If there is any time of the year when many of us are showing as much skin as possible, the summer season would have to be it. This means two things. One, we've got to make sure that our skin looks as even-toned and healthy as possible. Two, we've got to do whatever we can to protect it from the damage that spending hours out in the summer season sun can potentially bring. This article is gonna tackle both of these points.
It's interesting because, as I was thinking about what to entitle this, "glow" came to mind. I'm glad it did because one definition is "incandescent". Another is "rich and warm in coloring". Still another is "showing the radiance of health". If this is how you want your skin to look right through here, I've got 12 all-natural ways to definitely make that a possibility. Let's do this.
1. Cold(er) Showers
While standing in the shower for long periods of time might feel really good, if your ultimate goal is to retain moisture (and lower your water bill in process), opt for showers in cooler water that lasts for a longer period of time.
The reality is, hot water zaps our skin of a lot of the moisture that it needs. Not only that but cold showers are good at energizing, increasing blood circulation, soothing itchy skin and even upping your metabolism levels.
Listen, no one is saying that the temp has to be as cold as ice. Just opt for cooler than usual. Again, your skin will thank you for it. Plus, it can actually feel really refreshing after a hot summer's day.
2. Tea Bags in Bathwater
If baths happen to be more your thing, when's the last time you dropped a few tea bags into the tub? If the answer is "never", hear me out. Black tea can help to reduce inflammation. Green tea can soothe muscle soreness. Rose tea is loaded with antioxidants. Lavender tea can relax you. Calendula tea is a natural eczema remedy. Orange blossom tea can soften your skin. And that's just for starters. Since tea bags contain dried herbs in their most potent state, it makes perfect sense that dropping a couple of them into some warm water and then soaking in the tub for 15-20 minutes could be super therapeutic for your skin, as well as the rest of your body, right?
3. DIY Body Wash
Of course, you wanna be clean. Still, if there's something that you should strongly consider skipping out on, it's traditional soap. A lot of them contain fragrances that can trigger allergies or dry your skin out. Many also have the detergent sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) in them which can rob your skin of its natural oils, not to mention parabens (a type or preservative) that has been linked to (breast) cancer. For all of these reasons (and more), at the very least, read the labels of the soaps and body washes that you plan on bringing them home. Even better, why not make your own body wash? It's really not as difficult as it might initially sound (I've done it many times before).
A really easy recipe consists of ½ cup of liquid castile soap (it's a really healthy skin-cleansing base that also provides the suds that you may be looking for); one-fourth cup of Aloe vera juice (it's a rich source of antioxidants that can also decrease symptoms related to psoriasis and dermatitis); one tablespoon of grapeseed oil (it's loaded with vitamins C and E to improve your skin's elasticity); one tablespoon of glycerin (it acts as a humectant which will draw moisture from the air), and 10 drops of citrus essential oil and five drops of rose essential oil (both will soften your skin). Put it all in a bottle, shake well and use. It's healthy. It's chemical-free. And you can feel proud that you made it all on your own.
4. Exfoliating Gloves
There are a billion reasons why it's a good idea to exfoliate your skin. It sloughs off dead skin cells. It helps to unclog pores. It will draw out impurities. It can soften the appearance of scars over time. And it definitely can make your skin feel softer and smoother. While body scrubs are definitely a great way to exfoliate your skin (feel free to check out some great recipes here, here and here), on the days when you may be in a rush, wash your body with some exfoliating gloves. They get the job done and are mad convenient.
Special note, though. Because exfoliating gloves do get dead skin cells off of you and we reportedly lose somewhere between 30,000 to 40,000 every minute of the day, it's best to replace them every 4-6 weeks. The main reason is because, sometimes the cells can get trapped in the gloves which, over time, is a lot like…cleaning your kitchen counters with a dirty washcloth (if you catch my drift).
5. Herb-Infused Oil
Something that has brought me so much joy over the past several months is making my own herb-infused oil. I actually started doing it for my scalp and hair; however, I've been easing into applying it to my skin and I definitely have no regrets! The cool thing about applying herb-infused oil is it's a powerful way to get the most potent benefits of the herbs that you choose to use. And just how do you know which herbs will best suit your needs? I won't lie, it takes a minute to do your research. Thankfully, sites like Annie's Remedy can help you out. It's got a list of 400 different herbs and benefits that you can check out here.
Once you've decided on a specific herb (or combination of them) that you want to try, sites like Etsy has dried package herbs that are affordable and can be shipped directly to you (go to the site and put "dried herbs" in the search field). Then you'll need a mason jar, a favorite carrier oil (remember that coconut oil solidifies in cooler temperatures, so you might want to go with something else like sweet almond, avocado or jojoba) and a pot to boil some water in. Then you're good to go (a video on how to infuse your herbs is located here). You can also put your herbs and oils into your jar and let them sit in a dark space for 30-45 days but — who's got time for that? Anyway, it's a lick and then some if you want your skin to glow. Definitely give it a shot. I definitely have not one regret.
