Get Ready For Blob Girl Summer

Talia Birth of Venus
A detail of Sandro Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” on view at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.

  • The writer Talia Lavin reflects on emerging from our Covid quarantines with the same perceived flaws and insecurities as before.
  • What if the coming season is less “Hot Vaxxed Girl Summer” and more “Blob Girl Summer”?
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

As the petals drop to the pavement and shots slip into arms, we’re rolling inexorably toward Hot Vaxxed Girl Summer. We, the immunized, survivors of the plague, are supposed to emerge from our Covid quarantines without hesitancy. The problem with this is that I was never Hot in the first place and this Summer is no different.

It’s still just me, blinking hesitantly and shaking a little, sweating under my shapeless clothes and knowing that there are still people dying at war with their own lungs.

The truth is I am a Blob Girl. I am part of a vast middle sector of womanhood who are pretty bad at Being Women in the way that involves an arsenal of products and a wealth of knowledge to address every detail of our femininity with attention and care and perform it with the practiced grace of dancers. My je ne sais quoi is a literal translation: I don’t know what it would take to have such a quality.

This summer, the humid air will press down on me like a sweaty hand and I, in the middle of it, will be as limp and unluscious as a two-day-old funnel cake. In a world of curation through layers of screens-in which even I, stale dough pinched into the rough approximation of a human woman, know my best selfie angles-it is difficult to admit it and still more difficult to hope that somewhere I have a tribe.

There is so much expectation, after more than a year locked inside. We were supposed to improve ourselves during our time away from the world. In a social milieu shaped by the bright relentless self-optimization of capital we are supposed to come out of our bedrooms-slash-workspaces thinner and shinier.

Except I didn’t. For me, what’s coming is Blob Girl Summer.

I know I am not alone, that there’s a secret legion of grieving and unimproved femmes who have tried and failed to enter the halls of a kind of womanhood that is locked off to us. Somewhere there is a place, I imagine it to be not unlike the Temple of Dendur in the Met, where the Hot Girls sleep at night in their sarcophagi. I could get my ticket my life would change, and since I can’t, I live an unchanged life. The last time I tried to sit on a stoop on a sunny day I sat in dog piss and I didn’t even know, for hours.

For years I have tried to enter the temple, but I haven’t tried hard enough, and I have a big furrow in my brow and wrinkly hands. So much of what Being A Woman is supposed to be is the ability to transfix and enchant, glances sticking to you like cobweb.

Talia Temple
The Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

I was built for gazes to pass over, an awning is more exciting than me, a hot dog cart is more exciting than me, the little creatures in the rainwater coming out of the gutter that you can’t see with the naked eye are nonetheless more visually arresting than I am. Am I a woman still? I have tried to be.

So many people have died this year, millions, and I have survived to take into my body a miraculous shot that is the very flower of medical science, a code written in my genome to lock out the great threat. And I, imbibing this, have the temerity to not even be sexy. If Vaxxed Girl Summer is meant to be a kind of pan-cultural Rumspringa I ought to be someone that transcends schlubhood under its thrilling aegis. And yet.

A SUGGESTED RITUAL

The proof of my failure is all around me, entombed in the room I rent. Somewhere in my possession is a pale blue container of Tatcha’s The Water Cream, a moisturizer that goes for $68 for 1.7 fluid ounces. Within the pale unguent, the advertising copy states, are wild roses, and leopard lilies found “on the cool hillsides of Japan.” The cream is thick and white, and the luxuriant vessel that holds it is accompanied by a gold-colored spoon, with which to smooth the pricey goop onto your face. There is a “suggested ritual” to accompany the cream: Camellia Cleansing Oil, Rice Polish, The Essence – $286 worth of salves and scours meant to alchemize one’s face and decolletage into youthful, glowing perfection. I bought it, all of it, in a manic phase in the last year of my twenties.

I was a Blob Girl convinced I could be a Hot Girl and so I was attuned to the chatter all around me about skincare routines. There were articles about it – The Cut runs a repeating feature interrogating how various women “Get Her Skin So Good” (most are very rich or very young or both). I wanted in, and I read the articles, bought the best, as far as I could determine, among a blizzard of beauty guides laden with an intricate web of affiliate links. For a few nights I bathed my skin in these things, titrated them drop by drop onto the bags under my eyes, the sallow tops of my breasts, my unspeakable neck. But I had no discipline; it was just another dilettante’s sally into a kind of femininity I had no real business taking part in.

By now I’ve mostly mostly hidden the serums away, feeling a vague shame about the whole thing.

I’m now 31, and I grew up when Heroin Chic was still the ideal of womanhood, hipbones protruding from low-rise jeans. The belated acknowledgement that flesh belongs adjacent to bones came late in my twenties, too late for me, and I continue to await a great cultural reset that hallows a body that looks like mine–an overstuffed couch dropped from a great height, a knockoff Venus of Willendorf made of plasticine. Somehow and somewhere (many somewheres, or everywhere) I learned that a perfect woman is a mirror that shows you precisely what you desire.

Nonetheless I stand in my sack dress and Walmart sandals and tilt up my bare, pore-heavy face with its incipient jowls and admit with chagrin and little grace that I am not among the blessed. I am a Blob Femme, a creature half-made of envy and shame, whose breasts are incidental and pendulous. A woman sure she is a woman, but sure of little else.

To be a woman and do it properly is a job that requires both effort and skill. It can involve cash, yes, but also work – testing and curation, a keen awareness of audience and effect. Much can be done with simple and cost-effective material, and while its primary cultural exemplars are wealthy, looking fantastic isn’t solely the provenance of the bourgeois. There is value to this work: learning the mysteries of the contour, differentiating foundations, finding the just-right nook of bone that blush ought to be applied to; assessing one’s palette, knowing hair milk from hair gel from hair cream. There is work in building looks each day out of the raw material of simple clothing, and it is work I admire, and at which I lack talent and initiative. There is unimaginable amounts of work involved in sculpting a beguiling figure out of simple flesh. I do not denigrate it; I long for it, strive for it when I’m flush in mad dashes of acquisition.

Talia Makeup school
A group of young women learn to apply make-up, circa 1950.

I never learned how to be flat enough, silent enough, to be all winking, passive chrome. During the pandemic I was lucky enough to be cloistered; this privileged solitude left me alone with a mind that wouldn’t stop buzzing, alone with a body that kept manufacturing its own insistent and extraneous desires. I know that there are many women who excel at both the labor of performed femininity. Who lust and take with grace, and who are as skilled in attaining their own pleasure as they are at giving pleasure away. Still, after this wearing year, a year of morgue-trucks and uncertainty and pain, I am still a woman unskilled at womanhood, not new to its arts but still humbler than an apprentice: A supplicant at the door of the temple.

The world calls me out into the light of Hot Vaxxed Girl Summer, to be warm and poised and lush, but the spring is still cold and I am frightened and frozen at the threshold. Each step I take from an isolation in which my body, being alone, had no locus of comparison, is a step back into a world of all-too-familiar shame. Forgiving myself for every untoward fold and hair, every lemurish attempt at eyeliner, every clumsy waddle on thighs like boiled dumplings, forgiving myself for being me, or even just for being, is its own ongoing labor.

