Posts tagged with "Instagram"

Mirror, mirror: Going to bed with your makeup on will age your face much faster

July 12, 2019

Face it: We’re not getting any younger. But there are some things we can do that will put “much less mileage on” our features and complexions as the years go by.

On Instagram this week, dermatologist Kavita Mariwalla, MD, who practices in Stony Brook, New York, cautioned patients and followers, alike, “Did you know that going to bed with makeup on can age skin up to 7x faster?”

It’s true, MSN reports, following an interview with the good doctor.

If you “sometimes” skip your before-bed rinse, it might be time to sound the alarm. Sure, you can get breakouts if you leave the war paint on, but even those with poreless, perfect complexions can suffer by ignoring basic hygiene.

To help us understand why, Dr. Mariwalla explained to MSN that night is a time for skin renewal; however, when makeup lays over pores— trapping dead epidermis and bacteria—it stops the cells from shedding normally.

In addition, she warns, skin-destroying free radicals can cling to makeup. “We know that these cause photoaging and can lead to the formation of wrinkles,” she explains. “By not allowing your skin to recover from oxidative stress that occurs during the day, you can wind up with prematurely aged skin.” Free radicals, she adds, also lead to collagen degradation.

While Dr. Mariwalla concedes that thick foundations and oil-based makeup are worse for the skin than lighter formulations, she says makeup, in general, occludes the pores, which is the first step to trouble. “And remember that even if you wear no makeup, washing your face before bed is important just to rinse off the accumulation of oil and dirt that occurs naturally during the day,” she says.

 A half-wash doesn’t count, by the way. Even if you don’t have full makeup on, Dr. Mariwalla says that mascara and eyeliner left on the lashes and lids can still lead to skin irritation. And while makeup wipes aren’t ideal, she told MSN that they are better than nothing. “Try to do two passes instead of one,” she advises.

Research contact: @MSN

Hungry for approval: ‘Eating activism’ surfaces on Instagram

July 9, 2019

Honor your hunger,” proclaims one post on Instagram—and it represents only the leading edge of a new food movement powered by one of the only demographic groups that it still seems to be okay to mock.

 “I’m Katie, I’m fat, I love food and my life,” says the bio at the top of the Instagram account @fat.girl.eats.

And the images on the site are a testament to not only to her appetite—what 35-year-old office worker Katie Przybl describes as “Photos of me enjoying food while fat”—but also a cry for empathy and acceptance.

“My Instagram is all happy fat people living their lives,” Przybyl recently told The Daily Beast. 

And she has plenty of company, as a member of a growing online community of women who “are done fighting their weight.” Quite simply, they “are over” the whole shaming ethic and just want to live their lives authentically.

These armchair activists hope exposure to their pictures over time will do the quiet work of normalizing fat people. “If I manage to convince one fat person that they have a right to live a decent life, then I consider that a form of activism,” says Przybyl.

According to The Daily Beast, some 45 million Americans go on diets every year. Over half of those dieters are women—which is no surprise since research shows that many women have a relationship to food that is characterized by fear, loathing, and anxiety.

Just ask any fat woman about eating a burger in public and you’ll probably get a lengthy sigh. But in a world where we shop, date, and make friends virtually, what happens when fat women post pictures of themselves eating online?

Intuitive eating coach Alissa Rumsey created the Instagram hashtag #womeneatingfood along with fellow diet counselor Linda Tucker, The New Daily reports. The concept is simple. Women are invited to take photos of themselves eating and then post them online with the hashtag, which has grown from three pictures to over 1,100 in just three months.

On Instagram, where feeds are perpetually flooded with well-lit food tableaux and the pressure for perfection is immense, it’s rare to see ordinary, fat women eating food in all its caloric glory. Tucker says she regularly receives messages from people saying they want to post pictures but don’t feel ready.

The photos are sparking a discussion about who gets to eat in public, and why. Rumsey searched women eating food online and found a bounty of stock photos—all of thin, mostly white women delicately nibbling on salads. Rumsey searched “women eating food” and a couple of variations of that on Instagram and found a scant three photos. (#womeneatingbananas came up with hundreds of posts, though.)

