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Ebony Magazine just topped Sports Illustrated's curvy cover


This month, Ebony Magazine is taking the reins by featuring four gorgeous, full-figured ladies on its cover as part of their "body brigade" campaign. The ladies we're talking about are Orange is the New Black's Danielle Brooks, fashion designer and blogger Gabi Gregg (aka GabiFresh) and singers Jazmine Sullivan and Chrisette Michele. They stand together, bold and fierce, sporting a style that can only be described as "hot military." Statements they made about owning their size and shape sit below or above them. Perhaps the most affecting is Chrisette Michele's — "I'm way more than the physical."

More10 models changing how we view women's bodies

Ebony cover

Ebony cover

It's wonderful to see that after way too many years of body-shaming and eating disorders to fit the "beauty standard," things in the modeling world are finally changing for the better. Emme, America's first plus-size model told ABC, “There’s a whole line of beautiful young ladies right behind Ashley who are not going to make this a trend. They’re all going to be a part of this beautiful momentum, rolling forward, for women and girls and, quite frankly, for the men who love them.”

MoreAshley Graham embraces her 'thigh jiggle' in a powerful way

That movement is happening now, and this month, these amazing black artists are at the forefront. Danielle Brooks in particular is really feeling how her industry is changing its views on larger women. On Orange is the New Black, she plays a character who viewers can't get enough of, and it has nothing to do with her size. In fact, her weight and/or shape is never a focus on the show at all. As a result, she's not boxed in as the funny friend or secondary character — her story lines are just as important and compelling as the skinny girls' story lines.

"People's beauty standards [are] something I've definitely struggled with in my life. And I'm just so grateful to be on a show where people love me, Taystee, for who she is — and they've come to love Danielle for who I am, and it's not because I'm a size 2 and it's not because I'm light-skinned with long hair," Brooks told People.

According to the Ebony feature on the "body brigade," African-American women are the most obese group in the country, and 80 percent of the population is considered overweight. That's a lot of women who are likely dealing with body issues. As such, covers like this could not come at a better time. Yes, striving for a healthy weight is important, but being over the "average" doesn't automatically mean you're unhealthy. It's important that these women see all body types being upheld as beautiful.

MoreBody types are not fads, so let's stop treating them that way

Two young women explain why they got plastic surgery in their 20s


Jennifer*, 24, from New York City, who asked that her name be changed, says she was 23 when she opted for her first plastic surgery procedure — a laser facial called Clear + Brilliant that fights signs of aging and gives you a healthy and radiant glow. While receiving a treatment, the offer of Botox was made and, curious, Jennifer agreed to spend $250 for a small amount to be injected into her forehead to smooth fine lines. She has since had three rounds of Botox and admits that, while she didn't have actual wrinkles on her skin beforehand, the procedure makes you look as if you are wearing airbrushed makeup.

"It’s not like it was in the '90s,” she says of plastic surgery. “Your face doesn’t look frozen.”

Jennifer has also had lip fillers to increase the volume in her top lip, a procedure she says required about 10 days of downtime, but still didn't look unnatural and wasn't immediately obvious to her family and friends.

And, speaking of family, what does her mom think about all of this?

"My mom said, 'I can’t believe you’d do that to yourself, you’re beautiful,'" Jennifer says. "But she’s so old-fashioned."

In her mom's defense, once upon a time, plastic surgery belonged to real-life Real Housewives, celebrities and Fifth Avenue dames who could afford to nip and tuck prior to The Met Costume Institute Gala. Similar to how Edwardian society dictated that only the wealthy should have access to couture, the unspoken understanding was that in-office procedures separated the haves from the have nots. And, notwithstanding the occasional Beverly Hills teen's nose job, it was also strictly the domain of mature women who had earned their wrinkles and were in the position to then say, thanks, but no thanks, I'll be giving these back now.

But the plastic surgery industry has changed dramatically in recent years — some say for the better, since relatively affordable procedures like Botox and fillers have created a more democratic atmosphere in which a greater number of people from various socio-economic backgrounds, including young women like Jennifer, can adjust their appearances in ways that bolster their self-confidence. But others question whether we've gone overboard and if young celebrities like Kylie Jenner and our selfie-obsessed culture are to blame for driving more and more women in the twenties and thirties to visit a plastic surgeon's office for anti-aging procedures they, arguably, don't even need yet.

When asked whether the youngest Jenner sibling influenced her decision to have lip fillers, Jennifer said she had never really thought about it, but that perhaps simply knowing a woman around her age had plastic surgery made it more acceptable to her and her peers, many of whom she says have also had Botox and procedures to help stop aging before it starts.

"If it’s natural and safe to do there’s nothing wrong with it," Jennifer says. She would also like the stigma attached to plastic surgery to be lifted and says her message to other young women is: "Don’t feel pressure to just accept the way you look just because people think it’s bad to want to make changes. You have to look at yourself in the mirror and you should be happy with what you see."

Dr. Stafford Broumand, board certified plastic surgeon at 740 Park Plastic Surgery, says about one-third of his patients are millennials and that he believes media is playing an increasing role by informing younger women, specifically, that plastic surgery can be helpful, easy and beneficial for their appearance, well-being and work-related progress.

As for what they're asking to have done — the procedure requests vary greatly.

"Most young women are looking for fat reduction by liposuction for problematic areas," Broumand says. "Breast surgery, either to make the breast look moderately larger to feel in balance/proportion or breast reduction to relieve and eliminate back, neck, and bra strap pain. Younger patients also opt for breast reduction surgery because of the negative stigma of too large, pendulous breasts. They also come in frequently for Botox to remove forming wrinkles, and filler for deeper wrinkles and lip augmentation."

More: Woman spends $14,000 to look like a Disney princess (LOOK!)

Like Jennifer, Ava, 28, from Wayne, N.J., who also asked that her real name not be used, has had Botox on her forehead, laser facials and rhinoplasty, which was the first procedure she had done when she was 16.

"My visible difference was huge and it affected my confidence a lot at a fragile time (high school)," Ava says. "Just goes to show you how bad I wanted it, because it's not easy to step back into high school after a school break looking different and trying to deny it."