Having survived through a plague I want to live every inch of my survival, the world my oyster and I, its irritant little pearl, the gem at the lip of the mantle, to be plucked out and buffed to shining nacre. Instead I’m the oyster, all slime in the throat, eating grit. Still, I lived. My body allowed me to hide and survive and, surely, for this it has earned a little grace.

Penelope, the wife of Odysseus, undid her weaving each night to ward off suitors and buy herself time. I too have much to unthread each time I close my door on the world. From the poor material of myself, I have to spin patience and a little kindness. Hot Vaxxed Girl Summer is coming, and all I can do is set my fat hands to the loom.

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The 7 best places to buy women’s sunglasses, and the 28 best shades to shop

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

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  • Sunglasses double as a fun fashion statement and protective eyewear.
  • Investing in a quality pair will be long-lasting and less prone to break, like cheaper options may.
  • Below, see advice from the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) on selecting effective, protective frames.

Whether you’re someone who believes in a wardrobe of shades, or you’re a loyalist who wears the same pair every day, you can’t underestimate the importance of a solid pair of sunglasses. While eye protection is a priority, the style of your shades should match your own personal style. From classic circles to slightly-trendier squares, there’s a wide array of retailers boasting unique designs.

Here’s what to look for when shopping for sunglasses:

  • They block 100% UV rays: Though the style can make or break sunglasses, protection should take precedence. AAO says this is the most important factor when selecting a pair.
  • They are relatively big: Big frames may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but additional coverage can help to prevent sun damage inflicted on the eyes. Pay special attention to wraparound-style glasses, AAO notes, that block some UV rays from entering from the sides.
  • They are durable: Look closely at the temples on both sides, as well as the formation of the screw and hinges. You may have to get certain frames adjusted, but make sure they are of good quality.
  • They are comfortable: Comfort is key, so you want to take note of how they feel at the bridge of your nose. Some sunglasses have nose pads for extra support, though some people may find slight pressure to their nose uncomfortable. Find a pair that you can wear for hours.

Keeping shopping notes in mind, we rounded up the best places to buy sunglasses so your elegant eyewear will last you throughout the warmer months for years on end. And while this guide specifically calls out sunglasses marketed for women, we think anyone should feel free to wear any type of sunglasses, regardless of gender or how it’s labeled.

Here are the best places to buy women’s sunglasses in 2021:

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Ray-Ban

Ray Ban

Ray-Ban has been a favorite retailer of sunglasses for years, thanks to its classic frame shapes and great customer service. 

Ray-Ban has been a big name in the sunglass business for over 80 years, and they’re still credited with making some of the best glasses today. They come in a variety of styles, honoring timeless classics like the Aviators, as well as frames inspired by modern trends. Ray-Ban also offers most glasses in a variety of sizes, so you can get a perfect fit for your face.

All Ray-Ban lenses have UV protection, so they’re as functional as they are fashionable. You can choose from classic, mirrored, or polarized lenses. All offer different levels of UV protection and come in a variety of colors. 

Many members on the Insider Reviews team swear by their Ray-Bans for their flattering styles and high-quality, durable frames that last for years. You can bet that if you choose to spend the money on a pair of Ray-Bans, it’s an investment you’ll have for a long time. — Remi Rosmarin

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Under Armour

underarmour

Under Armour has an athletic appeal to its sunglasses, which are specifically designed for golfing and other activewear outside.

Much like their workout tanks and leggings, performance is a key player in Under Armour‘s shades. Many of the brand’s glasses feature “multiflection” coatings on the lenses, which helps guard against scratches and smudges if they are dropped. Plus, the coating protects against intense sunlight, which is great for long outdoor workouts. 

A great option is the Getaway Mirror Sunglasses, with an adjustable nose pad to help customize the fit. Other great options are the brand’s Glimpse RL Polarized Mirror Lens and Golf Octane Sunglasses. Both are intentionally designed for outdoor wear by eliminating glare without color distortion. Under Armour offers a lifetime warranty, too, should anything go awry.

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MVMT

MVMT

MVMT sells modern, comfortable shades that are as timeless as the brand’s popular watches.

MVMT is popularly known for its line of simple, yet sleek watches — and its wide array of sunglasses are equally stylish. 

The Rival pair, in particular, is one to consider. Featuring sleek round frames and a tortoiseshell design, it’s no surprise this 1950s-inspired model is one of the brand’s bestsellers. The pair is crafted with comfortability and durability in mind, too, with a green lens color that provides a subtle flair to typical eyewear. 

Another top pick is the Nightowl — a truly trendy pair. The stainless steel brow bar really pops, giving you a modern twist on a classic Aviator style. 

The Ace Sunglasses, a black option with gray lenses, channel the sleek style MVMT is known for, They are mid-sized and provide a sure level of comfort and durability, too. And for all of its sunglasses, MVMT offers a two-year limited warranty on any defects, which just sweetens the deal. 

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Warby Parker

Warby Parker

For stylish, anti-glare sunglasses that you can try before you buy, Warby Parker is the place to shop.

Warby Parker has been making budget-friendly eyewear since 2010, and the brand’s focus on quality and affordability make them a true standout. Unlike other retailers, Warby Parker allows you to choose up to five frames to try for five days before you buy them. Find a pair you love, and the brand will send you a brand new pair — they’ll even add your prescription.

All of Warby Parker’s sunglasses feature anti-scratch and anti-glare coatings at no extra cost, which certainly will help you keep the sun at bay. An eye-catching piece is the Delaney, a unique blend of rose gold and medium brown in a chic style. 

Warby Parker‘s “Buy a Pair, Give a Pair” pledge is another reason to shop this brand. With this program, Warby Parker will donate a pair of glasses to someone in need with every purchase of a pair of prescription glasses or sunglasses. That way, you can feel as good as you look. 

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ShopBop

shopbop

For a sweet splurge on sunglasses, Shopbop has you covered with brands like Saint Laurent, Gucci, and Prada.

Shopbop is one of my favorite places to shop because the curation of products is on point season after season. 

If you’re looking to splurge on a pair of sunglasses, Shopbop has more than enough options to excite your shopping senses. The online store has a dedicated designer sunglass boutique where you can find eyewear from brands like Prada, Gucci, and Saint Laurent. 

Whether it’s timeless styles or on-trend frames, Shopbop has them all. They also have a host of more affordable options from brands like Quay and Le Specs if that’s what you’re looking for. 

One of my favorite things about Shopbop is that you can sign in with your Amazon account and get all of the Prime benefits with your Shopbop order — that means free, speedy two-day shipping and free returns. On top of that, Shopbop offers outfit ideas with every product, including sunglasses. You can choose to “shop the look” at the bottom of the page and find some great inspiration for clothing pairings. For high-end sunglasses and a style-first experience, you can’t go wrong with Shopbop. — Remi Rosmarin, commerce reporter

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GlassesUSA

GlassesUSA

GlassesUSA has a slew of options, including designer frames, that allow you to customize your perfect pair of sunglasses.