“I wanted a place where you could see real women eating without apology, without talking about how good or bad they were being,” Rumsey told The Daily Beast.

And the movement has gone worldwide: The language of the captions changes from English to Finnish to Portuguese. Lots of the captions are long, with statements about who inspired them to post the pictures. One woman grins, a pile of ramen cascading from her mouth. #sorrynotsorry, her hashtag reads.

The comments often include applause emojis. The women are often thanked for posting. Lots of people write ‘yum!’ It’s surprisingly wholesome, with not a troll in sight.

“You guys! I ate a donut! And I don’t feel bad about it all!” posted one woman. “So happy for you,” responded another.

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Seeing stars: Cameo, a Chicago startup that sells video shoutouts from celebrities, raises $50M for expansion

June 26, 2019

Want a shoutout from Brett Favre ($500), Gilbert Gottfried ($150), Stormy Daniels ($250), Tommy Lee ($350), Teresa Giudice ($200), or Dr. Pimple Popper ($100)?

Cameo, the Chicago-based startup that lets users buy personalized video messages from celebrities, has raised $50 million to help fuel an international expansion and further develop its app, The Chicago Tribune reports.

Most of Cameo’s shoutouts are booked through its website, CEO and Co-Founder Steven Galanis told the news outlet. The startup has been building its product development team and working toward relaunching an improved app.

 “We want to make it something super engaging, that when you’re on the ‘L’ going to work, you’re opening Cameo instead of Instagram,” he told the Tribune in an interview.

Since Cameo launched more than two years ago, the startup has drawn attention for its quick and affordable access to celebrities. Last year, it joined tech giants such as Apple, Amazon, and Airbnb on Time’s list of 50 “Genius Companies.”

But the company has not made it this far without running into some problems: In late 2018, it was reported that an account associated with an anti-Semitic group had tricked several celebrities into making Cameo videos using coded anti-Semitic language. Galanis quickly responded, calling the videos a “wake-up call.”

Cameo employs about 100 people, more than 65 of whom work out of its Windy City headquarters. Galanis said he plans to bolster the company’s international employee ranks, and wants to add European soccer players, Bollywood actors, and K-Pop artists to its celebrity roster.

Currently, the site offers video greetings from thousands of athletes and B-, C- and D-list celebrities. Consumers can pay as much as $350 to receive a greeting from rapper and TV star Ice-T, or $200 for former Chicago Bears player Mike Singletary.

This month’s round of funding brings the total amount Cameo has raised to $65 million. Galanis declined to disclose the valuation to the Tribune-however

Menlo Park, California-based investor Kleiner Perkins led the round of funding. Other investors included media and tech investor The Chernin Group, venture capital firm Spark Ventures, Bain Capital, and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Research contact: @chicagotribune

If this optical illusion seems to be moving, you are stressed out

June 20, 2019

Many of us remember mood rings, which peaked in popularity in the 1970s. When worn, the rings purportedly revealed your state of mind by turning colors—from violet for happy and romantic, to blue for calm and relaxed, to yellow/amber for tense and excited, to brown/gray for nervous and anxious.

Now, an optical illusion that is trending on social media supposedly serves the same purpose.

Some say that the image was created by a Japanese neurologist; others claim that Ukranian artist Yurii Perepadia revealed the secret optical illusion and posted it on Instagram.

Whomever the progenitor may be, India Today made the image famous, and it also has appeared on MSN, as well as on the sites of thousands of obsessed social media fans.

If the image remains firmly fixed in place, you are calm; if it moves slightly, you are stressed—and it it moves like a carousel, you are very stressed.

Research contact: @yurrii_p

Postpartum support: It takes a village—or a ‘rubber corset’

May 31, 2019

Recently, a photo surfaced on Jessica Simpson’s Instagram page of the singer—who gave birth to her third child, daughter Birdie May Johnson, a little less than two months ago—relying on a novel “support system,” as she starts to get back into shape.

In the post, Women’s Health reports, Jessica shares a picture of herself hitting the street to exercise wearing black leggings, a black top, and something else that’s apparently not visible onscreen: a corset.

