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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- Best Lingerie For Your Body Type - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- 10 Women On Why They Stopped Wearing Panties Underwear - xoNecole: Lifestyle, Culture, Love, Wellness ›
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. ;)
How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.
I’m willing to bet that this is not the first time you’ve seen this couple. Dalen Spratt is a television producer, owner of a tailored men's suit line, and creator of Ghost Brothers: Haunted Houseguests, which is currently streaming on Destination America. Stacey Spratt is also a serial entrepreneur, focusing mostly on events and the nonprofit world, and she is the owner of two award-winning craft beer bars called Harlem Hops. But their accolades are not what united them.
The couple met years ago at their alma mater, Clark Atlanta University, when they were still working to create the life they have now, and if you had told them then that they’d eventually tie the knot, the pair probably would’ve laughed in your face.
Today, they’re new parents, flourishing in their careers, and each others’ “teammates.” When desiring love, Dalen recommends not looking to other couples for advice. And Stacey advises staying true to what you want. “Don’t put age or limitations on love and children. If God could do it for me, why can’t he do it for you?”
Here's How We Met.
How did you meet?
Dalen: We met in 2005 when she was advising the Greek sororities and fraternities in college. She was old as hell in college, and I was a young buck (laughs). Everybody had a crush on her, but I didn’t think much of it. Then, in 2007, we were in the same grad school class, but she still wasn’t trying to see me then either. I had to catch her five years ago; I was very patient.
Stacey: Yeah, everybody in our grad school class called him Young, Fresh to Death because he was always dressed in B-school (what CAU affectionately refers to as business major classes), and we’d just wear sweatpants (laughs).
So, I know Dalen was always attracted to you. But what about you? Did your attraction to him develop over time?
Stacey: So 2006-2008 – all the years went by. I don’t think we were really thinking about each other at all back then. Years later, I had an event in Dallas, and I booked him to be a speaker. Then, a few years ago, Dalen posted a photo of him on Instagram, and I slid in his DMs. I remembered him being so young and handsome, and I’m like, I should hook him up with my younger cousin. His response was: "If you’re not hooking me up with you, no thank you." But I still thought he was too young at the time, and he started pulling receipts. Taraji P. Henson was dating someone young at the time, Gabrielle Union–
Dalen: First of all, I didn’t do that. You did that.
Stacey: Okay, I did. I thought he was a cutie pie, but that age thing was on my mind!
"Dalen posted a photo of him on Instagram, and I slid in his DMs. I remembered him being so young and handsome, and I’m like, I should hook him up with my younger cousin. His response was: 'If you’re not hooking me up with you, no thank you.'"
Talk to me about the first date. How did he change your mind?
Stacey: Our first date was at Tin Lizzy's in Atlanta. During that time, he was living in Dallas, so it was long-distance. But he came into town, and we just had a good time. We talked a lot, which we still do. It wasn’t anything fantastic.
Dalen: Don’t downplay our first date.
Then, walk me through your courtship. How did you get to the next level? What was that conversation like?
Stacey: I think he knew at age 43 or 44 I wasn’t playing around. But also, I think it just naturally progressed.
Dalen: Yeah, it just happened naturally. And I’m going to be honest, I don’t think initially either one of us thought it would be as serious as it was. She thought I was too young and I wasn’t ready for marriage, kids, and all that. I think we both thought we were just hanging out. But after spending so much time together, a lot of stuff started happening. Like, she had to have surgery early on. It wasn’t just time together; it was intimate time. Next thing we know, we just never left each other. That’s why we still don’t have an anniversary date because we never really asked.
"It wasn't just time together; it was intimate time. Next thing we know, we just never left each other. That's why we still don't have an anniversary date because we never really asked."
What made you want to commit to each other?
Dalen: The moment I knew Stacey was for me was from a phone call. I don’t really like talking on the phone, and I can be really blunt sometimes. But we were talking, and I said, ‘I don’t really feel like talking anymore.’ And she was just like, okay, and hung up. I wasn’t trying to be rude, and she understood that. It sounds bad, but that’s how I knew she just got me. I felt like she could get my random awkward moments, and she does to this day.
Stacey: For me, I liked him as a person. Even when times get rough and tough, I could still like him as a human. He is my best friend. We have time. We laugh until we cry, and it’s just always like that. Even when we get pissed at each other, something happens, and we fix it. Also, how he treats his mother. That’s a momma’s boy, but I’m a daddy’s girl – so I get it. I know how I want to be treated, and I see how he is with her and that’s beautiful.
What are some important lessons you’ve learned about yourself through loving your partner in this relationship?
Dalen: I grew up an only child and she grew up with siblings. So, when you have someone who is used to doing things by themselves, there is definitely a learning curve when you get into a serious relationship. It’s funny now, but it was definitely a process.