GlassesUSA provides a bevy of eyewear options, yet its sunglasses really stand apart. Offering designer sunglasses, like Ray-Ban, along with prescription frames and sports options, they have a pair for every need and lifestyle imaginable.

Conveniently, GlassesUSA makes customizing sunglasses accessible. Just upload your prescription, choose your insurance provider, and have fun adding cute finds to your shopping cart. There is also a 100% money-back guarantee when ordering from GlassesUSA, so it’s not only a great hub to try out new trends, 

A sharp choice is the Tom Ford TF606, featuring full-rimmed round frames with adjustable nose pads for a customized fit. The Amelia E. Kristy and Ottoto Damiano pairs, on the other hand, offer the oversized look AAO recommends for receiving enough UV ray protection — and are also happen to be super stylish. 

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Costa Del Mar

costa womens sunglasses

Costa Del Mar has an array of options that are sustainable, don’t distort color, and are perfect for water activities.

If you’re looking for sustainable shades, Costa Del Mar is your one-stop-shop for designs made from recycled and eco-friendly materials. And, the sunglasses are of high quality — there are at least eight people who inspect each pair before it ships. We were blown away in our review of the brand.

For each pair, the hinges are corrosion-resistant and the frames are colored with bio-resin to prevent chipping. Not to mention, the brand is well known for its 580 lens technology that polarizes while eliminating glare and filtering reflective light for clarity.

For lifestyle glasses, the new Mayas feature a lightweight frame in an attention-grabbing cat-eye style. The nose pads and temple grips help keep them comfortably on your face in the warmer months, too.

For other styles, the Fernandina‘s have a minimal rose gold design, while the Anaa‘s reflect are more designer-like. Uniquely, the Cut style has a boxier look that is great for tanning outdoors.

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Check out our other women’s style guides

Everlane

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The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women varies by race and ethnicity, according to a new analysis

waitress New York coronavirus
  • From employment to food sufficiency, the pandemic has had devastating effects on women.
  • 59.3% of Latinas lost income since March 2020 compared to 41.3% non-Hispanic white women, NWLC wrote.
  • Latina and Black women also reported higher shares of food Insufficiency than white women did.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Black and Latina women have been particularly hard-hit by the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, experiencing higher rates of income loss, food insecurity and struggles to pay bills on time, a new analysis from the National Women’s Law Center finds.

The Census Bureau has been running a Household Pulse Survey since April 2020 to get a sense of the pandemic’s effects on Americans. Now in its third phase, the survey includes questions related to employment, income loss, food sufficiency, and household spending, among other topics.

The nonprofit organization National Women’s Law Center took a closer look at the survey results from March 3, 2021 to March 15, 2021 to see how some of these findings compare for women of different racial backgrounds and ethnicities.

“Due to already high rates of pre-pandemic economic insecurity and lost earnings due to racial and gender wage gaps, women entered the COVID-19 crisis with little or no financial cushion,” NWLC wrote in a recent fact sheet.

Based on several metrics from the Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey, NWLC found that the pandemic has been particularly devastating for non-Hispanic Black women and Latina women compared to non-Hispanic white women as well as non-Hispanic white men.

For instance, one in five non-Hispanic Black women and Latina women during the data collection period “reported experiencing food insufficiency in the previous seven days.” Only 4.0% of non-Hispanic Asian women and 6.9% of non-Hispanic white women reported this. Feeding America wrote that racial disparities in food insufficiency have continued during the pandemic. Feeding America also estimates that 45 million people experienced food insecurity in 2020 and predicts an estimate of 42 million people for 2021.

Additionally, 59.3% of Latina women reported a loss of household income since March 2020 compared to 41.3% non-Hispanic white women. Additionally, 52.7% of non-Hispanic Black women reported this. The share of non-Hispanic Asian women who reported this was similar to that of non-Hispanic white women, at 41.5%. A larger share of Asian women, 4.7 percentage points higher, however expected a loss of household income in the next four weeks from the data collection period compared to white women.

“Millions of women were already supporting themselves and their families on meager wages before coronavirus-mitigation lockdowns sent unemployment rates skyrocketing and millions of jobs disappeared,” Brookings wrote in October 2020 about the pandemic’s effect on women.

The pandemic has not only affected employment and earnings for some women but also the ability to pay for household bills on time. Latina, Black, and Asian women all had a higher share of respondents saying they were behind on rent or mortgage payments compared to the share of respondents for either white men or white women. The share of non-Hispanic white women who reported being behind on mortgage payments was similar to that of non-Hispanic white men at 8.1% and 8.0% respectively.

Research from University of Chicago and the University of Notre Dame also shows that the poverty rate reached its highest rate so far during the pandemic in March, from 10.3% in March 2020 to 11.7% in March 2021. The authors of this report note that women were one of the groups that “experienced the sharpest rise in poverty” in March, underlying the pandemic’s negative impact on women.

Women did see another month of employment gain in March. There were 315,000 jobs added for women in March after a blowout employment report of 916,000 jobs gained. The unemployment rate for women also has dropped from pandemic highs to 5.9% in March. This rate is still higher than February 2020’s rate of 3.4%.

“At this point we’re moving in the right direction, but there’s still a long way to go,” Jasmine Tucker, the NWLC’s director of research, previously told Insider.

NWLC found that it would take 15 months for women to reach pre-pandemic levels of employment based on March employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

C. Nicole Mason, the president and CEO of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, previously told Insider that getting the coronavirus under control and reopening schools for in-person learning would benefit women getting back into the labor force as some women have had to take on more childcare responsibilities during the pandemic.

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Women saw a big increase in jobs in March but there’s still a long way to go

waitress
  • Women gained 315,000 jobs in March, about half of men’s monthly employment gain.
  • NWLC wrote it would take roughly 15 months to get back to women’s pre-pandemic employment at this rate.
  • Measures like raising the minimum wage and implementing universal childcare could help.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The March jobs report brought something relatively new to the story of pandemic unemployment: a touch of optimism.

Based on the report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 916,000 nonfarm payroll jobs were added. That is the highest monthly gain so far this year. If the US continues to add jobs each month at that rate, employment can reach February 2020 levels in just around 10 months.

But, as always, there’s more to the story, especially when it comes to one group who’s continually been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic’s economic devastation: women.

Women’s nonfarm payroll employment increased by 315,000 last month while men saw a gain of 601,000 jobs according to the National Women’s Law Center‘s calculation. The NWLC wrote that this rate translates to taking about 15 months to get women’s employment back to February 2020’s level of 76.3 million. For men, it will take a little over six months.

“At this point we’re moving in the right direction, but there’s still a long way to go,” Jasmine Tucker, the NWLC’s director of research, told Insider.

Still, there was a large increase in the net number of women who are at least 20 years old entering the labor force in March. However, March was another month of men exiting the labor force. The following chart highlights the monthly change in civilian labor force participation for men and women from the past several months:

Based on the chart, 495,000 women age 20 and over joined the labor force last month. This is much higher than the 26,000 that entered the labor force in February 2021. On the other hand, 117,000 men age 20 and over left the labor force last month, almost 40,000 higher than the 78,000 men who left a month earlier.

