Beauty As Wellness - Our Complete Guide to Integrative Beauty
The concept of beauty is ever-changing, dynamic and multi-faceted. Over many generations, beauty standards and trends have been constantly evolving, and many of us have been in a constant pursuit of trying to fit these ideals. However, in recent years, particularly exacerbated during the global pandemic - the concept of “integrative beauty” has emerged and has been embraced by many. Integrative beauty takes a whole - person approach to beauty. It understands that our bodies are complicated and addresses the need for a holistic approach to beauty, instead of a fragmented approach. Integrative beauty is all about redefining our definition and expectations of beauty. It transcends the concept of beauty as desired look or aesthetic - rather it is about how we feel, how well we take care of ourselves and sees beauty as an outer reflection of our inner selves. Beauty is actually wellness, vibrancy and vitality. Integrative beauty focuses on wellness as the foundation for looking and feeling your best, through consistent daily routines, actions and habits.
Here at Afiya Beauty, we've always believed that beauty can be a powerful tool to fuel your connection with others, and most importantly, yourself. We've never believed in the superficiality or a one-dimensional lens of beauty. We also believe that beauty and wellness is subjective, and that everyone deserves access to looking and feeling their best, whatever that feels like for them. Beauty, at its core, has a purpose: and that purpose is to better your physical, emotional, environmental, spiritual and mental well-being—in ways simple and complex, big and small. Beauty at its best should be an act of service to you.
Beauty products are significantly more effective when combined with the basics - getting enough sleep; eating a balanced diet that works for you; moving your body; enjoying nature and the outdoors; keeping stress under control as best you can; and being mindful of your daily actions. These are the pillars for keeping your body—and, therefore, skin and hair—healthy.
Diet and lifestyle changes complement our beauty routines - the same way one may use an exfoliating mask for dull skin, or a spot treatment for blemishes, or an eye cream for under eye circles - we must understand that our daily choices have major influence over how our body and beauty behaves. Eating whole, nutrient dense foods, facilitating proper digestion, getting quality sleep, staying hydrated, moving our bodies and practicing self care have far greater impacts to our beauty than products alone.
Beauty and nutrition are very closely linked. Eating for beauty means filling your plate with a wide variety of foods that promote glow - not only to your skin, but your hair, nails, energy, mood and weight. Beauty foods support digestion and detoxification, balance blood sugar and hormones, enhance sleep, mood and emotional health.
Food is our most powerful beauty tool. As an indie skincare brand, we understand how products formulated for specific skin concerns or outcomes can do wonders for the skin, however our skin is ultimately a mirror to what is going on inside. Our skin is the largest organ in the body, and a lot of toxins are expelled through our skin. In conjunction with topical products, we must look to the deeper root cause of our skin and body signs and symptoms. Our diet and lifestyle has a major influence over the way our body looks and feels. Our body is wise - and oftentimes our symptoms and blemishes are subtle signs from our body that is asking us to pay attention.
You may have heard about the impact of stress on our health. Stress is a regular aspect of being human - everyone will encounter stressful situations and experiences. However, chronic stress can wreak havoc on our health and beauty. When our bodies are constantly exposed to stress, a hormone called cortisol is released. Elevated cortisol levels lead to increased inflammation; causing high blood pressure, weight gain, poor digestion, skin irritation, disrupted sleep, negatively impact mood and reduced energy levels, to name a few.
Although we understand that it is much easier said than done, it is imperative that we try our best to reduce our stress levels. Focus on the things that you have direct control over - what can you do everyday to reduce stress/anxiety and boost your mood? The simple things can make a significant difference. From how we speak to ourselves, to the things that we prioritize and the environments we choose to be in. Simply writing these factors down and acknowledging them can be an excellent first step.
When we take control and ownership of our lives, we understand our infinite power to create a life that we enjoy and are inspired by. It is very easy for our lives to be determined by the expectations of others, and when we don’t meet them or have difficulty meeting them, it inevitably causes stress. Remember your ‘why’- it is your motivation and personal truth. Take the time to figure out your ‘why’ and it will be far easier to make choices that are in alignment with it.
We created a checklist below that has some simple approaches and recommendations to integrative beauty and wellness. Reach out to us if you have any questions, and let us know which ones you tried!
Our Beauty Checklist
- Aim to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, everyday. Drinking a green juice or smoothie is a quick and delicious way to get desired antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that promote skin regeneration.
- Choose foods that are whole, avoiding processed foods full of sugar, sodium and additives. Reach for high quality, unrefined, organic foods if possible
- Practice mindfulness (being in the moment) in everyday activities. Mindful, thorough chewing at meals, deep breathing and meditation before bed or upon waking, turning off our screens before bedtime, etc.
- Focus on doing activities that make you feel good, including exercise that you enjoy, going for walks and spending time with loved ones
- Proper digestion is key! Healthy elimination is a major factor in overall health and wellness. Eating raw fruits and veggies with fibre, seeds with omega 3 acids (such as ground flax seeds), taking pre/probiotics and fermented foods such as kombucha and increasing our water intake are some simple ways to boost digestion
- Reduce stress - as much as possible. Ensuring beauty sleep, stretching/mindful breathing, exercise, being outdoors, at home self care practices, therapy are some ways to lower stress.