How to Choose the Right Razor Blade

Rushing to get ready

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, you throw on that great new dress. Leaning down to put on your heels, you discover that the pesky stubble you tackled yesterday is back with a vengeance. Or glancing at the mirror, you’re ready to admit defeat in the daily battle against the dreaded five o’clock shadow.
Shaving has probably been a part of your morning routine since junior high or high school. So why do you still run into the same issues

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? Razor bumps, irritation and ingrown hairs can ruin an otherwise clean and smooth shave. Maybe it’s time to put a bit more thought into the type of razor blade you use.
Irritation can happen when your hair grows back after shaving. Hairs will curl inward while growing, forming ingrown hairs and razor bumps that can be painful and unattractive. The best way to combat these issues is to develop a shaving routine that includes a sharp razor and a shaving gel or cream that works best for you. There are many razor options out there, from electric to disposable, and each will offer a slightly different shave. No matter what type of razor you choose, however, the most important quality is that the blade not be dull.
But from that point, you will want to consider your personal shaving needs when deciding between the different types of razors on the market. Do you have particularly sensitive skin? Will you be shaving just one area, like your face, or will you be shaving areas with different needs, such as your legs, armpits and bikini line? All of these factors can influence which type of razor blade is the best choice for you.
To find out which razor blades will give you the smoothest shave for your skin type, read on.

5 Old-Fashioned Cleaning Tips for Carpets, Rugs and Floors

Not even Supermom can ensure that no one ever wears shoes in the house, that animals and children never track mud through the halls, or that no one ever consumes food or drinks over the living room carpet. We’ve all been victims of stains, dirt and odors trapped in the flooring. They attack when you least expect it and cling onto your carpet for dear life, no matter how much you scrub and scrape

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For this kind of battle, you need a few secret weapons that people have been using for generations. Your grandmother’s mother’s mother got her carpet clean without modern vacuum cleaners or stain solutions, so why change something that works? Our 5 old-fashioned cleaning tips can help you be better than Supermom in your battle against the unsightly (and smelly) enemies locked into your carpet, rugs and floor. First up: how to get a hardwood floor spotless without a vacuum cleaner.

Higher Human Forms: Foot Binding

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We’ve already discussed the astounding power of supernormal stimuli, but today’s installment of Higher Human Forms demonstrates what happens when we begin to reshape our functional bodies after that illusory ideal.
Chinese foot binding allegedly began in 970 CE with Emperor Li Yu’s passion for a dancer’s wrapped feet. The ideal spread among the imperial courtesans, the upper class and finally seeped through all social classes in most Chinese ethnic groups. It was the stuff of songs and poetry. Miniscule feet became a key standard of feminine beauty, and thus a perceived* means of marrying into a higher social class. So it fell to mothers and grandmothers to ensure female offspring boasted the smallest feet possible.
Humans are natural flesh crafters. We form extreme ideals about the human body and we don’t mind altering our flesh to conform to those standards — no matter how torturous the method.
And the methodology of foot binding is certainly torturous. As explained in “How Foot Binding Works” by Melanie Radzicki McManus, the process went down as follows:
This was an incredibly painful process, actually breaking the bones in the arch of the foot. The big toe and the heel remained largely unaltered, but the four toes would fold under while the heel moved in toward the front of the foot. The image to your right should help to illustrate the transformation

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. A tiny pair of shoes finished the process.
I say “finally,” but bound feet required a lifetime of care and rebinding. The process itself sometimes resulted in dire complications, but even a successful foot binding left the recipient physically handicapped. I encourage you to read the aforementioned HowStuffWorks article for a more in-depth break down of the process.
The Chinese outlawed foot binding in 1912, but centuries of foot binding had a profound cultural impact. Most notably, tiny deformed feet became objects of beauty and sexual obsession. We conditioned ourselves then, just as we condition ourselves now with plastic surgery, to crave anatomies that do not exist without human interference. That’s quite astounding when you think about it.
Furthermore, as pointed out in the McManus article, bound feet impacted Chinese architecture: Single-story homes and narrow streets (with handy walls to lean against) became mandatory to accommodate a handicapped gender. It limited China’s colonial ambitions, enforced a strict home economy model and strengthened patriarchal dominance.
All of this, because we humans dip into the realm of forms and attempt to carve its image from our flesh. Foot binding itself may be a thing of the past, but the energy behind it continues throughout human culture.
* According to “Bound History” by Simon Montlake, surveys of bound-foot women found that only a small proportion married someone of a higher class.
Higher Human Forms is an ongoing blog series profiling the many fascinating ways in which humans have reshaped their bodies throughout human history. To quote plastic surgeon Joe Rosen, “The body is a conduit for the soul, at least historically speaking. When you change what you look like, you change who you are

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Mary Seacole and the Crimean War

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Is my brain making me buy things I don’t need?

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Charge It! Are you a shopaholic?

The first credit card came onto the shopping scene in the late 1950s, and Americans have been living on borrowed money ever since

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. Do you know what shopping habits might indicate you have a shopping addiction

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?

How Twinkies Work

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Are women really shopaholics?

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, shopping
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Mix and Match or Matchy-Match: Purse and Shoes

For a long time, if you were a stylish person, your shoes matched your handbag and you wouldn’t be caught dead in white after Labor Day. But the rules of today’s fashion is that there are no rules, which is a delicious thing for those of us who like to buck authority from time to time. Whether you like to mix and match or you prefer to be more matchy-matchy can often be determined by other choices you make in your day-to-day life. For example, are you more likely to purchase a living room suite as a unit, with matching coffee and end tables? Or are you more of the type of person who picks up furniture over time that looks great with your other furniture, but doesn’t really “go” per se? There are two schools of thought, and which one you follow really just depends on your personal taste.
There are certainly advantages to being matchy-matchy. Even though the concept is now considered a bit dated

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, when your purse and shoes match, they help you look coordinated and put together, which is never a bad thing. If you don’t consider yourself a style maven or have the time or head space to make style decisions, then buying a matching purse and shoes may be a better fit for your personality and lifestyle. But if it’s a time thing, you also have to consider that matching your purse with your shoes means changing out your purse regularly, unless you’re committed to wearing the same pair of shoes all season. And unless you’re super-together, you run the risk of forgetting important items in the purse switch, like your wallet, keys or sunglasses.
One of the benefits of mixing and matching your shoes and purse, beyond keeping the contents of your purse in one place, is that you can be more creative with your style. A purse with a colorful pattern may add a pop of brightness to your otherwise earthy wardrobe and leaves room for a variety of shoe choices that coordinate. It also allows you to invest in one really nice handbag rather than spreading your budget out amongst a few cheaper options that may not last as long. Our conclusion? Matchy-matchy has its benefits, but we’ll go for mix-and-match any day.