Let’s face it, growing older is inevitable, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. With age comes maturity, strength, and wisdom, and it should be embraced, not seen as a hindrance or a part of our lives to be ashamed of. While we can’t stop the natural process of life, we can be proactive about the proper skincare products, tools, and lifestyle choices we can practice to promote healthy and natural aging that allows us to age gracefully with beautiful, healthy skin.
Prior to my 30s, I relied on my melanin-rich skin with minimal effort because, as the saying goes, “Black doesn’t crack.” However, I’ve learned that there’s more to maintaining glowing skin than relying on purely genetics. Preventative measures are crucial in combating the skin's aging process. Fine lines, wrinkles, loose dry skin, hyperpigmentation, and other noticeable forms of aging begin long before you see them, seemingly appearing out of nowhere. Recently, I noticed a change in my skin's texture around my neck that never went away. Slowly panicked once I realized what was happening, the first sign of aging had arrived, and I had no idea what to do or how to reverse it.
From product ingredients to lifestyle choices, there are many factors in how one’s complexion and skin health progresses over time. If you’re reading this, you more than likely have a facial routine or know to at least wash and moisturize your face daily, however, there are simple additions that we can incorporate into our everyday routines.
To provide tips, I’ve enlisted the help of skincare experts to provide the best and most effective products, ingredients, and even foods to achieve your best-looking skin yet.
Meet the Experts
Courtesy of Jordan Karim
Jordan Karim, Founder/Owner of Flora & Noor
Flora & Noor is the first and only halal-certified skincare brand in America with a mission to provide beyond-clean skincare that yields efficacious, fast-acting, and non-irritating results for underrepresented consumers with chronic skin conditions and melanin-rich skin. Inspired and formulated with botanicals and versatile fruits from African and Middle Eastern traditions, their products are clinically effective with clean ingredients that are backed by science and powered by botanicals.
Courtesy of Mona Bahraini
Mona Bahraini, Owner of PPBody
PPBody is skincare simplified with formulas that are true to nature, using the power of cacti to heal. Mona Bahraini, the founder, grew up in Arizona, where they used prickly pear, aka nopales, for everything from eating to topical benefits. As an adult, she discovered the power of the cactus fruit; not only is it a superfood, but the oil extracted from the seed is incredible for your skin. Prickly pear seed oil contains a plethora of vitamins, minerals, plant acids, and fatty acids that provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
1. Do less.
The common notion that less is more is true indeed for most of what we do in life, and skincare is no exception. When becoming more aware of proper ingredients that work well for your skin type, it could all be incredibly simple when achieving and maintaining tight yet supple, youthful-looking skin. “The skin industry has convinced the people that we need to have 4-5 daily products applied on the skin, and our skin is screaming at us 'do less,'” states Mona Bahraini. “You only need one or two powerful natural ingredients on your facial skin to make a significant difference."
2. Don't forget to exfoliate.
As mentioned, our skin naturally sheds and regenerates new skin cells; however, nonabrasive exfoliation is an amazing process that can instantly refresh our complexion by speeding up the natural process with noticeably instant results. “Exfoliating not only eliminates the buildup of dead skin cells but also helps encourage your skin to quicken its cell turnover rate to reveal the healthy skin cells below,” Jordan Karim explains.
However, Bahraini has a slightly different take. “Exfoliation is a tricky subject as the skin industry has convinced us that we need to disrupt and exfoliate constantly with scrubs, masks, cleansers, and the list goes on. Our skin also has a natural process of shedding cells and regeneration that we actually prevent and disrupt by doing everything that is trendy.”
"Our skin also has a natural process of shedding cells and regeneration that we actually prevent and disrupt by doing everything that is trendy.”
She continues, “Most exfoliants strip your skin of the natural oils it needs to help natural skin tissue regeneration and dries out your skin which then means you need to add more product to your face to lubricate it after you strip it, it does not make sense to the body at all, but it sure makes sense to the pockets of big box skin industry.” When it comes to exfoliation, Bahraini suggests going the natural route without stripping the skin of essential oils.
3. Maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Do you notice people who live well past their 80s and 90s typically have one thing in common? Healthy lifestyle habits go a long way, quite literally. Easier said than done, one way to ensure ageless skin is by practicing a lifestyle of self-care from the inside out. “Reduce the amount of alcohol intake and drink more water. Use sunscreen. Have a couple days a week where you do not make healthy food choices, but most days of the week, you should be incorporating walnuts, avocados, blueberries, honey, olive oil, lemon, red onions, fish, deep leafy greens like kale, spinach, and arugula,” Bahraini advises. Easier said than done for most, eliminating alcohol is a long-term solution for achieving ageless skin.
4. Don't forget your neck.
For most women, the first signs of aging begin to appear at both the hands and neck, caused by various environmental stressors. With noticeably dry, thin skin beginning to appear in both of these areas, I frantically began my search for anti-aging ingredients that would tighten and brighten my newfound problem areas. “Vitamin C and Gotu Kola are great ingredients to look for in anti-aging products," Karim shares. "Flora & Noor's Vitamin C Collection will give you tighter, brighter, and hydrated skin which includes a 4-step regimen to promote healthy collagen production using our Boost and Brighten Cleanser, Vitamin C Resurfacing Toner, Bright Side Serum, and the Super Glow Moisturizer."
Courtesy of Flora & Noor
Flora & Noor doesn't use retinol since it's not halal. However, the company created a plant-based alternative. Karim continues, "Gotu kola, a plant-based retinol alternative which, is another great ingredient for anti-aging. Gotu kola's benefits concerning skincare include decreasing aging signs, promoting tighter and firmer skin, and it is anti-inflammatory using nutritional elements, including beta carotene, amino and fatty acids, and phytochemicals to fight aging signs from setting into the skin."
5. Wash with a gentle cleanser.
Using cleansers with harsh and/or toxic ingredients can do more harm than good to our skin, especially as we age. Recently, I discovered an app called Yuka that helps consumers choose healthier products. Yuka scans a range of products from our favorite brands assessing the health benefits with a rating of harmfulness while recommending healthier alternatives. This is a great option for those who want to get a comprehensive breakdown of harmful ingredients that may be in our favorite cleansers.
In addition to Yuka, to avoid products that may do more damage to our delicate skin, Bahraini suggests going back to the basics. "At night, if you wore makeup, use a natural baby shampoo to lightly remove makeup. Most cleansers that remove makeup strip your skin of everything good, which makes your skin's job much harder."
She recommends washing your face with water only, especially if you do not wear makeup, and applying a morning and night oil with only a couple of drops to balance out natural oil production, even with oily skin.
6. Moisturize every day.
Dry skin can significantly advance the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, which is why moisturizing every day is essential to slowing down premature aging. We’ve learned that cleansing can strip our skin of vital oils and nutrients, so following up with a moisturizer traps water in our skin, giving it a more luscious youthful appearance. This should become a routine habit within our skincare regime. However, Bahraini explains it takes more effort than using just any moisturizing product.
Bahraini suggests PPBody’s night and morning formulas reduce wrinkles formation, tighten existing wrinkles, lighten dark spots, minimize bags under the eyes, and provide deep hydration for an ultimate natural glow. “Cream-base moisturizers do not penetrate skin the way oil does as most are stuffed with fluff ingredients and water. Another key ingredient, prickly pear seed oil, is non-comedogenic, which means it does not block pores and fully penetrates all skin types with a plethora of vitamins, minerals, plant acids, and fatty acids that provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.”
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Featured image by Olga Rolenko/Getty Images
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.
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Featured image by Giphy