Now that the fall season is officially here, if you were wondering what this year's autumn-themed beauty trends are, some of them include a matte red lip, gold shimmering eyeshadow, a smoky bronzed eye, glossy eyelids and high-fashion lashes. But in honor of two other things that I noticed made the list—barely-there make-up and dewy skin—I thought it would be a good idea to also share with you some cool ways to incorporate foods that are currently in season to beauty recipes that I found on various sites.
If after reading these, there are a few that pique your interest but you're wondering how effective they are, I will say that while the exact recipes I may not have tried, I can vouch for the overall concept of each of these.
Apple and ginger are the ultimate detoxifiers. Pear, pumpkin and sweet potato have a remarkable way of pampering skin. Cranberry juice really can (softly) highlight your hair. Pomegranate can dry out a pimple like nobody's business. And cabbage juice? Well, I'll get into the all of its health benefits in just a sec.
So, if you're planning a grocery store or (even better) farmer's market run over the next couple of days, be sure to pick up some of these in-season autumn foods. Yes to eat. But also to care for your body, literally from head to toe.
Apple Peel Mask
Two things that apples contain a lot of are vitamins A and C. Your skin needs Vitamin A because it plays a role in regenerating new skin cells. It needs Vitamin C because C contains antioxidants (along with phytochemicals like flavonoids and phenolic acids) that help to produce more collagen (so that your skin looks fresh and youthful), while fighting off free radicals in the process. Apples also have zinc, sodium, calcium, folic acid, iron, phosphorous, and magnesium in them. As far as lemons go, the acid in them works as an astringent and the gelatin is what will help to create the peeling effect of the mask.
- 2 apples, diced
- 1 lemon (10 drops)
- 2 tablespoons of gelatin
Click here for the full instructions by Khichi Beauty.
If it's been a while since you've had some cabbage, maybe this will inspire you to make some tonight. Aside from the fact that it contains vitamins A, B6, C, K, folate and even some manganese, calcium, potassium and magnesium, cabbage has a wealth of health benefits. Cabbage helps to reduce bodily inflammation, improves indigestion and has fiber to keep you regular. The vitamin A in it works to produce new cells so that your complexion glows and the C keeps your skin looking healthy. Celery is loaded with water to prevent dehydration; it also contains properties to fight infection. Green apples have antioxidants to smooth out the texture of your skin. Carrots are loaded with beta-carotene to speed up any healing your skin may need; lemons can provide you with a more even skin tone; and ginger root is able to make your skin appear more toned.
- 1/8 of a green cabbage
- 1/8 of red cabbage
- 2 ribs of celery 1/2 red beet, scrubbed
- 1 green apple, cored
- 1 carrot, scrubbed
- 1 lemon, peeled
- 1" piece of fresh ginger root
Click here for the full instructions by The Blender Girl.
Cranberry Hair Rinse
If you're like me and you struggle with itchy scalp from time to time, cranberries can quickly become your hair's best friend. They have antioxidants, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that will remove irritants from your scalp while soothing it at the same time. Cranberries also contain about every B vitamin there is to keep your hair strong, along with Vitamin C to give you hair a collagen boost. Something else that's in cranberries is Vitamin K; it too comes in handy because it triggers collagen production in the body. Lemon juice aids in lightening your hair and carrots are rich in Vitamin A. And so, carrots can help to strengthen your hair's follicles while preventing premature greying in the process.
- 1/2 cup of pureed carrot
- 1/2 cup of fresh cranberries, mashed
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
Click here for the full instructions by BeautyLish.
Detox Ginger Foot Pads
I've already broken down what ginger does. As far turmeric goes, it contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties, plus it lightens uneven skin, soothes dry skin and contains antiseptic properties that kills bacteria. Green tea is loaded with antioxidants that also invigorates your system, chamomile will de-stress you, and paprika also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties in it.
- ½ teaspoon of ginger powder
- ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder
- ¼ cup of green tea (dried leaves)
- ¼ cup of dry chamomile leaves
- ½ teaspoon of paprika
- ¼ cup of grated lemon zest
Click here for the directions in full by Amorq.
Pear Body Scrub
When a pear is in its perfect state of ripeness, it really is one of my favorite fruits. You probably already know that it contains a lot of fiber, but that's not all. Pears also have Vitamin C and K, copper, iron and antioxidants. Eating just one can moisturize your skin while protecting you from UV ray damage. It also can help to reduce the overproduction of sebum in your system (if you happen to have oily skin). Plus, if you use pear in the form of an essential oil (like prickly pear seed oil), it can increase elasticity and brighten your complexion. If you add to it some sugar and sweet almond oil, you'll have a body sugar scrub that smells great and will leave your skin super soft with a radiant glow.
