Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect TUSHY’s Hole-idays summer sale, which is giving shoppers up to $249 off of its bidets, including the TUSHY Classic. The sale ends on July 31.My grandparents had a good old-fashioned bidet in their bathroom. It was an egg-shaped ceramic bowl with a shiny gold drain plug and a sturdy bronze handle. I spent most of my childhood believing it was part bird bath, part toilet, and all I understood was that we were not allowed to use it. When I found out what it was, I was in shock. I was also disappointed to discover that I couldn’t put on floaties and play in it.After my grandparents died, we sold their house, and I didn’t see or hear of another bidet for 10 years (as we know, bidets, while common in Europe and Asia, have yet to catch on here). Then, a family friend installed one in his family’s house and spent the next month singing its praises: “The bidet is amazing, it has changed my life, it is the best thing, you need to get a bidet, trust me.” He rationalized it to me thusly, “Think of it this way. You step in mud. What’s the best way to clean it off: rubbing it with a dry tissue, or rinsing it with water?” He had a good point.Inspired by our family friend, my brother asked my parents for a bidet attachment for his sixteenth birthday. And he got it—a big, clunky-looking white toilet seat with a large buttoned panel jutting from its side and a wire hooked up to the wall. I put off using it for a long time, but once I tried it, I couldn’t disagree. The thought of a pressurized stream of water blasting into that region can be intimidating, sure. I am a jumpy person—I do not like being splashed by anything, even in a pool. But let me tell you, it actually feels good! It’s rather cleansing, certainly feels like it does a better job than toilet paper, and is much better for the environment and for your plumbing than “flushable” wipes are. (PSA: Do not flush your wipes down the toilet!)As fate would have it, bidets only followed me further. After writing a story about some bathroom troubles, my inbox became flooded with emails from bidet companies, asking if I might want to try their latest product. “I thought this would be of interest to you,” each one said. “We would love to send one over.”That’s how I came to own the Tushy Classic. At $109, it’s a relatively affordable, no-frills option that’s taken hold with millennials for its sleek branding. The Classic model is relatively simple to install with a screwdriver and has only one setting for adjusting the pressure and angle. A starter bidet, if you will. Most bidets, like my brother’s, have more features—sure—but easy on the eye? Absolutely not. Minimal? No sirree. The Tushy is less of an eyesore; it’s attractive even. Every guest who uses the bathroom either asks me, “What is that thing?” or remarks on how nice it is. And by now, it’s something I’ve chosen to be proud of rather than mortified by.With toilet paper shortages becoming more common during the pandemic, it seems like other people are catching on. Tushy’s sales increased tenfold, and the brand was having trouble keeping inventory in stock. As somewhat of an early adopter (we’ve had the Tushy for nine months now), I can say that owning one makes a huge difference. It cuts down on toilet paper usage (I’ve had a neurotic history of going through a full roll per bowel movement, I kid you not, since childhood) and trips to the store, which was helpful even before the pandemic. Best of all, I never feel like I’m sacrificing cleanliness. In that realm, there is only stuff to gain.As far as my significant other goes, he couldn’t agree more. When we finally ran out of toilet paper, he said, “I don’t understand why you need toilet paper anyway. We have a bidet.” In fact, when we began self-quarantining in early March 2020, he looked at me one morning and said, completely deadpan, “The upside in all this is that I get to use the bidet more.”What can I say? The Tushy is a dependable, worthwhile purchase that will hopefully carry you from these uncertain times into more much pleasant ones. I never thought I would write a sentence like that, but hey—the world is in flames, the Tushy is in stock (and conveniently on sale), and I couldn’t recommend it more.Tushy Classic BidetThis no-frills bidet is more minimal than other pricey clunkers, and has options to adjust the pressure and angle.Tushy SpaAnd if you’re looking for a slightly more premium experience, the Tushy Spa is also on sale. It allows you to adjust the temperature of the water and the pressure. Related:
