At least, I think the movie was Steel Magnolias. But maybe it was Mystic Pizza. Anyway, I was in middle school and Julia Roberts doing anything was enough evidence for me to try a fad that otherwise sounded ridiculous. After watching the movie, I found a jar of mayo in the fridge, plopped a few spoonfuls on my head, waited for it to soak in, and rinsed. The results? Three days of the greasiest, grossest hair you’ve ever laid eyes on. And you can imagine the smell.
Fast forward to 2016. I read a very convincing blog post that mixing baking soda with water was an incredible alternative to shampoo (it’s called the “no poo method” — seriously). It would maintain moisture, keep the scalp healthy, and make hair feel thicker and softer. Simple, easy to try, and backed by science (jk. I have no idea). They had me at hello. I rinsed my magic baking soda concoction through my hair, rinsed, and the results were immediate. My hair felt crinkly and harsh, like I had just used a crimping iron on it. I had a flashback to my middle school experience and realized, “Wow! I’m still doing this stupid sh*t!”
I think we’ve all done some pretty dumb things in the name of beauty and diet. Am I right? Well, I’m particularly gullible, and I’ve probably tried more than my fair share. Here are the weirdest fads I’ve tried that were total bombs… and one that actually works!
Bulletproof Coffee – Have you heard of this? Add some butter and oil to your coffee, mix it in a blender, and it’s just like a cappuccino! There are supposedly some health benefits to it, too. But come on… How disgusting is this concept? And yet, I tried it. Granted, it does look like a cappuccino when you blend it. But it absolutely does not taste like one. I managed about four days of this fad without gagging, but by day five, I saw the error of my ways and stopped. I should have known better when one of the ingredients is called Brain Octane Oil. HOWEVER, I did find an alternative that does seem to be beneficial. Read on to the end for more on that.
The Lemonade Diet – A friend of mine had recently tried this juice cleanse and said it was easy, only took a week or two, and stripped off all the chub still lingering from having kids. Sold! I bought the book, read the ingredients (lemons, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper), and ran to the store. Anyone who’s ever done a juice cleanse knows that this is hard work and takes serious stamina. It leaves you with zero energy, hungry all the time, and feeling like crap. I look back at the ingredients alone and shake my head — what was I thinking?? I only made it a few days on this, and there were definitely results… I looked like a mess, I felt like a mess, and I was so hangry (Mom, that’s a combo of the words hungry and angry. Thanks for reading, and love you)! I didn’t lose any weight either, so I essentially wasted three days of my life.
Oil Pulling – Ok, here’s another disgusting one that people swear by. Gwyneth Paltrow has advocated for it in the past, and the health benefits supposedly include detoxification, clean and healthy teeth, and claims that it helps cure disease! How does it work? Put a couple of spoonfuls of coconut or sesame oil in your mouth and swish for up to 20 minutes. Then, spit out and wash that lingering nastiness out of your mouth. I tried this for almost two weeks before I had a Eureka! moment and realized mouthwash was probably a better route for me. Less time consuming too. People call oil pulling a little known health secret… maybe they should keep it that way.
Detox Foot Pads – As seen on TV! Okay, I’m including an affiliate link in here just in case you want to check these things out. But don’t buy them, they’re a waste of money. Supposedly you put these pads on the bottom of your feet at night and in the morning they’ve detoxified your system and pulled the toxins onto the pads. The evidence is dark, dirty pads in the morning that were once white. Sounds convincing to me! Only it’s a scam. NPR found the pads will change color simply by placing them over steam. You make think these have visible results, but alas… we are stuck with these damn toxins yet again.
One Fad That Does Work
My sister sent me a great blog post on 50 ways happier and healthier people live. Some of these seem obvious (drink lots of water, meditate), some seem crazy (take cold showers, fast one day a week), and some I just don’t have the capacity or motivation to achieve (avoid the internet for one day a week, don’t consume refined sugar). But some of these I do already… I don’t drink any caffeine or alcohol (I’m eight months pregnant. And by the way, I vouch that I do miss both, eliminating both from my diet has not made me feel quantifiably happier, and I will consume both again in the future. So consider this your hall pass from having to abstain for yourself).
One thing I started doing in the New Year after reading this post was adding a tablespoon of coconut oil to my decaf coffee. Yes, it’s similar to the bulletproof coffee recipe that I ridiculed above, but I don’t add butter (seriously… butter in coffee???), and I use standard coconut oil, not High Octane Fuel Oil, or whatever they call it. I have actually seen benefits to this three-month old habit! My skin has been more luminous and less dry. My digestive system has improved. Also, and I don’t know if this is related, but my pregnancy heartburn has gone down significantly. I’m not popping Tums every day.
So, there you have it. A laundry list of the dumbest things I’ve tried in the name of beauty and health, and my one tip for what does work for me. Have you tried any of these? Have you had better luck than me? And what other fads have you tried that you now shake your head at?