A modern lifestyle brand, offering cutting-edge wellness advice from doctors and experts, vetted travel recommendations, and a curated shop of clean beauty and timeless fashion.Gwyneth Paltrow an American actress, singer, and food writer shares her love of cooking, fitness, travel and more with her blog.
Tuna salad is a nostalgic dish. It’s the kind of food we tend to miss most when we clean up our diet and eat in a more plant-based way. So we were thrilled when this chickpea “tuna” salad totally worked and gave us the same feeling of nostalgia. It’s got the creamy-crunchy texture of the original, and it’s just as hearty.
Every week, we corral the best wellness stories from around the internet—just in time for your weekend bookmarking. This week: how a good night’s sleep could make you more creative, a professor’s take on combating the opioid crisis, and tips to help you avoid catching Lyme disease.
Late spring is the moment we’ve been waiting for: All things tender, fresh, and green are shooting up out of the earth and pouring into farmers’ markets. If ever there were a moment to have a dinner party full of earth’s bounty, this is it. We’ve taken spring onions and grilled them with smoky romesco sauce; infused fish stew with just-out-of-the-ground fennel, fresh herbs, and white wine; tossed baby greens with a piquant shallot-sherry vinaigrette; and made a strawberry-rhubarb galette that is so delicious (and easy) that you’ll find yourself daydreaming about it long after berry season has passed.
The best way to celebrate the warmer months and beautiful produce is to get outside and grill. These spring onions are so delicious, and you’ll be glad to have extra romesco for spreading on sandwiches or dolloping onto grain bowls.
By mixing a few different varieties of greens, you get all the best flavors and textures from each one. Peppery yet buttery mâche, pleasantly bitter mizuna, and sweet tender pea shoots make for a lovely side to round out any spring meal.
This light, bright fish stew is the perfect, easy (and impressive) dinner to whip up for a crowd. A riff on the red tomatoey San Francisco favorite, this stew uses white wine and fresh herbs to give it the springtime treatment. Caramelized fennel and shallots combined with wine, butter, and herbs make the broth good enough to have on its own, but you’ll be happy with some crusty bread to mop up all that deliciousness.
Called a “galette” in French and a “crostata” in Italian, this free-form, rustic version of a fruit pie is elegant yet so easy to make. And because it can be made in advance—bake it early in the day and simply reheat in the oven just before serving—it’s perfect for a dinner party. We love the classic combo of strawberries and rhubarb, but this would also be excellent with berries or stone fruit in the summer months.
After eight years of treating over 10,000 women in her functional medicine practice, Dr. Taz Bhatia began to see a pattern emerge: There are, she believes, five predominant types of women. She calls them “power types,” and she wrote about their potential health implications in Super Woman Rx: Gypsy Girl, Boss Lady, Savvy Chick, Earth Mama, and Nightingale. Yes, we raised an eyebrow the first time we took the quiz in Bhatia’s book (which you can do online), but it was far more comprehensive than we expected. And the power types surprisingly reflected the state of our health more often than not.
At Bhatia’s practice, CentreSpringMD, in Atlanta, they do a traditional and thorough inventory of a patient’s history, a comprehensive physical exam, lab work, functional and integrative testing, and so on. But for many women, the power types serve as a shortcut to figuring out physical and emotional imbalances and how they might eat, supplement, move, think, or rest differently to bring themselves back to equilibrium. Of course, it’s not quite that reductive, and these categorizations aren’t a one-size-fits-all or five-sizes-fit-all deal. But Bhatia’s work is a really good starting point to better understanding your body and what it needs.
A Q&A with Taz Bhatia, M.D.
What are the five power types?
When balanced, my Gypsy Girls are ethereal women. When you meet one, you feel like you’re talking to someone who floats in a space between the ground and the sky. They are the women who have a creative eye, a unique look, a whisper of magic about them. They are sometimes not quite here but somewhere else, living in the recesses of their minds, pulling out amazing works of art, literature, photography, fashion, style, you name it. The very gifts that empower Gypsy Girls, however, become a challenge when they stay in that space too long. They can become disconnected from their own minds, hearts, and bodies—ignoring or missing the warning signs and body clues that pop up periodically. That creative mind can give way to irritability, anxiety, and obsessive thoughts.
Driven, ambitious, and precise, Boss Ladies speak quickly and definitively. They are present, focused, and attentive when they come into my office, with concise yet detailed responses. A Boss Lady tends to be a commander, displaying many marks of leadership, including a commitment to her team, an enviable work ethic, and a strong drive to tackle goals and lists. Her accomplishments are quite impressive but may come at a price. Some stay up late, wake up early, and/or skip meals, but still press on. Boss Ladies are typically successful from all of this pushing, but the wear and tear of this power type can be devastating when it’s out of balance. The Boss Lady is prone to breakouts and her energy can take sudden dips. Out of balance, my Boss Ladies are prone to digestive distress, which they often ignore. This digestive discomfort can affect their hormones, specifically the thyroid—leading to fatigue, hair loss, and yo-yo weight patterns. Research has linked thyroid disorders to irritability, depression, and anxiety. One of the earliest warning signs that a Boss Lady is out of balance? Anger! While they are normally rational and calm, Boss Ladies out of balance can be easily irritated and quick-tempered.
This power type is a blend—she has elements of a Gypsy Girl and a Boss Lady but does not fit neatly into either type. Many of the patients I’ve worked with are a fusion of these two types, a unique mix of the creative and the logical. Whether they are businesswomen or inventors, freelancers or consultants, they blend creativity with a strategic, tactical savvy that is enviable. They are often fun and edgy innovators. In balance, they are creative, imaginative, strategic, and logical. Out of balance, they can dance between anxiety and anger and are prone to adrenal and thyroid imbalances and gut issues, like reflux and irritable bowel syndrome.
“Knowing your power type gives you a window into your chemistry and emotional landscape so you can take some of the guesswork out of how to eat and exercise, even what kind of beauty regimen to follow or what supplements to consider taking.”
The Earth Mama is usually the connector. She brings everyone together, hosts the best parties, and is the one everyone turns to for comfort and support when there is a problem or conflict. She is the heart of her home, her neighborhood, and her extended family. Many Earth Mamas don’t realize the tremendous toll caregiving can take on their psyche. If you don’t protect it and guard it, your energy quickly runs out, leaving you exhausted and depleted. As women, we are all wired to be givers to a certain extent, but my Earth Mama patients have the toughest time keeping it all in balance.
