• Self-Tan Drops Are The Key To Faking A Golden Glow This Summer
    Style
    Refinery 29 UK

    Self-Tan Drops Are The Key To Faking A Golden Glow This Summer

    You know what goes great with an ice-cold Aperol spritz and a silk slip dress on a hot July night? Gleaming, sun-kissed skin. There's an undeniable mood boost that comes with smoothing a shimmery body oil over bronzed shoulders and calves — even if we know that the risks that come with sunbathing far outweigh the rewards. That's why we've made it our mission to find the next best thing: believable self tanners. After years of testing, lotions, mousses, and invisible tanning waters, we'd argue that the best formulas — with zero downsides in application — are self-tan drops. You don't need a mitt or new skin-care routine to use them: Just mix them into your daily moisturiser, smooth the concoction onto your face or body, and check back in a few hours for a noticeable glow. Scroll through for our favourite foolproof options, ahead. Refinery29's selection is purely editorial and independently chosen – we only feature items we love! As part of our business model we do work with affiliates; if you directly purchase something from a link on this article, we may earn a small amount of commission. Transparency is important to us at Refinery29, if you have any questions please reach out to us.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?14 Self-Tanners That'll Give You The Perfect GlowHow To Remove Self-Tanner Stains From Your HandsThe Best Self-Tanners To Try Now

  • I May Destroy You’s Finale Was A Powerful Message To Survivors Of Sexual Assault
    Entertainment
    Refinery 29 UK

    I May Destroy You’s Finale Was A Powerful Message To Survivors Of Sexual Assault

    Warning: This article contains descriptions of traumatic events, including rape, which some readers might find upsetting. The following piece contains spoilers for the final two episodes of I May Destroy You.Over the course of its 12 episodes, I May Destroy You has proved itself the most vital new TV show of 2020. Each 30-minute episode is an emotional rollercoaster through life as seen through the eyes of a young, Black millennial woman in London. Its star, writer and creator Michaela Coel (Chewing Gum) plays Arabella, a pink-haired, carefree content creator who has found fame after the success of her first book and is now scrambling to meet the deadline for her second. All the while she is navigating London life on a high of drugs, partying with friends and forging new relationships. But her carefree life comes to a halt when she starts to get flashbacks of a violent assault. The flashbacks haunt her. Arabella doesn’t remember how she got home from a bar one night or how she got the scar on her forehead. The more she remembers, the more unanswered questions she has.The BBC series (also on HBO in the US) is incredibly candid in its approach to sexual assault and consent; it tackles them head-on and unusually, often with humour. Unlike so many other narratives that explore similar themes, I May Destroy You places these ‘taboo’ subjects as central to the storytelling, linked to every twist and turn of Arabella and her friends’ lives. Coel’s depiction of sexual abuse and trauma is messy, her character is real and flawed. In turn, her experience appears all the more relatable and real. It’s no wonder this comes through; based loosely around Coel’s own experience of being drugged and sexually assaulted by a stranger after a night out with friends, I May Destroy You makes a concerted effort to destroy the myths and misconceptions about sexual assault that survivors are forced to live with each day. For anyone who’s experienced sexual assault, Arabella’s experience unfolds with a sense of uncomfortable familiarity, from the sense of unbelieving denial when she first heads to the police, unsure if she even has a crime to report (“There are hungry children” and “Not everyone has a smartphone” she repeats to herself) to the emotional seesaw she’s trapped on as we watch her life unravel. One minute she’s lost her conversation skills and can’t eat, the next she’s using all her energy to flirt with a guy she fancies. Coel’s message is clear: the survivor’s response to sexual assault isn’t one size fits all. It’s a powerful rallying call of “I see you” to every survivor who’s been told they don’t look or act “like a rape victim”. Because in reality, how does a rape victim act? In Arabella’s case, she behaves like any young millennial woman; she fancies the pants off her Italian on/off boyfriend Biagio (Marouane Zotti) — who later pulls a gun on her when she arrives unannounced at his flat in Italy — and hooks up with work pal Zain (Karan Gill), who violently assaults her by nonconsensually removing his condom during sex. Arabella, suffering from PTSD, initially laughs this incident off, unable to deal with the repercussions of yet more assault. It’s not just female survivors who Coel addresses. Arabella’s friend Kwame (Paapa Essiedu) has spent the series coming to terms with his own sexual assault by a man he met on Grindr almost immediately after they had consensual sex. Kwame’s treatment at the hands of the police shows how far we still have to go to end the misconceptions about male sexual assault. At the end of the penultimate episode, we see Arabella return to the scene of the crime, the Ego Death Bar, with best friend Terry (Weruche Opia) where she is finally forced to confront what happened to her. She catches sight of her attacker David (Lewis Reeves) and his friend Tariq (Chin Nyenwe) and, in an incredibly difficult to watch scene, the missing pieces of the attack fall into place. Episode 11 ends just like that, leaving us wondering: What next? Will Arabella call the police?Episode 12 takes a long and winding road into Arabella’s mind, playing out several different ways in which she could react and, subsequently, deciding how she will end the last chapter of her book. The episode is perfect: a delicious three-course meal of redemption, revenge and forgiveness. Again, the message is clear: all three reactions Arabella has are valid. There is no one size fits all.For many survivors, these last two episodes, while triggering (and the BBC could do a little better at signposting this IMHO), and the series as a whole have proved to be a cathartic experience. From start to finish, I May Destroy You has dismantled victim-blaming narratives and opened the doors to an honest discussion of sexual violence and consent, all too familiar subjects which have been taboo for far too long. Arabella, having struggled throughout the series to finish her book, finds the perfect ending to something that was horrible. This speaks to the incredible tenacity of survivors: you use that experience and turn it into a positive. The journey isn’t always going to be smooth sailing, there will be bumps in the road and you will find yourself coming back down to earth, wondering whether you could have changed your past. But what Coel explains in I May Destroy You is that you can’t change what happened, only understand it with a fresh pair of eyes – and use that experience to create something beautiful.I May Destroy You is not just Coel’s story of acceptance, growth and healing, it’s a masterpiece. I May Destroy You is available to watch now on BBC iPlayer. If you’ve experienced sexual violence of any kind, confidential support and information is available at Rape Crisis or by calling 0808 802 9999 in England and Wales, or 08088 01 03 02 in Scotland.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Best Songs From The I May Destroy You SoundtrackWhy Michaela Coel Turned Down A Major Netflix Deal'I May Destroy You' & The Brutal Truth Of Consent

  • How I Finally Switched To Natural Deodorant
    Style
    Refinery 29 UK

    How I Finally Switched To Natural Deodorant

    I’ve never put much thought into the products I use on my pits, much less talked about them. You could find me in pharmacies reaching for just about any antiperspirant with a “fresh linen” scent that promised to tackle sweat — if it’s on sale, even better. But with the boom in natural deodorant options and rumoured health implications of ingredients like aluminium chloride in antiperspirants, I’ve been interested in making the switch.I’ve tried to trade in my deodorant stick for a natural formula before — and failed — but I decided to give it another go with the launch of Kosas Chemistry AHA Serum Deodorant. The product sounded like skin-care goals just based on the name, but I was even more curious when the brand introduced me to the aluminium-free liquid with a virtual full-body workout class held by Nike Master Trainer Kirsty Godso. While I did sweat profusely, which was to be expected, there was zero odour thanks to the high concentration of alpha-hydroxy acids, or AHAs. The idea is that the chemical exfoliants lower the area’s pH levels, making it less hospitable to the bacteria that causes BO.I was impressed by how well the deodorant performed during a cardio session, so much so that I decided to put it to the ultimate test: a beach vacation. I was departing on my safely social-distanced getaway at the exact transitional moment when my sweat glands, which had previously been staunched by aluminium salts, opened the floodgates before they reached natural equilibrium. I’d only been using the deodorant for three days, but I already loved the refreshing feel of the cooling rollerball coated with ingredients like aloe vera and hyaluronic acid. (I’m also a fan of the approachable packaging that allows me to throw the tube in any bag, because you know I had it in my beach tote the entire time, just in case.)I was sweating an ample amount during the first half of my week-long vacation (though still no body odour), but I stopped perspiring altogether by the last few days. I’ve seen even better results in the weeks following: I usually relied on laser hair removal in the past, but now my underarm area looks visibly brighter and more even, without the dark shadow. Also, my pits feel much smoother, and I find myself looking like one of those dated ’90s shaving commercials when I graze the skin to observe the change.My one qualm would be that the serum takes a little while to dry down. That said, it’s not more than a minute, so with all the benefits it delivers, I’ll happily deal with that downtime. Ultimately, I left my holiday not only with a much-deserved tan but also brighter, smoother, non-stinky pits, all thanks to a natural deodorant — which is something I never thought I’d say. Refinery29’s selection is purely editorial and independently chosen – we only feature items we love! As part of our business model we do work with affiliates; if you directly purchase something from a link on this article, we may earn a small amount of commission. Transparency is important to us at Refinery29, if you have any questions please reach out to us.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?6 Natural Deodorants That Actually WorkShould You Avoid Aluminium Deodorant?Are You Using The Wrong Deodorant?

