Let’s be honest. I’m possibly the least likely person to be posting about beauty rituals.
Pretty much sums up my product situation.
That’s not to say I don’t care about my skin or appearance, however.
Oh, yeah. I care. A lot.
But I also like to keep things really simple, really healthy…and as natural and primal as possible.
After all, anything we put on our skin becomes systemic (spread throughout our insides) in six weeks or less.
So today I’m sharing highlights from my beauty line-up.
They include basics I’ve been using since my 20s (I’m now 40 and swear by them) plus a few playful, newer additions.
Several items are missing (shampoo and toothpaste, for instance), but I’m planning more primal beauty posts in the future. This one’s just to get you started. Ready? Let’s go…
1. Eating (& drinking) for skin health
This actually deserves a whole post in itself and is truly the most important thing you can do for your skin. For today’s purposes, let’s just say I make sure to eat plenty of the following:
- High-quality fats, such as coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, ghee and avocado
- High-quality animal products, such as wild salmon, grass-fed beef, grass-fed gelatin and collagen-rich bone broth
- Plenty of veggies and a little bit of fruit
- Regeneplex skin-and-hair supplement (Psst…we sell this—and other skin health herbs—at Alchemist Clinic.)
And I avoid:
- Refined sugar (and most other sugar too)
- Grains and legumes
- Processed foods and foods with unhealthy additives
- Chemically altered, inflammatory oils, such as canola and soybean oil
2. Coconut oil, sweat & water
I don’t just eat my coconut oil—I rub it on my face and entire body each morning before hot yoga.
Does it make things slippery? Used to. But it also helped me develop stronger grip strength (so these days, I don’t even notice it).
After yoga (and profuse sweating), I rinse off in the shower with plain water. No need for soap. No need for moisturizer. No need for extra stuff (though I do still shampoo).
Coconut oil acts as a natural deodorant, so I skip commercial varieties of that too. (Eating a low-sugar, grain-free diet also does wonders for keeping pits stink free, even without extra “protection.”)
If I’m feeling extra-fancy, I might add a couple drops of essential oil to my coconut oil rub down. There are a gazillion options and essential oils are all the rage these days…but I always pick lavender.
3. Herb-infused oils & serums
Speaking of oils, I do add a little something extra to my skin and hair after my second hot yoga class and second shower of the day (both showers are one-minute, soapless affairs).
Mei Zen is a small-batch, natural skincare line created by a Chinese Medicine doctor and infused with Chinese herbs to help balance skin and repair damage from sun exposure and aging.
I alternate between their Angelia Vitality Oil and Skin Revitalizing Serum. Five drops are plenty to massage into any dry spots on my face and neck and run through my (very short) hair.
Mei Zen is actually the only skincare line we sell at Alchemist Clinic. We do so because I use it myself…and because I completed cosmetic acupuncture training with the line’s creator.
1. Mei Zen Frankincense Bamboo scrub
Ahh…another delicious Mei Zen product. Unlike most scrubs, this one leaves skin soft and moisturized with natural oils.
Ideally, I’d be using it at least once a week. Lately, I tend to go longer…every few weeks or so.
2. Face mask 2 ways
Natural face masks are another ritual I used to do (at least) weekly and wish I still did, because my skin loves them.
My two favorite versions are moistening, gently exfoliating and anti-microbial, making them perfect for sensitive or combination skin:
- Honey – This is wonderfully moisturizing while simultaneously combating breakouts and blemishes. Washing your face with honey and water is an excellent option too.
- Yogurt – This is more exfoliating and astringent than honey. It also has a natural, subtle brightening action. Make sure to use organic, full-fat, plain varieties, and add a squeeze of lemon to enhance the effects.
As with all facial treatments, spot test and leave on for no more than a few minutes until you know how your skin will react.
1. Tea Tree oil
A couple drops of this potent anti-microbial is my treatment of choice for zits and minor wounds (kitty scratches, for instance). I also add a drop to my toothbrush and dental floss to support gum health.
For zits, you can combine tea tree with green bentonite clay for powerful spot treatment. Just be aware that this is especially drying—definitely test on a small area.
Generally, my sunscreen is coverage (clothes and shade). But if I’m out in summer sun for any length of time, I reach for mineral-based, physical sunblocks with minimal chemicals and perfumes.
The one I’m using currently is Beautycounter’s Protect All Over Sunscreen SPF 30.
Beautycounter has a whole line of non-toxic skin products—I learned about them (and won this sunscreen!) over at Caroline’s gorgeous paleo blog, Colorful Eats. Thank you, Caroline!
MAKE-UP & SUCH
As you might have noticed, this beauty line-up is moving from “definitely primal” to “pretty much primal” to “let’s call it a primal treat, okay?”
When it comes to make-up, I actually don’t, well, wear it. Here are the exceptions…
1. Mineral powder
A powder compact or container of loose powder lasts me a really long time. Right now I’m using and liking this one by Sante, which I bought at Whole Foods after a good ten minutes of overwhelm amidst myriad choices.
2. Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Lip Shine
And another ten minutes went to…deciding on lip gloss. I’m not a natural lip gloss expert, but I like Burt’s Bees and this one offers the barely-there look I’m going for.
These days I’m using a sheer pink shade called “Whisper” (picked in no small part because of the name).
3. Lush eye make-up
Okay, so this is a totally new development in my beauty regime.
The last time I wore eye make-up with any regularity I was, like, 12. It was sky blue and applied from lid to forehead.
But being 40 and liking minimalist eye make-up on others, I sometimes suspect I’m missing out on the fun.
So the other day, before having my picture taken, I headed to a local mall and googled “make-up stores.” Several popped up.
All but one looked like the last place I wanted to wander into with my obvious ignorance of all things make-up and my scandalously naked face.
Thankfully, I mustered enough courage to meander into Lush, which sells “fresh, handmade cosmetics.”
Moments later, I was explaining to a lovely saleswoman that I had no frickin clue what I was doing. I just knew I wanted eye make-up that barely looked like I was wearing eye make-up.
She kept things super-simple and non-pushy. She also made the experience totally fun—not even batting a beautifully mascaraed eyelash when I told her I had no idea how to apply the products she was suggesting. (With much patience and without the slightest hint of derision, she applied them for me and showed me how.)
The outcome? I left with two new, playful additions for days when I feel like something extra:
Cream Eyeshadow in a shimmering taupe called “Sophisticated” (ha!) and Eyes Right Mascara, featuring fresh wheatgrass.
But I find them super-cute and plan on exploring other Lush products some sleepy weekend afternoon…possibly sharing my finds in another post.
Meanwhile, what’s your primal beauty protocol? Please spill your secrets in the comments!