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Can Stress-Relieving Beauty Products Actually Work?

Beauty
.gif by lindsay hattrick, images courtesy of lush, tata harper, l'occitane, and origins

It might be all in your head, but so’s everything

The mind is the body's most powerful tool, but that tool, well, it gets a lot of use, and so it makes sense that it gets stressed-out. A lot. So it also makes sense that we should take care of our stressed-out minds while we're taking care of the rest of our body. There are many ways of doing this, from going to therapy to engaging in healthier habits to taking exercise classes, but a lot of people have been turning to products like essential oils to help with their stress. But I have to say, before trying any stress-relieving mists or face steams, I was skeptical: Did they really work or did they only make for good #shelfies?

Dr. Alicia Hodge, a Maryland-based licensed clinical psychologist, says that beauty and wellness products that promote anti-anxiety properties aren't backed up by scientific proof. "Beauty products that tout stress-relief claims may be relying more on the power of suggestion than actual efficacy," she says. "Although aromatherapy is an effective practice, research is often divided or inconclusive about how these scents work on the brain or nervous system."

That said, she adds, having a self-care ritual surrounding these products can be a big help in alleviating negative feelings. "I believe that the results with beauty products are related to taking intentional moments to self-care and mental effort to reduce stressful feelings," she continues. "If someone is overwhelmed and reaches for their lavender lotion, they have actively engaged in a coping skill to manage their feelings. There is also a strong connection of scent to memories, so if using a tea tree mask brings on a happy evening, smelling it again can recreate those emotions. So, overall, I am a fan of engaging in a relaxing beauty routine that promotes positive self-care. Ultimately, if it works... it works!"

Dr. Gabrielle Francis, a New York-based naturopathic doctor, chiropractor, acupuncturist, and licensed massage therapist, says beauty products that contain cannabidiol, or CBD oil, are effective in relieving tension and stress. “Decades of research indicate that cannabinoids like CBD interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, a complex system that contributes to a variety of biological processes like inflammation responses, relaxation, sleeping, and appetite. By linking with the two main types of cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, which are found on cells throughout the body, CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, helping it in the regulation of homeostasis—the body’s natural state of balance."

Dr. Francis adds that, though the Food and Drug Administration “does not allow the suggestion of CBD oils as a treatment for any diseases," she often encourages people to do research on its benefits. "The exciting research on CBD has opened up a new window into the endocannabinoid system and its interaction with our immune systems, nervous systems, and endocrine systems. This is only the beginning of a new field of research and discovery on healing.”

Claudia Colombo, a New York-based aesthetician, says that making a quiet space for yourself to perform self-care is a really soothing ritual of its own: "Create a home sanctuary and a quiet place to perform the rituals and use products. Part of why they are doing it is to slow down, to breathe and enjoy the sensations. Don’t rush the process."

She also suggests using products like Herbal Recovery Face Oil by Eminence Organics due to its blend of clary, sage, and lavender, which not only promotes anti-inflammatory benefits for the skin but whose scent and properties work as a natural antidepressant. And she uses Natural Vitality's Calm Bath Salts because they are loaded with magnesium. "Depletion of magnesium can be caused by mental, emotional, and environmental stressors and medications," she explains. "It's an important mineral that needs to be replenished for overall beauty, well-being, and radiant skin." 

If you're interested in trying out some stress-relieving beauty and wellness products for yourself, click through the gallery below to see our favorites. 

photo courtesy of l'occitane

L'Occitane, Aromachologie Essential Oil Relaxing Pillow Mist, $24, available at L'Occitane.

When my anxiety peaks at the end of the weekend (I'm looking at you, Sunday Scaries), this pillow mist helps calm me down. After you spray your pillows, make yourself a cup of (caffeine-free!) tea. You'll be asleep faster than you know it and ready to take the work week by storm. 

Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

"In my head I thought, This is how it ends"

Kit Harington almost lost a lot more than the Iron Throne while filming the final season of Game of Thrones. According to an interview with NowThis News, the actor almost lost one of his balls while riding a mechanical dragon.

Harington revealed that the incident took place when he was filming the scene where his character, Jon Snow, takes a ride on Rhaegal for the first time in the Season 8 premiere. Since dragons aren't real (sorry), Harington was filming the scene, where Jon almost falls off the dragon and then swings around to pick himself back up, on a mechanical contraption.

"My right ball got trapped, and I didn't have time to say, 'Stop,'" Harington said in an interview. "And I was being swung around. In my head I thought, This is how it ends. On this buck, swinging me around by my testicles, literally." We see shots of the fake dragon he's riding in front of a green screen, and it does look pretty terrifying.

Luckily, his testicles remained intact through the near-disastrous event, and he's survived with quite the story to tell to unsuspecting journalists.

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Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for goop

"I had to create a harder shell about being a woman"

In a panel discussion during Gwyneth Paltrow's In Goop Health summit, actress Jessica Alba revealed that she "stopped eating" to avoid unwanted attention from men when she was first starting her career in Hollywood.

According to People, Alba said that she "had a curvy figure as a young girl" and, as such, was made to feel as though her body was the reason that men may be inappropriate toward her. "I was meant to feel ashamed if I tempted men," Alba said during the panel discussion. "Then I stopped eating a lot when I became an actress. I made myself look more like a boy so I wouldn't get as much attention. I went through a big tomboy phase."

