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Spirit Airlines Slams Student Who Claims She Was Forced to Flush Emotional Support Hamster Down Toilet

“It is incredibly disheartening to hear this Guest reportedly decided to end her own pet’s life”

A college student from Florida claims she was forced to flush her emotional support hamster down the toilet after a Spirit Airlines employee allegedly suggested it was one of the only ways she would be allowed to board a flight home.

Spirit Airlines hit back hard against Belen Aldecosea’s claim that she had no choice but to kill her “emotional support animal” Pebbles in order to get home to her family in Florida. In a statement the airline said, “we can say confidently that at no point did any of our agents suggest this Guest (or any other for that matter) should flush or otherwise injure an animal. It is incredibly disheartening to hear this Guest reportedly decided to end her own pet’s life.”

Aldecosea’s lawyer, Adam Goodman, tells TIME that Aldecosea called Spirit Airlines to confirm she could bring her dwarf hamster Pebbles with her on her flight. After arriving at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on Nov. 21, everything seemed to be going as planned until a Spirit Airlines employee approached her saying the animal was not allowed, Goodman says.

The employee allegedly suggested Aldecosea, who was studying at Wilson College 100 miles away, set the hamster free outside or flush it down the toilet, according to the Florida-based attorney.

Aldecosea eventually flushed Pebbles down the toilet after she was unable to find someone to take the hamster or rent a car to drive instead of flying, the attorney says.

Spirit admits an employee initially incorrectly told her the hamster would be allowed to fly with her. However, the airline says it arranged for Aldecosea to board a flight nine hours later so that she could find accommodation for Pebbles.

Spirit’s support animal guidelines say that the airline does not accept rodents.

Goodman tells TIME that he and Aldecosea are planning to sit down and “discuss the legal remedies available,” including a possible lawsuit. Aldecosea reportedly got the support hamster after she developed benign, but painful golf-ball size growth in her neck, according to the Miami Herald.

The news follows airlines like Delta and United cracking down on support animal and a customer who was denied entry onto a flight because of their support peacock. Goodman maintains his client’s situation is different because the hamster is much smaller and less likely to cause problems.

Why Swearing Might Actually Be Good for You

Emma Byrne, PhD, thinks it’s a damn shame cursing gets such a bad rap. “We’ve been socialized to believe that swearing is universally really bad, but it isn’t always about being aggressive, or overwhelmingly negative towards people,” says the computer scientist and author of the new book Swearing Is Good For You ($26, amazon.com). In fact, research suggests dropping the f-bomb comes with some legit mind-body benefits. Here, Byrne highlights four surprising ways curse words can boost your well-being.

Unleashing expletives might actually raise your pain threshold

For a 2009 study done at Keele University in the UK, researchers asked college students to plunge a hand in ice-cold water. They found that when the participants repeated a swear word out loud during the chilly experience, they were able to keep their digits submerged for longer, and reported feeling less pain than when they repeated a neutral word. “Their subjective experience of how bad [their hand] hurt was incredibly different when they were swearing,” says Byrne. “When they were swearing, it didn’t feel as bad.”

One theory is that cursing helps trigger your “fight or flight” response, which raises your heart rate and pumps more adrenaline through your body—two physiological responses that make us more tolerant of pain. So the next time you stub your toe, go ahead and curse out your couch.

RELATED: 3 Stress-Busting Yoga Moves

Well-timed curses can help relieve stress

Struggling to get through a tough task? Go ahead and say how you really feel about it. “Studies show that when you put people in stressful situations and tell them they cannot swear, their performance goes down and their experience of stress is much greater,” explains Byrne. She points to research done in airplane cockpits and operating rooms: Pilots and surgeons who are allowed to swear on the job are better able to recover from stressful events (think: tricky takeoffs, or close calls in surgery) compared to pilots and surgeons who aren’t permitted to curse. The takeaway: a string of expletives can be a useful way to blow off some f*cking steam and get the job done.

RELATED: 6 Times Celebs Got Angry in Public (and How They Handled It)

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Using swear words can help you cope with health issues

“For people recovering from cancer, or who have a long-term chronic illness, swearing is really helpful in terms of processing their emotions,” Byrne says. “With respect to cancer patients, the work particularly on male patients—specifically testicular cancer survivors—shows that [swearing] is a way to talk about sadness and loss without losing face as “masculine,” by crying or admitting to fear, for example.”

