I have been described many ways, but calm has never been one of them. I won’t go on to detail my specific neuroses, because no one cares, but suffice to say that no one has ever looked at me and gone “Wow, what a chill girl. I bet she gets a fulfilling and peaceful eight hours of sleep a night.”
I don’t tell you this because I’m one of those people who thinks having anxiety in the year 2018 is a fun and relatable quirk rather than just a byproduct of being alive. We all know that person. Thinking of them, in fact, makes me less calm than I was mere moments ago. I tell you this so that you’ll understand that when I was offered the opportunity to test a drink that was “designed to combat stress, increase relaxation, and improve overall mental and physical well-being,” I didn’t even think twice. I typed YES so aggressively into my keyboard that the Y key flickers from time to time.
Me, at any given moment of any day:
A few weeks back I trialled a Dirty Lemon product called +collagen, a marine collagen peptide drink that was meant to “hydrate skin, increase elasticity, reduce wrinkles and trigger new collagen production.” I’d been seeing it all over Instagram and had wanted to test it out, so I asked Dirty Lemon to send me some so I could write about my experience. They kindly obliged, and what resulted was this article that some thought to be an undisclosed paid sponsorship. It wasn’t, but seeing as how I never properly addressed the circumstances, I get why that misconception occurred.
So when Dirty Lemon reached out to me with news of a new product that could potentially calm my ass down for a few hours, I thought it was a great opportunity to clear up my earlier gaff as well as attempt to experience this phenomenon that people have referred to as relaxing. A win-win in my book.
Enter: +cbd. That’s right ladies, I drank CBD for a week and as a result I now suffer from a crippling addiction to the British reality show, Love Island. Don’t see the correlation? Don’t worry, we’ll get there.
Like THC, the part of weed that actually gets you stoned, CBD is a cannabinoid derived from the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, there are no psychoactive properties to CBD. So instead of feeling high as hell and debating a run to Taco Bell, you are supposed to just feel at ease (and are probably still debating a run to Taco Bell but only because you genuinely enjoy it). In fact, many believe CBD to have wide-ranging medical benefits, from relieving anxiety, depression, arthritis and diabetes to staving off heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
Although still federally illegal, CBD has become all the rage since it made news in 2013 for its part in treating a 5-year-old with a severe epilepsy. More recently, it’s been making the rounds in high-end wellness circles, appearing in cocktails, juices, and even skin care products in major cities across the US. Seriously. People will put it in anything, including Instagram famous beauty tonics.
Before this experience, I was no stranger to CBD. I do, after all, live in Portland, Oregon, where at any given moment I am a stone’s throw away from some high-end boutique dispensary pedaling everything from your run-of-the-mill weed to cannabis-infused hot sauce. But I’d never drank CBD before, and I’d certainly never consumed 20mg of it at a time, which is what each bottle of +cbd contains.
Considering the fact that the cute CBD mints I’d been relying on previously were a measly 5mg a piece, this seemed a bit daunting to me. So much so that I reached out to Dirty Lemon for some kind of guidance. Surely there had to be regulations in place, like not mixing with alcohol, not operating vehicles, not going to work and attempting to complete real tasks, right?
Wrong. According to them, this calming elixir was safe to drink in any of these environments, which I absolutely refused to believe. In hindsight this could make sense, considering LA yoga moms are drinking it in their midmorning juice cleanses, but I was still shocked. So naturally, I immediately set out to test out the breadth of +cbd’s capabilities by drinking it in as many settings as possible.
After some brainstorming about the times in my life when I wished I could just chill out, I landed on four scenarios: at work, on a deadline, hungover, and when I’m literally just sitting at home attempting to force myself to relax. What I found through the course of these trials is that, more often than not, these four events bleed into one another rather than occur independent of each other, probably because I’m a human disaster.
I chose a specifically low-key afternoon to dive into +cbd: we had a going away party scheduled to start in a few hours, half the office was out, and my only real task to accomplish before the day ended was to watch a documentary about Nigerian football. If this is what your day-to-day life looks like, then you’ll probably be okay drinking +cbd at work. However, if you’re expected to do anything more than watch a movie, sit through a farewell tribute, and then head to a party, I wouldn’t recommend it.
