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‘Clean’ skin care is booming— and celebs are onboard

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'Clean' skin care is booming— and celebs are onboard

As a cosmetic chemist and brand consultant specializing in “clean” skin care, Krupa Koestline’s phone has been blowing up in the past year. A native of India who grew up surrounded by the holistic ethos of Ayurveda, Koestline grew increasingly uncomfortable with some of the chemicals she was using in her previous gigs as a product formulator for legacy beauty companies such as Estée Lauder and Neutrogena. After shifting her focus to natural and organic ingredients and opening her consultancy in 2019, she has witnessed a huge upswing in the clean category. 

There’s just one teensy problem: No one can actually say what “clean” even means. “There is no official definition,” says Koestline, who has worked with Kopari, Chantecaille, John Masters Organics and the cult-fave line May Lindstrom Skin. “Most brands take it upon themselves to define their ‘clean.’ ”

And define it they are. While clean was once ruled by straightforward OG brands like Weleda, Naturopathica and Tata Harper, new entries tend to embrace diverse points of view and backstories. 

Keys Soulcare, created by singer Alicia Keys, leans heavily into self-care, with products sold individually or in bundles dubbed “rituals.” The new Nourishment Ritual, for example, was designed to help you “give yourself the energy and attention you need to thrive” and contains five products (Sage + Oat Milk Candle, Golden Cleanser, Skin Transformation Cream, Obsidian Facial Roller and Reviving Aura Mist) for $135.  

The three-step, gender-neutral Humanrace line, courtesy of music multihyphenate Pharrell Williams, prides itself on its refillable packaging made from 50 percent post-consumer recycled plastic. Developed with Williams’ dermatologist of 20 years, the three products (Rice Powder Cleanser, $32; Lotus Enzyme Exfoliator, $46; Humidifying Cream, $48) contain none of the 1,300 ingredients currently banned by the European Union, and promise “no rocks, no nuts, no seeds or plastic particles to ensure no microtears in the skin.” 

Newcomer Elsa Jungman, who has a Ph.D. in skin pharmacology, is also embracing a less-is-more approach with her “microbiome-friendly” brand. Each of the five products in the line features five or fewer ingredients. Dr. Elsa Jungman No Soap Gentle Cleanser, for instance, features a whopping three: jojoba and castor seed oils and vitamin E.

Even beauty titan Bobbi Brown has come clean with her minimalist new Jones Road brand. The first skin-care items in the line — Miracle Cream ($38), Eye Cream ($34), The Oil Stick ($26) and Hippie Stick ($32) — were formulated sans those dodgy ingredients banned in Europe (plus 1,400 more), in favor of shea butter and all manner of oils, including apricot, coconut, jojoba and sunflower. 

With so much clean newness out there, how can skin-care junkies sift through it all to find the true gems? One way, says Koestline, is to shop from the meticulously vetted selections offered by Credo Beauty and Beauty Heroes, each of which are “committed to upholding clean standards and sustainability.” 

Kura Skin, a new clean subscription box, can also make selection easier. “We believe you shouldn’t have to worry about what’s going on your skin, which is why we only curate brands whose products are nontoxic, cruelty-free, nutrient-dense and effective,” says founder Katrina Moreno Lewis. After filling out a Skin Profile — an algorithm that draws from one million-plus possibilities and takes into account age, skin type and local climate — and deciding how much you want to spend, you’ll be paired with products from brands like Osea, Pai and Graydon, along with many more.

Although the clean category is exploding, it may not be for everyone. New York dermatologist Blair Murphy Rose says that anyone with sensitive or reactive skin should be looking for products that are clearly marked “hypoallergenic.”  

“ ‘Clean’ does not necessarily mean completely safe,” says Murphy Rose. “And alternatively, ‘not clean’ does not necessarily mean not safe. I’ve treated plenty of patients with skin rashes developing from products that are clean.” 

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Florida fisherman chased by 11-foot alligator in scary video

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Florida fisherman chased by 11-foot alligator in scary video

A Florida fisherman became the bait when he was chased by an alligator in the Everglades.

GoPro video captured the near-death experience when Tommy Lee was tarpon fishing on May 8.

The 22-year-old was recording himself fishing at sunrise when an 11-foot bull alligator swam onshore. As Lee backed up, the reptile chased him through the brush, getting too close for comfort.

It “stalked me then chased me,” he told ViralHog. “The gator appeared much larger and closer in person. It got within 10 feet of me.”

At one heart-pounding moment, Lee tripped and fell to the ground, but quickly regained his footing and continued to back up.

In the two-minute video, you can hear the frazzled fisherman exclaiming, “Jesus Christ. You gotta be careful here.” But as he lost sight of the deadly creature, he retraced his steps following the animal until it splashed back in the water.