  • My Black Friendship Group Has Been My Lifeline Over The Past Few Months
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    Refinery 29 UK

    My Black Friendship Group Has Been My Lifeline Over The Past Few Months

    Since the brutal murder of George Floyd, the 46-year-old Black man who was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer in May, my Black female friendships have become more important than ever. I can never find the right words to articulate how seeing the death of a Black person makes me feel but leaning on my friends for support has provided me with some sort of hope that a world could one day exist where I don’t have to.My first Black female friendship played a significant role in my life. She was a South African and Nigerian girl called Zandi who I met at primary school when I was 7 years old. We were two out of a small minority of Black students in a predominantly south Asian school, so our Blackness really stood out. Though I don’t remember us speaking about race back then, it played a big role in our friendship. We bonded over braids, cane rows and jollof rice, three things which affirmed me and my identity. We had a bond that was different from everyone else, and it was one which we carried into adulthood. When I went to university, I came to lean on my group of Black girlfriends — we spoke about the constant microaggressions we faced, feeling out of place in seminars or the situationships we had with boys. All of those conversations made me feel seen. It was difficult, after all, being a group of Black women at a predominantly white university.Over the years I have forged many other friendships with many more Black women, all of whom have been my lifelines during the coronavirus crisis. Living in a constant state of unknown while being aware that Black people are four times more likely than white people to die from the virus has heightened my anxiety. My friendship group became fearful that our friends and family were at risk and frustrated that people weren’t taking this seriously. We supported each other through the highs and lows, constantly checking in on each other via arranged Netflix Parties, phone calls and FaceTime game nights. > Over the years I have forged friendships with many Black women, all of whom have been my lifelines during the coronavirus crisis.I looked for anything to take my mind off things: going for walks, reading more and learning new recipes. But it was Sky Comedy’s Insecure that provided much-needed escapism. The show, created by Issa Rae, follows a group of young African Americans navigating life in Los Angeles. The previous three seasons focused on the flourishing friendship between Issa and Molly (Yvonne Orji) but this season highlighted the underlying tension between the two and we watched them grow apart. Whether you agree with Issa or Molly (I’m team Issa), the portrayal of Black female friendships on screen helped me navigate my own friendships better. When Issa was moving mad, it forced me to question my own behaviour and ask whether I’ve been a good friend. When the show tackled interracial dating through Molly and her Asian American love interest Andrew (Alexander Hodge), her friends encouraged her to step outside of her comfort zone. On the surface this might look like a non-issue but as a Black woman, the complexity of dating a man outside your race and having to explain your experience is hard and Insecure gave me a blueprint for how to handle this in my own life.I May Destroy You, Michaela Coel’s incredible BBC series, has been another source of comfort during this time for me and my friends. In the series we watch Arabella (Coel) make sense of her sexual assault, but we also see the special bond she has with her best friend Terry (Weruche Opia). Watching their friendship blossom from secondary school into adulthood, weathering the intricacies of life along the way, fostered in me a sense of fierce loyalty to my own friendships, the unique obstacles they have had to surmount playing out on screen in front of me. Seeing Black female friendships on TV, especially during this difficult time, has allowed us to feel validated, to feel seen. It’s reinforced the importance of Black sisterhood. The fact that both Insecure and I May Destroy You feature dark-skinned women in leading roles was incredibly welcome, too.The last few months have been exhausting and the recent Black Lives Matter protests, and the surrounding discourse, have been traumatising. But my Black friends automatically understand the pain I feel. We’ve spent the past few weeks sharing anecdotes in the group chat about the racism we’ve faced, talking for hours on the phone and watching movies on Zoom. The pain, the laughs, the joy, the sadness that comes with being a Black woman – they all just get it. Lockdown has forced us to have deep conversations about our experiences as Black women and how we see ourselves in the world and my friendship group has provided an open space for critique, healing and joy. While the basis of friendships may seem simple, dealing with racism and misogyny as Black women is part of our everyday life. The frequency with which we have to contend with issues of race automatically adds a political edge to our friendships. I don’t always want to talk about race but when I do, it’s unbelievably reassuring to have a group of women who know exactly what I’m talking about and how I’m feeling. No-one will ever understand me more than another Black woman. I will always be grateful for my Black sisters, they’ve got me through the last few months and I know they’ll keep me going no matter what happens.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?For Black Women In Media, A “Dream Job” Is A MythDIY Haircare Is Booming In Lockdown - But It’s NoOn Trying To Assimilate As A Young Black Woman

  • Style
    Refinery 29 UK

    Goodbye Trainers: After Lockdown, Let’s Rediscover The Joy Of Dressing Up

    At my birthday party last year in a Soho restaurant, I imposed a rather uncool dress code: absolutely no trainers. Give or take a few grumbles – “Haha, you’re so annoying” – all my friends obliged. This slightly dictatorial move was a response to feeling alone in wanting to get dressed up. After one friend’s celebratory dinner, I stood up and noticed I was towering over everyone, the only person in heels. Ahead of another friend’s housewarming, I eagerly asked what the vibe was for the evening only to be told, “Literally just trainers.” Disheartened by the lack of effort made on even special occasions, I’ve been quietly waging a war against dressing down which, in lockdown, has reached its apex.In her charmingly out-of-touch style, the legendary fashion editor Diana Vreeland once declared that unshined shoes would be the end of civilisation; were she to return to Earth today, she might deduce that the apocalypse had occurred. The mid 2010s normcore trend is partly to thank and while the word itself has fallen out of parlance in recent years, its staples – sports shoes, dad jeans, cycling shorts – remain. Meanwhile the booming wellness industry and our new ‘health is wealth’ ideology have turned athleisure into not just everyday wear but a status symbol of sorts. Fashion houses once known for the highest levels of craftsmanship and creativity now slap logos on a pair of trainers, charge us £600 and call it a day. In the social bubble I inhabit, making any sort of effort is considered kind of sad.I worry I sound a little Jacob Rees-Mogg when I complain about the gradual casualisation of our culture but despite a love of Mad Men and the Jazz Age, as a young Black woman, I don’t exactly dream of ‘the good old days’. In reality, it’s a concern that’s for the most part existential. My friends and I are in our mid 20s, child-free and – let’s face it – not getting any hotter. Like many young people, we share a hedonistic appetite for adventure but at the same time, we’ve forgotten the pleasure that a marvellous wardrobe has to offer. Two kids and a mortgage down the line, I’m sure we’ll wonder why we spent our salad days so underdressed.My desire to switch things up every so often has only been accentuated by the pandemic. Since being placed on furlough, I’ve been on a steady drip feed of period dramas, Sex and the City and the literary classics I now have time to read, all of which have provided a whimsical escape from the views of my neighbour’s patio. And while I’m certainly lapping up the details of parties, restaurants, holidays and all the other pre-lockdown luxuries, it’s the clothes I obsess over: Carrie teetering around New York in ruffled pink sandals and snakeskin boots, Helena Bonham Carter in The Crown sporting a rotation of silk scarves, brightly coloured skirt suits and taffeta frocks, a sleek cigarette holder always to hand. I match neither of these characters in lifestyle or budget but that hasn’t stopped me from craving a slice of the fun.Sadly, before coronavirus my wistful ideas of grown-up dressing were often met with a grungier reality where the go-to party accessory was a bumbag and my favourite sequinned pochette would’ve made me look like the weird chick who didn’t get the memo. However it’s the ‘sneakocracy’ that’s been my real point of bother, even as I’ve willingly taken part in it. Working in the creative industries, there’s no strict uniform and, pre-pandemic, I wore the same pair of Nike Teknos to commute to the office every day. Now, in our locked-down universe where until very recently the only trips have been to the supermarket and the park, there’s been little call for anything else.Like most, I’ve become a sucker for comfort, but spending most of my working life in trainers has given me an aversion to wearing them on every other occasion. When I did go out, swapping into fancy footwear made any outfit feel more elevated and any event more special. In a stubborn commitment to shop for the life I want, I’ve been saving my pennies and building a small collection of grown-up shoes: white mules from Neous, lace-up boots from By Far and, most recently, a pair of Malone Souliers black flats which are so versatile that I calculated it was actually financially shrewd to buy them. Thanks to coronavirus, these all lie comatose in my wardrobe, stuffed with tissue paper. Is there any chance of them ever being stirred from their sleep when even New Year’s Eve no longer warrants getting glammed up?To be clear, this isn’t a call for more of us to swan around in ballgowns (unless of course that’s your flavour). Personally, I’m not nearly grand enough to be invited to anything that requires black tie; I also feel silly in dresses and haven’t worn one in years. Instead, I’m a proponent of low-key glamour – the kind that works for a more down-to-earth social calendar of dinners, drinks and dates. In these instances, I’m drawn to clothes that feel smart but not stuffy: silk blouses, statement earrings, tailored trousers, jumpsuits and, yes, heels of varying heights.When I finally have the chance to play hostess again, I’ll be urging my friends to go all out; latecomers will be forgiven only if they arrive in their finery. And as a handful of invitations start to creep in – socially distanced picnics, Sunday roasts, a potential birthday party in late summer – I’m dusting off my glad rags. After more than three months spent in loungewear, I’ll be relishing every opportunity to slip into something less comfortable, however overdressed I might look. I promise a free drink in solidarity to all who get on board.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?The First Place I'm Going Is The Charity ShopWFH Style Inspired By Frida Kahlo & Joan DidionA Look Back At Each Decade Of Festival Fashion