True to Dirty Lemon’s claims, I was calm. So calm that I all I really wanted to do was sit on the couch and scroll through Tumblr. I excelled at watching that documentary, getting an in-depth review of a coworker’s wedding pictures, and eating fondue at the after party. But, had this been a day where I’d been expected to be anywhere near a normal amount of productive, we might have had a problem.
Conveniently enough for this article but inconveniently for my own existence, I found myself the morning after said going away party cripplingly hungover at work, stressed out about being both hungover and at work, facing a deadline, and dreaming of Hawaiian food. In short, truly living my best life.
Due to the experiences of the day before, I saved my +cbd as a reward for when I eventually left work, though the likelihood of surviving that long seemed rocky there for a while. By the time I drove my sorry ass home that night, takeout bag in hand, I was ready to melt into my couch and succumb to a few hours of trashy reality TV.
On a normal night, I would have gotten 30 minutes into The Bachelorette and four bites into my dinner before I passed out, living out the wild mid-twenty Friday nights that my teenage self no doubt dreamed of. But thanks to the numbing effects of +cbd and my own determination, I somehow found myself five hours deep in a binge of the UK’s single greatest export: Love Island. I can assure you that there is no hyperbole in the following statement: it has bewitched me, irrevocably, body and soul.
Attempting to Relax
Due to the hectic nature of work and the holiday weekend, I found myself spending the next couple nights at home on my couch, +cbd in hand, diving further into the world of British reality TV. All I can say is that they were the best nights of my life. Sometimes I was stressed, sometimes I was hungover, most of the time I was watching Love Island, but through it all, the +cbd was there to make me not care.
I laughed, I cried, I lamented the logistics of what I’ve now come to understand is a Liverpool accent. I found love in a truly hopeless place: hungover on my couch, and I like to think +cbd played a vital role in that.
On a Deadline
Things that +cbd is great for: combatting the extreme Sunday scaries that always seem to accompany the end of a holiday weekend.
Things that +cbd isn’t great for: helping you finish writing an article about +cbd on the Sunday at the end of a holiday weekend.
I found myself last night, stressed out, suffering from a debilitating case of writer’s block and even more debilitating case of Love Island withdrawal due to the fact that Hulu has a week long delay on episodes, facing a nearly blank word document and eyeing the last +cbd in my fridge.
Cut to 45 minutes later, when I was no longer concerned about things like word counts or work days and suddenly the new owner of a VPN, purchased specifically so I could watch Love Island in real time from the ITV2 website.
Am I proud? Yeah. Did I wake up, even more stressed at 5am to finish this? Yeah. Would I do it again? I think you know the answer to that question.
In short, +cbd was a good time and accomplished what it set out to do: help me relax. I’m not sure I’m a calmer person as a whole or suddenly possess a healthier mental state, but I do have a new show to discuss ad nauseam to the distress of every single one of my coworkers. And you know what? That’s so much better.
Images: Giphy (3)
Collagen Peptides. So hot right now.
No, but really. If you are even remotely up to date with your health and beauty trends, then you know that it’s nearly impossible to escape a conversation about skin care without someone attempting to drag you to the nearest Whole Foods to drop $40 on a bucket of miracle powder that, no matter what anyone tells you, does not tastelessly dissolve in water. No? Just me? Cool. Let’s rewind a bit then.
What Is Collagen?
Great question for those of us who did everything in our power to avoid taking a single science class in college. Collagen is one of the most important proteins in the human body; it basically holds us together. Your hair, skin, nails, and tendons rely on collagen to maintain their structure and keep you both pretty and mobile. So, in short, it’s kind of a big deal. The issue is that as we age, collagen production in our bodies decreases, which means that our hair gets less shiny, our skin starts to sag, and eventually, we succumb to death. Welcome to your twenties.
Enter: collagen peptides. They’re a water-soluble supplement that is said to improve hair strength, skin elasticity, and sometimes gut health, depending on the kind you take. Basically, they’re a miracle drug, but they are neither a drug nor a miracle. Just science. Crazy, right?
