I make it no secret that fall is, without question, my absolute favorite time of the year. It's so much, in fact, that even when it comes to my writing assignments, I try to find ways to express how much I adore this particular season. As far as this platform goes, a couple of years ago, I wrote "Here's How To Have Some Really Great Fall-Themed Sex". Last year, it was "10 Fall-Themed Comfort Meals That Are Actually Good For You". This year? This year, it's all about how to enjoy pampering yourself in the tub while giving it its own fall theme too.
While this might sound crazy on the onset, if you just bear with me a bit, you might be surprised by how so many things about autumn can easily fit into your bathroom, so that you can end up experiencing one of the best and most luxurious ways to celebrate fall yet. And just what will you need? The following 10 things should work. Where's your shopping list at? You're gonna want to jot these down. Trust me.
1. Autumn-Colored Leaves
One of the most beautiful things about the autumn season is the brilliant color of the leaves. Who said that you only had to enjoy them outdoors, though? While you may have never considered it before, something that you can do is bring some of your favorite leaves in, wash them off (gently with diluted soap, then dry them with an air compressor) and put them along the side of your bathtub. Shoot, if you "seal them" with some glycerin or wax, you can even toss a couple of 'em into your water (without damaging them), if you'd like. Click here for steps on how to follow through on some leaf preserving processes.
2. Marigold Petals
If there's a part of you that's like, "Shellie, I hear you but leaves in the tub sounds like a bit much," I mean, folks put rose petals in their water all of the time, right? Gotta rinse all living bad boys off, if we're gonna be real about it. Speaking of rose petals, while those are wonderful when it comes to providing a indulgent effect and DIY'ing your own rosewater (which is great because rosewater deeply hydrates, conditions and has lots of antioxidant properties in it), if you want to stick with the fall theme, my vote is marigold petals instead.
First, they are in season this time of year. Second, marigolds are the kind of flowers that can help to ease skin inflammation, reduce blemishes, help to heal acne, slow down the aging process and deeply moisturize your skin too. Who knew?
3. Fall-Scented Soy Candles
I don't know about y'all but there's no way that I can really zone out and chill if there is bright overhead lighting happening in my bathroom. That's why I'm all for lighting some scented soy candles (soy because they last longer and burn cleaner). In the spirit of fall, some signature scents include clove, pine, fig, pomegranate, vanilla, sandalwood, butterscotch, apple, pumpkin and cinnamon (for starters, anyway). Dim lighting that smells amazing? It definitely sets the tone for a wonderful pampering experience.
4. Herbal Tea Bags
Nothing says hot cocoa, warm apple cider and mugs with herbal tea in them quite like this time of year does. When it comes to the tea part, there are all kinds of reasons why you should never hesitate to either put some loose leaf tea or some tea bags into your bathtub. Herbal tea baths are able to do things like detoxify your skin; balance your skin's pH balance; repair UV damage; fight off free radicals; gently remove dead skin cells while promoting the rejuvenation of new ones; provide anti-aging properties and speed up the healing process of any minor skin abrasions or cuts that you may have.
As far as tea bags go, your best bet would be to steep 3-5 bags in a big pot of boiling water. Allow the pot to cool for about 30 minutes and then pour the water into your bath before getting into it. If you do this, at least every other time that you bathe, you will notice a big difference when it comes to the quality of your skin within a couple of weeks or so.
5. DIY Lavender and Vanilla Body Wash
At this point, I can't even tell y'all how many times I've given lavender a shout-out when it comes to self-care content; that speaks to just how unbelievably beneficial it is. There are properties in it that speed up the healing of breakouts; soothe dry skin and even eczema-related flare-ups; lighten skin discoloration; reduce inflammation; smooth out fine lines and wrinkles while helping to repair scar tissue too. That's why you can never go wrong with using a body wash that has some lavender essential oil (or flower petals) in it.
And since vanilla is a signature fall scent, why not add some of it to your body wash too? After all, vanilla is also rich in antioxidants and contains antibacterial properties. Plus, it's got a pretty good reputation for helping to reverse signs of aging while promoting healthy radiant skin, thanks to all of the B-vitamins that it's packed with. And lawd, just imagine the way your skin will smell. Whew. Anyway, if you want to make some of your own lavender and vanilla body wash, I've got an easy recipe for you right here. Or, if you'd prefer to go with a sugar scrub, there's a recipe here.