Nightingales give their energy to the world creatively and wholeheartedly. When in balance, I see my Nightingales take that spirit of giving and glow. However, Nightingales are indeed human, so their energy doesn’t come in unlimited quantities. And when they finally do get depleted, my Nightingales get sick—usually from chronic wear and tear on their immune systems. They may lose weight from chronic stress, start exhibiting anxiety or depression, and begin battling fatigue. In many ways, all women have aspects of Nightingales. I think we all want to save the world in large or small ways. That may be the ultimate source of feminine power: We want to fix and improve and elevate. Any society that takes these opportunities away from women suffers. This is a unique type, a blend almost of all types, but with strong streaks of an Earth Mama and the imagination and hope of a Gypsy Girl, occasionally with a splash of the Boss Lady’s commander flavor.
Do you see patients who don’t fit into one of the power types or who straddle more than one?
Definitely. Really, all of us could be any one of the power types at different phases of our lives. When I first—jokingly—named these five women, I thought of them as our shadow selves. At different times, we’ll have a stronger sense of one of these five people in us than the others. So at this particular moment, who are you most dominantly? If you’re straddling power types, look at both plans, try them out, and see what works for you.
How can knowing your power type inform your lifestyle choices or your health?
It’s really important to understand who you are emotionally, physically, hormonally, and nutritionally. You carry all of this information, and it dictates the way your life will play out. The power types help you connect the dots. Knowing your power type gives you a window into your chemistry and emotional landscape so you can take some of the guesswork out of how to eat and exercise, even what kind of beauty regimen to follow or what supplements to consider taking. The power types are designed to help you navigate the world of wellness and pick the tools you need. The magic happens when you get to a place where your health is really personalized so you’re not mimicking a trend or what someone else is doing.
What diet, supplement, and lifestyle adjustments do you typically recommend for each power type?
Many of my patients have adrenal or thyroid issues. For the diet, we focus on adding in protein, like nuts, seeds, small servings of meat, lentils, or beans; protein spaced throughout the day helps to manage adrenal cortisol dysfunction. We set up more-structured eating plans so they’re eating at consistent intervals. Cutting out gluten can also help because gluten is hard to digest and can be inflammatory for some.
A lot of Gypsy Girls do well on magnesium, B vitamins, or herbs that balance cortisol.
One of the biggest challenges for Gypsy Girls who like to stay up late is maintaining regular sleep. Magnesium can help them calm down so can they get into a nice, consistent sleep cycle.
Many also do well with the modalities that force you to get grounded, like acupuncture, massage, or craniosacral therapy.
They take in and harbor a lot of stress because they’re usually commanding, directing, or leading, and their digestive system is often weak. Going dairy-free and watching sugar to an extent may help. Boss Ladies should include a lot of gut-supporting drinks or tonics, fermented foods, kombucha, kefir, or bone broth, which all help to balance the gut. I like to add in apple cider vinegar and probiotics to support digestive enzymes.
I encourage patients to set aside two to three hours a week where they force themselves to take care of themselves and really de-stress. A lot of people just want to do high-intensity, adrenaline-inducing workouts, like spinning or running marathons, but often their bodies are craving calming energy to help settle the gut and manage the thyroid. So add in things like yoga, Tai Chi, or Qigong.
Shirodhara is an old Ayurvedic treatment that involves dropping hot oil right on your third eye, on your forehead, for instant relaxation. An old-fashioned hot-oil scalp massage is also great: Warm up oil and drip it on the forehead and vertex of the head, right at the scalp.
“The magic happens when you get to a place where your health is really personalized so you’re not mimicking a trend or what someone else is doing.”
A lot of my Savvy Chick patients do best following a combination of the Gypsy Girl and Boss Lady plans and going gluten- and dairy-free. We also focus on healthy proteins and structured eating. We add in B vitamins for energy and to help balance adrenal and thyroid issues.
They can benefit from acupuncture, massage, correcting sleep, and, most importantly, doing grounding work to know which part of them is out of balance. Is it that creative side or the go-getter? Identifying what’s off will help you know how to shift naturally.
Their biggest problem is usually with insulin. They will store fat or hold on to fat, or they’ll have elevated blood sugar. Watching high-yeast and high-sugar foods becomes super important. They typically need to be sugar-free, including artificial sugars. A fasting interval, up to fourteen hours overnight, can be beneficial. It’s more about cutting off when you eat before bed rather than eating breakfast later. We are metabolically less active as the day progresses. If you’re already insulin-resistant and you’re consuming a lot of food when your metabolism is less active, you may stay in fat storage regardless of how few calories you consume. Ideally, to get out of a pattern of eating super late, you find something else to replace it, whether it’s sipping tea or even journaling or meditation.
Earth Mamas do well on more vigorous exercise, something that gets their heart pumping and the sweat rolling, and many feel their best when they’re working out every day for twenty to thirty minutes. They should try to move throughout the day, too.
Lifestyle-wise, the biggest challenge tends to be boundaries. Often Earth Mamas are not being intentional about taking care of themselves because they’re always worrying about everybody else. They need to be nurtured the same as everybody else. Seeing a counselor or a psychologist or spending more time out with a best friend or significant other can help.
Remember that Nightingales are a blend of all women; they’re mission- and purpose-driven. They are self-sacrificing. They tend to get sick a lot, have immune system issues, and often are low in vitamin D or have weak digestive systems. They really need a nourishing diet: warm foods, not cold foods. They should be consuming gut tonics, like bone broth or kombucha, to rebuild the gut. They need protein but also a lot of good, healthy fat, like avocado, olive oil, ghee, or MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oils in the form of coconut oil. Often they’re spilling or losing fat, which is why they can’t hold on to their fat-soluble vitamins.
Many do great on vitamin D, astragalus, turkey tail, or umcka, which is a medicinal plant from South Africa.
Try restorative exercises, like yoga, Tai Chi, or Qigong, that allow movement in a way that is calming without taxing the adrenals. Nightingales are a little delicate. They need rest, sleep, even just permission to take a nap for a period of time. They won’t be Nightingales forever; they need, too, that sense of being nurtured rather than always having to nurture everyone else.
The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies. They are the views of the expert and do not necessarily represent the views of goop. This article is for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that it features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.