High-end grocery stores sell buckets of collagen peptides from a variety of brands that you can mix into your morning coffee or water and drink throughout the day. So you would think that the simple solution here would be to get off your ass, buy some, and then integrate them into your daily routine, adding yet another step to your never-ending battle against mortality, right? If only it were that easy.
The thing about routines is that I struggle with them. Constantly. I’m currently rocking, at best, a 20% consistency rate on taking the three vitamins I’m supposed to be taking daily. I’ve ruined enough birth control cycles in my life that it’s probably redundant for me to even take the pill because I’ve run my uterus into the ground. It takes an endless barrage of Post-it notes, phone reminders, and meticulous to-do lists to get me through my day, and I still manage to forget something most of the time. So buying a jug of collagen peptides to collect dust in my cabinet isn’t something that I really feel like I could validate. Then I came across Dirty Lemon.
If you’re a woman in your twenties who’s ever shown the slightest inclination for health, beauty, or spending money on things you don’t need, you’ve probably been targeted with Dirty Lemon Instagram ads. Trust me, I know. I work in media.
Per their website, Dirty Lemon sells “better beverages.” Their line of natural elixirs and tonics cover all kinds of wellness topics, from charcoal cleanses and anti-aging remedies to sleep aids and energy boosters. What caught my attention was the Beauty Elixir, which they formulated to “hydrate skin, increase elasticity, reduce wrinkles and trigger new collagen production.” The ingredient that caught my eye was the Hydrolized Marine Collagen Peptides, something that I’ve been interested in ever since I wrote an article about Kourtney Kardashian’s diet regimen. If it’s good enough for Kourtney, it’s likely too good for me, so I was sold.
Just to clear things up: This is not a meal replacement or a cleanse. All Dirty Lemon products are designed to work with your normal daily diet, meaning you can enjoy them and not suffer the side effects of a typical cleanse. It definitely sounds too good to be true, but it’s at times like this that I like to remember that not every aspect of our lives has to be miserable. A refreshing pre-2018 notion, but it still stands.
Dirty Lemon recommends that you drink their products for two weeks to experience optimal results, so that was my plan. While weight loss was not promised and I didn’t expect to see any come from this, I did decide to drink my daily elixir first thing in the day to see if it would stave off that early morning appetite I’ve suddenly accrued in my mid-twenties. Tragically, that was not the case.
My initial impression upon receiving my first Dirty Lemon shipment to my office: it’s cute as hell. These tiny branded bottles are literally made for Instagram. Although smaller than expected, they still look super chic when you’re running around the office pretending to be very busy. Sorry I was late for this meeting, I was busy drinking Beauty Elixir and looking young forever.
The taste of the Beauty Elixir was a walk down memory lane for me, because it tastes like a less aggressive version of the Master Cleanse, with the added benefit of getting to eat food while you enjoy it. If you, like me, have a taste for sour things with a slight cayenne kick at the end, you’ll love it. If not, have fun aging.
An added benefit? Dirty Lemon products make great mixers—something I was very excited to hear heading into Memorial Day Weekend. Does drinking collagen peptide vodka cocktails kind of negate the point of this whole ordeal in the first place? Maybe. But no one ever said being sober and looking young forever had to be mutually exclusive.
My favorite part about this experiment was that, unlike any other supplement I’ve ever purchased and forgotten about, it wasn’t difficult to incorporate the Beauty Elixir into my daily routine. In fact, I was excited about it. Sure, now I wake up and immediately crave a sour drink, but that’s a problem to be dealt with at a later time.
Down to what we all actually care about, though.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t come into this a bit skeptical. Despite the fact that collagen peptides have a proven track record of working for a wide variety of people, I have a problem letting myself truly believe in them. It just seems too good to be true, you know?
Well two weeks later, consider me a changed woman. The results were slow to manifest, but once they kicked in, it was hard to ignore. Since my skin isn’t naturally flawless, I work very hard to keep it looking good. The only routine I’ve managed to successfully maintain is my stringent morning and nighttime skin care regimen, but even that doesn’t have me looking like a Neutrogena commercial model in my day-to-day life.
My skin, albeit generally clear, is incredibly fair and prone to pinkness. I wear a light serum foundation every day to even out my tone and neutralize any pink spots. Or because I’ve been socially conditioned to suffer an anxiety attack if I think about leaving the house without makeup on. Your call.
