My 10 Tips for Radical Beauty

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. It’s not that I think I’m beautiful. But over the years, I’ve been trying to detox my beauty regime and get to the heart of what makes me FEEL beautiful. As women, and especially teenage girls, we are pushed and sold—and sometimes even bullied into believing we need—special expensive magic creams or potions to preserve our beauty or youth. I’ve spoken with people inside the beauty world who are trying to make those lotions nontoxic, and it’s hard. Really hard.

When we had our plastic-free challenge a few months ago, I started experimenting, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the results—so none of the tips below involves plastic!

Again, I’m not claiming to be a great beauty, but I have been happy with how I look lately…and for an older woman, that’s a fairly big deal! Last fall, I was checking into the War Bonnet Hotel in Butte, Montana, and the woman checking me in tried to give me a free-drink-at-the-bar voucher. I politely declined, and she said, “Yeah, I can tell by looking at you that you don’t drink.” When I asked her how she could tell she said, “You look healthy.” So ultimately, all these tips revolve around that—health!  (I didn’t even include “not drinking” on this list, so consider that a bonus tip!

1. Less is more. I have not used soap or cleanser of any kind on my face in 25 years. I rinse my face with water in the shower and then moisturize…with organic coconut oil in a glass jar that I buy in the supermarket food section!!! It’s working like magic, and I love the smell of coconut because it makes me feel like I’m at the beach. I can get away with this because I hardly wear any makeup at all—perhaps a little powder and eyebrow pencil and lip gloss—so there is nothing to wash off. I think the constant applying and removing of make up is a MAJOR ager of women’s skin. If there is something on your face that needs covering up, then you need to get to the root of the issue, and that starts with what you put INTO your body, not onto your body.

2. Organic food with healthy fats (butter, lard, olive oil). Studies have shown that genetically modified foods (GMOs) lead to ACCELERATED AGING in lab animals! The only way to avoid GMOs is to buy and eat organic foods. Add to that all the other toxins found on food grown with chemicals, and by far your best bet for having a healthy body and skin is to eat organic with lots of fresh fruits and veggies.

3. Sleep. And lots of it. Nothing ruins a happy feeling more than lack of sleep. It’s why I always have crying fits in airports whenever I have horrible delays—because I’m going to miss my sleep! They don’t call it beauty sleep for nothing!

4. Sex. And lots of it! Nothing like an orgasm to put a smile on your face.

5. Smile. Don’t worry about smile lines, they just give you permanent happy face. I like to walk around with a smile on my face even if I don’t feel that happy, and it helps to make me feel happier. I love to smile at strangers and make them smile too. It’s amazing the power of a smile to make an angry-looking person melt a little bit.

6. Grooming. This one is hard for me, mostly because I am so busy and I forget, but things like brow shaping, non-polish manicures and pedicures, a really good haircut (Pancho, I love you!), and a regular massage go a long way toward making you look and feel beautiful without any toxic products (I do not color my hair, for instance).

7. Exercise. This is key. Getting physical. Sweating! Moving your body is essential. My ways to move are pilates, yoga, running, swimming, and weight lifting. But I’m not obsessed with any of them and don’t overdo it. Dancing is fun, too. Also, I jump with my kids on a giant trampoline and laugh like crazy. It all adds up!

8. Stress reduction. Again, this is one I struggle with, given all the stress in my life. But that means it’s even more important for me to focus on it. Especially since I can’t have a glass of wine at the end of the day. For me, the greatest stress reliever is sitting quietly by myself, preferably on a very comfortable couch. Yoga helps. Therapy helps! Whatever it takes, making the effort will take years off your face.

9. Emotional adventure. Have you let your heart stagnate? Have you settled into being “satisfied” with something you aren’t really happy with? It takes courage to dig deeply into your emotions and face your fears and create a future that makes you feel alive and beautiful. But there is nothing that will age you faster than giving up hope that your future will be the one of your dreams.

10. Love. Love is the greatest magical beauty potion of them all…and it’s free! If you love those around you, love yourself, feel love in your heart, love the earth, love humanity in all its imperfectness, you can’t help but become beautiful. You ARE beautiful!

What are your radical beauty tips?