“I never want that to happen because then those things become cyclical,” Bassett continues. “It forms their viewpoint, their thoughts, their opinions.” So when possible, Bassett walks over to the family. “It’s okay,” she’ll say calmly to the child, showing them her prosthetic. “Do you have any questions? Do you want to see how it moves?” Sometimes, “Do you want to touch it?”Bassett also hopes to use her platform to increase Asian representation. “You don’t see a lot of Paralympic athletes that get a lot of opportunities, and certainly Asians are extremely underrepresented in media, entertainment, and sports,” she says. She says she’s had a difficult time coping with the nationwide increase in anti-Asian hate crimes. “The more recent violence has just been heartbreaking and devastating,” she says. “When it first started, I thought, I wish America loved Asian people as much as they love our food. Because they’re happy to love sushi and ramen and Chinese food and whatnot.”At the same time, she’s grateful for the growing cultural conversations about Asian identity. “What is great about this movement is that I feel like that narrative is changing. We are not the silent, submissive, just-stay-quiet group. And that you’re seeing voices that are speaking out and talking about their experiences.” Voices, increasingly, including her own.Photographed by Josefina Santos. Wardrobe Styling by Kat Typaldos. Hair and Makeup by Mallorie Mason. On Scout: Tank and briefs by Nike. Jumpsuit and arm piece by Rui. Earrings by Panconesi. Photographed by Josefina Santos. Wardrobe Styling by Kat Typaldos. Hair and Makeup by Mallorie Mason. On Scout: Tank and briefs by Nike. Jumpsuit and arm piece by Rui. Earrings by Panconesi. Throughout our conversation, I notice Bassett’s unwavering ability to engage empathetically with people of seemingly all backgrounds. She takes a sincere moment to thank me for sharing that I am fascinated by trauma because I live with it too. She mentors younger Para athletes who similarly race beside able-bodied runners. (“I say, ‘It doesn’t matter how far ahead or behind the other girls are. Just run your own race.’”) When discussing the rise of anti-Asian hate during the pandemic, she recounts a story of her trying to cough inconspicuously in a grocery store after a run, and being yelled at by a fellow shopper who demanded to know if she was “from Wuhan.” Of the racist attack, Bassett simply says, “I felt terrible for her. She [has] a business and they lost a ton of money and their businesses had to shut down. I get where she was coming from.”Bassett describes herself as “keenly aware” of the many identities she represents—“the intersectionality of so many different things, being an immigrant, being a woman, being an adoptee, being Asian, having a disability”—and it’s clear that even though it can be difficult, she’s found peace with the idea that, whether she’s going about her day or representing her country on the world stage, she often does so with the expectation of speaking for different communities. She says, for example, that she tries to be nice to people, even when they say rude things to her, because she doesn’t want a bad interaction to shape how someone views people with disabilities. “I don’t think people realize how difficult it is to always be so poised,” she says. “Sometimes the heaviness that comes with being a pioneer in some ways is that you aren’t necessarily afforded the opportunity to make the same number of blunders or mistakes as other people.”Because of her willingness to bear the burden of being educator, spokesperson, and role model for several underrepresented identities, it can be easy to think of Bassett as an endlessly strong inspirational figure. But the reality, of course, is much more complicated, and yet much simpler. Like many people, Bassett is processing her trauma, coping with life as a survivor, and committed to improving herself. Thankfully for all of us, she’s generously sharing what she’s learned along the way.“This is all a part of my story,” she says. “It’s a reminder of the trauma, the loss, the pain that I have suffered physically, emotionally, and mentally. But it’s also the very thing that is powerful and important, and can even be really beautiful about somebody. It tells a really important story of being a warrior, a survivor, a fighter.” Photographed by Josefina Santos. Wardrobe Styling by Kat Typaldos. Hair and Makeup by Mallorie Mason. On Scout: Bra, and shoes by Nike. Shorts by Miu Miu. Earrings by Jennifer Fisher. Rings by Grace Lee and Another Feather.
