Grab Your Popcorn: 16 New Netflix Releases We Can’t Wait To Watch






Source: Netflix

Three words, 12 letters—say it, and I’m yours: new on Netflix. My affinity for falling head over heels for a brand new series or film started long before the birth of the streaming service as we know it. Instead, it is deep-rooted in my childhood-based Friday trips to Blockbuster. Choosing amongst what seemed like 3.2 billion titles, narrowing my decision down to one, and snagging a strawberry Ring Pop at checkout was the pregame. Snuggling up with my favorite tie blanket, popping the VHS tape into our dusty Panasonic VCR, and watching a new (probably very mediocre) flick was the main event.
Blockbuster may be dead, but my love for compellingly fresh shows, thrilling new movies, and a worry-free Friday night on my couch remains alive and well. Saying “hello” to another month means welcoming new-on-Netflix arrivals, and honey, you’re going to want to grab your popcorn for these guys:

 

Shows

 

1. Money Heist, Part 5 Volume 1

Number of seasons: 5

Release date: Sept. 3

If true crime, thrills, drama, romance, and a bit of interwoven comedy sound like your idea of a good time, Money Heist has your name written all over it. When a criminal mastermind who goes by the name of “The Professor” has a plan to pull off history’s biggest heist, he recruits eight other brilliant thieves with a certain set of skills and nothing to lose. With four seasons and the fifth on the way, you’ll have plenty of content to keep you on your toes.

 

2. Lucifer, Season 6

Number of seasons: 6

Release date: Sept. 10

We’ve had our calendars marked for the sixth season of Lucifer for as long as we can remember, and after much anticipation, our favorite devil and detective duo are back and better than ever. When the new season is released, you simply won’t be able to reach us until we binge-watch the entire season.

 

3. Sex Education, Season 3

Number of seasons: 3

Release Date: Sept. 17

You know it, you love it, and it’s back for a third season. If you haven’t jumped on the Sex Education train yet, we have one word for you: Why? In this British comedy-drama, a socially awkward teen with a sex therapist for a mother and a whip-smart bad-girl team up to start an underground sex therapy clinic at their school. It’s light, funny, thoughtful, heartfelt, and genuine, and binge-watching it is always a good idea.

 

4. The Circle, New Episodes

Number of seasons: 2

Release date: Sept. 8

Reality fans, rejoice! The Circle is returning with a few new episodes, and if you loved the status and strategy that accompanied the social experiment in season one and beyond, you’re in luck. With plenty of flirting, befriending, and catfishing, these new episodes are bound to keep you on the edge of your seat.

 

5. Turning Point: 9/11 and the War on Terror

Number of seasons: 1

Release date: Sept. 1

Turning Point: 9/11 and the War on Terror is one of Netflix’s newest documentary series timed to the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. From Al Qaeda’s roots to America’s response, this docuseries covers a lot of ground about a day and the years following that changed the United States and the world forever.

 

6. The World’s Most Amazing Vacation Rentals, Season 2

Number of seasons: 2

Release date: Sept. 14

Our love for travel in a pre-pandemic world knows no bounds, and the second season of The World’s Most Amazing Vacation Rentals is no exception. In this reality TV series, three travelers visit vacation rentals around the globe and share their expert tips and tricks. It’s the lighthearted show that we all need in our lives, and we’ll 100 percent be diving headfirst into the wanderlust.

 

7. Monsters Inside: The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan

Number of seasons: 1

Release date: Sept. 22

If you’re on the hunt for a new true-crime docuseries, you’re in luck because Monsters Inside: The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan is making its way to Netflix. This documentary tells the chilling tale of Billy Milligan, an accused serial rapist who claims that multiple personalities control his behavior. If you’re looking for a series based on true events that’ll keep you up at night, add this to your “to-watch” list.

 

8. Blood & Water, Season 2

Number of seasons: 2

Release date: Sept. 24

If you ask us, Blood & Water is one of the most underrated shows on Netflix, so we’re happy it’s back for a second season. In this drama series, a Cape Town teen sets out to prove whether or not her new school’s swimming star is actually her sister who was abducted at birth. The plotline is anything but predictable, the acting is on point, and we can’t wait to get clarity after the cliffhanger they left us on at the end of season one.

 

9. On The Verge

Number of seasons: 1

Release date: Sept. 7

We have been waiting for a new series to sweep us off of our feet, and we predict that On The Verge, one of Netflix’s newest installments, will be it. In this dramedy series, four female friends in their 40s dig into love and work with a generous side of midlife crisis in a pre-pandemic world. It’s giving us all of the Firefly Lane meets Sex and the City vibes, and we are here for it.

 

10. Midnight Mass

Number of seasons: 1

Release date: Sept. 24

Midnight Mass is one of Netflix’s newest limited series and the mystery-meets-thriller extravaganza we’ve been waiting for. After a mysterious priest arrives at an isolated island community, seemingly miraculous events unfold alongside a renewed religious fervor. Grab your popcorn and the edge of your seat—this series was brought to you by the creator of The Haunting of Hill House, so we know it’s going to be good.

 

11. Dear White People, Volume 4

Number of seasons: 4

Release date: Sept. 22

Dear White People is the Netflix series spinoff of the film by the same name by Justin Simien. The series is considered a comedy in nature and follows the accounts of students attending a predominantly white Ivy League institution, bringing attention to racism, cultural injustice, and activism in the modern age. To put it lightly, we couldn’t be happier that it’s back for a fourth season.

 

12. Sparking Joy with Marie Kondo

Number of seasons: 1

Release date: Aug. 31

We know her, we love her, we want to be her, and we can’t wait to watch Marie Kondo’s newest Netflix feature, Sparking Joy. In this inspirational and transformational series, Kondo is taking her talent of Tidying Up to a broader scale, where she will help bring her method to businesses, relationships, and communities. We love a good reality series that makes us want to get up off of the couch and revamp our own lives, so we have a feeling that this series will be at the top of our watch list.

 

13. Dive Club

Number of seasons: 1

Release date: Sept. 3

In the wake of the second season of Outer Banks, we have (probably too high of) hopes that Dive Club will fill the void. When one of their own goes missing, a crew of teen divers takes matters into their own hands—and uncover a series of secrets along the way. Maybe they’ll be off-brand Pogues, but maybe, just maybe, they’ll be our new favorite crew to tune into when we’re craving camaraderie and adventure.

 

Movies

 

14. Kate

Release date: Sept. 10

If you’re in the market for a new thriller-action-drama to fangirl over, Kate is bound to be it. After a ruthless assassin becomes fatally poisoned, she has less than 24 hours to exact revenge on her enemies and find who ordered the hit. We love a woman who can kick ass, so we’re ready for this one.

 

15. The Starling

Release date: Sept. 24

Our love for Melissa McCarthy is unmatched, so we can’t wait to watch The Starling, Netflix’s newest comedy-drama film. After Lilly (played by McCarthy) suffers a loss, she finds the courage to heal her relationships and rediscover her capacity for love in the most unlikely and unexpected way. If you see me watching this trailer over and over and bawling my eyes out, respectfully, no you didn’t.

 

16. Intrusion

Release date: Sept. 22

If you’re looking to ring in spooky season a bit early, start with Intrusion. In this suspenseful thriller, a deadly invasion at a couple’s remote dream house sparks a woman to search for answers. In her investigation, she quickly learns that the true danger is just beginning. In true too-paranoid-to-watch-thrillers fashion, I only planned to watch a few seconds of this trailer, but I couldn’t pull myself away from the eeriness.

Why This Common Form of Hair Loss in Black Women Is Often Misdiagnosed

a purple abstract illustration showing representing a close up of hair growing out of folliclesNiege Borges

This story is a part of The Truth About Hair Loss, an exploration into why we lose our hair, the emotional and monetary costs that come along with the experience, and what the future of treatment (and acceptance) could look like.

In January of 2021, Kristyn Wells sat on her couch at home and recorded one of her most vulnerable videos. She started a YouTube channel while in quarantine during COVID-19, initially sharing fitness and lifestyle tips. But the video she posted on January 29 was different. Wells decided to share her hair loss journey with the world for the first time.

More than halfway into the 10-minute video, she removes her scarf to reveal a patch of baldness along the top of her head.

What follows is a few deep breaths as she adjusts to the reality of full exposure. Finally, she says, "I did it. I did it."

Wells was diagnosed three years ago with central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA) by a board-certified dermatologist in Columbia, South Carolina. "I had never heard of it before," says Wells of the condition. "Ever."

What is centrifugal cicatricial alopecia?

CCCA is a type of hair loss that starts at the crown of the scalp and spreads outward. Cicatricial comes from the Latin word for scar, which presents in CCCA as permanently damaged hair follicles that have been replaced by scar tissue.

Symptoms of CCCA, which include itching and/or burning of the scalp, and noticeable broken hair in the crown area are usually mild at first, explains Ife Rodney, a board-certified dermatologist in Fulton, Maryland. This usually begins to happen when patients are in their early 30s, she says, though she's seen women in their 20s come in for CCCA treatment as well.

When Wells noticed gradual thinning of her hair in her early 30s, she always assumed she had "female pattern baldness," also known as androgenetic alopecia, a condition that runs in her family.

In its early stages, CCCA can be misdiagnosed as androgenetic alopecia because they can look very similar, with thinning in the crown area of the scalp, says Yolanda Lenzy, a board-certified dermatologist in Chicopee, Massachusetts.

To ensure an accurate diagnosis, Lenzy performs a biopsy, where a pathologist can then see the hair follicles up close. Whereas androgenetic alopecia is characterized by shrinking of the hair follicles resulting in thin, barely noticeable hair, the key indicators of CCCA are inflammation and damage to the follicles.

"When you look at it, you can see the scarring," says Lenzy. "There are no openings. There are no pores."

What causes CCCA?

CCCA is the most common form of scarring alopecia in Black women, says Rodney. The exact cause is unknown, though it has been associated with certain hairstyles and hair care practices that are common among Black women, such as chemical relaxers and extreme tension from braids, sew-ins, and locs, which may trigger scarring in the crown area and lead to hair loss, she explains.

