build on them. “Use your mini detox beauty weekend to think about how you might swap some not-so-healthy healthy eating habits, for some healthy ones.”
Happy healthy herbs
There are so many wonderful ways to add herbs and spices to your food for added flavour, and many of them have healing properties that detoxify and aid with reducing inflammation.
Mathrick says there are many helpful detoxifying herbs. “If you’re stressed out and running on lots of caffeine, try tulsi (holy basil) as a herbal tea,” she says.
Mathrick says turmeric and dandelion root are wonderful detoxifiers, too. “Liquorice, fennel and dandelion root also support the liver, gall bladder and gastrointestinal tract. Add the herbs to boiling water and sip as a tea.”
To aid in your weekend beauty detox, if your kidneys are struggling, Mathrick suggests red hibiscus and nettle leaf.
Ban chemical cleaners
Prevention is always better than cure. Become more eco-savvy and take time this weekend to peek into your cleaning cupboard. In the future, replace any toxic cleaners with greener alternatives. It’s a win for your family and the planet.
Take 15 minutes
We dedicate our emotional and physical energy to the care of others, but it’s equally important to practise self-care. Far from being indulgent, it allows you to refocus and re-centre your thoughts and, in turn, take better care of others.
Take this time to begin the practice of journaling. Think about your passions. What drives you? What inspires you? What motivates you? Vow that moving forward you will nurture your spirit and practise the art of self-love. You are important.
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