Dove’s Real Beauty Bottles Come in Six Different Shapes

A new range of Dove Body Wash bottles aims to celebrate body-diverse beauty.

Ogilvy London has created a limited-edition set of Dove Body Wash bottles which come in a range of shapes, aiming to communicate the brand’s celebration of the “many shapes and sizes of beauty.”

Dove has “championed this version of beauty for the past 60 years,” says a campaign website, “and celebrated diverse women in our groundbreaking real beauty campaigns.

“But we wanted to bring this to life through our products, too.”

To represent the beauty that “comes in a million different shapes and sizes,” it has released six different “one of a kind” bottle shapes. By volume, they look to be the same size.

Recent research from Dove’s ‘Global Beauty and Confidence Report’ found that one in two women feels social media puts pressure on them to look a certain way. “Many women are fighting with us to spread beauty confidence,” says the page, “using their influence to advance the real beauty debate across social media.”

Source

 

Events: Amin & Co. Chats with Francis Kurkdjian

Look for the FULL interview in DFW Beauty Guide (www.dfwbeautyguide.com), later this month. If you haven't read my "Meet the Expert" interview with Francis from last summer, click HERE.

Beauty: Rose Oil

rose-oil.jpg

Rose oil is a known body treat from the country of Bulgaria. The oil is a popular choice for aromatherapy with its rich scent. Recently, rose oil is making a lot of noise in the beauty world. The oil proves to contain rich hair care and skin care nutrients. Today, the market for skin care is continuously growing. More and more brands are introducing their own versions of the precious rose oil.

Healthy Hair Lifestyle is everyone’s reliable guide to total hair care. The site gives the people an idea of how some of the newest hair care products work. Consumers and beauty junkies will find helpful information about the latest hair care and skin care products like essential oils.

Essential oils in cosmetics

The rise of essential oils in the beauty market comes shortly after serums made a mark in sales. These serums prove to be highly effective and they provide faster results. Beauty brands started doing the same treatments with the precious essential oils. Now the market offers beauty oils that are advanced when it comes to treatment quality. One highly popular brand that shows a promising start in the essential oils market is the brand called Shiny Leaf. The brand released its first line of products which are the castor oil, rose absolute oil, and pomegranate seed oil. These oils are highly popular, especially to the beauty enthusiasts.

The popularity of these oils brings more way for counterfeit products. Knockoff products swarm the market together with the best oils you’re you can get. This is exactly where pages like Healthy Hair Lifestyle are highly important in choosing the right products. Studies have found that counterfeit products consist of chemicals that are extremely harsh for the skin. There are also findings that some of these products contain wastes and other unhygienic components.

The hype for rose oil

One of the most popular oils that came out along with the rise of essential oils is the well-known essence of rose oil. This oil contains rich chemicals that are great not just for calming the senses. Studies found that rose oil contains rich hair care and skin care properties.

Using rose oil for the hair can help keep and soothe the hair and skin’s dryness. The oil contains rich moisturizing properties that are needed to by the skin and hair regularly. For more skin and hair care benefits of the rose, look for more guides and tips at Healthy Hair Lifestyle https://www.healthyhairlifestyles.com/

Events: Mary Kay, DEC Partner for Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit

MaryKayFinale0008.jpg

Mary Kay announced Tuesday it will host its inaugural Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit Jan. 27 at the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas.

“For 53 years Mary Kay has been empowering, mentoring and promoting women entrepreneurs. Our founder, Mary Kay Ash herself was one of the greatest business minds of all time and millions of women around the world have built successful businesses by following her proven leadership and sales techniques,” Mary Kay’s Chief Marketing Officer Sheryl Adkins-Green said in a media release. “No one person or company has more experience with women’s entrepreneurship than Mary Kay. We believe that the Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit will help inspire current and future female entrepreneurs.”

“We can think of no better partner than Dallas’ own Mary Kay to provide effective tools and resources for the next generation of women innovators.”
TREY BOWLES

Mary Kay is partnering with The DEC (Dallas Entrepreneur Center) to bring together experts and thought leaders for the summit that will focus on women business owners. 

“We have seen a great increase in women entrepreneurs starting businesses in North Texas in recent years, and we believe programs like this Summit are invaluable in helping these companies grow,” co-founder and CEO of The Dallas Entrepreneur Center Trey Bowles said. “We can think of no better partner than Dallas’ own Mary Kay to provide effective tools and resources for the next generation of women innovators. We hope to bring some of the success-proven mindsets, processes, and practices to the women that attend this inaugural Mary Kay Women’s Summit.”

Businesses will get a chance to pitch their ideas in the first-ever “Pink Tank” for a chance to receive seed funding from The DEC. Judges will include Adkins-Green; Abe Minkara, director of business development for Mark Cuban Cos., and fashion designer and CEO Abi Ferrin. If you want to apply to pitch your business, visit this link

Gloria Mayfield Banks, internationally renowned motivational speaker and No. 1 U.S.-ranked Mary Kay Independent Elite Executive National Sales Director, will be the featured keynote speaker. There will be breakout sessions throughout the day, as well as opportunities for networking and mentorships. 

Sessions will include:

  • Why Women Make Great Entrepreneurs — featuring Amber Venz Box of RewardStyle and Valerie Freeman of Imprimis Group.
  • 10 Questions You Need To Answer Before You Become An Entrepreneur — featuring Shama Hyder of Marketing Zen and Yasmeen Tadia of Make Your Life Sweeter.
  • How To Build the Best Team For Success — featuring Sheryl Chamberlain of Cap Gemini, Kristi Libby of S.W.C./SoCu, and Jill Scigliano of The DEC.
  • Customer Development: How To Find And Grow Customers — featuring Melissa Youngblood of LCC Management Consulting.
  • Building Your Brand —  featuring Heather Capps of HCK2; Holly Mason of Mason Baronet; and Jessica Nunez of True Point.
  • Fundraising: How To Fund Your Business  Julia Taylor Cheek of Everly; Louise Kee of Golden Seeds; Cynthia Nevels of Integrality, and Cristin Thomas of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business.

IF YOU GO

Time: 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Date: Jan. 27
Place: Fairmont Hotel, 1717 N. Akard in Dallas.
Registration fee:  $100 per person through Jan. 1, includes breakfast, breakout sessions, lunch, keynote speakers, mentorship opportunities, Pink Tank and post-event reception. Starting Jan. 2, the registration fee will be $125 per person and $150 at the door. 

For more information or to register, visit www.marykaywomenssummit.com or info@thedec.co.

Business: Overlooked Fundamentals

Amin & Co. - Dallas Marketing Firm

Running a business is complicated, which means there are some factors or tasks that tend to get overlooked. From basic concepts to more involved processes, members of our small business community have plenty of tips for dealing with those sometimes overlooked business tasks. See the full list of tips below.

Be Sure to Spend Enough Time on Marketing

So how much time should you be spending sharing content or connecting on social media or networking at industry related events? How long should you be spending on marketing in general? It depends. Answer the Small Business Trends poll and see how you stack up against others for amount of time spent marketing your business.

Learn the Difference Between User Experience and Customer Experience

The user experience and customer experience are important considerations for any business. But they’re not the same. And understanding what each is can make a big difference for your business. Caroline Sober-James explains more in this Acumium blog post.

Get Honest Feedback for Your Business Idea

Coming up with a great business idea is, of course, important. But you also need to gather some honest feedback about your ideas if you want them to succeed, as Cate Costa discusses here. Members of the BizSugar community also share thoughts on the post here.

