When I was thinking about what subjects I would like to talk about on my new site, the question of beauty obviously came to mind.
I often receive messages asking me about my hair routine.
“What products do you use to define your curls?”, “What products do you use to moisturize your hair?” and since I posted a picture of my hair on my instagram “What do you do to retain the length?” are the questions I’m most often asked.
I will write a post about how I take care of my hair but today I want to write about something that will lay the foundations for my next Beauty and Health articles – for which I will have a badass sidekick you’ll soon meet. Let me show you her face for now ;)
Even as an avatar she’s simply gorgeous isn’t she? :)
Beauty and health : not from the outside in
Something kind of bugs me : how come no one asks me this simple and – to me – obvious question : “What do you eat to keep your hair healthy?”?
Nowadays, when it comes to beauty and health, here’s what most people do : they work from the outside in.
Does that make sense?
We, human beings, are no different from any other living being on this planet, and just like a plant, it’s not creams and chemicals that will make us beautiful and healthy. Just like a plant, what we need first is water, nutrients and sunlight. How magical ! They’re all available in nature!
Everything starts from the inside and with what we feed ourselves.
I remember what a friend told me once.
From what she says we almost have the same kind of hair but I couldn’t tell as I’ve never seen it.
She started relaxing at a very young age, tried the brazilian keratin treatment for a few years, and went back to relaxing.
Her hair looks great. She spends huge amounts of money in all kinds of products and has to redo her hair every other 3 to 4 days, but she always looks stunning.
One day I asked her how her hair looked without any product on and she had the honesty to tell me it was dry and dull. I said : “So it’s not healthy.” and she answered : “I guess not. But I don’t care if my hair is healthy, as long as it LOOKS healthy.”
That’s the main problem. The looks.
The main problem : beauty as it is sold by the media
Beauty as it is defined by the media so you will spend as much money as possible to get THE looks, but more importantly, beauty as it is sold by the media.
Convincing people that a flawless skin is true beauty is one thing. Convincing people that you need to have the same flawless skin as the girl in the commercial to be beautiful and that the girl in the commercial has a flawless skin thanks to the product they’re selling you is a completely different thing.
The girl in the commercial has a flawless skin either because she’s healthy and/or because Photoshop did the job. (please note the “and” as even girls with a beautiful skin will be retouched with Photoshop as they’re never too perfect for a commercial.)
Just like media sells us beauty, we spend our life selling ourselves to others.
That is what life is about : others constantly assessing us, we constantly assessing others. And there we are playing the game of trying to be who and how we would like others to perceive us, instead of simply loving and being who we are and letting others decide if they like us or not.
We want to convince everyone of our quality instead of simply connecting with the ones who see it.
So we keep selling ourselves. And since the way people are sold in the commercials seems to work, we try to do the same.
Let’s imagine a young girl named Cynthia.
Cynthia is 14 and she sees this flawless glowing skin in a commercial and of course she wants the same.
She goes to the bathroom and looks at herself in the mirror. She doesn’t have that flawless glowing skin. She has pimples. She’s a teenager, her body is going through many hormonal changes and it’s normal, but all she sees are these pimples everybody at school make fun of all the time and she just wishes she had the same skin as in the commercial.
Cynthia takes all the money she saved from her birthdays and Christmas’ presents and she goes to the beauty store. She walks up to that beautiful and well dressed lady drowned in makeup and says : “I want a beautiful skin.”
She comes back home with a soap for problem skin, a clarifying lotion and a moisturizing cream for oily skin, a makeup primer, a concealer, a liquid foundation, loose powder and a ton of makeup.
And there she goes.
10 years later, Cynthia is lucky, her pimples are gone. But now she has oily skin around her nose and on her chin, her cheeks’ skin is sensitive and is so dry it’s flaky, her complexion is dull and her skin texture is not even, so she uses a moisturizing cream for combination skin type morning and evening, she exfoliates, she puts on face masks, and she spends 15 minutes each and every morning buttering her skin with a makeup primer, a concealer, foundation, powder and a ton of makeup.
And she’s happy with it because if she looks at herself 5 feet away from the mirror she can think “wow what a beautiful skin !” but if she gets closer, well… you got it.
I was Cynthia until the day I realized putting stuff on my skin to make it look better only made it look worse and forced me to use even more products. The vicious circle.
Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t wake up and leave the house. I do put on makeup. I love makeup. But to me, makeup is a way to enhance my face, not a way to hide it and cover it all up.
