It literally seems like just yesterday that we were getting our skin ready for chilly temperatures and snow. Now we're just weeks away from chirping birds, blooming flowers and warmer weather. You know what that means, right? More heat and humidity, which means more sweat, more sebum, and more reasons to be super proactive when it comes to how we care for our skin.
The following 10 things that I'm about to share with you, 85 percent of them I can personally vouch for because they are a part of my daily regimen. The other 15 percent, after doing some thorough research and asking around for personal reviews, I'm going to add to my routine.
All of them are natural, affordable, and most importantly, super-effective. They're the kind of items that will get your skin ready for that upcoming outdoor wedding, spring vacation, or the spring fever (wink, wink) that might heat things up where your love life is concerned.
1.Sweet Almond Oil
As far as moisturizers go, nothing is quite as sweet as sweet almond oil. The high amount of Vitamin A and E makes it the kind of oil that heals acne and removes acne scars at the same time. Also, if you're not someone who wears sunscreen (all of us should do that, by the way), it's also an oil that will help to protect your skin from damaging UV rays. Plus, the fatty acids that are in it will also soften fine lines and keep your face moist without feeling greasy.
Hands down, one of the best things to happen to my complexion is sulfur soap. Sure, it somewhat smells like rotten eggs (and can sometimes come through your pores when you sweat, so you might want to wash with it at night), but because it contains properties that dry up excess sebum and exfoliates dead skin cells, it's worth that minor inconvenience. I honestly haven't seen my skin so even-looking before, so if you want to wear less foundation as the temperature gets warmer, this can get your face ready to do just that.
While 26 out of every 100,000 Caucasian people get skin cancer, 1 in every 100,000 Black people do. Yes, thanks to our beautiful melanin, we get skin cancer less but that doesn't mean we're not at risk. Plus, too much exposure to the sun can cause our skin to age faster than we would like. That's why it's always a good idea to put some sunscreen on.
If you're looking for a commercialized brand that won't leave an icky white residue on your skin, Banana Boat SunComfort Clear UltraMist Spray SPF 50+ Sunscreen and Coppertone Defend & Care Ultra Hydrate SPF 50 Lotion Sunscreen both will fit the bill. Or, you can make some of your own with help of some coconut oil, carrot seed oil, shea butter, sweet almond oil, and a little bit of zinc oxide (you can try out a great recipe here).
Cucumbers contain a lot of water, which is automatically something that our skin needs plenty of. But it's a lot more beneficial to us than that. Cucumbers contain vitamins C and K, potassium, magnesium, and fiber. It is also loaded with antioxidants that fight off free radicals (it's also the kind of food that can help to lower your blood sugar levels too).
As far as your skin goes, the properties in cucumbers can detoxify your pores, reduce dark circles and wrinkles around your eyes, and (get this), if you combine ground coffee with some cucumber juice and a tablespoon of raw honey and rub it where you see cellulite, it can reduce the appearance of it too.
The best way to get these benefits is to drink some cucumber juice. You can get a great homemade recipe for it here.
If there are two vitamins that are skin is constantly in need of, it's Vitamin C and Vitamin E; kiwi extract contains both of these. The Vitamin C in it gives us the extra collagen that we need to keep our skin plump and youthful looking. Vitamin C is also what helps to lighten dark spots and dark circles underneath our eyes. Vitamin E aids in healing damaged skin as it speeds up the production of new cells; something that naturally slows down as we age.
Where can you pick up some kiwi extract? Typically, at your local vitamin store (Amazon has a good supply of it too).
6.Tomato and Honey Mask
Some of us have only heard of bathing in tomato juice if we encountered a skunk so that it can take the stank off. But tomato juice also helps to balance our skin's pH levels, tighten pores, soothe inflammation, reduce sebum, and give our skin an all-around natural glow. If you add some honey to it, since honey is a humectant (that means it pulls moisture from the air) that contains antioxidants and antibacterial compounds that soothes skin and treats fine lines and wrinkles, you've got the perfect skin treatment!
If you're not down to soak in a tub of tomato and honey, how about making a facial mask out of 'em? It's super simple to do. Just take half of a ripe tomato and blend it until it has a puree consistency. Then add a teaspoon of raw honey to it, mix really well, and immediately apply it to your face for 15-20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with cool water (to close up your pores) and you're all set.
7.Tea Tree Oil
If you've got a zit that you need to go away as soon as possible, you're gonna have a hard time finding something as potent as tea tree oil! Every time a blemish pops up on my face, I'll dab a little bit on at night and I promise you, it's about 70 percent gone by morning. What makes tea tree oil so effective is the terpinen-4-ol that's in it; that's a compound that increases the production of white blood cells in your body while killing bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
Tea tree oil is not only great for treating acne. It also works as a great hand sanitizer (dilute it; it's super strong), natural deodorant, and a wonderful treatment for nail fungi too.
Reportedly, there are a little over one billion people on the planet who don't have enough zinc in their system. The problem with that is zinc is linked to all kinds of health benefits including strengthening our immune system, improving our memory, decreasing the risk of contracting age-related chronic diseases, boosting fertility and yes, taking care of our skin.
Skin-wise, zinc contains plenty of antioxidants, controls inflammation, helps to heal rashes and sores and, it even can decrease the amount of dandruff or itchy scalp that you might have.
The best way to take advantage of what zinc has to offer is to take a daily supplement of it. However, foods that are high in zinc include chickpeas, eggs, cashews, whole grains, and red meat.
9.Homemade Face MistGiphy
Something that I like to see is skin that has that dewy youthful look. One of the best ways to achieve that is to make your own facial mist. Not only does it help your skin to look sexy, but it also helps to keep it moisturized too.
If you want the kind of mist that will reduce breakouts, mix a half-cup of steeped (and cooled) green tea with four drops of tea tree essential oil and two drops of lavender oil. If you want the kind that will keep your skin looking young and fresh, mix one-half cup of organic rose water with five drops of Vitamin E oil, three drops of ylang ylang essential oil, and one teaspoon of witch hazel.
Tip: Put your mists in four-ounce glass bottles. They'll be easier to carry around that way, plus they will last longer in glass than in plastic.
10. Creamy Make-Up
If you hate the way powder make-up feels in warm weather, you're not alone. The alternative is cream-based make-up. It blends well, doesn't cake up, is super easy to apply, and gives your skin a hydrated and dewy-like feel.
Some cool natural brands that cater to our different skin tones includes Plain Jane Beauty, Au Naturale and Gabriel Cosmetics. If you want to step out and make your own all-natural cream highlighter, I found a cool YouTube video here.
Here's to a beautiful spring (skin) season, y'all!
Featured image by Getty Images.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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Featured image by Giphy