If you enjoy drinking tea, simply for the pleasure of doing so, there's no way around the fact that it's an absolute must that you have green tea in your tea collection. From a health standpoint, it's got some benefits that are nothing short of impressive. Off the cuff, green tea is able to fight off free radicals, improve brain function, burn fat, lower cancer risks, get rid of bad breath, help to prevent the risk of type 2 diabetes—whew—and that is just the tip of the iceberg!
I've been a fan—and consumer—of green tea for quite some time now. What I really like about it is, not only does this tea help to maintain my insides but, from a beauty standpoint, it is able to do some pretty impressive things for the outside of me as well. So, if you've got some green tea somewhere in your kitchen and you want to treat your skin (or hair) this weekend without spending a ton of cash, I've got 10 green tea beauty hacks that will have you glowing from head to toe—literally.
1. Acne Wash
Did you know that if you drink green tea 2-3 times a week, it can reduce the amount of sebum that your body produces which, in turn, can minimize your breakouts? Three other benefits that come from consuming the tea is it can reduce internal bodily inflammation, regulate your blood sugar levels and boost your immune system. At the same time, due to all of the antioxidants that are in green tea, it's also a super effective acne wash if you're looking for something natural that will cleanse your skin, dry out your pores and reduce the appearance of any pimples you might have. All you need to do is steep a green tea bag for 20 minutes, let it cool and then wash your face with the tea. You can also dip cotton balls into the tea and apply it directly onto your pimples, if you'd prefer.
2. Anti-Aging Serum
Something that green tea has a good amount of is Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). It's a plant compound that has a pretty impressive resume when it comes to maintaining our health. EGCG reduces skin inflammation, helps to prevent heart and brain disease, and can assist with weight loss too.
Because EGCG also has the ability to reactivate dying skin cells (which ultimately can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and age spots), that's why it can be a great anti-aging remedy.
To get the most out of green tea in this way, it's probably best to turn it into a skin serum. One of the best recipes I've seen is found here.
3. Eye Treatment
Whether your eyes are puffy or you've got dark circles that you're trying to get to fade away, this is just one more way that green tea has your back. That's thanks to its combination of the antioxidants and caffeine that is able to reduce your inflammation and irritation. An easy way to use green tea in this case is to soak two tea bags in warm water (no need to boil them), gently squeeze the bags to remove any excess water and then place them directly onto both of your eyes. If you leave them there for 15 minutes, you should see results once you remove them.
4. Skin Exfoliant
To make the most powerful kind of green tea exfoliant, it's best to use dried green tea leaves. Mix a tablespoon of dried leaves with ½ cup of olive oil (it contains vitamins A, D, E, and K; it can also deeply moisturize your skin), two tablespoons of water, a teaspoon of honey (it balances bacteria) and three drops of lavender oil (it has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties). After washing your face, apply the exfoliant and gently massage your face with it. Then rinse your skin with cool water. Your skin will feel soft and smooth.
5. Skin Toner
Is your skin naturally oily but you want to find a toner than has no alcohol in it? If so, green tea is the answer. The tannins that are naturally found in this tea makes it a powerful astringent. As a bonus, something else that tannins do is reduce the amount of sebum production that happens within your skin's pores. If you want to use green tea in this way, mix a half cup of cooled green tea with a tablespoon of witch hazel (it's also an astringent), a teaspoon of honey and three drops of tea tree oil (it contains anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties). Soak a cotton ball into the toner and rub the solution all over your face after you wash it. Do this once a day for the best results.
6. Acne Scar Lightener
If you've got surface or even stubborn acne scars, green tea extract is wonderful way to fade them. Something that antioxidants are able to do is brighten skin while fighting off free radicals at the same time. Plus, since green tea also deeply penetrates skin, it is able to soothe inflamed and damaged skin while it lightens up acne-related blemishes you might have. Steep two bags of green tea into a cup of water, along with two teaspoons of honey. Allow the solution to cool and then add two tablespoons of pure Aloe Vera gel. Let the mask sit on your freshly washed face for 20 minutes. Then rinse with cool water. Try and do this once a week for optimal results.
7. Hair Strengthener
Since green tea contains nutrients, antioxidants and phytochemicals (compounds that are found in plants), it makes total sense that it's also a tea that would be good for your hair.