6. DIY Hot Cocoa Bath Bombs
Personally, I plan on having at least a cup of hot cocoa, once a week, until February. That's how much I dig warm drinks — and dark chocolate — during this time of the year. In the spirit of this as well, did you know that cocoa is actually really good for your skin? The properties in it can help to detoxify, soften and even increase your skin's elasticity. So, why not toss a DIY bath comb into your water? Not sure anything will smell much better than that, if you do. (A recipe for how to make your own is located here.)
7. Homemade Frankincense and Myrrh After-Shower Body Oil
Do you make it a practice to "seal your skin"? All it consists of is getting out of the bath and making sure that you put some sort of oil onto your skin before drying your body off with a towel. If you do this every time, it can help to lock in moisture, so that your skin is soft and moisturized for much longer than if you used lotion. Personally, my favorite oil for sealing is sweet almond oil. It moisturizes well without feeling too thick or greasy. As far as skin benefits go, it helps to even out uneven skin tone, reduce the appearance of scars and deeply moisturizes.
And since frankincense and myrrh are two essential oils that are big around this time of the year, why not add a few drops of each to your after-shower body oil base? Frankincense is a strong astringent that can heal acne, tighten skin and help to rejuvenate skin cells. Myrrh has properties that kill harmful bacteria, reduce swelling, help to heal minor skin wounds, block damaging sun rays and it's even more powerful than Vitamin E when it comes to fighting off free radicals. All three of these oils will soften and heal your skin at the same time.
8. Homemade Pumpkin Body Butter
If there's one thing that you're definitely going to see plenty of this fall, it's pumpkins. Whether you plan on carving one out or not, treat your skin by picking up a small one (or at least purchasing some pumpkin spice essential oil). Skin-wise, pumpkin is really good because it's loaded with Vitamin C and beta-carotene (which slows down aging and fights free radicals); B-vitamins and zinc (to balance hormone levels and treat acne); Vitamin A (which helps to heal acne scars); fatty acids and Vitamin E (to give your skin a beautiful glow). And believe you me, once you get the hang of making your own body butter, you'll wonder what the heck took you so long! A recipe that contains actual canned pumpkin is here. A recipe with pumpkin seed oil in it is located right here. Or, if you just want the scent of pumpkin, there's a great recipe here.
9. A Fall Mocktail
If you're someone who likes to sip on a lil' sumthin' while you're soaking your stresses away, how about a fall-themed mocktail? I personally picked up some Welch's Sangria Sparkling Juice Cocktail and it brought me a lot of joy. And since there are so many classic fall mocktail recipes — like Mexican Chocolate Mocktini, Cranberry Pine Mocktail, Non-Alcoholic Mulled Wine, Green Chinotto, The Spiced Pear and so many others — why not treat yourself to more than just a glass of red wine? Up the ante a bit with a signature autumn drink to go along with this whole theme that we've got going on.
10. Cinnamon-Scented Towels
This last tip is one of my absolute favorites! The only thing better than getting out of the bath and wrapping up in a comfy towel is if it's super warm because you threw it into your dryer for a few minutes. It's even more divine if you sprinkle some cinnamon essential oil onto your towels before putting them in your dryer for 10 minutes or so. Cinnamon is another great fall-themed scent that will have you taking in sweet and spicy scents that can make cozying up in your bathroom or bed something that you absolutely can't wait to do. Now see how awesome fall can be…even in your bathtub? Told you so. #wink
For more inspiration, self-care, and healing tips, check out xoNecole's Wellness section here.
Featured image by Getty Images
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.
This post is in partnership with SheaMoisture.
When it comes to healthy hair care, there are a few things that will help you achieve healthy strands: a healthy hair care regime, hydration, consistent treatments, and scalp care. While scalp care is one of the most neglected practices, it is also one of the most important. Why? Because it helps promote healthy hair growth, clear hair follicles, and remove build-up.