One concern, however, is the quality of the jobs that those women are taking, especially with a surge in leisure and hospitality employment.

“I think there’s a lot of people right now who are taking anything they can get,” Tucker said. Women moving into those jobs could lead to the wage gap widening later on.

With the uptick in women entering the labor force, their labor force participation rate has also slightly increased. The rate for women 20 years and over was 57.4% in March, 0.4 percentage points higher than February. Men’s rate continues to be much higher than women, although the rate ticked down by 0.1 percentage points to 69.5%. The following chart highlights the labor force participation rate for men and women over the past year:

Both women’s and men’s unemployment rates have declined from their pandemic peaks in April 2020 but are still higher than their pre-pandemic rates. The gap between the unemployment rates has narrowed and is now only a difference of 0.1 percentage point for people who are at least 20 years old. The following chart highlights the unemployment rate for men and women over the course of the pandemic:

“If we added all of the 1.8 million women who’ve dropped out of the labor force and added them to the ranks of the unemployed, women’s unemployment rate would have been 8% and men’s would have been 8% too – if we count the millions of men who’ve dropped out,” Tucker said.

She added: “Black women would have been 13.4%, and Latinas would have been 11.1%. These are crisis levels. We are, I think, still in a crisis here.”

Tucker said that measures like raising the minimum wage and implementing universal childcare will be key in creating a more equitable recovery.

“You can’t go to work if you don’t have a road to get there. You can’t go to work if you don’t have a safe place for your kid. Right. These are like synonymous things. Childcare is infrastructure and we need to treat it that way.”

A tale of two pandemics, even for women

The economic impact on women has also been bifurcated, depending on what profession they’re in, according to Saru Jayaraman, the president of One Fair Wage. It’s not just a story of employment, or lack thereof.

“It’s important to understand that for low wage workers, it’s less of a a loss in terms of employment and jobs and more of an income loss,” Jayaraman said.

She said that conditions for workers in those jobs have been worsening, all while risk increases. Recent research from One Fair Wage found that, during the pandemic, female tipped workers reported tips were down, but harassment was up.

And so the recovery numbers – especially in the restaurant sector – may not tell the whole story. While jobs may be recovering there, with funding pouring in from the American Rescue Plan, the devastation for women working in the industry is “incomprehensible.”

On a policy level, the top priority should be raising the minimum wage, according to Jayaraman; 59% of the workers who would benefit from a $15 minimum wage are women.

“Last year, we started a relief fund for service workers; 240,000 workers applied for relief. And I can’t tell you the number of women waitresses who wrote to us and said, ‘I can no longer feed my children. The lines are too long at the food banks. I am now resorting to stealing food because I have no choice,'”Jayaraman said.

“Some of them wrote and said, ‘I can’t pay the electricity bill, so we don’t know how much longer we can be in touch with you.'”

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Egypt’s first female ship captain fears for her career after she was blamed falsely for the Suez Canal blockage when she was aboard a vessel 200 miles away

ever given suez canal
Ever Given, a Panama-flagged cargo ship, that was wedged across the Suez Canal and blocking traffic in the vital waterway is seen Saturday, March 27, 2021.

  • Marwa Elselehdar is Egypt’s first female ship’s captain.
  • Online rumors and fake news headlines blamed her for the Ever Given grounding, she told the BBC.
  • Elselehdar was actually 200 miles away from the incident when it occurred.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Egypt’s first female ship’s captain was blamed for the Suez Canal blockage despite having been hundreds of miles away from the incident, she told BBC News.

Marwa Elselehdar said that she saw online rumors accusing her of being responsible for the Ever Given container ship becoming beached, the media outlet reported.

At the time of the jam, Elselehdar was working as a first mate on the Aida IV. This vessel was in Alexandria – more than 200 miles away from the site of the collision.

An investigation is underway to explain the Ever Given’s grounding, but it is clear that the 29-year-old was not to blame.

Read more: The 4 biggest losers of the Suez Canal fiasco – and 4 surprising winners

Rumors circulating online about Elselehdar’s supposed culpability were made worse by the sharing of screenshots of fake news headlines, BBC News reported.

Several social media accounts also impersonated her and spread false claims putting the blame on her, the media outlet said.

“I felt that I might be targeted maybe because I’m a successful female in this field or because I’m Egyptian, but I’m not sure,” Elselehdar told the BBC.

The young woman described how she was “shocked” when she first saw the baseless accusations on her phone.

The rumors concerned her. “I tried so hard to negate what was in the article because it was affecting my reputation and all the efforts I exerted to be where I am now,” she said in the BBC interview.

A post shared by Marwa Elselehdar💫مروة السلحدار (@marwa.elselehdar)

Elselehdar is one of the few women in the heavily male-dominated shipping industry.

In 2016, she became the youngest and first female Egyptian captain to cross the Suez Canal. A year later, she was honored by Egypt’s president during Egypt’s Women’s Day celebrations, the BBC said.

She hopes that her career, despite this unfortunate setback, inspires other women to break into the industry.

“My message to females who want to be in the maritime field is fight for what you love and not let any negativity affect you,” she told the BBC.

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The 6 best places to buy women’s workout clothes

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • The right workout clothing helps keep inconveniences like overheating, wet patches, and chafing at bay.
  • The best workout apparel offers a combination of high-performance materials, smart design, and versatile style.
  • We recommend Nike‘s workout gear for women overall, as it’s the best blend of price, performance, and variety.
Best activewear for women 4x3

Working out often forces us to feel discomfort. We’re hot, sweaty, tired, and, though we’re not exactly sure, we think we’re beginning to feel the onset of shin splints.

But the right activewear gear makes all the difference. It inhibits nuisances like chafing, wet spots, heat-trapping, blisters, and sometimes injuries. At a baseline, it reduces the number of unnecessary challenges so we can focus on the task at hand. Ideally, it helps us push ourselves a little further, and perform a little better. But, in general, it should simply make the act of moving a more enjoyable experience.

Below, we’ve ranked the best workout brands to shop based on Insider Reviews’ own testing. Each one excels in gear that’s functional, stylish, and performs well. The individual brands offer a variety of strengths: eco-friendly practices, comfortable athleisure, styles that can transition from yoga to the office, greater size ranges, and more inclusive options to name a few.

Here are the best workout clothes for women in 2020:

The best overall

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Nike caters to pretty much every sport with a variety of inclusive styles, making it our top pick for high-performance workout gear. 

Nike has the best balance of price, performance, and variety in its workout gear. A pair of leggings can go for upwards of $70, but you can find plenty of $40-$60 options, and the site semi-frequently offers discounts. Nike items also have a good price-per-wear breakdown thanks to an expert handle on performance engineering and technical materials across categories.

There’s something for athletes of pretty much every sport: running, golf, soccer, training, tennis, basketball, softball, skateboarding, swim, and lacrosse — and all different types of gear, from women’s running shoes to swimwear and compression layers. And they’ve expanded their activewear to have more inclusive sizes (from XS to 3X) and styles (for example, high-performance hijab options). 