And, since one of the vitamins that green tea contains a lot of is Vitamin B (which is a vitamin that strengthens hair roots and helps to prevent split ends), you can't go wrong by adding green tea to your hair care regimen.
Probably the best way to get the most out of green tea in this way is to put two teaspoons of green tea extract into your shampoo and wash your hair as normal. Noticeable results tend to occur within a couple of months.
8. Dandruff Remover
The root cause of dandruff is fungus and not dry skin. This means that the best way to combat dandruff is to apply a remedy that kills fungus while exfoliating the scalp and removing dead skin cells all at once. One way to accomplish this is to create a dandruff rinse out of green tea (it will exfoliate), lemon juice (it contains anti-fungal properties) and coconut oil (it's an anti-bacterial oil and a moisturizer too). If you put two tea bags, one lemon peel, a cup of water and one tablespoon of coconut oil into a small saucepan, let solution boil, steep for 10 minutes and then cool completely, you'll have an ideal hair rinse that will help to remove dandruff quickly and effectively. Apply the rinse after you shampoo your hair and before you condition it. Make sure to allow the rinse to sit on your scalp for 15 minutes in order to get the best results.
9. Skin Moisturizer
Something else that green tea happens to have in it is Vitamin E. The cool thing about this particular vitamin is it does everything from boost immunity and reduce UV skin damage to renew skin cells and deeply moisturize the skin. That's why green tea makes the list for being an effective moisturizer. If you combine two teaspoons of sweet almond oil (it improves skin tone), a teaspoon of rosewater (it maintains skin's pH balance) and a teaspoon of organic green tea powder, you've got the kind of moisturizer that will have your skin feeling super soft and smooth from head to toe.
10. Psoriasis Reliever
If you've got psoriasis and you're self-conscious about it, don't be. Reportedly, eight million Americans have this skin disorder that leads to symptoms like red scaly patches of skin, skin plaques, itching and burning around the skin patches, swollen joints and severely dry skin. If you have these symptoms, while it's important to get officially diagnosed by a medical professional, green tea is something that can help to make the symptoms more bearable. In fact, one study revealed that applying green tea extract can significantly reduce the psoriasis symptoms and heal the skin overall. Hmph. And you thought that green tea was only good for sipping on (wink).
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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. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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A dead bedroom can kill any relationship. In all long-term, committed relationships, couples experience various phases, from the initial passion to a more complex and enduring connection. Yet, as time passes, sex may decrease, which introduces an issue often referred to as "bed death."
According to Advance Psychology Partners, 'bed death' occurs when individuals in a committed relationship experience a decline in the frequency of sexual activity and fall short of the desires of both or either partner. It is sometimes labeled a "sexless relationship" due to the infrequency of sex. In the U.S., an estimated 20 million people find themselves in such relationships.
This shift is a significant change for couples. Let’s face it: no one wants to be in a sexless marriage or relationship. But how can couples effectively confront the impact of fading physical intimacy on the overall health of their enduring partnership?
"I have found that many factors influence one's desire to dive, and it is often not a majority of just one thing. Most people assume that if they don't desire [sex], they are no longer physically attracted, but in my experience, that has little to do with it most of the time," explained Brittanni Young, LMFT, CST.
"Some of the heavy contributors that I see most often include excessive goal orientation towards orgasm, people not prioritizing their own sexuality, and the landfill of ‘should’s’ that develop from toxic sexual scripts created long ago in upbringing," she added.
Furthermore, these issues are not exclusive to any particular orientation, but it does manifest differently.
Young is a licensed marriage and family therapist, sexologist, and board-certified sex therapist who practices in Georgia and Florida. She has worked in the sexology field for over a decade. Young helps couples and individuals looking to get through challenges of all facets facing sexuality and intimacy, such as desire mismatch, over-compulsion, and dysfunctions. She recently launched a deck of intimacy connection cards called "Show Me Your Cards." Young is working on another product that helps teach children to consent and negotiate appropriate touch. She sat down with xoNecole to discuss what causes the decline in the bedroom, the myth of 'lesbian bed death,' and recommendations on overcoming "bed death."
The Decline In Intimacy
Intimacy often dwindles within relationships, a phenomenon triggered by various factors such as stress, the insidious monotony of routine, and the toxicity of unresolved conflicts, to name a few. While couples manage daily life, exchanging intimate desires and concerns may take a backseat. Sadly, this gradually erodes the closeness once shared in the relationship.