Swearing while you sweat may make you physically stronger

You know those grips you can squeeze to build finger, hand, and forearm strength? Well, they work much better if you curse while you squeeze, according to researchers. “We’ve seen that you can exercise much more force on those objects and also do it for longer if you’re swearing while you hold them,” explains Byrne. “It increases your resilience and strength temporarily.”

Give it a try! As you bang out reps at the gym, repeat a few choice words and see what that does for you. And if you ever find yourself in a situation in which you need to summon extreme strength—say, to lift a heavy object off someone trapped beneath it—swear with all your might, says Byrne.

7 Best White Noise Machines for a Good Night’s Sleep

($100; amazon.com)

The priciest of our picks, the Sound + Sleep offers a good deal of versatility. It can actually detect other noises in your environment (say, the neighbor’s howling dog, or a snorer down the hall) and adjust to mask them. The gadget also has a unique “richness” feature, which allows you to add more detail to each of the 10 soundscapes (which include various nature settings, as well as options like “fireplace,” “trains,” and “city”). So for example, if you choose “ocean,” you’ll hear breaking waves. Touch the richness button to add in birds and seals. Touch it again and you’ll hear bells and foghorns. Other nifty extras: A headphone jack (in case your bedmate prefers to snooze in silence) and four auto-off timer choices (30, 60, 90, and 120 minutes).

RELATED: 11 Surprising Health Benefits of Sleep

11 Letter Board Quotes That Will Inspire You

Introducing our latest obsession: letter boards

From motivational mantras to relatable phrases, these letter board quotes add a classic, subtle piece of inspiration to our day. With help from Instagram bloggers, Health rounded up 11 of the best letter boards that we’ve seen all over the past few months. Whether you need a reminder, a good laugh, or the perfect Pinterest Pin, these options have you covered.

Food for thought

Can’t bear the thought of setting down your phone? Tend to check who’s viewed your Instagram story a few too many times? This quote from Debrosse will remind you to look away from the screen in your palm. 

Be (slightly) wild and free

In bed by 9:30? That’s an idea we can get behind. This adorable bit of wisdom from Girls’ Night In will encourage you to think more about enjoying the moment, while also making sure you get enough Zzz’s. 

Take action

Everyone has (at least) one thing on their bucket list. This post from Popflex is motivating us to choose “day one” over “one day.” 

Feel grateful

The holidays aren’t the only time to give thanks. This motivational (not to mention gorgeous) letter board from Bethany Grace promotes the idea of appreciating everything you have. 

Seize the day

Whether it’s January 1 or the middle of the summer, you can always start fresh. Thanks to this post by Erin Falacho, we’re confident all we need is a cup of tea and a gentle push to take more chances. 

A friendly reminder

Never forget your worth. This board from Jenessa Wait is the perfect addition to your office, Pinterest board, or anywhere else you need to remind yourself of your potential. 

Bundle up

When the weather outside is frightful…it’s time for a night in. This cozy board from ElskaBody tells us it’s okay to embrace our hygge habits and do a little self care. 

Don’t worry…

Be happy! Slippers, blush tones, hot cocoa, and marshmallows are just a few of many reasons My Secret Fashion Diary (and we) should make feeling good a priority. 

Find your people

Simple and minimalist, this board from Kaylyn Van Driesum is as beautiful as its message: to surround yourself with your good friends and family. 

Be patient (or at least try)

This hilarious board from DefywithDena is perfect for the ultimate avocado lover. Just like a well-though-out board, good things take time. 

It’s never too late

We love this message from the now-viral letter board made by Words & Co. January isn’t the only month to renew. Starting February 1 (or 2 or 28…) is just fine. 

Pin these fun, inspirational, and motivational letter board ideas when you go to your own Pinterest board this weekend, and tag us on Instagram to let us know when they’re up.

Birth Control Pills May Help Prevent Some Cancers

In the U.S., nearly all sexually active women have used a form of birth control at some point in their lives, and 11 million women rely on the pill.

