The first day of spring this year is March 20. If you're someone who hates cold weather, that's the good news. In the meantime, there are still several weeks ahead where you'll have to bear with the cold temperatures, bitter winds, and messy wet weather—things that can do a real number on your hair and skin if you're not careful. In order to make it all more tolerable, I thought it would be a good idea to offer up some really cheap and easy DIY beauty tips for you during these freezing times. Are you ready to get through the rest of the winter season?
1. Make a Water-Based Moisturizer
Does it seem like you can always write a word on your skin with your nails, no matter how much moisturizing you do? It could be that your moisturizer has the wrong kind of base. What I mean by that is some are made from oil while others are made from water. If you want to lock in as much moisture as possible, a water-based one is gonna be your best bet. Not only does a water-based moisturizer help to keep your skin moisturized longer, but it also helps it to replenish nutrients within it without clogging up pores (which could lead to breakouts) like oil-based ones can sometimes do. There are water-based moisturizers that you can buy at your local drug or department store; however, if you'd like to make your own, I found a pretty easy recipe right here.
2. Add Sugar to Your Shampoo and Honey to Your Conditioner
I don't know about y'all, but something that drives me up the wall about winter weather (and I'm actually a winter fan) is it tends to make my scalp a lot drier. Something that has helped to give me relief is putting some sugar into my shampoo. I'm dead serious. The granules of the sugar helps to exfoliate the scalp. Plus, if I use brown sugar since it's a humectant, it can help to pull more moisture from the air into my hair and scalp.
Speaking of humectants, something else that is one is honey. If you add some to your conditioner, it can make your hair extra soft, the alpha-hydroxy acids in it can also gently exfoliate your scalp and the properties in the honey can help to soothe your hair follicles and smooth out your hair's cuticles.
Also, honey has a way of adding sheen to your tresses too. How much of either? Eh. I'd say no more than two teaspoons in a full bottle is more than enough.
3. Use Dryer Sheets on Your Hair
This one might sound odd, but it really does work. Between the low humidity that winter weather can sometimes bring, along with all of the hats that many of us wear during this time of year, it's not uncommon for our hair to be more "static-y" than usual which can sometimes result in fly-aways (especially if your hair is relaxed). Something that can nip this in the bud is rubbing dryer sheets on your locks. They work because they are able to neutralize the charge in your hair. As a bonus, whatever scent the sheets are will transfer to your hair. A cool hack, indeed.
4. Switch Up Water Temperatures
Here's something that you may not have known before now. While it's pretty much a given that you should consume more water during the winter in order to stay hydrated from the inside out, did you know that the temperature that you drink is important too? The reality is that colder liquids will actually absorb much quicker into your system than ones that are hot or even room temperature. That's why, if you want to be hydrated for a longer period of time, it's best to go with the latter—especially if you're someone who spends a lot of time outdoors.
5. Bathe in Herbal Tea Bags
Question. When's the last time you took a bath in some herbal tea? If your answer is "never", you really are missing out. Tea baths can do everything from detox your skin and balance out your skin's tone to reduce inflammation and soothe psoriasis and eczema-related symptoms. During the winter season, another benefit to soaking in herbal tea is it helps to promote the rejuvenation of your skin's cells.
As a result, no matter how much the cold weather may try and wreak pure havoc on your skin, the herbs from the tea can help to keep your skin soft, protected and undamaged from the harsh weather and the UV rays from the sun.
All you need to do is put about five tea bags into a large pot of water. Bring everything to a boil and then let it steep for 20 minutes before allowing it to cool (at least to a temperature that you can stand). Then pour the tea into your bathwater and soak for another 20 minutes. If you do this twice a week, you will notice a real difference in your skin within a couple of weeks.
