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How To Feel More Beautiful In Your Skin Without Products

Alexandra Engler
mbg Beauty Director By Alexandra Engler
mbg Beauty Director
Alexandra Engler is the Beauty Director. Previously she worked at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and
Beautiful woman with glowing skin on an orange background

It's not often you have a conversation with someone that stays with you days or weeks after the fact. But that's how I felt about this most recent episode of Clean Beauty School. In it, I interviewed one of the buzziest beauty writers of our day, and several points that were made throughout our conversation have changed how I view my own work, the industry, and, well, beauty itself. 

"The beauty industry has attempted to take this intangible, philosophical concept of beauty and push it into this narrow understanding of physical beauty. And I think that's why we're never really satisfied with physical beauty," says beauty expert and journalist Jessica DeFino. "We keep buying more, wanting more, trying new things, and applying new things because we're searching for this satisfaction that cannot come solely from the physical. We're searching for beauty in an industry that is only serving it to us by its definition."

Throughout the episode, we talked a lot about the problems and our hang-ups in the beauty industry—including the clean beauty space—but, here, I wanted to share some positive takeaways from the episode. Hopefully, these will help you feel beautiful—no beauty product required: 

1. Incorporate therapy and healing practices. 

Sometimes (or perhaps often) fixing your outside is just a thinly veiled attempt to fix the inside. The problem is that this is never going to solve the root issue. And one thing we always discuss here at mindbodygreen is the importance of finding and treating the cause of something—not the symptoms. 

"It'd be so great if we could incorporate more therapy and more healing into the beauty industry. In the industry, there are so many people that are coming from a good place, and we want the people who read our content to feel beautiful. We come at it with the purest intentions," she says. "But a lot of times that doesn't actually solve the problem, and sometimes it actually compounds the problem because we're saying, 'Yeah, physical beauty is really important, and here's how to get closer to it to be happier.' But we know that actually being closer to it doesn't make you happier. Instead, we need to address the actual problem—what's actually making you feel bad." 


2. Acknowledge that toxic beauty standards are harmful.

In our modern world—filled with endless content and social media—it feels like we can't escape being inundated with what the media thinks our "ideal" beauty standards should be. As DeFino discusses in the episode, these standards are inherently toxic. 

"I wish clean beauty would care about toxic beauty standards the same way it cares about toxic beauty ingredients," she says. "Because when you look at the physical and mental harm caused by beauty standards versus beauty ingredients, there's no contest: Beauty standards are so destructive to our psychological harm and to our physical bodies."

It's true: Low self-esteem over physical appearance can lead to depression, anxiety, and self-harm. And while simply acknowledging it may not feel like much, it's a step in the right direction: "Acknowledgment works on some level, it's why we have whole campaigns to bring various issues to light," she says.  

3. Meditate and move (outside if possible).

No beauty product can replace the simple act of taking care of yourself. That's why finding lifestyle practices that help your mind will help you overall. "It's really simple: I tend to think like, whatever sustains you sustains your skin; whatever heals you heals your skin," says DeFino. 

For her, she focuses on two parts. The first: "I love to meditate. Meditation actually is scientifically proven to strengthen your skin barrier and reduce moisture loss. So that's my No. 1 tip," she says. 

The second is moving, particularly in nature when possible. "I try to sweat a couple of times a week because sweat is very good for your skin," she says. "And I love to spend time in nature as much as I possibly can because that's also super supportive for your skin microbiome and reduces stress."

If you're looking for more engaging beauty conversations, listen to our new beauty podcast, Clean Beauty School. Subscribe on iTunes, Google Podcasts, or Spotify.

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