Stacey: I agree – definitely the only child thing. There’s times I look at him like, did you ever live with anyone else? That comes from being momma's baby, too. I have to say, my “mother-in-love” spoiled him. But also with Axel (their daughter), that brings another level of patience.
Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images
What was the biggest challenge that you had to overcome together?
Dalen: We’ve gone through a lot within the years we’ve been together. We suffered two miscarriages – I’d say that’s the biggest.
Stacey: Having those miscarriages and trying to understand what’s next and what our options are was a lot. I had two myomectomies (fibroid surgeries), and he supported me through that time. Also, still, it was on my mind that he’s eight years younger than me. I was wondering if I can’t carry [a child] what that looks like for us. We had very real conversations pretty early in our relationship.
"Having those miscarriages and trying to understand what’s next and what our options are was a lot. I had two myomectomies (fibroid surgeries), and he supported me through that time. Also, still, it was on my mind that he’s eight years younger than me."
What do you fight the most about?
Dalen: Nagging. Stacey nags; she’s a complainer. She’s that momma that will look in a room and just hunt for something to complain about. Like, I’m worried for Axel when she's in high school.
Stacey: It’s because I like things to be in place. He leaves stuff all over the place. I can tell where he’s been in the house because something is left around. So he says I’m nagging – but it’s like, just get your stuff.
What are your love languages?
Dalen: Stacey is gifts all day.
Dalen: We’ve talked about this. xoNecole is about to cause problems in our home (laughs).
Stacey: Obviously I love you. *thinks again* It’s words of affirmation.
Dalen: That’s it.
What’s your favorite thing about each other?
Dalen: I’ve always respected her business-mindedness. That may sound superficial, but it’s not because I’ve never been with someone who thinks like me. It’s one of my most treasured things about her. I remember one day, I was just running through ideas with her, and each time Stacey had a suggestion on how I could make it better. It’s just very comforting. She takes whatever I’m doing and elevates it – including me.
Stacey: I love Dalen’s hustle and creativity. He’s been on multiple shows, and he continues to create, produce, and reinvent himself and the product he’s putting out. I love that we can create together and bounce things off each other. Even though we may be in different arenas, there’s nothing he can’t offer me great advice about. I love that drive.
Finally, how did you know it was love?
Dalen: Well – she said it – first. (laughs)
Stacey: And he looked at me and smiled! He didn’t say it back. We were on a trip, out of the country.
Dalen: We were arguing when she said it, and she just threw it out.
Stacey: But we continue to do that. We’ve spent holidays and everything outside of the country.
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Y’all, I ain’t got no lies to tell you. Personally, I am counting down the days until the obsession with resembling Mr. Snuffleupagus (the real ones know) goes away. Not that I don’t think there is something uber-feminine and sometimes even super glamorous about a long, lusty pair of eyelashes — but as one of my favorite quotes goes, “The excess of a virtue can be a vice,” and lashes are no exception. Lawd.
How To Grow Eyelashes Naturally
Besides, I wonder how many people who go overly long and thick on the extensions tip get that over time, that can do significant damage to their natural eyelashes — sometimes irreparably so. That’s why I think it’s important that, if you’re going to add lashes, you take the “less is more” approach. Oh, and if it’s because you wish that your own lashes were longer or fuller, you learn how to make that happen by taking a more holistic approach (while also being patient; it takes between 4-11 months for lashes to reach their fullest potential).
Starting with the following 10 tips on how to grow eyelashes naturally, you will be batting your natural lashes in no time, chile.
1. Take a Biotin and Collagen Supplement
It probably comes as no surprise to you that a supplement that’s associated with hair growth and thickness is the water-soluble form of vitamin B known as biotin. Skin rashes, brittle nails, and hair loss are all signs of having a biotin deficiency. If your lashes seem to be sparse or thinner than you would like, taking a biotin supplement certainly couldn’t hurt.
Speaking of supplements, you might want to add some collagen to your health regimen, too. Since collagen contains amino acids that help to build hair and can help to strengthen weak hair follicles — those are already solid enough reasons to take them for your lashes.
For the record, foods that are high in biotin include mushrooms, sweet potatoes, bananas, avocados, and broccoli. As far as collagen goes, foods that are high in it include bone broth, chicken, liver, berries, and aloe vera (bookmark that aloe vera point).
2. Keep Your Lashes Clean
So, here’s the thing about this particular point: Although you probably wash your face at least once a day (hopefully twice — once in the morning and again at night), if you’re not being intentional about cleaning your lashes, there could be some leftover mascara and other gunk on them that could end up weighing them down and/or drying them out. So, definitely wash them all on their own. Your best bet would be to use a super mild cleanser like baby shampoo so that your eyes don’t end up getting irritated in the process.