What to buy:

Read more about Nike:

The best budget-friendly

Athleta UPF

While performance pieces have a reputation for being expensive, Athleta provides quality styles at more wallet-friendly price points.

Gap’s Athleta is a great combination of affordability, style, and functionality. Plus, we liked the company’s leggings quite a bit during testing. It also has a wide variety of activewear. Currently, it stocks gear for the following activities: yoga/studio, hike, commute/travel, and run/train. And you may get lucky with frequent discounts, so it’s always worth checking the sale section first. 

However, head-to-head, Nike’s products have a slight edge when it comes to performance and comfort in our experience. But, it’s worth noting that they’re both excellent options we shop at frequently. Athleta is a B-Corp, so if a business’s ethics and practices are factored into your decision, Athleta may win out over Nike. 

What to buy: 

Read more about Athleta:

The best athleisure gear

Patagonia womens

For pieces that perform and are stylish enough to wear anywhere, you’ll want to check out Patagonia

Aside from creating one of the best pairs of athleisure leggings we’ve ever tested, Patagonia makes one of the mainstream culture’s crown jewels of comfort: the Synchilla Snap-T Fleece Pullover. And whether you’re a fan of the label and what it stands for or you couldn’t care less, the brand’s quality and comfort speak for itself

We trust Patagonia as much for form as we do for function. And while its prices aren’t the least (or most) expensive on the market, you’ll get a wide variety of items, a product that’s built to last, and the security of a generous return policy without a tight time limit. It’s also a big perk that the company is a B Corp, has donated 1% of its profit to environmental organizations since the ’80s, and won the UN’s Champions of the Earth award for entrepreneurial vision.

You may get lucky with a seasonal Patagonia sale, but you’ll probably only see discounts on its bestsellers — like the Synchilla Snap-T Fleece Pullover — in select colorways. 

What to buy: 

Read more about Patagonia:

The best size-inclusive

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With sizes ranging from 00-40, Universal Standard has set the, well, standard for inclusive sizing in workout clothing. 

Universal Standard is the place to go for cool, high-quality closet staples available in sizes 00-40. They also tend to offer items in regular, tall, and petite lengths. We love the company’s clothes because they’re comfortable and high-performing — but we’re equally invested in its commitment to making clothes for more people than the industry currently serves, especially since the average American woman is between size 16 to 18.

If you buy a piece from the core collection and, in the future, it no longer fits due to size fluctuation, the company has a Universal Fit Liberty policy that lets you replace it with your new size, within a year of purchase, free of charge. 

However, Universal Standard doesn’t have the most expansive selection, and sometimes stock can be limited in certain bestsellers. 

What to buy: 

Read more about Universal Standard:

The best for durability

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You won’t have to justify splurging when you buy your workout gear from Lululemon. Its styles are created with longevity in mind, which means you’ll save in the long run.

Lululemon is home to some of the best gear for yoga, running, training, and sweating. Its gear is pricey — a pair of plain black leggings can go for nearly $100 — but the comfort, utility, longevity, and style give it an edge that makes a higher upfront cost justifiable if you can comfortably make the splurge.

We’ve found ourselves wearing every piece on repeat, bringing the cost per wear down to something far more manageable. 

What to buy: 

Read more about Lululemon:

The best eco-friendly

Girlfriend Collective

With its size-inclusive styles and priority toward sustainability, Girlfriend Collective provides workout gear you can feel good about wearing. 

Girlfriend Collective has some of the best leggings we’ve ever worn, and we appreciate the brand’s color variety, relatively low price points, and inclusive size range. We also like that Girlfriend Collective currently offers versatility in its colors — 14 total (five essential, and nine limited-edition) — and sizing (it’s available in three inseam lengths and sizes XXS-6XL) in its bestselling leggings. However, we wouldn’t recommend wearing these leggings to a hot yoga class or HIIT given their thickness. 

Another perk is that the company prioritizes sustainability in its materials and processes. Its packaging is 100% recyclable, its compression leggings are made of 79% recycled polyester from 25 post-consumer water bottles, and its Cupro tees are made from 100% cupro, a fiber made from the waste of the cotton industry. And, while cupro saves a reported 682 gallons of water compared to cotton, the company also pledged to donate 10% of its net profits to Charity Water to offset any water usage that may occur during production.

However, slow fashion that’s also in high demand can lead to stock outages, and Girlfriend Collective doesn’t always have what we want available. We also wish it had a larger selection.

What to buy: 

Read more about Girlfriend Collective:

Brands we also recommend

janji, $64

We also considered the following brands for this guide but, for the reasons listed below, didn’t rank them officially. We still recommend them. 

Outdoor Voices

OutdoorVoices makes a few of our favorite athleisure items, and they’re another example of a company that does a great job of balancing form and function. Its gear transitions seamlessly from lounging on the couch to rushing through the airport.

But, we’ve had a few misses in the past with OV products (we’re not super fans of the popular Spring Leggings), and its prices are comparable to Patagonia, with a less generous — but pretty standard — return policy

Tracksmith

Tracksmith makes exceptional and versatile running gear — including some of the best temperature-regulating leggings and layers that I’ve tested. But, they tend to be pretty expensive (its Singlet is $65, and Turnover Half Zip are $128), and their running-focused inventory isn’t as diverse as other options on this list.

Turn Over Half Zip (small)

2XU

I count 2XU as the creator of the best and most breathable compressive running tights that I’ve ever found, but its prices are high across categories (the tights go for $120 on Amazon) with few sales, and the company has fewer categories and offerings than other generalist brands.  

Janji

Janji also makes some of the best workout gear I’ve ever tested — in particular, its short-sleeve T-shirts and windbreaker running jacket. And while the company is running-specific, its gear transitions well to other activities.

But this also means the company doesn’t have a very diverse range of products (though, it’s line continues to expand with new gear every season). Still, I highly recommend shopping here. The company also has a social mission, and while prices on average are a little high, the price-per-wear has been great in our experience.

Alo Yoga

We loved Alo’s Airlift Leggings in our testing, but we can’t confidently say all of its pieces warrant their relatively high prices — though we’ve already found a handful of standouts. And the company carries less diverse inventory than most of the brands mentioned here.

Everlane

With just four styles, Everlane’s activewear selection is on the smaller side — so we didn’t give them a top spot on this list. That said, the brand’s Perform Leggings rank as some of the most comfortable leggings we’ve ever worn. They’re on the thinner side, which means they aren’t sturdy enough for high-intensity workouts, but the Perform Leggings are great for yoga and pilates.  

ADAY

ADAY used to be our pick for “best workout clothes you can wear all day.” And while we love the brand’s stylish leggings and tops, the lack of performance styles it offers made it tough to keep on this list. We still highly recommend ADAY, though, especially if you’re looking for the best leggings you can buy

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We’ve tested over 10 women’s underwear brands to find the best ones – here are the 5 we recommend most

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Parade underwear review

  • You wear underwear every day, so it should be the most comfortable and durable clothing you own.
  • Luckily, brands Tommy John, Everlane, and Parade are getting it right.
  • We’ve rounded up the best underwear brands for women, plus our favorite styles to shop, below.