“And I am out of here,” Lee said to himself before grabbing his gear and turning off the camera.

Lee uploaded the shocking clip to his YouTube channel, Chum Dumpster, where it amassed 1.2 million views.

However, it isn’t too surprising that the sharp-toothed creature came out to play. May and June mark mating season for the more than one million alligators that live in Florida.

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KFC hackers jailed in China over $31,000 worth of chicken

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KFC hackers jailed in China over $31,000 worth of chicken

The Chinese students who scored a five-finger-lickin’ discount at Kentucky Fried Chicken — for a total of $31,000 worth of food — are going to prison.

Their scam took place in 2018 after one of them discovered a glitch on KFC’s online order platform, allowing them access to an endless supply of fried chicken.

The five college con artists involved in the grift were handed down a range of sentences by the People’s Court of Xuhui District in Shanghai, from 13 to 30 months, according to Daily Mail and recent Chinese-language reports, with fines set between $150 (1,000 yuan) and $900 (6,000 yuan).

“Being fully aware of this bug, the convicted deliberately engaged in false transactions and illegally profited from them, which constituted the crime of fraud,” court papers read, according to Australia’s 9News.

The group’s 23-year-old ringleader, identified only as “Xu,” defrauded the company out of some $9,000 (58,000 yuan). All told, they stole more than $31,000 (129,000 yuan) worth of food from Yum! Brands, which owns the KFC name.

The simple scheme involved a loophole between KFC’s app and the restaurant’s page on Chinese social network WeChat, which allowed Xu to use a voucher for free food while also being refunded. It’s been reported that Xu later began shilling out the free food he’d reaped as a side hustle.

The case has reportedly sparked debate online, according to Global Times, with some saying that a bug in KFC’s order system is on the corporation — not the customers who reaped the spoils of their mistake.

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Brood X cicadas force businesses, homeowners to take precautions

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Brood X cicadas force businesses, homeowners to take precautions

Brood X, a classification of the trillions of periodical cicadas that have descended in states across the eastern and southern U.S., has emerged after a 17-year hiatus — and already closed one restaurant.

The District of Columbia and the surrounding states of Maryland and Virginia are cicada ground zero, reporting sightings earlier than most other states. 

More of the red-eyed, singing insects will appear as ground temperatures warm to 64 degrees and experts say that the bugs come in peace. 

However, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Washington, D.C., announced this week that it was temporarily closing on May 10 in order to “combat” the bugs. 

“We have decided to pause service at Little Pearl for 4 weeks starting May 10th in preparation for ‘Cicada Season,’” Capitol Hill’s Little Pearl wrote in an email to customers, according to The Washington Post. “As we tried to get as creative as possible to combat them this year, we know in good faith that a single 100 decibel cicada will ruin anyone’s dinner experience, a ‘tsunami’ of them will be impossible to control.”

Washingtonian noted that the restaurant offered to reschedule, refund bookings or move diners’ reservations to their sister restaurant Rose’s Luxury.

Rose’s Restaurant Group owner and chef Aaron Silverman told the local magazine that Little Pearl’s closing is also “to renovate, clean, reorganize, up-train, and get all our affairs in order as the pandemic caused so many disruptions.”

In addition, he said that because around 80% of the restaurant’s seating is outdoors in a “heavily vegetative area,” it “seemed like the best window to take advantage of.”

Many businesses have decided to embrace the arrival of Brood X, selling coffee mugs and “Choco-cadas.”

Nevertheless, while the cicadas aren’t dangerous, their presence can be disruptive. 

As WCPO reported on Monday, the cicadas’ loud buzzing sounds may cause emotional or physical reactions in people with autism or with sensory issues.

Furthermore, although cicadas do not bite and are harmless to humans and property, Michigan State University entomologist Gary Parsons notes that their abundance can be a “nuisance” and that — while edible — eating too many could make pets sick.

While cicadas do not intentionally enter homes like ants and spiders, cicada eggs laid in stems and twigs of trees and shrubs often kill twigs and branches. 

Experts advise against using insecticide, as the chemicals will kill other bugs in the process.

The Baltimore Sun reported last week that an effective way to prevent damage on young trees is to enclose them with half-inch mesh netting, though the University of Maryland’s professor emeritus Michael Raupp advises planting next fall. 

Raupp told Fox News in March that people who might be afraid of cicadas should try to learn as much about them as they can.

“Hey, this is a chance to go out in your backyard and have a National Geographic special happening right there,” he said. “It’s going to be birth. It’s going to be death. It’s going to be predation. It’s going to be competition. It’s going to be better than an episode of ‘Outlander.’ There’s going to be romance in the treetops when the big boy band cranks it up.”

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