6. Or Rosemary Oil
If you're looking for something that is cheaper and quicker, pick up some rosemary oil (a brand that I really like, I pick up at my local Walgreens).
As far as health benefits go, rosemary has the ability to assist when it comes to boosting brain power, relieving pain, increasing blood circulation, decreasing stress levels, soothing joint inflammation and stimulating hair growth. On the skin tip, it's awesome because, not only does it deeply hydrate your skin and, thanks to its antiseptic properties, it can make eczema-related symptoms easier to deal with, rosemary oil is also bomb because it naturally repels bugs.
The ultimate summer skin oil, if you ask me, chile.
7. Homemade Shea Butter Body Butter
When it comes to skincare — especially our skin — I don't know how you could ever go wrong with shea butter. Aside from all of the fatty acids that it contains, shea butter is oh so good for your skin because it deeply moisturizes; it helps to heal damaged skin tissue; it softens the appearance of acne marks and other scars; it speeds up the healing process of pimples; it fights off free radicals; it reduces skin inflammation and, it contains anti-aging properties too.
Sometimes, I'll simply scoop some shea butter out of its container and apply it right after getting out of the shower. Other times, I'll use it as a base for a body butter. That way, I can add some other ingredients and it's oftentimes less oily that way. Some easy recipes can be found here and here. Oh, and if you want to learn how to best formulate body butters so that they are the exact texture that you want (because there are levels to this ish), a comprehensive video is located here.
8. Witch Hazel and Peppermint Spritz
Hands down, one of the cheapest ways to benefit your skin is to cop a bottle of witch hazel, next time you're at your local grocery or drugstore. Usually for under a couple of bucks, you can get something that removes oiliness; dries out pimples (without over-drying your skin in the process); prevents razor bumps; tightens pores; helps to heal bug bites, and tones your skin in a really major way, even from the first time that you use it. If you add to the witch hazel 2-3 drops of peppermint essential oil, the oil's antiseptic and antibacterial properties will soothe irritation, reduce inflammation and help your skin to feel invigorated. I like to combine these and use them as a spritz. It's really great when I put it in the fridge overnight and take it with me when I know that I'm going to be out in the summer sun for a few hours. It pampers my skin and hydrates it too. Another great summer skin hack, if you ask me.
9. DIY Sunscreen
Listen, just because your melanin is poppin', that doesn't mean that you can't experience UV skin damage (check out Healthline's article, "The Sunscreen Gap: Do Black People Need Sunscreen?"). And here's the thing — if you choose to ignore the heads up, over time, that could lead to premature aging or worse, skin cancer. If you're down to apply sunscreen yet you want to use as few chemicals as possible, why not make your own? Wellness Mama is one site that I dig when it comes to natural remedies and DIY tips (you can check out her recipe here). Healthline has some other sunscreen recipes that you might want to peruse here.
10. Lip Gloss
What is the point in your skin looking amazing if your lips are dry, chapped and out here looking a hot mess?
Even on the days when you don't want to put a damn thing on your face, some mascara and a little bit of lip gloss can have you out here looking radiant. Shoot, you can even make your own lip gloss with the help of two teaspoons of castor oil, one teaspoon of vegetable glycerin, a drop of honey and a drop of cinnamon oil. When you're done, put the gloss in a lip gloss container (you can find them at your local arts and crafts stores or at places like Walmart) and apply.
If you want to take even more of a less-is-more approach, dab some shea butter on your lips. It'll keep them pretty and smooth too.
11. Vitamin C-Enriched Foods
Cultivating glowing skin doesn't just happen via what you do on the outside; you've gotta take care of your skin from the inside out at as well. Since Vitamin C is a nutrient that is loaded with antioxidants and it helps to produce collagen (which gives your skin elasticity so that it can continue to appear luminous and youthful), you definitely need to make sure that you get some of it into your system on a daily basis. Foods that are rich in Vitamin C include dark leafy greens, citrus fruits, berries, potatoes, broccoli, melons, kiwi, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower and red and green peppers.
12. Water. Lots and Lots of Water.
We're made up of over 60 percent water so, of course, our skin needs it. Without it, our skin starts to look dull, our pores appear large and it's easier for fine lines and wrinkles to creep up. So, definitely keep a recyclable tumbler of water (even if it's sparkling or infused) with you at all times. It can help to keep your body temperature regulated, your system running smoothly and your skin glowing, naturally, all summer long!
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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 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.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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