I collect panties. Next to lip gloss, it is almost an obsession of mine. I mean, I have so many that I could wear one a day, for about nine months, before ever running out. But as I've gotten older and more intentional about taking care of what I encourage all of my love nieces to call "their treasure box", as much as I hate it—because some of my drawers are super cute—I've been letting my underwear go at a faster pace than I used to. Why? Because as much as I sometimes don't want to accept the fact, just about everything has an expiration date—bras, panties and some of the other things that I'm about to share with you are not excluded from this very fact.
We spend a lot of time on this site sharing things that you can do to be a healthier you. But I'm gonna be real with you, sis—if you've got panties that you've owned since this time three years ago or an entire bathroom drawer that's full of make-up that has the writing missing from it, now is the time to set aside a couple of hours this weekend to do some tossing and replacing. In just a sec, you're gonna see just why I said that and how much better you'll be treating your body if you do.
I recently read somewhere that you can go two weeks before washing your bra. I kind of found that to be interesting since they are on 6-to-whenever hours a day. Personally, I was thinking that once a week made more sense. Anyway, since a bra is designed to give our girls support for hours on end, it makes sense that they would need to be replaced. How often? According to lingerie experts, you can rotate 4-6 of 'em for about a year before it's time to get some more.
Signs that you need a new one? If your bra hikes up your back, if the outline of it shows through your tees (that usually means that the fabric has stretched out), if your breasts don't look as "perky" as they used to, if your breasts are sweating more (a good bra will minimize that), or if you continuously have to readjust your bra, put a budget aside (because good bras ain't cheap, chile). It's time for a new set.
Just think about what panties go through on a daily basis. Our vaginas are self-cleaning, so panties are catching discharge. Pubic hair sheds, so there's that. Even the best menstrual cups can cause leakage if we're not careful. Whether we choose to admit it or not, all of us, as my grandmother used to put it, "break wind", 10-20 times a day (which leaves tiny particles of fecal matter behind). So yeah, if ANYTHING needs to be replaced fairly regularly, panties would be it!
How regularly? Although I laughed when one gynecologist said that we probably wouldn't die if we wore them until they practically fell off, the general consensus that I saw was it's time to get new ones every six months. Of course, if they don't fit well, the elastic wears out or they carry a stench (even after washing them) before then, get some new ones sooner.
One more thing, since there is "a tenth of a gram of poop in the average pair of underwear" and "about 100 million E. coli in the wash water" of a washing machine that can easily transfer over into your new load of laundry, this is one reason to strongly consider washing your panties by hand. Just something to think about. Hard.
Our eyes are precious. That's why we need to be extremely careful about what we put near or on them. As far as mascara goes, the FDA says that each tube of mascara should only be used for three months before tossing it out. And, definitely don't keep any mascara around if it has dried out and/or you're spitting on the wand in order to "make it work" again. Whether you realize it or not, you're practically begging for bacteria to get into your eyes and that could lead to a big ole' infection.
(By the way, pencil eyeliners should be replaced every 6-9 months, and liquid eyeliner should be replaced every three months, for reasons similar to mascara. Eyeshadows are cool for two years, so long as you keep the lids on them securely closed after every use.)
It's not like you only apply lipstick right after your brush your teeth and exfoliate your lips, right? This means that every time you reapply, some sort of bacteria is going onto the tube. After months of that, coffee cups, water bottles and kisses, germs can really start to pile up. Plus, lipstick is at its best when it's stored in a cool dry place; our purses and glove compartment aren't always that. For all of these reasons, it's best that you replace your lipsticks once a year.
Whether it's liquid or cream, foundation is not built to last forever. After about 10 months or so, the color and consistency are not as good as they were when you first purchased it. That's why it's best to cop some new foundation every 12 months or so; sooner if it cakes up or looks "weird" in natural light.
Oh, and for the health of your skin, try and avoid applying foundation with your fingers as much as possible. There's no tellin' how much bacteria is on your hands and nails. You can reduce the risk of breakouts by applying it with a make-up brush instead.
Speaking of make-up brushes, if you wash yours once a week and you spent more than a couple of bucks when you bought them, they should be able to last you a good five years. The key is to gently wash them, let them air dry (they should be hanging down so that the water doesn't drip all over the handle), and to look for signs that they are wearing out—like not feeling full and soft or the handle showing clear signs of wear and tear.
Something that I recall doing every couple of weeks was washing my hairbrushes in some liquid castile soap. It makes sense since brushes not only help to style our hair, but they also remove debris, dandruff, residue from hair products and all sorts of other random crap from our heads.
If you get a quality brush (especially if it contains natural bristles), its shelf life can last a few years. But that's only if you wash it regularly, remove hair from it every time that you use it and you store it properly. Still, with the wear and tear that brushes take, it's still a good idea to replace yours every 3-4 years.
When I was growing up, it was a given that every Friday, bedding was going to be changed. Most of us probably just do it out of habit, but if you stop and think all of what you're laying down on after say, day five, you might want to change your sheets more than that! First, we all shed 30,000 dead skin cells a day and 6-10 hours' worth of those are in bed. Then there's the fungus and bacteria that we naturally carry, along with, again, the tiny particles of fecal matter that land on our sheets, every time we pass gas (if you sleep naked or with someone who sleeps naked). Not to mention the drooling, hair products and hair shedding that happens to our pillowcases.
Yeah, bedding takes quite the beating. That's why you should wash your sheets and pillowcases no less than once a week (some experts say pillowcases should be washed 2-3 times a week), and you should replace your bedding entirely every 2-3 years.
If anything takes a regular lickin', it's our washcloths (if you want to know just how much, check out "The Truth About Washcloths"). So much in fact that, I don't know about you, but I use two different ones—one for my face and one for everywhere else. Since it is a main "tool" that is used to remove all of the "gunk" that our body accumulates throughout the day—and/or night, depending on how many times that you shower—it's a good idea to use a new set of washcloths a couple of times a week.
As far as when you should replace them altogether, it all depends on how often you use them. The fancy stuff that is mostly reserved for guests, since you're probably only using them a few times a year, they can last for five years or so. But the ones that you use on a regular basis? 1-2 years top is how long you should keep them around.
Just because towels are (mostly) used to dry ourselves off after washing up, that doesn't mean they aren't a breeding ground for bacteria too. That's why they need to be washed, along with your bedding, every week. As far as getting new ones go, because they tend to be more durable than washcloths, so long as they aren't fraying or sucking on the absorbency tip, you should be able to keep the ones you've currently got for 3-4 years. Not bad, huh?
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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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