 “Just stretching it out in my rubber corset,” Jess captions the photo, adding, “The joys of postpartum.”

In my what? This looks like something we would read about on Goop!

The rubber corset to which Jessica refers is most likely a type of postpartum or belly wrap—a product that, for generations, women have worn for support after childbirth, according to What To Expect.

Such wraps not only offer new moms the opportunity to look a little more “streamlined” after the birthing experience, but they also serve a medical purpose: to help support the muscles and abdominal organs postpartum, according to What To Expect.

In fact, a study conducted in 2010 and published in Physiotherapy Canada found that postpartum wrapping could help women walk farther and get back on their feet sooner. Another study, published in the International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, found that some women who wrapped themselves experienced less pain and bleeding after having a C-section.

Postpartum wraps come in all kinds of materials and sizes: As What To Expect notes, they can be made of an elastic material that’s closed with Velcro, or they might be made of latex or other stiff materials, like the one Jess wears in her photo. The amount of compression a wrap provides can vary, too: While some are gentle, others can aggressively cinch the waist, with the purpose of changing its appearance (in Kardashian fashion).

A word to the wise:  Get a thumbs-up from your doctor before wearing any such gear—and to make sure the device is also approved for pregnant women (i.e., not just a standard corset to wear underneath formal wear).

Research contact: @WomensHealthMag

What’s with all of the decluttering?

January 17, 2019

Healthcare. Gun control. Privacy. Global warming. At a time when most major issues are out of our control, Americans have focused on the pressing need for decluttering. If we cannot fix the world, at least we can bring some order to our own small parts of it.

It began back in 2014, with a manifesto by a professional organizer based in Japan—“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”—and it has built to a cultural climax with the hit Netflix series, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.”

And while, The Chicago Tribune reports, Marie Kondo’s minimalist manifesto is a phenomenon unto itself, with Twitter testimonials (#tidying, #konmari) and hundreds of YouTube videos, the author also has helped to espouse a broader societal cleaning spree: Your family, friends, and neighbors are accepting the 40 Bags in 40 Days (#40bagsin40days on Twitter) clutter-removal challenge—which runs from March 6 through April 20 this year.

They are listening to Graham Hill’s TED Talk (“Less Stuff, More Happiness,” with 4.4 million views and counting), posting photos of dumped junk on Instagram, and snapping up popular get-rid-of-it guides targeting minimalists (“The Joy of Less” by Francine Jay).

“The whole decluttering thing is a huge trend right now,” Kristin Collins, 40, of Raleigh, North Carolina, told the Tribune. She has been on a self-described clutter reduction “bender” for the last few years. “It’s what everyone’s talking about.”

Collins, a communications professional who lives with her husband and their nine-year-old daughter, told the news outlet that she doesn’t even have to purchase kid clutter; it comes to her. “Birthday parties (mean) piles of presents, and there’s treasure boxes at school, and they come home with all these cheap junky toys and goody bags, and then grandparents are shipping lots of cheap stuff from Walmart that breaks in the first two weeks and scatters on your floor. I feel like we’re at a point where it’s reaching a critical mass and people are just losing their minds

How did decluttering rise through the ranks of the American self-improvement agenda?

In a pioneering 2001-2005 University of California at Los Angeles study that sent researchers into the homes of 32 middle-class families to carefully chronicle their possessions, researchers found refrigerators covered with magnets, photos, calendars, memos, and kids’ art; common spaces full of toys; shelves stuffed to overflowing with DVDs, books; and mementos; and garages so full of boxes, bins and rejected furniture that there was no room left for cars.

The researchers began their report on “The Clutter Culture,” by describing the value system of the home owners: “Get stuff. Buy stuff. Get more of it. Keep that, too. Display it all, and proudly.”

“One thing that was really striking to everybody that worked on this study was just how much of a clutter crisis our families are facing right now,” Darby Saxbe, now a professor of Psychology at the University of Southern California, told the Chicago Tribune. “They were surrounded by stuff to the point where it seemed emotionally and physically stressful and taxing for them.”

Saxbe traces the clutter buildup, in part, to unprecedented access to deeply discounted consumer goods.

