The Only Detox I Need This Holiday Season

Ah, the holidays. It’s the most wonderful and my most shameful time of the year, a period of four-ish weeks where I binge on white wine spritzers and mini weenie dogs while battling sleep deprivation and descending slowly in credit card debt (all in unusually festive garb). Given the general overload of consumption and the head-spinning amount of activities that happen during this time period, it’s understandable that I – and many of you, I’m sure – crave a “detox” by the end of the month.

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Ingredient Debrief: Five Facts About Tea Tree Oil

Of all the essential oils out there, I’m betting you’re most familiar with tea tree oil. A widely marketed and disseminated natural ingredient – I mean there’s a whole web page dedicated to tea tree oil shampoos on Walmart.com (!) – it’s a “key” component in both drugstore staples and high-end beauty counter splurges. Yet how much do you really know about tea tree oil?

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5 Uses For Apple Cider Vinegar, A Miracle Product You Probably Already Own

As I sit here drinking a vaguely urine-colored drink – which tastes like pee, too – I ponder the miracle tonic that is apple cider vinegar. I mean, seriously: This stuff is downright magical, despite the fact that it smells kind of rancid and tastes like wee-wee. Not that I know what wee-wee tastes like. I digress!

Apple cider vinegar, aka ACV, has lately become sort of a health and wellness darling, and deservedly so. The benefits are well documented, and wide spanning: You can use ACV, apparently, for anything. Have a yeast infection? Drink some ACV. Breaking out? Dilute some ACV and dab it on. Have a sore throat? Chug the stuff. Heck, I think there’s an argument for saying that ACV is perhaps the most important staple you’ve got in your kitchen pantry.

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Introducing S.W. Basics DIY Skincare Essentials

If you don’t know me, let me explain something. I don’t cook (my husband does, phew). I don’t craft. I don’t sew. I don’t fix things. Ikea furniture gives me meltdowns. I firmly believe two things: store-bought products exist for a reason (so we don’t have to DIY them), and there are a lot of amazing companies out there who make stellar products, by hand, in the U.S., and just like anybody, I like to buy those products.

When you think about it, it’s pretty crazy that S.W. Basics started out as my DIY project.

Seven years ago I started making my own skincare in my kitchen. But not in a “Yay I’m so excited DIY is the TRUTH!” kind of way. It was more like, “Ugh kill me is this really the only option?”

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An Ode to Minimalism

Several months ago I read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and I’ve been obsessed ever since. If you haven’t read it, here’s the gist: Kondo is a professional tidier and consultant (talk about forging your own career path). She’s developed new methods to help people get rid of excess in their personal spaces, with the idea that, “…as you reduce your belongings through the process of tidying, you will come to a point where you suddenly know how much is just right for you.” (Kindle Edition, 90)

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Natural Hair Tips, As Learned When I was 12

Reflecting back on my 12-year-old self there is a lot to cringe about, appearance-wise. I had a unibrow and, to balance that out, I had a massive gap between my teeth. I was a tomboy who spent my days making up music videos to the Jock Jams soundtrack while wearing stuff like oversized t-shirts emblazoned with sea bass (my older brother liked to fish, so I thought that was cool), satin-y Umbro shorts, and Tevas.

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Certifiably Awesome: Meika Hollender, Co-Founder of Sustain Natural

We’ve got a major crush on Meika Hollender, co-founder of Sustain Natural, a sustainable sexual wellness brand. Yup, you read that correctly: a sustainable sexual wellness brand. If that strikes you as an usual categorization, it’s because Sustain Natural – and Meika – are doing some amazing, innovative work in an industry that’s long been in need of some disruption. Hence, the crush.

Let us elaborate: Not only are Sustain’s products created in an environmentally conscious and responsible fashion (for example, they use only fair trade rubber in their condoms) using only non-toxic ingredients, they’re perhaps the only sexual wellness brand that is marketing their products to a bafflingly long-ignored audience: women!

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Are we too obsessed with cleanliness? Let’s get dirty.

We live in a culture that’s crazed with cleanliness. We’re drawn to sterility, perpetually reaching for our hand sanitizers and cringing at the idea of eating something that’s been on the floor. Some of us shower twice a day, and use crazy chemicals and drugs to ensure disinfected spaces and bacteria-free bods. But what if we’re going too far, inadvertently sabotaging ourselves by succumbing to this fanatic decontamination?

Increasingly, evidence shows that those who were exposed to more microbes as children are less likely to have allergies and asthma as adults. This is because we actually build up resistance to harmful bacteria through exposure. Researchers call the idea the “hygiene hypothesis,” proposing that spotlessly clean environments may actually be detrimental to our health. Similarly to working out your muscles to build strength, our immune systems need to be exercised in order to function effectively. Our bodies are entire ecosystems, influenced by bacterial interactions in both our internal and external environments. Overly-sanitizing our spaces or always defaulting to strong antibiotics weakens our immune systems. It’s like trying to ace a test you haven’t studied for, or going into a presentation completely unprepared: Your body simply doesn’t have the tools necessary to defend itself.

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