Since her teen years, Ava has turned to Botox, which she receives about two times a year, both to promote a smoother complexion and help prevent the formation of new fine lines and wrinkles — something the paralysis effect of the botulism can do by actually training the muscles in your forehead not to "lift" in a way that creates new lines.

"I was inspired to get Botox as a precaution to aging — not a crazy amount, just to my forehead and because I was curious," Ava says. "I went with a friend and we thought it was fun and had lunch after. I also feel it's become very trendy. I've heard of people having Botox parties at their house! I looked very 'refreshed' after, as a couple of people told me."

In addition to using Botox as a preventative measure, Dr. Normal M. Rowe of Rowe Plastic Surgery says young patients are also using it to control sweating in armpits/ hands/feet — or even, more recently, in the scalp to help blowouts last longer.

"Many of the young women bring in celebrity photos and ask if they could get the same done or expect the same results after a procedure," Rowe says. "That, however, is not only the young women — many older women refer to celebrities and ask if they could look or sometimes not look like them."

The increasing number of non-invasive procedures, including chemical peels, fractional/fraxel facials that eliminate acne scars and improve skin texture, as well as minimally invasive fillers, has resulted in Rowe seeing about 15-20 percent more young patients in his office, compared with 10 percent from the past.

More: I had 8k in facial plastic surgery and it did wonders for my self-esteem

It's certainly a brave new world out there and we may find, in a few years' time, that plastic surgery is viewed as little more than another skin care tool, not like retinol and glycolic peel pads, that we add to our regimen. But, for now, the stigma has yet to be lifted, as is evident by these two young women not yet feeling comfortable enough to reveal their identities. It's only a matter of time before that changes.

Former self harmers get powerful tattoos to cover the scars


Develle is an avid Instagram user and posts many gorgeous photos of her work there. As such, she already had a pretty sizable following. However, those numbers went up significantly when she posted this message on her page last week:

Free tattoo

Free tattoo

Apparently, she had previously put out a message to offer free tattoos to victims of self-abuse, but got such an overwhelming response, she had to amend it.

More15 beautiful tattoos that look like watercolour paintings

"I am only able to provide around 50 free day sittings, 1-2 each week until the end of the year. Please note that given the overwhelming amount of beautiful people out there, I have decided to dedicate more of my time to offering highly discounted rates to anyone who is seeking to move forward from their past and embark on a new beginning," Develle wrote on Instagram.

One to two free tattoos a week for a year is still a pretty incredible gift to give total strangers. However, she had no idea the post would go viral, and has since been flooded with requests. As she is only one woman, she can only take on so many, but she still plans to offer as many sharply discounted tattoos to people who have suffered self-harm as she can.

self-abuse tattoo

self-abuse tattoo

Since the post went viral, Develle and a friend have been replying to the truckload of email requests night and day. While she's certainly moved by how many people her post has touched, it also saddens her, because that means there are a huge number of self-harmers out there.

“The hardest part was that statistically probably 98 percent of [those who had written in] were people who had self-harmed," Develle told 9 News Australia. “Majority of them were too scared to speak with a tattooist out of fear of being judged.”

MoreArtist covers domestic violence scars by offering women free tattoos

arm tattoo

arm tattoo

Develle said the idea to offer these pro bono tattoos came from a friend who self-harmed as a way of coping with an eating disorder. While she's emotionally worked through it, she still has these marks of shame on her body. When people point them out or ask her about them, it's as if she's confronted by her past all over again. Putting a tattoo over these scars gives people a chance to start a new conversation about art and creativity, rather than personal troubles that are no longer an issue. Her friend was one of the first to receive a scar-covering tattoo, and was delighted with the results.

“[Afterwards] people were asking her about her tattoo. The scars became irrelevant — a thing of the past," said Develle.

Develle's tattoos are turning an ugly past into a beautiful present. Now all she needs is to hire more staff to meet her already overwhelming workload for the year!

MoreSan Diego body-art shop focuses on mastectomy tattoos

8 retro fashion finds that don't require buying secondhand


1. Hi-rise straight leg jean

Hi-Rise straight leg jean
Image: Jordache

The high-rise, wide-leg cut isn't just for trouser pants anymore. Get the Farrah Fawcett look without going through your mother's "high school memories" clothes box (although we recommend doing that, too). (Jordache, $108)

2. Ray Ban Round Flash Lenses

Ray Ban Round Flash Lenses
Image: Ray Ban

Before Kendall Jenner repopularized these lenses, John Lennon started a round frame revolution. (Ray Ban, $170)

3. Multicolored Bandana Scarf

Multicolored Bandana Scarf
Image: Zara

Add a pop of color to your outfit with this festive (and budget-friendly) scarf that you can easily pretend is vintage. (Zara, $13)

4. Ankle cut jeans

Ankle cut jeans
Image: Alexia Chung for AG

This ankle crop is the younger, slimmer sister of the mom jean — which means it's easier to find a flattering fit. Don't these seem like a great "first day of spring" pant?" (Alexa Chung for AG, $215)

5. Midi skirt

Midi skirt
Image: ModCloth

This sweet skirt looks straight out of Mad Men, but feel free to wear it to your executive job. (Modcloth, $59)

6. Choker necklace

Choker necklace
Image: Urban Outfitters

Maybe the #1 retro trend of the moment right now is the choker, back from where we buried it in the early 2000s. (Urban Outfitters, $20)

7. Hi-tops

Image: Vans

Our favorite shoe styles are also coming back in new and innovative ways, like this Aloha print on the old-school Vans hi-tops. (Vans, $70)

9. Lapel pins

Lapel Pins
Image: Etsy

No '80s biker jacket or acid wash jean jacket is complete without your accent pins. Find a pin or patch to match your every personality quirk on Etsy, like this Drake Tears one. (Etsy, $10)

The genius way one stylist uses the Beauty Blender to dye hair


The Beauty Blender has long been our go-to for applying concealer and foundation, but some outside-the-box thinkers have found ways to hack it for other uses.

More: The truth behind the crazy haircut video taking over Facebook (WATCH)

Case in point: Celebrity hair stylist Jamie Stevens uses the sponge to apply hair dye with a strobing effect.

strobing 3

strobing 3

He starts by cutting the sponge in half and then uses the blunt side to apply streaks of bright color to a model's hair.

strobing 2

strobing 2

The result — as you can see on Instagram — is an awesomely edgy style that shows off the multicolor dye job.