“We’ve got Walmart, where you can buy anything for $10, and we’ve become used to this very acquisitive style, where if you can’t find your stapler, you just go buy another stapler,” she said “I was just reading the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ books with my daughter, and if they wanted a doll, for example, they had to make it, and it was incredibly labor-intensive.”

Ergo, the success of Kondo’s book, which was a best-seller in Japan and Germany before hitting the U.S. market. The book—which is part cleaning memoir, part decluttering how-to—centers on the author’s personal “revelation” that our possessions, themselves, create stress. As a young girl, she learned to cull them mercilessly, keeping only those things that brought her joy. She built a system of decluttering based on that insight, as well as a business.

In a true Kondo household, every object has its place and is returned to it religiously after it is used. Kondo makes the remarkable — and very seductive — claim that no one who has completed her private tidying course, which involves a one-time, full-home purge, has rebounded into disarray. No one.

“This whole Marie Kondo thing has changed my life,” Jamie Gutfreund, the global chief marketing officer at the global digital agency Wunderman, told the Tribune.”Everybody who knows me right now is so tired of me talking about it, because I feel so much better,” Gutfreund says. “I really feel so much better. I (used to) lose my glasses every day. The whole thing is, you have to respect your items, and you have to put them in the places where they’re supposed to go. So now I’m putting my glasses where they’re supposed to go, and I don’t lose them — funny! I probably gained 20 minutes a day.”

There’s also an emotional aspect to decluttering, and for some a spiritual one. Like meditation and yoga, decluttering appeals to overscheduled Americans seeking calm and focus, Gutfreund says.

And that’s the key to the decluttering revolution—that sense of calm and control within the turbulence that characterizes our current society.

“I am the opposite of a neat freak — I’ve always been a messy person,” Collins says. “But even I just feel a sense of calm when there’s not stuff piled in every corner of my house.”

Research contact: @Marie Kondo

You can lead Millennials to water, but Recess might be the beverage of choice in 2019

January 10, 2019

Not tired, not wired.” That’s how a new, non-alcoholic, decaf drink called Recess will make you feel after just a few sips—or so says the eponymously named start-up company that produces it out of New York’s Hudson Valley (and markets it out of New York City).

According to a report by The New York Times, the new beverage checks every box for Millennials: Bubbles? Yes. CBD? Check. Sans-serif block font? Yeah! A knowing, nudging, creepily on-point Instagram presence? Obviously.

The news outlet notes that the drink is a sparkling water infused with CBD (government name: cannabidiol)—a non-intoxicating ingredient that is said to act as a pain reliever, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, and “chillifier.”

It currently is available in three flavors—Pom Hibiscus, Peach Ginger, and Blackberry Chai—and, in addition to the hemp extract, it contains what the company calls “adoptogens,” among them:

  • American ginseng to help customers focus and improve memory;
  • L-theanine, to reduce stress with the help of green tea; and
  • Schisandra to boost immunity and promote a balanced state of mind.

And who better to target the drink at Millennials than company Co-founder and CEO Benjamin Witte, an age 29 entrepreneur who previously worked in tech marketing in San Francisco.

“We canned a feeling,” whispers the copy on the Recess website. The site uses phrases like “the unlikely friendship we’re here for” and, regarding a sample pack, “for those who fear commitment”—“channeling the half-embarrassed self-aware sincerity that defines the Millennial mood,” according to the Times.

The site, social media, and product all read, “Calm Cool Collected,” an apparent mantra and marketing tagline in the soothing lexicon of self-improvement. The cans of Recess,  are tinted in palliative pastel colors of pink, peach, and purple; with minimalist typography reminiscent of such popular brands as Casper and Allbirds.

For those discerning shoppers who are seeking a healthful alternative to mineral water, sparkling water, seltzer—and yes, just plain water—Recess offers a rare alcohol-free, caffeine-free, and almost sugar-free experience.

Research contact: @benwitte

Who are ‘influencers’ and how do they get paid?