"Typically, the first thing I do when working with a couple on desire challenges is rule out medical causes by referring them to their primary care physician or other provider they are working with," Young shared. "There are times when unmanaged or mismanaged conditions factor into low desire levels. Also, many medications can wreak havoc on keeping desire levels up, such as antidepressants, SSRIs, anti-anxiety, and blood pressure medications, to name a few."
Jeff Bergen/ Getty Images
"Next, I look at the state of the relationship. If there is dissatisfaction in the relationship, then it definitely affects how close and intimate one wants to be to another. There are also plenty of individual factors one can bring into the equation, such as low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, feelings of shame or guilt around one's own sexuality, and external life stressors that can get in the way. I find that life stressors can be a big one for folks, as once you get in the habit of not prioritizing sex, it tends to stick," she added.
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent "bed death." It can involve prioritizing your wants and open communication about sexual needs.
"What tends to be effective for all couples is taking an inventory of how satisfied they are with their sexual behaviors and engagement. Being truthful in this vein can be the start of unlocking inhibitions that can keep you from seeking out and being genuinely vulnerable in intimate spaces," Young explained. "Next, I suggest opening up lines of communication around these truths. When people assume that nothing can be done, hope is lost."
The Myth Of 'Lesbian Bed Death'
The notion of "lesbian bed death" perpetuates a simplistic and inaccurate stereotype about the sexual dynamics within lesbian relationships. Contrary to the myth, the experience of a decline in intimacy is not universal among lesbian couples. The diverse spectrum of relationships among women challenges this oversimplified narrative, emphasizing that the complexities of sexual dynamics extend beyond stereotypical assumptions.
"The notion of 'lesbian bed death' is based on a research study done by Pepper Schwartz in 1983 that found that lesbian couplings fell behind in sexual frequency compared to heterosexual and gay male couplings," Young revealed.
"Several other studies [after] have replicated these findings but give very little information about sexual satisfaction. Despite there being more research needed overall in the sexuality field, more recent research did find that when it comes to the length of sexual encounters, lesbian couples had the longest duration of encounters. To that end, sexual quality over quantity is a better marker of satisfaction, and that is what I pay most attention to in my work. With that said, dissatisfaction can happen in all couplings over time," the sexologist continued.
Factors influencing reduced intimacy among lesbian couples may include communication challenges, societal pressures, and individual variations in libido. Menstruation can also play a role, with some couples navigating discomfort or hormonal changes during this period.
"There are certainly some nuances that come into play with lesbian couples that differ from heterosexual or other-oriented couples. As I stated earlier, physiological factors can factor into the rise and fall of libido. The hormone fluctuations that come from menstruation and menopause can impact desire levels, and it is double present in lesbian couples. Another nuance is the lack of a sexual script from society on lesbian sexual behavior. There are patriarchal roots to sexual research, which have created our societal norms that tend to leave out anyone who isn't heterosexual," Young stated.
Overcoming The Challenges
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While 'bed death' challenges couples, solutions are within reach. By identifying and addressing the underlying causes, couples can rekindle the flame of intimacy and ensure a healthier, more fulfilling relationship.
"In the words of Esther Perel, another sexual professional in the field, 'love enjoys knowing everything about you; desire needs mystery.' I recommend keeping it in the front of your mind, prioritizing, and keeping it interesting. Be open to learning more about your own sexuality every day, as well as your partner. You are always growing; what worked for you 20 years ago may not be the same today. Stay curious with one another and be open to exploring new ways to pleasure. You deserve it," Young said.
For instance, Young advised that couples should "keep sexual encounters light and playful." And not be afraid to introduce new elements, such as toys.
"Touch often in ways that are consensual and feel safe! I made 'Show Me Your Cards' to serve this purpose specifically. Just because you do not feel in the mood to go all the way does not mean you aren't in the mood to hold hands, exchange body massages, or dance together. Connecting often in any physical form, as long as it feels pleasurable, still counts as 'being in the mood,'" she said.
Overcoming the hurdles of "bed death" and debunking myths surrounding 'lesbian bed death' offers a unique perspective for couples grappling with the difficulties of sustaining a connection. Learning the proper ways to work through a sexless relationship can help foster a healthier, more fulfilling relationship.
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