Underwear. You won’t give it a second thought if it’s fabulously comfortable, but if it’s anything less than that, it’s all you’ll be able to think about. But thankfully, there are plenty of options these days that are as comfortable as they are playful, and you really can’t ask for more when it comes to your undergarments.

But how do you know if your underwear is or isn’t working for you? One, if not the most important factor to consider is comfort. Does your underwear stay in place all day or does it continuously ride up? Does your underwear feel like your second skin or is it irritating? It’s also crucial to check out material. Underwear fabrics should not only be soft and cozy, but sound enough to withstand several washes. And if you have a more active lifestyle, you might want to find underwear that’s made of stretchy, breathable materials.

And if you purchase a pair of underwear that you realize doesn’t look or feel quite right, many online underwear companies have satisfaction guarantees. That typically means you can get a replacement, refund, or store credit. Hopefully, though, this list of brands and product recommendations can help guide you down a path that most suits you.

Here are the best places to buy underwear in 2021:

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Updated on 1/14/2021 by Katie Decker-Jacoby. Updated prices and links. Rewrote the introduction and summary bullets.

Tommy John

Tommy John

Tommy John has mastered the art of underwear with styles like its Second Skin Brief, Air Cheeky, and Air Thong.

Tommy John may have started off with men’s underwear, but its new feminine Second Skin and Air underwear collections prove that the company’s designers know a thing or two about what people want in a great pair of underwear. That means no scrunching, chafing, bunching, or riding up. And boy does Tommy John’s underwear deliver on its promise that there will be “no adjustment needed.”

The Insider Reviews team tested out both the Second Skin and Air underwear collections and loved every pair. From the sexy thong and cheeky styles to the practical and attractive briefs, Tommy John’s underwear is super comfortable.

The Air collection is fantastic for hotter weather or workouts because it’s made with improved ventilation, moisture-wicking, and deodorizing fabric. The Air underwear comes in briefs, cheeky, and thongs that are made from 77% Nylon mesh and 23% Spandex.

What to buy:

Everlane

Everlane_7

Everlane goes back to basics with supremely soft Supima cotton that’s ethically sourced and transparently priced.

If you don’t want to spend $20+ on one pair of underwear, you’re in luck, because our favorite basics brand Everlane has an underwear collection. The online company is known for its transparent pricing and ethically produced clothing, so you can feel good about the underwear you’re buying.

Everlane’s underwear collection features bikini, thong, hipster, and high-rise hipster styles that are all made with Supima cotton that’s grown in the United States and made into underwear at ethical factories. The cotton’s extra-long fibers are super soft on your skin and the material is breathable. 

We at Insider Reviews reviewed Everlane’s cotton underwear and recycled nylon underwear and we loved them. The cotton high-rise hipster was a group favorite with its full coverage and comfortable feel. I also personally loved the regular hipster style, which is both sexy and comfortable. Those of us who prefer thongs were also favorably impressed with Everlane’s take on that classic sexy style.

All of Everlane’s underwear is completely basic, or as the ad campaign says, “No frills. No bows. No bullsh*t.” It’s your everyday underwear. It’s made for you and puts your comfort above anything else.

If you’re looking for affordable, high-quality underwear that’s made ethically from the best material, Everlane’s Supima cotton underwear is for you. 

What to buy:

Aerie

Aerie

You only have to pay $25 for 6 pairs of underwear from Aerie, but just because it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg doesn’t mean it’s not a fantastic piece of underwear. 

Beyond the unbeatable price point, Aerie also makes truly comfortable and dependable underwear. Simple and unfussy, the majority of these undergarments are made of good ol’ cotton. But we’re not fazed by the lack of rayon, satin, and silk. 

To say that Aerie has a wide selection would be an understatement — No matter what kind of style or color or print you’re looking for, this brand has it.

If all this isn’t enough to convince you to give Aerie a try, perhaps the message that the company is trying to send will do the trick. The brand’s #AerieReal campaign may have first debuted in 2014, but it’s still appealing to people who aren’t buying feminine underwear from airbrushed supermodels. The company has long pushed for honest acceptance of people’s bodies, and when it makes underwear this wearable, it’s pretty easy to accept yourself. 

What to buy:

TomboyX

TomboyX 2  Photo Credit  Lyndsey Byrnes

TomboyX makes gender-inclusive underwear that ranges in style from thongs to 9-inch boxer briefs and comes in sizes XS to 4X.

TomboyX adapted masculine-style underwear like trunks and boxer briefs to suit women’s bodies, giving people who prefer wearing underwear styles that aren’t traditionally feminine a more tailored option.

If, for example, you prefer wearing men’s boxer briefs, but you’re sick of feeling that annoying bunching that comes from creating space for certain parts of male anatomy, TomboyX has boxer briefs for you. Whether you want boyshorts, 4.5-inch long shorts, 6-inch long shorts, or 9-inch long shorts, TomboyX has you covered. 

The company also makes more traditionally feminine styles like thongs, bikinis, and briefs. Sizes range from XS to 4X to suit many different body shapes and sizes, so there really ought to be something for everyone.

The underwear is made with Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex cotton that’s eco-friendly. You can also get MicroModal and athlete-friendly Active Drirelease fabric if you prefer.

A few members of the team have tried TomboyX’s underwear, and we all love it. Our reviewer Jen Gushue loves the cotton boyshorts

What to buy:

Parade

Parade underwear brand startup models

Bright, colorful, and extremely budget-friendly, Parade is perfect for those looking to stock up on comfortable underwear. 

Parade is known for stretchy, comfortable, can-barely-feel-them underwear — from cheeky-cut briefs to high-waisted thongs. The underwear comes in two materials; the Re:Play fabric is made of breathable, recycled yarn, while its Silky Mesh is stretchy, breathable cotton you can barely feel against your skin. There are also five different styles to choose from, so you can always get a comfortable pair of panties

The Insider Reviews team tested Parade’s underwear and found all of the styles they tried to be super comfortable. Reporter Mara Leighton relies on the Parade Thong as her go-to workout undergarment, because of the material’s silky feel and non-roll waistband. 

Parade also wins points for its commitment to fun colors and patterns. The brand is constantly rolling out new collections, from bright neons to kitschy mesh dots. The only drawback — Parade can sometimes have low stock in its popular styles, especially during the brand’s many sales. So snap up your favorites when they’re available.

What to buy:

Other shops to consider:

MeUndies

While we tend to favor the brands mentioned above after testing, we’d also recommend picks from these shops, too:

  • Hanky Panky: This brand is responsible for many cult-favorite lace styles — primarily thongs. While we love Hanky Panky underwear, they’re admittedly a little pricey for what you’re getting. If you’re a fan it’d be wise to stock up during annual sale events.
  • Spanx: We’re fans of the brand’s pants and bras, but we haven’t yet tested their underwear. However, the brand offers a good style variety, comfortable materials, and a decent XS-3X size range.
  • MeUndies: We think MeUndies makes some of the most comfortable underwear ever, and the brand has the best variety of patterns. 
  • True & Co: For those of us who don’t want our underwear to be just barely there, the hipster is the perfect underwear, and True & Co makes great hipsters.
  • Lively: Lively is another great underwear startup that makes affordable underwear at $10 a pair or 3 pairs for $25. We like the brand’s underwear as well as its bras and recommend both.