Now if you like the look of perfectly made-up skin and always use foundation and powder even if you have a great skin, it’s also a matter of taste. I prefer a more natural look and to see the skin texture of a face, even with some imperfections. But that’s me ;)
Anyway I became aware of this at the same time when I got the same medical issue three times in a row not understanding why it was happening again. I had taken all the drugs the doctor had prescribed me after all.
If it was not a matter of covering up the symptoms, like it was not a matter of covering up my skin, it has to come from the inside, so I changed everything about the way I ate – although I still have some serious issues with Reese’s Cups – and eventually everything changed.
I won’t follow the path of health today and will stick to beauty.
I don’t wear foundation anymore. My skin is clean, it doesn’t shine, I don’t have pimples unless I went off the rails big time for some reason. (And I do!)
The only reason why I use oils to moisturize my skin – I rarely use creams but when I do I check the ingredients – is for comfort, as because I wear makeup, I need to remove it. I remove it with oil, but then I wash the oil out with a gentle soap. That gentle soap is the reason why I need to moisturize my skin because right after using it, it feels dry. And read me well : it FEELS dry. But it’s not. It’s well hydrated from the inside. I don’t rely on the oil/cream to hydrate my skin.
Does my skin look like the ones in magazines? I don’t think so, these don’t even exist. Are there some girls with better skin than mine? Of course there are, we’re all different. What matters to me is that my skin is the best it can possibly be. That’s enough for me and it should be enough for anyone.
In the same way, my hair has completely changed. Of course I still use products to get the look I want, my genetics are responsible for me having dry hair no matter what and no diet will ever change its nature, but it can change its quality. With my hair being healthier and more hydrated, I now use less products, lightest products, and spend less amount of time and money on my hair. My hair is not perfect according to what I see in the media. It’s at its own best.
So all of this to say that the basis of my future beauty and health articles is simple : want to be healthy before wanting to be beautiful and everything will get a lot easier for you. :)
Your skin is dry? You need to drink more water and eat more fruits and vegetables. They will help hydrate your skin because they’re all made of over 80% of water.
Your hair is dry? Drink more water and eat more fruits and vegetables.
Your skin is greasy ? You have pimples ? It’s not even ? Drink more water and eat more fruits and vegetables. The more you eat fruits and vegetables, the more good nutrients you give your body and your skin and the less room there is in your stomach for all these foods that make your skin – and body – sick (trans fats, sugar, refined wheat…)
On top of that, just like the plant needs it to grow, you need some sunlight. Your body needs some sunlight. There would be no life on Earth without sun.
No, I’m not telling you to go sit outside on a sunny day for 3 hours at noon with no protection. I’m telling you that your body needs a minimum of skin contact with the sun because it’s the best way for your body to generate vitamin D, which is essential for your bones but also for several other reasons.
Stress can cause many skin and hair problems because it causes general health ones. It is one of the worst enemies of your body as it prevents it to benefit from all the good nutrients you ingest.
While you don’t have control over all that happens in your life, you do have control over what you eat.
Another reason to drink more water and eat more fruits and vegetables is because it will keep your digestive system healthy and therefore will help you feel better. Are you aware of the role our digestive system has in the serotonin production, the body’s “don’t worry be happy” hormone? Look it up on the internet.
95% of the serotonin of our body is found in our gastrointestinal tract, so you want it to work properly.
Never forget how important your intestines are. They are responsible for digesting and drawing all the nutrients from the food and making them available for your body (also meaning skin and hair) to use through the bloodstream and cells.
A good diet will keep your digestive system healthy, and if your digestive system is healthy – unless major problem – YOU are healthy. If YOU are healthy, so is your skin and so is your hair. Well… unless you mistreat it of course.
Have you ever noticed that nature is autonomous?
A forest, left alone, with no humans cutting its trees or threatening its balance, will always prosper. It’s the same for your skin and hair. Once you give your body all the love it needs – in the form of the right amount of water, nutrients and light – the less you will do the better.
Besides the fact that it’s fed with what it needs, the main reason why my hair is growing is because I leave it alone as much as possible. Same for my skin.
Leaving something alone doesn’t mean neglecting it. It only means accepting it for what it is. That’s why it’s so important to learn to love and accept yourself the way you are, so you can finally walk the path to being the best version of yourself, not a cheap version of somebody else’s self.
Water + a good diet + sunlight + self-love + good sleep + peace of mind and the ability to put things in perspective = health = beauty. YOUR beauty.
And voilà. ;)
ATTENTION : I am not a doctor, my advice is based on my own life experiences and is not intended to diagnose any condition. For professional advice and diagnoses, please see your doctor.
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