In a new study published in JAMA Oncology, researchers explore how oral contraceptives, which affect women’s hormone levels to prevent pregnancy, affect cancer risk. They found that women taking the pill lowered their risks of ovarian and endometrial cancer—a known benefit of the pill. The researchers also analyzed other factors that might affect the risk, including obesity, smoking status and physical activity levels.

In addition to finding that the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancers were lower among women who used the pill, the study found that the longer women were on oral contraceptives, the lower their risk was. For those taking the pill for 10 years or more, the risk of ovarian cancer was 40% lower compared to women who had never used the pill or used them for less than a year, and 34% lower for endometrial cancer.

That confirms what earlier studies found, but the current study also delved deeper into how oral contraceptives and cancer risk differed among women with different risk factors for cancer. When the scientists looked at lifestyle factors that might affect the cancer risk among pill users, for example, they found that women who used the pill and were obese, smoked or did not exercise had among the lowest ovarian cancer rates. It’s not clear why, but the researchers speculate that in the case of smokers, there may be some interaction among the hormones associated with oral contraceptives and tobacco.

“We found long-term oral contraceptive use reduced ovarian cancer risk universally — it didn’t matter how healthy you were later in life or if you had a family history of the disease; all women experienced the benefit,” said Britton Trabert, the study’s senior author and epidemiologist from the division of cancer epidemiology and genetics at the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

MORE: Birth Control for Men? Researchers Will Test a Hormone Gel in 2018

For endometrial cancer, women who were obese and used the pill for 10 years or more lowered their risk of developing the cancer, while women who were normal weight and used oral contraceptives did not.

The study’s findings about breast cancer were less conclusive. Previous studies found that women who use oral contraceptives, which include both estrogen and progestin hormones that have been linked to cancer growth, have a 20% to 30% higher risk of developing breast cancer compared to women who don’t use the pill. The current study found no significant change in breast cancer risk among oral contraceptive users compared to non-users, but the researchers say that may be due to the fact that most of the women in their study were older and past menopause, meaning they had likely stopped using birth control for many years.

Though the results don’t establish the pill as an anti-cancer therapy quite yet, the authors say, they are intriguing enough for women to start discussing with their doctors their personal risk factors for cancer and how going on the pill could potentially affect that risk. “Oral contraceptives are primarily used for preventing pregnancy and managing menstrual cycle symptoms,” says Kara Michels, the study’s lead author and a postdoctoral fellow at NCI. “Our study indicates that for women with different underlying cancer risks when they are older, their earlier oral contraceptive use is likely still beneficial for cancer prevention. Better understanding of the risks and benefits of these medications may help physicians and their patients make informed decisions about using oral contraceptives.”

5 All-Natural Sweeteners That Are (Somewhat) Healthier Than Sugar

Have you noticed just how many foods at your local market are now labeled “natural”? According to a recent Consumer Reports survey, 73% of shoppers seek out labels with this term (despite the fact that there’s no FDA standard to define it). All of this means that artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup are out—and a whole slew of natural alternatives have popped up in their place. Some are old-school favorites, like maple syrup; while others, like coconut sugar, are derived from familiar foods. Here’s the lowdown on five such sweeteners—including what’s unique about each one, and the best ways to use them in your kitchen.

Maple syrup

Maple syrup is still made the same way it has been for decades: by boiling sap from maple trees. The syrup can then be dried, powdered, and sold as maple sugar.

While maple syrup does contain some vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, the amounts in a typical serving are quite small. For example, one tablespoon provides about 1% of your daily needs for calcium, potassium, and iron. However, it does pack a solid amount of manganese—a mineral that helps produce collagen and promote skin and bone health—with 25% of your Daily Value.

When it comes to choosing a syrup, you might want to consider the color. Generally, syrup made earlier in the season tends to be lighter; while syrup produced at the end of the season, when sap flow slows, is darker. (That said, in some years, nearly all of a season’s crop may be light.) Dark syrups may have higher mineral and antioxidant levels.

Plus, darker syrups tend to have the strongest maple taste, which may help you use less. In fact, that’s another benefit of swapping maple syrup for white sugar: In recipes, you can use three-fourths as much. For example, if a recipe calls for a quarter cup of sugar (or four tablespoons), you can use three tablespoons of maple syrup instead.