After about a week of using Dirty Lemon, I began to notice how much smoother my makeup was going on in the morning. In fact, I started using about half as much foundation as I had been previously. I thought maybe this was a user bias on my part until someone at work commented on how bright my skin was looking.
What really made me a believer was what occurred during a workout class just two days before my two weeks were up. A side effect of that incredibly fair skin I mentioned earlier? At the first sign of any amount of physical exertion, I immediately turn an almost concerning shade of red. It’s like my body recognizes that I may be in danger of exercising, and suddenly every capillary I possess is visible through my skin. It’s because of this that I’ve spent my entire life actively campaigning against running in public places or working out around anyone that I know. Also, just fuck running. It’s the worst.
But here I was, 30 minutes into a particularly hellish class, looking at myself in the mirror, and realizing that not only was I not a splotchy mess, but I was glowing. I was so shocked that I proceeded to stare at myself like a psycho, examining my face at every angle in search of an all-too-familiar red patch that would soon expand across my entire face and chest. It wasn’t there. Sure, I felt like puking on the floor during the class, but you would never have been able to tell by looking at my face. Some people might say that could just be a sign of naturally getting more in shape, but those people have too much faith in my physical abilities. I was sore as hell, quaking with every pulse, and considering abandoning the class early under the pretense of a forgotten appointment, but my skin was fine. Better than fine—it was clearer than I could ever remember it being.
Now here I am, after two weeks of a daily dose of elixir, and my skin looks amazing. I’ve had a long, tiring week and have been patchy at best with my nightly routine, but it’s not showing. I haven’t necessarily noticed any extravagant change in my hair, but that could be because at any given moment, there is three days’ worth of dry shampoo caked in it. I don’t think I can technically blame Dirty Lemon for that, so I’m chocking this one up to a win.
The Beauty Elixir worked for me, and if I could rationalize spending $45 a week on it, I would do so in a heartbeat. If you’re looking for something to kick-start your skin care routine while also serving as an impromptu chaser, this is the product for you.
Images: Giphy (3)
Finally a beauty treatment that celebrates our strengths, like drinking flavored water and barely doing any work. Ladies, you can now drink yourself pretty (a motto I’ve always lived by) via Dirty Lemon, a new beauty treatment from a Brooklyn-based juice company that specializes in raw detox drinks. You’re welcome.
10 Foods To Help You Debloat
Dirty Lemon has been on the rise for a while in super-secret millennial circles. The detox drink is meant to reset the body after too much pizza and rosé because there is a God and She is paying attention to my Instagram story.
Made with cold-pressed lemon juice, dandelion extract, ginger root extract, activated charcoal, and filtered water, this shit tastes like a fucking dream—unlike that cayenne pepper and maple syrup mixture you’ve been forcing down your throat. Dirty Lemon Skin + Hair adds to the original recipe a fuck ton of
Beyoncé’s tears pharmaceutical-grade marine collagen, and other shit that’s great for your hair and skin. In fact, it promises to give you better hair, skin, and nails in as little as two weeks. But so does Susi, my German hair stylist, every time she cons me into buying a $60 product on top of my haircut.
How Dirty Lemon Works
Drink one bottle a day on a full stomach, repeat. No lie, that’s legit the only instructions. In fact—and this is verbatim—they suggest you ingest the drink “with a side of pancakes.” Blessings.
Basically, instead of taking daily vitamins or supplements to stimulate the production of collagen you can now just take a bottle of it to the face. Not so different from what you’d be doing after work anyway but this is, like, good for you.
How To Buy It
You won’t find this sleek as hell bottle of
eternal youth Dirty Lemon in any stores. You can only order it in $65 quantities via text message because our world is going to shit. But feel blessed because all orders are shipped overnight and free of delivery charges (are you listening to this, Amazon??).
So let me get this straight: This is a beauty treatment that lets me
do nothing live my life, counteracts all the ways I fuck up my skin and body when I’m drunk, and encourages me to eat pancakes for, like, my health’s sake? And it comes in a conveniently chic bottle that will look good AF on Instagram? So, like, does anyone know the founder of Dirty Lemon’s number or? Asking for a friend…