As a makeup artist, I’m repeatedly asked the questions, ‘do you know anything that can help get rid of the dark circles, the bags, and wrinkles.’ These are not only from the mothers of the bride, but girls in their twenties and thirties that, like most, are realizing that perhaps commercial beauty standards have led us astray. They expectantly wait for me to share some industry secret, the one bottle of magic elixir that will photo-shop their faces for them. Their faces fall as I shoot a series of questions back at them, ‘are you drinking water? Eating sugar?’, sounding more like a nagging mother than the close girlfriend that will dish the dirt. Search online for a remedy of any beauty problem and you’ll be bombarded with advertisements promising to erase your blunders away. The problem is, they are offering temporary solutions, not to mention chemicals and toxins. That tiny 2 ounce eye crème that cost more than your mortgage payment is only skin deep, if you don’t have a lifestyle of wellness to support it. Truth is, all the topical treatments are only a band-aid. Beauty begins on the inside. I’m not just talking about kindness and love, although they will definitely make you more attractive. I’m talking about your insides, your organs, and specifically your gut. How? Here are some key components to improve your inner beauty. ELMINATE TOXINS:We are taking in toxins left and right. Breathed in city air lately? How about showered inunfiltered water, ate processed food, used regular beauty products? Then you are encountering, perhaps unknowingly, toxins that build up in the body, stored in a variety of organs, and yes even your skin. One of the first steps towards wellness is eliminating the toxins you can see. Switching your household cleaners, detergents, soaps, toothpaste etc., will lighten your body’s workload. Also if you haven’t kicked smoking, at try to cut back as much as possible. This can be a long process, so making minor changes now can make major changes to your health. HYDRATION: This is a big one. Everyone knows it, but not everyone does it. Drink plenty of water between meals, which will also curb cravings, but not just any water. Quality over quantity. As much as you can, drink pH balanced alkaline water. It’s not only what you drink that matters, its what you absorb. If you’re not ready to purchase an entire filtration system for your house, start small. I’ve switched out my shower heads to provide filtered water in the shower or bath, which was surprisingly easy and accessible thanks to Amazon Prime. Tap watercontains over 300 chemicals and pollutants including (but not limited to) Heavy metals, endocrine disrupting hormones, pesticides, and fluoride. Whether you choose a multi-filter system, reverse osmosis or distilled, do your research and find which is best for you. Try adding lemon or a tsp of apple cider vinegar first thing in the morning to kick start your organs and flush out impurities. Need a mega boost of minerals and rehydration? Try coconut water and pink Himalayan Sea Salt. LIMIT CAFFEINE: I was trapped in the caffeine fix myself until I went cold turkey. Within a week, my body adjusted and I haven’t looked back. Caffeine dehydrates you and stresses your adrenals. If you can’t quit, at least cut back. Also, watch what you’re putting in your caffeine, chances are its not helping to improve your health. Love that hot drink on a cold day? Switch to green tea, which also helps detox your body. SUGAR, DAIRY, & GRAINS:Between Halloween, Thanksgiving, and heading into the holidays it can be tough to limit sugar, dairy, and grains, but your body will be relieved if you can. Sugar is one of the major causes of puffy eyes and breakouts, not to mention itching and dryness. Think you’re clear because you didn’t eat the cake at the party? Not so fast, sugar is hidden in unlikely places like salad dressings, and don’t forget at the end of the night, alcohol is sugar. Dairy and Grains are common allergens, along with eggs, nuts and shellfish, if you’re noticing rashes, skin irritations or red patches, you could have a mild food allergy and not know it. If you’re concerned, I recommend working with a functional doctor to test for allergens. If you’re curious try eliminating sugar (or any problematic food) for three weeks and see if you notice a difference. PROBIOTICS:Everyone knows that probiotics aid in digestion, but did you know they affect allergies and eczema? Not only that but they support a healthy heart and brain and boost your immune system. They are one of the first steps towards gut health and digestion and if you’re taking supplements, you want to be able to digest them. ALOE VERA:Thought it was only for cuts and burns? Think again. Ingestible Aloe Vera (gel or juice) balances the body’s pH level, improves circulation, heart health, and heals the gut lining. But it doesn’t stop there. Aloe Vera improves menstrual and uterine problems as well as skin health and bad breath. It’s blend of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes make it a power player in your wellness routine. COLLAGEN:The secrets out that bone broth heals a host of issues with your gut. But those of you that don’t love sipping broth everyday can turn to collagen peptides. By the time you’re 25, your body slows the production of collagen. Taking a minimally processed clean label collagen, like Vital Proteins, will supplement your diet and you guessed it, help with hair, skin, nails, bones, joints, and even healing the gut lining. Add it to your smoothies or tea. Bonus, it packs an extra 10g of protein with each scoop. VITAMINS C, D, E, K:This is an extensive category that deserves its own article. To give the short and sweet version, make sure you are taking quality vitamins. Most Americans consume a descent amount of vitamin C in their diet, but lack D, E, and K, all of which are incredibly beneficial to the skin. Besides taking vitamins orally, they can make a major difference when applied topically.HEALTHY FATS:Avocado oil, red palm oil, nuts and seeds all pack a power punch in the health department. Make sure you pick a good source of your Omega 3’s, a pollution free, highly sustainable, eco-friendly source. In addition to Fish and fish oils, it can be found in Chia seeds, Flax seed, and walnuts. BALANCED LIFESTYLE:Let’s face it, when you’re stressed, it shows. Getting plenty of rest at night and learning how to deal with stress during the day will help your entire body function better, not to mention lessen those worry lines in your forehead. Taking time for yourself each day to be reflective and find inner strength will set your body up for success. When you go to sleep at night, your body goes to work at healing itself. Don’t cut it short. Give yourself time to regenerate cells and restore hydration. Then when stress arises throughout the day use those well rested brain cells to problem solve in healthy ways instead of old habits of coping. This is not a comprehensive list, but a jumping off point. Making some of these changes, even if they’re small, will tip the dominos in your favor. Don’t shame yourself if you’re not doing these things. Start somewhere and take note. I guarantee the benefits won’t just be clearer skin, brighter eyes, and shinier hair. You will begin to feel better. After all, that’s what your after. An inner glow is irresistible. Support your inner self before your outer self because beauty really does start from the inside out.