What we’re looking forward to testing:

Knix Underwear

We’re constantly on the hunt for our new favorite pair of underwear. Here is what we’re testing next:

  • Knix: Knix is known for its leakproof period underwear that rivals other, similar brands on the market. But it blends that functionality with fashion, and regularly releases beautiful collections of chic prints and colors. Plus, it’s ultra-inclusive advertising is a breath of fresh air. We’re looking forward to seeing how the period underwear stands up. 
  • Stripe & Stare: The brand is known for delicate, feminine “knickers” in kitschy patterns and colors. But don’t like the girlish prints fool you. Stripe & Stare is made from Tencel Mirco Modal, an eco-friendly fabric that is totally sustainable. The brand claims its the softest material we’ll ever wear — a challenge we’re ready to accept. 
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Women reported worse side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine than men, CDC study shows

Vaccine distribution
  • More women reported they experienced side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine, a CDC study showed.
  • The survey conducted by the CDC analyzed more than 13 million vaccine recipients as of January 13.
  • Women made up nearly 80% of the 7,000 recipients who reported side effects.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Women made up a majority of those reporting adverse effects from the COVID-19 vaccine, a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed.

Nearly 7,000 people reported to the CDC that they were experiencing side effects after receiving the vaccine, including symptoms of headaches, fatigue, and dizziness. Women made up nearly 80% of those who reported side effects.

The survey conducted last month by researchers at the CDC analyzed safety data on the more than 13 million recipients of the coronavirus vaccine as of January 13.

Over the course of a month, a total of 13,794,904 COVID-19 vaccines were administered to Americans – of which 8,436,863 (61.2%) were administered to women.

Shelly Kendeffy, a medical technician in State College in Pennsylvania who received the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, told The New York Times that immediately after receiving the shot, she felt fine.

However, by the afternoon: “My teeth were chattering, but I was sweating – like soaked, but frozen,” Kendeffy told The Times. She said six of her seven female colleagues also experienced symptoms like body aches, chills, and fatigue, and the seventh woman who didn’t display flu-like symptoms said she spent the night after the vaccine vomiting.

Of the eight male colleagues who were also vaccinated, Kendeffy said one had soreness, another got a headache, two felt fatigued, and four felt nothing at all.

Sabra Klein, a microbiologist and immunologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told The Times she was “not at all surprised,” given that “this sex difference is completely consistent with past reports of other vaccines.”

In 2013, a study conducted by scientists revealed that adult women were at higher risk of reactions than men for the 2009 pandemic flu vaccine, and another study researching anaphylactic reactions to influenza vaccines between 1990 and 2016 showed that women accounted for a majority of the adverse responses.

Although women are at a higher risk of adverse effects, Klein said women shouldn’t worry about the likelihood of side effects because “you are mounting a very robust immune response, and you will likely be protected as a result,” she told The Times.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 11 best sheet masks we’ve tested for every skin type

skII

  • Sheet masks offer an easy, speedy way to treat your skin without having to leave home.
  • We’ve tested dozens of sheet masks and rounded up our favorites for every skin type.
  • You can also check out our guide to the best moisturizers.

As well as being renowned for their incredible hydrating properties, sheet masks treat different skin concerns, from soothing sensitive skin to brightening dull complexions. Some are great for a pre-night-out boost, while others work better if you wear them before you go to bed, so the serum can soak in and you can wake up with glowing skin. Many experts are now using sheet masks as part of their daily skincare routine.

With the incredible number of sheet masks on the market, working out which one is right for you can be a minefield. As well as researching thousands of reviews from beauty experts and buyers, we’ve tried and tested all sorts of sheet masks to come up with our top picks.

Here the best sheet masks in 2021:

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Farmacy Coconut Gel Sheet Mask Sheet

farmacy sheet mask

The Farmacy Coconut Gel Sheet Mask Sheet is loaded with ultra-moisturizing ingredients for a boost of hydration in a pinch.

Farmacy’s Coconut Gel Sheet Mask is loaded with nourishing ingredients like coconut water, hyaluronic acid, and cucumber extract. Hyaluronic acid can hold 1,000 times its weight in water, so it delivers some serious hydration. Paired with calming cucumber extract and moisturizing, refreshing coconut water, this mask works for any skin type. Just slap the Coconut Gel Sheet Mask on for 15 minutes — that’s all you need for the mask to work its magic. Take it off to reveal more supple, smooth, calm skin.

Coconut Gel Sheet Mask (small)
Patchology Hydrate FlashMasque 5 Minute Facial Sheet Mask

patchology sheet mask

For smoother, hydrated skin in just five minutes, the Patchology Hydrate FlashMasque 5 Minute Facial Sheet Mask is hard to beat.

Patchology’s mask is your secret weapon for defeating dry skin because it features ingredients like hyaluronic acid for hydration, and vitamin B5 and betaine to improve elasticity and smooth skin. Traditionally, sheet masks take up to 20 minutes to work, but the Patchology Hydrate Flashmasque accelerates delivery of the ingredients to the skin with its unique material, so you see results in just five minutes.

This speedy skin saver is perfect for a last-minute touch-up before you put on your makeup or before you go to bed. It is the ideal quick fix for winter when your skin needs some extra hydration or on a long flight (as long as you don’t mind scaring the flight attendants).

Hydrate FlashMasque 5 Minute Facial Sheet Mask (small)
Erno Laszlo White Marble Bright Hydrogel Masks

Erno Laszlo sheet mask

For an easy, fast path to radiant skin, the Erno Laszlo White Marble Bright Hydrogel Masks should be your go-to sheet mask.

The White Marble Bright Hydrogel Mask from renowned skincare brand Erno Laszlo is designed to instantly brighten skin and reduce the appearance of dark spots and aging. The serum is made up of allotonin to plump up the skin, essential oils including peony and chamomile to moisturize, and sunflower seed oil to protect against wrinkles.

We’re obsessed with Erno Laszlo’s range of sheet masks, and this one is awesome. Each sheet mask comes in two pieces of gel-like material. It felt a bit slippery and strange, but it was easy to apply. I liked that it didn’t slip off my face so I could walk around while the mask did its work.

White Marble Bright Hydrogel Mask (small)
Dr. Jart+ Dermamask Water Jet Vital Hydra Solution Mask

dr jart +

When you want to give dry, sensitive skin some extra love without spending a fortune at the spa, the Dr. Jart+ Dermamask Water Jet Vital Hydra Solution Mask is ideal. 

Our favorite water-based face mask for sensitive skin comes from the legendary Korean Brand Dr Jart+. The mask is packed with hydrating ingredients like algae extract, aquaxyl, xylitol, and oligo-hyaluronic acid to moisturize sensitive skin without irritation. The mask is designed to calm redness and cool irritated skin, making it a godsend for people with sensitive skin. It works just as well for those with oily, dry, or combination skin.