10 Wellness Gurus on Tools for Manifesting Happiness
Cultivating positivity is a practice just like any other. But what to practice, exactly, especially when we’re time-strapped? Ten of goop’s favorite wellness practitioners gave us their own personal techniques, and most are surprisingly simple (if
not always easy), whether they involve twenty minutes of earthing or just taking a moment to actually enjoy your morning coffee.
Dr. Deganit Nuur
acupuncturist and clairvoyant healer
“Ylang-ylang essential oil is wonderful for anchoring the spirit back into the body. It reminds us of all our blessings, all that’s already working, all the good in the world, and why being exactly who we are is the privilege of a lifetime.
Ylang-ylang is a euphoric that inspires us to get powerfully present. Clinically, I use it all the time when treating depression, anxiety, or disassociation.” —Deganit Nuur, acupuncturist
and clairvoyant healer
founder, The Class
TURN IT UP
“I’m the gal who turns to music to shift any mood. Try to plan a playlist that you want to bring into your practice that day. Be mindful, though—it can be dangerous. Music can amplify whatever feelings you are currently feeling: melancholy,
sadness, stress, yearning, joy, delight, spirit, impulsiveness. Use it wisely.” —Taryn Toomey, founder,
“When I’m having a less motivated day, I shift the energy of my environment by burning either the Magik Vibes incense or moon candle to help move the vibes. Just the simple act of opening up my space to these energies can help me feel
more supported and aligned. And that brings me a renewed feeling of positivity.” —Kelsey Patel, Reiki master
founder, True Botanicals
“With a full-time job and three kids, I look for opportunities to slow down throughout the day. Rather than have a set way to do that, I take advantage of opportunities when I can: a morning coffee in our window seat, an evening cocktail on
our porch, a sunset meditation, a walk to work, a Dead Sea salt soak at the end of the day, massaging face oil onto my face. Each
is an opportunity to slow down and enjoy the precious moments that make up a day.” —Hillary Peterson, founder,
EARTHING, BODYWORK, AND MEDITATION
“Observing my thoughts helps me create positive self-talk and outcomes. I put emphasis on eating healthily, getting good sleep, and making plans that I can look forward to. I also ground into the earth without shoes for twenty minutes a few times a week; use essential oil roll-ons; get bodywork, like massages and acupuncture; lie on a BioMat; and relax in the sauna. This self-meditation helps me balance and keeps me on track. I mindfully strive to accept myself as I am in every moment.” —Morgan Yankus,
cofounder, Sakara Life
LOTS OF LEAFY GREENS
“Food is the foundation of every aspect of your health—from how much energy you have to how happy you feel. It’s information, and it informs the body to promote either disease or health. So my number one tool for feeling happy and positive
is to fuel my body with fresh, organic plants every single day (especially leafy greens). This ensures that all those important microbes in my gut are happy and healthy. (That’s where 95 percent of our serotonin is made.) Plus, when you’re
nourished, you get a ton of other benefits, too—like more energy, less bloat, better sleep—all of which contribute to happiness.” —Danielle DuBoise, cofounder, Sakara Life
herbalist, acupuncturist and founder of Vie Healing
“Being a mama, a wife, and an acupuncturist means giving healing vibes daily. Weeks used to go by without my taking care of myself, I realized. Today, I fuel my energy and positivity by applying my Vie Ritual ear seeds, a form of auricular
acupuncture. I also focus energy each morning on letting go, and trusting the process of life really fuels my inner high vibrations.” —Mona Dean, herbalist, acupuncturist, and founder of Vie Healing
founder, Simples Tonics
“When I am in good health and have ample energy reserves, I’m just happier and more positive. Tasks feel easier. The mountain doesn’t look so high. So my philosophy is to give the body the raw materials it needs to detoxify, restore, and regenerate.
In addition to a gratitude practice, I call on support from the plants through my line of Simples Tonics. Receiving such a deep level of nourishment in liquid
form completely recharges me.” —Traci Donat, founder, Simples Tonics
“I practice gratitude through writing lists and saying thank you out loud for all the goodness that comes my way and all of the incredibly challenging lessons I am still learning. Living with a grateful heart means giving yourself permission—to
be tender, forgiving, and loving. It’s an invitation to reach forward through whatever you are facing and embrace each feeling and experience as it arises.”—Ashley Neese,
“Wabi-sabi is the Japanese practice of celebrating imperfection. I look to wabi-sabi in my recipe development, in the photos I take, in my writing, and even when it comes to my personal body struggles and flaws. I’m not perfect, and the perspective
and practice of wabi-sabi has long helped my Japanese ancestors look at life, personal struggle, and physical objects from a clear, mindful, and nonjudgemental perspective.” —Candice Kumai, author of Kintsugi Wellness
Nature’s the ultimate stress-buster, says…Science. It’s simple math: You look at a tree, you feel better. No one knows this as well as Dr. Qing Li, a researcher from Japan who focuses on something called forest medicine. Li’s work confirms what intuition and common sense have long told us: Being around trees is healthy. But it’s more than just that: Li has found that spending time in nature is not just good for those of us who are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or fatigued (i.e., everyone). It can actually have positive effects on sleep, energy levels, immune function, and cardiovascular and metabolic health. That research is well-known in Japan, and the idea of “forest bathing”—spending time in nature with purpose and attention—is well-practiced. But the idea of walking into the woods instead of the pharmacy hasn’t exactly caught on in the US and other Western societies.
Now comes the spotlight moment that forest bathing deserves. Li, who serves as the chairman of the Japanese Society for Forest Medicine, just wrote his first book, Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness. And he let us in on how to bring the practice into everyday life—even for those of us who don’t live anywhere near a forest.
A Q&A with Qing Li, M.D.
What is forest bathing? How is it different than hiking or taking a walk?
In Japanese, it’s shinrin-yoku: “shinrin” means “forest,” and “yoku” means “bath.” So “shinrin-yoku” means “bathing in the forest” or “taking in the forest through our senses.” There is no water involved, and you don’t have to hike or even go on a nature walk. Forest bathing is simply being around trees, in nature, connecting with it through our senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. Forest bathing is a bridge. By opening our senses, it bridges the gap between us and the natural world.
Studies have found that forest bathing has a bounty of health benefits. It can strengthen your immune and cardiovascular systems, lift your energy and mood, and even help you sleep more, lose weight, and live longer.