In our Sleeping With… series, we ask people from different career paths, backgrounds, and stages of life how they make sleep magic happen.The first time I spoke with Natasha Hastings was in April of this year. Back then, she said this summer—the Olympic trials, and hopefully the Tokyo Games—would be her final lap. “I’m ready for the next chapter,” the two-time track and field gold medalist told me. “I have done this long enough. I’ll be 35 this summer. I’m ready to move on and watch from the stands now.” But when we connected again—this time in late June, less than a week after she did not qualify for the Olympic team at the track and field trials in Eugene, Oregon—her perspective had changed.“I was very, very sure that this would be my final lap,” Hastings tells SELF. “Now I’m kind of like, I don’t know. But I’m also not feeling a rush to make the decision. I’m sure whatever decision I make, I’m going to be sure of it.” Hastings says she will continue competing in the meets she already had planned for this summer. In the fall, she’ll reassess how she feels about the future of her athletic career. “There are two things that I’m thinking about when I think about what I want to do going forward,” Hastings says. “Am I emotionally able to do this again, and am I physically able to do this again?”That all being said, she certainly doesn’t need an elite track career to keep her busy. The single mom to son Liam, 2, is the founder of the Natasha Hastings Foundation; has a YouTube talk show, Tea Time With Tasha; a cosmetics line, Natasha Hastings Beauty; and is currently enrolled at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, where she’s earning a degree to become a licensed therapist. Hastings still trains in the weight room three to four times a week, and hits the track four to five times a week.Despite the hectic schedule, the energetic toddler, and the Olympic trials loss, Hastings says she feels, well, good. In fact, maybe better than ever before. Hastings did not make the Olympic team in 2012; she did in 2008 and 2016. Comparing her outcome at the 2012 trials to how she feels today, she says her emotional maturity is what’s changed her perspective. “I’m able to walk away from it,” Hastings says. “And yes, I’m reflecting, and of course I’m disappointed, and I want things to be different, and I really wanted to go to Tokyo, but there’s this odd sense of peace. I think a lot of it rests in knowing that there was nothing else I could do. On that day, I did the best I could with what I had.”Hastings attributes much of her personal growth to therapy, which she started in 2020. “It’s weird to me that I’m in that space,” she says of her self-acceptance. “I’m like, who are you? What are you?” Hastings laughs. “One of my overarching themes in therapy—or the thing that I constantly ask for or have been seeking for—is peace. So now I have peace, but I guess I got so used to chaos that I’m like, oh wait, what is this peace here? It’s kind of interesting, but I like it.”Below, Hastings tells SELF more about her self-care and sleep routines as a mother, student, and elite athlete who competes around the world—and one who has a big journey ahead. “I’m really excited about moving on to the next chapter of my life,” she said at the end of our first conversation. “I’m really focused on being a mom; finding new love. Put that in there—maybe my future husband might read the article.”Most of my free time is after my son goes to bed at night.It’s a struggle. I saw this post on social media the other day like, “I could go to bed earlier, but that’s my only free time without my kids.” I’ll take being tired so that I can have a little bit of free time. Also, I am a single mom. We alternate weekends with his dad. So when I have those weekends off, I try my best to make use of it for myself. Whether it’s just going for a drive or gardening—I’ve picked up gardening in the pandemic. But whatever little pockets of time that I can find, I take—even if it’s just 15 minutes to really be intentional about doing something for me.My son is a pretty good sleeper. He does sleep through the night.We have some off nights here and there. He started daycare a few weeks ago, so we had a stomach bug, and that will come up in the middle of the night. He’s a toddler, he’s a human being, so every now and again, we’ll have a night like that. But for the most part, he’s pretty good at night.The first thing I do when my son is asleep is pull up YouTube.Lately, I find I am more of a YouTuber than a watcher of actual TV. The interesting thing is I am a reality TV fan, but lately I’ve come across these YouTubers that review the shows, and I find that I’m actually watching those more than watching the actual show. It’s interesting to hear the breakdown of the shows, and the commentary seems to be more enjoyable than actually watching the shows. I also love murder, like Snapped. And last week was Serial Killer Week on one of the stations. I get into those types of things.When I first got back into school, I used to think, “Oh, when my son goes to bed, I’ll do my homework.” Nope.When he goes down and I crawl in bed, I don’t have the brain capacity to do work. So I’ve had to learn to not dedicate that time to getting the work done because it’s not going to happen. It’s truly my YouTube/TV time. I love Housewives. I was disappointed in Atlanta this season. It felt like the storyline was dragged out, but Andy’s