By its very definition, natural beauty should be the easiest thing in the world to achieve. But let’s be honest—most of us don’t wake up in the morning with the healthy, glowing skin and gorgeous hair we’ve come to associate with a laid-back look. The secret to such easy-breezy beauty, it seems, involves a five-pronged approach: optimizing your skin, hair, makeup, fitness and nutrition. From slathering on the SPF to switching up your salad, these tips will transform your routine to yield the best and most (naturally) beautiful you.
If you want to eat to improve your natural beauty, Katie Sampayo is your woman. The nutrition guru’s advice is anything but general, perfect for those wanting to make specific changes rather than simply “eating healthier.”
“The most important thing is constantly staying hydrated,” she says. “You need to be drinking enough water each day [.67 times your body weight will give you the proper number of ounces], not only to feel good but to have a lot of energy and keep your organs working properly and to keep your skin and lips hydrated.”
Next up? Eating those omega-3s.
“I recommend eating wild-caught fish at least once a week—around 3½ to 4 ounces,” she says. “If you’re not a big fish eater, really try to supplement with fish oil or other food like chia seeds, flax seeds and hemp seeds. Omega-3 fatty acids help keep your skin cell membranes strong and elastic, which keeps the skin soft and hydrated. That’s why they’re really important if you want glowing, dewy skin.”
Also important—antioxidants, which work as a natural sunscreen and protect skin against free radicals that can cause skin cancer, skin damage, discoloration and wrinkles. To get those great benefits, Sampayo recommends upping your intake of blueberries, tomatoes, green tea and her favorite, dark chocolate…but just make sure it’s 60 percent cacao or higher—“otherwise,” she says, “it’s just going to be filled with sugar that is actually going to make your skin worse.”
Her next game-changers: vitamin C, which prevents wrinkles/strengthens hair, and vitamin E, which hydrates skin/ improves hair texture. Citrus fruits and red peppers are key for C, while almonds, avocado and spinach provide plenty of E.
In conclusion? “I’d summarize everything by just saying that the healthier your diet, the more in balance your hormones will be, the clearer your skin will be and the shinier and stronger your hair will be, because your body is getting the nutrients it needs to support your skin and hair’s cellular structure,” she says. Sounds beautiful!
In her 11 years of hairstyling, Keire Cheatham has found that women are spending less and less time on their hair…and more and more money.
“They don’t want to do a full blowout in the morning,” she says. “I think people just don’t have time for that anymore. But they are into buying products.”
That, and paying for styles that will make for less effort in the long run, like ombre and balayage (hair painting), which last much longer between dye jobs due to their grown-out look.
Embracing natural texture, too, is both timesaving and trendy—and requires its own stable of protective products.
“For my clients with natural, curly or wavy hair,” she says, “I’ll start with DevaCurls’ No-Poo shampoo (it has no
sulfate, parabens or silicones) to cleanse the hair, then use DevaCurl conditioner to moisturize the hair. And then depending on clients’ texture/density I’ll use a gel or a cream to coat the hair, keeping it from getting frizzy from the humidity and helping the curls to stay soft and bouncy. The hair can either air dry or be diffused after the products are applied. In the summer, I’ll add a lightweight oil or primer to the hair like Bumble and Bumble’s Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Primer to condition and offer some UV protection.”
Other key products include a clarifying shampoo and a hydrating mask (she likes Kerastase), best if used together about every other week. Oh, and don’t even think about washing your hair every day.
Want to go more, well, natural? Though she’s a product junkie at heart (“There’s a reason we have professional styling products—the way they’re made is just obviously better, and you can feel the difference”), Cheatham is also a fan of adding some less-formulaic ingredients into your routine. Coconut oil makes a good pre-wash mask for your hair, she says, and sunflower seed, castor and argan oils are ultra-moisturizing. Apple cider vinegar is great, too—spritz hair with a vinegar-and-water mix pre-shower to remove buildup.
“If you want the effortless look, it’s going to take a little bit of time,” she says.
Want to fully lean into fitness? Get out of the gym, says Charlie Pistorio.
Surprising advice from a personal trainer, maybe—but after a brush with death several years ago, Pistorio’s entire perspective on beauty and wellness has changed.
“I’ve spent way too many hours in the gym and wasted way too much of my life,” says the former bodybuilder, who landed in the hospital after suffering bowel blockage and a ruptured appendix. “I was in there for 21 days, and it changed me. I realized I just want to be healthy. Life is too short.”
Now, she advocates for more low-key fitness, focusing on mobility and the full use of the body.