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 cup of sweet almond oil
- 1 tablespoon of Vitamin E oil
- 1 tablespoon of Bartlett Pear Fragrance Oil
Click here for the full instructions by Bulk Apothecary.
Pomegranate Acne Peel
One serving of pomegranate contains a day's worth of Vitamin B and one-third of the Vitamin C that you need. Pomegranate also has properties in it that stimulates the production of collagen, hydrates skin and soothes the inflammation that's associated with acne breakouts. Something else pomegranate does is treat skin conditions like rosacea and acne, thanks to the plant compound EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate) that's in it. Greek yogurt works to fade blemishes and dark circles and, as far as manuka honey goes, we're so fond of it that we penned an entire article about it (see "Why Manuka Honey Is The Ultimate Beauty Find").
- 1 tablespoon of pomegranate powder
- 1 tablespoon of matcha green tea powder
- 1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon of Manuka honey
Click here for the full instructions by JESSOSHII.
Pumpkin Body Butter
Since pumpkins are in their best condition mid-fall, October is peak time to pick up a few, strictly for your skin's sake. Pumpkins are a fruit that are full of vitamins A, B, C and E, along with potassium and zinc. They have a remarkable way of decreasing sebum on oily skin, moisturizing dry skin and providing anti-aging benefits in the process. Shea butter increases elasticity while softening scars and discoloration; mango butter contains fatty acids and antioxidants; benzoin essential oil contains astringent properties to soothe inflammation; cinnamon bark oil revives your skin tone, and mica is what gives the butter a natural glow.
- 25g (0.88oz) pumpkin seed oil
- 25g (0.88oz) refined shea butter
- 50g (1.76oz) mango butter
- 6 "blobs" benzoin essential oil
- 5 drops cinnamon bark essential oil
- 1 drop ginger essential oil
- 1 drop clove bud essential oil
- 1/8 teaspoon of gold mica
- 1/8 teaspoon of bronze mica
Click here for the full instructions by Humble Bee and Me.
Sweet Potato Hair Mask
This is one of those "don't knock it until you've tried it" kind of recipes. And when you stop to think about it, since sweet potatoes are considered to be a perfect food, really—what could it hurt? As far as your tresses go, sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene to help with cell production on your scalp, the antioxidant anthocyanins to prevent cellular damage to your scalp and hair follicles, along with potassium and zinc to encourage hair growth. Add honey to serve as a humectant; yogurt to moisturize your hair; coconut cream to tame frizziness; clove oil to stimulate hair follicles, and the niacin, thiamin, and pantothenic acid in vanilla essential oil to keep your hair healthy and strong. Then, you've got one heck of a hair mask, just in time for fall!
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 cup of full fat yogurt
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 3 tablespoon of coconut cream
- 2 drops of clove essential oil (more or less if desired)
- 4 drops of vanilla essential oil (more or less if desired)
- Double boiler
Click here for the full instructions by Naturally Curly.
Feature image by Shutterstock
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
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Here's Why Very Few Relationships Can Actually Be 'Platonic'
Recently, while in an interview, someone asked me if I think that men and women can be just friends. I didn’t even hesitate to answer; my response was immediate, “Absolutely.” What I followed that up with is what intrigued them — “Life has taught me that not a lot of male/female dynamics are ‘platonic,’ though.” When they asked me to expound, the interview ended up taking a whole ‘nother turn.
As a writer who really pays attention to word meanings, something that can be a bit frustrating about our culture is the fact that based on whatever is popular at the time, folks will just up and change the original definitions of words to suit a particular agenda or whim — and the word “platonic” 1000 percent fits into this category. And perhaps that’s why we seem to continue to go in circles about whether or not people of the opposite sex can (and should) be friends and what that even can (and should) look like.
Let’s talk about it for a bit. Because as a word-literal type of individual, while again, I absolutely believe that men and women can be friends, at the same time, I think it’s about as rare as a red diamond to truly find yourself in a friendship that is…platonic.
It’s Time (More) Folks Knew What ‘Platonic’ LITERALLY MeansGiphy
So, let's do first things first — let's define what it literally means for something to be platonic. If you go to your favorite search engine and put something along the lines of "What does platonic mean?", the first thing that you're (probably) going to see is a ton of dictionary definitions that say something along the lines of "of, relating to, or being a relationship marked by the absence of romance or sex" (Merriam-Webster), "designating or of a relationship, or love, between a man and a woman that is purely spiritual or intellectual and without sexual activity" (Your Dictionary) and, my personal favorite, "purely spiritual; free from sensual desire, especially in a relationship between two persons of different sexes" (Dictionary). Yeah, bookmark that last one; I'll be circling back.