  • Health
    Refinery 29 UK

    “I’m Crippled By It”: From Acne To Eczema, Skin Anxiety Is Real

    Skin problems and anxiety often go hand in hand. A mental health condition which affects many of us, anxiety is a sense of impending danger or panic, which often manifests itself in shortness of breath, increased heart rate, insomnia and being unable to focus on anything but the present worry. Feeling self-conscious about your skin can easily trigger these kinds of reactions, which if left unchecked, can spiral out of control. While we tend to focus on the physical side of skin conditions, the emotional repercussions, like anxiety, are just as much of an issue – and often even more debilitating. I had terrible acne on my back throughout my teens, which came back with a vengeance later on in adulthood. My back was suddenly covered in large red cysts, some the size of golf balls. People would tell me I was ‘lucky’ that it hadn’t spread to my face but it felt like I was hiding a dirty secret. New relationships were tough; I didn’t want to get undressed in front of anyone. I stopped going to my usual spin classes after catching a woman staring at my back in the changing rooms. It eventually cleared up but I’ll occasionally still scrutinise my back in the bathroom mirror, terrified the acne will return like a sequel to a horror film.Skin anxiety can affect pretty much anyone, including R29’s own beauty editor Jacqueline Kilikita. “I’ve had hormonal acne since age 11 but it has only made me anxious quite recently,” she says. “As I work in beauty, I’m often worried that any skin experts or makeup artists I meet will judge my spots and scars or try to give me advice, and I’ve tried most things, including medication.” It’s even had an impact on her working life. “I’ve cancelled events and meetings because the thought of people seeing me on a ‘bad skin day’ can often fill me with panic and dread. In reality, the majority don’t really say anything but I find it difficult not to feel this way. After all, the link between skin and mental health is very real.”For some, it can be a vicious cycle. PR Lauren MacAskill found herself with a condition called pompholyx eczema: blisters that appear on your hands and feet. “I couldn’t sleep because my skin was on fire, I’d lie in bed in tears,” she recalls. “Because I knew it was as a result of stress, this in itself led to additional stress about how it was affecting me.” When fitness entrepreneur Lucy Arnold began to suffer with adult acne, her anxiety was so bad that she couldn’t leave the house – she even missed a friend’s wedding. Despite winning awards for her activewear brand Lucy Locket Loves, she shunned the ceremonies and didn’t collect any of her awards in person. “In the fitness industry, there’s a lot of pressure to look perfect,” she says. “I used to wear makeup all the time – even to work out. Some clients asked if my skin was sore but others were less polite. One woman asked how I live with skin like mine.”For chef Priscilla Casey, who suffers with rosacea, her anxiety stems from her skin condition potentially flaring up at any time. “People may think I am blushing and may point out that it’s ‘cute’ while not realising that I am actually in the early stages of a rosacea flare-up and experiencing a painful tingling sensation,” she explains. Like Lauren, Priscilla has also dealt with sleep disruptions. “I used to get nightmares numerous times, especially when I had an important event coming up. I get nervous that I will have a severe flare-up, as has happened multiple times in the past.”A quick search on Reddit shows how many people’s love lives have been stalled by skin anxiety. One user wrote: “I’ve never had a [girlfriend]. I think the main reason of my social anxiety is my bad skin.” Another says: “I’m so utterly crippled by how much I hate my skin that I’m now a 29-year-old woman who’s never been on a date, never been kissed, who refuses to entertain the hope of finding someone who might be actually attracted to me once they got a close-up good look.”Despite skin anxiety being so widespread, getting treatment isn’t always easy. Skin positivity activist Amy How felt that her anxiety was less of a priority when she sought treatment on the NHS for severe acne. “I would spend hours obsessively analysing my skin in the mirror, covering it with makeup again and again,” she recalls. “I was in a really bad place.” Yet the doctors she saw were mainly concerned with treating the acne itself and failed to notice her growing anxiety. “I did ask to be referred to a dermatologist who might better understand what I was going through but my GP talked me out of it, saying, ‘They’ll just put you on [acne drug] Roaccutane – that’s all they’ll do.'”Many feel that the severity of skin anxiety is being overlooked. A recent survey by the British Skin Foundation found that nine in 10 dermatologists agree that the psychological effects of skin conditions are not taken seriously enough. “This survey demonstrates that dermatologists recognise some patients experience psychological distress associated with their skin condition,” comments clinical psychologist Professor Andrew Thompson on the foundation’s website. “It also indicates that whilst dermatology is making great advances in treating the medical aspects of skin disease, perhaps not enough is being done to address the accompanying psychological effects. Clearly, we need more research that looks to develop effective psychological treatments or support for both children and adults living with skin conditions.”Thankfully, the tide is slowly changing, with several dermatologists treating skin conditions in the wider context of mental health. British Skin Foundation spokesperson Dr Alia Ahmed is one of them. “A psychodermatologist is a medically qualified doctor with expertise in dermatology, who can also manage mental health issues,” she explains. “In psychodermatology, we treat not just the skin condition but its psychological impact. For example, someone with acne may be feeling anxious about being in a social environment because of their skin. So in addition to treating their acne, I will discuss techniques they can use to overcome these feelings,” she adds. Is psychodermatology easy to access on the NHS? “Yes, although the wait time before you are seen is unpredictable. Your GP or dermatologist can refer you to the nearest psychodermatology clinic, but this may be outside of your immediate area,” continues Dr Ahmed.Being vocal about your skin anxiety is also important as a patient. “It’s helpful to discuss with your GP or dermatologist how you are feeling so that these issues can be recognised early on. Not all symptoms of low mood need medicine; talking therapies can also help. Your GP can refer you for counselling, or sometimes you can self-refer.”Many individuals tend to put their anxiety problems on hold until their skin clears up, but is this the best way forward? “This depends on why the anxiety exists in the first place,” Dr Ahmed says. “Stalling treatment of mental health issues is not ideal, as they can be part of the skin problem and negatively affect treatment outcomes. The best way forward is to treat both the mind and skin together.”Caroline Sims, skin expert and CEO of Botanycl agrees. Her severe acne drove her to research herbal remedies yet despite clearing up her acne, the anxiety didn’t disappear. “I’ve struggled with anxiety for years and years, particularly after a difficult past relationship, where I endured a lot of bullying in regard to my appearance. That had a huge impact on my confidence. So when I developed acne, it just got worse.” For Caroline, the best approach was to deal with both at the same time. “If you just focus on your skin, you don’t know if the anxiety can move on to another issue. I needed to tackle the symptoms of body dysmorphia that stemmed from that abusive relationship and found CBT really helped. Now I’m having weekly counselling to help with the anxiety in general.”Alternative or holistic therapies are another option. Award-winning facialist Vaishaly Patel offers holistic treatments for clients with underlying anxiety. “I offer craniosacral sessions, which is a very powerful treatment that rebalances the body emotionally and physically,” she tells me. “This really helps to release mental and emotional blockages. I also advise to see Dr Tran who’s an incredible acupuncturist and Buddhist mentor of mine. You cannot just treat the skin condition. You have to treat the anxiety that is causing it in the first place.”In Amy’s case, big changes such as a new job and lifestyle tweaks really helped, but social media was also a powerful tool. “I started following people on Instagram who were having the same struggles as me. Seeing people going through a similar thing made me accept that it’s okay and that I’m normal. It taught me how important it is to be kind to myself. At the time, I really wasn’t.”For more advice on getting emotional support for skin disorders, visit skinsupport.org.uk. The British Skin Foundation website is a fountain of knowledge for those struggling with their skin, as is the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) and Changing Faces, both of which offer expert advice and care. For more information on how to speak to your GP about skin conditions, click here. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Are 'Bad' Skin Days Affecting Your Mental Health?The Right Way To Talk To Your Doctor About SkinMyths I Was Told (& Believed) About Rosacea

  • Mandy Moore Just Debuted A Fresh Summer Haircut
    Style
    Refinery 29 UK

    Mandy Moore Just Debuted A Fresh Summer Haircut

    Unlike hair salons in the UK, California governor at a press conference yesterday made an announcement calling for the re-closure of indoor service operations, including hair salons and barbershops, in 30 counties, to curb a new spike in COVID-19 cases. But not long before the order was enacted, actress Mandy Moore visited Nine Zero One, her go-to salon in Los Angeles, for a summer haircut and colour.The 36-year-old TV star (and singer) debuted a fresh mid-length lob with light brown highlights on Instagram, with her stylist, colourist, and Nine Zero One’s co-owner, Nikki Lee, posting the glam shot on her own account. Even with Moore’s nose and mouth safely covered by a paisley face mask in the photo, her signature features — green-blue eyes, strong brows, and shiny brown hair — are on full display, only enhanced by her dusting and honey-brown balayage.> View this post on Instagram> > A post shared by Nikki Lee | Hairstylist (@nikkilee901) on Jul 13, 2020 at 10:51am PDTTo Lee’s credit, the best part about the cut and colour is the fact that it’s not a major change for the This Is Us star. Instead, it’s proof that a few foils, freshly-snipped ends, and a little texture spray is all it takes to freshen up your hair this summer. With the latest news out of the local government, it looks like Nine Zero One and hundreds of other salons in California will be forced to suspend business once again in the interest of public health and safety. But, if you’re a UK resident like the rest of us, you can book an appointment to achieve Mandy Moore’s look safely. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Light Pink Is The Hair Color Of QuarantineThe Best Hydrating Conditioners For Dry HairWhy You Should Be Asking For "Teasylights"

  • 7 Bright Nail Polish Shades For This Week’s DIY Mani-Pedi
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    Refinery 29 UK

    7 Bright Nail Polish Shades For This Week’s DIY Mani-Pedi

    It's funny how the weather changes our colour preferences. For five months out of the year, we're perfectly satisfied with wearing black from head to toe — jet-black ankle boots and dark, raw-hem denim never go out of style. Then it's 80 degrees and sunny, and all we want are floral prints and magenta tones in our wardrobe. Our nail polish picks also tend to take a turn for the brighter once July rolls around, — especially during this strange summer of quarantine when we're all in need of a pick-me-up. So, ahead, we've rounded up the best bright polishes, according to seasoned nail pros. These shades won't leave you with a streaky finish and will have every friend commenting, "Wow, that's bright." From orange to fluorescent purple, you'll find your new favourite summer mani colour in the guide, ahead. At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?5 Simple Nail Designs For Nail Art NovicesHalf-Dip Nails Are Blowing Up This SummerThe Best Tan Nail Polish For A Sunkissed Manicure

  • Style
    Refinery 29 UK

    “Teasylights” Are The Secret To Natural-Looking Highlights

    With so many celebrities going blonde this summer, perhaps you're feeling a similar itch to splurge on a few highlights. If that's you, the latest look for bright, natural-looking colour will likely send you over the edge. Meet: "Teasylights." A hybrid of traditional highlights and balayage, the technique of teasylighting involves — you guessed it — teasing the hair before sweeping on lightener. Sabrina Yamani Yamga, a colourist at Alex Brown's SPACE Studio in Chicago, breaks it down for us. "Similar to balayage, teasylights create a softly-blended highlight off the root," Yamga explains, adding that the process looks a bit different. "Rather than hand-painting, your colourist will use foils and softly backcomb or tease small sections of hair before applying the lightener, which will diffuse the blend between the lift and the base tone." If you're looking for visual inspiration to bring to your colourist — either in the coming weeks (with all the proper precautions) or at your pre-fall hair appointment — you'll find plenty of teasylight closeups across a range of base tones and textures, ahead.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?I Did My Own Balayage & Transformed My HairThis Is What Hair Salons Look Like Post-LockdownLight Pink Is The Hair Colour Of Quarantine

  • Refinery29 Loves…What To See & Shop This Week
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    Refinery 29 UK

    Refinery29 Loves…What To See & Shop This Week

    Welcome to Refinery29 Loves, our weekly bulletin where you'll find the best things to shop and see in fashion right now. In the best of fashion this week, Erdem shoots the lookbook for his Secret Garden themed collection for Matches Fashion, L.A label STAUD drops candy-hued loungewear, and a new slogan tee raises funds for The Black Curriculum.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?A Look Back At Each Decade Of Festival FashionRent Gucci & Dior For As Little As £40The 50 Best Stage Looks From Glastonbury's History

  • I Did My Own Balayage At Home & It Totally Transformed My Hair
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    Refinery 29 UK