More: Cobra braid ponytails are the hair trend to master for spring

Why does it work? It's simple. "The soft and round edges of the blender means that the applied color blends into the hair so you don't get random splodges of color," Jamie Stevens Salon head colorist Tasha Stevens told Cosmopolitan UK.



And it's flattering for all skin types and highlights natural bone structure.

"The application of contrasting tones, applied sporadically over the existing color, helps to enhance the haircut which in turn brings out the features in the face," she said.

More: Cutting out shampoo and conditioner could be the best thing for your hair

Leonardo DiCaprio's mom's armpit hair is causing mayhem

baby leo and family

baby leo and family

I get it. We love to scrutinize anything celebrity related because it feels good to bring stars down a notch. That's why there are magazines entirely dedicated to pointing out celebrity flaws when they dare to bare their bodies on the beach or in the privacy of their own homes. It's like, the moment anyone achieves a "star status," it's automatically OK to magnify any possible embarrassment for the sake of spectacle news.

More: Man Crush Monday: A look back at Leonardo DiCaprio's best roles through the years

But this has just gone too far. For one thing, it's a lovely photo from DiCaprio's childhood that depicts a very happy-looking couple enjoying their young son. Are they also on the hippy end of the spectrum? Sure! It was the '70s, and the family lived in California, where women's lib was widespread, so it makes sense that they'd be more loose and free-spirited. But even if they didn't fit that stereotype, would it be right to criticize his mother for not taking a blade to her underarms? Absolutely not.

If his father had been shirtless and showing a little underarm hair, you can bet there'd be no negative comments about it whatsoever. However, because the hair is on a woman, that automatically seems to give people the right to call her "gross," "unladylike" and "lazy" because she's not upholding the outdated female beauty standard of bare pits.

More: Women rocking armpit hair is sexier than you think (WATCH)

Fortunately a large portion of the social media community immediately started rallying around DiCaprio's mom's decision to go au naturel. Here are some of the great positive comments that appeared in response to the initial mean commentary.

Leo DiCaprio's mom

Leo DiCaprio's mom

armpit crime

armpit crime



The point in all this is that it's such a silly thing to be making a fuss over. We're in the middle of an incredibly important election season — this should be way farther down on the media priority list.

However, as long as we live in a culture that gets its kicks from judging others so we in turn feel more superior, petty controversies like this are bound to spring up. I suppose the only thing we can really do to quell them is to just not get into the conversation, because there are always trolls out there looking for more sparks to fuel their unhealthy anger.

More: Covering your armpits in glitter is a trend now

12 expert-approved steps to smoother skin


1. Less is more

According to Dr. Jessica Krant, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Art of Dermatology on 5th Avenue, as well as assistant clinical professor of dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York City, the first step to smoother skin is to stop doing everything you're doing now.

"Remember that sometimes less is more. With all the constant marketing of anti-aging products and systems now, sometimes we think the more we do, the younger we'll get. Sadly, sometimes that can work against you. Too many anti-aging products or procedures can actually make the skin more irritated, red, and flaky and produce the appearance of more fine lines due to deep dryness and microscopic swelling. So first, stop everything."

2. Wash less

You may think the key to smooth skin is a super clean face, but that's not true. In fact, too much washing will probably do more damage than good. "It's important to gently remove makeup and actual dirt from the skin, but it's a bit of a myth that we have to scrub ourselves squeaky clean two or three times daily," says Krant. "Sometimes overwashing can produce the same overdryness and irritation that anti-aging products can create. When we wash too much and strip away the skin's natural, healthy, moisturizing oils, we create redness and flakiness, and the skin actually gets a counterproductive signal to start producing more oil to keep itself protected. This is how we can end up both dry and oily at the same time. Reduce the amount of cleansing and let the skin relax."

One more thing -- when you do cleanse, Dr. Neal Schultz, NYC dermatologist, host of DermTV.com and creator of BeautyRx by Dr. Schultz, says, "Make sure you use a toner after your cleanser to synergize with your cleanser in removing clogging dirt, debris, oil and dead skin cells and to remove cleanser that your water rinse didn't remove."

3. Don’t squeeze

We know it's tempting to squeeze and pick at any zits that happen to show up on your face, but don't. "Manage acne gently, with help from your dermatologist, not your fingertips," says Krant. "Anything you pick and and try to solve yourself will only last much longer and risk being permanently scarred. The right dermatologist can help you with an easy, ongoing preventive regimen that will help more."

More: How to tell if your zit is an acne cyst or a pimple that will heal itself

4. Exfoliate (but not too much)

If you really want smooth skin, get rid of the dead, flaky skin on the surface. "It's a myth that exfoliation can dry or thin the skin," says healthy skin care expert and Skin Authority CEO Celeste Hilling. "Regular exfoliation speeds up the cell turnover process, allowing the body to produce moisture-bearing properties like hyaluronic acid. Exfoliation also helps to plump the skin by churning up elastin and collagen production."

Hilling recommends using a natural resurfacing agent such as glycolic acid to gently dissolve dead surface skin cells so they can be replaced with new, plump ones. Dr. Schultz agrees, saying, "Yes, exfoliating is important, but it must be with a glycolic exfoliant gentle enough to be able to use daily (yet still effective!) because the dulling dead cells re-accumulate each day."

5. Clean your brushes

How often do you clean your makeup brushes? Probably not often enough. Dirt, grime and oils left in the brushes can cause breakouts, leaving your skin far from smooth. Fortunately, it's easy enough to clean them yourself using a simple bar of soap.

Note: Steer away from scented body soaps and go for a natural soap like those offered by South of France Natural Body Care to remove the gunk without leaving anything behind. They’ve got all the steps for proper brush cleaning laid out on their blog, The Soap Dish.

6. Eat clean

Turns out that your mother was right -- you really are what you eat, and your skin may be a perfect reflection of your inner health. According to Dr. Michelle Yagoda, NYC facial plastic surgeon, aesthetic integrative beauty expert and co-creator of BeautyScoop, "Foods rich in lean proteins and omega-3 fatty acids are especially effective at delivering smoother skin. They aid the skin in retaining moisture and fortify the skin's natural moisture barrier."