Dermamask Water Jet Vital Hydra Solution Mask (small)
SK-II’s Pitera Facial Treatment Mask

SKII sheet mask

Japanese brand SK-II’s Pitera Facial Treatment Mask is a cult classic because it visibly hydrates, brightens, and firms your skin.

The SK-II Pitera Facial Treatment Mask is an all-in-one sheet mask that does everything you need for a glowing, gorgeous complexion. The sheet is soaked with SK-II’s signature serum Pitera. Discovered in a sake brewery back in the ’70s, this liquid is packed with naturally-derived vitamins, amino acids, and minerals. It is designed to refine texture and address uneven skin tone, dryness, large pores, and oiliness. SK-II suggests you use a mask once or twice a week or before a special event.

The SK-II Pitera Facial Treatment Mask lived up to the hype in our testing. It made my skin look more radiant instantly, and my skin felt tighter and softer. The mask fit well and stayed put, although it felt a bit slimy. Granted, most face masks feel a bit slimy because it’s the slime that fixes your skin.

Pitera Facial Treatment Mask (small)
Tatcha Luminous Deep Hydration Lifting Mask

tatcha sheet mask

For smoother skin in just 15 minutes, the Tatcha Luminous Deep Hydration Lifting Mask is our top pick.

Tatcha’s gel-like face mask is packed with powerful anti-aging products including red algae and hyaluronic acid, as well as green tea and rice to target dryness, dullness, and loss of firmness. It is derived from coconut and is more effective than paper masks.

Tatcha claims it can increase the skin’s total moisture by 200% in 15 minutes. While we can’t verify that claim, we can say that it left our skin feeling great. It’s a bit fiddly, as you have to remove one of the layers to put it on, but it fit well. 

Luminous Deep Hydration Lifting Mask (small)
Leaders AC Clear Treatment Mask

AC Clear sheet mask

If you’re prone to breakouts and want effective instant relief, then you’ll love the Leaders AC Clear Treatment Mask.

The AC Clear Treatment Mask from Korean company Leaders Insolution balances skin and provides relief for irritated, stressed, and sensitive skin that’s prone to breakouts and inflammation. This hypoallergenic 100% cotton sheet mask is packed with maple water, hyaluronic acid, and snail secretions to calm skin and reduce redness. It’s gentle enough to be used daily and the more often you use it, the better the results.

AC Clear Treatment Mask (small)
Tonymoly I’m Real Avocado Sheet Mask

tony moly sheet mask

For a fun and very affordable sheet mask with great results, the Tonymoly I’m Real Avocado Sheet Mask is a winner.

Established in Seoul more than 10 years ago, Tonymoly pioneered the Korean sheet mask beauty trend that has spread across the world. The innovative brand is now a household name in the US. There are 14 different masks in the Tonymoly I’m Real Sheet Mask collection to address every possible skin concern and we’ve tried them all. Our favorite is the I’m Real Avocado Sheet Mask.

Ideal for dull, dry, and stressed-out skin, this highly moisturizing sheet mask is soaked with nutrient-rich avocado essence. The paper sheet has a pleasant smell but feels quite delicate. After leaving it on for 20 minutes in our testing, our skin definitely felt softer and looked fresher.

I’m Real Avocado Sheet Mask (small)
St. Ives Nourish and Soothe Oatmeal Mask

St Ives sheet mask

St. Ives’ Nourish and Soothe Oatmeal Mask helps calm even the reddest of faces.

Just like the oatmeal baths of your childhood, St. Ives’ Nourish and Soothe Oatmeal Mask soothes whatever is ailing your face. Sunburn? Pop this on. Windburn? You got it. That’s all thanks to the oatmeal extract. It works to calm any type of skin issue while leaving your face feeling refreshed and clean.

And since it’s in an easy-to-use sheet, you can get all of the benefits without the mess. This is actually a great mask to pop on after you’ve applied a more detoxifying mask. It will calm things down while sealing in the good-for-you ingredients of the first.

Nourish and Soothe Oatmeal Mask (small)
Leaders Cosmetics 7 Wonders Amazonian Acai Anti Pollution Mask

7 wonders face mask

Leaders Cosmetics 7 Wonders Amazonian Acai Anti Pollution Mask helps fight free radical damage, leading to a bright, beautiful complexion.

If you live in a city, it’s not just the sun you have to worry about every time you step outside. Free radicals brought on by pollution can wreak havoc on your skin, leading to a dull complexion. But a skincare regimen rich in antioxidants is perfect for combating these issues. And Leaders Cosmetics 7 Wonders Amazonian Acai Anti Pollution Mask should be a regular part of any antioxidant-rich regimen.

This little mask is chock-full of good-for-you ingredients that help fight free radicals. Vitamins C, B, and E are the powerhouses of this mask, while acai berries come in for the assist. All these ingredients work to wick away the negative effects of pollution.

7 Wonders Amazonian Acai Anti Pollution Mask (small)
Check out our other great skincare guides

body lotion

The best exfoliators


The best moisturizers


The best eye creams

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The pandemic has been especially brutal for women striving to be executives

woman giving presentation

A new report on women and leadership from IBM published on International Women’s Day shows that there has been no change in the number of women in top executive positions, and some leadership roles have even seen a decline.

The new report looks at women in the corporate pipeline, estimating the share of women in positions at different career levels. The analysis covers 10 industries, like healthcare and retail, from nine different countries or regions. 

Women are already underrepresented in various corporate leadership positions, and it seems like representation is becoming worse based on the new report.

“There are fewer women in the pipeline today than in 2019, a situation made worse by the pandemic,” IBM wrote in the report. In the US, around 2.3 million women who are at least 20 years old have left the workforce since February 2020, compared to around 1.8 million men, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

IBM’s report shows that there was no change in the share of women who were part of the C-suite and executive board positions in 2019, when IBM first conducted this survey, and in 2021. Additionally, the share of women has decreased in other positions, from junior professionals to senior vice presidents:

Senior vice presidents and both middle and senior managers saw the largest percentage-point declines between 2019 and 2021. 

Interestingly, the number in the top two leadership positions saw no change despite “national mandates in a growing list of countries that includes Norway, Spain, France, Iceland, and Germany.” These requirements include a certain number of women be part of boards, according to a NPR article cited by the report. 

Similarly, according to a report from FactSet, a large share of women in top management positions are concentrated in human resources and chief administrative roles, while only 5.5% of CEOs among the 3,000 large US companies in the analysis were women.

Among the 429 organizations included in both the 2019 and 2021 IBM studies, the share of respondents who said they agree with the statement “we ensure high-performing women receive promotions as often as high-performing men” decreased while those who responded neutral, or neither agreeing nor disagreeing, increased. 

The report notes that although workplaces are implementing more programs to help address the issue of inequity for women, companies can do more to really address the underlying issues, such as creating “personalized development plans” and making visible commitments.

Only 1 in 4 organizations said advancing women is a top 10 business priority, and fewer respondents this year compared to 2019 said “they expected their organizations would significantly improve gender parity over the next 5 years.”

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