Another trick I use is diluting syrup. I’ll swirl together a teaspoon each of maple syrup and water, add spices, like ginger and cinnamon; then drizzle it over foods like oatmeal, yams, baked fruit, or roasted carrots. You still get the distinct flavor and sweetness, but with just 4 grams of sugar and less than 20 calories.      

RELTATED: 5 Ways to Eat Less Sugar

Honey

Honey has been called the nectar of the gods, and used topically for centuries to heal wounds and fight infections. It also offers a number of other health benefits when ingested, as long as you don’t overdo it. This natural sweetener has been shown to possess small amounts of nutrients, antioxidants, and antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory compounds.

A University of Illinois study that analyzed honey samples from 14 different floral sources found that honey from buckwheat flowers packed 20 times the antioxidant punch as the kind produced from sage. While clover honey (which is probably the most commonly available type) scored in the middle of the antioxidant rankings.

Other research, from the University of California, Davis, found that daily consumption of buckwheat honey raised blood antioxidants levels. And a study from the University of Memphis found that athletes who ate honey had steadier blood sugar and insulin levels for a longer period of time, compared to consuming other carb sources.

I recommend buying raw, USDA Certified Organic honey whenever possible, to get the highest quality honey with minimal processing. It can also be sold in dried, powdered form.

As with maple syrup, you can use less liquid honey in recipes than sugar: Generally you can replace every tablespoon of sugar with a teaspoon of honey. (You may also need to adjust the amount of the other liquids, as well as the baking or cooking temperature.)

Just don’t adopt a “honey is good for me, so I can drizzle it on everything” mentality. One teaspoon provides about 20 calories and 5 to 6 grams of sugar.

I think honey is ideal for adding just a touch of sweetness to plain versions of foods, like yogurt and nut butter. It’s also great for jazzing up homemade dressings or marinades. For a simple stir-fry sauce, I like to whisk together a tablespoon each of brown rice vinegar and low sodium vegetable broth, a teaspoon of honey, a half teaspoon each of fresh grated ginger and minced garlic, and a pinch of crushed red pepper.

RELATED: 7 Super-Moisturizing Honey Beauty Products for Your Skin and Hair

Date sugar

If you’ve ever eaten a date, you know they’re incredibly sweet and a bit sticky—which is why they’re used as a main ingredient in so many energy bars. Whole dates are a good source of several key nutrients, including potassium, manganese, magnesium, copper, calcium, iron, B vitamins, vitamin K, and antioxidants. However, the nutrient amounts in a teaspoon of date sugar (made from dried, ground dates) are minimal. And that one teaspoon contains 15 calories and about 3 grams of sugar.

Date sugar can replace white sugar in equal amounts, but using two-thirds also works well in most recipes, especially if you add cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, and cloves. These “sweet” spices help enhance existing sweetness. It’s also important to note that date sugar doesn’t dissolve well, so it’s not the best choice for smoothies or coffee. And like brown sugar, it tends to clump. To soften it before use, try placing some date sugar in a glass or ceramic bowl with a moist paper towel and cover it with a lid or plate overnight.   

Coconut sugar

Coconut sugar is made from sap extracted from the buds of coconut palms. Like table sugar, it has about 15 calories and four grams of sugar per teaspoon.

Coconut sugar does provide small amounts of nutrients, including thiamin, iron, copper, zinc, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, calcium, and antioxidants. This sweetener also contains inulin, a naturally-occurring, indigestible carbohydrate that acts as a prebiotic, or “food” for beneficial gut bacteria.

Coconut palm sugar is also considered eco-friendly. Growing coconut trees requires minimal amounts of water and fuel (especially compared to sugar cane production); and the trees produce sap for two to four decades. Coconut sugar’s consistency and flavor is similar to brown sugar, so many people use it as an equal replacement in recipes that call for brown sugar (like baked beans and cookies).