When it comes to creating a healthy scalp routine, it helps to know exactly what you’re up against so you know how to specifically treat it. Two of the most common concerns are dandruff and dry scalp. It can be tough to decipher which is which, but here’s a quick breakdown: dry scalp is caused by a lack of moisture in the skin, while dandruff is caused by an excess of oil and yeast buildup on the scalp. Knowing that both of these are big concerns, SheaMoisture released two separate product lines to address both issues: the Scalp Moisture collection and the Anti-Dandruff collection.
Needless to say, if you tend to experience dandruff then I’d recommend you try the Anti-Dandruff collection. However, my biggest concern has always been dry scalp. A lack of moisture on the scalp can be caused by several factors like weather, age, and hair products to name a few. I’ve noticed that when I use certain gels or skip out on a deep scalp cleanse, my roots feel itchy and dry nonstop, which is uncomfortable.
The only way to relieve the discomfort is to properly wash and moisturize my roots, so I tried the Scalp Moisture collection and this is what I thought.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
First, What’s In The Collection?
The Scalp Moisture collection is a four-product line that includes a pre-wash masque, a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, and a moisturizing scalp cream. Each product uses moisturizing and strengthening ingredients like aloe butter and vitamin B3 as active ingredients to provide eight times the moisture. Together, aloe butter and vitamin B3 work to restore dry and brittle hair, as well as add relief to the scalp.
Now, let’s break down each product…
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Pre-Wash Masque
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Pre-Wash Masque may actually be the all-star of the collection. Using this deep conditioning masque is one of the best ways to target your dry scalp, restore hydration, and nourish your strands before shampooing.
I started by completely saturating my hair and scalp with water, then making small sections to apply the masque directly to the root. For my girls who have experience with relaxers and perms, it helps to apply the masque to your roots just like you would do with a relaxer. This way you can make sure you’ve covered as much of your scalp as possible while minimizing any breakage.
Pro tip: you can also use a color application brush to make this step easier.
After I completely covered my scalp, I massaged the product into my roots, used any excess on my strands, then left the masque in for 30 minutes. I was shocked by how moisturizing and clarifying my scalp and hair felt. One of the things that I love about the masque is the slip and how much softer it made my hair. While this is marketed as a scalp care product, it can completely transform your hair from dry and parched to completely hydrated.
In my opinion, the downside of this masque is that the quantity is too small for my liking. Truth be told, naturals go through deep conditioners faster than any other product (especially when it’s this good.) So SheaMoisture, if you’re reading this, we’d love a bigger jar.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Shampoo
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Shampoo is a gentle cleanser packed with the same moisture as the masque. The pearl-colored shampoo is lightweight with a serum-like consistency and a light and clean scent. The smell is pleasant, subtle, and not overbearing. When I applied the shampoo, I noticed immediately that it foams and lathers up very quickly, so less is more.
After applying the shampoo, I parted my hair and started at the roots to target as much of my scalp as possible. I recommend really taking the time to work the product and massage your scalp as much as possible.
Pro tip: using a scalp massager makes it easier and it feels amazing.
Once you start to massage your hair you’ll feel the product start to work. There’s a tingling sensation that might catch you off guard if you’re not used to it, but it’s not nearly as strong as other scalp products I’ve tried. I know some may not appreciate the sensation, but I loved it! My scalp felt clean, light, and breathable.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Conditioner
Like the shampoo, the SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Conditioner shares that pearly color and serum-like feel. It applies very easily while softening and moisturizing your hair. When I applied it to my hand, it gave my hands a lotion-like feel, which speaks volumes about its hydration capabilities. I also loved that the conditioner comes with a pump, instead of having to squeeze the product out – to me, it makes application easier.
I typically apply my conditioner to the ends first but because this is a scalp care product I started at the root and worked my way down to my ends. I did leave the conditioner in for ten minutes, although the bottle recommends leaving it in for three. The conditioner also provides that same breathable feel to your scalp. I honestly loved the relief.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Cream
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Cream is more of a daily relief product for your roots rather than your overall hair. It’s great for providing moisture and immediate relief to a dry and itchy scalp. Just like most of the collection, it gives a light and breathable feel – without the tingle. The applicator bottle targets specific parts of your scalp and makes applying easier.
Pro tip: I typically just squeeze the bottle to wherever I need the relief and use the tip to massage it into my scalp so it doesn’t mess up the hairstyle.
