When I came to the US at the age of 18 with a modeling contract, I had no idea what to expect. Though it was a great experience and good choice to move here, I never forgot my Dutch roots.
Today, I still practice the beauty regimen I learned growing up in Holland, and the philosophy of natural beauty that infused my childhood underlies much of how I think about taking care of myself. For me, “natural beauty” evokes the idea of being fresh and clean. Here are five natural beauty tips inspired by the Dutch lifestyle:
1. You need fresh air for good sleep.
The Dutch tradition is to always sleep with a window open to allow fresh air to flow in the room. I follow this custom no matter how cold it is outside. It helps me feel like I have gotten a good, deep sleep — one of the keys of taking care of yourself, both inside and out.
2. Cold showers are good for you.
Speaking of the cold ... another tried-and-true method popular in Holland is to finish a hot shower with a spray of icy water. This is similar to a spa experience where you follow a stint in a hot steam room with a jump into an icy pool. It's the ultimate refreshing, invigorating practice.
I love to wake myself up like this, and I always feel like my hair is shinier and my skin more taut after a bracing polar spray!
3. Let yourself soak.
We love our baths and soaks in Holland, and to this day, I take a soothing, moisturizing bath (including a face mask and deep hair conditioner!) to allow all the creams to better saturate my skin and hair as often as I can.
It may feel like an indulgent reward, but the benefits are too good to pass up. Plus, there's really no downside to luxuriating in such a treat; it's guilt-free. You won’t feel bad afterward like you may if you overindulge in food or drink, or if you overspend by trying to relax with some retail therapy.
4. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Of course, it's even more vital to drink water than it is to soak or shower in it.
I like to drink at least 10 cups of water a day, and I follow the Dutch preference for cool or room-temperature water. But if you like to drink your water ice cold, there’s no reason to change. Just be sure to get enough and you'll definitely notice improvements to your skin (and many other bodily functions and systems!).
5. Opt for two wheels when you can.
I try to get outside every day into the fresh air, and it's often on the seat of my bicycle. Not only is biking a perfect way to get a daily dose of nature, it’s also a great way to actually get from one place to another. As much as possible, I try to ride around Manhattan instead of taking a cab or the subway to get where I need to be.
Besides the fresh air — which is great for your skin! — when you ride, you also get the added benefit of cardio. Getting your heart pumping and blood flowing is great for your body and leads to glowing, radiant skin from the inside out.
And lastly, which is a universal piece of wisdom, I think, is to enjoy the good moments in life, laugh and be optimistic and happy. A smile is the most natural beauty enhancer — and it’s completely free.