telling us that COVID-19 had things a little wonky. So I have to be forgiving of that. Now I watch the New Jersey Housewives. I’m super excited for Beverly Hills to come back. I’m dying to hear Erika Jayne’s story. I was really into Tyler Perry’s Sistas on BET. Wednesday nights were like, I couldn’t wait to put the baby down, get in bed with a glass of wine, and enjoy Sistas.I go back and forth between using two skin-care lines.I use Fré Skincare, which is a skin-care line that’s formulated for athletic skin, or skin that sweats. They have a cleanser, several moisturizers, spritzer, toner, and a detox mask for post-workouts that I like a lot. I also use another brand called Sei Bella. I go between their rose oil, treatment masks I use a couple of times a week, and then there’s a vitamin C line. I especially like their nighttime cream because it’s super thick and moisturizing. I have travel-sized versions of all of my skin-care products, so that way my toiletry bags are always packed.Fré Skincare Detox Me Post-Sweat Clearing MaskFré Skincare Purify Me Hydrating Facial CleanserSei Bella Honey & Rose Bi-Phase Recovery OilSei Bella Honey & Rose Overnight Recovery CreamI am probably passed out by 9 or 10 p.m.I’m not up that late because by the time I get to bed, I usually am pretty exhausted from the day of training. Then, when I get home from training, there really is no downtime. I’m busy being a mom and then getting homework done and responding to emails. Literally, I probably make it through one or two episodes of TV and I’m out. So I’m boring in that sense. I just go straight to sleep after getting that show in.I sometimes fall asleep in my Normatec boots.Those compression boots are the best, especially because I can just put them on and forget it and multitask. I love my Hypervolt gun and their vibrating roller. I’m obsessed with those products. Sometimes if I’m just watching TV, I’ll roll out with the roller. The gun I use more at practice than at home.NormaTec Pulse 2.0 Leg Recovery SystemHypervolt Bluetooth Percussion Massage DeviceHyperice Vyper 2.0 High-Intensity Vibrating Foam RollerWhen I’m overseas, sometimes I’ll take some melatonin to help me fall asleep, especially when I’m trying to get adjusted to the time difference.Or sometimes before I leave, I’ll try to start getting on the time difference of where I’m going. Depending on my race time, I might not even try to adjust. So if I have a race in China that’s at 9 p.m. their time, I might just stay on the same sleeping pattern that I would have been on if I was home. Adjusting to a time difference takes a toll on your body, especially when you’re trying to get adjusted in a short period of time. So sometimes it’s more beneficial to just stay on your home time schedule.
My Bedtime Routine: Billy Porter on Sleeping Nude, Being a Secret Minimalist, and Adding ‘Self-Care’ to His Lexicon
In our Sleeping With… series, we ask people from different career paths, backgrounds, and stages of life how they make sleep magic happen.Billy Porter is known for his maximalism: sweeping red-carpet gowns, larger-than-life theater and television roles (Lola in Kinky Boots and Pray Tell on Pose, to name a few), and strongly held opinions that have put him at the forefront of progressive politics in Hollywood. Yet at home, Porter says he’s a minimalist. “Especially since everything has gone digital,” he tells SELF.The Emmy-, Tony-, and Grammy-winning actor speaks about home like a sanctuary. He recently left New York City after 30 years for a house on Long Island with his husband. There, he’s finding more peace, and sinking deeper into self-care. “In the last three years I’ve come to terms with the fact that I wasn’t taking care of myself and that I needed to figure out what self-care means,” Porter says. For him, this involves taking care of his physical health too. Porter recently shared that he has HIV and effectively manages his condition, including by visiting his doctor every three months, as SELF previously reported. “I know what’s going on in my body. I’m the healthiest I’ve been in my entire life,” he told the Hollywood Reporter.Here, the star walks us through his bedtime routine, including his cleaning ritual—Porter is currently partnering with Clorox Scentiva—the skin-care brands that give him his signature glow, and how he takes care of himself in the quiet of the suburbs.The first part of the routine before bed is to make sure that my kitchen is clean.And I do that by getting everything together and then wiping everything down with Clorox Scentiva. And I’m not lying to you, I use it for real. Tahitian Grapefruit Splash, Pacific Breeze & Coconut—those smells are amazing. That’s where I start, because I want to wake up to cleanliness. I want to wake up to a clean space.Clorox Scentiva Multi Surface Cleaner, Tahitian Grapefruit SplashClorox Scentiva Disinfecting Wipes, Pacific Breeze & CoconutThen I do my face care.The regimen starts with makeup wipes, any kind of makeup wipe. Then, I’m washing my face with a cleanser, make sure it’s all clean. Then I’ll use some sort of serum, or lotion, or something to make sure that I hydrate my skin. And that’s pretty much it.Kiehl’s has been a constant for the last 30 years. Herbivore is something new that I just found over the last few years, working on Pose. Aesop, I love. I love Lord Jones, and their CBD body butters and body lotions.Herbivore Cloud Jelly Plumping Hydration SerumAesop Lightweight Facial Hydrating SerumLord Jones High CBD Formula Body LotionI just really pamper myself before bed. I actually have this natural body butter by a friend of mine, called Elements Organica, and it’s this bar that’s all organic. And I don’t think I’ve ever really used anything like that. The way it goes on, it feels like the Midnight Recovery Concentrate by Kiehl’s, but for my whole body. It’s really great. My body feels like butter.Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate Face OilI always make sure that there’s dimmer lighting on everything.And I have candles. I really love candles. I love the Molton Brown bath stuff, as well as their candles that correspond.Molton Brown Delicious Rhubarb and Rose Bath and Shower GelMolton Brown Rhubarb and Rose Single Wick CandleI’m a minimalist, actually.I’m a total minimalist at home, especially since everything has gone digital. The things that used to clutter up were books and CDs and DVDs. Now all that stuff has gone away and it has become digital, so I’m good with hardly anything because it’s on my computer and my iPad, and my phone.I put my sleeping mask on and I get in the bed.I sleep in the nude. I wear my little pajamas that people have sent me around the house. I wasn’t naturally a pajama person until recently, literally within the last year. Being at home all day, every day creates a space where, Oh, well, maybe these good silk pajamas might come in handy.Well, the fact that self-care is even in my lexicon is the new part.And by new part, I mean, in the last three years I’ve come to terms with the fact that I wasn’t taking care of myself and that I needed to figure out what self-care means. I used to hate cleaning. I really did. But now I don’t, because I realized that once I’m through with what many perceive to be the chore of it, I get to sit in the afterglow. It cracks open my mind to clean and to transform your space into something that feels otherworldly just with the scents. It really cracks me open, it fills my spirit.For my ideal night of sleep, I am in my bed with my mask on, beside my husband, with our dog.She’s brand new, so we’re still figuring that out. She’s only five months old. Sleep is critical. It’s the peace of it. We’ve moved out of the city to Long Island, onto an acre of land. I didn’t know that I needed it. It’s the quiet that is energizing and recharging. I don’t miss the city, I really don’t. I lived there for 30 years. It’s an hour and 15 minutes away. If I need, I’ll get in the car and go.This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
On June 10, Molly Bernard will say goodbye to Lauren Heller. “I aged with her for all of my 20s,” Bernard, now 33, tells me over Zoom from her home in Brooklyn. If you’ve never seen Younger, the TV Land hit whose seventh and final season ends this month, you might think Bernard was describing a friend from college—someone she grew into adulthood with. This is how Bernard speaks of Lauren Heller throughout our entire conversation.In reality, though, Lauren Heller, played by Bernard, is Younger’s resident ambitious publicist, source of the show’s most outlandish humor, and horny pansexual. “She will sleep with anything that moves,” Lauren’s mother (played by Kathy Najimy) says affectionately in a season one episode.Bernard landed the role as her first gig after graduating from the Yale School of Drama. In the pilot, she had a guest star credit and a mere six lines, albeit ones that made her character quite memorable. The first was, “Hey, I’m so sorry, I think I accidentally punched you in the tit,” and another: “Oh my god. That bush.” Darren Starr—the creator behind Younger as well as Sex and the City—took a liking to Bernard, she tells me, and decided to write Lauren Heller permanently into the show.Like Lauren, Bernard identifies as queer—some of the time, at least. “Sometimes I identify as queer, sometimes I identify as bisexual,” she says. “First of all, it’s no one’s business.” (I use the term “queer” throughout this piece to reflect the verbiage Bernard used to describe herself and various aspects of her life, including her relationship, in our interview.) Yet, prior to meeting her partner over three years ago, Bernard had never been in a relationship with a woman. In part, Bernard thanks her seven-year tenure as Lauren Heller for her love story: “I came into my queerness through playing her,” she says. Would her life look the same today—engaged and in love with a woman—had she never played Lauren? “I have fully no idea. I hope that I would have met Hannah, my partner,” Bernard says. “And I hope that I would have still had as easy of a time coming out.”Though it was her first queer relationship, when Bernard knew, she knew. “I did not bat an eye,” she tells me of falling for Hannah. “I just fell in love.” Bernard met her partner at a wine and cheese book club. They were reading Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury. “I recognized that she had really small feet like me,” Bernard recalls. “I was like, ‘What are those? A six?’” Her unorthodox pickup line worked well enough that the two exchanged numbers. As they say, the rest was history, which Bernard enthusiastically details: “We went on this amazing first date, and it was the best date of my life. And the second date was the best second date of my entire life. And now we live together, and it’s the best live-together day of my life, every day.”It seems like, at various points, Bernard has soaked up a special kind of comfort with her sexual identity from Lauren, describing some of her self-discovery in tandem with the way her character moves through the world. “Lauren, I think, was infused with that effervescence that she has, and that confidence,” Bernard says. In that way, Lauren taught Bernard it’s okay to just be.Peter Yang/Viacom/Lisa Moses