Why has forest bathing become so popular and important in Japan?
Japanese culture, philosophy, and religion are rooted in the forests that blanket Japan. Not to mention all manner of everyday things are carved out of the forests, from houses and shrines to walking sticks and spoons. Two thirds of the country is covered in forest. It is one of the world’s greenest countries, with a huge diversity of trees. If you fly over Japan, you will be amazed to see how green it is: 3,000 miles of forest, from Hokkaido in the north to Okinawa in the south.
Forest bathing, as a formal practice, was first established and given its name in 1982 by Tomohide Akiyama. He was the director general of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan, and he thought that the people of Japan were in need of healing through nature. The idea was also part of a campaign to protect the forests: If people were encouraged to visit forests for their health, they would be more likely to want to protect and look after them. The Japanese government invested a lot of money in forest bathing with the goals of protecting the forests, promoting human health, and preventing lifestyle-related diseases.
How do you study forest bathing and measure its effects?
Some people study forests. Some people study medicine. I study forest medicine—to understand the ways in which being in the forest can improve our well-being. I want to know why we feel so much better when we are in nature. What is the secret power of trees to make us so much healthier and happier? Why is it that we feel less stressed and have more energy just by being in nature?
For much of my career, I have studied the effects of environmental chemicals, stress, and lifestyle on immune function. Since it is well-known that stress inhibits immune function, I speculated that forest bathing may have a beneficial effect on immune function by reducing stress. And I tested this hypothesis by conducting many experiments: I looked at the effects of walking in forests and of phytoncides—the scents that trees give off—on immune cells, stress hormones, blood pressure, and heart rate. I compared the mortality rates from cancer between people who live in areas with high versus low forest coverage. And I compared the effects on mood and mental state (anxiety, depression, anger, fatigue, and confusion) of walking in forests versus walking on treeless city streets.
“I want to know why we feel so much better when we are in nature. What is the secret power of trees to make us so much healthier and happier?”
How does forest bathing ease stress? What are some of the other benefits?
Forest bathing eases stress by reducing stress hormones—cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. Through my research, I have found that it can also:
reduce blood pressure and heart rate
increase the activity of natural killer cells—immune cells that play an important role in defense against bacteria, viruses, and tumors
increase the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system (which helps the body rest and recover) and reduce the activity of the sympathetic nervous system (which is responsible for the fight-or-flight response), producing psychologically calming effects
increase the level of the hormone adiponectin (lower blood adiponectin levels are associated with several metabolic disorders, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic syndrome)
reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, anger, fatigue, and confusion and help prevent depression
increase energy, creativity, concentration, and memory
How do these benefits manifest? Why does forest bathing have such wide-reaching effects?
The benefits derive from the total effect of the forest environment—taking in the quiet atmosphere, beautiful scenery, refreshing scent, and clean air through all five senses. Pay special attention to:
Sight: the colors of nature, especially the green, yellow, and red of leaves
Smell: the fragrance emitted by trees
Hearing: nature sounds and bird song
Touch: engaging with the forest with your whole body
Taste: the flavor of foods—especially fruits—from the forest
What has the greatest effect, however, are the scents (phytoncides) given off by trees. Phytoncides are the natural oils within a plant, and they’re part of a tree’s defense system against bacteria, insects, and fungi. Phytoncides have been shown to help lift depression and anxiety and decrease the level of stress hormones. And in my research, I discovered that they also boost natural killer cell activity and the production of anti-cancer proteins.
“Phytoncides are the natural oils within a plant, and they’re part of a tree’s defense system against bacteria, insects, and fungi.”
In one in vitro experiment, I incubated the human natural killer (NK) cells with phytoncides for five to seven days, then measured several markers of immune function. I found that phytoncide exposure increased NK cell activity, including an increase in intracellular anticancer proteins, such as perforin, granulysin, and granzymes, indicating that these scents may have beneficial effects on human immune function.
In a following in vivo experiment, I investigated how essential oils from trees affect human immune function. Observing biological responses in healthy male subjects over three nights indoors, we vaporized stem oil from hinoki cypress overnight, analyzed urine samples each morning, and took blood samples on the final day. Phytoncide exposure significantly increased NK cell activity, NK cell count, and the total measure of anticancer proteins, such as perforin, granulysin, and granzyme A/B. It also decreased urine concentrations of stress hormones, such as adrenaline and noradrenaline, and significantly reduced symptoms of anxiety, depression, anger, fatigue, and confusion. Based on these findings, we think the phytoncides in forest air may contribute to increased NK activity during forest bathing.
Walking in the forest can help us to clear our minds and feel at peace by encouraging us to step away from our stresses and devices. There is real science behind these mood shifts, and there’s a chemical basis for the calming feeling we get from being among the trees.
What’s the best way to start forest bathing?
There are many different activities you can do in the forest that will help you to relax and connect with nature. It doesn’t matter how physically fit—or unfit—you are. To practice forest bathing, you can:
walk slowly in the forest
do Tai Chi, yoga, or deep breathing
find a place you like and just sit, read, or enjoy the scenery
take off your shoes and walk barefoot
have a picnic
By trying different activities, you will learn what suits you and how to best make use of the relaxing influence of the forest.
Here are some additional tips:
Make a plan based on your physical abilities to avoid tiring yourself out.
If you have an entire day, stay in the forest for about four hours and walk about three miles. If you have just half a day, stay in the forest for about two hours and walk about one and a half miles.
Stop to rest whenever you feel tired. And drink whenever you feel thirsty.
If possible, bathe in a hot spring after spending time in a forest. It has been reported that hot spring baths also enhance immune function and reduce stress and blood pressure. Furthermore, a synergistic effect is expected between the forest bath and the hot spring bath.
Let your goals determine how much time to spend in the forest. If you want to boost your immunity, a three-day, two-night trip is recommended. But if you just want to relax and relieve stress and you have access to a forested park near your home, try a day trip.
Note: Forest bathing is a preventive measure. If you come down with an illness, see a doctor.
What if we don’t have access to a park or forest?
If you have trees or a park nearby, you can simply open your window. Researchers at the University of Melbourne found that as little as forty seconds of looking out of the window at a natural scene helps us focus and stay alert. If you don’t have a window, pictures of nature and green vegetation will help. So have a picture of nature as a screensaver on your computer or as the lock screen on your phone. And when you take a break, just sit back and enjoy them.