    I Did My Own Balayage At Home & It Totally Transformed My Hair

    When lockdown was announced in March, I, along with every other beauty fanatic I know, felt a wave of panic as hairdressers, nail salons and skin clinics closed. My relationships with my colourist, hairstylist, dermatologist, nail technician and eyebrow lady were all put on hold and I started to worry that I would end up resembling something out of Teen Wolf. That said, lockdown has been the perfect catalyst for switching up my look. I didn’t have to worry about The Outside World for a while so in April I gave myself a big chop. It ended up being a defining moment for me. Finally — yes, finally! — I was at peace with my curls. Over the last few months I have tended to my tresses like a precious garden, watering daily, massaging my scalp, coating my curls with deep conditioner and butters and giving myself a trim every six weeks. While my hair has grown considerably as a result of hiding my straighteners and tongs (goodbye, heat damage), I still felt that my crown was missing some va va voom.Naturally, like everyone during the summer, I decided to bleach my hair. Before you gasp in horror (because yes, bleaching at home can be hit or miss), I did my research. I watched countless “How To Bleach Hair At Home” and “How To Bleach Afro Curly Hair At Home” videos on YouTube. I flooded various WhatsApp groups with questions. One of my friends suggested I try BLEACH London Plex Bleach, £17.50, which is specially formulated for afro hair. I purchased the bundle, which included the Plex Bleach and an Ice White Toner. I’ll be honest, though. I was terrified. I’ve never bleached my hair at home before, let alone used a toner to get to my desired shade. I had no idea what to do and the bundle sat in the corner of my room for weeks. Then one day, I took the plunge. I decided to give myself DIY balayage.Balayage is a French freehand hair-painting technique. Lighter pieces (two or three shades lighter than the rest of your hair) are blended in among natural strands without harsh lines. The method is designed to mimic the way hair naturally lightens in the sun for a believable, subtle highlight. Think of it as similar to using Sun In as a teen but without burning your ends off, so it won’t look horrendous in a few months’ time when it grows out. I spent hours googling balayage looks, taking inspiration from hundreds of curly-haired beauties and celebrities, from Jessica Alba and Elaine Welteroth to Halle Berry, in order to understand how the light would hit each curl. It’s very different from straight hair. I decided that I would paint the bleach onto each curl individually and focus on highlighting the curls around my face to brighten and lift.BLEACH London’s Plex Bleach was pretty straightforward to use. The bundle included the bleach powder, developing lotion and a small sample of the Reincarnation Mask to condition at the end. Using a tint brush, I mixed the bleach powder and developing lotion in a mixing bowl to create a white, grainy paste before sectioning my hair into four parts. I chose to start at the front of my hair as I wanted that area to be lighter, and applied the bleach freehand to the curls around my hairline and my fringe. I started halfway up the strands and coated the ends, pinning them back with butterfly clips as I went. Thankfully my bathroom has two mirrors, one in front and one behind, so I was able to apply the bleach and see every section. I made sure that all of my ends were coated.I used around half of the bleach mixture before putting on my shower cap and letting the bleach develop, checking my hair every five minutes. I left the bleach on for a total of 30 minutes (including application time) before adding some more bleach to the top strands of my hair for extra brightness. At this point I was winging it because I felt I had nothing to lose. I thought that if it went wrong, I could always dye it brown again with my foolproof Moroccan Oil Colour Depositing Mask in Cocoa, £28.85. This is always a great fallback option for hair boo-boos.After I rinsed out the bleach, I dried my hair to check the colour. At first I was alarmed by the brassiness, partly because I’ve been so used to being brunette. Change is always going to be a shock. I opted to use the toner and applied it exactly how I would a conditioner: I lathered it all over my head, ensuring every strand was covered so it would be even, before covering my hair with a shower cap and letting it work its magic for 30 minutes. I rinsed it out and applied Olaplex’s No. 3 Hair Perfector, £26, to repair any brittleness from the bleach. After that, I washed and conditioned my hair with the OG silver shampoo, PRO:VOKE Touch of Silver Colour Care Shampoo, £4.19, and Conditioner, £4.99, to get rid of any remaining brassiness.Here’s some advice: if you’re hoping to achieve DIY balayage at home, don’t be alarmed by the immediate result, especially if it’s a huge colour change. It has been a few weeks since I bleached my hair and the colour has settled nicely into my strands; it’s less brassy and the sun has naturally lightened the ends. When it comes to bleach, I’d suggest using little and often. Start on your mid-lengths and work your way down to the ends. Also, freehand paint the bleach onto the top layers of your hair to create a natural highlight. Once I diffused my hair, I was able to see the real results and I was over the moon. I had expected my hair to become drier and perhaps see the ends split or break. I’d mentally prepared myself to sob all evening but my hair was in perfect condition and the colour was just what I had hoped for. Admittedly, I have gone from looking like Jonathan Creek to Orphan Annie, but I’ll take it! Most of all, this experience has highlighted just how easy the DIY balayage technique is, especially as you can do it in the comfort of your own bathroom. Of course, I do miss the salon experience and I’m looking forward to supporting my local. However, £17.50 for a pretty seamless at-home balayage is an undeniable bargain compared to my £170 salon job. Minus the head massages, tea and biscuits and salon goss (sob!) it’s a great option should we find ourselves back under lockdown (perhaps inevitable) or if I’m low on cash (often). Now I know how kind Plex Bleach is to my fine 3c hair, maybe I’ll decide to go lighter. Maybe. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Why I Gave Myself The Big Chop In LockdownThis Is What Hair Salons Look Like Post-LockdownThese 4 Shades Of Balayage Are Trending For Fall

  • Health
    Refinery 29 UK

    My Experience Of EMDR – The Cutting Edge Therapy Used To Treat Trauma

    Warning: This article contains descriptions of traumatic events which some readers might find upsettingTrauma is a popular word right now. This is good because it has drawn attention to the emotional and physical legacy of distressing events on those who have been subjected to them. However the term is increasingly used erroneously to refer to generalised suffering or discomfort, which is not what it means. When I talk about my own trauma, it is in relation to the memory of the sustained exposure to domestic violence that I experienced during my childhood. After years spent talking to people about these experiences, and still finding that I suffered from anxiety and certain phobias, I decided to change tack. At the beginning of lockdown I started a course of therapy known as eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing, or EMDR. I’d heard of it through Bessel van der Kolk’s celebrated book, The Body Keeps the Score, which makes the claim that many of our most traumatic memories are stored as much in the physical body as in the mind. Ten weeks later, I feel like a new person. So how does it work? As the name suggests, EMDR involves moving the eyes from right to left rapidly while recalling traumatic events. But few people seem to know that it can be administered in other ways, too. Because I underwent my treatment under lockdown restrictions, I received EMDR via Zoom in a method that simply required me to cross my arms and tap my shoulders. The point is to stimulate the left and right sides of the brain alternately, to reawaken the past and at the same time store those difficult memories in a less panic-stricken part of the brain which, crucially, doesn’t stimulate the amygdala (the bit of the brain which controls emotions and is responsible for triggering the fight-or-flight response).> By the end of each session, the memory I had focused on had gone from being highly charged to being somewhat neutral: like a scene playing out on a screen but disconnected from my emotional responses.Because EMDR is focused on processing specific memories, it is also finite. Unlike talking therapies, practitioners can usually give you a rough estimate of how long it will take for you to complete your treatment. For me, one memory per session was enough and at the end of each, my body and my mind would both feel completely exhausted. It’s a gruelling therapy but garners immediate and noticeable effects. By the end of each session, the memory I had focused on had gone from being highly charged to being somewhat neutral: like a scene playing out on a screen but disconnected from my emotional responses. Each memory became distant and less important. The cumulative effect of this process led to an overall sense of contentment, inner calm and happiness. The results have been quiet but profound.What’s more, for people who might be embarrassed or ashamed of their past experiences, or suffer from difficulties in communicating, EMDR does not require you to divulge what happened to you. The process led by the practitioner is purely practical, like air traffic control directing you to land while the view from the plane window remains completely private.Sandi Richman headed up an EMDR practice at the Maudsley Hospital in south London for eight years, administering the therapy to hundreds of people including asylum seekers and refugees from war-torn countries. These patients often, and understandably, had very complex traumas and couldn’t speak English. EMDR was one of the most successful therapies for alleviating their residual flashbacks and panic attacks. Sandi’s success led her to become recognised as one of the leading practitioners in her field.“EMDR isn’t about opening up a Pandora’s box,” she’s keen to explain. “It isn’t necessary for us to do a spring cleaning of every traumatic memory. Very often if you work on certain memories, there will be a generalised improvement in other areas of the mind. What’s more, it doesn’t involve exposure therapy, which can be very difficult to go through and in that sense is a lot more gentle than other approaches.” “EMDR also seems to go places that talking therapy alone isn’t able to,” she adds.> EMDR isn’t about opening up a Pandora’s box. It isn’t necessary for us to do a spring cleaning of every traumatic memory. It doesn’t involve exposure therapy, which can be very difficult to go through and in that sense is a lot more gentle than other approaches.> > Sandi Richman, NHS EMDR CONSULTANTThis was true for me. As I recalled one memory from my early childhood that was hazy and incomplete, I started to get a severe trembling in my right leg. The sensation caused me to remember that I’d been standing on a chair and was nervous about falling off. This was just one instance in which physiological sensations during EMDR enabled me to build a fuller picture of my traumatic memories in order to see them more rationally and constructively.Where cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) often asks us to confront our fears directly and in the present – the ‘exposure therapy’ that Sandi refers to – EMDR seems to take us on a journey, causing us to build a fuller picture of our memories and at the same time helping us to demystify them and reduce their level of intensity. With all these benefits then, why might you still not have heard of EMDR? The answer seems to be political. The CBT lobby, for example, is very powerful and there’s a lot of research dedicated to understanding its methods of success. CBT is also far more historically rooted in the psychological profession, having links with earlier behavioural methods that were developed in the early 20th century. EMDR, by contrast, is relatively nascent. It was ‘discovered’ and published in a paper by Francine Shapiro in 1989. Combined with the fact that its methods are so divergent from more traditional approaches, this means that it probably still suffers a degree of stigma. The lack of research also means that we remain somewhat in the dark about the many other possible benefits. Many people believe that it might be useful in overcoming addiction, for example. There are also big controlled trials currently taking place across Europe exploring its veracity in treating depression and other mental health conditions. > As I recalled one memory from my early childhood that was hazy and incomplete, I started to get a severe trembling in my right leg. The sensation caused me to remember that I’d been standing on a chair and was nervous about falling off. These efforts mean that the stigma is slowly starting to lift and EMDR is now recognised by the World Health Organization and administered on the NHS, although the waiting lists are still very long. Sandi is training NHS staff around the clock in a bid to make the therapy more widely available. Growing awareness of its potential benefits offers a glimmer of light at a time when tens of thousands of coronavirus survivors are thought to be at risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), not to mention the thousands of healthcare professionals who’ve been exposed to the more grim aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sandi describes “a tsunami of mental health problems hitting the NHS” but where PTSD was once a life sentence, treated to varying degrees of success through a combination of talking therapy and medication, we may well have found a far more effective and universal solution that is finite and therefore cheaper than most talking therapies.I never expected to find inner peace and happiness through a bewildering dance that involves tapping my shoulders in front of someone I’ve never met via Zoom, but here we are. In the future, and hopefully by building awareness, many more people will have the chance to experience EMDR’s life-changing effects. For support with PTSD, contact PTSD UK or call the Anxiety UK infoline on 03444 775 774. Anxiety UK also offers a text service on 07537 416 905.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?5 Women On What Having PTSD Is Actually LikeMy Trauma Was Unlocked In LockdownCooking For Myself Helped Heal Me After A Trauma