Yagoda says a diet with ample beauty super foods can enhance skin texture, hydration, firmness and smoothness. She suggests a diet of foods rich in:

  1. Lean protein (salmon, tofu, soy, sardines)
  2. Omega-3 fatty acids (almonds, salmon, sardines, walnuts, flax seed)
  3. Antioxidants for rapid skin repair like vitamins A, C and E (carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, berries)
  4. Minerals like magnesium and zinc, which facilitate hyaluronic acid production to provide unsurpassed skin hydration (soy, kale, carrots, pumpkin seeds, whole grains)
If you're looking for the easy version of a healthy diet for glowing skin, at the very least, try Joanna Vargas' favorite clear skin tip. Vargas, celebrity facialist and founder of Joanna Vargas Salon and Skincare Collection, says, "Drink a green juice every day. It will be a great replacement to your afternoon coffee, and it will literally transform your skin in a matter of days. It helps oxygenate the skin and stimulates lymphatic drainage, so it's de-puffing too!"

7. Hydrate

There are a million reasons you should reach for that glass of water, and smoother skin is one. "To have smooth, soft skin, it's really important to drink enough water or other nondiuretic fluids during the day. When you are well hydrated, skin is smoother and more elastic," says Stephanie White, founder and president of Become International.

8. Use sunblock

We all know it's important to use sunblock for health reasons, but it'll go a long way toward keeping your skin smooth, too. "Use sunblock religiously," says White. "Sun damage creates wrinkles and coarsens the skin. Find a sunblock you like that is made for the face, preferably with natural ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide."

More: 15 Makeup products with SPF to keep skin safe in summer

9. Moisturize

We can't say this enough: Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research for the Department of Dermatology at Mt. Sinai Medical Center, agrees. "Moisturize twice daily," he said. "It will improve skin hydration and seal in cracks between dry cells on the surface of the skin."

This moisture factor can make or break the smoothness of your skin, especially depending on the season, says Dr. Omar Ibrahimi, founding medical director of the Connecticut Skin Institute in Stamford, Connecticut. "Steaming hot showers, particularly in the wintertime, drain the skin of important moisturizers such as ceremides. Taking lukewarm showers and religiously applying a gentle moisturizer within three minutes of getting out of the shower will help keep your skin nice and hydrated," he explains.

10. Go natural

The solution to smoother skin isn't always to be found on a drugstore shelf. Sometimes, the simplest, most natural products have the power to make you glow. Alexis Wolfer, founding editor in chief of TheBeautyBean.com, has some suggestions for natural ways to get smoother skin. "Make a yogurt mask," she suggests. "Apply a thin layer of full-fat Greek yogurt to your face and let it dry for about 20 minutes before rinsing with warm water. The lactic acid helps break down dead skin cells while the fat deeply moisturizes."

Vargas provides her own recipe that also uses yogurt as a preferred DIY skin-smoothing ingredient. She explains, "The yogurt in this mask acts as an anti-inflammatory, and the lactic acid peels the skin. Strawberry tightens the pores, and the almond powder is a gentle scrub to get the pores nice and clean. I recommend using it twice a week."

First, rub a cotton ball with raw apple cider vinegar on the area that is breaking out, and follow with this mask:

  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mashed strawberry
  • 1/2 cup almond powder

Mix together and apply to the entire face. Use the almond powder to scrub the t-zone, where it tends to be oilier and where teens have the most blackheads. Let the mask sit for 15 minutes and rinse.

More: 5 Bad habits you need to break if you want clear skin

11. Take extra care at night

Your skin needs extra care at night, so don't use your daytime moisturizer before you go to bed. According to Dr. Joshua Zeichner, you should look for a moisturizer that includes a retinoid. "It stimulates collagen growth and normalizes skin cell turnover," he says.

12. Try a treatment

When all else fails, there's no shame in your game if you feel that your skin needs some outside help. While less may be more when it comes to daily skincare, as Dr. Krant points out, there are specific situations that may warrant a professional treatment -- including discolorations, acne scarring, visible sun damage and the like. Used with many or all of the clear skin tips listed above, Dr. Ibrahimi believes that some professional treatments can help smooth any remaining blemishes that refuse to budge. He says, "Blue low level light therapy has been clinically shown to be as effective as topical acne medications and is a nice adjunct to help obtain clearer skin."

Updated by Bethany Ramos on 2/24/2016

How to revive old nail polish that has thickened


You've set aside the time to do an at-home mani. You've scrubbed and buffed your nails, done your base coat, found a magazine to lean your hands on, and chosen a color. Then... you can't open the bottle. The nail polish has turned thick and goopy. Now what?

We don't want anyone to have to turn back once they've chosen to paint their nails, so we spoke to Katie Jane Hughes, butter LONDON Global Colour Ambassador, about the best way to get an old bottle of polish up to the task again.

If you have the tools at hand, the job is simple, says Hughes. "Try adding a few drops of nail polish thinner. You can find it at any beauty supply store. It’s a cheap and simple way to get the most out of your favorite shade." ZOYA manicurist Naomi Gonzalez-Longstaff recommends Mavala Nail Polish Thinner or Seche Restore.

If you don't have nail polish thinner on hand, dip your polish brush in acetone before sending it back into the bottle. Don't use more than a few drops or you'll get your polish too thin and it won't stick to your nails for long. If your polish is 5 Free, says Gonazlez-Longstaff, acetone will change the formula and make the pigment change. If you're treating your nails right, it's best to re-buy your favorite healthy shade.

Eventually, all good shades must come to an end and if you have to shake the bottle to get lacquer to the brush, Hughes warns that you'll end up with bubbles on your mani. Better to toss and start over with a new, smooth polish.

Why natural beauty should be more appreciated


More: I have struggled all my life to find my natural hair beautiful

This made me ponder the times that I've seen women who naturally have certain attributes but aren't considered as beautiful as those who paid for those same attributes. This has nothing to do with race. It has everything to do with how beauty is perceived.

I am not knocking anyone who changes or enhances their looks via makeup, hair dye or cosmetic procedures. With the exception of cosmetic procedures — which I have not ruled out for myself — I enhance my own looks. I've dyed my hair and had it chemically straightened and heat straightened. I've worn body shapers, and of course I wear makeup. I am no stranger to the world of manufactured beauty.