Rodney points out, however, that some women, and even men, who have never subscribed to harsh hair care practices or tension-heavy hairstyles still get CCCA. Increased research into CCCA is revealing that "there is a definite genetic component of risk for the condition," says Amy McMichael, a board-certified dermatologist in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

"For those of us who see many women of color with hair loss, the clinical patterns seem to suggest that CCCA is quite common in families," she tells Allure.

McMichael, who chairs the dermatology department at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, was one of the primary investigators of a study into CCCA whose findings were published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2019. The study concluded that mutations in a gene essential to how the hair follicle forms (PADI3) were associated with CCCA.

Lenzy has numerous family members who have been dealing with this particular form of alopecia for decades, including her mother, several of her aunts, and her sister, Lila Adams. Diagnosed 10 years ago, Adams calls her journey with CCCA a "rollercoaster ride."

"I live with it, and it's a daunting thing to lose your hair," she says. "As a Black woman, hair boosts your self-esteem, it gives you a sense of inner validation if it looks nice."

Adams admits she didn't take the condition as seriously as she should've in the first few years of her diagnosis. It was her mother's CCCA journey – coin-sized scarring that spread to the point where she now depends on wigs for coverage – that spurred Adams into action.

How CCCA Is Treated

Adams's CCCA treatment plan includes the application of prescribed medication to her scalp and regular visits to her dermatologist for progress check-ins. Adams stopped chemically straightening her hair and now rotates her hairstyles, going from protective styles to wearing her natural hair out, in order to give her scalp a break.

There is no cure for CCCA, and it is a chronic condition, says Lenzy. Thus, treating it takes commitment on the patient’s part, in case another flare-up of inflammation occurs.

One thing Rodney stresses to her patients is that when it comes to this condition, time is of the essence. "Your hair follicles are actively under attack," Rodney explains to her patients after diagnosis. "And we need to intervene aggressively now to shut it down and save the follicles." She says when the initial symptoms are overlooked, patients in their 50s and 60s come in with more widespread scarring and advanced hair loss.

Treatment for CCCA begins by stopping the inflammation. Antibiotics with anti-inflammatory properties can be prescribed as well as topical cortisone to be applied to the problematic areas. Steroid injections are also an option for deeper penetration into the scalp, says Rodney.

To improve regrowth of hair in the affected area, Lenzy uses minoxidil, which is the active ingredient in Rogaine. As part of her patients’ overall treatment plan, she also recommends supplements like Nutrafol and Viviscal Pro to aid in the growth and thickness of the hair. Rodney says she's had success with the supplement Lambdapil in her patients’ hair loss treatment. (It's worth noting that research on supplements' efficacy is lacking, and you should always consult a board-certified dermatologist before starting a supplement treatment plan.)

The cost of CCCA treatment is based on factors like insurance coverage and the severity of the condition, notes Rodney. Initial evaluation and baseline treatments to shut down the inflammation like antibiotics, topical steroids, and steroid injections are usually covered by insurance, both Lenzy and Rodney say. More advanced treatments, like platelet-rich plasma (PRP), where platelets are injected into the scalp at the level of the hair follicles to assist in hair growth stimulation, can range from $700 to $1100 per treatment, and require multiple visits, says Lenzy. Additionally, hair growth supplements can be pricey, with Nutrafol costing $88 for a one-month supply. 

Lenzy says she's seen a lot of women become defeated after diagnosis, thinking they’ll have to come up with hundreds of dollars for advanced treatment, when they haven't first undergone the initial, and often affordable, steps to combat the inflammation.

Treatment can be a months-long process, where Lenzy and Rodney have found themselves providing patient care that goes beyond prescriptions.

"What distinguishes the good doctors from the great doctors is the counseling," Lenzy explains, adding that educating her patients and setting expectations is key. "Because if they don't know what to expect, and then you give them something and they use it for six months and see no difference, they're going to stop."

The Mental Health Side Effects of CCCA

Lenzy and Rodney, who are both Black women, recognize the strong connection between hair and identity in the Black community.

"So suddenly, when your hair is falling out to the point where you can't wear a hairstyle confidently, it impacts your quality of life," says Rodney. "It's very emotionally stressful. Some of my patients, many are in tears in my office or depressed about it."

Wells originally felt that shame and insecurity in her CCCA diagnosis. That is ultimately why she says it was important for her to be vocal about her hair loss journey on YouTube. Soon after she posted the video, comments poured in from other women who said they, too, had been diagnosed with CCCA.

Having seen hundreds of patients with CCCA over her career, Lenzy says the effort to bring the dermatologic concerns of Black women to the forefront of the conversation often starts with Black dermatologists, who identify most with those conditions.

"It's my passion to use my research in order to elevate our knowledge and the knowledge gaps we still have about this condition," she says. "A lot of patients who went to the dermatologist in the '80s and '90s were told, 'There's nothing that can be done,' and they were sent on their way."

5 Fall Decorating Ideas for Your Living Space

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You probably don’t need me to wax poetic about how much I love fall, but I’m a millennial—it comes with the territory. The moment that first chill creeps into the air, all I want to do is hibernate at home surrounded by infinite blankets, candles, and Nora Ephron movies. Fall decorating is the first step in getting there.

 





Source: @heywanderer

 

We’ve spent a lot of time at home over the past two years, and though there was a time when we definitely got sick of it, there’s just something about a cozy fall oasis on a crisp October evening that makes us want to hunker down and embrace our inner homebody. Now that autumn is finally on the horizon, we’re jumping headfirst into our favorite time of year, which includes updating our homes for the changing season. Ahead, I’m breaking down five fall decorating ideas that will effortlessly warm up your space.

 

1. Reevaluate your lighting





Source: @alainakaz

As the days get shorter and the nights become longer, it’s the perfect time to reevaluate your at-home ~ambiance~. Instead of replacing natural sunlight with harsh overhead lighting, embrace a cozy vibe with the soft glow of table lamps, candle lights, and twinkle lights in a glass cloche. Remember: The key to great, ambient lighting is layers. Aim to have two to four sources of light in each room for an effortlessly enchanting look and feel.

 

2. Add layers of texture





Source: @em_henderson

Texture is a great way to add interest to a room all year round, but it becomes especially important in the cooler months of the year, when layers not only add to an aesthetic but also provide practical comfort. Focus on rich textures like leather, wood, velvets, and woven knits to give a sense of weight and depth, and opt for pieces that you can easily swap in and out. A wooden coffee table tray, cable knit pouf, or velvet throw will allow you to cater to the season without overcommitting.

 

3. Trade fresh greenery for dried florals





Source: Kelly Etz

In spring and summer, we’re all about perky flowers and luscious house plants, but come autumn, we’re ready to embrace a moodier style. Swap out your weekly grocery store bouquet for dried flowers that will see you through the entire season. Bonus: You’ll save a solid $10-$20 each week! Those PSLs aren’t going to pay for themselves.

 

4. Switch out your bed sheets





Source: @almostmakesperfect

I imagine that Kathleen Kelly spent her fall weekend mornings cocooned in bed with warm, fluffy sheets, a hot cup of coffee, and the Sunday paper. To be quite honest, that’s reason enough for me to buy a fresh set of bed linens. If you need more convincing though, think of it as the ultimate merger of form and function. Cozy, perfectly crumpled sheets provide a warm retreat at the end of the day while also adding that aforementioned texture to your bedroom.

 

5. Add a hint of nostalgia





Source: @rhiannonlawsonhome

Fall has a way of making everything feel like a memory, even when you’re experiencing it for the first time. Take the opportunity to bring a touch of nostalgia to your home by displaying family heirlooms or thrifted antiques on empty surfaces, like your mantle or coffee table. You’ll immediately infuse a sense of history and charm that feels quintessentially autumn.

 

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What It’s Like to Lose Your Hair in Your 20s

portraits of two women who've experienced hair loss. one is completely bald the other has long black hair. both...Courtesy subjects

This story is a part of The Truth About Hair Loss, an exploration into why we lose our hair, the emotional and monetary costs that come along with the experience, and what the future of treatment (and acceptance) could look like.

"Why do I have to deal with hair loss? I'm not a middle-aged man," my 27-year-old sister Taylor recently asked me. Despite the fact that more than 50 percent of women experience noticeable hair loss in their lives, according to Cleveland Clinic, conversations about thinning hair are traditionally centered on men. Sometimes, just pointing out that some dude you just met at a bar or on a dating app is balding is a punchline. As an aspiring comedian, Taylor knows exactly what kinds of laughs that joke elicits. However, every time she's heard someone else say it, she wonders if they say the same about her when she walks away. 

Arguably since the beginning of time, the ultimate stereotypical symbol of femininity has been long, flowing hair. Just look at Eve. Historically, she's been portrayed with waves down to her waist, either blowing behind her or falling across her chest like some sort of protection. Her hair is often what sets her apart from Adam. "Hair is something so intertwined with being a woman that when [they] start to lose their hair, it can take a huge toll," says Georgia Gaveras, a board-certified New York City-based psychiatrist and co-founder of Talkiatry. "For a lot of women, [their hair] is how they define themselves."

For the first time since it started thinning, my sister recently shared the details of her volatile relationship with her hair with me when we started talking for this piece. Over the years, I've seen how traumatic hair loss has been for her, but she's never talked about it directly. "It's a shame thing," Taylor admitted to me during our interview. "I never wanted to talk about it with anybody because I was embarrassed. The word balding is embarrassing. That's not even what this is. My hair is thinning, but in my head, when I see pictures, I feel bald. It makes me want to throw up."

Finally hearing Taylor's story motivated me to share it along with the experiences of several other women who lost their hair in their 20s — or even before. They are just a small selection of the 12 percent of women who experience hair loss before the age of 29, as studies have found. (By 49 years old, 25 percent of women do, too. That number increases to 41 by the age of 69.) Many of the women I talked to have been some of the loudest about sharing their stories on social media in hopes of destroying the stigma that hair loss is something only men deal with. 