Invest in LinkedIn Marketing

LinkedIn can be good for more than just keeping in touch with your professional connections. There are plenty of marketing opportunities that the platform presents, as Aaron Agius details in this Search Engine Journal post.

Determine Your Brand’s Social Media Persona

Lots of brands get on social media and just start posting without giving it much thought. But to really make an impact with your social media, you need to determine a persona. This post on the Inkhouse Inklings Blog by Sarah Mitus explains the importance of having a persona for your social media efforts.

Pitch Your Online Content for the Right Audience

Finding your target audience is absolutely essential to any business. And you need to constantly keep that audience in mind when creating and pitching your online content as well. This Two Feet Marketing post by David Lowbridge includes some thoughts on pitching content to your audience. And you can also see discussion about the post over on BizSugar.

Use These Tech Savvy Ways to Tell Your Brand Story

Every brand needs to tell a story. And you can actually use technology to help convey that story to customers and potential customers online. Here, Ivan Widjaya shares some tips about using technology to tell a brand story in this Noobpreneur post.

Improve Your Email Click-Through Rates

When it comes to email marketing, there’s a lot of emphasis put on gaining subscribers. But if you want your email marketing to have any impact, you also need to focus on improving your click-through rates.Here, Neil Patel shares some strategies for improving click-through rates on emails.

Build Customer Trust to Stand Out in a Crowd

There are tons of flashy strategies out there for making your business stand out. But few are as effectively as just building good old fashioned trust with your customers. Sherry Gray of ChamberOfCommerce.comdiscusses more here. And BizSugar members discuss the post here as well.

Use SEO to Get Local Customers to Cling to Your Content

When you think about the importance of SEO, you probably consider how essential it is to online businesses. But local businesses can use SEO and content marketing to reach customers as well. Here, Bhupinder Kaur Chhabra outlines how SEO and content can benefit local businesses in the Blurbpoint blog.

Source

Marketing: Content Marketing Ideas for Health Tech Startups

Dallas Strategic Marketing - Beauty, Spa, Healthcare, Wellness

If you are in charge of the content marketing efforts for a healthcare technology startup, you have lots of challenges and opportunities facing you. Before you start your content marketing efforts, check out these strategies.

Add a Human Touch

One issue that vexes businesses in the healthcare industry is the perception that dollars and data matter more than people. The perfect medium for challenging this perception is content marketing. Create content such as employee bios and your company story. Let people know about your and your staff’s passion for your product and commitment to wellbeing. As you create your overall strategy, be sure your focus remains on showing that you care and providing wellness information rather than pushing sales.

Provide Answers Your Audience Can Understand

Information is important to your audience. Your ability to provide that information in a way that a lay person can understand it, is extremely important. Avoid medical jargon in your content marketing. You may think that using complex terms will increase the perception that you are an expert in your field, but the reality is you will just confuse people and drive them away.

Give a Gift

This strategy is not unique to healthtech. However, the gifts you choose to give should be. For example, if a consumer provides you with their email information to subscribe to your monthly newsletter, you could include access to a free trial of your product. If another customer submits information to receive a free quote, you could provide them access to a free eBook with wellness tips and healthy recipes. Giveaways are a great way to thank your customers when they complete micro conversions. Keeping the giveaways focused on healthcare related products helps to cement your branding.

Lebron Meng, founder at Check Pregnancy says this about using gifts in healthcare, content marketing:  

“People associate so many negative things with the healthcare industry. In fact, if you bring up words such as doctor’s appointments or medical treatment, and people associate that with bills and financial hardship. Even a lot of wellness outreach efforts are seen as guilt inducing. In the midst of all of this, a simple gift is really meaningful.”

Share Customer Stories Not Testimonial

For some industries, testimonials are a great thing. The basic formula of a testimonial is this. Description of problem + description of negative impact of problem + description of how product X solved problem + description of positive results due to solving problem = testimonial. That’s not enough for the healthtech industry. Instead, encourage customers to share their stories, just like you encourage your staff to share theirs. For example, a testimonial might look like this:

I’ve been struggling to make it to doctor’s appointments due to my work schedule. I’ve even had to skip over important well visits with my doctor. Thankfully, the 24-hour clinic that is now available at my local pharmacist can see me at any time. I can even download their app to access my health records 24/7. My health needs will never get put on the backburner again.

In contrast, here’s how a story will look:

Two months ago, I had an important appointment with my doctor. Then, my boss told me I had to work mandatory overtime. I couldn’t say no. So, I called to reschedule my appointment, and I was told it would be six months before I could be seen again. I was devastated. I’d been dealing with painful symptoms for months and had no answers. Now, I was put off for another six months. Why wasn’t there a healthcare option available for people like me, where access was a priority? Thankfully, a friend told me about a new health center that was open 24 hours per day. I can even use their app to access my records and submit questions to the nursing staff.

Put Your Spin on Healthcare News

Think of all of the healthcare stories that have hit the news over the past year. The Zika virus, Martin Shkreli, The Affordable Care Act, and the recent Aetna crisis are just three examples of major news breaking stories. When these stories break, people often don’t know what to think. This is why your input is so important. Keep track of trending healthcare news. Then, take the role of a thought leader and give your expert opinion and perspective.

Beauty: Orly Breathable Nails

Orly Breathable Nail Polish - Halal Beauty - Muslim Beauty - Dallas Beauty Marketing

Los Angeles-based ORLY debuted its new ORLY Breathable Treatment + Color, an all-in-one, long-lasting formula that allows your nails to breathe without needing to go totally bare.

ORLY's technology resembles that of a contact lens, allowing oxygen and hydration to pass through. Their halal-compliant, healing polish includes a blend of argan oil, vitamin B5, and vitamin C, and it eliminates the need for a basecoat and a topcoat thanks to shine additives and adhesion promoters. Just apply two coats, and you're good to go!

In a survey of 500 women, 99% saw a noticeable difference in the overall health and appearance of their nails (compared to traditional polish), and felt their nails were stronger or healthier after using Breathable for a week. They also reported less chipping and peeling, and faster nail growth.

ORLY Breathable Treatment + Color is available in 15 shades (plus a clear Treatment + Shine) starting today at ULTAORLYbeauty.com, JCPenney, and salons around the country.

This launch comes at a time when halal beauty is making serious waves across the beauty industry. Islam states that in order to pray properly, followers must wash every part of their body, which includes nails. 

For many Muslim women, wearing nail polish becomes a daunting task, with having to remove it each time before each daily prayer (5).

This new technology could change EVERYTHING.

Beauty: Organic Personal Care Market Expected To Reach $16 Billion by 2020

Global trends in the organic personal care market is growing, where the market is expected to reach $15.98 billion by 2020, according to a new report by Grand View Research. An increasing amount of consumers are opting for organic and natural hair care, skin care and cosmetic products, which is anticipated to grow throughout the projected time period.

Retailers all over the country are expanding their personal care items to include more organic and natural products to meet the growing demands of consumers. Consumer perceptions are changing to embrace environmentally sustainable and natural products that can deliver results without the use of chemicals or toxins. Along with the market expansion, more approvals for human health and safety regulatory bodies like the USDA and the FDA will also see a correlating rise in certified personal care products.

The projected increase in market worth comes as no surprise as natural and organic products provide consumers with anti-oxidation properties and improved skin immunity advantages compared to chemically-formulated products. On top of that, there's an increase in awareness of the harmful effects that are associated with chemical substances found in traditional personal care products, which is fueling the demand of natural and organic alternatives.