RELATED: 9 Ways to Quit Sugar for Good

Blackstrap molasses

This thick, dark syrup is the byproduct of processing sugar cane. In other words, it’s the liquid left over after the sugar has crystallized. The sweetener retains some of the nutrients naturally found in sugar cane, including potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6, copper, selenium, and manganese. One teaspoon provides about 15 calories and 4 grams of sugar. It also contains a notable 6% of the Daily Value for iron and calcium. Plus, it has been shown to have higher antioxidant levels than any other sweetener, according to research from Virginia Tech.

However, the rich, intense flavor and aroma of blackstrap molasses can narrow its use. I’ve used it in coffee and tea recipes, gingerbread cookies, energy balls, overnight oats, pumpkin pie and pumpkin smoothies, baked beans, and yam dishes.

One final note

While all of the sweeteners above are natural, and less processed and more nutritious than white table sugar, it’s important to note they still count as added sugar. So you should consume them within the recommended limits for added sugar. That’s no more than six teaspoons (or about 25 grams) per day for women, and nine teaspoons (or about 37.5 grams) for men.

Some of my clients don’t even come close to these limits. But I’ve seen others overindulge in treats, smoothie bowls, and drinks made with these sweeteners, thinking it was fine because they’re natural.

So, yes, stir maple syrup in your coffee instead of sugar or an artificial sweetener. And opt for one of the sweeteners above when cooking or baking. But be sure to moderate your total sugar intake from every source, and don’t fall into the trap of thinking that better-for-you means it’s okay to eat an unlimited amount.

Cynthia Sass is Health’s contributing nutrition editor, a New York Times best-selling author, and consultant for the New York Yankees. See her full bio here.

People Think I’m Wearing Fake Lashes, But It’s Really Just Two Coats of This Mascara

I’ll admit it: I have damn nice eyelashes. I’ve always gotten compliments on how long and curly they are from random passerby. As a result, I’ve never relied on a particular mascara to give me longer, fuller looking ones. To me, every mascara, whether drugstore or high-end, offered the same result and simply defined my lashes a little bit more.

RELATED: 8 Tricks for Wearing Mascara When You Have Sensitive Eyes

Then, my friend gave me a sample of her favorite mascara, PUR Fully Charged Mascara ($22; amazon.comkohls.com, or hsn.com), and my life changed. With just one swipe, the formula plumped and extended my lashes like never before. When I added another coat (because you can never have too much mascara, in my opinion) my lashes looked out-of-this-world volumized. After putting my eyeglasses on, these things were so long they touched the freakin’ glass, I kid you not. I even questioned if my lashes were doing too much, but decided to go to work with them fully made up.

julia-pur-mascara-one-coat

After one coat of PUR Fully Charged mascara.

At the office, my friend and co-worker stopped me in the hallway. “Are you wearing eyelash extensions?” she asked. Nope. Just my PUR mascara, I told her. She went back to her desk and purchased her own tube of the stuff right then and there. The following week, she came to work wearing PUR. “This stuff is incredible!” she exclaimed, adding that she suggested all of her roommates buy it ASAP.

julia-pur-mascara-two-coats

After two coats.

According the PUR’s website, the Fully Charged Mascara gets its lash superpowers from a “magnetic polymer matrix.” Charged particles in the formula lift and separate each lash on your eyeball for a perfectly defined look. While this technology sounds a bit hokey, trying this mascara one time has made me a die-hard fan. Although it’s pricier than drugstore mascaras, it’s worth it for the amazing volume and definition it provides.

Reviewers agree: “In my 41 years I’ve worn a lot of mascara and this is hands down the best I’ve tried. Never clumps and my lashes look amazing!” said one Amazon purchaser.

Whenever a friend or colleague compliments my lashes, I always tell them my secret. And now, at least five of my friends have purchased their own tube.

This is Already Being Hailed As the Haircut of 2018

You’re going to love it.

We’re not here to tell you to swap your hairstyle with the season or even every year. Hey, if it works, it works. There are times, though, when we can fall into a hair rut. That’s the reason why we’re always on the hunt for new ways to style and cut. When we need to scoot into the hair salon for a quick freshen up, there’s nothing like a universally flattering cut to take the guesswork out of the equation. So, what’s the hairstyle du jour, you ask? Apparently, it’s all about the blunt cut—and it’s not one-size fits all.