“If you have trees or a park nearby, you can simply open your window.”
You can also grow plants in your home or office. They not only make it look like a forest but also help us breathe by increasing oxygen. Plants are natural air purifiers, and they act like sponges, soaking up the toxic chemicals found in paints, fabric, cigarettes, and cleaning products.
You can use essential oils (phytoncides) from trees to connect to nature through the sense of smell. Hinoki oil is a personal favorite of mine. But all the conifer essential oils (like Japanese cedar, pine, or hiba) can remind you of the peace and quiet of the forest and bring you some of the powerful effects of a forest bath without your even having to go outside. You can use a diffuser for essential oils or fill your home with candles or a bowl of cedarwood shavings.
You can take off your shoes to connect with nature by touch or listen to YouTube recordings of birdsong and other sounds of nature. All these things will help you to connect with nature—even if you’re stuck indoors—and reap the many benefits of shinrin-yoku.
Dr. Qing Li is a world leader in the science of forest bathing. He is the vice president and secretary general of the International Society of Nature and Forest Medicine, the director of the Forest Therapy Society, and the president of the Japanese Society of Forest Medicine. He is also an associate professor at Tokyo’s Nippon Medical School and a visiting fellow at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Li’s book Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness is out now..
The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies. They are the views of the expert and do not necessarily represent the views of goop. This article is for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that it features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.
Some of the most popular stories on goop are the ones we’ve done with psychiatrist Robin Berman, who discussed being—and dealing with—a narcissistic parent or partner. (Read them here, here, and here, or listen to our new podcast episode with Dr. Berman here.) Even now, a few years later, we still get notes from people with opinions on the topic. Which is how we first connected with Dr. Suzanne Garfinkle, a New York City–based psychiatrist and the director of the Academy for Medicine and the Humanities at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
“While it may cause pathology in extreme cases, ‘narcissism’ is not a dirty word,” Garfinkle told us. “In fact, one of the main tasks in human development is to cultivate and use narcissism effectively. Often, successful individuals would not be who they are without a healthy dose of self-involvement and vanity.”
The issue, as Garfinkle sees it, is that kids are very sensitive to narcissistic traits in their parents. And when parents leave these traits unexamined, there are unintended consequences that ultimately burden their children and strain their relationship.
Garfinkle’s parenting guide aims to take away some of the stigma of narcissism. In its place, she suggests strategies for molding what narcissistic traits you may have during every stage of your child’s life into a force for smarter parenting.
A Guide for Narcissistic Parents
Suzanne Garfinkle, M.D.
For his seventh birthday, I threw my son, who is obsessed with Star Wars, a Star Wars costume party. The whole family came dressed as different characters. The birthday boy had been given the godlike position of designating everyone’s role, and when he told me I would be Leia, I was thrilled to play the glam lead and began to fantasize about the shopping that was now, of course, my obligation. What harried working mother of two does not yearn for a guiltless excuse to acquire new fashion items? Especially when Diane von Furstenberg, Cynthia Rowley, and Rag & Bone had already set their minds to converting the bizarre Star Wars staples into elegant prêt-à-porter? But my reverie ended abruptly when I learned what my son had in mind was Princess Leia from Endor (Episode VI), dressed in boxy fatigues—a cool look, but better on Carrie Fisher than on me.
Just as I was about to argue the merits of the more standard Princess Leia ensemble, the alarm bells went off: narcissistic parenting! This was, um, a seven-year-old’s birthday party. There I was again, being vain and self-absorbed. So I accepted the assignment and began to search for stiff, oversize camo gear. In the end, my son didn’t like any of what we found, so he switched my role to “fighting Padmé” (Episode 2—the white bodysuit with the belt and the blaster) and I got some edgy workout attire out of the deal.
At the party itself, my young Jedi enjoyed light-sabering the whole clan, but there was another moment where I caught myself being the n-thing again. Inclined toward oration, my son typically takes a moment at his birthday parties to stand on a chair and make a gracious speech to the guests. After he blew out the candles, I gave him a hug and asked if he would like to say anything to the group of (very odd-appearing) adults filling our living room. But this time, he grew visibly uncomfortable and wiggled out of my grasp. The alarm went off again: narcissism! This time for being showy with my kid and putting pressure on him to perform, rather than letting that come from him organically as it had in the past. Kids wilt when the delightful gifts they offer turn into parental expectations.
In my work with families over the years, I have seen many parents who benefitted from gentle reminders about their narcissistic tendencies. We all stand to benefit from these kinds of alarms going off: those moments when you realize that it’s become about you, and not about them. When the alarm sounds, you can catch yourself. Developing alarms is really the point of being in any kind of therapy—no matter what your particular neurosis—and all too often, these narcissistic processes go on unchecked, to the detriment of children.
Back to Basics: What Is Narcissism?
The “selfie generation” is now becoming parents, and the question of narcissistic parenting and its impact on kids is more pressing than ever.
Narcissism is a disorder affecting one’s self and relationships, involving low or inflated self-image, self-centeredness, admiration-seeking, and difficulties with empathy. Narcissists tend to want to be great without putting in the work required, and they use others primarily for the purpose of making themselves feel better.
While narcissistic personality disorder is quite rare (and usually undetectable to the person who has it), many parents possess narcissistic traits, which come in several flavors:
The fragile narcissist: You fear criticism and rejection about your parenting or from your children.
The grandiose narcissist: You are addicted to power and glory and tend to be boastful both toward and about your children.
The elitist narcissist: Entitled and social-climbing, you will settle for only the very best of everything both for and from your children.
The masochistic narcissist: A martyr, you never allow your children to forget how much you sacrifice for them.
While problematic, all of these personality configurations can be modified through education and psychotherapy.
The Many Benefits of Narcissistic Parenting
But guess what: There are actually potential benefits to some narcissism in parenting. Narcissists invest in themselves, and because they see their children as an extension of themselves, they can share that investment with them. A narcissistic parent (NP) might celebrate good grades or a chess trophy with particular alacrity, allowing their ten-year-old to feel seen and appreciated. As a natural manipulator, an NP can be a fierce advocate for their child to get the best teacher in the third grade. Narcissists are great at getting what they want, and a twelve-year-old might be inspired by hearing her mother describe how she “killed it” at work or learn important negotiating skills by watching Mom score the best table in the restaurant. A narcissist whose ego depends on being “father of the year” might spend lots of time throwing a ball around in the yard or take his kids on enriching vacations (better than yours!). On a different note, there are advantages to the benign neglect that the child of a narcissistic parent inevitably faces: It’s good to learn you can’t always have your parents’ attention (even if it’s because they are mapping out their next Botox injections in the mirror).
