Caroline Shannon-Karasik’s AfterGlo

Four ideas for a clean beauty routine

By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

With the dizzying number of shampoos, powders, lotions and colorful nail polishes that line supermarket aisles and retail store counters, it’s no surprise the world spends billions of dollars on beauty and personal care items each year. In fact, a 2013 report by showed the average woman will spend $15,000 on makeup during her lifetime.

Want to save some of that cash while also making beauty decisions that are good for your skin and hair? Check out these all-natural solutions, including some DIY options you can whip up at home!

Henna hair dye

Enjoy the benefits of a solid dye job – shinier, richer looking locks – but hate the icky chemicals? Henna hair dye might be the solution for you. I started using henna on my hair about a year ago, after I had a horrible reaction to a temporary dye I had used in an effort to help my hair look a little more vibrant. What I ended up with was a three-day migraine and an itchy skin rash on the back of my neck. At this point, I had already been considering using henna instead of standard hair dye, and this incident certainly helped me reach a final decision.

Henna hair dye is a natural colorant and it has also been shown to strengthen strands, reduce dandruff and promote hair growth. Make sure you don’t opt for impostor henna hair products. Real, pure henna is called Lawsonia Inermis – that’s the only kind of henna you want to put on your head! Try Morocco Method Henna ( or visit a LUSH store ( where a beauty specialist can walk you through the process. Some LUSH store locations will even apply the product for you.

Coconut oil as moisturizer

When I was younger, I used to watch as my mother would rub a dab of olive oil on each of her elbows, massaging it into her skin. One day, I asked her why she always did that and she replied that it helped keep her skin smooth and moisturized. “I don’t want elephant elbows!” she would tease me.

Like olive oil, coconut oil works excellently as a moisturizer and is naturally absorbed by the skin so you aren’t left feeling oily. Try combining a bit of unrefined, extra virgin coconut oil with equal parts of your favorite moisturizer, and then massage it into your skin. Add a dab of essential oil, like lavender, for a natural fragrance kick.

Dry body brushing

Sounds kind of weird, huh? The truth is, while you may have never heard of dry body brushing, its long list of benefits makes it hard to ignore. Dry skin brushing, which is done using a long-handled brush made from natural fibers, increases circulation in skin, stimulates the nervous system, helps shed dead skin cells and works to redistribute fat deposits, giving skin a smoother look. (Yes, I’m talking to you, cellulite.)

The rules are simple: (1) Before bathing, use your brush on dry skin. (2) Working in gentle upward, circular motions from toe to chest, brush your entire body, with the exception of your back, taking extra care around sensitive skin areas. (3) Start on your back, working your way from neck to lower back. (4) Hop in the shower to wash away impurities! (5) Follow up with your favorite moisturizer.

Want to give it a shot? Try the Yerba Prima Tampico Skin Brush or Earth Therapeutics Purest Palm Body Brush.

Green tea exfoliator

Chances are, I won’t be telling you anything new when I mention the benefits of green tea. That’s because the timeless brew has been touted as an antioxidant all-star as a result of its high content of flavonoids, plant-derived compounds that can pack more punch than vitamins C and E. But did you know it can also help skin look refreshed?

Try this at-home skin booster: After finishing a cup of tea, snip open the bag and empty the contents into a small bowl. Add a tablespoon of pure honey and mix it in to make a paste. Dampen your face with warm water and massage the paste into your skin, making small circles to ensure your skin is exfoliated. Let it sit for five minutes, then rinse it off. Dry your skin and apply your favorite face moisturizer.

I’m curious: What are your all-natural, clean beauty secrets? Send me an email and share your tips!

Caroline Shannon-Karasik is the author of The Gluten-Free Revolution and a certified health coach. She is also the author of the popular gluten-free blog, Her writing and recipe development has been featured in several publications, including, VegNews, Kiwi and REDBOOK magazines. Caroline lives with her husband Dan and four adopted cats in Pittsburgh, Penn. Caroline can be reached at

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