If you, too, deal with hair loss, Gaveras swears it's okay if it bothers you and makes you as physically ill as it makes my sister. "No one should be judged on that — just like no one should judge you if you decide to shave your head or grow your hair down to your toes," she says. 

Amy Chang, 34

Beauty content creator based in Los Angeles 

photo of a woman with one hand on her chin long black hair pulled over one shoulder wearing a pink t shirtCourtesy of subject

Since third grade, Amy Chang's full, onyx hair had always fallen past her shoulder. Keeping it constant made her hair an afterthought. She took it for granted. Every other month, she'd dye it a deeper shade of black. Almost every day, she'd blow it out and reached for whatever hair products were lying around. Occasionally, Chang would even skip conditioner. "Looking back, I'm surprised it didn't fall out sooner," she says.

Skin, instead, was Chang's focus. Her complexion was everything. She directed her energy toward keeping it clear and acne-free. But when her hair started falling out, Chang had to redirect her attention toward it and redefine her relationship not only with her hair but also with herself. "I don't think I realized until that happened, how closely I tied my idea of my femininity, my identity, and my self-esteem [with] my hair," she admits. 

While putting together before-and-after photos for a product she'd been testing, Chang's eyes were drawn to her hair for once. "My hairline had receded so much," she recalls. Fear, regret, and desperation took over. 

"Thinking back, there were little signs along the way," Chang says. "First, my scalp started getting excessively oily, and it never was before. I would wash my hair, and then the next day, I would need to wash it again because it was so oily up top." 

After visiting the doctor and having her blood tests come back clear of any allergies or vitamin deficiencies, she later self-diagnosed herself with a dehydrated scalp. With itchiness and flakes following her shedding, Chang learned these were symptoms of scalp inflammation, which blocked her follicles. (You can learn more about scalp inflammation by listening to episode 10 of Allure's The Science of Beauty podcast.)  

Back in 2015, conversations on social media about women's hair loss were few and far between. Chang felt powerless. Desperate for more stories, she decided to share her own on a beauty blog she'd just started. She started interviewing hair loss experts for it, and through their knowledge, Chang felt like she was gaining her power back. "When I started to take those bits of information and really incorporate them into what I was doing for my hair care, and I started to see improvements, that fueled this whole excitement for me," Chang recalls. "Okay, there's something I can do about it."

As she found agency in the situation, the way Chang takes care of her hair completely shifted. Although she believes her hair looks better when it's blown out and colored, she doesn't do either anymore. The health of her hair, just like her skin, is her ultimate beauty priority. "The way I view my scalp now as an extension of my face," Chang says. "When I think about what I do to my hair, it's like, 'Would I do that to my face?'" 

With all this in mind, Chang hopes conversations about women's hair loss become as normalized as that of acne has in recent years, so more resources become available. "For the longest time, nobody ever really talked about or showed real photos of themselves going through acne, severe acne, and talking about what worked," Chang explains. "Now, we have these great movements, like skin positivity, that have allowed all these conversations to happen and all of these great products and recommendations." In the process, acne has become a less scary situation for younger people — and people, in general. 

In having these types of conversations about hair loss, Chang was able to come to the conclusion that she is more than her hair, "just as after I dealt with acne, I realized I'm more than just my skin," she says. Gaveras echoes her sentiment, adding, "What you have on your head doesn’t matter. You're still beautiful.”

Jeana Turner, 28

Model and wig designer and CEO of Los Angeles' Haus of Anomalí

headshot of a bald woman with her arms crossed wearing a pink gauzy offtheshoulder topCourtesy subject

Jeana Turner calls herself an alopecian, a word adopted by those with forms of alopecia. It's also an unofficial identifier that's made its way onto her impressive resume — but whatever you do, don't tack it onto the other titles on it. She is not simply an alopecian model. 

If you watched cycle 24 of America's Next Top Model, you may have mistakenly thought of her as such. On the show, Turner grappled with embracing her baldness — and being an alopecian — for the first time. When she was about to turn 9, her hair started to fall out, leaving her totally bald by age 12 and constantly in tears. 

At 8, Turner underwent a scalp biopsy, which determined an official diagnosis: alopecia, which is a chronic condition in which the immune system attacks the hair follicle. Originally, her dermatologist told her it was specifically alopecia areata, which mainly causes sudden patchiness. However, she's since experienced all stages of alopecia hair loss. 

Before alopecia affected the state of her hair, Turner considered herself the girliest of girly girls. "I was blessed with the most beautiful 4C reddish-blonde hair," she recalls. "On a regular basis, I got relaxers, protective styling, and my edges laid. My hair was my everything, and my mom took care of it like it her own." 

When her hair became nonexistent, Turner's mom continued to take on this supporting role. She even offered to shave her head to match for a matching bald look. "As wonderful as that would have been, this was my journey, so I never allowed her to do it," Turner says. 

Turner's hair-loss experience wasn't always this positive, though. Not even a teen at the time of her diagnosis, Turner was convinced the world was over. Her self-esteem took a major blow as kids at school had brutal reactions to her baldness and wigs. Thankfully, the older she got, the less bullying she experienced. Through the process, Turner also realized mean people will always cross paths with her, and she "grew to accept [her] own fate — with or without hair."

Taylor Abelman, 27Brunette blueeyed woman in bright pink dress smiling with her chin upCourtesy of Subject

When my sister's hair started thinning when she was 22, she compares the jealousy and sadness she felt to people wanting to have a baby suddenly seeing babies everywhere, or those who want to be in a relationship walking outside and only passing couples. “If you want to have thick hair, you only see people with thick hair,” Taylor remarks. 

While studying abroad in Italy her junior year of college, Taylor noticed more hair falling down the shower drain than usual. Her hair was longer and more knotty than usual, so she owed it to that. Back in America, Taylor noticed she was still losing lots of hair, though. Worried, she visited her college's health center to get her thyroid levels checked. All of her blood tests came back normal. The doctor wrote off her hair loss as stress. Wanting a second option, Taylor visited another physician, only to be told the same thing. "I didn’t really have any answers," she recalls. "I just assumed it would get better. Then, it did, but it goes in phases." 

Over the past five years, Taylor's hair has cycled through thinning and getting full again over and over again — still without a clear diagnosis. Most recently, a doctor thought it may be telogen effluvium, a temporary form of hair loss that causes excessive shedding due to a shock to the system, as defined by Nazanin Saedi, an associate professor of dermatology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia for Allure. Many women have gotten this sort of diagnosis due to the pandemic. It's also often caused by hormonal swings. Shedding typically lasts three to six months, and regrowth can take up to a year, Amelia Hausauer, a board-certified dermatologist in Campbell, California, has previously shared. 

Every time her hair starts falling out again, Taylor wonders if she's going to lose all of it. "There's anxiety thinking if this is the worst it's going to be or if this is the best it's going to be," she remarks. Neither option is great, she adds. 

Growing up, our family moved around constantly. Every time we started at a new school in a new state, I coped by slipping on the brightest outfits I could find to counteract the dark thoughts that clouded my brain due to having to start all over again. Taylor always preferred to fit in. "I don't stand out unless I want to," she says. 

If Taylor did lose all of her hair, she's sure she would constantly draw attention to herself, though, in ways she's long avoided. For the same reason, she says she never brings up her hair loss stress with friends because she doesn't want them to notice the state of her hair every time she sees them. "I always have a fear of my hair loss being noticeable, of people seeing it," she adds. 

These days, Taylor finds comfort in knowing she's doing everything she possibly can to take care of her body from head to toe. Every hair is more precious to her now than ever, she says. She even takes Nutrafol, a daily hair wellness vitamin she heard about on a podcast. Knowing it's being advertised on her favorite shows made her realize she couldn't be the only one dealing with hair loss. 

Over time, Taylor has also learned people don't notice her hair loss as much as she does. "It's the same way about pimples," she adds. In the early days, my sister was convinced everyone knew her hair was thinning but just kept comments to themselves. Now, she chooses to not imagine what others could possibly be thinking about her hair and look inward for confidence because, as she says, "I'm never going to know what people are thinking of me in general." 

Monica Rivera Chillogallo, 28 

New mother living in New York City

portrait of a woman and her baby sitting in a grass field. the woman wears a zebra stripe dress and red lipstick the...Courtesy subject

On September 20, 2020, Monica Rivera Chillogallo welcomed her baby daughter, Selena, to the world — and with Selena came postpartum hair loss. About four months after giving birth, Rivera Chillogallo absentmindedly ran her fingers through her hair, only to notice a wad of it in the palm of her hand. Panic immediately set in. 

Prior to getting pregnant, Rivera Chillogallo says her hair was always dependable. Through all her experimentation, it seemed to put up with everything. "Whether it was buzzing it all off or dyeing it bold colors — I've even bleached it three times in one day and completely fried it — I could always depend on my hair to grow back super quick and thick," she explains. Yet, now, her long, raven hair seemed to be failing her. 

Knowing her cousin just had a baby, too, Rivera Chillogallo called her up to ask if she was also losing her hair. "[My cousin] right away said that isn't normal. You need to go to the doctor," Rivera Chillogallo recalls. “After that, I called my mom and my aunts on both sides of my family. They all told me the same thing: They've never experienced any hair loss after giving birth; I need to make a doctor's appointment as soon as possible, which caused me to panic even more.” 

After undergoing several tests, Rivera Chillogallo's doctor later assured her that not only is she perfectly healthy, but also her hair should be back to normal by the time her daughter is one. In fact, postpartum hair loss is extremely common, affecting between 40 and 50 percent of women, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

In the meantime, Rivera Chillogallo's mom started whipping up homemade nourishing scalp masks right away and putting her daughter on a set hair-care routine, all the way down to washing her hair for her. "Natural remedies are a thing for my family," Rivera Chillogallo adds. "Everything’s been passed down from my grandmas to my mom." 

Her husband, on the other hand, shared words of reassurance and compliments, especially when she dreaded leaving the house. "I felt so ugly," Rivera Chillogallo says. "I couldn't have my hair down because it would just fall right out, and you'd see hair all over the place. He would tell me how beautiful I am with or without hair," she continues. "I know it sounds silly, but it did help me on some days."