Roger Gore, founder and owner of G Natural Products, a national brand of natural personal care products, can attest to the benefits and changing dynamic of the growing organic market. First and foremost, chemically-formulated products are a recipe for allergic reactions and skin/scalp irritation. With the use of natural and organic products, the consumer gets peace of mind and a safer-to-use product. Second, chemically-treated products might give the individual a temporary result now, but it damages the health of the hair in the long run. On the other hand, natural products will not only give them the results they want, but it will also make the hair and skin much healthier.

"One of the biggest issues people have is adding moisture to their hair and the chemically-treated products just can't deliver the desired results today's consumers are looking for," said Gore. "Natural, organic products made from key ingredients like aloe vera extract, grapeseed oil, milk thistle extract and other naturally found oils can nourish the scalp, hair and skin to promote all-day moisture and shine."

To meet the needs of customers who are looking for natural hair care, Gore developed the L.O.C. moisture product system that's available nationwide in stores like CVS, Target, Wegmans and online. Since the global market for natural hair care products is booming, G Natural is expanding into the European and African markets within the next 12 to 24 months.

Key benefits of the L.O.C. moisture system:

  • L.O.C. represents (L) liquid, (O) oil and (C) crème which is a comprehensive system that focuses on adding moisture to hair to transition away from chemically-treated hair to 100% natural.
  • It includes Oh So Clean Shampoo, Conditioner, All Day Leave In Condition, Hair Grow Oil and more.
  • The L.O.C. moisture system is a part of the entire line of natural hair and skin products that G Natural offers and aims to give consumers an economical and healthy alternative to go natural.

Business: Multiple Ways to Repurpose Content

Image Credit: Syed Yaqeen

Image Credit: Syed Yaqeen

  1. Create a blog post. Make a bulleted list of the teleseminar highlights and post it as an article on your blog. You could even offer it as a guest post on an industry blog.

  2. Turn it into a short eBook or whitepaper. Get the audio transcribed, put a nice cover on it, and now you have a digital product to sell or giveaway.

  3. Podcast. Take the teleseminar recording and upload it to a place like SoundCloud or iTunes. You can take those links and embed them into your blog for an audio post. This example assumes you’re starting with an mp3. If you’re going to repurpose a blog post into audio, Audacity works very well. I’ve used it to record and edit all of my podcasts.

  4. Audio training. Turn the teleseminar into a digital product that’s for sale on a platform like Gumroad.

  5. Create a video presentation. Services like Tunes to Tube take your mp3 and an image, turn it into a video and then upload it to your YouTube channel for you.

  6. Make a talking head video. Take some of the best nuggets from the teleseminar, turn on your phone’s camera and talk about them. Most phones have simple video editing software and one-click social media sharing.

  7. Create a deep dive teleseminar. Say you created a teleseminar about your 5-step process for organizing closets. Step 1 was purge what you don’t need. You can create an entirely new seminar that goes in depth around that step. For example, you could talk about why it’s important to get rid of old items, how to decide what to toss, where to donate items that are still in good condition, etc.

  8. Make a presentation. Create slides using PowerPoint and then share it via SlideShare.net.

  9. Develop an infographic. Use a site like Visual.ly to make an infographic with highlights from your seminar.

  10. Schedule a webinar. For those who are more visual learners, present the teleseminar information with slides in the background this time.

  11. Newsletter. Highlight the best tips from the teleseminar and share them with your mailing list.

  12. Physical CD for sale. Use an online CD maker to upload your teleseminar and make it a physical CD. This product can now be sold when you attend events or mailed to potential clients. If you’ve done multiple teleseminars, upload each track, add a transcript and sell it as a home study class.

Marketing: 'Magic' Beauty BUZZ Word

Beauty fans world over will agree that when it comes to our favourite products seeing is believing. We’re wowed by before and afters on Instagram, are clued up on clinical studies and will take recommendations from our most trusted girlfriends before parting with our hard-earned cash. The latest beauty trend, however, is turning all that on its head. ‘Magic’ has become beauty’s new buzzword and has little to do with statistics or even science. Instead, it’s something that chooses faith over facts by repackaging the cues of mysticism. Is it a much needed extension of the wellness trend that makes us feel special by transporting us away from an overbearing digital existence or, is all just a bunch of hocus pocus?

“Magic is fun and makes you smile,” explains Julie Bell, Executive Vice President of Global Marketing at Benefit Cosmetics. Their latest and largest brow collection launches this week and includes packaging that’s peppered with images of a magician’s assistant and playful taglines such as ‘the wave of a micro-wand’ and ‘fuller looking brows magically appear’. "For us brows transform your face more than any other feature” continues Bell. “When we were working on the positioning of our new brow collection we thought long and hard about what is the most transformative thing and the answer “magically” appeared. Magic! It’s the most transformative and powerful way to transform yourself and at Benefit we believe that laughter is the best cosmetic and what’s more fun than magic?"

Image Credit: Charlotte Tilbury

Image Credit: Charlotte Tilbury

Benefit aren’t alone in conjuring up links between their cosmetics and magic. Amanda Bell, Makeup Artist for Pixi Beauty, reveals its part of the brand’s DNA. "The founder of Pixi is from Sweden where there is much joy derived from passing down from generation to generation stories about fairies, trolls, pixies and of course magic." Elsewhere and makeup sorceress Charlotte Tilbury launched her beauty line with leading products such as the Magic Cream and Magic Foundation, recently followed up by her Magic Eye Cream and Magic Night RescueHonest Beauty's Magic Balm owned by Jessica Alba is a US best-seller while Korean Spa's Magic Peeling Mitt and Starskin’s Magic Hour Foot Masks have been hailed as the new cult classics in the UK.

Big brands are in the act on too. “L'Oreal Paris loves the word magic or ‘magique’ and has attached it to everything from Revitalift Magic Blur to the entire Nude Magique range” explains BeautyMart founder Anna-Marie Solowij. She also believes the presence and use of magic within beauty isn't a new thing, instead it was a comeback of an old favourite jumpstarted the trend. “The first was Egyptian Magic, a heavy duty moisturiser made of beeswax, olive oil, honey and propolis. This 20 year-old sleeper, mainly popular with makeup artists, came back on the radar a couple of years ago, having been rediscovered by a new generation of bloggers and the smart buying team at Liberty who put it back on the map”.

The popularity of magical products may also be linked to our age. “This generation's interest and excitement about magic grew up with Harry Potter and Manga. They love unicorns, believe in crystals, the supernatural, meditation and other esoteric stuff such as Tarot and astrology” continues Solowij’. On a deeper level, it also appears to be form of escapism. “We’re living during a time that is unnerving – the recent economic crisis, global warming, terrorism, the refugee crisis. To many, the world seems spinning out of their control. Millenials see the world moving in a direction that is frightening and the idea of magic provides an escape”, explains Beauty Psychologist Dr Vivian Diller. The sense of childlike wonder that the idea of magic conveys also takes beauty fans to a world that is less knowing and cynical. In an overwhelming digital world where we constantly reinforce everything with imagery, that is a very appealing idea.