6. Seal Moisture in with Sweet Almond Oil
I'm all about sealing in my skin's moisture. Been doing it for years. I simply make sure to cover my body in some sort of oil, right before stepping out of the shower. I typically try and leave it on for a couple of minutes and then towel dry off. It's a great way to lock the oil into my skin so that no lotion (which really isn't the best thing for you anyway because it can clog your skin's pores and make it dull and sensitive over time) is needed.
While there are a few carrier oils that work well (avocado, rosemary and grapeseed come to mind), a personal favorite of mine is sweet almond oil. For one thing, sweet almond oil has vitamins A and E, along with essential fatty acids, proteins and zinc in it. Also, it's the kind of oil that fades scars, soothes dry hands and feet, dislodges impurities from your pores and deeply moisturizes so that your skin is soft and has a vibrant glow. If you don't do anything else on this list, do this. It's one of my favorite beauty regimens to-date. Not too many things top it.
7. Pamper Your Lips with Rose Petals and Almond Milk
Am I the only one who, no matter how much water I might drink, my lips still seem to get chapped? If you can totally relate, a hack that you might want to try is soaking some rose petals into a bowl of almond milk overnight. Rose petals are dope because they're loaded with Vitamin C (which is a powerful antioxidant) and they help your skin to retain moisture. Almond milk is great because, not only does it have antioxidants in it too, it also contains Vitamin E and magnesium—both of these are able to nourish your skin (including your lips) so deeply that chapping and chaffing are significantly decreased. Just mash the petals up the following morning and apply them onto your lips for about 10 minutes before rinsing them off. Your lips will feel silky smooth all day long.
8. Soak Your Feet in Mouthwash
When it comes to this specific DIY winter-related beauty hack, the key is to get Listerine mouthwash. Because it's so potent, the antifungal properties found in menthol and thymol that it contains can help to keep your feet smelling fresh. And if you soak those bad boys in a mixture of 1 ½ cup of Listerine, one cup of white vinegar and 2 ½ cups of warm distilled water for about 30 minutes, the combo will help to break up any stubborn dead skin that might be on your heels. All you need to do after soaking is rub your heels with a pumice stone and the dead skin should literally peel right off.
9. Pamper Your Tresses with Heavy Whipping Cream
Let me circle back to the hair for a moment. If you want a way to deep condition your hair with as little chemicals as possible, I know this might sound crazy, but you should definitely consider applying some heavy whipping cream to it. Not too long ago, I checked out a video that featured a pretty Ethiopian woman doing a tutorial that showed how to make a moisturizing hair butter out of nothing but heavy whipping cream and water and chile—it's right on up there with Chebe powder to me. It's apparently a traditional Ethiopian beauty treatment and since heavy whipping cream is full of protein, fat and lactose acid, it makes sense that it would soften the hair. Anyway, if you want to give it a shot, you can check out here video by clicking here.
10. DIY Some Cuticle Cream
Since outdoor air is colder and the indoor air is drier (because of the heat) during this time of the year, it should be no shocker that your nails are more susceptible to being brittle and breaking. That's why it's better to wear your natural nails at a shorter length and that you keep your cuticles moisturized with some cuticle cream. If you'd prefer to make your own, I found a recipe that consists of lavender and myrrh essential oils that is absolutely amazing. Lavender smells delightful, contains antifungal properties and soothes dry skin. Myrrh oil helps to fight infection, heals the skin and is loaded with antioxidants. If you apply a little bit of your DIY cream in the morning and again at night, your nails will be stronger and you'll decrease your chances of getting hangnails (which is always a bonus) too. You can get the recipe for this cuticle cream here.
11. Sleep in Shea Butter and Aloe Vera
If you're looking for a creamy kind of all-natural moisturizer that will have your skin feeling buttery smooth, you really can't go wrong with combining shea butter and 100 percent pure aloe vera. Shea butter is the fat that is taken out of the shea butter tree. It's rich in vitamins A and E, plus it has antioxidant, antibacterial, and antifungal properties in it. I can personally vouch for the fact that if you use it consistently, your skin will be really soft, your tone will even out, fine lines and wrinkles will fade, collagen production will increase and cells will regenerate.