So if you have a not-too-toxic narcissist on your side, you are likely to gain certain advantages because of it. That is, until you disappoint them, detract attention from them, or, worse, try to beat them.
Navigating the Hazards of Narcissistic Parenting
Children of narcissistic parents tend to have a predictable set of issues. They quickly learn that their parent’s feelings are more important than their own and adapt to this by ignoring or denying their own emotions. This causes problems because they never get to know their true selves. As NPs place a great deal of importance on appearances, their children often feel judged and criticized and can develop low self-esteem and depression. Their parent’s tendency toward anger makes them feel love is conditional, and anxiety and trust issues often emerge. Finally, they learn narcissistic behavior from their parents and can go on to develop similar—often more extreme—narcissism themselves.
But there’s a way for you to break the cycle of narcissistic parenting, at every stage of your child’s life. Each stage of child development will present specific challenges for the narcissistic parent. The solutions are the same at each stage:
It’s not about you.
Use your narcissism.
As an NP, you may be thrilled to find that your body is now the center of the universe. On the other hand, you may not be thrilled with the toll pregnancy is taking on your physique. Many narcissistic mothers begin to resent (or at least feel strongly ambivalent toward) their child when this cascade of sacrifices begins.
Relationships in pregnancy can be complicated, and if you’ve got narcissistic traits, there is a big chance you’ll have issues with other women, perhaps your own mother. If she shares your narcissism, your pregnancy will challenge her. She may feel competitive or possessive of you and jealous of the whole experience. She may be smothering or oddly neglectful. Also, you will be especially sensitive to people’s reactions to you during this time. Are they being thoughtful enough about your needs? Are you getting enough likes for your ultrasound pictures?
It’s not about you—or rather, not for much longer. One important challenge for narcissists is to look beyond appearances. It’s hard not to focus on the weight gain, the stretch marks, and the dried vomit on your sweater. As a culture, we place way too much emphasis on how someone looks during pregnancy as a measure of how the pregnancy is going. When you find yourself negatively preoccupied with appearances, try to refocus on what’s going on inside—both on how you are feeling emotionally and on the miracle taking place below the surface.
Stay curious. One of the challenges of narcissistic parenting is to develop a stable awareness of your child as a separate entity from yourself. Ask yourself: What is he capable of seeing, hearing, and feeling at this stage? What does he feel when I drink a cold glass of juice? Talk to him out loud and ask him questions. Taking a few moments every day to connect with your baby will help you develop a curiosity about his mind.
Use your narcissism. Try to capture the glory of pregnancy. It’s a time for you to be special, and your feel-good hormones can positively influence your baby’s brain development.
For many narcissistic parents, infancy is an easy time. It may be incredibly fulfilling for you to be the off-switch for someone’s tears, their everything. Your perfectionism may make you focused on providing excellent care, and an attentive mother can enjoy a warm reception from society.
On the other hand, for narcissistic parents, the introduction of a baby may challenge your selfhood to the core. Many people experience alienation around the introduction of a baby—a feeling of strangeness, foreignness, or even an absence of love. For the controlling among us, the first few months bring an endless supply of challenges: Your baby may not eat, sleep, coo, cuddle, or meet all the appropriate milestones on your schedule. If your baby has a difficult temperament, you may feel self-conscious and envious of other parents. Sleep deprivation and other physical discomforts are unpleasant for everyone, but NPs get extra cranky putting their own needs aside.
It’s not about you. British psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott said the most important thing a parent can do is provide a good “holding environment” for a baby: “The foundations of health are laid down by the ordinary mother in her ordinary loving care of her own baby.” In other words, you don’t need to do or be anything special in order for your child to thrive.
Stay curious. First, take some comfort in the notion of temperament. Try to identify and know the qualities your baby brings into the world and take some pressure off yourself for being imperfect as a parent, as there is little you can do to change those innate qualities. Second, your baby cannot talk yet, so it’s easy to dismiss him throughout the day. Ask him questions and teach him the rhythm of a conversation; look at him to show you’re already listening.
Use your narcissism. There is no time in life when you are more the center of the universe for your child than now. Own it. Use this superpower to be the most loving, attentive, engaging, and caring mother you know. You can’t spoil a baby. Also, consider going back to work when you are ready or trying to reengage with meaningful hobbies. Narcissistic parents do better when they have other ventures to reinforce their value. You might enjoy your kids more if you don’t give up everything else for them, which can lead to complicated feelings of resentment.
It’s hard to beat the affirmation of receiving a young child’s trust and affection. This is the age when your children will want to be like you. They will try on your shoes and pick up your purse to play “going to work.” They will wrap their toys in newspaper and give them to you as presents. They will cry when you walk out of the house and jump for joy when you pick them up at school. This is a heady, addictive stage for NPs—total adoration. They often peg their kids for life at this stage and are confused when things change.
But let’s face it: Toddlers and preschoolers are horrible people at times, too. They are fiercely discovering themselves and the challenge for you is to meet them where they are.
It’s not about you. While standing in line at Starbucks or just as your mother-in-law arrives, your child will throw the biggest tantrum of her life, completely unresponsive to your thoughtful interventions. Take a deep breath and remember that people who are giving you dirty looks have amnesia for their own early parenting days. Similarly, try not to freak about messes. Little kids are supposed to spill applesauce on the rug and paint on their party shoes. In the preschool lobby, there will be a lot of talk about speed of achievements: potty training, talking, pre-academic skills. Don’t get caught up in this. Most people forget that early readers do not necessarily turn into better readers. Celebrate your child’s healthy progress.
Stay curious. You might rather watch an hour of C-SPAN than have to play astronauts one more time. But try this: For five minutes a day, sit down on the floor and devote yourself to whatever they want to play or talk about. Initiate games if you don’t like being too passive, but make them games that put your child center stage. Pretend you’re a TV journalist interviewing them about what the hell they’re up to. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is Mom reporting for NYC news. I’m here with young Jonah, who appears to be putting rocks from the playground in a kitchen Tupperware container. Jonah, would you kindly explain to our viewers what on earth you are doing…?”