An electric toothbrush will almost always be more effective than a manual brush, as the brushing motion and speed is quicker and more consistent. Budget-friendly electric toothbrushes can still be extremely effective—you don’t need all the bells and whistles to find an electric toothbrush that does the trick. If you have issues with dexterity, look for an electric brush with a smaller brush head. To brush with an electric toothbrush, glide the brush over all surface areas of your teeth, taking around 30 seconds for each quadrant of your mouth. You don’t need to brush or scrub along with the electric brush.The only surefire way to remove bacteria and food from between your teeth is by scraping up and down between them with floss. Traditional string floss is the most effective here. Water flossers shoot water between and around the teeth but don’t have the same mechanical action of scraping off bacteria. That being said, it is better to use a water flosser than to skip flossing altogether. Water flossers can also be extremely useful for people with braces, bridges, or other orthodontia.If the contacts, or spaces between your teeth, are tight together, you may want to opt for a wax floss as it’s slightly more lubricated than non-waxed floss.Oral Care for Sensitive Teeth and GumsSensitivity in teeth and gums can cause a burning or extended tingling sensation. Sensitive gums may be inflamed, swollen, or redder than usual. You may notice signs of sensitivity after eating foods that are particularly cold or hot, or after using certain mouthwashes and toothpastes. There are times when some moderate sensitivity is normal, like in the few seconds after rinsing out a mouthwash or flossing. But if that feeling extends for longer—even hours—or your gum tissue has a lingering soreness, you may be dealing with more intense sensitivity. If you ever experience extreme oral pain or discomfort, or if something with your teeth, tongue, or gums seems off for you, see a dentist immediately.If your teeth are feeling sensitive, especially after being triggered by something like an at-home whitening treatment or a certain food or drink, rub a pea-size amount of sensitive teeth-friendly toothpaste on your teeth before bed. You can do this nightly for seven to 10 days. If you’re experiencing painful or uncomfortable prolonged sensitivity, see your dentist.Ingredients to look for:Fluoride will help strengthen teeth and combat sensitivity. While anyone can benefit from fluoride, it’s especially helpful for people who are prone to cavities or are looking to prevent them. You can find both toothpastes and mouthwashes that contain fluoride.Potassium nitrate can help counteract sensitivity, especially when it’s included as an additive in whitening products.Ingredients to avoid:If you’re prone to canker sores (also known as stomatitis), avoid sodium lauryl sulfate, or SLS, a chemical compound that acts as a foaming agent in mouthwash and toothpastes.You may want to avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol. Alcohol is included in some mouthwashes in order to break down the essential oils in the solution and can be especially irritating for people who live with dry mouth, as it further increases dryness.Opt for mouthwashes that do not contain peroxide. Peroxide works to gently erode your enamel, which is helpful for removing surface stains. However, it can also be inflammatory for people with sensitive teeth.Oral Care for Teeth-WhiteningWhile whitening mouthwashes and toothpastes can be somewhat helpful for surface stains on teeth—like those you might have from drinking coffee—their effectiveness pales in comparison to a true whitening treatment done either at home or in a dentist’s office. That’s because the contact time between the whitening agent and your teeth is usually too short for your teeth to respond to the active ingredients.What makes a whitening treatment effective will depend on a few variables, like concentration of bleach, intensity of the LED light being used (if applicable), and the delivery system (how the light and bleach are being delivered to teeth). LED whitening treatments work by using blue light to speed up the chemical reaction between the whitening agent, usually hydrogen peroxide, and your teeth. Most LED at-home whitening treatments are not strong enough to cause damage when used as directed, though they may cause sensitivity.If you have sensitive teeth but still want to try an at-home whitening treatment, apply a toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth to your teeth at the same time as the whitening agent. It shouldn’t affect whitening results and can help soothe irritated teeth and gums.Ingredients to look for:In mouthwash, look for peroxide, hydrogen peroxide, or another peroxide derivative.Whitening toothpastes often use special abrasives that gently polish the teeth and chemicals that help break down or dissolve stains. Look for mentions of silica, pyrophosphates, carbamide peroxide, or hydrogen peroxide.