Keeping this in mind (and please do), where does the word "platonic" actually come from? From what I've researched, the philosopher Plato once penned something entitled "Symposium." In it, he addressed the topic of two people sharing the kind of love that is free of any type of sensual desire, one that is based on divine love alone. An author from the 1800s broke it down this way: "Platonic love meant ideal sympathy; it now means the love of a sentimental young gentleman for a woman he cannot or will not marry." A write-up on Merriam-Webster's site stated that "The term platonic was initially used to mock non-sexual relationships, as it was considered ridiculous to separate love and sex, but eventually this connotation faded away leaving us with today's notion of close friendships." Yeah, we used to live in a culture where love and sex were not separated. Hmph, that's another article for another time, though (check out "We Should Really Rethink The Term' Casual Sex'").
Anyway, as with many things (especially in our culture), the word "platonic" is kind of used in "broad strokes" these days (bromances, female friendships, etc.). However, because there continues to be this forever discussion — and oftentimes debate — about whether or not men and women can be "just friends," I'm going to tackle this topic strictly from that angle — from the place where platonic actually originated.
Yes, Men and Women Can Be Just Friends. But…Giphy
At this stage in my life, I'm pretty sure that I have more male friends than female ones. There are layers of reasons why, yet I think a huge one is because I like the balance that masculinity brings to my femininity (especially as I'm learning to embrace different aspects of my femininity, intentionally even more). And while every single one of my male friends is respectful and is a super safe space in my world on every single level that I can imagine (and have been for years now), there are probably only a couple who I would say 100 percent qualify as being…trulyplatonic.
Why would I say that? Well, I'll illustrate this point with something that one of my male friends once said to me. He's super cute. He can sing his ass off (and definitely has one of my favorite speaking voices). People see us out together often, and some have told us that they assume that we've had something going on at some point. Anyway, after hearing someone share their theory about us, I told it to him.
Me: "I told him, 'He's my brother. We would never mess around.'"
My Friend: "Correction, you are like a sister. You are not my sister, though. Under the right conditions, you could still get it."
When I shared that exchange with another male friend of mine, he basically cosigned on the sentiment: "Shellie, I have never approached you like that because I really respect you. I want to be good for you for the rest of our lives." (That reminds me: check out "Question: Is The Man In Your Life Good 'TO' You? Good 'FOR' You? Or...Both?" when you get a chance.)
Then I went to one more guy homie and ran both statements by him: "Girl, yeah. If I didn't want to keep you in my life long-term, I would've tried to holla a long time ago!" And he and I have been friends for almost 20 years at this point. When did he get around to telling me this? Eh, maybe two years ago. LOL.
So, my takeaway from all of these "for real?!" exchanges is even though men and women can be just friends, there is a certain level of intention, self-control, and ability to see into the future (on some level) that must go into account — because, just because something more-than-friends-like may not have gone down, that doesn't mean there isn't a "dormant seed" lying around somewhere…whether it's one-sided or on both sides of the friendship dynamic.
As you can see, I just provided you with three instances where the male friends in my life; we've had nothing sexual or even physically intimate beyond a hug when we greet each other in nature — although things aren't exactly platonic if there is some sort of attraction or sexual/romantic curiosity that simply never got explored. Because again, according to Plato, a platonic relationship is free from all of that kind of…tension — or possibilities. Zero. Nada. Zilch.
And now you probably get why I entitled this article in the way that I did…right? I mean, just think about it — out of your male friendships, where is there NO sensual desire or dormant romantic interest…on your side and/or on his? If you're not sure about "his"…have you ever asked him? Or them? Because again, once I really let the definition of platonic sink in, I think maybe two guys in my life totally fit the bill.
This brings me to my next point.
Are You Platonic? Or Are You Friend-Zoning?Giphy
Now that you know that probably 70 percent of the people you know (both online and off) have been using the true meaning of platonic all the way wrong, let’s go about deeper: when it comes to your friendships with men, are they genuinely platonic or…is it more like you’re friend-zoning them?
A few years ago, I penned an article on the topic entitled, “Before You 'Friend Zone' Someone, Read This.” If you’re skimming this on your lunch break, I’ll summarize friend-zoning as knowing that a guy has so-much-more-than-platonic feelings for you, yet because you basically want to keep the benefits of the friendship or even his emotions around, you will string him along on some level.
Personally, I can’t stand friend-zoning. I think it’s selfish, with some sprinkles of manipulation and wasting someone’s time. Don’t agree? How would you feel if a guy was friend-zoning you? (Yeah…exactly.)
