Enhance Your Natural Beauty with These Lifestyle Changes

Diet, exercise, and sleep all affect how you look.


Mirror photo via Shutterstock

Stop slicking on Chapstick for a minute and read this: No lip balm in the world will reverse your beauty woes if you’re not healthy internally.

“We can do everything we can in terms of lotions and creams and potions, but basically beauty is health,” says Jennifer Hanway, a nutrition coach, biosignature modulation practitioner, and personal trainer. “That glowing skin, that great hair, the energy, the strong nails, if that’s not coming from inside, you can’t really fix the outside.”

So how do you get shampoo commercial-worthy locks and blemish-free skin from the inside? Hanway gives her best natural beauty tips:


Hanway says beauty starts with a decidedly unsexy topic: gut health. “Our body is going to give nutrients to things like vital organs, bones, and blood [first]. Our hair, skin, and nails are not really vital to the body, so that’s going to come last,” she explains. “We want to have fantastic gut health so we know our body’s absorbing all those nutrients as best it can.”

First, she says to reduce intake of difficult-to-digest foods like gluten, dairy, and eggs, which are hard on the gut. (The latter two are also linked to poorer skin.) Next, protect the gut with probiotics and prebiotics, which enhance good bacteria. Finally, be mindful of what you’re eating.

Hanway says fermented foods, lean protein, oily fish, cacao powder, and deeply colored fruits and vegetables—including sweet potatoes, butternut squash, leafy greens, beets, and berries—are all good for the gut. She also stands by everybody’s favorite healthy fat, the avocado. “I love avocados for everything,” she says. “You can eat them, you can put them on your face, you can put them in your hair.”

Keep guzzling water, too. Hanway says drinking .7 ounces per pound of body weight (11 cups for a 130-pound person) per day “will really help to achieve clear, glowing skin and boost your energy.”


Your gym regimen isn’t just keeping you svelte—Hanways says it’s integral to maintaining a good complexion. “Any kind of exercise is going to get the blood flowing to the skin, which is fantastic,” she says, adding that it also reduces skin-wrecking stress. “It’s getting that oxygen-rich blood up to the skin’s surface, giving you that instant glow.” Hot yoga and any type of inversion-heavy yoga will stimulate extra blood flow.

Just remember to take off your makeup before a serious sweat session, Hanway says.


Hanway, like every health expert on the planet, says getting adequate sleep is vital. “I would definitely say eight hours,” she says. “When sleep gets down to about five to six hours, that’s when we start to see real damage.”