“You don’t need to go to the gym,” she says. “You need to find exercises that are multifaceted and engage different muscles (like pushups, planks, walking, jogging and burpees). Your body only moves in five different ways: push, pull, squat, lunge and rotate. You can do a million different exercises, but they’re only a variation of those basic moves.”
Building a lean, strong, beautiful body, then, is as simple as engaging it correctly. Your triceps are called your triceps, for example, because they’re made of three different muscle markings—and sculpting stunning arms means working each one of those three parts. (And don’t be afraid of lifting significant weight, Pistorio cautions. Real results can’t come from 5-pound dumbbells—and it takes way longer to bulk up than most people think.)
Cardio is important, too, particularly when it comes to achieving that healthy glow. According to Pistorio, cardiovascular exercise increases circulation, and sweating clears pores of toxins.
But more than anything, it’s a healthy lifestyle that impacts the way we look and feel—and slaving away at the gym, hating every minute, is certainly not the way to go.
“The industry is definitely changing,” she says. “People are realizing they can come to Quarry Lake, walk around the lake two times, and burn as many calories as they would running on the treadmill for 20 minutes. It’s all about being healthy and moving. Exercise is becoming a way of life.”
To Teporah Bilezikian, “natural beauty” has two very different meanings—but they’re both important.
The first meaning? The makeup you put on your face shouldn’t just look natural, it should be natural.
“I’m super picky about ingredients,” she says. “I think makeup is honestly a life-or -death scenario for women. They aren’t always aware of what they’re putting in their system through their cosmetics because in our country, there aren’t as many consumer protections in place.”
Case in point: Ingredients that are banned overseas (like petroleum, believed to be a carcinogen) are allowed in the United States—but not in Bilezikian’s mineral makeup line, Monave. Her cosmetics are basically everything-free, eschewing gluten, soy, animal byproducts (with the exception of ethically farmed beeswax), parabens and other potential irritants.
“I’m helping the world be a safer place for women and their children,” she says of minimizing potentially harmful ingredients. “Women who have immune system problems, lupus, celiac disease, all these ailments that American women have because of the toxicity of the environment…this can be a very gentle experience for them. It can be healing, letting them look better and feel better at the same time.”
When it comes to the actual makeup application, Bilezikian is also all for staying natural. She’s an advocate of the five-minute face: foundation and concealer, one of her all-purpose eyeshadows (different pigments mimic a multi-shadow look), a little liner and mascara, and a swipe of lip gloss.
A major key to pulling off the natural look? Working with your hair, eye and skin color, not against it. “You don’t want to have a look that’s fighting with your face,” she says.
For summer, she recommends pinks, golds and beiges, preferably with a little shimmer to pick up the sunlight. Most of all, it should make the wearer feel good. “Makeup should finesse what you already have,” she says. “I really believe that beauty comes from health and wellness, not an eyeliner.”
For Sara Bowen, the key to natural beauty isn’t particularly natural.
“At-home remedies might seem beneficial, but in the long run they’re not,” she says. That old tip your grandmother gave you about slathering your face in honey is only going to clog your pores. And that brightening orange juice-and-baking soda cleanser your niece showed you on YouTube? It could do some serious damage.
“You need to trust in professional products,” says Bowen.
To start, she recommends finding a cleanser that works for you and washing your face faithfully (preferably with the help of a cleansing tool like Clarisonic at night), followed by a moisturizer and “always, always” 30+ SPF sunscreen, no matter your skin tone. Once you’ve gotten used to that routine, you can begin to work in toners, masks, exfoliants and serums—but not just any old drugstore options.
“When it comes to facial products, I suggest going with the higher-end because they work at the cellular level rather than just the surface,” she says. “Some drugstore products have retinol, [for example], but it’s not pure, and the more diluted version isn’t really going to help you at all. You’re just going to keep buying that product and not really getting anywhere.”
Bowen believes that enhancing the
at-home routine with professional services is key, too.
“Monthly treatments are important, because we can help with things you can’t do at home,” she says, citing customized facials and safe extrawctions for those with adult acne. (And, as she notes, giving yourself a facial at home just doesn’t feel as good.) More complex procedures, like chemical peels and microdermabrasion, should also be left to the professionals… despite their growing over-the-counter availability.
If you’re ready to take things to the next level, consider trendy-but-effective treatments like dermaplaning (in which a tiny scalpel removes the top layer of skin and vellus hair for a smoother appearance and easier makeup application) or micro-needling, which boosts collagen production.
Factor cost and consider the safest, most effective option. “Your skin is your biggest organ,” she says. “It’s the most important thing you wear every day, so it’s worth investing in.”