Adding some pure aloe vera to it will give your skin a nice dose of vitamins C and E which increases skin elasticity, heals skin imperfections and hydrates your skin. Applying a half and half amount of the two to your skin every night can give your skin enough time for the combo to deeply moisturize for hours, so that your skin is as soft as ever, come morning.
12. Use Flannel Sheets
Speaking of bedtime, make sure you're sleeping on some flannel or (my personal favorite) jersey knit sheets. Not only can the warmth of them help to keep your electricity bills down but they both tend to be hypoallergenic, breathable and will help your skin to retain heat and the moisture that you add to it. Plus, they're comfortable as all get out if you prefer to sleep naked, even during the winter months. Just one more thing that can beautify your skin until the flowers start blooming and the birds begin chirps again.
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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 email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.
I’m willing to bet that this is not the first time you’ve seen this couple. Dalen Spratt is a television producer, owner of a tailored men's suit line, and creator of Ghost Brothers: Haunted Houseguests, which is currently streaming on Destination America. Stacey Spratt is also a serial entrepreneur, focusing mostly on events and the nonprofit world, and she is the owner of two award-winning craft beer bars called Harlem Hops. But their accolades are not what united them.
The couple met years ago at their alma mater, Clark Atlanta University, when they were still working to create the life they have now, and if you had told them then that they’d eventually tie the knot, the pair probably would’ve laughed in your face.
Today, they’re new parents, flourishing in their careers, and each others’ “teammates.” When desiring love, Dalen recommends not looking to other couples for advice. And Stacey advises staying true to what you want. “Don’t put age or limitations on love and children. If God could do it for me, why can’t he do it for you?”
Here's How We Met.
How did you meet?
Dalen: We met in 2005 when she was advising the Greek sororities and fraternities in college. She was old as hell in college, and I was a young buck (laughs). Everybody had a crush on her, but I didn’t think much of it. Then, in 2007, we were in the same grad school class, but she still wasn’t trying to see me then either. I had to catch her five years ago; I was very patient.
Stacey: Yeah, everybody in our grad school class called him Young, Fresh to Death because he was always dressed in B-school (what CAU affectionately refers to as business major classes), and we’d just wear sweatpants (laughs).
So, I know Dalen was always attracted to you. But what about you? Did your attraction to him develop over time?
Stacey: So 2006-2008 – all the years went by. I don’t think we were really thinking about each other at all back then. Years later, I had an event in Dallas, and I booked him to be a speaker. Then, a few years ago, Dalen posted a photo of him on Instagram, and I slid in his DMs. I remembered him being so young and handsome, and I’m like, I should hook him up with my younger cousin. His response was: "If you’re not hooking me up with you, no thank you." But I still thought he was too young at the time, and he started pulling receipts. Taraji P. Henson was dating someone young at the time, Gabrielle Union–
Dalen: First of all, I didn’t do that. You did that.
Stacey: Okay, I did. I thought he was a cutie pie, but that age thing was on my mind!
"Dalen posted a photo of him on Instagram, and I slid in his DMs. I remembered him being so young and handsome, and I’m like, I should hook him up with my younger cousin. His response was: 'If you’re not hooking me up with you, no thank you.'"
Talk to me about the first date. How did he change your mind?
Stacey: Our first date was at Tin Lizzy's in Atlanta. During that time, he was living in Dallas, so it was long-distance. But he came into town, and we just had a good time. We talked a lot, which we still do. It wasn’t anything fantastic.
Dalen: Don’t downplay our first date.
Then, walk me through your courtship. How did you get to the next level? What was that conversation like?
Stacey: I think he knew at age 43 or 44 I wasn’t playing around. But also, I think it just naturally progressed.
