Natural Beauty is Hot

beautybeautyIt's time to give the mainstream beauty a piece of your mind.

For more years than we can count, they've been telling us we're not good enough. Our skin's not tight, our teeth aren't white and our you-know-whats most certainly need to be bigger.

But that's OK - they've got a product, pill or procedure that will help.

As a result of this assault on natural beauty, our culture has a fanatical obsession with youth. We're fighting aging with the same fervor that we're fighting poverty, drugs or terrorism.

What does this war-like approach to obliterating imperfections with products do to a modern gal? It makes loving herself a tough nut to crack.

Slow Beauty

You've heard of the Slow Food movement. Now we'd like to introduce you to Slow Beauty - the idea that joy, spontaneity, love, authenticity and inner peace are the hallmarks of beauty. Shel Pink, founder of SpaRitual and pioneer of the Slow Beauty movement, is inspiring women to slow down, shed the self-doubt and make lifestyle choices that help cultivate true beauty, from the inside out.

Here are Shel's seven "outposts" of slow beauty. Her advice? Visit them often, kick off your heels and stay awhile.

spaspaSpa Tradition. Visit the spa on a regular basis. Stress reduction and relaxation not only make you feel good, but they keep you healthy. About 46 percent of Americans still believe the spa is about pampering and indulgence. Spa treatments have proven health benefits, like lowering your blood pressure and relieving anxiety. Schedule that massage and don't think twice about it.

Meditation. This is the secret ingredient to a youthful and radiant appearance. Studies have shown that a regular meditation practice can help you look 7-13 years younger. Think you don't have time for zen? Swap five minutes of TV for meditation every day. It adds up.

Nourished Mind. Cultivate a passion for learning and pursuing your interests. Nourishing your inner life, your mind and your soul will increase your ability to engage in the world and your relationships in a deeper, more meaningful way.

greengreenRenewal. That whole "your body is your temple" cliché is true. Listen to the natural rhythms of your body and give it the rest and attention it requires. Seasonal cleanses, sleep and nourishing food are your best friends.

Self-Expression. Madonna said it best: express yourself. Practice your personal art, whether it's singing in the shower, gardening or running marathons. It will increase your creativity and boost your self-confidence.

meditationmeditationMindful Consumption. Read labels, educate yourself and consume mindfully. There are wonderful brands out there that actually care about you and the planet. Support them. Minimize your ecological footprint and you'll feel lighter.

Rituals. Expand your beauty routine beyond products, lotions and potions. Incorporate ancient healing traditions into your daily routine, like those that come from ayurveda or Native American culture. Light candles, sing, dance naked or pray -- whatever floats your boat, babe.

To learn how to incorporate Slow Beauty into your life, visit Shel's blog, Slow, when it launches on March 21 at 7:21 p.m. (the vernal equinox). Together we can usher in a new era of beauty.

What bugs you about the mainstream beauty industry? Leave us your rants in the comments section below!