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Veganism has long been one very suspect life choice. So many questions and comments: But how do you get your protein? Are you trying to starve yourself? Kill me if I ever have to live without cheese. And the skeptics don’t stop at criticizing the diet—for some reason, vegan skin care is still more or less seen as a sort of woo-woo, hippie-dippie niche that will never be as effective as slathering on product cocktails of synthetic and animal-derived ingredients.

The truth is, plant-based beauty is legit. Take it from Cleopatra—just about every beauty blog out there disseminates claims about her love affair with rosewater and clay. Whether that’s true or not, consider that skincare brands are currently borrowing many of their revolutionary ingredients from ancient cultures—from turmeric that’s been a head-to-toe brightener in India for centuries to the now ubiquitous oil from Morocco’s endemic argan tree. In these places, women have traditionally tapped their connection to the earth to cultivate their own beauty rituals that really work—and these ingredients have been passed from generation to generation for a reason. Where have we been?

For a long time, we’ve bought into the idea that effective skin care has to have no limits as far as ingredients. We put a lot of confidence in the words “active ingredients,” which technically refers to those that are deemed pharmacologically effective and are approved and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. However, that doesn’t mean anything otherwise is weak sauce. Most plant-based fixings don’t require Drug Facts labeling but have been researched and vetted by scientists and holistic skincare experts for efficacy and safety. While the list of potent vegan-friendly ingredients is really a mile long, here are five of the latest and greatest that should be on your radar right now.

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Unfortunately, a lot of the factors that influence seasonal allergies—like the weather, where you live, humidity, and rainfall amounts—are completely out of your control. But here’s the good news: Even though you don’t have a say over if and when seasonal allergens may strike, you do have control over how your body reacts to them...and it all starts with your gut health.

So what exactly does the gut have to do with all this? You see, nearly 80 percent of your immune system resides in your digestive tract, and it turns out that the trillions of microbes that also live there—known collectively as your gut microbiome—have a huge influence on the balance and performance of your immune function, including: Crowding out and killing the bad guys. Your friendly flora (called probiotics) produce antimicrobial substances and acids—like lactic acid—that can eradicate bad bacteria and other microbes that can make you sick. Protecting your gut barrier. Your intestinal barrier is an important part of your immune system that protects your bloodstream from the external environment of your gut (and all that goes into it!). The good bacteria in your microbiome help increase your gut barrier’s protective mucus layer, and they work to fortify and seal gaps in the intestinal wall. Increasing antibody levels. Beneficial bacteria promote antibody secretion, and they also increase levels of cells that produce immune-boosting antibodies like SIgA.

It’s clear that your gut microbiome plays a big role in how your immune system handles true threats like harmful bacteria or viruses—but we now know that a lack of enough beneficial bacteria in the gut can contribute to the immune system’s inability to distinguish friend from foe, leading to the dreaded immune system overreactions known as allergies.

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Fall and winter may have been all about shades of nude and rich berry tones, but rest assured that 2018 is going to be a big year for color couples. Nail color combos, from classic black and white to jeweled duos, seriously elevate everyday nail art.