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21 Responses to My 10 Tips for Radical Beauty

  1. Terry Golson June 6, 2011 at 8:15 am #

    Your ten points are excellent! Add one more – forgo plastic surgery! I had a brunch for women writers at my house. One woman was in her 90’s, another near 80. The one in her 90’s was a horsewoman, which meant years outside in the sun. She was 90. She had wrinkles. She was gorgeous. The other hated aging and had had plastic surgery and botox -several times. She had a fake, expressionless face. I use moisturizer and sunscreen, but in the end, I want to look like my 90 year old friend.

  2. karen in winchester June 6, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    I agree with you, who needs all that make up? I have never used powder on my face because I don’t like it, I don’t like to way it feels on my skin and because I have freckles, I would have to put so much on to hide them, I can’t be bothered. Unfortunately I did smoke for 27 years before realising what harm I was doing to myself. This has made my skin dry with a few more wrinkles then I would really like but, I stopped about 11 years ago so I’m hoping that has made a big difference. As for soap, forget it, no one needs soap on their face, I stopped using that about 30 years ago, I could feel the difference immediately, my kids have never had soap on their faces, so I’m hoping that their complexions will stay flawless for a good time to come. I have a steam facial every so often, as I feel this helps clear out the pours of dirt and toxins, it also leaves my skin felling clean, taught and soft to the touch.

  3. Lacy June 6, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    Excellent post, Maria, as always! My radical beauty tip is the sun! I exercise in the pool every day for about 2 hours, and although I wear a long-sleeved rashguard and sunscreen, for the first 30 to 45 minutes, I do not. I can feel the warmth and well-being seep into me, and my fair skin, ivory white in winter, is taking on a nice golden glow, so little to no makeup is necessary. (I do admit I love my Dr. Perricone face cleanser and moisturizer, to which I attribute keeping my rosacea under control!)

  4. jerre webb June 6, 2011 at 9:39 am #

    love your beauty tips..never too old to learn…i will do a reality check on my stress level when i don’t use foundation to even out my skin
    my radical beauty tip 75yrs. i still haven’t decided to become a”little old lady”…i do karaoke…dance…and spend time with my outrageous
    friends and supportive family…yes even at my age i have a mentor…a
    dear heart at church nearing ninety…still has a twinkle in her eye that
    is unspeakably beautiful..i think she has the love part perfected

  5. Nikki June 6, 2011 at 10:39 am #

    I only wash my hair about once a week – your natural oils are the best conditioner you have. And sometimes on the weekends if we don’t have anywhere to go I’ll slather on some of that organic coconut oil that you find in the grocery store and let it work its magic for a few hours before I wash it out.

  6. Donna in Delaware June 6, 2011 at 11:32 am #

    I’m 54 and hardly have a wrinkle. I don’t mind telling my age because most of my acquaintances and friends are either dead, old looking, or grandparents and great grandparents. I attribute my non-wrinkled skin to oilyness. So besides eating as healthy as possible and organically, plus extra nutrition through vitamins and minerals, I’m doing great. A bit of walking, a lot of gardening and other exercise round things out. Little to no make-up, skin exfoliation and sleep! MY hands need work though.


  7. Courtney June 6, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

    Love these tips, Maria! I stopped using soap on my face as well, though I do wash with honey when it starts to feel dry. For the warmer (ie dirtier and sweatier) months, I use witch hazel with lavender essential oil as a refresher. It is interesting that you mentioned the coconut oil because I have just picked up a jar of that myself. I originally bought it for oil pulling, but I’ve come to love it as a body moisturizer.

    Also, baking soda and apple cider vinegar for shampoo/conditioner. Sometimes baking soda for toothpaste as well. A drop or two of essential oil instead of deodorant (but only if I feel like I need it). And Dr. Bronners for everything else.

    I’m always experimenting, so I’m not sure it makes my life simpler, but certainly more mindful of what I’m putting onto my body. And I don’t miss conventional products at all.

  8. Maya June 6, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

    Once I stopped using chemical beauty products I felt totally LIBERATED from the women’s mag beauty slog. That alone, I think, makes a difference since I feel less stressed (#8). I also switched to an organic, unscented moisturizer for babies that I use all over, so no more face products/body products.

    Once in a while I exfoliate with olive oil and salt or sugar. It feels amazing, and when the dog finds the bowl and licks it clean, I don’t have to worry about her getting sick. Everybody wins!

    Great post and great tips!