However, there is caution to be had with beauty’s new fairytale. “Promises of magic can lead a consumer to desire a product, but only real results will make consumers feel good and special in the long run. Broken promises actually make women feel duped, so brands have to be careful about making ones they can’t keep,” warns Diller. You have to wonder, why brands aren't allowed to claim a cream will reduce their wrinkles without evidence yet there are no rules when it comes to magic. Soweji feels a more light-hearted approached is best. “Magic is a belief, rather than a claim and adds an element of imagination for the consumer”. Only time will tell whether we’ll get bored of beauty’s new tricks. As for right now, with all its promises of magic and mysticism, the beauty world has us completely spellbound.

Source

Marketing: 3 Content Trends for Q2

Content marketing has evolved a lot in a very short time span. What was once a market dominated by whoever could produce the largest volume of marginal-quality content is now a market where success is based largely on your connections, diversity of content formats and your ability to connect with and engage an audience across multiple channels.

Content marketing is going through some serious changes right now, forcing marketers to analyze subjective situations and adapt to new technologies to stay relevant, because, more than ever, consumers are turning to the web for information and education.

According to DKNewMedia, 70 percent of U.S. consumers read or listen to opinions published in blogs, reviews and forums. If you want yours to be one of the few voices they are listening to, you need to prepare for these three emerging content marketing trends.

1. Better content promotion

You used to be able to publish content, like blog posts, on virtually any topic, and gain a fair amount of traction and traffic. That’s just not the case anymore. Content creation is at an all-time high as more marketers are publishing content -- and the quality of the content being published is through the roof. “You need to create ridiculously good content -- content that is useful, enjoyable and inspired,” writesAnn Handley, chief content officer of MarketingProfs.

But just because you’re publishing ridiculously good content doesn’t mean you’re succeeding. That’s just the first step.

The problem is, too many marketers fail to promote their content enough: In fact, there’s a pretty good chance you’re not using modern tools and resources to help with promoting all the new content you’re creating. If anything, you’re publishing more content, and spending twice as much time on manual promotion to get fewer results.

Expect to see this change as the industry starts pushing for better content promotion with more effective tools. “Influencer marketing” is the buzz phrase right now, and marketers are using resources likeContentMarketer.io with its Connector tool (email outreach to influencers and contacts) and Notifier (outreach to the influencers and people mentioned within your content); both turn influencers' heads toward your content.

Similarly, it's important how you tag others on social media with a post -- which becomes visible to their entire network of followers.

2. Repurposed content

Repurposing is hardly a new topic, but it’s fast gaining popularity this year as marketers realize that repurposing content is a no-brainer. If you’ve got something that has already resonated well with your audience, you absolutely should try to create more content with that topic.

“Repurposed content adds more horsepower to your marketing machine,” writes Neil Patel, founder of KISSmetrics. “It takes your content further, faster than you could ever do on your own. It helps you build up a fan base that you may have never known existed; and it does this without a lot of effort on your part. Why reinvent the wheel when you can just add more wheels to the machine?”

That’s the beauty of repurposing content -- you’re simply pushing your existing content out into a new channel, in a new form, to be digested in another way.

A well-performing blog post can be broken down into key points and turned into:

  • an infographic

  • bullet points to be discussed on a podcast

  • a quick explainer video

  • a series of images with bite-size info pushed out via social channels

  • short videos posted and shared

  • quick-chat live video sessions using Periscope

3. New publishing options

Facebook kicked off the trend in new publishing options when it introduced Instant Articles. It’s not surprising that the social platform took this route. Up to this point, content being shared via Facebook (and other social platforms) has always been a redirect to an outside source. Instant Articles turns Facebook into a native publishing platform, providing more direct options for publishers to quickly get their content directly in front of their audience.

Now, Google has introduced its own version of instant, rapid content-sharing, with AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), and I expect to see different forms of native content publication spreading to other social and digital channels, as well.

What that means for the near future is that competition in content marketing is going to skyrocket. The market is already saturated, and algorithms, new formats and new tech are making it easier and cheaper for marketers and businesses to publish content.

The end result is that you’ll see further content floods coming with only the best kind of 10x content getting any meaningful visibility, unless it’s promoted properly. “People just jump right to, ‘We’re going to create this really cool thing and put it out there, and people are going to magically find it,’” says C.C. Chapman, co-author of Content Rules. “You have to market your marketing.”

In 2016, the quality of content is extremely important, but the real difference is in how it’s promoted, where it’s promoted and whom it’s promoted to.

Wellness: Nip Tuck Tourism

Dallas Beauty Spa and Wellness Marketing

The Dos and Don’ts of Nip Tuck Tourism

Tips from board certified plastic surgeon Dr. John Zannis: zannisplasticsurgery.com

Thinking of going off the grid to get a little work done? You’re tapping into a growing trend. These days more and more people are seeking great doctors in locations beyond New York and Beverly Hills. While jetting off to South America for some plastic surgery may be too distant, there are plenty of calmer more serene cities for those who don’t want the crowds and fast pace of a big city. Board certified plastic surgeon and best selling author Dr. John Zannis, based in coastal North Carolina caters to patients from all over the world. Here are his dos and don’ts when it comes to Nip Tuck Tourism to ensure you get the best doctors, support staff, post-op recovery and overall experience.

Do: Consider a smaller city. When it comes time for recovery, resting and avoiding stress is key. Smaller cities have a cozy, home away from home feel. Imagine going outside for a walk or sitting peacefully outside with sounds of nature instead of traffic. Being in a serene environment helps you heal.

Don’t: Skimp on the pre-arrival consultation and follow up communication. Verifying that you are a candidate for the procedure you want is extremely important before flying anywhere. Be ready for a few Skype consults with your surgeon, sharing pictures and keeping in touch over phone and e-mail leading up to your scheduled procedure.

Do: Consider your physician’s lodging recommendations. Many doctors already have relationships with local hotels and bed and breakfasts and can make solid recommendations. Your doctor will also know the type of accommodations you’ll need: will a simple suite do or do you need a full home-style living space for longer recovery procedures?

Do: Fly in a couple of days before your surgery is scheduled. This allows you to meet with the doctor and staff before the big day and become comfortable with your surroundings.

Do: Take the appropriate amount of time off. Dr. Zannis explains, “depending on the procedure, you’ll be able to return home in just 24 hours, while others may require a follow up visit in 7 days.  You want to allow adequate healing time for any swelling and pain to subside before traveling back home.”

Don’t: Forget your insurance cards. Although most cosmetic procedures aren’t covered by insurance, you’ll still need your insurance information to get your prescriptions filled.

Do: Plan ahead and pack wisely. “It’s important to pack loose fitting zip front shirts and wide comfortable bottoms, a pillow to place between yourself and the car/plane seatbelt, a spill proof large water bottle, and throat relievers for post-op soreness,” suggests Dr. Zannis.

And finally Do: Plan some nice activities and meals! Remember this is your time to relax, recover and enjoy. Think low-key and relaxing. When you get your appetite back you’ll want a great meal. As days pass and more and more healing takes place you’ll want to go for nice walks, explore nature, or just read and unwind by a fireplace or lake. These little things contribute to making you feel better and heal after a procedure. You’ll return with a new look, while feeling completely refreshed.

For more about Dr. John Zannis, his New Bern, North Carolina practice and their Makeover Getaway Program, visit zannisplasticsurgery.com

Beauty: Garlic for Acne

Garlic for Beauty

Garlic is a common herb which is generally used to flavor food, however it can also be used as a medicine. You can use garlic to treat acne that is caused by bacteria or oily skin.

Does Garlic Help To Cure Acne?