After her "devastating" hair loss experience, Rivera Chillogallo admits she now has an intense bond with her hair. Rivera Chillogallo continues masking alongside scrupulously reading the ingredients in her hair products. As she approaches Selena's first birthday, Rivera Chillogallo has this message for other new parents experiencing postpartum hair loss. "It gets better," she says. "Our bodies went through so much bringing life into it, and this is one more thing our bodies go through."

Christina Porter, 27

Model based in Houston

selfie of a woman with curly brown hair wearing a white and gold topCourtesy subject

Christina Porter had suspicions she was losing her hair back in 2019. Unlike Rivera Chillogallo, chunks of her curls weren't falling out, but Porter could just tell. As a model, she's constantly staring at photos of herself. The difference in the thickness and definition seemed obvious, even if Porter didn't have tangible evidence. 

Soon, a continuously clogged sink confirmed Porter wasn't just imagining things. A maintenance man came by her home and pulled a ball of hair out of it, only to come back two months later to retrieve yet another. 

At first, Porter couldn't figure out the culprit for her breakage, thinning hair, and bald patches. For years, her coiled hair was luscious and thick thanks, she thinks, to daily vitamins and a consistent hair-care routine based around her favorite curl-defining product. She also kept up with monthly trims with the help of her hairstylist mother. 

"I wanted to assume it was stress, but I wasn't going through anything major for me to be stressed out about," Porter says. "The only thing I could think of was the hair product, and sure enough when I went onto its Instagram, thousands of women were complaining and going through the same thing I was experiencing — if not worse."  

To help her deal with the damage, Porter's mother wanted to give her a big chop. However, Porter chose to transition without a cut so she could keep as much of her hair as possible due to the reality of her job. "I needed some hair on my head or else I wouldn't get booked," she says. Porter's mom, instead, helped her change up her hair-care regimen. 

Two years later, Porter is still recovering. She often shares updates on her hair loss on her progress on TikTok now, including her latest product lineup and the results of the in-salon deep-conditioning treatments she's been getting to help her curl pattern bounce back. Most of all, Porter reminds others dealing with product-related hair loss to be patient and avoid comparison. "Take this time to get to know your hair and appreciate what you have now," she says. "It's a long process, but you'll get there."

Keerthana Kethies, 28

Accountant and content creator in London

portrait of a woman sitting on the floor with one knee raised wearing blue jeans a white t shirt and black strappy heels...Courtesy subject

Keerthana Kethies never really loved her hair. She thought of it as too thick, too curly, too frizzy, and too unruly for her. For years, she fought against her natural texture, resorting to straightening it constantly. Although her family warned her all the heat damage would take a toll on her hair, Kethies says she never took their concerns seriously.

Slowly but surely over the past 10 years, Kethies' hair got thinner and thinner. Eventually, she realized her hair density was only a fraction of what it once was, so something had to be amiss. However, every time she got blood tests done, doctors told Kethies that she was perfectly healthy, barring low iron and vitamin D levels. They'd assure her losing some hair was completely normal, and she accepted their explanations. 

At the end of 2019, the hair on the top of her head was thinner than ever, and Kethies noticed she was shedding more than usual. "I rapidly went from being rather nonchalant about losing my hair with an air of 'it will fix itself' to frustration, anger, and helplessness," she recalls. "I began to miss the different ways I enjoyed styling my hair and felt uncomfortable in anything but a low bun."

Needing more answers to her hair loss woes, Kethies booked an appointment with a trichologist earlier this year. At their hair loss clinic, Kethies was finally diagnosed with androgenetic alopecia aka female pattern baldness, a hereditary condition that accounts for the most common cause of hair loss. It tends to happen slowly and gradually with a widening center part, New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Michelle Henry has previously told Allure. Unlike telogen effluvium, it's not influenced by stress, Hartman has also mentioned. 

Naturally, this discovery was upsetting for Kethies. However, she felt relief knowing what she's fighting against. Now, feeding her hair with all the nutrients it needs to thrive and increase blood flow to her scalp is Kethies' goal, she shares. Daily scalp massages have also been worked into her daily routine. Once a week, she even does so with a derma roller and rosemary oil, which studies have found can be as effective for promoting hair growth as minoxidil (the active ingredient in Rogaine). Kethies hopes more hair loss products will become available for women as more share their stories. "If you Google hair loss, you are shown products for men first before women," she explains. "Even the products for women are pretty questionable and confusing."

"If you Google hair loss, you are shown products for men first before women. Even the products for women are pretty questionable and confusing."

Prior to her diagnosis, Kethies minimized the number of selfies she posted on Instagram because she hated the way she looked. Scrolling through her feed just perpetuated her insecurities surrounding her hair. "Social media has perpetuated this culture of perfection, vanity, and unattainable beauty standards that it’s almost impossible not to feel some form of insecurity in areas where you think you are lacking," Kethies shares.

These days, Kethies is still learning how to detach her diagnosis from her identity, that it's not her only crowning glory. To combat the negativity she feels from social media, Kethies has started sharing her experiences with female pattern baldness on TikTok and Instagram. In the process, she's built stronger confidence in herself and is overcoming her insecurities, especially knowing her story is resonating with other women struggling with hair loss. "Discovering a supportive community and realizing that I am not the only one going through this has been the most significant comfort," she says. "To anyone who is suffering, know that you are not alone. A small but supportive community is out there willing to help and be there with you on your journey." 

Savannah Cooper, 20

Dancer, actor, and college student in Lexington, Kentucky

headshot of a bald woman wearing a white v neck topCourtesy subject

Growing up, Savannah Cooper loved when her mom did her hair every morning before school. Her tightly curled hair was a fun canvas for different hairstyles, and Cooper looked forward to whatever her mom had in mind for it next. By seventh grade, though, Cooper's mom wouldn't have any hair on her daughter's head to work with. 

At seven years old, Cooper was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Tethered Cord Syndrome after experiencing chronic pain in her back. After getting surgery on her spine, she started taking countless medications to manage her pain and illnesses. A side effect of them struck when she was about 10 years old. Small bald patches started cropping up all over her head. "I was very upset and embarrassed by my hair loss," she recalls. "I also remember feeling very confused." 

However, Cooper had yet to reach the hardest part of her hair loss journey. Her hair grew back for a few years, but when she was in seventh grade it started falling out again — this time, rapidly. She was in middle school, extremely ashamed and terrified her classmates would notice what she was going through. At home, Cooper was heartbroken as she noticed her bald spots multiply and grow bigger and bigger. "Eventually, I had to face the fact that I was losing all of my hair," she shares, noting that she's been bald ever since. 

Struggling with the thought of looking "different" from her classmates, Cooper hid her baldness away under wigs that looked as natural as possible. Every day, she slipped one on as she accepted her hair wasn't coming back any time soon. "Wigs provided a huge relief for my overall anxiety," Cooper says. However, she now realizes she was focusing so much attention on concealing what was happening instead of embracing her true self. "It became exhausting," she adds. 

Her body was physically exhausted, too. In middle school, Cooper also started suffering the first of dozens of kidney infections she's had to this day. "My physicians have said my hair loss is caused by the stress on my body from being chronically ill, as well as the many medications I have to take," she says. 

Solace throughout these hardships came in the form of connecting with other young people struggling with hair loss, Cooper says. As she started feeling less alone and less inclined to fit into conventional beauty standards, she stopped wearing her wigs around family and close friends. A few days before starting junior year of high school, Cooper was ready to set it aside altogether. "I finally felt confident and beautiful in my own skin," she says, "and decided it was time to embrace my hair loss."

In 2017, Cooper founded SavStrong, a non-profit organization that raises awareness and funds for chronically ill patients and families. Through panels, social media, and fundraisers, she helps kids dealing with hair loss learn that struggling with hair loss doesn't make them any less beautiful. Instead, they are challenging society's definitions of beauty and setting new standards. "Knowing I am able to inspire and encourage younger people really puts all of this into perspective," Cooper says. "It gives me the motivation to continue embracing my hair loss."

If you're dealing with hair loss and intrusive thoughts surrounding it, Gaveras ultimately recommends changing your matter of thinking. Assuming you're healthy, ask yourself why your hair loss is bothering you so much. "What is my hair? What does it mean to me? What has it meant to me?" she continues. "That is a lot more useful discussion to have."

15 Trader Joe’s Products We Can’t Live Without





We’re obsessed with Trader Joe’s (OK, but who isn’t?). Whenever any of us tries something new, it’s immediately brought up in our Slack channels. With such amazing prices, stores pretty close to where we all live, and so many healthy options, it’s no surprise that it’s our grocery store of choice. Because we couldn’t already get enough, here are the products we think you need to try immediately that our editors pick up every single time we go:

 

1. Vegan Tzatziki





As someone with a complex relationship with dairy, tzatziki sauce is one of those sneaky foods that seems like it won’t hurt me until it really, really does. The vegan tzatziki from Trader Joe’s tastes exactly like regular tzatziki that I might be able to get at Garbanzo or CAVA. It’s perfect on a salad or as a dip—I seriously cannot say enough good things about it. —Emma Ginsberg, Editorial Intern

 

2. Caramelized Onion Dip 





I tried 19 dips from Trader Joe’s, and this one was my absolute favorite. It has a light and fluffy whipped texture that pairs perfectly with a kettle-cooked or ridged potato chip. I could easily eat the entire tub in one sitting. —Ashley Selleke, Contributing Editor

 

3. Just Dried Mango





This is my go-to snack. It’s literally just dried mango with no additives or added sugar—the perfect sweet treat. My only issue with it is that Trader Joe’s claims there are 4.5 servings in each bag when, clearly, it’s one serving per bag. —Amanda Michelson, Senior Manager of Brand Partnerships

 

4. Mini Hold the Cone Ice Cream Cones





When you’re in the mood for a little treat, these are the perfect size to satisfy your craving without overdoing it. They come in tasty flavors like Chocolate and Coffee Bean, and I’m keeping my eye out for their seasonal flavors like Pumpkin Ginger and Peppermint. These are always in my freezer! —Keely Geist, Senior Social Media Editor