December 17, 2018

If you enter the hashtag #influencer on Instagram, you’ll quickly navigate to a page with nearly 10 million posts. But that’s only the tip of the influencer iceberg, so to speak. According to Mediakix, there will be 21.7 million brand-sponsored influencer posts on Instagram by the end of the year—and 32.3 million by the end of 2019.

From micro-influencers making $50 per post to Instagram superstars like singer Ariana Grande , who command half a million dollars per post, the Instagram influencer market runs the gamut in terms of following, audience, and engagement; and it has even the biggest brands buying in. AdidasSamsungAmerican ExpressMicrosoft, and many more are finding ways to partner with Instagram influencers to reach their audiences and create new ones.

But how do you get started? In the case of Amber Venz (#venzedits), who spoke to CNN for a December 12 report, by the time she was in high school, she was designing and selling jewelry. And by the time she was 23, Venz was running a website that showcased her work as a personal shopper

 “I posted three times a day, and it was like trend stories and sale alerts,” Venz told the network news outlet.

Within a few months, the site was generating so much buzz around her hometown of Dallas that The Dallas Morning News ran a full-page story about her site. “It said ‘Meet the Blogger… She is now doing all these services online for free.’ My blog actually became quite famous,” she says.

But the “for free” part irked her. According to the CNN rags-to-riches tale, Baxter Box (who was her boyfriend at the time and is now her husband) got her thinking about how she could make money from the “free” fashion and style tips she was offering on her site. That’s when they came up with RewardStyle, an invitation-only platform that allows fashion and lifestyle bloggers and influencers to make money from the content they post.

Created in 2010, the company website says, “RewardStyle influencers have exclusive access to an innovative ecosystem of monetization tools, a global network of 4,500+ retail partners, and tailored growth services-all designed to power the monetization of your content.”

Today, the website has formed a global community of more than 250 team members, 30,000 top-tier influencers, and 1 million brand partners across more than 100 countries.

“With a proprietary ecosystem of innovative technology, strategic growth consulting, global brand partnerships, and expansive consumer distribution, we’re doing more than just monetizing the industry—we’re defining it,” Venez claims.

Here’s how it works, CNN reports: Bloggers write a post or post a photo on social media and hyperlink to a particular brand or retailer’s web site. If a person clicks on the link and purchases the featured product, then the blogger gets a commission. Venz says the commissions vary depending on the brand, but are typically between 10% and 20%.

RewardStyle gets a cut as well, but Venz wouldn’t disclose how much the company makes each time an influencer helps make a sale. “Everyone only gets paid when a consumer actually makes a purchase and the retailer is paid. It is all commission-based,” she said.

“These are primarily women who love fashion or interiors or talking about their family or their fitness routines and they have attracted an audience that loves their point of view and comes to their content on a daily basis,” says Venz. “We’ve given them a way to monetize that.”

And 4,500 brands, including Walmart, CVS, Amazon and Gucci, also use the platform, which has racked up $3.8 billion in total sales since it was founded.

Despite the company’s success, Venz told the news outlet that wants to keep innovating. “We are not low on ideas. So the thinking that we’ve peaked early is honestly not something that’s crossed my mind,” she says.

In 2017, for example, the business introduced a consumer shopping app called LIKEtoKNOW.it. The app lets users take a screenshot of content anywhere on the internet created by an influencer. RewardStyle will then send them links to buy the products that appear in the screenshot. The app has 2 million users and has generated $210 million in sales for its retail partners so far.

“One of the things I love about RewardStyle is that it is empowering thousands of women to do the thing I always wanted to do, which was work in the fashion and media industry,” says Venz.

Research contact: @rewardStyle

‘Getting jaded’ could be good for you: The new face roller craze

December 12, 2018

Instagram seems to be “on a roll” when it comes to skin care: Forget the high-tech masks, the “friendly bacteria,” and the dry-brush exfoliation. The latest (ahem) “wrinkle” in style is jade rollers—not for your body, but for your face.

According to a December 10 report by Prevention magazine, “Jade rollers are not a skin care necessity, like face wash or moisturizer. However, if you enjoy pampering yourself and want to give your complexion a little TLC, jade rollers can be a helpful addition to your daily routine, especially if you deal with puffy skin.” Others praise the rollers for firming the skin, increasing circulation, and decreasing inflammation.