Finding the best lip products can be hard, to say the least. There are thousands upon thousands out there, and all too often the ones we purchase and bring home are too dehydrating, too sticky, too smudgy, or just plain old not quite right.That’s why we did the grunt work for you to find the very best. Below, we’ve rounded up the winning lip products for our 2021 Healthy Beauty Awards. Whether you’re looking for a new lip balm, a low-maintenance lip stain, a deeply hydrating treatment, or a lip pencil that will finally make wearing lipstick a breeze, we’ve got you covered.What to Look for When Choosing Lip ProductsOur winners were thoroughly reviewed by expert testers and chosen based on guidelines determined by dermatologists. You’ll notice many of them contain hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and dimethicone—ingredients our derms recommend for adding moisture—and seal in moisture with hydrating oils like coconut oil and sunflower seed oil.You can think of your lips like sensitive skin: It’s important to keep them hydrated, as they can dry out and get irritated easily. For that reason, dermatologists recommend calming ingredients when possible, like glycerin, aloe, and ceramides. You can read the rest of our dermatologist board criteria here. The lip products below are all easy to use and actually useful—the telltale sign of any holy grail product. See all of our lip care winners below, and check out the rest of our 2021 Healthy Beauty Award winners here.Reviews have been edited and condensed for clarity and length.All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
My Bedtime Routine: Shawn Johnson and Andrew East Discuss Tag-Team Parenting, Finding Alone Time, and More
In our Sleeping With… series, we ask people from different career paths, backgrounds, and stages of life how they make sleep magic happen.Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson may have retired from her athletic career in 2012, but her journey certainly didn’t end there. Today, she’s grown her platform as a social media, lifestyle, and blogging darling—with a few books down the hatch, too. On Instagram and YouTube, Johnson and her husband, Andrew East, are known for sharing everything from relatable couple moments to adorable photos and videos of their two-year-old daughter, Drew.The couple, who lives in Nashville, are currently expecting their second child, a boy. As part of their partnership with H&R Block, SELF had the opportunity to catch up with both Johnson and East about how they manage to create downtime, all while prepping for a baby and parenting a toddler. “When I was pregnant with Drew, a lot of my self-care time was taking baths or going to get massages or spa treatments,” Johnson says. “This time around, there is no time for that.”Here, Johnson and East walk us through a night at home—including Drew’s bedtime routine, why they respect each other’s alone time, and how Johnson gets a good night of sleep while several months pregnant.Andrew: Shawn is the queen of schedules.Shawn: We did the whole schedule thing starting early on, so Drew is very used to her nighttime routine. Starting around 6:30 or 6:45 p.m. after dinner, we turn all the TVs off to start calming down. We read some books, we play with toys, and we just get in that quiet zone.Andrew: During that mellow-out period, Drew is oftentimes in full hype mode—she’s running around the house, crazy screaming, it’s awesome.Shawn: Usually running around naked. Bath time is around 7 p.m. I get her nursery ready, I get her blankets out, and her loveys, and we do a fun bath time. We brush her teeth, we put our pajamas on, and then I hand her over to Daddy.Andrew: The crazy thing is, she’ll be really excited, even after Shawn gets her in her sleep sack. She’ll be kissing Shawn, she’ll be screaming at Shawn, and then [Shawn] hands her to me and I give Drew the bottle. And as soon as she starts on her bottle, she is ready for bed. Her eyes get all droopy and it takes about five to 10 minutes. We do a little cuddle and then put her in the crib, and that’s that.Shawn: We swear by Avent bottles, that’s what she’s used ever since she was born. And the best sleep sack in the entire world is Kyte. [Ed. note: Johnson has partnered with Philips Avent in the past.] We’ve been very spoiled. She’s been a great sleeper from day one. She slept through the night at about 10 or 12 weeks, and then she’s slept through the night ever since. So she’ll sleep from 7:30 p.m. to 7 a.m.Andrew: Usually around 7:15 p.m., I’ll close the door onto Drew’s nursery and then we have what we call “beverage time.”For the first year we had Drew, we realized we would put her down and then just want to go lay down on the couch and not talk to each other, but a lot of times we would be frustrated the next day because we didn’t talk about logistics or debrief the previous day. So now we use this time as five to 10 minutes to talk about the day, express any feelings, and then if it’s a nice night, we love having fires. So we’ll go out and do that, and then we go to bed at, like, 8:30.Shawn: When I was pregnant with Drew, a lot of my self-care time was taking baths or going to get massages or spa treatments.This time around, there is no time for that. So I think what I would consider my self-care right now is my workouts. I’ve been working out Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and it just gives me an hour or two hours to get away from the house and to go hang out with friends and get a good workout in that’s just for me.