  • Entertainment
    Refinery 29 UK

    My Life In LA Was Carefree – Until I Came Down To Earth With A (Literal) Bump

    The following is an extract from writer Sophie Heawood’s upcoming memoir The Hungover Games. What happens when you suddenly find yourself on a path to single motherhood in your mid 30s when you’re still trying to get to grips with caring for yourself? This is what Sophie was about to find out when her life writing about celebrities in Los Angeles was interrupted and she was brought down to earth with a (literal) bump.You know how your life can develop a background hum, like a sound that you might hear coming from a fridge or a fan when everything else in the house has fallen still at night? A nagging feeling at the back of your mind that tells you that you have done something foolish which is going to make itself known sooner rather than later but you’re going to carry on pretending you haven’t? That there’s something about to fuck up in the future because you haven’t dealt with it? A debt that you didn’t pay, which has been multiplying all through your finances, silently. An infidelity that is going to catch up with you. A body that you buried in a shallow grave. Well, it was a Saturday night in Los Angeles and my background hum was getting louder. My whole body was waiting for blood to trickle down my thighs, and it still hadn’t come. I was waiting for signs of no life. That’s what waiting for a period is – waiting for a little death: a petite mort of the silent kind.There were already some clues that something was happening, because I had interviewed the actress Amy Adams a few months before, in a hotel suite at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. She was promoting The Fighter, a film I had really enjoyed. She told me that when she had first moved to LA she was constantly going to castings and wanting to look pretty. She was broke and had previously worked as a barmaid in Hooters. Then she saw how attractive the woman who served coffee at 6 a.m. in Starbucks was, and she thought, holy fuck, this town – I’m going to need something other than looks. So, she explained, she had worked her arse off on technical skills and humour and timing, and it had got her there instead. I liked her immediately.She had a one year old baby and told me she had truly enjoyed being pregnant. I’d never heard anyone say that before, so I asked her to explain. She said that it was the first time she had felt that her body knew what it was for, that she was so focused, so able to move forward and plough through everything she had to do, her form and her mind united in ambition for once. Something like that. And then, because we are women, trained to need social approval for our every thought, she had politely sought reassurance by saying, ‘Do you know what I mean?’ and I had replied ‘Oh yes, of course!’ and I had thought to myself, I have absolutely no idea what Amy Adams is talking about.Fast forward a few months to January, where I was sober and ploughing through my to­do lists like never before. It had dawned on me that month, sitting at my kitchen table and ticking stuff off, that I was achieving more in one day than I used to in two weeks. It was like I could focus for once, as if my body wanted to move in one direction only, forward, just like – hey – suddenly I remembered what Amy Adams had said, and I knew exactly the feeling she had been talking about!A pink bougainvillea plant was growing all across my window from the yard outside.Holy fucking shit.I added these feelings to the hum. Pushed them down. Carried on. Another week passed.And then it was the Saturday night where I strangely felt no desire to go out at all, and it was time to look back a month in my calendar and work out what inappropriate place I had last been when completely surprised to find I was bleeding into my knickers, because, despite having had this happen once a month since I turned thirteen, it had taken me by surprise every single time.I counted forward on my fingers. Nine days late. Wow. I might have been an unpunctual sort but nine days seemed a lot. There was a twenty four hour drugstore one block down from my apartment. I rolled the thought around in my head for a couple of hours, arguing that it was essential I watch this new Obama speech on CNN and have important and significant thoughts about America as a political entity in a changing world, and find out the latest development in what would become the Arab Spring, and finally, at around midnight, my body put its own shoes on and trudged down to Rite Aid with a ten dollar bill. It was all I had. My credit cards, debit cards, English and American bank accounts – all were maxed out. In the shop there was a stand with every different kind of pregnancy test, but the cheapest I could see was fifteen dollars. Holy fucking shit again.And then I saw it: the bargain basement test, the one that didn’t have anything complicated with multiple lines or something telling you how many days pregnant you were but instead a very, very simple system. If you were pregnant, the word P R E G N A N T would appear. It cost $9.99 and didn’t come with a spare like the others did, so you had to aim your piss right the first time. I bought it, went home, aimed my piss right the first time, and watched the word P R E G N A N T appear.At 2 a.m. I rang my friend Diane in London, where it was Sunday morning at 10 a.m. This was not a time for texting. “Do you think,” I asked her, after exchanging literally no pleasantries at all, “that you could ever be so pre­menstrual that all the pre­period hormones in your body are fizzing around so hormonally that they could make a pregnancy test come out as positive when really it means that you’re literally about to bleed?”‘You didn’t pass biology GCSE, did you?’ she replied.‘No,’ I said. ‘Or chemistry or physics. I went to a shit school and I blame the teachers.’‘Mmm,’ she said. ‘I don’t think pregnancy tests give false positives, only false negatives sometimes.’‘Yeah, but this was the cheapo one so it probably didn’t even work.’‘Sophie, they’re all the same, you just piss on a stick.’‘Mmm,’ I said.‘So, you’re pregnant?’‘Mmm,’ I said.And then I went to bed, and as I climbed into it I said out loud, to nobody at all, there is no way I am going to get any sleep tonight, and as soon as my head hit the pillow I slept the entire night through.The Hungover Games by Sophie Heawood is published by Jonathan Cape on Thursday 16th JulyLike what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?All The Single Mothers: You Are NOT AlonePutting Myself First Doesn't Make Me A Bad MumWhy We're So Tired Of Thinking We're Bad Mums

  • Condoms Can Teach Us A Lot About Face Masks
    Health
    Refinery 29 UK

    Condoms Can Teach Us A Lot About Face Masks

    I’ve been writing about the novel coronavirus for months now. So much about the pandemic and the public reaction to it has surprised me. Most of all, the mask controversy. For a long time, I didn’t really “get” why people were refusing to wear face masks. After all, The Center For Disease Control and Prevention says they protect us from virus-spreading respiratory droplets. Donning one seemed like a public service and a no brainer to me. Until recently — and the sudden understanding of the “no mask” mentality came from a surprising source: a sexpert, who was comparing masks to condoms.“If you want to know how we get people to comply with wearing face masks, ask a sexologist — it’s not our first rodeo when it comes to convincing people they should wear a barrier for protection from a deadly virus,” wrote Jill McDevitt, PhD, a sexuality educator, in a Facebook post. It wasn’t the first time I’d heard the mask/condom comparison. Just last week, Nate Favini, MD, told me: “Wearing your mask down around your chin is like having a condom and leaving it on the nightstand while you have sex.” In April, The New York Times posed the question: “Are face masks going to become like condoms — ubiquitous, sometimes fashionable, promoted with public service announcements? They should be.” But something about McDevitt’s words finally made it click. I don’t know too many people who’ll admit that they’re refusing to wear a mask right now. But I do know hoards of people my age who’ll confide that they dislike condoms, and even avoid wearing them. When I was younger, a common joke among friends was that “Plan B is my Plan A.” Ha ha — but I always sensed that there some some truth to it. We laughed along when comedian Amy Schumer quipped, “You have to pretend like you want to use a condom.” We all knew better; but we still didn’t all wear them every time.I wondered if people don’t wear masks for the same reasons they don’t wear condoms. At least one study found that “masculine ideology” was associated with “sexually risk behaviour” like eschewing rubbers. According to the researchers, this ideology is associated with a few traits: status, anti-femininity, and toughness, as The Scientific American reports. The research on what makes people not wear masks is thinner, of course, but a Gallup Poll conducted in mid-April did find that more women wore masks more often than men. > If you want to know how we get people to comply with wearing face masks, ask a sexologist. 😷👩🏼‍🏫 It’s not our first…> > Posted by Jill McDevitt on Monday, June 29, 2020When I reach out to McDevitt directly to ask more about her thoughts on the overlaps between condoms and face masks, she admits, “The condom analogy isn’t perfect, but my hope is that it can at least provide a framework for thinking about masks.” She also notes that we can use what we learned from four decades of condom research to help encourage people to don masks. She recommended the following steps, to start. Lead by exampleFirst and foremost: Wear your own mask. It may seem like a small step, but your actions have a bigger ripple effect than you might realise. McDevitt remembers being in a long line at her local post office towards the beginning of the pandemic. “Every single person was wearing a mask — [then] a man walked in without one,” she says. “After a few moments he said to the person who got in line behind him ‘can you hold my spot? I’m going to run out to the car to get a mask. I don’t want to be the only one without one.’ And that is how we normalise. The sign on the door of the post office saying MASKS REQUIRED didn’t make him do it. Wanting to fit in with the ‘norm’ is what made him do it.” Same goes for condoms: The more wearing them is seen as the norm, the more people get on board.Empathise, then educate Guilting people into compliance does not work, McDevitt says. “As much as shaming people may feel satisfying to folks, if the end goal is wearing a mask, that tactic will fail,” she says. “People who aren’t complying may be ‘assholes,’ but telling them so won’t make them do what you want.” A better route? Try to understand where they’re coming from, then gently point out the errors in their perspective. For instance, recently McDevitt encountered someone who said they couldn’t wear a mask because they have asthma, and they worried it would trigger their symptoms. “Empathy — ‘My goodness, I don’t know much about asthma but it must be scary feeling like you can’t breathe’ — and problem-solving — ‘Here are the links to where to get face shields to wear instead of a cloth mask’ — go a lot farther than, ‘If you don’t wear a mask, you’re dumb and you don’t care about killing people,’” McDevitt tells me.  The condom equivalent? “Oh, you’re allergic to latex? Have you tried the lambskin or polyurethane versions?” Positive reinforcementGive people plenty of reasons to keep wearing their masks. McDevitt says she makes a point to pay compliments to people on their masks when she goes out. She might point out the fun pattern or the pretty colour. You can also just thank a person for helping to protect others from respiratory droplets. (“Thank you for having a condom,” is always a welcome compliment too.)AccessibilityKeep extra masks on you to hand out to others in case they forgot. Don’t shame someone for forgetting; just say, “Oh here, I have an extra!” and pass it off. They may be genuinely glad you have their back. Just like your partner would be if you happened to have an extra condom or dental dam on you on the one day they ran out.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Coronavirus Might Cause A Global Condom ShortageIt's Hot. But You Still Need To Wear A Face Mask14 Pretty & Protective Face Masks You Can Buy Now