She continued, "In Hollywood, you're really preyed upon. They see a young girl, and they just want to touch you inappropriately or talk to you inappropriately or think that they're allowed to be aggressive with you in a way."

Alba also noted that she was raised in a conservative household. "My mom would say, 'You have a body, and it's very womanly, and people don't understand that you're 12,'" she said. "I wasn't allowed to have my nalgas out, which is butt cheeks [in Spanish], but I was born with a giant booty, and they come out of everything. So, I didn't get to wear normal things that all my friends wore."

She said that these reactions to her body really affected her attitude. "I created this pretty insane 'don't fuck with me' [attitude]," she said. "I had to create a harder shell about being a woman."

According to her, her relationship to her body only changed when her first child, Honor, was born in 2008. "[After she was born,] I was like, Oh this is what these boobies are meant to do! Feed a kid!" she said. "And that was the dopest shit I'd ever done. So, I came into my body as a woman finally and I stopped being ashamed of myself."

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Photo courtesy of Teva

Because of course

Teva, the most obvious lesbian footwear brand since Birkenstock, really knows its customer base. In time for Pride, the brand has teamed up with Tegan and Sara for a gay shoe to end all gay shoes. In other words, your Pride footwear is on lock.

The shoe isn't just your average Teva sandal. Tegan and Sara's design, the Teva Flatform Universal Pride sandal, is a 2.5-inch platform shoe with a rainbow sole. Tegan and Sara noted in a press release that they have been Teva wearers for pretty much their whole lives. "We got our first pair of Teva sandals when we were 16," they said. "This rainbow Flatform collab is like full circle LGBTQ+ Pride validation."

What's better, with each sandal sale, Teva will donate $15 to the Tegan and Sara Foundation, up to $30,000. The funds donated will go toward scholarships which will give young members of the LGBTQ+ community the chance to go to summer camps which will "help develop self-confidence and leadership abilities in a safe and nurturing environment." Tegan and Sara added, "Teva's generous support for our foundation will allow us to help even more LGBTQ+ youth."

Available today at Teva's and Nordstrom's websites, the sandal retails for $80.

Photo courtesy of Teva

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Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images

"Focusing on innovative materials will allow the company to explore new boundaries of creative design"

Prada Group has announced that Prada, as well as all of its brands, will now be fur-free. According to a press release from the Humane Society, Prada, Miu Miu, Church's, and Car Shoe will ban the use of fur beginning with the Spring/Summer 2020 collection (aka the Fashion Week coming up next). The list of fashion designers banning fur only continues to grow, with 3.1 Phillip Lim, Coach, Armani, Versace, Gucci, and more having stopped using the material in seasons past.

"The Prada Group is committed to innovation and social responsibility, and our fur-free policy—reached following a positive dialogue with the Fur Free Alliance, in particular with LAV and the Humane Society of the United States—is an extension of that engagement," Miuccia Prada told the Human Society. "Focusing on innovative materials will allow the company to explore new boundaries of creative design while meeting the demand for ethical products."

Following London Fashion Week designers forgoing the use of fur in September and the first-ever Vegan Fashion Week taking place in February, it's easy to imagine an entirely fur-free fashion future. It's especially easy, I presume, for the brands to consider a fur-free future, given that entire cities and states are taking a stance. New York is following in the footsteps of Los Angeles banning fur, with a bill proposed this March that would ban sales across New York State.

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Photo by Johnny Dufort

"Club leisure" is the new athleisure

Alexander Wang is recognizing clubbing as the workout that it truly is with his latest Adidas collaboration. In this fifth installment, he "changes gears," per a press release from the brand, taking the iconic sports brand to the dance floor.

For the new campaign, the collection comes to life in iconic choreographer Tanisha Scott's dance studio and stars dancers Noemi Janumala, Dakota Moore, Avi McClish, and Olivia Burgess. The dancers show just how far these clothes can go when you want to bust a move or stretch, but TBH, I'll leave these poses to the pros and just use my clothes for flexing on the 'gram.

The collection—which features six apparel items, three shoes, and six accessories—features, per a press release, "Wang's knack for pre-styling." Standouts from the mostly black-and-white items include a silver sneaker that was *made* for moonwalking, an airy windbreaker that has just the right dash of bright blue with the scattered Adidas trefoil design, and a towel hoodie that you won't feel bad sweating in.

Ahead of the May 25 collection drop online and in stores, peep the gorgeous campaign images below.

Photo by Johnny Dufort

Adidas Originals by AW, Sweatshirt in Black, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Towel, $80, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Joggers, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Turnout BBall Shoes, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas.

Photo by Johnny Dufort

Adidas Originals by AW, Towel Hoodie, $350, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Sock Leggings, $60, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Adilette Slides, $90, available starting May 25 at Adidas.

Photo by Johnny Dufort

Adidas Originals by AW, Futureshell Shoes in Platinum Metallic, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas.

Photo by Johnny Dufort

Adidas Originals by AW, Sweatshirt in Core White, $280, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Shorts in Core White, $120, available starting May 25 at Adidas.

Photo by Johnny Dufort

Adidas Originals by AW, Sweatshirt in Black, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Bum Bag, $50, available staring May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Towel, $80, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Turnout BBall Shoes, $250, available starting May 25 at Adidas; Adidas Originals by AW, Duffle Bag, $70, available starting May 25 at Adidas.

NYLON uses affiliate links and may earn a commission if you purchase something through those links, but every product chosen is selected independently.


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