Question: While you’re (hopefully) in the midst of planning for some kind of summer vacation, some outdoor activities, and/or some creative summer-themed dates, what’s your plan for your hands and your feet? I mean, they’re gonna be front and center too — and you’d be amazed how many people have told me over the years that something they notice first on someone is the condition of both; that folks who take care of their hands and feet send the message that self-care is a priority to them.
I would be inclined to totally agree. That’s why I thought it would be a good idea to share a few tips on things that you can do to take extra good care of your hands and feet this summer. That way, you’ll feel great from hand to toe (get it) while giving people another reason to do a double take whenever you come around (hmph…as if you needed one).
HANDS: A Manicure
I need to get more manicures. Back before the pandemic, I was religious about it; however, after going over a year without getting my nails professionally done, it started to be less of a priority. In some ways, it shows because my cuticles have a way of becoming dry which can, in turn, make them raggedy as hell. Plus, although I do okay when it comes to shaping my nails (I like to keep them natural and low), there really is nothing like a professional shaping them. Professional manicures can handle all of this, plus they give you an expert’s touch when it comes to cleaning your nails, moisturizing your hands, and polishing them perfectly.
So, even if you can’t afford a professional mani every month, at least treat yourself to a couple of ‘em before the summer ends (which is technically September 23rd this year; it’s never Labor Day Weekend). If you want to do some upkeep in between your manicure appointments, a YouTube video that can help you out is located here.
FEET: A Pedicure
On the flip side, something that I never let up on is a professional pedicure, although my nail tech has been letting me have it lately for not giving my toes a break when it comes to constantly having polish on them (because that can weaken nails over time if you’re not careful; it’s a good idea to take breaks for a couple of months once a year).
The main reason why I like professional pedicures is it gives me a chance to relax and treat myself, although some other benefits are a pedicure prevents ingrown toenails, keeps my heels nice and smooth, gets calluses off of the sides of my baby toes and exfoliates my legs and feet. Some other bonuses are pedicures can help to increase blood circulation and reduce stress levels, not to mention, your feet will look so much better in your flip-flops and sandals.
Again, even if you can’t go once a month, try to schedule at least one appointment this summer. And, as I did with the manicures, a YouTube video for how to perform a pretty stellar pedicure from the comfort and convenience of your own home is located here.
HANDS: An Olive Oil Soak
Remember how I mentioned that the main cause of bad cuticles is dryness? Something that can prevent your cuticles from looking crazy while also making sure that your hands are super soft is to treat your hand to an oil soak. My personal favorite is extra-virgin olive oil. Why should you go the “extra” route? Because that kind of oil is the least processed which means you will receive the most antioxidants and nutrients from the oil, including fatty acids and vitamin E.
Your best bet would be to pour some warm oil (you can zap some in the microwave for about 10 seconds) into a couple of bowls and soak your clean hands in them for 15-20 minutes before blotting them dry with a microfiber towel. However, another approach would be to rub some of the oil onto your hands, making sure to focus on your nails and cuticles and then wrapping them up in either some Saran Wrap or a pair of moisturizing gloves (more on those in a bit) for the amount of time that it would take to watch a 30-minute sitcom.
Whichever route you take, it will be well worth the investment. Your hands will instantly feel amazing and look younger too.
FEET: A Listerine Soak
If you don’t already own a foot spa/tub, let this inspire you to purchase one. And if you’ve only thought that a bottle of Listerine would work on your mouth, let this totally broaden your perspective. Although there is no official scientific data to support this claim, there are many people who sing the praises of using Listerine (specifically) as a foot soak. Why? Well, due to the potent antibacterial, antioxidant, and antifungal properties that it contains, they say that soaking their feet in the solution helps to remove calluses, cracked heels, and even athlete’s foot.
I have tried this method a couple of times, and I will say that it made using a pumice stone on my heels a helluva lot easier to do. Plus, the menthol from the mouthwash feels really invigorating. A couple of YouTubers who are not only fans of this soak but can also walk you through some DIY tips are located here and here.
HANDS: Tea Tree Oil
If you’re looking for an essential oil that is potent when it comes to antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antifungal properties, you’re not gonna get much better than tea tree oil, chile. Personally, I use it as a spot treatment for period pimples (it works like a charm!), although it also soothes the scalp if it’s irritated by dandruff or dry skin. What makes tea tree oil beneficial for your hands is it relieves itchiness, soothes irritation that may be associated with eczema or psoriasis, speeds up the healing process of a cut, wound, fungal infection, or bug bite, and can help to prevent dry skin too. It also is a great ingredient for DIY hand sanitizer.
FEET: White Vinegar
If you’re used to using white vinegar to clean your mirrors or wash your fabrics, it might surprise you to know that it’s also good for your skin, including your feet. The antifungal and antibacterial properties in white vinegar will fight the bacteria that cause acne, can keep the pH levels in your skin balanced, soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, be used as a toner, and can soothe your legs after shaving them.
What makes them a wonderful addition to your feet is it helps to remove warts, get rid of foot odor and heal dry feet too. All you need to do is add one-part white vinegar to two parts warm water and let them soak for 15 minutes. Oh, and if you’re worried about the scent, the smell typically fades once the solution dries. Also, you can add some of your favorite essential oil to the soak to make the smell of the vinegar less potent.
HANDS: Glass Nail File
Even though I will die on the hill that no one can shape nails quite like professional nail techs can (especially when it comes to doing it in a shorter amount of time), I will say that something that has helped me to shape mine better (when I’m in a pinch) is a glass nail file.