What I have noticed over the years is that natural is preferred for almost everything but a woman's physical appearance. However, when a woman uses a device, cosmetics or plastic surgery to gain certain attributes, this is glorified.

More: How I finally learned to embrace my dark under-eye circles

I think that, to a certain extent, this is not entirely new. However, with social media, it is more evident that people tend to find enhancements more striking than what nature created.

Take these physical attributes into consideration:

  • Fake bronzed skin is preferred to naturally bronzed skin.
  • Lip augmentation is preferred to naturally full lips.
  • Natural curves are not seen as attractive as augmented breasts and butts.
  • Big hair achieved with a blow dryer, curling iron, teasing comb and hair spray is beautiful and voluminous. On the other hand, a full mane of curls is seen as less desirable and dated (the dreaded '80s hair).
  • For makeup, a fake shine to the face is preferred to a person who has a natural sheen due to sebum production.
  • Even red hair is glorified more in the media when it comes from a salon or box rather than a woman's own hair follicles.

Do not mistake what I am saying here. There is nothing wrong with these enhancements. But why does it feel like a woman is not seen as beautiful when she naturally has these attributes? For me, natural and artificial enhancements can be both attractive and not so appealing, depending on the person. Yet I have to wonder if the artificial gets more love because there is an actual monetary value, a price tag, attached to it.

More: 10 gifts for women of color who absolutely love makeup

Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau wears Canadian designers on her Washington visit


More: Has Trudeau lived up to his promise to be a feminist PM?

Some Canadians called out the PM's wife for wearing a stunning embroidered blue and gold Oscar de la Renta dress in a Vogue photoshoot with her husband after his election into office, shaming her for not using the opportunity to draw attention to Canadian designers.

Canada's "First Lady" has used her newfound status as a style icon (she's drawn favorable comparisons to Kate Middleton, Michelle Obama, Jackie Kennedy and even her husband's mother) to do just that. On her recent trip to Washington Grégoire-Trudeau wore a selection of outfits from Canadian designers with diverse backgrounds and kept things low-key by pairing her looks with affordable Canadian accessories.

Grégoire-Trudeau was turning heads from the moment she stepped off the plane at Andrews Air Force Base, wearing a pantsuit by the Montreal-based Vietnamese-Canadian designer DUY.

Sophie Trudeau
Image: Adam Scotti/PMO
Sophie Trudeau
Image: Adam Scotti/PMO

Grégoire-Trudeau sported Canadian accessories as she deplaned. The purple "Mini Milck" clutch she carried from Ela Handbags is already sold out, but you can buy Ela's mini clutches in other colours (prices are in the $300 range). And she strutted off the plane in beige Aldo pumps ($100).

Sophie Trudeau White house bag and shoe combo
Image: Ela Handbags, Aldo

For the White House visit, Grégoire-Trudeau shared some laughs with Michelle Obama in a red and fuchsia dress with an asymmetrical floral pattern by Romanian-born designer Lucian Matis. Grégoire-Trudeau's dress was featured in the Toronto-based designer's Spring/Summer 2016 collection, which Fashion magazine named "Best Collection" at its Spring 2016 Awards.

Sophie Trudeau
Image: Getty Images/Pool

She accessorized her dress with hot pink "Amelia" heels by Canadian designer Zvelle ($285) with pink-on-pink colour blocking and a bright "Warwick" clutch by Aldo ($50) with scalloped detailing.

More: Justin Trudeau's response to the question of gender balance is perfect

Aldo and Zvelle accessories
Image: Aldo handbags, Zvelle

Grégoire-Trudeau finished the look with Canadian designer Dean Davidson's "Sceptre Drop Earrings," featuring sparkly pavé gemstones ($195).

She was also spotted hanging out with the Weeknd while wearing a floral-printed jacket from Canadian designer Ellie Mae's Spring/Summer 2016 collection. The Toronto-based designer has created a line of luxurious jackets that fuse striking vintage-inspired patterns and a distinct street-style inspiration.

Ellie Mae

Ellie Mae

So, what can we glean from the style choices of Canada's new fashion icon? Grégoire-Trudeau isn't afraid to wear bold, contrasting colours and big, lush floral patterns, but she keeps her look classy by going for structured jackets and sleek lines. And her choice of accessories — all under $400 — likely represent a conscious attempt to convey a very clear message to Canadians that she's a woman of the people.

What do you think about Grégoire-Trudeau's fashion choices in Washington? Is she a Canadian style icon? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

More: 6 reasons women support Justin Trudeau

Lane Bryant commercial featuring Ashley Graham banned for being 'too sexy'


Lane Bryant, though, has known this for years and has built its entire brand around providing fashion-forward clothes for plus-sized women long before body acceptance was a thing.

More: Model makes history by being the first bearded woman on the runway

The company's newest campaign — This Body — is an ode to everything a woman's body can do and is centered around a new commercial featuring SI cover girl Ashley Graham and other diverse models like Tara Lynn, Denise Bidot, Georgia Pratt and Precious Lee. The 30-second spot shows the women explaining what "this body" can do — Graham's is “made for being bold, powerful and sexy,” while new mom Lynn is shown breastfeeding and says hers is "made for love."

The commercial is badass and unapologetically in your face, which has proved to be too much for some networks. According to TMZ, several networks have opted out of airing the ad because it shows too much skin.

"As part of the normal advertising standards process, we reviewed a rough cut of the ad and asked for minor edits to comply with broadcast indecency guidelines," a rep for NBC told the New York Daily News. "The ad was not rejected and we welcome the updated creative."

More: Target Australia applauded for their new campaign featuring all body shapes

This isn't the first time a Lane Bryant ad has been banned. Another spot featuring Graham was rejected for similar reasons. Still, the outright rejection of the ad doesn't pass the smell test, according to the company.

"I don’t think these models are any more nude than any other models we’ve seen on TV," a rep told the Daily News. "This was not a hard-hitting conversation about body positivity. This was a playful way to engage our women and all women."

And they're right. Though it does show skin, it's not gratuitous and doesn't show nudity in the slightest — in fact, many television programs routinely show more skin than what was featured in the commercial.