3. Condition Them with Aloe Vera
Since aloe vera is high in vitamins A, B12, C, E, and folic acid, that’s already a good reason to want to use it on your hair — and your lashes qualify. Plus, pure aloe vera gel is made up of almost 100 percent water, which makes it the ultimate conditioner for your lashes if you’re looking for something all-natural that will both soften and strengthen your lashes at the same time. To get the best results, a lot of women like to apply a small amount of aloe vera gel to their lashes before turning in at night and then wash the solution off in the morning.
4. Brush Your Lashes (No, Seriously)
Have you ever thought about what brushing your hair does for it? It removes tangles. It gets out debris. It evenly distributes natural oils. It reduces stress. It increases blood circulation. And for all of these reasons, it’s important that you brush your eyelashes on a daily basis. All you need to do is designate a clean wand for nothing but brushing your lashes. Then, whether it’s right when you wake up in the morning or right after washing your face, use the wand to GENTLY brush your lashes. First, do the top of them and then use the wand to lift them up. After a few weeks, you should notice your lashes appearing fuller. (You can check out a brief tutorial video here.)
5. Pay Attention to Shedding
Just like hair sheds on your head (50-100 hairs a day is considered normal), losing 1-5 eyelashes is the average amount to not worry too much about. However, if it happens to be more than that, lash extensions, leaving makeup longer than you should, or even relying on eyelash curlers too much can play a direct role in lash shedding. So, if you notice that your eyelashes are appearing thinner or parse, do a process of elimination first. If nothing changes, make an appointment with your doctor in order to rule out the possibility of other underlying health issues.
6. Apply a Castor Oil and Vitamin E Oil Blend at Your Lash Lines
I’m gonna be real: even though I know that medical experts have a resume to back up their claims, sometimes I will read articles on certain topics and still think they’re being haters. For instance, after reading that a dermatologist (via a Byrdie article) said that applying castor oil to your lash lines can hydrate your lashes, yet it won’t help them to grow, I have to admit that I rolled my eyes. I mean, if castor oil contains protein, antioxidants, nutrients, and fatty acids along with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and hair can benefit from all of these things, how could your lashes not, too?
And while you’re at it, break open one or two vitamin E capsules and add it to the castor oil. Vitamin E helps to reduce hair loss, increases shine, and helps to lock in hydration — all good stuff to know if you happen to use mascaras that contain some type of alcohol in the ingredients (and many of them do).
7. Put Tea Bags on Your Eyes
The herbs and tannins that are in herbal tea can do wonders for your eyes when it comes to doing everything from lightening the appearance of dark circles and reducing puffiness to speeding up the healing process of styes and even pink eye. So, what about when it comes to your eyelashes? Well, I’ve actually read a few places (like here and here) that green tea especially can do wonders for lash growth, in part due the caffeine that’s in it. Listen, some warm bags on tired eyes are the ultimate kind of low-maintenance pampering hack. Try it a couple of times a week. You’ll feel more relaxed, and your lashes could end up growing longer, too.
8. Have “Off Days”
No matter what you put on your lashes, it’s going to add a bit of “weight” to them — and anything that has weight will start to get worn out over time. That’s why it’s also a good idea to give your lashes “off days” from any kind of mascara, serum, or keratin-infused products. Sometimes, simply brushing your lashes and adding a bit of coconut oil (which adds protein) or lemon peel oil (which could accelerate lash growth) is all you need in order to pamper your lashes without the added stress and pressure of makeup. 1-2 days a week of this should be all that you need.
9. Use a Bit of Shea Butter at Night
Something that I’ve been getting into the habit of doing more and more at night is applying a thin coat of shea butter on my lips as well as on my eyelids. The fatty acids alone that are in the butter do wonders for my skin (especially when I use it consistently). Since shea butter has properties in it like linoleic, oleic, stearic, and palmitic acids, as well as anti-inflammatory properties, your lashes can only benefit from the moisture that shea butter offers as well as its ability to increase collagen production (which, again, is great for hair growth and elasticity) and promote stronger hair.
10. Keep Your Mascara Current
It’s kind of crazy that it was five years ago when I wrote, “When Should You Replace Underwear, Make-Up, Bedding, Washcloths & Towels?” for the platform. Anyway, as far as mascara goes, if you’ve got a tube that has been in one of your bathroom drawers for over six months, it really is time to toss it. Why? Because you really aren’t supposed to use mascara for longer than three months before getting a new tube. That’s how you keep bacteria and germs down to a minimum and the solution from getting so thick that it ends up being heavier on your eyelashes than it should be.
Oh, and if you’re looking for the kind of mascara that will help your eyelashes to grow longer, make sure that keratin is listed in the ingredients, along with peptides, vitamin B, and water (water should actually lead the pack). That way, you can be confident that while your lashes are appearing thick and full, they are receiving just what they need to gain some length over time too. Now wink one time if you feel me. LOL. #wink
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