If the term blunt cut immediately brings to mind an image of that chin-length cut of your childhood, don’t worry, that’s not what we’re talking about. A blunt cut truly works with any hair length or style but, perhaps our favorite blunt look also happens to be one that’s quickly gaining popularity. We’re talking about the short blunt cut (FYI: we consider ‘short’ to be anything above the shoulders).

One of the primary benefits of a blunt cut as opposed to the layered and lobbed-out styles we have been seeing over the past few years is they can give the appearance of thick hair. A blunt cut is a straight across cut that produces fuller looking ends, since they’re all the same length. Your stylist might want to add just a few longer layers to soften things up, but you’ll still wind up with an all around fuller look.

WATCH: Short Hairstyles That Blew Us Away in 2017

Once you determine the right length—and remember, you can work this look on long, medium, or short hair—and you’ve lived with your new cut for a while, consider throwing in some bangs at your next trim appointment. Blunt bangs are an option, though we’re major fans of a little fringe to soften things up.

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13 Hair Color Ideas for Brunettes

If you believe brunettes have more fun, you might think there’s no way to change up your look—blondes can be platinum, dirty blonde, and more, but brown hair is just… brown. Right?

Wrong. There are actually tons of ways to dye your hair and keep your brunette base, from balayage to glazes to the fan-favorite ombre fade. Below, check out our favorite hair color ideas for brunettes, from natural blends to crazy pops of color. Don’t forget to pin to your inspo boards for your next salon appointment.

Sun-kissed highlights

beccs/Pinterest

Adding in just a few face-framing blonde highlights can totally change your look by warming things up and giving you a beach-ready glow. To avoid things getting streaky, keep the blonde more gold-toned as opposed to white or platinum, and add all around the crown instead of just the front to give a more natural, kissed-by-the-sun vibe.

Mushroom brown

hailtothehair/Instagram

This muted melt is anything but boring, thanks to a unique mushroom-like shade that falls somewhere between ashy blonde and taupe. Both cool-toned and warm-toned blondes blend flawlessly into a mushroom-colored fade, and it’s the subtle shade Instagram is loving for color that’s casual-cool.

Rose gold fade

beautybyashley/Instagram

If you know your hair tends to pull slightly orange when it bleaches, a rose gold look is the perfect way to lighten up your brunette locks while keeping roots dark. This is the kind of look that gets better as it fades, so what starts as a warm, brown-to-rosy-toned glow will end up a rockstar-approved orange-y pink over time.

Warm red glaze

curlupndye/Instagram

If the idea of bleaching your brunette hair terrifies you, opting for an all-over glaze is the perfect way to inject a little color into your look. A red-toned tinge can warm up dull brown locks and give them an almost burgundy look. Plus, glazing treatments can add strength and shine to hair, so you can leave the salon with a whole new ‘do in a short amount of time.

Smoky brunette

itsjerryanthonyhair/Instagram

This dark black-to-brunette fade is seriously stunning—and proof that you don’t have to go blonde to shake up your look. Plus, dark dyes are healthier for hair than bleaching, so your strands will thank you.

Colored ends

michlgon/Instagram

If you like the look of dark, almost-black brown hair but want to get a little wild, adding a pop of color to ends is the perfect solution. Dip dye for a messy, care-free look, or do a melt like the look above for a seamless transition. Navy or teal are statement-making yet wearable options if neon pink doesn’t suit your day job.

Classic ombre

hairbyamberjoy/Instagram

Ombre hair started making waves a few years ago, with stars like Jessica Alba, Chrissy Teigen, and J. Lo flaunting perfectly blended brunette-to-blonde locks. This look is more natural than some other dye jobs, thanks to the progressive fade from root to tip. Plus, you don’t have to worry about hair looking bad when the roots grow out—it only adds to the look!

Chocolate melt

hairbybrittanyy/Instagram

Mousy browns are a total turnoff, but a rich, hot-chocolate color is an absolute must. Whether it’s a brunette glaze to brighten and shine your brown locks, or subtle toning using different shades of brunette to get the perfect, decadent look, this is a safe bet for beginner dyers who want their hair color enhanced, not changed.