 

5. Pub Cheese Sharp Cheddar





Not that I recommend you doing it, but I could 100 percent eat the whole tub of pub cheese dip in one sitting. It is perfect for an easy snack and is always a crowd-pleaser when you’re too lazy to actually make appetizers. —Jessica Jones, Social Media Editor

 

6. Vegan Kale Pesto





When I say that I put this pesto on everything, I actually mean everything: my eggs, wraps, chicken, you name it. It’s eons better than any other pesto I’ve had. —Madeline Galassi, Fashion Content Manager

 

7. Chili Onion Crunch





I am 100 percent that girl who pulls up to my local TJ’s and stocks up on at least three of these as if the world is coming to an end. This condiment can turn any boring dish into a meal bursting with flavor and is the perfect mixture of savory, salty, and smoky. —Andi Wynter, Social Media Coordinator

 

8. Cauliflower Crust Cheese Pizza





I am a big believer in turning cauliflower into anything (I also stan a Cauliflower Gnocchi), but this cheese pizza is my absolute favorite. This crust uses a combo of cauliflower, mozzarella cheese, potato flour, chickpea flour, and brown rice flour to turn the easiest dinner go-to into a more plant-based friendly option. Even if you’re not gluten-free like I am, I love the idea of “sneaking” in more veggies when you don’t even notice it to get extra nutrients in your meals. I have about three of these in my freezer at all times for an easy appetizer if company is coming over (cut it up in smaller pieces and drizzle balsamic glaze, and it seems way fancier than it is), or throw it in the oven for a quick weeknight meal (I love a little arugula and lemon on top *chef’s kiss*). —Josie Santi, Wellness Content Manager

 

9. Gone Bananas





When my Trader Joe’s was out of this frozen banana treat for a few weeks last summer, I had a full-blown existential crisis. But now that it’s back, I can say more confidently than ever that this frozen dark chocolate and banana treat is so worth the hype. Perfect for times when I want ice cream but also want to be slightly healthier. —Ashley Selleke, Contributing Writer

 

10. Japanese Fried Rice





When figuring out my TJ’s favorites, it took a bit of time. I went into my kitchen (about a week since my last Trader Joe’s run) and looked at everything I had, but I decided that my favorites are probably the things not in my kitchen at all—because I eat them as soon as I buy them. This fried rice is a mainstay for me on every single Trader Joe’s run. Even if I have one in the freezer at home, I grab another because I know I’ll use it in a few days. This is the best fried rice I’ve ever tried, even above restaurant and take-out options. I live for the nori pieces, the edamame, and the rice texture. I top it with a fried egg and a drizzle of sriracha, and it’s heavenly. —Beth Gillette, Beauty Content Manager

 

11. Hash Brown Patties





I seriously cannot get enough of these hash browns. I buy them every single time I make a trip to Trader Joe’s, and I always end up running out before my next grocery run. They’re like McDonald’s hash browns but better and with less grease. I like to make them as a side to any breakfast I’m having or use them as the “toast” in avocado toast. —Jess Welsh, Junior Graphic Designer & Assistant Editor 

 

12. Buffalo Chicken Dip





If I come home from TJ’s and don’t crack this open immediately, something’s off. This lasts in my kitchen for approximately two days because I eat it so fast. This is a dip; however, I eat it with lettuce and veggies on sourdough bread as a sandwich, and it’s divine (To be fair, I do also eat it as a dip, but we’re focusing on the sandwich for right now). This is the easiest lunch and snack to keep in my fridge, and it doesn’t leave me feeling heavy or gross, just happy and full 🙂 —Beth Gillette, Beauty Content Manager

 

13. Steamed Pork & Ginger Soup Dumplings





Don’t mind me, I’m just drooling as I type this. As someone who is a huge fan of xiao long bao and never fails to order them every time I go out to eat Chinese, I was pleasantly surprised by how delicious these were! They are so easy to prepare and are perfect for fulfilling those mid-day cravings. —Andi Wynter, Social Media Coordinator

 

14. Cauliflower Gnocchi 





Listen, I absolutely detest vegetables. Unfortunately, though, I am a grown-up, and if I want to be healthy, a well-rounded and balanced diet is crucial. In an effort to get more vegetables into my diet, I turned to the nearly endless sea of cauliflower alternatives and stumbled upon what is now one of my very favorite foods: the Trader Joe’s cauliflower Gnocchi. With a protein and some pasta sauce, it completes a perfectly healthy—and delicious—dinner. —Garri Chaverst, Managing Editor

 

15. Oven-Baked Cheese Bites with Summer Black Truffle





Whenever I buy these, I immediately eat them within a few days and then get sad that they’re gone. There are a few different flavors of dried cheese bites at TJ’s, but the truffle option stands far ahead of the rest. Not only are they extremely delicious and flavorful, but they’re also a low-carb snack option for when you just want something light. —Jess Welsh, Junior Graphic Designer & Assistant Editor

 

I’m a Vegetarian—Here Are the Items I Always Stock Up on at Trader Joe’s

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Coffee Lovers: I Tried All of Trader Joe’s Coffee So You Don’t Have To

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How to Update Your Beauty Routine for Fall

The Everygirl’s product selections are curated by the editorial team. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We only recommend products we genuinely love.






Source: Alena Shekhovtcova
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Fall is unanimously everyone’s favorite season. We finally get a reprieve from the sweltering summer and a reintroduction to all things cozy, spooky, and pumpkin spice. While you’re rotating all your sweaters and moto jackets to the front of your closet and digging your fall-scented candles out of storage, it’s also time to consider prepping something else for the shifting season: your beauty routine.

The beauty woes we experience thanks to fall’s dry air can be mitigated with a few simple steps and new additions to your existing routine. Here are the five easiest ways to transition your beauty routine this fall:

 

1. Incorporate More Moisture

We all know that dry air means trouble for our skin, but we often forget that central heating indoors also causes a lot of drama as well. In other words, fall might be our favorite season, but our skin isn’t nearly as excited about the fact that, for lack of better words, winter is coming. In the months leading up to the real cold, it’s important to focus on the problems you will have then, now.

For every month following August and leading into the depths of winter, you need to incorporate an additional moisturizing agent into your skincare routine. This might sound overwhelming, but hear me out. Moisture is absorbed into the skin through a variety of different molecular structures, meaning that different formulations will penetrate the various layers of your skin differently to deliver their moisturizing benefits.





Maelove

Hydrator B5 Gel

Use a hyaluronic acid serum like this in your morning and night routines to add layers of moisture without adding bulk. This will never break you out or clog your pores—it’ll just make your skin glowy and smooth!

Shop it now





Laneige

Water Sleeping Mask

Invest in a cream moisturizer or sleeping mask to lock in essential moisture overnight while your skin undergoes its critical regenerative processes.

Shop it now





Peach Slices

Hydrate Sheet Mask

Stock up on moisturizing sheet masks to use two to three times a week. Drugstores in the U.S. are finally catching onto the trend, making sheet masks readily available and very affordable, like this one from CVS that our editors love.

Shop it now





Three Ships Beauty

Buttercream Hydrating Lip Mask

Don’t forget about your lips! Lips are notoriously dry and chapped this season, and a lip mask will keep them plump and moisturized all day without feeling sticky or goopy.

Shop it now

 

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2. Focus on Exfoliation

Dry air leads to dry skin, which leads to flaking, discomfort, and uneven makeup application. If you wait until it’s too late to work on the excess of dead skin that develops in colder months, you’ll be playing a never-ending game of catch-up for the rest of the season. Opt for a mix of chemical and physical exfoliations to bring dead skin to the surface and slough it off. 





The Ordinary

Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

If you have dry skin already, opting for a gentle glycolic acid solution will help disrupt the bindings in dead skin cells while avoiding irritation from more intense alpha hydroxy acid exfoliators.

Shop it now





Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare

Alpha Beta® Extra Strength Daily Peel

Glycolic acid is beneficial for normal, combo, and oily skin types as well, but if you want something a little stronger, a weekly at-home peel with AHAs and BHAs will help combat dry skin as well as the breakouts that can occur due to the sudden imbalance of dead skin cells and oil production.

Shop it now





Versed

Day Maker Microcrystal Exfoliator

A physical exfoliator that can slough away dead skin doesn’t have to be harsh and irritating (*cough cough* St. Ives). This exfoliator has superfine, biodegradable crystals that are safe for sensitive and acne-prone skin and will leave you soft and glowy.

Shop it now

 

3. Be Mindful of Water Temperature

It’s hard enough to leave the toasty heaven that is your bed to face the bitter cold of the outside world during fall and winter, and it’s even harder to do it without a long hot shower as a rewarding incentive. Hot water is unfortunately really stressful on your skin, especially your face. Overly hot water increases circulation to your face, which disrupts your natural oil balance, causing dehydration and your oil production to kick into overdrive, which can lead to breakouts. If you want to keep up the natural moisture of your skin a little longer, turn down the temp a little bit. 





Youth to the People

Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser

Taking a super hot shower for short time intervals is admissible every few days for your body skin, but be sure to cleanse your face at the sink before stepping into your steam room and avoid the hot water on your face as much as possible.

Shop it now





Klur

Elements of Comfort Body Oil

Replenish the natural oils you strip from your skin in the shower with a lightweight body oil to avoid dry patches on the skin below the neck.

Shop it now

 

4. Supplement Your Lack of Sunshine

Unlike every other vitamin that our bodies benefit from, vitamin D does not exist in the food we eat. Your body synthesizes vitamin D through sun exposure, which becomes increasingly difficult during fall and leading into winter.

Vitamin D benefits a plethora of bodily functions—everything from mood stabilization to the health and vibrancy of your skin. Vitamin D supports your skin’s ability to deflect free radicals thanks to the antioxidants present in its chemical structure and is also a powerful anti-inflammatory.