As SELF editors, it’s no surprise that we spend a lot of time discussing, debating, and testing sneakers. After all, sneakers are a foundational piece of gear—essential for just about every type of workout. And perhaps more than any other type of fitness gear and apparel, footwear can be highly personal and downright polarizing. Some editors want all the cushion, while others swear by a lightweight fit for their fastest runs.But with so many options available, we also get that it can feel overwhelming anytime you start searching for a pair of workout shoes. That’s where SELF’s Sneaker Awards come in. We cut through the noise to find the very best sneakers for your particular needs.To select the winners, SELF editors will rigorously and methodically test each shoe under consideration during a variety of activities. We’ll keep tabs on key factors like fit, comfort, performance, and style.We are currently accepting submissions for the following types of sneakers: running shoes (road and trail), trail/hiking shoes, leisure/lifestyle, walking, weight lifting, HIIT, and indoor and outdoor cycling. For more information about how to submit, read on below. Submission GuidelinesProducts submitted for consideration must be new and released after Oct. 1, 2020 and available nationwide by Sept. 30, 2021. (An existing style may be submitted as long as it’s been updated in some way, including new color offerings or updated features.)Categories we’re interested in: Running shoes (road and trail), trail and hiking shoes, leisure/lifestyle, walking, weight lifting, HIIT, and indoor and outdoor cycling.To submit a product, please email email@example.com with “2021 Sneaker Awards” in the subject line. Your email should include info sheets/press releases and hi-res images for each shoe, along with its release date. (You can put all submissions in a single email.)We will only accept 3-5 submissions from each brand. Help us pick the best ones! You know your product best, so please highlight your top releases, or the shoes you anticipate will be the biggest crowd-pleasers.Please do not send samples at this time. (No one is at the World Trade Center.) If we decide to test your product, we’ll contact you. If submitting products is a hardship for your brand, please email us. We’re happy to work with you. Any product submitted for testing cannot be returned.Please email your submissions no later than Friday, May 28, 2021.Editor’s note: Our list of sneaker categories may change. We may add or remove categories as we see fit.Any questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with “2021 Sneaker Awards” in the subject line and we’ll get back to you ASAP. Thank you and good luck!
Welcome to the first lower-body-focused workout of our Spring Reset Challenge! Today we’re going to complete a low-impact leg workout that also targets your glutes for an awesome lower-body burn. We’ll also incorporate a handful of creative (but totally doable) variations that are sure to keep your workout feeling fresh.Today includes three classic lower-body exercises: lunges, squats, and glute bridges. But, to make things spicy, you’ll be trying out variations of these moves too—reverse lunges, sumo squats, and a frog pump.Most people find reverse lunges easier than forward lunges because they put less strain on your knees and shins, plus they typically require less balance because your center of gravity won’t shift. Sumo squats use a wider stance than your standard squat—and, in my opinion, are all the more fun because of it. They fire up your inner thighs in addition to the other muscle groups that squats work, like your quads, glutes, and hamstrings.The frog pump is the last variation we’ll try in this low-impact leg workout. Frog pumps are similar to glute bridges, but instead of keeping your feet flat to the floor and knees bent, your feet are together and your legs are butterflied out. You should feel frog pumps all over because they activate both your gluteus maximus and medius. In other words, when done properly, they’re super effective. And a heads up—they may look a little silly, but so what? Embrace the awkwardness.The workout below is for Day 4 of the SELF Spring Reset Challenge. Check out the full month of workouts right here. Or go to the workout calendar here. If you haven’t signed up to receive daily emails, do that here.WORKOUT DIRECTIONSDo each move below for your selected period of time. At the end of all 5 moves, rest for 90 seconds. That’s 1 circuit. Repeat the circuit 3–5 times total. After your last circuit, try the optional extra credit.Option 1: 20 seconds of work, 40 seconds of restOption 2: 25 seconds of work, 35 seconds of restOption 3: 30 seconds of work, 30 seconds of restEXERCISESSquatReverse Lunge (Alternating Sides)Sumo SquatGlute BridgeFrog PumpEXTRA CREDITHold a glute bridge for 2 minutes. If 2 minutes feels like too much, try holding a glute bridge for 30-45 seconds, and then gently lowering to rest for 15-30 seconds, before lifting your hips again.Glute Bridge Hold x 2 minutes