  • Boob Sweat Sucks. But We Have Solutions
    Health
    Refinery 29 UK

    Boob Sweat Sucks. But We Have Solutions

    There are many simple pleasures in the summer — eating a snow cone on a hot day, batting at a beach ball in the pool. But one major downside is the dreaded boob sweat that accompanies the heat. No one likes the feeling of their beach balls being soaked in perspiration. A drenched sports bra is a killjoy. Not just that: Boob sweat can cause skin rashes and bacterial infections as well, says Alyssa Golas, MD, clinical assistant professor in the Hansjorg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery at NYU Langone Health. She says candida loves a moist, warm, dark environment — like your underboob. You could end up with a fungal, bacterial, or yeast infection on the skin, which can be itchy and painful, and may even require a prescription cream to treat. (If you notice symptoms such as continuous itching, spots, or split skin, you may want to talk to a doctor.)Boob sweat can plague anyone in the summer, especially during workouts. But some women are more likely to deal with the nuisance, including those who have bigger breasts and folks going through hormonal changes such as pregnancy, nursing, or menopause, explains Maryann Mikhail, MD, a dermatologist at The University of Miami.It’s super common, and typically harmless. The strategies here — listed from least to most extreme — should help you stay dry. “You shouldn’t be embarrassed by it,” Dr. Golas adds. “The majority of women with large breasts have this problem, but they don’t want to talk about it. But once they know it’s common, it’s easier to discuss and treat.” Preach, Golas, preach!  Powder upDust on a sweat-fighting body powder like Hiki’s, says Dr. Golas. An anti-chafing powder may help too, she says. (Not a lubricant stick or petroleum jelly, which is meant to keep things feeling moist.) Good, old-fashioned corn starch can also absorb perspiration. And some women swear by the same antiperspirant they use under their arms. Wear the right bra Some of Dr. Golas’s patients stick maxi pads to their bras, to help sop up their underboob sweat. But the right kind of bra and shirt can do a better job of keeping you dry. “The best options are cooling bras, bras designed to wick sweat, or those made of breathable fabrics like cotton, bamboo, or soft lace,” Dr. Mikhail says. “Full-support bras or push-up bras can help by keeping the breasts from laying on the chest wall.”She adds it’s best to avoid synthetic fabrics such as polyester or rayon, as well as padded bras because the extra material may cause even more sweating. When it comes to your top, wear shirts or dresses made of breathable and sweat-wicking fabrics, suggests Dr. Mikhail.  Carry wipesOf course, life happens. You might find yourself running to catch a bus on a hot summer day, or maybe the air conditioning will suddenly conk out when you’re at a formal dinner. Maybe you’ll be kidnapped and left to fend for yourself in the desert! The world is full of crazy possibilities, so it’s best to be prepared. Keep alcohol-based wipes on hand for knockers-related emergencies. They can’t stop you from sweating the way that a deodorant might, but they can close your pores a bit to reduce sweating. Botox In general, there’s no need to talk to a doctor if your sweaty boobs are occasional or just when you workout, says Dr. Golas. “But if you’re wearing regular, nice clothing or a normal bra and it’s happening in the AC, that can be problematic, so you should seek out treatment.” That treatment might include botox, which is an FDA-approved remedy for excessive perspiration. The injections block the nerve signals that make you sweat. Each round lasts from three to six months, and may cost up to $1,000 (£800). Breast surgery Maybe underboob sweat is just one more problem in a long line of issues you have with your breasts. Maybe you also get intense back pain; you’re plagued with frequent irritation; or you just don’t feel comfortable with the size of your breasts. In some specific and extreme scenarios, Dr. Golas says that breast reduction surgery could be an appropriate solution. “If someone has large breasts and they’re interested in a reduction, they should see a board certified plastic surgeon,” she says, adding that in some cases, a breast lift could be worth exploring too.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?The Best High Impact Sports BrasThe One Tattoo You Should Get This SummerIs It Bad That I Haven't Worn A Bra In 3 Months?

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    “End The Torture Now”: Celebrities Call For Conversion Therapy Ban

    Celebrities and high-profile figures including activist Munroe Bergdorf, singer Dua Lipa and comedian Katherine Ryan have signed an open letter urging the government to ban conversion therapy.Singer Elton John, UK Black Pride founder Phyll Opoku-Gyimah and Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall have also signed the letter, which denounces conversion therapy as a form of “torture” which is being allowed to continue on British soil.As LGBT charity Stonewall notes, the term “conversion therapy” refers to “any form of treatment or psychotherapy which aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or to suppress a person’s gender identity”.It’s predicated on the false and incredibly damaging idea that homosexuality and being transgender are mental health issues that can be “cured”. Government research has found that 2% of LGBTQ people in the UK have been subjected to conversion therapy – and 5% have been offered it. Another survey published last year found that it leads to high levels of mental health problems including suicidal feelings, self-harm and eating disorders.Conversion therapy has been denounced by all major therapy and counselling associations in the UK including the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP). Internationally, it’s already illegal to subject minors to it in Germany, Malta, Ecuador, Brazil and Taiwan, as well as in 20 US states. As the BBC reports, the UK government actually pledged to ban conversion therapy two years, but has yet to fulfil its promise. An online petition to make it illegal in the UK has now attracted nearly 215,000 signatures. The celebrities’ open letter is addressed to Liz Truss, the Minister for Women and Equalities, and urges her to “introduce a truly effective ban on ‘conversion therapy’”.“Any form of counselling or persuading someone to change their sexual orientation or behaviour so as to conform with a heteronormative lifestyle, or their gender identity should be illegal, no matter the reason, religious or otherwise – whatever the person’s age,” the letter reads.“Let’s end it now. Let’s finish what was pledged two years ago and ban ‘conversion therapy’ for all lesbian, gay, bi, trans, and gender diverse people, of all ages. Until you do, torture will continue to take place on British soil.”Last month, Truss said that she “will shortly be bringing forward plans to end conversion therapy”, though she hasn’t said what these plans are likely to involve.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?How The Pandemic Affects Queer Women Who Want KidsGay Women On What Conversion Therapy Did To Them9 Women Who Changed The World For LGBTQ+ People

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    Refinery 29 UK

    Woman Messaged By Bartender After Sharing Her Test & Trace Details

    Since pubs, bars, restaurants and other establishments reopened just over a week ago, the government has been asking them to collect information about all customers who pass through their doors.According to government guidelines, this information should include the name of the customer, the customer’s phone number, the date and arrival time of their visit, and if possible, their departure time as well. Collecting this information is voluntary at the moment, but the government wants establishments to follow the guidelines in order to support the NHS Test and Trace system.“By maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors, and sharing these with NHS Test and Trace where requested, you can help us to identify people who may have been exposed to the virus,” the government says.It’s an initiative which makes a lot of sense in theory, but in practice, it appears already to have been abused. Rose Lyddon, a medieval history graduate student at Oxford, shared on Twitter yesterday that a bartender had messaged her on Facebook after giving her a free drink at the pub.Lyddon shared a screenshot of the bartender’s message, in which he insisted that he “definitely didn’t use that track and trace thing to find you”.“Honestly I saw you on Tinder the day before and then the day after you came up as a suggested friend on Facebook. Have no clue how or why…” he added, after apologising for sending her an unsolicited message. > I went to the pub the other day (it was empty and I sat outside) and got a free drink from the bartender and… he’s just messaged me on facebook pic.twitter.com/lwRBZJANsf> > — rose 🦇 (@roselyddon) July 11, 2020Lyddon’s tweet has now been liked more than 13,000 times. In a follow-up tweet, she said “the Tinder thing can’t be true because I haven’t used it for two years” and added, understandably, that she’s “not super keen on handing over my name, email and phone number for contact tracing if men are going to use it for this”.As one of her Twitter followers pointed out, any establishment which uses information collected for NHS Test and Trace for any other purpose has breached GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and can be reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).“I think you could report the pub to the information commissioner. This is defo a databreach and they need to deal with it. Sorry. Very creepy,” one of Lyddon’s followers wrote.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Many Jobs Lost During Coronavirus May Never ComeCoronavirus Has Changed Offices ForeverSupport Bubbles Force Us To Face Who We Truly Miss

  • Interracial Couples On Communication, Self-Education, & Allyship
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    Interracial Couples On Communication, Self-Education, & Allyship

    One of the ideas that's being emphasised right now is that being silent around the topics of racism, privilege, and police brutality is not a neutral action — it's actively harmful. So, many of us have been talking about race. On social media, while marching. To family, to friends, to significant others. For people in interracial relationships, these difficult but important conversations are nothing new — nor have they been seen as anything but essential. "I'm willing to listen," says Aimee, about the conversations she has with her wife. "It’s about showing up for D’shara through thick and thin." "I told [Campbell] if this relationship was going to be serious that he had to educate himself about racial injustice in America and be a vocal ally against racial injustice," says Cambria, about her partner. Now Campbell agrees that these conversations are "crucial." Refinery29 caught up with four interracial couples to ask them how they talk about race. Their responses highlight the importance of rejecting silence, are illuminating for anyone who's trying to be an ally.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Layla Saad On BLM, Allyship, & Racist WorkplacesHow To Talk About Race & Racism With Your Partner"Say I Do": 8 Couples, 8 Sweet Love Stories

  • Your Horoscope This Week
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    Refinery 29 UK

    Your Horoscope This Week

    Are you ready to begin moving forward again? Messenger Mercury stations direct in sensitive Cancer on Sunday, helping us clear up miscommunications and re-enter our routines. Before you begin rushing back into your old ways, reflect on how you've grown during this transformational period. Continue to take it easy while Mercury moves direct through this post-retrograde shadow period, which lingers until July 26. We're ready to connect with our inner artists on Sunday, as the Sun creates a trine with dreamy Neptune in retrograde. It's easier for us to understand our influences during this transit, and is a great day to open ourselves up to new ideas and goals. Practise patience on Sunday, as the Moon wanes into her 3rd quarter in Aries. We're feeling antsy and ready to act, but this transit is best spent in meditation. The time is best spent making sure that we’ve got all of our affairs in order before starting a new project. On Tuesday, the Sun opposes lucky Jupiter in retrograde. We’ll want to pay attention to how we accept praise, and work on our modesty as these heavenly bodies work against each other. We may need to confront our need for comfort on Wednesday, when the Sun opposes powerful Pluto in retrograde. This challenging transit provides an opportunity to embrace flexibility, and focus on growth.  Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Neptune Retrograde Is Coming For Your Love LifeThe 2020 Revolution Was Written In The StarsYour July Horoscope

  • Get To Know Kitri, Our Favourite London Label
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    Get To Know Kitri, Our Favourite London Label

    Born in London in 2017 out of a desire to create quality pieces at an accessible price point, Kitri has quickly become known for its extensive inventory of contemporary vintage-inspired pieces. Ranging from mock croc Penny Lane coats to puff-sleeve plaid dresses, the label's designs are a go-to for weddings, interviews and everything in between, with a limited range of statement pieces in a selection of playful prints. It is perhaps the brand’s love of classic feminine silhouettes that has made it such a hit among fashion fans, particularly those in search of Princess Diana-inspired polka dot pieces. With 1970s-style pleats and puff sleeves coming back with a vengeance in recent years, Kitri’s success is testament to the appeal of time-honoured trends, as well as the hard work of the brand’s founder and creative director, Haeni Kim. The label is still relatively new to the fashion landscape but that hasn't stopped it gaining firm fans in Instagram It Girls like Zeena Shah and Karina Woodburn. With most dresses coming in at around the £145 mark, Kitri aims to provide access to more affordable investment pieces, all available in UK sizes 6 to 16. For those in search of something a little more pocket money-friendly, the brand also carries a range of cute hair accessories and simple jewellery, starting at £13. Like many brands this summer, Kitri's latest collection has us hooked with the promise of summer escapism – the collection features a range of brightly coloured gingham dresses, already with a mile-long waiting list. If frocks aren’t your forte, there's also a range of sweet linen smock tops and silky shirts. So if you're on the hunt for something classic to keep you cool in the heat, why not check out Kitri’s latest range of picnic print pieces? Click through to shop our favourites now…Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Fixing Fast Fashion Isn't A Plus-Size ResponsibityFaithfull The Brand Is Our New Favourite LabelR29 Style Picks: What We Want To Wear In July

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    Refinery 29 UK

    Can You Travel Safely In The UK This Summer?