  • Garlic has anti – bacterial, anti-fungal, anti – viral and anti – septic properties that help to prevent clogged pores and thus, reduces the acne. However make sure it is diluted.
  • It’s anti – oxidant property helps to fight against free radicals which can damage the body or skin cells.
  • Allicin is a compound in garlic which gives pungent taste and smell. It will decompose into the antioxidant called sulfenic acid, which will react very quickly with radicals, limited only by the time in which the two molecules will take to come into contact with each other.
  • Regular intake of garlic will help to strengthen the immune system.
  • It has anti – inflammatory properties which help to reduce the pain, irritation and the discomfort caused by acne.
  • It helps to improve the blood circulation that allows the skin tissues to properly receive all the vitamins and minerals which are essential for healthy skin.
  • It has sulfur compounds called thiacremonon, which acts as a drying agent and also removes acne scars on the skin.
  • Using garlic regularly also prevents the formation of pimples.
  • It has an excellent source of various acne combating nutrients like vitamins (C and B6), minerals, selenium, copper, allicin, zinc (used to control sebum) and other phyto-nutrients.
  • It fights the insulin resistance which is linked to acne. The use of garlic oil helps to improve the insulin sensitivity.

How To Use Garlic For Acne:

Garlic can be used in many different ways to treat acne effectively. However, garlic is a strong compound and can cause a burning sensation when applied on the skin.

1. Garlic

Be sure while following this process, you are applying this garlic directly on the skin. Only use if you do not have sensitive skin.

  • Finely crush garlic cloves.
  • Apply to the affected areas of the skin.
  • This will destroy the bacteria causing acne.
  • Leave for a few minutes and then remove the crushed garlic.
  • Remove if the garlic starts to sting.
  • Wash it off with cold water and pat dry.
  • Apply moisturizer and repeat regularly.
  • Or include garlic in diet but avoid eating too much raw garlic as it can overheat the body.

2. Garlic Cloves in Water

Process 1:

  • Crush 3 garlic cloves to extract its juice.
  • Add to 1 cup of water and stir well, leave for 10-12 minutes.
  • Soak a cotton ball in the water for a few minutes.
  • Apply on the acne affected areas of skin.
  • Leave on for few minutes until it dries completely.
  • Rinse it off with water.
  • Continue this process regularly.
  • Note: You can also use warm water.

Process 2:

  • Crush 3 raw garlic cloves which will trigger the allicin production.
  • Mix with 1 tablespoon of water (more water for those with sensitive skin).
  • Rub the mixture over the acne.
  • Allow it to sit for about 10 – 15 minutes (if using garlic for the first time) or leave overnight.
  • Wash off with water and pat the skin dry.
  • Repeat this process regularly.

3. Garlic Cloves in Aloe Vera

  • Mix equal quantities of garlic juice and add aloe vera gel.
  • Gently rub it for a minute or two.
  • Let it sit for few minutes.
  • Rinse it off with water and pat dry.
  • Repeat regularly.

4. Garlic with Yogurt

  • Wash the face and pat dry.
  • Blend 4 garlic cloves to make a fine paste and add 1 tablespoon of yogurt.
  • Stir well and apply all over the affected area.
  • Let it sit for few minutes to dry.
  • Rinse the area with clean water and pat dry.
  • Repeat this process regularly.

5. Garlic with Vinegar

  • Finely crush garlic cloves and squeeze to extract the juice.
  • Add an equal amount of vinegar and stir well.
  • Dip a cotton ball in the solution.
  • Apply on the acne affected areas of the skin.
  • Let it sit for about 5 – 10 minutes.
  • Rinse with lukewarm water.
  • Repeat daily.

6. Homemade Garlic Chemical Peel

Using this garlic mask as a chemical peel for the face is a good option to get rid of acne, as it helps to correct sun damage, removes pimples and blackheads, reduces excessive skin oils, aging, etc.

  • Peel the garlic cloves and then grate them.
  • Press the flat end of the spoon on the garlic pieces and smear it onto the bowl to form a fine garlic paste.
  • Apply a thin layer of garlic paste on all the acne affected areas.
  • Do not get into the eyes, mouth and nose.
  • Leave on for about 15 – 20 minutes.
  • Put the lid on the bowl and place in the fridge.
  • After it dries completely, wash the face with warm water.
  • Dry your face with clean towel and moisturize.
  • Regularize this process to get relief from the acne within few days. But discontinue if there is any burning sensation

7. Garlic with Olive Oil

The mixture of garlic and olive oil helps to clear up the acne from inside out.

  • Peel and blend 4 garlic cloves and 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
  • Transfer into an air tight container, you can store in the fridge for 48 hours.
  • Eat a tablespoon of this, with water, twice a day.
  • For more effective results, drink 8 oz glasses of water every day with this process.

8. Garlic Oil

  • Pour natural garlic oil into a bowl.
  • Use a cotton ball to apply to the acne affected areas of the skin.
  • Massage it gently for few minutes.
  • Leave on for few minutes to overnight.
  • Wash with warm water and a mild cleanser.
  • Continue doing this process regularly.

9. Garlic with Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar helps to regulate the pH levels of the skin.

  • Smash a few garlic pods with a mallet.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of raw and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar.
  • Stir it well and apply this mixture on the acne affected skin areas.
  • Massage it for few minutes and then allow it to dry naturally.
  • Wash it off with water and pat the skin dry.
  • Follow this process once a day.

10. Garlic with any Carrier Oil

  • Peel a few garlic cloves and allow to air dry for a few minutes.
  • Pour carrier oil into a pan and heat for a few minute.
  • Add these garlic cloves in it.
  • Allow it to heat for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir until the cloves change to brown and then to blackish.
  • Strain the oil and discard the cloves.
  • Let the oil cool before applying to the affected areas of skin.
  • Leave it for few minutes to overnight.
  • Store the remaining oil in an airtight container for further usage.
  • Wash off with lukewarm water and mild cleanser.
  • Continue this same process daily.

11. Garlic with Honey and Fresh Comfrey Leaves

Honey moisturizes and soothes the skin and cures the irritation. Comfrey is good for treating acne.

  • Peel and mash 3 garlic cloves
  • Pound handful of fresh comfrey leaves and add sufficient amount of warm honey and mashed garlic.
  • Warm a cloth and dip it in the mixture.
  • Apply as a mask on the face and leave overnight.
  • Wash it off with cool to lukewarm water.
  • Or you can use this mixture particularly on the acne breakouts.
  • Do this process regularly.

12. Garlic with Honey and Yogurt

This process is especially useful for those people who are unable to bear the stinging sensation of garlic when applied on the skin.

  • Crush garlic pods.
  • Add ½ teaspoon of honey and 2 tablespoons of yoghurt and stir well.
  • Apply this as a mask all over the face.
  • Wait for about 20 – 30 minutes or till it dries completely.
  • Wash it off with water.
  • Or you can also use garlic oil (2 – 4 drops) or garlic powder (1/2 teaspoon).
  • Repeat regularly.

13. Garlic with Turmeric and Manuka Honey Face Mask

Turmeric has an anti – inflammatory which helps to soothe the inflammation and the discomfort caused by acne. Manuka honey helps to heal the blemished skin and thus prevents the acne breakouts.

  • Crush 6 garlic cloves.
  • Add 3 teaspoons of manuka honey and ¼ teasponn of turmeric powder and stir well.
  • Apply this paste on the acne prone areas of the skin.
  • Let it sit for few minutes to dry completely.
  • Wash it off with water and pat the skin dry.
  • Regularize this process.