So, is body acceptance not ready for primetime? Seems like it.

"We’ve seen it on the fashion runways and in print for decades, and though we’ve made some progress, a larger size model even today can still raise eyebrows and be seen as ‘imperfect,'" Lane Bryant's CEO and president, Linda Heasley, told Refinery29. "I’m completely confident that the next generation will look back on these days of exclusion and shake their heads in wonder that it was ever common practice."

More: Awesome new photo collections show people of all sizes working out

Why hyaluronic acid could be your ticket to better skin


Hyaluronic acid is a liquid substance naturally present in the body. In humans it's found at its highest concentration in our joints and the liquid inside our eyeballs but we lose it steadily as we age, which is where the roosters come in. Rooster combs are an abundant source of HA and when mixed into creams and serums can provide some skin care benefits.

More: Now we know what causes some women to go gray earlier than others

"The skin starts losing natural hyaluronic acid as young as 18, so it’s important to replenish it," says Brian Zelickson, M.D., a dermatologist and founder of MD Complete Skincare. He explains that many moisturizing and anti-aging skin care products use it as a base because of its plumping properties.

"Hyaluronic acid is a powerful moisture-binding ingredient, which in turn helps keep skin plump and firm," he says. "It attracts and binds water to prevent moisture loss."

One good way to naturally boost your hyaluronic acid levels is to eat it. Bone broth, when made from the joints, skin, connective tissues and bones of chicken or beef, contains a high amount of hyaluronic acid. (Yet another reason to try bone broth if you haven't jumped on the latest superfood trend yet!) The body can also synthesize HA from magnesium, which is found in leafy greens, root vegetables and soy.

But perhaps the most popular way to up your daily dose is to use it in skin creams, serums or even injectables (it's the base for facial fillers like Juvederm and Restylane). When injected it provides immediate semi-permanent results. However, when used as a topical application on your skin it may take longer to see the effects, Zelickson says.

More: Trendy foreskin facial may be the key to youthful skin

"When you use products with hyaluronic acid, the skin looks younger, fresher and more supple. It is an effective ingredients for smoothing wrinkles and fine lines over time," he explains.

And unlike other skin care ingredients, there does seem to be some scientific evidence for the claims. According to a study published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, women using a "nano-hyaluronic acid" (it has smaller particles to better penetrate the skin) for eight weeks showed a significant decrease in the depth of their wrinkles (up to 40 percent), and an increase in their skin hydration (up to 96 percent). In addition, skin firmness and elasticity were improved (up to 55 percent).

It is not, however, a miracle worker. "Hyaluronic acid can improve fine lines over time, as long as the product is reaching deep layers of the skin," Zelickson cautions. He adds it's important to find a quality product and while HA works well on its own, he says it's even more effective when combined with retinol and peptides. (He recommends the Deep Wrinkle Remover from his own line).

More: The latest cosmetic surgery trend for a 'perfect' pout

And despite the word "acid" in the name, it's actually quite gentle and most people have no side effects from it, he says.

Bottom line? It's a simple and non-invasive way that seems to provide some modest benefits to skin as it ages. So if you have the money, patience and realistic expectations, it might be worth a try!

The obession with selfies is focusing on the wrong things


Journalist Fiona Keating expressed concern about the link between narcissism and selfishness, as seen in this International Business Times article. As society gives celebrity, physical appearance, fame, money and youth lots of attention, it is not too much of a stretch to assume that these type of selfies will feed into this concept as well.

More: How the media is promoting unhealthy body image expectations

Giving too much value to what is on the outside instead of the inside is worth discussing, and we need to keep the conversation going so we do not forget where the attention needs to be and we teach our youth how to value inner beauty. Let's not judge others for what they post on social media sites but start to change the way we talk about inner beauty over outer beauty. Selfies, makeup, celebrities and social media are entertaining and fun things to read or look at — not to emulate.

More: Rebel Wilson strikes back at the Kardashians' superficiality

It doesn't matter what you look like, what size you are, how great your makeup is, how much plastic surgery you have or have not had, what type of body you are in, what color your hair is, whether you are tall or short, how much money you make or if you are famous. When thinking about the media's recent uproar over Kim Kardashian posting nude selfies, it is important to remember what is actually significant.

Anyone, including you or me, can post a selfie of whatever they want whenever they want. That is their own choice, and we should not challenge this or say hurtful things to others because of it. However, the thinking on women and empowerment is a bigger discussion. If people are empowered by their body or sexuality, that, too, is their own choice, and no one should judge them.

Looking for inspiration and empowerment from women in areas other than looks might be worthwhile as well. Let’s change the conversation about physical looks and body style, because outside appearance just does not matter. Be proud of yourself in your own skin for who you are, not what you look like.

With the advent of the selfie, which focuses on looks, I pondered what might be posted instead of selfies. How about we focus on other characteristics, such as being a kind person, helping others, making a difference in someone’s life or changing the world for the better? So many women are worth talking about, not for their appearance but for their accomplishments, deeds and beliefs. It might make for wildly popular social-media feuds to admire and discuss physical appearance, but it’s really not that important.  

There are plenty of more important things women contribute to society than physical appearance. This modern list has some amazing women, as does this historical list. And there are plenty of female role models in our own backyards, from teachers to moms, who are just as amazing. We are the ones who can change the conversation.

More: 5 reality-TV shows that celebrate successful women

Swedish company accused of using blackface to promote tanning products


It's also the time when people turn to self-tanners to get a sun-kissed glow. These products are pretty much the same in that they promise darker skin without the sun, but one Swedish company has gone too far with its line of dark hues that many are comparing to wearing blackface.

More: The obession with selfies is focusing on the wrong things

Emma Patissier Alm runs the Stockholm-based Emmaatan salon tthat specializes in giving deep, deep tans in colors like Dark Ash Onyx, Caramel and Dark Chocolate.

tanning 1

tanning 1

The company's Instagram account shows photos of women with the dark tans that do look unnaturally dark.

tanning 2

tanning 2

“It’s funny that they think it’s ok for them to be Black but not for Black people to be Black," one commenter wrote on Tumblr, where it went viral over the weekend.