For the uninitiated, a jade roller is a small beauty tool that looks like a miniature paint roller—except it’s made of stone and owning one is viewed as chic and upscale In the same way that your muscles feel more relaxed after a nice massage, the skin on your face can experience a release of tension when you use a jade roller properly, according to the fanbase on Instagram.

Prevention informs us: “Take one look through the 30,000 posts tagged #jaderoller on Instagram and you’ll find countless women massaging their face with the tool, often after applying a sheet mask or serum.

The use of the gemstone jade plays a vital role here, Prevention notes—thanks to its ability to maintain a cool temperature, despite being exposed to body heat. In fact, one of the ways to tell if it’s really jade in the first place is to place the stone in the palm of your hand. If it warms up, then it’s not jade.

How exactly does it improve your facial skin? “We do know that fluid tends to accumulate in the soft tissue of the face and around the eyes, which can worsen with allergies, rosacea, high blood pressure, and hormonal changes, and it can start to change the texture of the skin on the face if left there for prolonged periods of time,” Dr. Erum Ilyas, a dermatologist at Montgomery Dermatology in Pennyslvania, told Prevention in a recent interview. “Aside from medications, the use of a jade roller to gently work this excess fluid back into the lymphatic system can help control the effects of this swelling.”

If your goal is to reduce puffiness under the eyes and mitigate dark circles, it’s best to keep your roller in the refrigerator prior to use, Dr. Ilyas advises.

“A desired eye and face serum must be applied to clean skin prior to rolling as well, ideally one containing hyaluronic acid, which holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water,” Bobbi Del Balzo, lead medical aesthetician at the Deep Blue Med Spa in New York, told the magazine. Another handy hint: You can apply a hydrating sheet and use the jade roller over it.

For lymphatic drainage, it’s all in the technique, says Dr. Ilyas, and should take a few minutes at most:

  • Start with the bottom of the face—specifically the center of the chin—and work your way up, rolling outward across the jaw and up toward the ear. Follow this same pattern all the way out towards the cheek.
  • Next, start adjacent to the nose and roll outward over your cheek towards your ears.
  • Using the smaller stone end of your jade roller, work from the inner lower eyelid over the gentle skin under the eye and outward to the temple.
  • Place the roller between your eyebrows and roll out over each eyebrow, again slightly above this area, then straight up towards the hairline.

If you are intrigued, the cost is not too high. Many face rollers are under $20, and most are under $100.

Just how trendy are these face rollers? Even Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop has one for sale—a doo-hickey that is made of rose quartz and, the website claims, will “wake up your entire face” for just $45.

Research contact: @jennsinrich

Dog tired: Italian Ikea store opens doors to stray pooches

December 4, 2018

Animal lovers are giving an Ikea store in Catania, Italy, a big social-media smooch after photos appeared on online showing stray pooches sleeping among the furniture displays.

Martine Taccia was shopping at the Ikea when she saw the dogs relaxing near a living room display, The Dodo reports. “My reaction was pure amazement. It’s not a common thing,” Taccia told the animal news site.

Taccia said she had found out that the furniture and appliance store opens its doors to strays in cold weather and even provides food and water. “The dogs receive daily food and pampering from Ikea’s employees and customers,” Taccia says. “Some dogs have even found a family, going home with customers.”

She immediately posted the news to her Facebook page—and the shares and likes continue to multiply.

According to the comments on the photos, dog lovers are giving this one store’s policy a big thumbs up. “Thank God there are still good people in the world who help poor animals,” one friend wrote on Instagram.

Another customer, Beppe Liotta, was likewise smitten with the store’s dog-friendly initiative. “I felt a feeling of deep tenderness and great happiness in seeing dogs crouched in the exhibition space at the entrance of the IKEA,” Liotta told The Dodo.

As a self-proclaimed animal lover, Liotta told the news outlet that he hopes other businesses will follow suit by opening their doors (and their hearts) to animals whose sad circumstances are all too often overlooked.

“If all the stores that had the space would make a place of refuge for strays, I would be really happy,” he said.

Research contact: stephen@thedodo.com