Hum Nutrition

Vitamin D

Supplementing with vitamin D can help combat dryness-induced breakouts, keep your hair growing healthily, and even stave off the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Shop it now

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5. Keep Your Hair Moisturized

The damage that a season of dry air does to your hair will, unfortunately, linger long after the first blooms of spring come out of hiding. Brittle strands and busted ends can be easily avoided with a few inexpensive fixes. Make sure you’re clarifying your scalp once a week and deep conditioning as often as your hair needs it. 





PATTERN

Leave-In Conditioner

Layer on a leave-in treatment for extra protection before drying and reserve your stickier and stiffer styling products for after you’ve heat styled instead of applying them before. A cool water rinse, despite how terrible it might sound when it’s cold out, is especially important to seal your hair follicles and keep moisture locked in.

Shop it now





Kristin Ess

Instant Exfoliating Scalp Scrub

A scalp scrub will get rid of all the dirt, oil, product buildup, and flakes from your scalp, leaving you with volumized, healthy strands.

Shop it now





Olaplex

No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask

An intense moisturizing mask you can use once a week that won’t weigh your hair down and works on every hair type? We found it.

Shop it now

 

Fall 2021 Hair Trends: 30 Colors, Cuts, and Styles to Try This Year

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Did Your Skin Just Become So Dry, or Are You Normal?

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Glossier’s First-Ever Retinol Makes My Skin Absolutely Glow

A diptych of three bottles of Glossier Universal ProRetinol on an offwhite background and a selfie of Allure senior...Courtesy of brand / Sarah Han for Allure

All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

It wouldn't be a stretch to say that retinol and I have a tricky relationship, where one tests the other more than the other. (I'll let you guess.) But as someone who has somehow found herself navigating her late 20s, retinol (a form of vitamin A) is one of those catch-all ingredients I find myself being increasingly drawn toward. With regular use, this dermatologist-approved ingredient tackles a vast range of skin issues, including texture, tone, fine lines, acne, and hyperpigmentation. But because it's shrouded in a lot of scientific terms and myths, I've hesitated to make retinol or, rather, retinoids (more on that later) part of my daily routine. That is, until I discovered Glossier's brand-spanking-new Universal Pro-Retinol

"We were craving a more straightforward experience [of retinol]," Chenaya Devine-Milbourne, senior director of product marketing and development at Glossier says in a global press Q&A. "One that didn't compromise on powerful, visible results, but held your hand a bit more — whether you're a first-time user or a retinoid expert looking for the ultimate forever formula." As someone who falls in the middle of that spectrum, I can guarantee you it's one of the most gentle retinol products I've ever used. 

OK, now let's back it up a little bit and dig into the science that I personally find not the easiest to swallow. (There's a reason I didn't go into medicine. Sorry, mom and dad.) "Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives and come in three primary forms: retinol, retinal and retinoic acid," Camille Howard, a New York City-based board-certified dermatologist and entrepreneur, explains via the press Q&A. "They bind to receptors in our skin and facilitate multiple physiological cascades essential to building collagen and supporting the layers of the skin," including increasing cell turnover and producing natural hyaluronic acid. And that's not even all retinol can do. "From an acne standpoint, the increase in cell turnover helps unclog pores," Sheila Farhang, an Arizona-based board-certified dermatologist and founder of Avant Dermatology & Aesthetics, previously explained to Allure. "This also helps decrease the appearance of brown or red post-acne spots — post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation — as well as help collagen synthesis for acne scarring." Have your ears perked up yet?

A closeup shot of three bottles of Glossier Universal ProRetinol and a product swatch on an offwhite backgroundCourtesy of brand

At its core, Universal Pro-Retinol is a lightweight cream formulated with 0.5% Retinyl Sunflowerate, a pro-retinol derivative composed of retinol and sunflower seed fatty acids, and stevia leaf extract — both of which have impressive texture- and fine-line-smoothing abilities. True to its name, Universal Pro-Retinol is gentle enough to use on all skin types, including sensitive folks. It's spiked with nourishing, plant-based humectants like glycerin and mondo grass root extract to deeply hydrate skin. Mona Gohara, a board-certified dermatologist and associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine, says that these soothing ingredients "mitigate the irritation and redness that may occur with initial retinoid use." 

I don't know about you, but the copious amount of time I've spent indoors since March 2020 has really driven up the dullness of my skin, so I'm all for a resurfacing treatment that kicks uneven tone and texture to the curb. (As much as I think aging is something to be embraced, I would like to prevent fine lines from popping up for a while — if I have any choice in the matter.) Plus, with mask-wearing and heightened levels of anxiety and stress, I've had my fair share of breakout-induced dark spots and scars that, if left to their own devices, wouldn't disappear for months. 

Well, Universal Pro-Retinol did the damn trick and my skin was noticeably more smooth, glowy, and overall more even after two weeks — and my makeup honestly glided on like silk. I'm especially excited to continue using and monitoring this treatment to see if it can tackle my most stubborn, sometimes-self-inflicted dark spots because the best skin-care results happen over time. (I have high hopes.) I go through my usual double-cleanse, toner, and essence routine before slathering on UPR and then sealing everything in with a layer of moisturizer. I gently work in the formula with my fingertips in circular motions until every last centimeter is covered — even around the eyes. Every night, it absorbs quickly and seamlessly into my skin, never leaving behind any residue.

A diptych of two selfies of Allure senior commerce writer Sarah Han holding wearing and applying Glossier Universal...

Just wearing Universal Pro-Retinol, sunscreen, and nothing else (aside from a bit of mascara and lip tint.)

Sarah Han / Allure

Let's take a moment to talk about sensitivity now. As with many potent skin-care treatments, mild reactions are pretty common — which is to say, patch test first and give your skin two to three weeks to adapt to and tolerate the new product. Gohara recommends a pea-sized amount to cover your entire face and to work your way up gradually from once or twice a week. (You can also use the "sandwich method" and apply moisturizer before and after to ease your way into retinoids.)  I've had some experience using retinoids in the past — though not as consistently as I would like — and experienced zero irritation throughout my daily use of Universal Pro-Retinol. I can't emphasize how surprising this is. My skin has definitely looked a bit reddened and raw after using certain retinoid products that shall not be named. 

Oh, and the last piece of very important information? "Since retinol brings your skin back to its normal balance, it can make your skin more easily prone to burning," Caroline Chang, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Rhode Island Dermatology Institute previously explained. "The way to combat this would be to wear sunscreen daily while using a retinol." While I wear sunscreen every day with or without retinol, I've been particularly diligent about reapplication ever since I started Universal Pro-Retinol. SkinCeuticals's Daily Brightening UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 30 and ZitSticka's Megashade Breakout-Proof SPF Serum are two current favorites if you're looking for a new lightweight, nongreasy, and white-cast-free SPF. 

Glossier Universal Pro-Retinol on light gray background

Glossier Universal Pro-Retinol

$35GlossierShop NowSkinCeuticals Daily Brightening UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 30 on white background

SkinCeuticals Daily Brightening UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 30

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Universal Pro-Retinol is as gentle as retinol creams get and my complexion is looking more even-toned than it has in months. Whether you're new to retinol or want to switch to a milder formula, you can buy a bottle for $35 at glossier.com starting today, August 31.

The Future of Hair Loss Treatments Will Involve a Lot More Robots

blue and white illustration of a futuristic looking person with locs blowing in the windNiege Borges

This story is a part of The Truth About Hair Loss, an exploration into why we lose our hair, the emotional and monetary costs that come along with the experience, and what the future of treatment (and acceptance) could look like.

Even before the pandemic hit, the hair restoration industry was booming (it's projected to reach over $12 billion in 2026). Add in the stress-included hair loss that we’ve seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, and suddenly all eyes are on the scalp.

It may be surprising that, in a market set to see significant growth in the next few years, we're arguably lacking in great solutions to the problem — particularly for women, who aren't always candidates for all the treatments currently available to men. In fact, of the two FDA-approved drugs on the hair rejuvenation market, minoxidil and finasteride (aka Rogaine and Propecia, respectively), only Rogaine is also approved for women. But with advances in technology and other innovations on the horizon, that all may change in the next few years.

Why is treating hair loss so hard? 

First, hair loss is notoriously persistent. Beyond that, it comes down in large part to the fact that it may happen for a variety of reasons (among them: thyroid and metabolism troubles and possibly air pollution) that may require different solutions. Temporary hair loss, caused by events like chemotherapy, stress, or post-pregnancy, may clear up on its own once circumstances change. But other types require intervention to see improvement: For example, the autoimmune disorder alopecia areata may be treated with immunotherapy or with injected and topical corticosteroids. For your average case of male or female pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia), there are a few options that have varying degrees of results and costs associated with them, and with some come the chance of unsexy side effects (see: finasteride's erectile dysfunction). And while researchers continue to study the underlying causes of hair loss, there hasn’t been a drug approved to combat it since 1997.

For people assigned female at birth, finding the right solution — or solutions — can be especially hard. "In general, male hair loss is mainly caused by the hormone DHT (dihydrotestosterone) which causes hair to progressively thin (miniaturize) over each successive growth cycle," says Christine M. Shaver, a board-certified dermatologist at Bernstein Medical Center for Hair Restoration in New York. "Thus, the main treatment for male hair loss is through simply blocking the formation of DHT." While DHT is also a factor for women, Shaver says that in this group overall "hair loss is more complex [so it] can prove quite difficult to treat." Simply blocking the hormone often isn't enough — plus, the main way of doing it, finasteride, hasn't been approved for women. Not that it doesn't work — studies show it can — but there are enough potential safety concerns for women who are pregnant (or may become pregnant), breast-feeding, or have a family history of breast cancer that the FDA considers it a no-go.

Then there's the fact that women aren't often great candidates for scalp hair transplants. Shaver explains that the way that hair loss typically occurs in women is to blame, as it's commonly diffused all over the scalp rather than concentrated in one bald patch. "This poses an issue with hair transplant because the donor hair in hair transplant at the back and sides of the scalp must be stable and not thinning," she says. If it isn’t, it will continue to thin once implanted.

The Current Hair Loss Treatment Landscape

Before we get into what's on the horizon, here's a quick rundown of the major options available now: First, there is surgical hair transplant, which may or may not be done with robotic assistance, and, again, isn't always an option for women. Another in-office offering is platelet-rich plasma (PRP) scalp injections, in which platelets are separated out from a patient's own blood, and then injected back into the scalp, which offers moderate results in some people.