Dalen: Yeah, it just happened naturally. And I’m going to be honest, I don’t think initially either one of us thought it would be as serious as it was. She thought I was too young and I wasn’t ready for marriage, kids, and all that. I think we both thought we were just hanging out. But after spending so much time together, a lot of stuff started happening. Like, she had to have surgery early on. It wasn’t just time together; it was intimate time. Next thing we know, we just never left each other. That’s why we still don’t have an anniversary date because we never really asked.
"It wasn't just time together; it was intimate time. Next thing we know, we just never left each other. That's why we still don't have an anniversary date because we never really asked."
What made you want to commit to each other?
Dalen: The moment I knew Stacey was for me was from a phone call. I don’t really like talking on the phone, and I can be really blunt sometimes. But we were talking, and I said, ‘I don’t really feel like talking anymore.’ And she was just like, okay, and hung up. I wasn’t trying to be rude, and she understood that. It sounds bad, but that’s how I knew she just got me. I felt like she could get my random awkward moments, and she does to this day.
Stacey: For me, I liked him as a person. Even when times get rough and tough, I could still like him as a human. He is my best friend. We have time. We laugh until we cry, and it’s just always like that. Even when we get pissed at each other, something happens, and we fix it. Also, how he treats his mother. That’s a momma’s boy, but I’m a daddy’s girl – so I get it. I know how I want to be treated, and I see how he is with her and that’s beautiful.
What are some important lessons you’ve learned about yourself through loving your partner in this relationship?
Dalen: I grew up an only child and she grew up with siblings. So, when you have someone who is used to doing things by themselves, there is definitely a learning curve when you get into a serious relationship. It’s funny now, but it was definitely a process.
Stacey: I agree – definitely the only child thing. There’s times I look at him like, did you ever live with anyone else? That comes from being momma's baby, too. I have to say, my “mother-in-love” spoiled him. But also with Axel (their daughter), that brings another level of patience.
Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images
What was the biggest challenge that you had to overcome together?
Dalen: We’ve gone through a lot within the years we’ve been together. We suffered two miscarriages – I’d say that’s the biggest.
Stacey: Having those miscarriages and trying to understand what’s next and what our options are was a lot. I had two myomectomies (fibroid surgeries), and he supported me through that time. Also, still, it was on my mind that he’s eight years younger than me. I was wondering if I can’t carry [a child] what that looks like for us. We had very real conversations pretty early in our relationship.
"Having those miscarriages and trying to understand what’s next and what our options are was a lot. I had two myomectomies (fibroid surgeries), and he supported me through that time. Also, still, it was on my mind that he’s eight years younger than me."
What do you fight the most about?
Dalen: Nagging. Stacey nags; she’s a complainer. She’s that momma that will look in a room and just hunt for something to complain about. Like, I’m worried for Axel when she's in high school.
Stacey: It’s because I like things to be in place. He leaves stuff all over the place. I can tell where he’s been in the house because something is left around. So he says I’m nagging – but it’s like, just get your stuff.
What are your love languages?
Dalen: Stacey is gifts all day.
Dalen: We’ve talked about this. xoNecole is about to cause problems in our home (laughs).
Stacey: Obviously I love you. *thinks again* It’s words of affirmation.
Dalen: That’s it.
What’s your favorite thing about each other?
Dalen: I’ve always respected her business-mindedness. That may sound superficial, but it’s not because I’ve never been with someone who thinks like me. It’s one of my most treasured things about her. I remember one day, I was just running through ideas with her, and each time Stacey had a suggestion on how I could make it better. It’s just very comforting. She takes whatever I’m doing and elevates it – including me.
Stacey: I love Dalen’s hustle and creativity. He’s been on multiple shows, and he continues to create, produce, and reinvent himself and the product he’s putting out. I love that we can create together and bounce things off each other. Even though we may be in different arenas, there’s nothing he can’t offer me great advice about. I love that drive.
Finally, how did you know it was love?