More: Lane Bryant commercial featuring Ashley Graham banned for being 'too sexy'

Alm reacted by first locking her company's Instagram page, but it is currently public with an apology.

"I'm in chock (sic) for the response I've gotten and may have responded and commented the wrong way because I expect [people] to know u dont get black from tanning products," she wrote. "I've got a lot of feedback and mostly been called 'black face' and racist. [People] looks at my pic I've posted and without a blink assuming we desire to look black, I understand why it might seem that way and I apologize for the miss understanding my pic may have approached."

tanning 3

tanning 3

Alm added that her self-tanners are only dark when they are first applied and dramatically lighten after a shower. However, the photos don't seem to reflect that; they give off the impression that the tans stay dark for days.

More: The genius way one stylist uses a beauty blender to dye hair

"I will never understand how black [people] is facing the world and it's sad to know [people] don't get respect just because of their looks," she continued. "I love all skin types and that's why I think [people] should be able to choose for what they feel good in, as long as you respect [people] around you."

Adele's iconic eye makeup look broken down step by step


Step 1

How to get Adele's makeup: Step
Image: Ivy Boyd/SheKnows

The eye look really emphasizes the crease, so start by placing Soft Light from the It Cosmetics Naturally Pretty Palette into the crease, alternating small circular motions with windshield wiper motions.

Step 2

How to get Adele's makeup: Step 2
Image: Ivy Boyd/SheKnows

Next, we want to deepen the crease further by grabbing Mocha from the same palette and really working that into the eye socket.

Step 3

How to get Adele's makeup: Step 3
Image: Ivy Boyd/SheKnows

Apply a matte white highlight to the brow bone like Sheer Joy from your Naturally Pretty palette.

Step 4

How to get Adele's makeup: Step 4
Image: Ivy Boyd/SheKnows

Using a smudge brush, darken the lower lash line, from the outer corner to just past the edge of your iris.

Step 5

How to get Adele's makeup: Step 5
Image: Ivy Boyd/SheKnows

Brighten the lid with Love, pressing it all over and up to meet the crease colors and apply to the inner corner as well.

More: 20 gifts for that one friend obsessed with Adele

Step 6

How to get Adele's makeup: Step 6
Image: Ivy Boyd/SheKnows

Now, for the most Adele-riffic part of the entire tutorial! Using a felt tip liner pen, which I find can be most user-friendly for a clean wing, start by drawing a tiny dot where you want your wing to end. This will help you to have a target to aim toward.

Step 7

How to get Adele's makeup: Step 7
Image: Ivy Boyd/SheKnows

How to get Adele's makeup: Step 7b
Image: Ivy Boyd/SheKnows

Create your outside wing edge and then start to work inwards.

Step 8

How to get Adele's makeup: Step 8
Image: Ivy Boyd/SheKnows

Fill in your shape in short strokes, coming all the way to the inner corner like Adele.

Step 9

How to get Adele's makeup: Step 9
Image: Ivy Boyd/SheKnows

Apply a generous amount of mascara to top and bottom lashes. Don’t be afraid to let the mascara wand touch the lashes a little bit on your lower lash line.

Step 10

How to get Adele's makeup: Step 10
Image: Ivy Boyd/SheKnows

Apply a set of wispy false lashes. Make sure they flare out at the outer corner for that elongated, cat eye look.

More: Beauty blogger nails Adele’s ‘Hello’ makeup (WATCH)

Step 11

How to get Adele's makeup: Step 11
Image: Ivy Boyd/SheKnows

Recreate Adele’s fierce contour with a chiseled brush and a cool-toned bronzer like TheBalm Bahama Mama.

Step 12

How to get Adele's makeup: Step 12
Image: Ivy Boyd/SheKnows

Adele’s cheeks don’t have a strong pinky flush so just add a bit of color with a non-pink blush like TheBalm’s Balm Desert.

Step 13

How to get Adele's makeup: Step 13
Image: Ivy Boyd/SheKnows

Don’t forget a highlight to go with that contour! Dust NARS Albatross onto the tops of cheekbones and the cupid’s bow.

Step 14

How to get Adele's makeup: Step 14
Image: Ivy Boyd/SheKnows

Line lips with a pinky nude lip liner like NYX Slim Lip Pencil in Peekaboo Neutral, one of my favorites.

Step 15

How to get Adele's makeup: Step 15
Image: Ivy Boyd/SheKnows

Apply a matte, new lip color like Too Faced Melted Longer Liquified Lipstick in Melted Nude.

Step 16

How to get Adele's makeup: Step 16
Image: Ivy Boyd/SheKnows

Pat lips with your finger to press the color in and keep things looking soft, subtle and natural.

More: 9 beauty products that will make you Instagram-ready

How to get Adele's makeup: Finished
Image: Ivy Boyd/SheKnows

Though it seems we just said hello, it’s already time to say goodbye!

And just for dramatic effect:

adele makeup
Image: Ivy Boyd/SheKnows

Forever 21 blasted for selling 'anti-consent' T-shirt


The popular fast fashion retailer is getting some (much-deserved) flak for selling a T-shirt emblazoned with the phrase "Don't say maybe if you want to say no." Did no one — not even one person — recognize a potential problem before approving this T-shirt?

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The aggressive men's T-shirt has definite violent undertones that perpetuate the idea that "maybe" equals "yes" when it comes to sexual consent.

And let's not kid ourselves: This is exactly what the T-shirt implies. There is no other potential meaning, even if some will argue that it's just a humorous shirt not unlike a billion others sold in stores and online.

But there's a big difference between tees like "You know I'm right" — another shirt available at Forever 21 — and this offensive one.

More: Kim Kardashian shares her secret to gravity-defying cleavage

The retailer responded by pulling it from the website and issued a statement saying the company strives to exemplify the highest ethical standards and takes feedback and product concerns very seriously.

"With regards to the T-shirt in question, upon receiving feedback from our customers, we took immediate action to have it removed from our website," a Forever 21 rep said in a statement. "We sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by the product."

Pulling clothing for offensive phrases happens with some disturbing frequency. We'd much rather companies that cater to younger people (like Forever 21) be proactive — instead of reactive — when it comes to these sorts of products that have seriously problematic meanings.