14. Garlic Oil with Salicylic Acid

These ingredients are high in antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties which help to get rid of the bacteria causing acne.

  • Mix 2 drops each of garlic oil and salicylic oil.
  • Pour on a cotton ball.
  • Apply on the acne affected area.
  • Leave it for few minutes and then rinse off completely.
  • Repeat the same process regularly.

Eating Garlic for Acne:

Eating or drinking garlic will work as an effective remedy for curing acne from the inside out. It fights internally the root cause of acne to prevent it completely. This will help to strengthen the immune system and thus improves the overall health and beauty. It is advisable to take three cloves of garlic once daily for a month to clear this problem.

Process 1:

  • Crush 2 garlic cloves to extract its juice.
  • Add this juice to either water or V8 juice etc.
  • Drink this slowly.
  • Brush your teeth to get rid of the smell.
  • Drink once before going to bed..

Process 2:

  • Cut garlic cloves into small pieces.
  • Eat these pieces throughout the day.
  • Or you can add these to soups, salads, curries, gravies, etc.

Process 3:

  • Mince garlic cloves and add sufficient amount of applesauce.
  • Stir it well to make a fine paste.
  • Consume this paste daily.
  • You can use cottage cheese or yogurt in the place of apple sauce.
  • Garlic can be in the form of minced, crushed or chopped.

Process 4:

  • Peel a few garlic cloves and crush into small pieces.
  • Place in a pan and sauté to get a mild, roasted flavor.
  • Add olive oil, parmesan cheese and black pepper.
  • Stir it well and use as a dip regularly.

Is Garlic Good for Acne Scars?

Acne can sometimes cause permanent scarring. These scars will appear as pockmarks or sunken areas of the skin. Garlic cloves will gives long lasting results and minimal side effects.

  • It has anti-oxidants which help to prevent free radicals that leave scars on the skin.
  • It has sulphur, zinc, calcium, vitamin E which helps for proper skin tissue formation by clearing the old and dead skin cells.
  • It enhances for the proper circulation of blood throughout the body that also helps for the scars removal and regenerating new skin cells for proper pH balance of the skin.

Here are the processes that help you to remove the scars from the skin.

1. Garlic with Olive Oil and Honey

  • Wash the face with mild cleanser and warm water and pat dry.
  • Grate 2 garlic clove and mix with water.
  • Apply this on the acne affected areas of the skin.
  • Massage it gently for few minutes before rinsing with warm water.
  • The garlic exfoliates the dead skin cells and removes the top layer of the scarred tissues.
  • It also removes any bacteria or oil in the skin.
  • Do not to leave the garlic on the skin for longer than 5 – 7 minutes.
  • Wash with warm water.
  • Crush 2 more garlic cloves and add 2 teaspoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of honey.
  • Mix well and apply on the acne affected skin areas.
  • Let it sit for about 20 – 25 minutes before washing off with warm water.
  • Be sure to wash it immediately if you get a stinging sensation.
  • Apply aloe vera to help not to aggravate the acne while moisturizing and to get some hydration back.
  • Regularize this process.

2. Boiled Garlic

This process helps you to get rid of all the acne scaring and blemishes. Here the boiled garlic is not as strong as raw to avoid any burning.

  • Hit 4 – 5 cloves of peeled raw garlic with a mallet.
  • Pour 250 ml of water into a pan and place on the heat.
  • Bring it to boil and add the garlic.
  • Boil for about 30 – 35 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes.
  • Mash into a paste and apply on the entire face.
  • Let it sit for few minutes to dry.
  • Wash it off with water and pat dry.
  • Apply some moisturizer and repeat the process regularly.

Garlic Pills or Capsules for Acne:

Make sure to check the allicin level in the garlic capsules as the higher allicin in the capsule the more powerful the capsule will be.

One suppliment is called Allimax, one of the most powerful and safest garlic supplements for treating acne. It is rich in allicin in stabilized form which helps to get rid of the bacteria in the body. So take allimax pills everyday or use Allimax cream.

A second supplement is Garlicin, which is also a very effective garlic supplement but with a special property which leave your body smelling neutral. It is specially coated with organic film that helps to preserve the garlic powder.

You can get them from a herbalist or pharmacy for taking garlic tablets. You will still get the benefits from taking them, but they are not as effective as the fresh form.

Tips and Precautions:

Here are few simple tips and precautions to follow while using these remedies.

  • Make sure to dilute the garlic or its juice with other substance like rose water or water to prevent the burning or stinging sensation on the applied skin.
  • Never leave garlic on the skin for a long time as it can cause blisters.
  • Possible side effects are nausea, bad breath, skin irritation, vomiting, burning sensation in mouth, etc. so do a trial run first.
  • Pregnant women should not try these garlic remedies before consulting the dermatologist and gynecologist. Also do not use on children.
  • Add these garlic cloves in your favorite dinner recipes to get a delicious taste and to prevent these acne breakouts. Try garlic bread.
  • Its always better to use fresh garlic rather than stored garlic as it contains more anti – oxidants.
  • Those suffering from acne rosacea might experience some rosacea symptoms after eating this garlic as it is a trigger.
  • It has blood thinning properties which may cause bleeding problems. Pregnant women and people who have had surgery should avoid or limit this garlic usage. Also people who are on certain medications are strictly advised not to eat garlic in large amounts.
  • Avoid applying pure garlic to the skin or leaving it for long periods.
  • To clear the garlic smell, use with honey or lemon, or soak the cloves in milk for at least an hour before consumption.
  • Make sure to consult your doctor before using all these garlic remedies.
  • Remember to brush your teeth after the intake of garlic cloves to get rid of the bad breath.

All these garlic remedies for acne are natural and effective. It won’t give results overnight, you have to continue applying garlic on acne regularly.

Beauty: Signs of Dehydration

6-Unusual-Signs-of-Dehydration-722x406.jpg

1. Your mouth and lips are dry.

When you’re dehydrated, saliva production decreases, leaving your mouth and lips feeling dry. Dry mouth can also make your breath stinky, because bacteria has the chance to linger longer when it’s not being washed away on the reg.

2. Your pee is dark.

The color of your pee can tell you a lot about your health. Healthy, hydrated pee should be light yellow or clear, a sign that it’s properly diluted. If yours is medium yellow, dark yellow, or orange, it’s likely because your body isn’t getting enough water so your urine is more concentrated, Robert Korn, M.D., medical director of GoHealth Urgent Care in the New York area, tells SELF. Less water intake also means you’ll have to go less often, too.

3. Your energy levels are low.

“The defense mechanism of the body in the face of dehydration is to shut down blood supply to ‘non-vital’ organs,” Korn explains. This means the rest of your body, and your muscles specifically, may start to operate at a slower pace, making you feel sluggish and sleepy.

4. You have a headache.

The exact way dehydration causes a headache isn’t known. But experts believe that when hydration levels drop, so does blood volume, which leads to lower blood flow to the brain. This reduces the brain’s oxygen supply and causes the blood vessels to dilate, leading to headaches and even lightheadedness. 

5. You don’t have enough tears.

Similarly to saliva, the amount of tears you have can actually decrease if your body is using every last drop of water to support its basic functions. If your eyes are dry, or just not producing much liquid when you’re crying, it could mean you’re dehydrated.

6. Your skin is dry.

Water is essential for plump, hydrated skin. When your body’s tank is low, and using all the water available for basic functions, your skin gets the short end of the stick. Over time, it can lead to dryness. 

