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. ;)
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.
Russell and Nina Westbrook are one of those low-key, unproblematic couples we don’t talk about enough. They met in college and got married in 2015. They also have a beautiful family with three kids. While Russell is an NBA star, Nina is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a mental health advocate.
She recently launched the podcast The Relationship Chronicles with Nina Westbrook, and in the latest episode, she had none other than her husband on as a guest. The college sweethearts dived into important topics from marriage to children and how they navigate it all.
One of the topics they touched on was dealing with resentment in your relationship. The former MVP highlighted the sacrifices his wife has had to make in order for him to pursue a career in the NBA, and that’s why it’s also important for him to support his wife whenever he can.
“For me is respecting and understanding what your partner do and the time it takes,” Russell said. “Not kind of downplaying what they do, understanding the time and energy and effort they're doing to make sure whether it’s their job or making sure home is taken care of, and understanding that, I think that is the challenge of not being resentful.”
Nina agreed and also shared her thoughts on resentment. According to her, one of the best things couples should do is have their own identity and passions outside of the relationship in an effort to be fulfilled.
“I also think that when you’re in a relationship, that’s why it’s so important that each individual kinda pursue their own passions and follow their own dreams as I feel like it only becomes or leads to resentment when one person is not feeling fulfilled in what they're doing in their lives,” she explained.
“And so, they will start to look at the other partner who’s happy or excelling or promoting or moving along in their journey, then they’re left feeling stuck like they sacrificed themselves, their happiness, their career, their future and have not pursued it in the name of the relationship or their partner. So, it’s so much easier to avoid those feelings of resentment when you’re each equally pursuing your passions.”
The couple has many passions that they work on together and separately. Outside of basketball and his family, Russell has become known for his eclectic style and started the fashion brand Honor The Gift. Nina has her podcast, and she also started the mental health website Bene. Together, they run the Why Not? Foundation, which works with kids in underserved communities.
“I’m a firm believer that one person can’t be everything to you, so you have to sort of seek out those different friendships or groups or hobbies or activities that help to fulfill you,” Nina concluded.
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