More: How to tell the difference between a fake designer item and the real thing

Canadian woman sent home from work for not wearing her hair straight


Akua Agyemfra told the CBC that she was sent home from her shift at Jack Astor's because she wore her natural hair in a bun. The reason: The management requires all servers to wear their hair straight down. Agyemfra's physically can't do that in its natural state.

More: I have struggled all my life to find my natural hair beautiful

"Management at Jack Astor’s did NOT specify that I had to wear my hair down every single shift. If they did, I would have NOT taken the job because I know my hair cannot be straight every day," she wrote in a Facebook post after she was sent home from her shift.

"I had extensions during my interview and my two training shifts. After I took out my braids, my Afro did not comply to the ‘straight hair’ rule. To maintain it and look presentable, I had to put it in a bun."

More: 6 ways you can make your hair grow faster

Women of color have been forced to straighten and chemically alter their hair for years — or wear wigs and extensions — to step in line with some idiotic unwritten rule that says only straight hair is acceptable and professional. Hair in its natural state is finally becoming more accepted, but experiences like Agyemfra's show there's still a painfully long way to go.

"I'm not going to compromise my roots and edges because my employer wants me to," she told the CBC. "My scalp has a right to breathe just as much as the woman standing beside me."

More: Cutting out shampoo and conditioner could be the best thing for your hair

DIY sugar wax removes hair without messy papers



Image: SheKnows
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water

More: The best makeup for your face


Step 1: Combine

Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan over heat, and mix well.

Step 2: Boil the contents

Bring the contents to a boil for 5 – 7 minutes until the wax turns a musky brown. Pour hot wax into a bowl — any type of container will do as long as it is not plastic — and let the wax cool for 7 – 10 minutes. You do not want to apply the wax while it is piping hot. The wax will be ready to apply once it is cool to the touch.

Image: SheKnows

Step 3: Apply the wax

Find a clean surface that you desire to wax.

Image: SheKnows

Image: SheKnows

With a plastic knife or any type of safe applicator, like a Popsicle stick, scoop a generous amount of the wax out of the container, and lightly apply it to your designated area.

More: 56 chemical-free beauty brands to try

Application 2
Image: SheKnows

Step 4: Lift the edges

Image: SheKnows

More: How to plump your lips without lip filler

After the wax is applied, let it cool for a few more minutes.

Image: SheKnows

Gently begin to lift the edges of the sugar wax on any corner of the application. You want to lift it enough so you can get a firm grip on the wax, to ensure easy removal.

lifting edges
Image: SheKnows

Step 5: Wax away!

wax complete
Image: SheKnows

And that's that! No messy waxing sheets.

Beauty bloggers are bringing the '80s back with neon makeup (PHOTOS)


Neon colours are fresh and summery, inspired by the vibrance and gloss of eighties fashion. These fashion bloggers have truly evoked the spirit of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." Here are some of the best Instagram and Twitter pics embodying the trend.

More: Wear the trend -- neon makeup

Looks can vary from the relatively subtle…

Subtle neon makeup 2

Subtle neon makeup 2

Subtle neon makeup

Subtle neon makeup

To the amazingly elaborate!

Elaborate neon makeup

Elaborate neon makeup

Elaborate neon makeup 2

Elaborate neon makeup 2

The trend focuses on bright lids, which are painted in combinations of hot pink, electric blue and fluorescent yellow, orange and green.

neon eyes 1

neon eyes 1

neon eyes 5

neon eyes 5

neon eyes 6

neon eyes 6

neon eyes 3

neon eyes 3

More: Steal the show with neon eyelids

Matching nails are always a nice touch.

neon nails 4

neon nails 4

neon nails 3

neon nails 3

Some have also matched makeup with hair colour for a compelling effect.

neon hair and makeup match

neon hair and makeup match

neon hair and makeup match 2

neon hair and makeup match 2

Neon makeup that glows in the dark is perfect for taking luminance into the night.

Glow in dark makeup

Glow in dark makeup

Glow in dark makeup 2

Glow in dark makeup 2

Glow in dark makeup 3

Glow in dark makeup 3

The boldness of this new trend is arguably a sign of body love. Makeup artist Afton Williams says that, while the contour palette still has its place, the emphasis on hiding "flaws" strips women of their individuality. "We shouldn't have to paint a pie chart of browns and whites on our faces to feel beautiful — or worse yet, to feel like someone else," she states.

The bare-face trend is one way of fighting against social norms. But so too is a unique pop of colour.

More: Injecting neon colour into your makeup bag

4 reasons vintage shopping is the best way to find clothes


If you’re just starting to explore the thrill of vintage shopping, get ready to make some extra room in your home! Here are a few reasons you are going to fall in love with it.

1. Budget friendly

One reason I was so excited about shopping vintage dealers, thrift stores and estate sales was the incredible deals I was able to find. I remember my first vintage Hermès blouse: I found it for $60 at an estate sale, and I still have it! What’s more, designer vintage items often retain most of their value, so you can even consider them investments.

More: 7 Essential outfits that are perfect for both work and play

2. Timeless pieces

Vintage items are truly timeless. I discovered some of my favorite pieces of 1960s jewelry and evening dresses at boutiques years ago and still wear them today. I’ve even furnished most of my home with incredible vintage finds — everything from desk accessories and armchairs to tableware and lighting. These items aren’t trendy, so they never feel outdated or out of season shortly after you purchase them.

3. The story

What's especially inspiring about shopping vintage is the story behind each item. I've studied the history of fashion and interior designers, so being able to reference an item in the context of iconic people, places, events and muses makes it that much more compelling.

More: 10 tips for finding budget-friendly fashion trends

4. Unique items

I love knowing that the items I buy are one of a kind! There is something so cool about discovering an unexpected piece and repurposing or reinventing it. One of the best pieces of advice I received from a friend was, “If you love it, buy it. You may never find it again.” 

I never imagined that my obsession with collecting vintage would lead me to where I am today. As chief brand officer at Everything but the House (ebth.com), I get to discover incredible one-of-a-kind items from estate sales across the country every day. So whether you’re just starting to discover vintage or you’ve been thrifting for years, I can’t wait to share this incredible journey with you.

More: 5 Budget looks inspired by spring runway trends we love