Secrets to Natural Beauty

Read the news and you'd think invasive surgery and high-octane chemicals were the only avenues to beauty. But holistic wisdom says otherwise. "People are becoming more aware of the connection between health in our internal systems and the outward glow that results," says dermatologist Dr. Alan Dattner, who has a private practice in New Rochelle, New York, and also serves as president of holisticdermatology.com. "With natural beauty therapies, you're enhancing your total well-being along with your appearance." In search of beauty that's natural and vibrant, we enlisted integrative doctors, holistic aestheticians, and innovative beauty experts to reveal their key practices and techniques for looking your best without going under the knife. What we found is that with only a few changes -- whether tried-and-true or more unexpected -- you can radiate vitality in bright, smooth skin, eyes that shine, and hair that bounces. These three steps will show you how.

If You Do Nothing Else...
"Gentle" is the operative word here. Intense scrubbing and harsh chemicals can strip natural oils, resulting in prematurely aged skin. Choose a moisturizing creamy cleanser (never soap -- it's too drying even for oily skin) followed by a warm water rinse, which opens pores and increases blood flow. Pat your skin until damp, not fully dry.

Our Picks
Normal: Dr. Hauschka Cleansing Cream; drhauschka.com
Dry: The Organic Pharmacy Carrot Butter Cleanser; newlondonpharmacy.com
Oily: Jurlique Face Wash Cream; saffronrouge.com

Go One Step Further
Massage Your Face
This is a great way to loosen muscles scrunched into habitual expressions. "This brings blood to the surface, clears out puffiness, and reduces fatigue in the skin," says Chris Haas, owner of Ra Organic Spa in Burbank, California. Don't have time for an appointment? At home, all you need is a customized facial serum. Barbara Close, founder of Naturopathica, recommends a base of evening primrose and avocado oils with rose geranium, lavender, and German chamomile essential oils for dry skin, or apricot kernel oil with juniper, lemon, and rosemary oils for oily skin. Starting at the chin, move your hands in small circles and continue to the cheeks, around the eyes, and to the forehead. By doing this, you're stimulating circulation and bringing more nutrients to the skin. Follow with a warm compress to increase the absorption of the serum.

Try It At
- Natural Face Lift, Ra Organic Spa, Burbank, California; raorganicspa.com
- Carita Pro-Lifting Facial, Bella Sante, Boston; bellasante.com

See our homemade recipes for facial massage oils.

Feeling Adventurous?
Look to the Farm
They may seem like unusual beauty picks, but goat's milk and ghee are skin-friendly and extremely emollient. Goat's milk has more calcium, vitamins, and triglycerides (fats) than cow's milk, and its short-strand protein structure means it's particularly suited to skin absorption. The milk's lactic acid makes it a spa favorite for buttery-soft skin. Ghee, or clarified butter, is an Ayurvedic staple used to moisturize and purify the body. It's also a great digestive and detox aid because it stimulates the liver to secrete bile. Rogers Badgett, owner of the Raj, an Ayurveda health retreat in Vedic City, Iowa, suggests ingesting a quarter teaspoon of ghee in the morning and night (this is not recommended for overweight people or those who have weak digestion). Some centers also use it in Netra Basti, a purification treatment said to balance the pitta dosha and bring luster to the eyes. It's not for the squeamish: In a reclining prone position, you slowly blink as a skilled technician gently applies warm ghee to your eyes. Afterward, your closed eyes are wiped gently and the residual oils moisturize skin and soften lines.

Our Goat's Milk Picks
- Dr. Alkaitis Organic Universal Mask; alkaitis.com
- Steppin' Out Ayurvedic Foot Cream; lippmancollection.com
- Canus Goat's Milk Moisturizing Lotion; walgreens.com

Try It At
- Warm Goat Milk Manicure and Pedicure, the Carneros Inn, Napa, California; thecarnerosinn.com
- Kate Somerville's Signature Facial, at Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, Hawaii; fourseasons.com
- Virgin Gorda Goat Milk and Honey Wrap, Little Dix Bay, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands; rosewoodhotels.com

Our Ghee Pick
- Pratima Ayurvedic Rejuvenating Oil; pratimaskincare.com

Try Ghee At
- The Raj, Vedic City, Iowa; theraj.com
- Life in Balance Ayurvedic Rejuvenation Center, Seattle; ayurvedaseattle.com

Learn how to do a facial massage and what oils to use.

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Comments (7)

  • Desiree Brown 8 Dec, 2013

    Try these organic beauty products.

  • BEACHYOGI515 6 Jul, 2010

    I reccomend L'occitane for something natural, pure, amazing, and French. I have their lotion with me at all times, and I even have oily skin!! But I love it! I wear their honey perfume every day. Natural, so fresh, and straight from France.

  • pmalemes 15 Nov, 2009

    Try these natural fragrances and soy candles:


  • Jorena 11 Apr, 2008

    To horsemom:
    I have been making my own skin care products for a year now. You would be surprised how powerful "natural" ingredients can be. I made a healing serum from a mixture of mostly essential oils, and even my husband, the world's most scrutinizing skeptic, was blown away by how effective it is. Works better than anything we have ever bought, used, or heard of. He of course thinks I should market it, but its really just the power of the oils.

  • PrincessArwen 24 Mar, 2008

    Love the ideas and they all sound great but im needing something less exspensive.

  • hammozanoza 28 Feb, 2008

    this a good ideas for women like me loving natural . Thank you too much

  • horsemom 14 Feb, 2008

    I love the idea of using natural and organic beauty products. However, I have found quite a bit of negative information out there about how many "natural" ingredients don't have the ability to provide any benefit to your skin. On what basis does "Body and Soul Magazine" evaluate the beauty products that they recommend? I'm confused. Thanks.

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