  9. Vanessa June 6, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

    1. Water to hydrate the inside
    2. organic sweet almond oil (which is also brilliant for cuticles), with a touch of Damascene rose or orange oil
    3. Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen
    4. A good loofah to keep the skin smooth
    5. Castile soap for the face, sulfate & paraben free shampoos for the hair… and a great hairdresser!

  10. Erin June 6, 2011 at 4:07 pm #

    Hi Maria!

    Coconut Oil, GREAT tip! I’ve been using Nutiva Extra Virgin Coconut oil for 2 years now,( and along with carrying a 1 liter glass water bottle, I believe this has benefitted my skin greatly! I can’t imagine wearing makeup everyday as some women do.

  11. Debbie June 6, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

    Great list Maria. I’d also add, “Surround yourself with lots of indoor plants.” Every time I get a facial (I’d add that to the list as well!) the technician always asks if I have a lot of plants… Apparently my skin has a lot of oxygen in it.

  12. Jackie June 6, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

    So many great beauty tips from like-minded women! I, too, use extra virgin coconut oil and love how my skin feels. My beautiful Himalayan joins me as I tend my nightly ritual, jumping up on the vanity and patiently waiting for her morsel of coconut oil. At 15, she has a beautiful coat, is healthy, agile and playful. Let’s hear it for organic, clean eating and living!

  13. jenny hughes June 7, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

    I love the natural alternatives. I have just gotten onboard in the past year and have noticed subtle changes that I really like. Looking forward to using the coconut oil I have in the cabinet for a moisturizer. Love all of your tips and looking forward to reading more and applying them to my new found natural regime. thanks for sharing.

  14. Donna in Delaware June 7, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    I believe that makeup ages the skin. All the pulling and tugging on the skin just to put it on, and taking it off is worse! I spray my face in the summer with distillled water and essential oil for cooling down and as a toner in te morning after cleansing. I have that organic coconut oil in the fridge and will start using it on my dry legs and arms, and will give it a go on my hair on the weekends, like NIKKI said. I do have dry hair, so hopefully, with a heat cap, it will moisturize it.

  15. Donna in Delaware June 7, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    OOPS! I forgot. I have switched from regular toothpaste with flouride to toothpaste with Xylitol, recommended by my dentist. I also use the Xylitol mouthwash and dissolve the mints in my mouth when I can’t brush. The dentist says it really helps with preventing tooth decay and better than other sweetners in toothpaste.

  16. evie June 7, 2011 at 4:29 pm #

    I would so love to try the organic coconut oil – does it cause breakouts from too much oil?

  17. kimberlee June 7, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    Maria, about your comment, ” If there is something on your face that needs covering up, then you need to get to the root of the issue, and that starts with what you put INTO your body, not onto your body.” I want to point out that what I am covering up on my face is spots from pregnancy (melasma) which I guess if I put a baby or 3 in my body (the root of the issue)…well, it’s kind of like stretch marks. There really was/is no way to prevent them, my mom had the same issues until a few years ago. She used a prescription ointment to get rid of them. I think mine are pretty deep and I am not sure how I will be getting rid of them, if ever. But my mom is very young looking as she has never worn any make up but occasional mascara. Nor does she consume any alcohol or caffeine.
    Thank you for sharing your tips! This has been wonderful reading everyone’s comments.

  18. Leoni June 7, 2011 at 11:39 pm #

    I loved Maya’s comment about liberating yourself from the women’s mag/beauty slog. I feel the same, especially about the push, push, push to use nasty chemical deodorants and anti-perspirants. I have used a natural crystal deodorant for over 20 years and have no problem with odor.
    I spritz my face with tap water that has a few drops of lavender oil mixed in, then I moisturise with pure rose-hip oil. Thanks for posting this topic. Love it.

  19. Pattu June 8, 2011 at 7:59 am #

    I came via your Facebook page.
    Liked what I read here.

    I would also like to share that, in India, many of us do not use soap for face. We use chickpea flour ,( turmeric and sandalwood powder is optional), since years.
    I am 60 and my skin is holding on very well 🙂


  20. bashir April 21, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

    i find all these contribution very helpfull. thank you.
    Sugar/salt and olive oil for soft skin? That is super.

  21. Virgin Coconut Oil August 31, 2014 at 7:39 am #

    Fyi, Virgin coconut Oil itu sehat dan menyehatkan? Karena mengandung transfat 0% dan bebas kolesterol lho! Thanks a lot.The articles of your site is really helpful and usable for visitors., one of the excellent blog in which i

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