What makes them better than traditional ones? A few things, actually. Glass nail files are easy to clean and sterilize, last longer, are gentle on fragile or brittle nails, and, perhaps the best part is, they work on both natural as well as acrylic nails. Amazon has a myriad of affordable ones to choose from here.
FEET: Pumice Stone or Foot Scraper
If it seems like you can’t get rid of rough calluses or dead skin build-up no matter how much you try, I’d first try a pumice stone on skin that has been soaked in some warm water for 10 minutes or so. If that doesn’t work, take things up a notch and get yourself a foot scraper. Long story short, they are the ultimate kind of foot exfoliator. That’s because they are specifically designed to get rid of rough skin.
Just make sure that you go with one that works well on wet and dry skin and that you don’t overdo it (once a week should be more than enough). The key is to remove dead skin, not rub all of your skin off. For this one, I’m gonna shout out a particular kind of scraper; it’s called the Colossal Innovative Nano Glass Callus Remover Foot File. It’s affordable, effective, and safe, as well as waterproof. You’re welcome. #wink
HANDS: DIY Scrub
Something that comes with aging is the fact that our skin’s cell turnover slows down quite a bit. What that boils down to is it’s easier for dead skin cells to accumulate and make our skin look dry and dull. That’s just one of the billions of reasons why it’s a good idea to exfoliate— especially your hands because they have a way of accumulating dirt, gunk, and dead skin cells like no other.
A really simple yet mad effective DIY hand scrub consists of ½ cup of brown sugar, one tablespoon of coconut oil, one teaspoon of honey, and a half teaspoon of sea salt. Wash your hands, leave them damp, apply the scrub, massage gently for 1-2 minutes, then rinse with first warm and then cool/cold (to seal up your pores) water. If you do this 2-3 times a week, your hands will both look and feel absolutely wonderful.
FEET: DIY Peel
I don’t know how or why YouTube ended up putting chemical peels into my feed but have mercy. There is one, in particular (here) that I watched that low-key freaked me out. They look like they work, but I don’t think I have nearly the patience to wait for the process to end (kudos to sis who did!).
I will say that the final results did remind me that a foot peel can be a good idea too. They are another skincare option that will help to remove calluses, get rid of dead skin, and keep your heels from almost starting fires in your bed at night — and yes, you can do these at home.
From what I’ve read, it takes like a week to get the full results that you’re after, so you probably should avoid doing this right before taking a trip and, instead, over a long weekend or something. Anyway, Glamour has a list of great foot peel options here, and Byrdie has its own list going on here.
HANDS: Moisturizing Gloves
If you want your hands to be uber-soft and smooth, you definitely need to invest in a couple of moisturizing gloves. The main purpose that they serve is to help to keep moisturizer, oil, sunscreen, or whatever you’re using to pamper your hands on for much longer than you would without them. Some other perks include the fact that they help to reduce skin irritation, are comfortable to sleep in, and are big-time effective at providing extra hydration to your hands and nails. Byrdie has a list of different ones, along with the pros and cons of each, that you can check out here.
FEET: Silicone Socks
I must admit that I’m actually preaching to the choir when it comes to the importance of owning a pair of silicone socks. If you want to prevent chaffing, heal cracked heels, reduce moisture (which can lead to fungal growth and infections if you’re not careful), and even keep blisters from becoming an issue, wearing silicone socks in your house is a smart move to make. Something else that’s (pardon the pun) cool about them is since they are waterproof, you can use them all year long, especially if you want something to provide a barrier for your boots or ski gear during the wintertime.
All you’ve got to do is wash your feet, dry them, apply your foot gel or moisturizer of choice, and put the socks on. That’s it. Your feet will be so thankful that you did (check out some of Amazon’s silicone sock collection here).
HANDS AND FEET: Sunscreen
One of the biggest mistakes that our people tend to make is not using sunscreen. For one thing, everyone is susceptible to skin cancer, plus sunscreen helps to prevent things like hyperpigmentation and premature aging. And as far as your hands and feet go, because they both tend to be exposed to damaging UV rays longer than the other parts of your body, you definitely need to tend to them in this manner.
As far as narrowing down a sunscreen that will complement you best, Oprah Daily did you a solid by publishing “The 19 Best Sunscreens for Dark Skin Tones That Don't Leave a White Cast.” Make the time to skim the list.
HANDS AND FEET: Top Coat Every 2-3 Days
Since I am pretty hard on my feet (mostly because I walk around barefoot whenever I’m home and my floors are hardwood), sometimes the polish on my big toe will chip in between pedi appointments. When I go to get a fresh coat, my nail tech will always say that she needs to put a new top coat on all of my toes so that they will shine as much as the polish on my big toe does.
I have actually adapted that practice as an at-home nail-refreshing tip, period. Yep, if you want your manis and pedis to look fresher and last longer, applying a new layer of top coat a couple of times a week should do the trick for you.
HANDS AND FEET: Fruit Salad
Hydration is something that your body always needs, yet all the more during the summer season — your hands and feet included. That said, some fruits that are in season right now include watermelon, strawberries, peaches, blackberries, mangoes, cherries, papaya, cantaloupe, honeydew, and grapefruit. Since many of them are easily made up of at least 85 percent water, along with other nutrients, how could you go wrong with enjoying a fresh fruit salad at least a couple of times a week? It’s a deliciously healthy way to love on your hands and feet all summer long. Enjoy!
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by PeopleImages/Getty Images
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.
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.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by Giphy