7 Beauty Secrets that Cost Almost Nothing
Open the pages of almost any magazine, or turn on the TV, and you're bombarded with ads that claim (if indirectly) that their products will make your life fuller, more rewarding, and all-around better. The message is pretty simple: spend, and you'll be so much better.
There are, however, a few beauty methods that are nearly guaranteed to make you look and feel like a million bucks, and you don't have to smash your piggy bank to get them. It's tired to talk about how beauty comes from within, so rather than worrying about the purity of your soul, here are a few ways to bring out an inner glow that don't involve liposuction or deep contemplation.
1. Get Laid
There's something about regular sex that makes people beautiful. I don't know if teenagers still talk about this stuff today, but back in my high school days, we believed that sex cleared up acne. It was probably an excuse to start having as much teenage sex as possible, but although there doesn't appear to be any direct correlation between sexual activity and zits, people who have regular, satisfying sex tend to have a glow about them.
It's not just about love, although people who are in the throes of a new, passionate relationship frequently have that shining, happy face that everyone comments on. But even if you aren't falling head over heels in love, you can still get off, be it with a partner or alone. Not only are orgasms like little happy pills, but self-exploration is good practice for when you are no longer flying solo.
Sex gets your blood flowing. Orgasms reduce stress and increase pain tolerance due to a natural boost in oxytocin and endorphin levels. Sexual satisfaction also helps you sleep better at night, and who couldn't use a good night's sleep? In short, orgasms are good for your brain, and when your brain is happy, the rest of your body will respond in kind.
2. Get Some Exercise
Something about that bordering-on-Zen feeling that follows a vigorous workout is really lovely. Wrinkles get smoothed out, endorphins flow, skin is lightly flushed and smooth. Sweating clears out your pores and helps to avoid acne. Even though I personally regard the gym as a chamber of torture, I find that I look like a million bucks about an hour after huffing and puffing through a weight routine, or 30 minutes of tripping over the elliptical machine.
But it's not like you have to push yourself to the limit to get benefits from exercise. A short routine of yoga will get your blood pumping, as will a long, meandering walk around a park or city street.
Being healthy isn't necessarily about being thin. One of the prettiest women I know is plus size, but she practically leaps through the city of San Francisco with her boundless enthusiasm and energy. Men always look twice as she goes skipping past them with a big grin on her face.
3.Laugh Until You Cry
You'd never know it from the popular media, but smiling is such a simple way to immediately look better. We spend so much of our days grimacing at the computer screen, or glowering at the line in the post office, that it can be tough to bring ourselves to smile in a genuine, open manner.
When was the last time you doubled over in laughter? Laughter, like orgasms and exercise, releases hormones that reduce stress and lower blood pressure. In fact, just anticipating a good laugh can help to reduce your overall stress levels. Both hot tempered anger and laughter cause blood to flow to the cheeks, which is probably where the whole "You're so beautiful when you're angry" saying came from.
Some people avoid smiling because they don't like their teeth, but even a genuine close-lipped smile on a normal face is more attractive than a blank stare or a glaring model with perfect features. Think about how wonderful a face that is shining with laughter looks. It doesn't matter if you laugh like a hyena or snort like a pug (like me), laughter enhances your beauty. Rent your favorite movies or watch comedy clips online. Hang out with your goofy friends. Stick duct tape on the bottom of your cat's paws and giggle at his antics. Whatever it takes. Laughter is infectious, and it is gorgeous.
4. Get Some Sun
No, I'm not talking about baking on the beach, because I'm an advocate of avoiding skin cancer whenever possible. But a daily dose of sunlight helps regulate your vitamin D levels, prevents depression, and UV light can kill acne-causing bacteria. As we all know, too much sun can damage your skin and lead to loss of elasticity, but even a leathery old woman with a happy countenance is better than a grumpy one with perfectly dewy skin.
5. Have a Glass of Wine
Assuming you're not allergic to alcohol or prone to rosacea, having a glass of wine not only gives your cheeks a healthy glow, but can give you a good dose of resveratol, a polyphenol with antioxidant properties. Sure, I might be looking for an excuse to have a glass of champagne with lunch, but as long as I'm not driving around or performing open-heart surgery after a lunchtime aperitif, what's the harm?
If you're not much of a drinker, you can get the same health benefits by enjoying fresh fruits and veggies, but you won't be nearly as fun to be around.
6. Stay Hydrated
I don't believe in drinking great quantities of water if you don't want to, and it's probably not necessary to take in the 8 daily glasses that were randomly recommended to the general public for no reason. But drinking a little extra filtered water helps keep your kidneys happy, your skin cleansed (again, the sweating helps here) and plumped, and the toxins flushed out of your system.
7. Go Easy on the Medication
It can be so easy these days to pop a pill for every little ache and pain, or to take meds when conditions start to trend in the wrong direction. As someone who has to deal with a multitude of incredibly boring conditions, I usually trust my doctors to do what's right for my health. Sometimes, though, doctors seem too busy to deal with the source of your problems and are more than happy to push a prescription across the counter at you. A couple of years ago, I counted the number of daily medications that I was taking, and they numbered eight, five of which were either unnecessary, redundant, or causing MORE problems that required other medications to combat. Overnight, I switched from a regimen of 8 medications to 3, and found myself feeling better, looking better, and experiencing none of the previous side effects that I had been plagued with.
Obviously, you should consult your doctor before changing your diet or medications, but don't be afraid to push your doctor to help you find ways around taking more medicine; on the flip side, be sure to listen to what your doctor tells you. If s/he tells you to lose weight or change your diet to avoid taking cholesterol medication, you had better take the advice seriously rather than to simply continue on as always.
So, you might be asking, I'll be better looking if I stop taking so much Ibuprofen, drink more water, and laugh uproariously while drinking champagne and having sex in the sunshine?
Well...yes. But don't quote me on the outdoor sex part.
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