Looking beyond minoxidil (which has been proven to be somewhat beneficial for both men and women), topically you have serums and the like, which mostly get not-so-great reviews from the experts we spoke with, though there are some exceptions. For instance, Samuel M. Lam, MD, facial plastic and hair restoration surgeon in Plano, TX, and the administrative chair of the multimedia committee for the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery — reported success with redensyl, a topical he's found so effective, he formulated his own serum for brows and lashes with it called Folliflo.

In addition to finasteride in the oral category, you have supplements, some of which, like Nutrafol, get namechecked by from experts as beneficial for some. However, Shaver points out, "There is little scientific support behind the ability of vitamins and supplements to promote hair growth unless the patient has a nutritional deficiency that needs to be corrected."

​​Another option is low-level laser (aka cold laser) therapy devices, caps, or wands, which "aim to stimulate the hair follicle and cause hair growth," says Shaver. In theory, they may provide some help, but "practically speaking, they often do not provide much improvement when patients try these devices." Furthermore, many of the devices on the market don't have the correct wavelength or strength to get results, adds Lam.

And a note about hair pieces: There have been many advances in toupees and lace-front hairpieces and wigs that make hiding hair loss easier — and pretty much undetectable. But none of the hairstylists we spoke with offered them up as a long-term solution for someone dealing with permanent hair loss. When it comes to hair, people really want it to be home-grown. 

The Rise of the Clones (and Robots)

Looking to the future, bioengineered hair — or hair cloning, as it's more commonly referred to — was by far the top innovation named by the experts we spoke with as the one to watch. And it's been a long-time coming. Says Yael Halaas, a board-certified facial plastic surgeon, "Every 10 years I tell my patients we are closer to cloning and growing hair in a laboratory. And every 10 years we are getting closer." Sara Wasserbauer, a board-certified hair restoration surgeon of California Hair Surgeons with locations in San Jose, San Francisco, Walnut Creek, and Napa, explains the cloning can happen two ways, either by replicating hairs in a lab or by cloning the cells that make the hair. Cloning is the hair rejuvenation industry's big hope because, Lam explains, "Once we have unlimited donor supply, we can easily rebuild a [patient's hair]." And that includes anyone with overall hair thinning, rather than a single bald patch.

As of now, "we have studies that show hair regeneration from stem cells in mice, but so far no clinical studies to support efficacy in humans," says board-certified plastic and hair surgeon Gary Linkov of City Facial Plastics in New York City. But a team of scientists in Japan, led by Takashi Tsuji, is currently awaiting the start of a clinical trial to test cultured hair follicles in humans, so all eyes will be on the results.

Linkov, who currently prefers to do hair implantation by hand or via motorized equipment, predicts that when we have cloning, we'll also have better robots to help with the transplants. He says, "I envision a time when the surgeon can harvest a few hairs from a person, send it to a company for expansion into thousands of grafts and then plug those grafts into a machine that would perform the transplant."

Exosome Hair Therapy

The second-most name-checked therapy on the horizon is the use of exosomes, which use the same mRNA technology seen in the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Explains Wasserbauer, "Exosomes contain mRNA, which is the same type of 'messenger RNA' that COVID-19 vaccines are using to tell cells what to do to recognize the virus. Messenger RNA can tell a cell to do many different things like grow, shrink, or produce a certain protein." Halaas (who co-authored a paper reviewing its therapeutic potential) calls it "by far the most exciting treatment in recent years."

Exosomes are administered via injection, so it's a low-pain option, and patients will likely require maintenance injections once or twice a year. But many are hopeful it could be a good solution. Wasserbauer says, "Everyone in the hair medicine community is anxious to see results of the scientific trials."

New (and Potentially Better) Topicals

There are two innovations getting buzz on the cusp of finishing clinical trials overseas. First, there's a drug called FOL-005 that's being developed for men by the biotech company Follicum. It features osteopontin, a protein in hair which may stimulate or inhibit hair growth, depending on the derivative (Follicum claims to have isolated a stimulating one). It has been studied in injections and is now being looked at in topical form. Linkov calls it "promising for now, but time will tell its safety and effectiveness in humans as their clinical trials proceed."

Another topical with growing buzz, thanks to its ability in trials to antagonize DHT without serious adverse effects, is Breezula, an anti-androgen made by the pharmaceutical company Cassiopea. Explains Halaas, "Because it works on DHT locally, we are hoping we will see good results without the side effects of Propecia." So far its trials have been done on men but the company is currently studying its use for women.

Better Low-Level Light Therapy

While this therapy is currently not considered a go-to treatment — in fact, Shaver predicted a slow turn away from laser therapy, calling it "underwhelming" for most patients — some of the experts we spoke with see the potential for big advances in this area.

The thinking here is that as devices (used both at-home and in-offices) get better and deliver the type of light that provides results, the before/afters will become more dramatic. Wasserbauer’s take: "Low-level light therapy has been dosed improperly for decades." The idea that the optimal number of photons of the right wavelength, direction, strength, as well as the correct time on the head will be found — and can be delivered at home — is exciting because "it's drug-free and boosts the efficacy of other hair loss treatments, even exosomes presumably," she says. 

The Bottom Line

Cloning, robots, mRNA technology, and suped-up laser caps — they all show promise. In reality, whatever technologies may come, patients will likely mix and match them to find their perfect regime. That means hair rejuvenation may end up looking like something out of a sci-fi movie. Can't say we didn't see that coming.

Why Millennials Can’t Stop Watching Teen Rom-Coms






Source: Netflix

Today’s millennials range in age from 25 to 40, meaning the youngest of us are settled into our adult lives and the oldest of us have been settled for a bit. But no matter how far removed we are from our teenage years, we all have one thing in common: We can’t stop watching teen rom-coms.

We happily spend Friday nights on the couch when new seasons of our favorite shows are released, like quarantine-favorite Never Have I Ever. Netflix’s top 10 has been dominated by the Twilight series since the movies returned to the streaming service in July. And we can’t help but get excited when the latest YA book adaptation is announced. So what is it about these shows and films that keep us pressing play?

There’s the romance, of course, but if all we wanted was romance, we’d be just as happy watching romances starring people of any age. There’s something different about teen rom-coms—and it’s about being a teenager. Let’s break it down:

 

Teens Are More Excited By Love Than They Are Jaded by Tinder

There’s a reason why most of the leads of teen rom-coms have never been in a relationship before, or if they have been, all of their previous relationships weren’t serious—but this one is the real deal. And that’s because there’s nothing quite like your first love: when the mere act of having romantic feelings for someone is novel, when holding hands sends butterflies through your stomach, or when your foot pops up during that long-awaited first kiss, like in that unforgettable scene in The Princess Diaries.

Everything about your first love is amplified by that very word: first. So as we argue over what to make for dinner for the 536th day in a row or go on yet another date that leaves us with nothing but disappointment, we love returning to those feelings of our first love.

 

Anne Hathaway Princess Diaries GIFfrom Anne Hathaway GIFs

 

 

Mistakes? Teens Can Make Them

What reaction did you have when our favorite Indian-American heroine of Never Have I Ever made the decision to date not one but two boys at the same time? Some of you likely cringed. But if you reacted the way I did, you were jealous. Here was a girl who genuinely liked two boys and didn’t know which one she wanted to be with. If I was in this situation, could I date both of them? No, I’m married!

Teens are able to act with fewer consequences than adults. We can watch Devi date both Ben and Paxton knowing that there will definitely be some bumps on the road but that the car won’t careen off a cliff. Will dating two people work out? Probably not. But will it end in divorce? Not possible.

 

Romance Is Great, But It Sure Isn’t Everything

It’s required that the star of a teen rom-com is looking for love, but she is always also looking for so much more than that. In To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Lara Jean Song-Covey needs to learn what family looks like after her older sister, Margot, leaves for college. In the old favorite She’s the Man, Viola Johnson must hide the fact that she’s posing as her twin brother in order to play her favorite sport. The Kissing Booth kicks off when Elle Evans needs to raise money for a school fundraiser.

Each of these characters wants—or at least wouldn’t mind—a romantic partner, but what they are really after is figuring out their place in the world. As friends and jobs come in and out of our lives, we millennials are realizing that we are very much still figuring life out, too.

 

Nason Jate GIFfrom Nason GIFs

 

 

Doubt? Teens Don’t Know Her

Like millennials, teens can take time to make decisions. But unlike millennials, once teens make decisions, they live with them. After Lara Jean signs a contract with Peter K., we get a swoon-worthy scene of Peter swinging Lara Jean around with his hand in her back pocket, handing her a note, and whispering in her ear. Lara Jean is only pretending to date Peter, but she still goes all in.

It’s extremely comforting to watch this because I doubt myself before, during, and after every decision I make, from which loungewear I throw on in the morning to what I said in that meeting last week to where I moved to three years ago.

 

Let’s Face It: Teen Leads Are Hot

No offense to my husband, but he is balding at 30, and the male leads of teen rom-coms, well, aren’t. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one getting major Taylor-Lautner-in-New-Moon vibes every time Darren Barnet—who also happens to be 30—was shirtless as Paxton Hall-Yoshida in Never Have I Ever. There is no reason to feel guilty for swooning over John B. from Outer Banks because he’s played by 28-year-old Chase Stokes. In fact, the actors in adult rom-coms are much further away from the age of the average millennial than that (looking at you, 71-year-old Richard Gere). But if you do prefer an older man, let me remind you that teens have parents, and John B.’s girlfriend’s dad, played by 55-year-old Charles Eston, still has a nice head of hair.