This all needs to go on record because, knowing that a guy wants to “take it there” with you (whether sexually or romantically), you not full-on addressing it and/or giving him just enough hope to take you out, listen to all of your stories about other men and give you the attention that you need knowing that he doesn’t have a shot in hell — that is NOT a platonic friendship and honestly, you’re not being a good friend at all. Friends protect each other’s hearts, not abuse them.
A platonic friendship means that you both have no interest in each other, and, as Plato put it, while you may have a strong and solid bond, it’s spiritual love that connects you. And what exactly does that mean? Spiritual love also deserves its own article, yet the gist would be that you recognize there is a purpose in your friendship, yet it’s about wanting what’s best for one another and even helping each other to get there.
For instance, a platonic friend of yours may know that you desire to be married one day, so he has no problem setting you up with a good guy in his life. And if things go well, he would have no problem standing up as your own best man (without feeling like he’s dying inside) because he never saw you beyond anything but a friend. A guy in the friend zone doesn’t move like this; he likes you too much to help you move on with someone else. See the difference?
Why Relationships Should Start Off As NON-PLATONIC FriendshipsGiphy
Before I end this with some tips on how to properly care for the few platonic friendships you may actually have, since the use of the word may require a bit of mental reprogramming, I do think we should also address that if you've got a good guy in your life, who right now is a friend and either you've never thought of him in that way or the topic has never come up — he's someone that you may not want to brush off.
What I mean by that is, it's one thing for there to be absolutely no interest in someone vs. never considering it before — and the reason why you might want to give it some thought is because, ask any healthy married couple who's been together for more than five years and I'll bet you my next rent check that they will say that the best relationships are birthed out of friendship (check out "Are You Sure You're Actually FRIENDS With Your Spouse?").
Yeah, just because you've filed someone in the "I see him as a good guy" category, that doesn't automatically mean that y'all's friendship is platonic. For instance, I have a male friend who is fine and I adore on many levels, yet the reason why it would never work on my end is because there are certain relational standards that I have that he does not meet. However, don't get it twisted — I've considered him because, on so many levels, we "fit." So, the mere fact that I ever seriously thought about him on that level means that we are "good friends," yet it's not exactly platonic.
I'm not free of potential sensual desire…I just choose not to act on it. Yet because I get the value of having friendship as the foundation for my own future marriage (should life play out that way), I am wise enough to know that I would've been a fool to not at least…ponder him and the possibilities.
So yeah, if there is a male friend in your life that the thought of dating or having sex with him doesn't make you want to throw up in your mouth, there's a pretty good chance that it's not a classic platonic dynamic — and you might want to consider if it could/should go to the next level — if not immediately, eventually. Because there's a pretty good chance that if you are thinking that way, he probably is as well.
Protect Your Genuine Platonic Friendship(s) At All CostsGiphy
Let me end this with how one of my platonic friendships rolls. We both think that the other is attractive, yet neither of us is attracted. We both give each other opposite-sex insights. We both have said that the mere thought of dating each other makes our noses turn up like there’s an odor in the air. And even when I try to imagine us together, my mind goes blank. I love, love, LOVE this man — oh, but it is absolutely nothing more than platonic — and he feels the same way. It’s as close to familial love without being blood relationships. It’s a rare dynamic, and that is what makes it so special. There is definitely a spiritual type of love there; no more, no less.
If you’ve got someone in your life who you feel the same way about (again, it’s got to be mutual; he must feel that way, too), you’ve got a gem of a situation going on because there is nothing like having the kind of friendship where you and a guy can hang out, exchange perspectives and thoroughly enjoy each other’s company, knowing that’s all it is and will ever be. Things will never get weird. No one’s feelings are gonna get hurt (from the whole friend-zoning thing). You don’t have to walk on eggshells. You can just be.
And that’s why I’m all for platonic friendships. And listen, if you’re blessed enough to have even one in your lifetime, be fiercely protective of it. Don’t take it for granted. Nurture it in a way that your male friend needs (because it probably won’t be the exact same as your female friendships). Y’all, platonic friendships are so bomb because, if it’s honored and protected correctly, it’s the one male friend that you can probably keep for life because even your romantic partner will not find it to be a (true) threat — hell, they honestly could probably end up becoming (some level of) friends with your platonic homie as well.
I hope that I broke this all down enough to where, when you decide to use a word to describe your opposite-sex friendships, perhaps you will pause and ask yourself, “Wait, is this a platonic friend or a good or close friend?” Because the clearer you are on the differences, the easier it will be to know how to maintain your friendship — and feel about your friend. Feel me? Cool.
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Featured image by Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images