Dalen: Well – she said it – first. (laughs)
Stacey: And he looked at me and smiled! He didn’t say it back. We were on a trip, out of the country.
Dalen: We were arguing when she said it, and she just threw it out.
Stacey: But we continue to do that. We’ve spent holidays and everything outside of the country.
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In January, it was announced that feminine-care brand The Honey Pot was acquired by Compass Diversified for $380 million. Black women expressed outrage with commentary on why Black founders “sell out” and stressed their concerns about The Honey Pot changing their ingredients, similar to their outrage when their products went from being listed as "Black-owned" to "Black-founded" in 2022.
As a founder myself, I understand the importance of scaling your business. Scaling leads to opportunity and expansion for your brand, something that The Honey Pot is doing to change the landscape of vaginal wellness for all women.
Years before the acquisition, I was a supporter of the brand. When I first learned of their products in 2017, I was eager to try them as a Black woman searching for Black-owned feminine products. At the time, I just embarked on a wellness journey, and that meant not just physical and emotional wellness, but vaginal wellness also. The dangers of the toxic chemicals often found in feminine care products weren’t discussed when I was growing up.
Now, we live in a world with organic pads, tampons, feminine wash, and even plant-based feminine care. Women are now realizing how sacred our menstruation time is and that the products that we use can either help or hurt us during that time of the month.
My vaginal wellness journey was rooted in a quest for healing. After a relationship where I experienced infidelity, I had issues with my pH levels for over a year. I’d never felt so disconnected from my body and ashamed that I didn’t know why; I was determined to figure out a way to heal from the inside out. After learning that the founder started The Honey Pot after suffering from bacterial vaginosis for eight months, I was intrigued. On the back of the feminine wash, she shared how her ancestors came to her in a dream and gifted her with a vision to heal herself and now others, including me.
My first two purchases from the brand were their organic pantyliners (a product many women who already supported the brand recommended) with mint and sensitive feminine wash. If I’m being honest, I didn’t like the liners; with already having a sensitive vagina, the mint didn’t feel as soothing as I thought it would, but I was sold on the sensitive feminine wash. Almost immediately, I saw a change in my pH balance and sensitivity, and from there, I was hooked.
From there, I started discussing the importance of plant-based care with my mother and my family members. My approach to the idea of vaginal wellness started gentle, and then I started asking and not telling, removing the products that we’d all used previously out of the homes of my mother, godsister, and close friends, and when they’d call and ask me, “What happened to my other products?” I’d remind them of the importance of giving our vaginas the care they deserve. Eventually, they caught on and became supporters themselves, and now when I visit my mother, she has The Honey Pot products in her bathroom that I’ve never even tried myself.
Recently, I was running low on my feminine products, and as I placed an order to have what I needed to be delivered, to my surprise, I discovered The Honey Pot had expanded their product line quite a bit and now had not only intimacy products but also additional feminine washes and supplements that I now use daily.
Check out some of the newest additions to their product line below:
Does your pH feel off? Reduce odor and help maintain a healthy vaginal pH range with this 7-Day Boric Acid & Herbs Suppositories from The Honey Pot.
If you feel an itch, consider The Honey Pot Relief Ritual, which includes Anti-Itch Soothing Wipes that provide immediate, soothing relief using plant-derived ingredients and medicinal compounds without compromising your vaginal ecosystem, while their Soothing Wash and Soothing Lavender Vulva creams are ultra-mild solutions for vulvar itching and discomfort.
Swap out your daily probiotic with this probiotic with urinary support formulated with 4-Lacto strains and 10 billion CFUs per capsule that support good bacteria, along with cranberry and pomegranate for optimal urinary tract support.
Goodbye cranberry juice, hello supplements. With its science-backed, clinically-tested ingredients, bad bacteria will be kept at bay. And the fact that you can pair this daily staple with The Honey Pot wipes and washes? Your urinary tract will thank you later.
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