Use your narcissism. Be the entertainment. If you’re a funny, charismatic narcissist, put on puppet shows. Make their stuffed animals talk. Play school and be the teacher or the recalcitrant student. Parent-driven play like this is exciting and fun for them.
Your kids are becoming individuals with distinct tastes, talents, and interests. This is the era of self-esteem development, but we are talking about their self-esteem, not yours. What helps them may be different from what helps you. Something good for both of you is that kids of this age need to identify with good things in you—your talents and strengths. As an NP, you will love it when your kids are naturally similar to you, and if you’re lucky, you’ve got a boy with your taste for mystery novels or a girl who is into chess like you. If your children are different from you, this can cause you narcissistic injury, and its cousin, narcissistic rage. For example, when she quits soccer, you may find yourself picking on your daughter more than usual or full-on furious that she is throwing away her ticket to fitness, friendships, and college admissions. Second, when they fall far from the tree, you may grow less interested in them. As a narcissist, you struggle to maintain focus outside yourself, even on a good day. On a bad day, your disinterest is palpable, and your kids will feel it. You won’t ask enough follow-up questions, won’t draw them out, or will always seem too busy to sit down and play their game or ask about what’s on their mind. They will feel like you don’t care because they’re not good enough. These dynamics can be heightened if one of your children is similar to you and the other is different.
But if your children are too similar to you, there is another problem. They might be charged with the great responsibility and pressure of being your special child. Differences will eventually emerge as they grow up, and you may be thrown when they start to like that horrible music or feel attracted to that repulsive classmate. They may try to stop liking the music or the classmate and end up feeling empty and unsure of who they are. This is what Winnicott called the “false self,” where a child’s job is to please his parents rather than to recognize and act on his own feelings. At some point they will resent the pressure and rebel, possibly acting out and further damaging their already fragile self-esteem. This may be a test of your love, which feels unreliable to them. And of course, having a problem child will not do wonders for your self-image as a parent, feeding a vicious cycle of mutual rage.
It’s not about you. As your child becomes his own person, he might begin to challenge your values. Try not to feel too hurt and angry when he becomes a vegan while your family is famous for great BBQs. Don’t try too hard to win his affection, perhaps by overindulging requests for ice cream or Legos. Narcissistic parents sometimes spoil their kids, making them feel too powerful. On some level they will feel unsettled by your neediness.
Stay curious. This is the age where academic and extracurricular achievement, homework, and grades take hold as important and serious things. Focus on your child’s interests and make a big deal out of their accomplishments. Try to avoid comparing them to other kids—children develop at different rates and these kinds of comments can induce shame and hopelessness. Even more important than acknowledging his skills, try to figure out what makes him happy.
Use your narcissism. You may be inclined to impress your kids by telling funny stories (in the way only you can) or showing off your (legendary) basketball skills. Within limits, this can benefit children during the grade school years, when they look to you for signs of talents and strengths and are easily convinced by preening and bravado. Note that it may backfire at other ages: Your three-year-old will stare at you blankly when you talk about yourself, and your fifteen-year-old will smell the insecurity you are masking.
Remember how you need a lot of affirmation from your kids? Well, if they’re normal, during adolescence, they will embark on a CIA-level mission to uncover all your flaws. Whether you’re “stupid,” “annoying,” or simply “un-woke,” you’ll be sure to hear about it. On top of this, they are developing a personality you may or may not like, and you have a lot less control over this than you used to. They will choose their clothes, activities, and friends, and the approval of other groups outweighs yours. Hormones are raging, and sex is on their minds constantly. If you’re an NP, you have particular issues around sexuality, as you see your child as an extension or reflection of yourself. You may start to feel competitive with them or forget how confusing sex can be at this age. Narcissistic parents tend to overestimate their teen’s comfort with sexuality or, alternatively, continue to treat them like a child for too long.
It’s not about you. A certain amount of rebellion and difference is normal. But in anger or sadness, you might lose sight of their ongoing great need for you. You could end up being neglectful because you are feeling neglected.
Stay curious. Your adolescent has lots of new ideas forming, which feel deep and important to him or her. This is fertile ground for stimulating discussion and exchange about politics, religion, school, relationships, the world. Try to have dinner together and talk. Talk about sex, and listen with curiosity to their ideas, feelings, and questions. Be present for who they actually are right now, rather than clinging to your idealized version of who they were.
Use your narcissism. This is a time in child-rearing when you will be challenged, and you need to stay strong. Your narcissistic traits, although likely covering for insecurity, have helped you do this in the past, and you should rely on them. Dig in at work. Surround yourself with friends who admire and appreciate you.
Your children are finally the people they have become, and chances are, patterns in your relationship with them have also become entrenched. Your own brittle self-esteem often causes you to think in binaries. As an NP, your opinion of yourself is secretly low, and you can overfocus on the negatives, which include any deficiencies you see in your adult children. If your children perceive this negativity, they might, say, move across the country from you. If your kids are too successful, you might envy them: “She is younger and has her whole life ahead.” And as a narcissist, you are prone to envy because you feel perpetually shortchanged. Perhaps you’ve had a tough life and your kids seem spoiled to you. (You may even have spoiled them to serve other narcissistic needs of yours and then grown to resent them for it.) Perhaps they are just better-looking or happier or richer than you were at their age or are now. This can be a problem for aging narcissistic parents who see their children take center stage in life during their prime years as they face the many narcissistic injuries of aging.
Worst of all, your adult children still secretly want cheerleading and don’t welcome your critiques of their new couch/internship/roommate/diet/gender/sexual orientation/significant other. You may overestimate the helpfulness of your opinion. Persist and you are likely to hear all the terrible things their therapist said about how you make everything about yourself.
Your children are who they are, and now the question is: Are they good enough? You, who never feel quite adequate, struggle to provide unconditional love and emotional safety for them. They know how wobbly your esteem is. So try to steady yourself and give them the deep security that you never had. Be the parent you never got. Strive to celebrate the entire package your child has become.
