Just like any beauty article discussing bangs is legally required to mention Zooey Deschanel, all articles about skincare have to remind you of this one true fact: you are certainly not drinking enough water.
I’m not trying to hydration-shame you or anything, but thousands of interviews with supermodels claiming they “just drink a lot of water” to achieve that other worldly glow can’t be wrong. More than any serum, cream or pact with the devil will ever provide, water is the one true path to perfect skin.
There’s not a single factor in my life that affects my overall appearance as much as the amount of water I’m drinking. If I go even a day without drinking plenty of water, I can see the effects on my skin immediately. It goes beyond skin, though: your hydration levels can affect your hair, teeth, energy levels, mood and more.
I’m sort of cocoa-puffs for hydration, but I wasn’t always this way. In the more naive days of my younger youth, I guzzled down diet sodas without a care. I’ve since kicked the aspartame habit and jumped on the water bandwagon, but it took time.
If you're struggling to drink enough water, here are some of my best tips for tricking yourself into sipping more sweet H2O on the daily.
Figure Out How Much You Need
There’s a general rule that you should be drinking eight eight-ounce glasses of water each day, which is about two liters. Some people's bodies need more hydration than others. If you are very active and sweating a lot, you’ll need to replenish yourself more often than someone who sits around all day.
A good rule of thumb is to notice when you're thirsty and actually drink when you are. Also, peep your pee! If it’s clear, you’re probably getting enough water, but if it’s super-yellow, you’re probably dehydrated. Bodies are incredible.
Other factors will affect how much water you need to consume daily, such as whether you are pregnant or sick. Also, if you imbibe alcohol, you need even more water. I’ve never been able to master that “Drink water between each beer” thing, but I do always end up chugging several glasses of water before I pass out. It helps the next day, and it keeps my wild-child lifestyle from wrecking my face. (By "wild child," I mean once a week I get too drunk at trivia night because all my friends are smarter than me.)
During the past year or so, I've made it a priority to start feeling more in tune with my body, and water plays a huge part in that. Start drinking more water than you usually would, and feel the difference. If you’re wondering if you drink enough water, you probably don’t. And you are probably THIRSTY.
Wash That Soda Right Out of Your Life
Whether you refer to it as soda, coke, pop or some other word, the stuff is bad for you. Like any junk food, it’s OK as a treat every now and then, but it’s terrible for you in the long run. Sodas are just a fizzy concoction of sugars, syrups and chemicals. (Yes, I just heard you say, “But it’s a delicious concoction, Rachel!” I know, I know.) Kicking the soda habit is tough, but not impossible.
To get your body off the Soft Drink Express and on the way to Hydration Station, might I suggest some delightful sparkling water? It’s a terrific way to transition from drinking lots of sodas to drinking more water.
There are a ton of sparkling waters on the market these days. My love affair with Pamplemousse La Croix runs deep and true. I’ve also been getting really into sparkling mineral water from Whole Foods. My favorite flavors are lime and mint.
If you go the sparkling water route, be sure you’re reading labels carefully. Avoid anything with sugar and make sure you're not accidentally buying tonic water. Tonic water is gross until you dilute it with a good amount of gin, obviously. Sparkling water, mineral water, club soda, seltzer and soda water are all safe bets.
Try Sprucing Up Your Water a Bit
Something people often say is, “I just don’t like the way water tastes.” Well, that’s absurd, but there's also an easy fix. Add something special to your water.
Two popular options are lemon and lime. I also like to make huge pitchers of water with cucumber and mint. Any sort of fruit or vegetable added to your water will make it more palatable.
If you really can’t stand the taste of your water, it might be an issue with your tap. I’ve lived in lots of places, and it’s crazy how different the water tastes sometimes. Get yourself a water filtration system to attach to your sink, or one that comes inside a pitcher you can keep in the fridge. It will make your water taste much better, and then you’ll drink more of it, and then you’ll live forever.
Water, You’re All I Need… And You’re All I’ve Got
Want to stop sipping sodas or sugary juices? Don’t keep them in your house! If water’s all you’ve got, water’s all you’ll drink.
This is the same reasoning I use to keep myself from buying snacks. I have accepted that I will never be the kind of person who will eat just one Oreo or drink just one glass of Diet Coke. So I don’t keep those things in my house. Temptation averted.
Habits are crazy-easy to pick up. Start drinking water more regularly, and you'll crave water more regularly.
The whole “drink when you’re thirsty” idea won’t work as well if you’re never thirsty. Many of us work desk jobs, and it’s plausible that you won’t work up a thirst just staring at a screen all day.
So go outside and play or do some yoga in your living room or dance around to cheesy pop music for 10 minutes or make out with someone for an hour. Even when I was a diehard soda fanatic, I couldn’t drink soda after a workout. There’s just nothing like water to quench serious thirst.
How much water do you drink? Let's talk about the color of our pee.