7. You get muscle spasms or “Charley horses.”

You know those super painful muscle spasms that wake you up in the middle of the night after your whole calf seizes up? They typically occur when a muscle is overused, and exercising when your fluid levels are low can spark one. 

8. Your body is cramping.

There are lots of things that can cause cramping, and muscle fatigue is the most likely culprit. But another type of cramping has been connected to dehydration and a sodium deficit in the body. “Exertional heat cramping, or full body cramping, may be related to sodium depletion and fluid loss especially in individuals who are ‘salty sweaters,'” Pritchett says. In this case, sipping on an electrolyte sports drink can be helpful to restore the natural mineral balance in the body.

9. You feel hungry even after you just ate.

Thirst and hunger cues come from the same part of the brain, so it’s easy to confuse the two. If you feel hungry even when you know you’ve eaten enough, there’s a good chance your body’s actually telling you it needs water, not food.

Important note: The following symptoms could be a sign of severe dehydration: rapid heartbeat or breathing, sunken eyes, fever, confusion, or delirium. If you experience any of these, go to the hospital.

Marketing: Why you Can't Afford to Ignore Content Marketing

You’ve heard about it and probably seen it, but have you done anything about it? While content marketing is still a relatively new marketing term, it has become the focal point of best marketing practises for B2C and B2B brands alike. It’s even considered a good strategy for people starting their own business. Yet there are still businesses and marketing professionals who choose to ignore the importance of content in their marketing strategy, not understanding why this can sink their marketing efforts.

Coined by Joe Pulluzzi, the term “content marketing” refers to finding the sweet spot, or intersection between your knowledge and your passion (or customer pain point), whichever is more appropriate.

What does this mean for us in marketing? It means our goal is now to try to educate and delight our prospective clients before attempting the sell and, if you do try to sell, it should be when they are ready to buy. Contrary to outbound marketing techniques such as paid advertising, telesales or sales emails, this inbound marketing strategy demands a big time investment. So ask yourself this: does the majority of your content on your social media or blog sound like an extension of your sales pitch? Or does it actually add value to the lives of your customers? (Note: the aim is to add value, not extend the sales pitch!)

Although it does take time and is not a quick fix, a good content strategy will:

  • Support sales and improve the leads funnel
  • Increase brand awareness and build trust
  • Create brand advocates who add credibility to your business

In Hubspot’s Status of Inbound 2015 report, 45% of marketers were planning to invest more in their content marketing this year as it has brought success previously.

So, to avoid a sinking ship and without further ado, here are the 5 things you need to do to kick-start your content marketing strategy and start reaping the rewards.

Make sure your content solves a problem

With the growing amount of content created and shared every day, it’s simply impossible to keep track of everything on a daily basis. Turn the table around and put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Generalisations, random takeaway tips and thrown-together advice is at best frowned upon, at worst not even read.

Ask yourself, what problems do your readers have? What challenges do they face? Then create content in a way that helps resolve these issues for them.

Do a content audit

(you never know what content gems you may have hidden away)

This might be one of the most important things you do. It’s crucial to look at what has worked or what hasn’t in the past (or if you’re starting from scratch, look at what content pieces you can re-package). Make sure to include your main business objectives in this audit to help with the evaluation. If you’re in the process of changing what you want to achieve as a business, it’s the perfect time to implement a new and comprehensive content strategy.

This is also a great way to source content ideas – maybe there were some subjects covered in the past that could now be refreshed and improved on? Start by listing what you have, then what you think you need (or what’s missing), and then understanding how you can bridge the gap given the resources you have at the moment.

Remember the various content types and channels

It is important to remember that while blogs are central to content marketing, there are over 100 types of content, but not all need to be included in your content strategy. If you are just starting with content, this is a great opportunity to find out where your audience is and what type of content they respond to best.

Remember not to spread yourself too thin though – there are many platforms to publish your content to and different things you can create, but it’s best to focus on one platform before you move on to others. Best of all, content can be reused, repackaged and reformatted to fit different types and channels.

Create a content plan and calendar

Seems simple enough, right? But this is the reason most content marketing strategies fail. If you are just starting out, then keep it simple – maybe use a management tool that has as a calendar built into it. We use Trello to manage our content projects and use the calendar view it offers to get an overview of our scheduling, and, of course, our own social media scheduling tool Sendible for social media management.

If you have a number of departments or contributors, you may want to keep all of your content accessible to key team members. Share ideas and drafts via Cloud-based software, then decide when to publish them or keep them for later.

Publish, monitor, review and optimise – it never stops!

Once your content is created and shared, remember to monitor how it is performing. Ask yourself what is popular and what works best. With time, you will be able to create more helpful content geared towards what your audience loves. There are analytics and reporting tools that can help you with this. We use Sendible of course, but there are many options for you to choose to suit your needs.

In-between this ongoing process, make sure to take extra time to engage with the industry, talk with influencers and curate (collect and share) other authors great content.

Conclusion

Recent changes in search engine algorithms and the way Google indexes your content means that original, high-quality content is preferred. Pages that get ranked the highest are usually the most trustworthy and valuable source for consumers. This is the time when small businesses or personas can grow bigger, boring B2B companies get a personality and most importantly, customers get the best kind of advice without having to look too hard for it.

So, what do you think? Have you already started investing in content marketing or are you not sure whether it would pay off in the end? Would love to hear your thoughts!

 

 

Beauty: Oud Meets West

 

Being originally from East Africa and having been raised in the Middle East (Abu Dhabi), I've always been familiar with the Oud (Agarwood) scent. Whether it was sampling oud oils in the souk with my mother or burning oud wood chips at home in the evening; so, to find countless brands carrying the note in luxury department stores has not only brought on nostalgia, it got me wondering what other Islamic and MENA (Middle East and North African) beauty and wellness trends that may cross-over into the western world! 

My encounter was not only a coincidence, recently listed in Spafinder's detailed annual top 10 spa and wellness trends report it seems as though we can all expect to continue to see more from MENA throughout 2015 and beyond! 

Oud is said to be the most expensive wood in the world; oud oil’s value is estimated to be 1.5 times the value of gold, and it is sometimes referred to as ‘liquid gold’. Rich and powerful, oud’s sweet, woody scent is instantly recognisable. From Acqua di Parma’s Colonia Intensa d’Oud to Tom Ford’s Oud Fleur, our favourite oud perfumes can be found in this gallery – the definitive guide to the best oud fragrances to shop for.

Below are some of the most popular brands on the market using the notorious luxury wood.

Wellness: Citrus Fruits

Girl's Guide to Wellness: Citrus Fruits

When we talk about “superfoods“, we typically mention unusual-sounding items like chia seeds, matcha powder, and green algae. But some of the most beneficial foods you can eat–and use in your beauty routine—are not quite as glamorous: We’re talking about good old citrus fruits.

From grapefuit to lemons, clementines to oranges, citrus does your body and face good. Here are seven ways you can use these pulpy fruits to your benefit, according to the experts.

1. To fight infection.

Grapefruit seed extract can be used to fight infections and can rid the body of unhealthy bacteria, according to holistic nutritionist Sally Pansing Kravich (who’s worked with Kerry Washington).

Grapefruit—and citrus in general—can also promote kidney health, adds dermatologist Michael Lin, who’s based in California. “Citrus fruits are packed with folic acid, a type of vitamin B that can aid in preventing kidney disease and birth defects among pregnant women,” he explains. “Good kidney health helps the body filter blood, remove waste and regulate the balance of electrolytes. Maintaining balanced levels of electrolytes helps prevent dehydration and dry, dull skin.”