    After four months in lockdown and a backlog of cancelled plans, it’s no wonder we’re seeing online searches for holidays soar. When it was announced at the end of June that lockdown rules across the UK were changing to allow more freedom of movement, many began to consider the possibility of going away this year after all.As with everything around the lockdown, there is a lot of confusion and anxiety about travel in this new pandemic-wary world. While some are choosing to travel to Europe (flights to Greece from the UK are soon to resume despite rising cases of coronavirus in the country) and beyond, many others are considering staying closer to home either to alleviate some of the anxiety around travelling or in an effort not to endanger other countries. Considering not just your own safety but the safety of those around you is of the utmost importance at this time. Perhaps that is why staycations appear to be the most popular choice for a break, with places like Norfolk, Bournemouth, Dorset, Brighton and Tenby reportedly seeing an increase in interest. Inevitably, there are lots of questions you’ll have to ask yourself before you make your plans. Where is safe for me to visit? Is it responsible for me to go? Who can I go with? Where should I stay? How do I even get there?The information out there is confusing and understandably many people are tying themselves up in knots over this. We can’t tell you who you should have in your support bubble or guarantee a rain-free trip to Dorset but we can give you a hand in ensuring that any trip you do take will be as safe as you can make it. More importantly, we’ll explore how you can make sure you are doing your utmost to ensure the safety of the locals at your destination of choice. Where can I travel safely?There are different guidelines for different countries within the UK but as long as you stay within those guidelines you should be safe to travel, according to Wendy Haines, personal travel consultant. Those guidelines are as follows:EnglandThe government guidelines (which, to be fair, are subject to change about as often as the weather) are that you can now travel as far as you like within England as long as you adhere to social distancing rules (which have now changed from two metres to ‘one metre plus’) and are only travelling with a max of two households. If you’re in a support bubble, that counts as one household – so if you’re travelling with your parents who are your support bubble, you can also travel with one other household. Staying overnight in a hotel, Airbnb, hostel or campsite is now allowed too (again, only with two households). If you are travelling outside England you need to adhere to the guidelines in place in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.WalesThe guidelines are similar in Wales: the “stay local” guidance that asks people to stay within five miles of their home has been lifted, and it’s been proposed that from 11th July Welsh residents will be able to go on holiday in Wales (though this is not yet guaranteed). This also means that there can be travel between Wales and England, as long as social distancing rules are followed – the two metre rule is still in place in Wales.ScotlandLikewise, the five-mile travel limit has been lifted in Scotland and the two metre social distancing rule remains in place, and holiday accommodation (as well as pubs and restaurants) is expected to reopen from 15th July. This means that self-contained accommodation (like cottages, lodges and caravans that have no shared services) is allowed. Overnight stays are also now allowed (beyond your extended household).Northern IrelandYou can already take domestic holidays in NI as the Northern Ireland executive has permitted holiday and caravan parks, camping sites and self-catering properties to open. Ninety-five days after lockdown began, people can officially take holidays involving an overnight stay, and there are no travel restrictions in place. How can I travel?If you’ve decided to make a trip, the most obviously safe option is to take a car if you can. As Wendy told R29: “I think most people see their own cars as safest for travelling distances in. This is because they limit exposure to other people, people know who’s been in their car, how clean it is etc.” As long as everyone in the car is part of the same support bubble, there is also the added comfort of not needing to wear a face covering, unlike on public transport.However it’s important to remember that it’s not possible to social distance during car journeys. “Transmission of COVID-19 can definitely occur during car journeys,” Wendy adds, “so avoid travelling with someone from outside your household (or your support bubble), unless you can practise social distancing – for example by cycling.”As for public transport, you should once again be sure to follow the government guidance: wear face masks, socially distance, use hand sanitiser and wash your hands as often as possible.However you plan to travel, you should allow extra time as there is likely to be reduced capacity or services whatever route you take. Who can I go on holiday with?In England you can meet up with friends indoors and so are able to go on holiday together as long as (all together now!) you practise social distancing. That means not travelling together in the same car, keeping separate in accommodation and generally using your common sense. This is also true in Northern Ireland.In Scotland and Wales you can only stay overnight with those in your support bubbles or extended households, as you can only meet up with others in outdoor spaces. How can I be socially responsible?The most important thing that must be front of mind is that it is not only your safety you are considering but the safety of the people in the area you visit. Social distancing is imperative, avoiding crowded spaces is imperative, and you should only travel with those within your support bubble.With those considerations in mind, going on holiday is a great opportunity to lend your support to small and independently owned businesses that have been hit hard by the pandemic. Wendy advises “spending money locally, using independently owned cafes/restaurants/shops/accommodation rather than international corporations” and “stocking up at local farm shops and delis rather than taking all your own food from a big supermarket.”You should also apply this rule when visiting attractions or sites – when you visit smaller resorts you are not only spreading income, you’re reducing the risk of overloading an area with visitors (as seen on beaches in recent weeks).In terms of personal safety and the safety of locals, you should once again turn to the government guidelines. Don’t travel if you’re feeling unwell, follow local social distancing guides, avoid crowded areas and book ahead for attractions as they will have restricted numbers. Wendy also recommends researching how your accommodation provider supports the locals: “Do they have a CSR [corporate social responsibility] policy, what do they give back to the local area?”Depending on whether you are staying in a hotel, self-contained accommodation or on a camping site, it’s worth looking into what procedures the accommodation provider has in place – if not publicly available, you should ask to see their health and safety policy. Self-catered accommodation is preferable where possible as it makes social distancing far easier. Most importantly you should plan ahead every step of the way. Book your holidays sooner rather than later as availability will be limited. Once you’ve made your plans, you should allow for needing more time to get there and any additional items you may need.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Recipes To Take You To Crete – No Flight RequiredI Miss The Mundanity Of TravellingYour Rights If Your Holiday Is Cancelled

  • These Are The UK’s Happiest Cities (& How Much People Earn There)
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    Refinery 29 UK

    These Are The UK’s Happiest Cities (& How Much People Earn There)

    We all know that money can’t really buy you happiness – a landmark study published in 2016 found that sound mental health and relationships are far more important.But at the same time, serious money worries can be absolutely devastating – as anyone who’s experienced them knows. The cruel shame that surrounds debt makes it difficult to talk about and can have a severe negative effect on your mental health.So it’s definitely interesting to check out a new infographic which reveals how much people earn in the UK’s 20 happiest cities. Savings platform Raisin UK made the infographic using the cities ranked happiest by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), so their data is pretty solid.In Winchester, the UK’s happiest city according to the ONS, the average salary comes in at just over £35,346. In Lichfield, the second happiest city, the average salary is £33,360; and in Chichester, the third-happiest, it’s £31,894.St Albans, the UK’s fifth happiest city, has the highest average salary of anywhere in the top 20 – £47,507, which is more than £6,000 higher than the London average of £41,220. St Albans also has the highest life expectancy – 83.7 years – narrowly ahead of Winchester, where it’s 83.6 years.The capital, incidentally, is the UK’s 12th happiest city according to the ONS. Average life expectancy there is 82.6 years.Overall, the average salary across the UK’s 20 happiest cities is £33,864. This is around 10% higher than the nationwide average salary of £30,420 (or £585 a week), suggesting there is possibly a slight link between money and happiness in the UK. You can check out the infographic below.Kevin Mountford, Co-Founder of Raisin UK, said of the results: “While our research suggests money can help ease the stresses of daily life, leading to a longer life expectancy and subsequently allowing you to buy happiness, it’s not always the case in real life. “Our research can help you decide which city across the UK and country in the world to live in to maximise your chances of being the happiest you possibly can, but it’s up to you to make your own happiness.”Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?10 Weird Habits Making Millennials RicherThe Best UK Cities For Millennials To Live InBuy These 5 Things Right Now & Save Money

  • Valentina Sampaio Just Became The First Trans Sports Illustrated Model
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    Valentina Sampaio Just Became The First Trans Sports Illustrated Model

    For the first time in the 56-year history of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue, the annual special edition will feature a trans model: Valentina Sampaio. The 23-year-old Brazilian-born model previously made history by starring on the cover of French Vogue’s March 2017 issue, and later, in 2019, as Victoria’s Secret’s first-ever trans model. But the model hasn’t always experienced the kind of acceptance and praise that she’s garnering now. In an essay written by Sampaio for the issue, she shared her story of being born in a remote fishing village in Brazil, where trans people are subject to the world’s highest rate of violent crimes and murders — “three times that of the U.S.” “Being trans usually means facing closed doors to peoples’ hearts and minds,” she wrote. “We face snickers, insults, fearful reactions and physical violations just for existing.”For these reasons and so many more, Sampaio’s inclusion in this year’s swimsuit edition is monumental. “Thank you SI for seeing and respecting me as I truly am,” she wrote. “For understanding that more than anything, I am human. Thank you for supporting me in continuing to spread a message of love, compassion and unity for ALL.”Despite this being the first time that Sports Illustrated has included a trans model in the edition, it isn’t the Swimsuit Issue’s first historic casting. In fact, it’s, in part, responsible for catapulting the career of model Ashley Graham who, in 2016, became the Swimsuit Issue’s first-ever plus-size model. The magazine also selected model Halima Aden — who wore a hijab and burkini during her SI shoot — for its 2019 issue. This move by Sports Illustrated arrives following calls for justice for the trans community. In May, Tony McDade, a Black trans man, was shot and killed by police in Tallahassee, Florida. At the time, McDade was the 11th reported trans and/or gender non-confirming death by shooting of the year. A month later, news followed of the murder of a Black trans woman named Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells in Philadelphia. A few days later, people gathered together in Brooklyn to honour Black trans lives, with nearly everyone in attendance wearing white.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Victoria's Secret Has Hired Its First Trans ModelFrench <em>Vogu</em>e's First Transgender Cover ModelHalima Aden Models A Burkini In <em>Sports Illustrated</em>