Overall, SheaMoisture’s scalp care line lives up to its claims – it moisturizes, strengthens, and provides immediate scalp relief. I definitely recommend trying the Scalp Moisture collection for an affordable way to treat itchy and dry scalp.
Featured image by Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Actress and singer Keke Palmer recently shed light on the 'breast milk discrimination' she encountered at a Houston airport.
The incident allegedly went down on June 16, when Palmer, who welcomed her son Leodis Jackson earlier this year with longtime partner Darius Jackson, revealed on Twitter that Houston airport employees ruined her mood as she was discretely pumping.
In the tweet, the 29-year-old elaborated that her aggravation stemmed from the alleged threats spewed at her, including potentially disposing of "over 16 oz" of her son's food.
"Breast milk discrimination at the Houston airport ruined my mood," she tweeted. "I should've popped my tit out right then because the discretion and comfort of pumping is thwarted with threats to throw out over 16 oz [of] my [baby's] food?!?!!! Why is that not a crime?? I'M A MOTHER, for crying out loud."
\u201cBreast milk discrimination at the Houston airport ruined my mood. I should\u2019ve popped my tit out right then because the discretion and comfort of pumping is thwarted with threats to throw out over 16oz my babies food?!?!!! Why is that not a crime??\n\nI\u2019M A MOTHER for crying out\u2026\u201d— Keke Palmer (@Keke Palmer) 1686566225
It is unclear if the issue was resolved because Palmer has yet to release any additional details regarding the matter. Still, the Nope star's post was met with fans' support, and many shared similar stories about their experiences at other locations.
According to the official TSA website, breast milk and baby or toddler-related foods and drinks are categorized as "medically necessary liquids." This means those items, including break milk, formula, and puree pouches, aren't required to meet the carry-on regulations and can be transported onto a plane as long as it's in a proper bag.
In addition to those rules, it is also reported that it is legal to breastfeed and breast pump in public. Although different states have different laws, in Texas, where Palmer was allegedly discriminated against, a bill allowing women to pump in public areas was passed in 2019.
In light of Palmer's tweet and the controversy surrounding breast pumping and breastfeeding in public, xoNecole is sharing the stories of other high-profile women who have openly discussed their experiences, positve and negative, with breastfeeding in public.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama revealed during a Workplace Flexibility Conference over a decade ago that when her youngest daughter Sasha Obama was an infant, she was forced to bring her to a job interview because she was still breastfeeding.
The star disclosed that she feared she would have been disqualified if Sasha's presence was a disruption. But because Obama had interviewed with the president of the company, who also had a child, they understood the responsibilities of being a parent and gave her the job.
"I packed up that little infant, and I put her in the stroller, and I brought her with me. And I prayed that her presence wouldn't be an automatic disqualifier. And it was fortunate for me that, number one, she slept through the entire interview. And I was still breastfeeding — if that's not too much information. And I got the job," she said.
"But I know that I was lucky, number one. I was interviewing with the president, that had just had a child himself and was very understanding and open-minded. But I know that most folks are nowhere near as lucky as I was."
In addition to her speech, Obama advised a plan to give tax breaks or credits to nursing mothers to cover breast pump costs, but the opposing party, unfortunately, scrutinized it.
Jada Pinkett Smith
Another person who has discussed the stigma of breastfeeding in public is actress Jada Pinkett Smith. In an episode of her Facebook talk show, Red Table Talk, Pinkett Smith revealed that she was mom-shamed as she tried to breastfeed her children, Jaden and Willow Smith.
The Girls Trip star explained that when she attended public locations with Jaden and Willow --who were respectively born in 1998 and 2000-- and had to breastfeed, she tried shielding it, but it became a hassle.
"I remember me, myself when I would be out with Jaden and Willow breastfeeding... I used to have that little [breastfeeding] cover. It would make it so difficult. They're in there [and] they're suffocating. I can't see them," she said.
Pinkett Smith added that the experience gave her anxiety because, at the time, breastfeeding in public was stigmatized.
"I had so much anxiety about it because back when I had them, breastfeeding was like, 'what? What are you doing?'" she stated.
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Feature image by Noam Galai/Getty Images