 

Hair Flip Chase Stokes GIFfrom Hair Flip GIFs

 

 

Final Thoughts

Millennials may be past the times of dancing around our rooms after a first date. But that doesn’t mean we can’t return to those feelings of butterflies in our stomachs by turning on the latest teen rom-com. Chances are, you’ve already seen To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before multiple times (I know I have), so here are five lesser-known teen rom-coms to fall just as hard for:

  • The Half of It: This heartwarming Netflix original movie stars Leah Lewis as Ellie, a smart teen who agrees to write a love letter for a jock at her school. Unexpectedly, Ellie ends up falling for his crush.
  • Work It: Yet another Netflix original, Work It stars Sabrina Carpenter and Liza Koshy. In this movie, Carpenter’s character attempts to transform a band of misfits at her high school into dance champions. 
  • Yes, God, Yes: Stranger Things’ Natalia Dyer shines in the leading role of this comedy, in which a Catholic girl finds herself pulled in by unexpected temptations after an AOL chat turns racy. Yes, God, Yes can be found on Netflix.
  • The Perfect Date: If To All The Boys leaves you yearning for more Noah Centineo, look no further than The Perfect Date. In this Netflix original, a high school senior sets up an app offering to be a fake date and is surprised when real feelings emerge.
  • The First Time: Dylan O’Brien stars in this hilarious rom-com about an awkward teen who is hopelessly in love with the hottest girl in school even though she only sees him as a friend. The First Time is available on Amazon Prime Video and STARZ.

 

Not Sure What to Watch Next? Here’s What Our Editors Are Binge-Watching Right Now

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Understanding The Texas Abortion Law






Source: Shutterstock

On Sept. 1, the most restrictive abortion law in the United States, took effect in Texas. Senate Bill 8 (SB 8), known as the “fetal heartbeat bill,” makes abortion procedures illegal in the state of Texas after the first detection of fetal cardiac activity, unless there is a medical emergency. SB 8 impacts at least 85 percent of abortions that occur in Texas, basically wiping out abortion access in the state altogether.

The bill underwent a lengthy battle in federal court, where it currently remains. The Supreme Court could have temporarily paused enforcement of the law but decided against that in a published opinion that was released late on Sept. 1. With numerous state laws introducing new abortion restrictions and the Supreme Court set to hear a separate abortion case later this year, abortion rights will continue to be a major topic in the coming months. 

 

Some context: Abortions have been performed in the U.S. for hundreds of years

Abortions have been performed in the United States since colonial times, and until the latter end of the 19th century, it was legal up to the fourth month of pregnancy. In 1821, Connecticut became the first state to pass restrictions on abortions, spurring a sweeping anti-abortion movement by physicians who wanted to shift reproductive health care away from midwives and homeopathic medicine. By 1900, all 45 states at the time had passed abortion laws, and access to safe abortions was significantly limited.

In the 1960s, restrictions on abortion access became a point of contention after 28-year-old Geraldine Santoro was found dead in a Connecticut motel room after trying to terminate a pregnancy on her own. Because of limiting state laws, unsafe abortions were prevalent, and feminists in the second-wave feminism movement saw access to abortions and contraceptives as key civil rights and health care issues.

 

Roe v. Wade made abortion access a legal right

As advocacy for abortion access intensified, the United States Supreme Court took a bold stance in 1973 by making abortion legal in the entire country. In Roe v. Wade, the Court held that the right to choose is a privacy right protected under the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The decision provides a breakdown of abortion access depending on the stage of pregnancy. In the first trimester, abortion access is unrestricted. In the second trimester, states can regulate the point at which abortion occurs, but abortions cannot be denied to patients. In the third trimester, the Court determined that states may restrict abortion access once the fetus reaches viability, which is when a fetus can survive outside of the uterus .

Because of Roe v. Wade, abortion access is a legal right and can only be restricted by states after pregnancy has gone beyond the second trimester—that is, unless you live in Texas.

 

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SB 8 is more than a pro-life vs. pro-choice issue

Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas state legislature passed SB 8 in May 2021, sending shockwaves through the women’s rights community. Limitations on abortion access aren’t uncommon in the U.S.—43 states restrict abortion access after a certain point in the pregnancy unless the pregnant person’s life is in danger, compared to seven states that allow abortion access at any point in the pregnancy. The point of contention wasn’t that an abortion bill was passed; abortion access advocates took particular issue with the provisions of SB 8.

 

It focuses on when a heartbeat is detected

An ongoing debate between pro-life and pro-choice advocates is gestational development of an embryo. Recently introduced abortion laws, including SB 8, prohibit abortions after six weeks of pregnancy—when it is believed that a fetal heartbeat can be detected. Medical professionals in gynecology and obstetrics have refuted this claim. Dr. Ted Anderson, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said that “pregnancy and fetal development are a continuum.” At six weeks’ gestation, the heart is completely unformed. Tissues that eventually form the heart are present, and those tissues can pulse. However, pulsating activity detected by an ultrasound that early into pregnancy is not considered a heartbeat by women’s health professionals. 

While the bill’s proponents focus on heartbeat detection, those opposing SB 8 also argue that the six-week ban removes patients’ abilities to make informed medical decisions. Pregnancy isn’t usually detectable until four weeks after a missed period. Many childbearing people don’t even know that they’re pregnant at six weeks, eliminating the possibility of abortion before there’s awareness of pregnancy.

 

It allows people who do get abortions to be sued 

Aside from the conflicting viewpoints on heartbeat detection, another significant issue is the bill’s allowance for private citizens to sue people who receive abortions, people who help others receive abortions, and abortion service providers. If someone takes an Uber ride to an abortion appointment in Texas, SB 8 allows anyone with knowledge about that person’s abortion—whether they personally know each other or not—to sue the person receiving the abortion, the doctor who performs the abortion, as well as the Uber driver. If the person suing wins the case, they could be awarded up to $10,000 plus attorneys’ fees. The only exception is that a person who impregnates someone else through incest, rape, or sexual assault cannot sue if the pregnant person receives an abortion. However, the abortion would still be considered illegal, and others in the state of Texas could sue the patient.

Many critics see the private right of action as an unprecedented “vigilante” system. The text of the bill doesn’t necessarily outlaw abortion clincs or providers outright, but it creates an enforcement structure that essentially blocks abortion access with the threat of private, costly consequences. Abortion providers in Texas claimed to be bombarded with patients trying to receive services in the days leading up to Sept. 1, and many clinics’ websites indicate that they will be closed after Sept. 1. 

Some Planned Parenthood locations in Texas will remain open, as the organization provides various services outside of abortions, but the outlook for those locations is grim.

 

It restricts access to safe abortions

A pregnant person in Texas can only receive an abortion if a medical provider says that there is a medical emergency that necessitates the procedure. The bill doesn’t include a definition or examples of what constitutes a medical emergency, leaving that determination to the discretion of individual medical providers in Texas. This means that people electing to have abortions for non-medical emergencies will have to travel to other states in order to receive abortions by medical professionals. For people with the funds and access to do this, SB 8 is an inconvenient obstacle but not a complete barrier. Conversely, people who cannot afford to leave the state, those who live in rural areas, or those whose cases aren’t deemed emergent will not have the option at all. 

This restriction opens the door for grave health consequences, as people tend to resort to their own pregnancy termination methods, like Geraldine Santoro did. In addition to risk of death, self-induced pregnancy termination can lead to hemorrhaging, severe infection, damage to internal organs, and perforation of the uterus that could require emergency hysterectomy. Historically and statistically, people of color experience these negative consequences most. 

The Guttmacher Institute, the leading research organization on reproductive health, found a link between restrictive abortion laws and increased instances of unsafe abortions. Between 2014 and 2017, the Institute reported increasing rates of hospital facilities treating patients who tried ending pregnancies on their own. Restricting access to safe abortions does not decrease instances of abortions. Rather, it forces pregnant people to seek expensive, potentially life-threatening alternatives.

 

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What else does SB 8 do?

With the passing of SB 8, childbearing people in the state of Texas cannot receive an abortion once an ultrasound detects cardiac activity, unless there is a medical emergency. Although SB 8 only applies to residents of Texas, the bill could have the effect of restricting abortion access across the country. The Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade—abortion before fetal viability is legal in the U.S.—is common law. Put simply, common law is law that’s determined by court opinion and ruled on by a judicial body. This is separate from statutory law, which is law that is presented as a bill, then voted on and passed by legislators (think “I’m Just a Bill” from School House Rock).

The law-making structure in the U.S. allows greater enforcement of statutory law over common law. Here, SB 8 (statutory law) nullifies the enforcement of Roe v. Wade (common law) in Texas, setting the stage for other states to soon follow suit. Many state abortion laws are already poised to change this year, but SB 8 could be the push other states need to further limit abortion access. Typically, once a bill successfully passes in one state, it clears the path for other state legislatures to take a similar course. 

 

What about abortion access outside of Texas?

Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land, except if you live in Texas, and is generally used as the framework for state-specific abortion laws. You can check current abortion access in your state using this Planned Parenthood tool.

At the national level, the Supreme Court still has a say in whether or not abortion access will continue being legal across the United States. When the Court returns from summer recess, it will hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case challenging a Mississippi law that outlaws abortion after 15 weeks’ pregnancy and directly calls for the overturn of Roe v. Wade. A decision on that case is expected in early 2022. With five conservative and four liberal justices ruling and pro-life ideology being traditionally conservative, abortion access is expected to take major hits. If the Court rules to end or severely limit Roe v. Wade, 10 states have “trigger laws” in place that would automatically make abortion illegal in those states.

 

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What happens next?

SB 8 is being argued in federal court under Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson. The Supreme Court’s refusal to block enforcement of the law earlier this week suggests that the justices will take a conservative stance on abortion access. Local organizations like Avow Texas and national organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have taken up the issue and continue to fight for legislative and social changes. 

Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced federal legislation, the Women’s Health Protection Act, that would make Roe statutory law. Remember, statutory law takes precedence over common law. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on the act when they return to session later this month. If it passes the House, the act will move to the Senate for vote. If it is passed in the Senate, it will go to President Biden’s desk for official signature and enactment.

It is expected that Republicans in the Senate will delay the vote in order to prevent the Women’s Health Protection Act from passing, so there is still a long road ahead. In the meantime, individuals can donate to Avow Texas, the ACLU, and Planned Parenthood to assist these organizations with research, medical care, and advocacy funding.

 

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