It’s not about you. If you find yourself disapproving of their partner, is that because the person is not polished, successful, or special enough for your offspring? Do your friends’ kids make more money? Are you pissed that you’re not getting grandchildren fast enough? These critiques will only alienate your kids. What they want from you is pretty much unconditional support in the decisions they have made, in the people they have become. Not subtle critiques. Not constructive criticism. Not protection from the mistakes they might be making. In other words, your best strategy for a good relationship with your adult kids can be summarized in two words: radical acceptance.
Andrea Arria-Devoe, a longtime editor at Daily Candy, is the executive producer of Straws, a documentary about how ditching plastic straws can make a massive difference to the environment. In a new column for goop, Arria-Devoe will share her extensive knowledge about the best countertop composter, how to shop bulk, and other hacks to living the chicest, greenest life possible.
Saving the world may be getting a tiny bit easier. Joining a farm share or community-supported agriculture (CSA) is a direct way to support small farms, buy fresh local produce, and expand your fruit and vegetable horizons. The model—traditionally centered around produce—has expanded in recent years, and many of them now include fish, meat, grain, and more.
Local Harvest has over 4,000 CSA farms listed in its grassroots database, as well as tips on how to become a CSA member. The programs vary: Some allow requests for specific items, while others are stricter about swaps. And some farms have a set pickup location, while others offer home and office delivery.
A community-supported fishery (CSF) eliminates most of the guesswork that often comes with buying seafood, like how to avoid overfished or inhumanely farmed species. For a prepaid fee, Real Good Fish gives members a chance to enjoy delicacies like uni, rock cod, and oysters as part of their weekly shares and offers seafood lovers access to the best-managed fisheries in the world. Los Angeles–based Trash Fish touts overlooked yet abundant types of seafood, like Pacific mackerel and whelks. Each (weekly) box includes a recipe from a local chef and a pantry item.
A grain share, like Pioneer Valley, sets you up with a year’s worth of grains. You can choose from a selection of wheat, oats, cornmeal, and more. Bluebird Grain Farm in Winthrop, Washington, specializes in ancient grains like emmer and einkorn wheat, which is more easily tolerated by the gluten-sensitive.
New York–based Maryland’s The Genuine Food Co. and 8 O’clock Ranch offer ethically raised beef, pork, and chicken through CSA programs. Some meat CSAs, like Marin Sun Farms, gather meats from different farms and ranches. Eat Wild offers a database with over 1,400 pasture-based farms across the country and Canada for grass-fed-only options.
Becoming a CSA member with Mad Urban Bees will help save bees from extinction and gets you small-batch honey from citywide hives in Madison, Wisconsin, six times a year. Seattle’s Urban Bee CSA goes the extra mile by delivering a monthly pound of honey via bicycle (in other words: carbon-emission-free).
Most supermarket flowers are imported from Colombia or other faraway countries, so they need to be flown over an ocean. But a CSA’s flowers are harvested from local fields. Little Boy Flowers in Nevada City offers two CSA options: an eight-week early-spring or a twelve-week summer share. Both offer a bounty of ranunculus, anemones, poppies, and tulips throughout the warmer months. Philadelphia locals can take home freshly picked bouquets or buckets of blooms through Love ’n Fresh Flowers CSA, and Brooklynites can access a weekly bunch of rooftop-grown wildflowers through Brooklyn Grange’s program. Maine’s Broadturn Farm has a ten-week CSA that kicks off with a flower-arranging class and provides members with buckets of loose stems of annual and perennial favorites, like cosmos and sunflowers, every week.
Brooklyn-based Local Roots promotes community building and sustainability by hosting CSA box pickups at bars. LA-based Out of the Box Collective recently added chef services as an option to its weekly menu plans. Choose three, four, or five meals from the week’s selection (or customize your own) and a chef will come to your kitchen and prepare them. Both organizations are mindful about eliminating as much wasteful packaging as possible.
Asparagus at this time of year is pretty close to sublime. Beautifully tender spears are suddenly everywhere at the farmers’ market, but only for a few fleeting weeks. They hardly need cooking at all, so preparing them simply is the best way to let them truly shine. They’ve got a sweet yet assertive flavor that plays nicely with the delicate richness of eggs in an easy scramble, or the bit of crème fraîche in asparagus soup, or even the bright acidity of vinegar in a classic asparagus mimosa.
We want to answer your most pressing questions—or, you know, just the things that you’re curious about. Please keep them coming to: email@example.com. Below, a Q for our beauty director, Jean Godfrey-June.
Dear Jean, I look so much better with a little glow. I don’t need to be a super tanned glamazon, but going a shade glowier smooths out my skin and makes my legs look sleeker in skirts and shorts. Do you go with UV rays or self-tanner chemicals? —Jessica
Dear Jessica, Wrinkles, age spots, large pores, and skin cancer are just some of the direct, well-documented consequences of UV exposure. Wear clean nontoxicsunblock, take plenty of vitamin D3, and if, like Kora Organics founder/supermodel/about-to-be-mother-of-two Miranda Kerr and me, you love a glow: self-tan.
Because there are so few clean, nontoxic self-tanners in existence, many people assume the self-tanning chemical DHA is problematic, but it’s actually clean. “The reason there aren’t many clean self-tanners is they’re hard to get right,” says Kerr, who, unsurprisingly, fell in love with a light tan during her Victoria’s Secret days. “The makeup artist would put on some tanner, and it was so good, hiding imperfections, smoothing everything out, giving us all this glow. I love a sun-kissed look.”
But as Kerr started reading labels, she found the cocktail of fragrances, plastics, and preservatives in many conventional formulas shocking. “They were using chemicals I knew I didn’t want on my skin,” she says. “So I would feel this conflict whenever I felt like I needed a little glow: Should I go in the sun or potentially absorb these chemicals I’m really worried about?”
Her certified-organic Kora self-tanner obliterates that conflict: It’s super hydrating, subtly and naturally glow-building, and easy to blend with no streaks. It even manages to smell fantastic. (This is just some of what Kerr means when she says, “get it right.” Achieving all of this took close to two years.)
I love it for all those reasons, but especially for the perfect, light, balanced color it delivers: One night of Kora (I put it on before bed) and I just look a little less blotchy/tired and slightly more luminous, and my legs look 1,000 times better in a skirt. Two nights, though, puts me in a place where I look significantly better in a bathing suit and the occasional person will say, “Your skin looks so good—did you go away?” Sometimes I need one night, and sometimes I need two, but either way, the whole process takes less than five minutes: