Monday, 15 June 2015

Beauty: deeper than skin

I am sometimes asked about my health/beauty 'routine' and wanted to write a quick blog post about some of the things I do or have been doing in this area... This is quite personal and word-heavy, but hopefully it might be of interest to some of my followers... :-)

When it comes to health and beauty in general, I am always most inspired by and interested in solutions or enhancements which are completely natural. Increasingly over the last year or so, I've actually been making my own products from scratch. In recent times, I've made my own:

- Perfume (using essential oils, blended exactly how I want them; this is so much fun to experiment with, and you know you are creating something completely unique as well as non-synthetic)

- Toothpaste (I haven't bought commercial toothpaste for quite a while - though I currently use a travel-sized one for trips away from home, only because I haven't quite got around to decanting some of my own into a smaller lightweight jar... but I will!). I flavour mine with peppermint and clove essential oils, and I think the coconut oil and bicarbonate of soda do a very good job of keeping my teeth fresh and white. [Edit: I came to the end of my jar and made something else instead, so am now using my 'Volcanic Earth Tooth Powder', which is as weird as it sounds, but rather excellent.]

- Hand and body creams (I use 100% natural unrefined shea butter, coconut oil, beeswax, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, etc. etc.... and essential oils for flavours - I will next be making some for my friend's birthday soon.... These cream mixtures are pretty much all all-purpose; the one I used today can be used as an eye cream, or cuticle cream, or hand cream, or hair balm.... you name it, I'll probably stroke it on myself. I've ordered some cocoa butter as well, plus some beetroot powder for tinting lip balms a soft, natural pink; and my collection of beauty ingredients is so large now that I've had to designate a huge storage area to it all!)

- Face masks (My favourite is still inspired by Deliciously Ella [she has a cool name, huh? ;-)] 's combination of banana, oats and honey. Makes your skin feel so amazing afterwards, even if you do look a bit of a state with the browning banana and dripping honey ambling down your face while the oats fall off - it can get a bit messy, that one!)

... I would really recommend going online and googling things like 'DIY hand cream' or 'face mask recipe' if you are curious about doing some of this. It is a pretty snazzy new hobby of mine, and the internet is FULL of clever people brandishing tips and 'how to's everywhere you look!

Aside from these, I swear by St Ives natural apricot face scrub, coconut or argan oil in my hair (often both) and Witch Hazel/tea tree oil for over night skin treatment. I also like Botanics and Simple for removing make up. So there we are!

Image by 'Imagesse', shot in some wilderness in Cornwall:

MORE ABOUT SKIN - getting deeper!

OK, some history... Coming off the pill a year ago was something I was nervous about, as I thought I'd get lots of spots immediately (well, it was possible! And scary!!), but I didn't see why I should be 'medicating' a non-existent problem (fertility!!) simply for convenience. Anyway.... After researching quite a lot, I decided the main factor that I could control (and therefore would pay attention to) was my diet. I now credit my good skin almost entirely to that (as well as thanking my Mum for good genes and drinking a ton of water [& nurturing my tea addiction!!] every day). I am frequently told I look much younger than I am and that my skin is 'glowing'.


I basically eat vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, legumes, nuts and seeds (plus lots of herbs and spices). I'm a good cook (as anyone can be - cooking is easy!!) and in a world in which creative flavour combination is thriving (just look at the internet, again!), I don't need to defend this way of eating as being 'not boring', because you are only limited by your imagination. For starters, this blog 'Clean Food Dirty Girl' is both brilliant and HILARIOUS - I highly recommend it.

You might have noticed that I haven't mentioned dairy. Although I was never lactose intolerant at all, I now deliberately eat dairy extremely, extremely rarely (I had a minuscule amount of cheddar cheese at a baby shower the other day after months and months of not having any, and only because I was seduced by the pineapple it shared a stick with; it tasted OK but then made me feel kinda weird!!! Not going to bother next time!!).

Dairy famously causes inflammation, and cow's milk is pretty awful anyway (it's not meant for human consumption - see here and here for a start) as well as being the result of a quite exploitative process of treating intelligent animals very poorly (see here, for example). Did you know that cows are in many ways as intelligent as dogs? (Aside: even if they weren't, would that matter?) When I used to eat milk and cheese, I couldn't even imagine not having cheese; that's the main reason why I used to think vegans were 'extreme' and, to be honest, a bit silly. Ha!! Apparently it's a fact that most people are addicted to cheese on some level, and I could well understand it. But now, I honestly don't even crave it. I mean it - I don't crave cheese at all, day to day.

My taste buds are so different now; it's amazing how quickly the body adapts and changes. All over the world, dairy and other animal 'products' are being less and less consumed (especially as people are cottoning on to the fact that milk is NOT the best source of calcium; in fact it acidifies the human body, which prefers to be slightly alkaline and then has to leech alkalinity from the body's biggest source of it in order to re-jig its balance (which, you've guessed it, is your bones) - did you know that the world's lowest consumers of dairy - China and Japan - also have the lowest incidences of osteoporosis?). I genuinely believe that this trend of reducing our animal consumption will continue, such that, at one point in the future, way down the line, eating meat/animals will be seen as a strange thing to do. But it's 'all a journey' and I don't want to pretend that I am perfect or a total vegan (just a strict vegetarian who prefers vegan eating most of the time) - and I could never have been rushed into any of it; everyone has to come to their own decisions in their own time. All I can say is, I really enjoy the creativity and 'pureness' of eating in a way that most suitably nurtures the human body and least bothers those creatures who can't speak for themselves but are vitally important, intrinsically valuable and often very intelligent.

So yes, that's my little thesis on skin and beauty for today! Over and out. :-)