Brunette to icy gray

loveisinthehair_byjanet/Instagram

If blonde tips seem too sweet for your taste, a brown-to-gray fade is an updated, edgier take on highlights. Intentional gray and silver tones not only look effortlessly cool, but this dye job can also work wonders for women going gray early who want to mask—or embrace!—their silver fox status.

Ashy balayage

oliviahuynhair/Instagram

An ashier look is a cool-toned take on the warm, summer-blonde streaks loved by many. Somewhere between gray and gold, the perfect ashy blonde exists to lighten up brunette locks and give them some much-needed lift when dyed using a balayage style, where the color is blended in at the crown of the head and becomes more prominent at the ends.

Hidden rainbow hair

beautybyashley/Instagram

For the daredevil with an office job, the only way to embrace your mermaid-meets-unicorn hair fantasies is to opt for what’s known as a hidden dye job. This means the top layer of hair looks completely natural, but when pulled into a half-up style, a layer of secret color is revealed.

Bronde

hairbybrae/Instagram

Bronde is the perfect combination of brunette and blonde, made popular by celebs like Blake Lively. The look is lived-in and effortlessly blended, and can be a great first step if you’re considering eventually transitioning to full-on blonde in the future.

Dusty pink blend

loveisinthehair_byjanet /Instagram

Think of this as rose gold’s cooler older sister—no warm tones here, but the pop of color keeps things interesting and trendy. This shade blends best with more naturally ashy brunettes, whereas warmer brown hair is better suited for a rosier tone.

 

 

This Vlogger Claims Her Extensions Ruined Her Hair—So She Shaved Her Head Bald in Viral Video

Long waves, a lavender lob, a red top knot, bangs, braids, you name it—a quick scroll through YouTube star Vanessa Martinez’s Instagram page, and it’s clear she’s not afraid to take style risks when it comes to her hair, and the results are always chic and cool.

Even with her constantly-changing appearance, Martinez’s 585,000 Instagram followers and 2.1 million YouTube subscribers were shocked when she unveiled a totally new look recently: a completely bald head. And Martinez didn’t just break the news with a selfie; she posted an eleven minute video of her shaving her head, complete with an explanation for her desire to “start over” with her hair.

At the start of the video, Martinez has long extensions, which she cites as the main culprit for inspiring her to make the change. She claims that as a result of adding on more and more extensions and making drastic hair changes, her natural hair had become damaged and sparse.

“I’m just making myself balder and balder, so why don’t I just cut all my hair off and start over?” she says in the video.

According to Jeanine Downie, MD, a dermatologist from Montclair, New Jersey, hair breakage, damage, and loss can all be common side effects when wearing heavy extensions. “My experience is that many people sew in their weaves too tight and they break hair and can cause bald patches,” she tells Health. “Other people use glue and the glue is a chemical irritant to the scalp and that can also call small or large bald patches.”

Took my dog out to shit and the light just kinda hit me

A post shared by Simplynessa15 (@simplynessa15) on Feb 4, 2018 at 3:28pm PST

During the video, Martinez and a friend are all smiles as they snip and shave her hair away. It’s not every day you see a young girl shave her head in an eleven-minute video montage, but it’s clear that Martinez is confident in her decision.

“You guys, hair grows back,” she declares, at once reassuring both her viewers and herself. When the shave is complete, she’s unable to stop touching and rubbing her newly bare head. In a pinned comment, she goes on to further dismiss any negative stereotypes about bald women: “Being bald is not ugly. [Its] not disgusting. [Its] not weird. If you are going bald due to illness, stress whatever the case, you are still beautiful.”

The video currently boasts 782,000 views and counting, with an impressive 55,000 “thumbs up” from Martinez’s supportive following. The comments section below the video is a mix of fans praising her bravery and beauty and others offering advice for Martinez’s new healthy hair journey.

Bitch….lol

A post shared by Simplynessa15 (@simplynessa15) on Feb 2, 2018 at 2:29pm PST

“I feel very liberated,” Martinez writes. “New trend, new bald, 2018!”

We think the vlogger looks gorgeous both with and without her strands, and we admire her for taking her hair health into her own hands. For those interested in keeping up with Martinez and her new look, she mentions that she might start a hair-growing series on her YouTube channel to continue documenting her fresh start.

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