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9/14/2011
Embrace Your Natural Beauty
Embrace Your Natural Beauty

Beauty is all around us. It’s in the flowers that bloom each spring, the leaves that dot the ground in fall and the snow that covers the trees in winter. Beauty is also a part of us, radiating in our eyes, reflecting in our smiles, and glowing on our cheeks. Much like a gardener uses water and nutrients to enhance a plant’s vitality, we can embrace our natural beauty by nourishing our skin with pure ingredients — ingredients that work with our skin to help it be its healthiest, radiant and most beautiful.

Natural products are as effective as their synthetic counterparts, according to natural beauty expert and makeup artist Jessa Blades, owner of Blades Natural Beauty (bladesnaturalbeauty.com). “Not only do the ingredients work, they also heal the skin,” she says. “Synthetic ingredients are only good at doing specific tasks, whereas plants are well-rounded and inherently expert at supporting and healing the skin.”

Constance Dunn, author of Practical Glamour: Presenting Your Most Beautiful and Polished Self to the World (practicalglamour.org), compares using natural skin-care products to the idea of feeding your body with pure foods. “You’ve probably felt how efficiently your body processes and utilizes whole, unrefined foods versus the preservative-packed, chemical-filled kind,” she says. “Likewise, natural products provide your skin with the most direct and unadulterated type of nourishment. They don’t contain cheap fillers and synthetic components that might result in a bigger-looking bottle but don’t actually help your skin. When you buy natural products, you get a higher concentration of effective ingredients.”

So show the world your natural beauty! Embrace pure skin-care ingredients and follow the tips on the following pages to bring out your most beautiful you.

1. CLEANSE AND TONE, TWICE DAILY.

Using a gentle cleanser followed by a refining toner in the morning and evening is the basis for beautiful skin. But the skin on our face is delicate — it’s best to treat it with a tender touch. Dunn suggests avoiding cleansers with harsh detergents, such as sodium laurel sulfate, which strip the skin’s natural oils and damage its protective barrier. Instead, choose non-stripping cleansers like Weleda’s Gentle Cleansing Milk. It’s made with nourishing organic jojoba seed oil and antioxidant-rich sesame seed oil for deep yet gentle cleansing. Follow with toner, which Patricia Pol, Weleda’s holistic skin-care expert and esthetician, says has several benefits. “Applying a toner after your cleanser will help your moisturizer absorb deeply, creating a better foundation for makeup. It will also help remove any residue from your cleanser or trace remnants of makeup.” Weleda’s Refining Toner contains witch hazel and rosehip leaf extract to help purify and strengthen your pores. Combine it with water in a spray bottle to create a refreshing facial mist.

2. ALWAYS KEEP YOUR SKIN HYDRATED.

Adding oil to oily skin? It may seem counterintuitive, but Pol says that even oily skin can be dehydrated, a condition that is characterized by loss of moisture and has little to do with overactive oil glands. “When our skin is oily, we tend to use harsh products to try and lessen the oil, and this can lead to dehydration, even as the oil glands go into overdrive to try and compensate for the loss,” says Pol. “Using a light moisturizer on oily skin will help your skin stay in balance and prevent fine lines caused by dehydration.” Try using Weleda’s facial lotions — Iris Hydrating Lotion or Wild Rose Smoothing Facial Lotion, for example — which boast a light texture and are ideal for oiler skin types.

3. HARNESS THE POWER OF NATURAL ANTIOXIDANTS.

Antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E are some of the most beneficial ingredients for our skin, and the best ones are those found in nature; your body can recognize antioxidants from plants better than synthetic versions made in a lab. Pol compares the efficacy of natural antioxidants verses synthetic ones to a key and a lock. “In order for our bodies to recognize certain proteins and compounds, the key has to not only fit in the lock, it also has to be able to unlock it,” she explains. “Natural ingredients are better recognized by the body — they are compatible with our own skin and work on a deeper level to increase cell renewal and fight free radicals that cause skin damage and wrinkles.” Give your skin a daily dose of antioxidants from ingredients like pomegranates and rosehip seeds. Weleda Pomegranate Firming Serum and Wild Rose Smoothing Day Cream are good options to try.

4. EXFOLIATE GENTLY, NATURALLY.

To maintain your skin’s natural balance, treat it like you would your fine china, not your kitchen floor. “Over-exfoliating or scrubbing your face removes your own natural protective oils,” says Pol. “It disrupts your skin’s barrier function, making your skin more sensitive.” Exfoliation happens naturally and effectively when you swipe Weleda’s Gentle Cleansing Milk or Refining Toner across your face with a cotton pad. Doing this on a regular basis will gently remove dead skin cells, without disturbing your skin’s natural rhythms. As we get older, however, our skin’s cell renewal starts to slow. You can help support it with natural ingredients like pomegranate seed oil, which contains punicic acid, an unsaturated fatty acid that supports cell renewal. Try Weleda’s Pomegranate Firming Facial Care, which actively aids your skin’s own ability to regenerate. »

5. USE MAKEUP SPARINGLY.

When it comes to makeup, less is more and the more natural the better, according to celebrity makeup artist Lina Hanson, who uses natural makeup on her clients because she says the vitamins and antioxidants they contain help keep skin healthy. She begins every makeup application with a natural face serum. “It gives you a healthy glow,” she says. To enhance your natural beauty, Hanson suggests using a tinted moisturizer or light mineral foundation and dabbing concealer under your eyes to even out skin tone. “Dust a soft pink blush on the apples of your cheeks,” she says. “It will make you look fresh and awake.” Blades recommends using a light shimmer (not glitter) shadow on your eyelids to really make your eyes pop and appear more open. “Then take that same light shimmer shadow and place some on the inner corner of your eye to reflect the light,” she says.

6. TREAT YOURSELF TO FACIALS.

Facials may seem like a luxury rather than a necessity, but seasonal facials — four times a year — can help maintain your skin’s natural beauty. As the seasons change from summer to fall, a facial can help remove the clogged pores that occur from an increase in oil production and sweat during the warmer months. In the winter, a facial can help keep your skin moisturized and nourished. Facial massage increases circulation to the skin, bringing nutrients to the surface and restoring a beautiful, natural glow. Dunn says facials that include natural products are particularly beneficial because of the gentleness and purity of the ingredients. “No matter your skin type or condition, there is a natural formulation that can be used to treat it,” she says. “Using products with high-quality, beneficial ingredients is essential to the long-term health of your skin.” -Carrie Ruehlman