2. To get rid of cellulite.

Yep, that’s what the experts say! Certified aromatherapist Gina Kamburowski, founder of GoodLivingIsGlam.com, says that grapefruit especially, which has a super high concentration of vitamin C, stimulates collagen production and helps skin retain elasticity.

Kravich and Kim Laudati, of Kim Laudati Skin Care & Laser in Manhattan, agree that grapefruit also helps smooth those annoying cellulite bumps as well. Laudati suggests cutting off the ends of a grapefruit (so a round “end” is exposed) and rubbing it in tight circular motions using pressure over your cellulite pre-shower—this will drive in natural vitamin C and help to improve the appearance of your skin. “If you sleep in pajamas, you can rub a grapefruit in tight circular motions across cellulite post-shower, too,” she says. “Wipe the area(s) with a damp cloth in the morning and apply a natural vitamin C body cream.” (ProDerma Light has a great skin brightening cream with 25% vitamin C.)

3. To improve your immune system and digestion.

Skincare expert Adrienne Shostak recommends starting your day with hot lemon water rather than coffee or tea. “Lemons are rich in vitamin C and potassium,” she says. “Vitamin C is an excellent fighter against colds and potassium stimulates brain and nerve functions, while regulating the blood pressure. Lemons also aid in digestion and clean toxins from the blood, which keeps the skin clean.” She suggests drinking the juice of half a lemon with hot water, adding a bit of honey or turmeric (another potent antioxidant) first thing when you wake up. Then, wait 30 minutes before eating (if you can!) to maximize the benefits. (You’ll want to drink the concoction fairly quickly though, says wellness expert Cassie Sobelton, as lemon water can be harmful to your teeth’s enamel if it sits there for too long.)

Clementines are another great digestion aid, Kamburowski says. “Although they’re tart and acidic, they also contain essential alkaline minerals that are key to helping balance the body after digestion,” she explains. “Add them to your daily juice or smoothie, or simply eating them piece-by-piece as an energy-boosting afternoon snack.

4. To jumpstart your metabolism.

It might sound crazy but citrus fruits can actually raise your metabolic rate while resting, says Jolie Martin, Laser Medical Esthetician and skincare expert at NYC’s SKINNEY Medspa. “The phytonutrient load found in citrus fruits can burn additional calories making them an ideal addition to your fitness…or resting plan,” she explains.

According to Beth Shaw, author of YogaLean, grapefruit is especially great for metabolism boosting: it’s high in enzymes, which burn fat, and has a high water content as well, keeping you hydrated.

5. To brighten your skin.

“If you are looking to achieve clear, glowing and blemish-free skin, make sure citrus fruits such as lemons, limes or grapefruits are part of your daily diet and beauty routine,” says Dr. Roshini Raj, gastroenterologist and founder of TULA skincare. “Citrus fruits are a rich natural source of vitamin C, which helps destroy free radicals in your body while providing a radiant glow to your skin and rejuvenating skin from the inside.”

If you have sun spots or uneven skin tone, citrus can help with those, too. “The retinol antioxidant in grapefruit helps treat this condition, renewing damaged skin,” says Kamburowski. “The potassium in grapefruit helps to smooth wrinkles and age spots and provides a protective shield against UV rays, while amino acids makes the skin firm and soft.” (Check out Grown Alchemist Polishing Facial Exfoliant: Pink Grapefruit & Glucomannan Extract to reap the benefits of this superfood on your skin.)

6. To purify.

Citrus essential oils provide exceptional cleansing benefits to the skin as well as some anti-inflammatory ones, which make them extremely beneficial for healing blemishes or even razor cuts, says Julia Teren of Thesis Beauty.

These oils not only clean, though, they can also deodorize. “Oils like lime and lemon enjoy popularity in deodorants as they also help inhibit odor-producing bacteria,” she explains. “They do a great job deodorizing armpits, feet and hands and controlling sebum production on an over-reactive scalp.” (Kind of gross…but also pretty awesome.)

7. To lift your spirits.

Try citrus as mood-boosting aromatherapy, Teren suggests. “Citrus oils such as bergamot, petitgrain, mandarin and grapefruit are incredibly aromatic and uplifting when used in mists, diffusers, and natural candles,” she says. “They help relieve signs of stress and fatigue, promote relaxation and elevated mood.” For a spa-like unwinding experience, soak in your bathtub with Thesis Beauty’s Dead Sea Bath Salt Citrus Grove, which will benefit your senses and your skin.

Travel: Unbound by Hyatt

Image Credit - Courtesy The Driskill

Image Credit - Courtesy The Driskill

Hyatt’s newest brand is seeking Instagram-pretty and Snapchat-worthy hotels.

Instagramming, Snapchatting, and Facebooking a hotel stay is practically a must-do for today’s social media–savvy travelers, whether it's because of a killer view or just the unspoken desire to brag about being on #vacation. So it was only a matter of time before a major hotel brand began to think about construction with social media at front of mind. The Unbound Collection from Hyatt Hotels, which launched this week, is a carefully curated group of independent hotels—each with its own identity, history, and design, all of which can easily be shown off on social media...or so Hyatt hopes.

"Your travel is a shareable nugget," Maryam Banikarim, chief marketing officer of Hyatt Hotels, told Condé Nast Traveler. "And we want our properties to have something you want to share, not just pictures of the room, but the experiences you have there too.”

Currently, Unbound has four hotels in its collection—The Driskill in Austin; the Hotel du Louvre in Paris; the Carmelo Resort & Spa in Montevideo, Uruguay; and the Coco Palms Resort in Kauai, Hawaii (which is undergoing a renovation and will reopen in 2018). All Unbound hotels will be upper-upscale and luxury properties, meaning four- to five-star hotels with full service (like late-night room service). The hotel will also be a mix of historic gems, cool contemporary spots, and new builds.

While Unbound is indeed looking for hotels with "rich social currency," Banikarim reports that Hyatt won’t be obsessively tracking a hotel’s number of followers or likes during the inclusion process, especially since Unbound’s future pipeline includes hotels that haven’t been built yet. "What we’re really looking for are hotels that are story-worthy," she said, and that goes beyond the amenities in the guest room. A shareable story about The Driskill, Banikarim said, could involve the ghost that's been known to roam the property turning on and off the lights. At the Hotel Du Louvre, its story will be centered around its history as one of the oldest hotels in Paris, while the Carmelo Resort is in the middle of an eucalyptus forest, putting guests up close to nature.

Because the Unbound Collection is what’s referred to in the hotel industry as a "soft" brand, the hotels will keep their own names and identities, and Hyatt branding is kept to a minimum. Guests may only learn an Unbound property is a Hyatt at check-in, when they see that their stay can earn full points for the Hyatt Gold Passport loyalty program. There is some concern that Hyatt’s presence in an highly individualistic hotel like The Driskill may forever change the appeal of the hotel, but Banikarim insists that hotels will have the freedom to do things the way they’ve always done them, with Hyatt helping out behind the scenes.

Unlike other hotel collections out there—Tribute Portfolio from Starwood Hotels and Resorts, the Curio Collection from Hilton Worldwide, and the Autograph Collection from Marriott International—Unbound plans to include travel experiences outside of hotels, possibly river cruises and other types of adventures. "More and more people value experiences, rather than possessions," Banikarim said. "And people want different kinds of experiences." So get ready to share your experiences on social media.