  • Money Diary: A Civil Servant In Sheffield On 23.8k
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    Refinery 29 UK

    Money Diary: A Civil Servant In Sheffield On 23.8k

    Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking a cross-section of women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period – and we're tracking every last penny. This week: "I am a 33-year-old civil servant living in Sheffield, where three and a half years ago I bought a house in the village I grew up in. I am perpetually single and live alone in my three-bedroom semi with my cat for company, with my parents living just a couple of minutes away. This works out especially well for me, as they are close when I need them but as we both live on culs-de-sac, they have no reason to just drop in as they 'pass by'.  I have been working from home since mid March and am lucky that neither my job nor my earnings has been affected by the current situation, although my motivation has definitely taken a hit. As a civil servant I am classed as a critical worker but in reality I am working on business as usual tasks and have no involvement in any frontline response. I’m incredibly grateful to be in a stable job at the moment but it does make me feel guilty when I complain that I am not happy in my role." Occupation: Administration Industry: Civil Service Location: Sheffield Salary: £23,800 (standard salary for my grade) Take-home pay: £1,532 after tax, national insurance, pension, student loan deductions Monthly Expenses Housing costs: £320 mortgage. I was very lucky to have some inheritance from my grandma that went towards the 10% deposit, although the majority was my own savings. My earnings were quite a bit lower when I purchased the house, so my mortgage period is 30 years, which I hope to reduce when my fixed term is up at the end of the year.  Utilities: £83 council tax, £36 gas and electricity, £15 water, £52 Sky TV package including sports channels, line rental and broadband. All other monthly expenses: £12 home insurance, £11 life and critical illness cover, £9 pet insurance, £20 mobile phone, £5.99 Netflix, £10 Specsavers contact lenses. Transport pre-lockdown was £40 a month petrol and £40 tram pass. During lockdown this is more like £10 a month petrol and no tram costs as I’m working from home. Annual expenses: £200 car insurance, £20 car tax. Savings? £5,700. Currently trying to rebuild my savings in an instant access ISA after wiping them all out with the house move, followed by a full bathroom renovation last year. Pre-lockdown I would aim to transfer around £200 into my savings at the end of the month. The last couple of months this has been £600, making me wonder what on earth I usually spend so much money on!Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Money Diary: A 25-Year-Old On 18k In KentMoney Diary: Charity Researcher On £40k In LondonMoney Diary: Furloughed Events Organiser In Cumbri

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    Refinery 29 UK

    Communication Fail: Please Stop Texting Me

    In a box tucked away behind a bundle of clothes I’ve been meaning to put on Depop for at least two years is a very, very old mobile phone. Stored in its surprisingly robust memory are messages I sent to someone I loved very much when I was 17 years old. Recently I read them back. I was surprised by how much we managed to say to each other in so little space, using abbreviations and tiny keypads. I rarely see this person in real life now so those messages, along with some handwritten notes, a photograph and some actual physical mix CDs are all I have left of a life-changing, character-defining relationship. I know nobody makes mix CDs now. Do they still send each other handwritten notes? I’m not sure. But I do know that while the texts we used to send each other felt novel, exciting and rare – meant only to tide us over between seeing each other in person and the hours spent talking on the phone at night – they are now a mainstay of communication. Often without the other stuff. > Writing anything is a delicate and often fraught journey that deviates from the route you’ve planned out in your head, going off road into thorny scrubland of politics and power. We are all writers now. How many words do you write a day? In total? What is the cumulative word count of all your WhatsApps, Instagram comments, emails? You cannot get by if you can’t communicate yourself in writing today and yet even I, a professional writer, feel like I am in equal measure constantly being misunderstood and not understanding other people. Writing anything is a delicate and often fraught journey that deviates from the route you’ve planned out in your head, going off road into thorny scrubland of politics and power. This seems to be as true of writing books, articles and essays as it is of firing off quick messages to friends, family members, lovers and colleagues. That’s why we all care about them so much. It’s why we spend hours poring over messages from people our friends are dating, trying to decipher a hidden code that probably doesn’t exist. It’s why we text the partners we’ve lived with for years during the day even though we woke up next to them that morning and will go to sleep next to them later that night. It’s why we overthink emails from our bosses which, when we read them in retrospect, are painfully straightforward. This has been compounded by the global coronavirus pandemic that was rolled out across the planet by inchoate forces beyond all of our control and has put even more pressure on our messages to one another. With so many of us unable to see people in the flesh, WhatsApp, Slack, Instagram and email have morphed from being pragmatic facilitators into lifelines. I spend more time than ever poring over screens containing words sent to me by another person I cannot see and wondering what they mean. Is that full stop a signifier that I’ve done something wrong? Am I not liked by this person? When they said “that’s fine” did they really mean it? Or were they trying to say something else? It’s just an email, why do I feel so weird about it? Did they not understand my message? I asked how they were. Why haven’t they told me?All of our words are working harder and we’re reading more into them than ever before but this angst is, of course, nothing new. Neuroscience and psychology converge to confirm that pretty much all human behaviour is driven by the need to belong and the desire to connect with other people. It’s one of our most basic, primal instincts. It follows that researchers have found that the need to feel understood is hardwired into every fibre of our being. If eating, drinking water and sleeping are the fuels that keep us technically alive, our connections with others are what keep us living. That’s why the quality of those connections matters. In a study published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience in 2014, a group of researchers confirmed that feeling understood activates bits of the brain which are associated with reward (the ventral striatum and middle insula) while not feeling understood sets off parts associated with negative affect (the anterior insula). The problem we currently have is that because we are working remotely, seeing fewer people and communicating more via mediums designed to help us talk to one another more efficiently, not more effectively, there is a huge person-shaped gap between what we say and how it is received. The written word is great but as centuries of literary criticism will tell you, it is entirely subjective. > In a study published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience in 2014, a group of researchers confirmed that feeling understood activates bits of the brain which are associated with reward while not feeling understood sets off parts associated with negative affect. Via Slack, email, WhatsApp and DM you cannot read the person you’re talking to’s expression or body language. You cannot see how many other things they’re doing at the same time as trying to respond to you. You do not have the context you would normally have if you were, say, sitting opposite them in an office as you sent an email saying: “Do you have five minutes for a chat later?” You don’t know if your joke has been a hit or missed the mark. As one of my Refinery29 colleagues recently remarked in our group Slack channel: “I miss the laughter rippling across the office in unison when we post funny stuff in here.”Bernie Hogan is senior research fellow at Oxford University’s Internet Institute. His research focuses on how social networks and social media can be designed to empower people to build stronger relationships and stronger communities.He says the problem is that “it is hard to know the mood of the other person solely through their text, but it is important to infer it. It’s possible to get it wrong in person, but we are really attuned to doing this. Some of us more than others, but most adults are able to read social cues intuitively and those who have some trouble with this have training or coaching options to help them.”Online, though, he adds that “everyone is still operating with a great deal of uncertainty. Think about this quote that I’ve sent you via email because I didn’t have time to talk to you on the phone…how long did it take to write? Did I edit it a lot (showing uncertainty) or a little (showing confidence)? Did I type fast (suggesting the ideas come easily) or slowly (suggesting perhaps that I’m deliberating)? These are real features that can be detected in person with ease. But unless we encode for them in media, the person reading a message will never know them.”Ultimately this means that we’re living in a new kind of hell where we can’t say anything without wondering whether we have actually been understood. Suddenly, more of our focus than ever is on other people’s perceptions. As you might expect, Bernie is not surprised by any of this. “Some of the misunderstandings we experience have been known about since the very earliest studies on computer chatting in the mid ’80s,” he explains, “and we could have probably predicted this earlier since we know that delivery and context are crucial parts of communication. Sending things over text doesn’t help because we only get a little metadata such as timing (did someone reply quickly or slowly, for example).” > It is hard to know the mood of the other person solely through their text, but it is important to infer it. It’s possible to get it wrong in person, but we are really attuned to doing this. Some of us more than others, but most adults are able to read social cues intuitively.> > Bernie Hogan, Oxford Internet Institute Is there, I ask him, a way to make sure we are better understood when we are communicating via text? “One of the ways we try to put context back in is through paralinguistic cues, like emoji, emoticons and GIFs,” he says. “Unfortunately, these are seen as informal. This means that there are a lot of settings at work where we need to take the temperature of the room when making a decision if we use them or not. They are helpful, though, because formality can be stifling.”I genuinely think about this a lot. I keep coming back to the fact that we are all writers now as I listen to friends agonising over messages from people they’ve met on dating apps or from other friends that they’re worried are pissed off with them. Or as I watch Twitter storms unfold based on a tweet fired off without context. Does Bernie worry about what it’s doing to our relationships? To our professional networks and our social communities?“I honestly do not know how worried we should be about texting misunderstandings,” he says. “I used to think we shouldn’t worry much at all, but that’s partially because it was usually misunderstandings with people who I had enough in-person contact that we could check in with each other. Now with social distancing and lockdown, there are less of these sorts of check-in opportunities but there’s still the expectation to be brief and formal.” If the future is indeed home-working, as 54% of adults hope that it will be after this pandemic finally ends, we need to think more about how we communicate in writing. And not just at work. “I suspect that the workplace cultures and personal relations that will succeed with these newfound demands for extra texting will be the ones that accept that language evolves,” Bernie says when I put this to him. “It needs to adapt to the medium and that will involve new features, cute forms of expression like GIFs, and a little conscious effort to spell out some context. Those cultures and relations that expect terse, formal and stifled text might strain under the uncertainty that comes with sustained contact in this way.”There may also be merit in stopping yourself from responding emotionally to a message that you have perceived one way and asking the sender a simple question: “What do you mean by that?” I have started doing this, not so much at work but in my personal life and, let me tell you, it’s life-changing. It has never yet been anything other than positive and opened up a conversation which has ended: “Shall we just talk on the phone?” I am now convinced that there is nothing that a phone call cannot fix. At a time when face-to-face interactions feel as fragile as our nerves after the personal and political rollercoaster that is 2020 so far, have we fallen back on text because we are under the illusion that we have control over what we say and how it is received because we can edit ourselves? The truth is that this text – whether on WhatsApp, Twitter or Slack – is permanent. You can’t unsend these messages and they’re always open to interpretation once they are out there. On the phone, at least, there is nuance, tone of voice, pause for thought. And in a world where so much seems uncertain, who among us doesn’t just want to feel understood?Like what you see? 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