4 Wellness Trends That You’re Totally Wasting Your Money On

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As millennial women, we work hard for our money—and we like to use it. Sometimes, a little too much: A report from the U.S. Census Bureau found that the average credit card debt for someone under the age of 35 is $5,808.

Credit card debt isn’t anything to be ashamed of or embarrassed by—it happens. The best thing you can do, though, is start saving so you can pay it off. I know what you’re thinking: “Where do I even start? It seems like everything I spend money on is necessary for my health and happiness.”

Girl, I got you covered. Here are four expensive wellness trends that just don’t add up. Although they might be fun, there’s not enough evidence that they work well enough to be worth coughing up the extra dough.

Juice cleanses

Glasses of fresh juice on wooden table

Let’s get down to it—juicing is not good for you. It won’t detoxify your body, and although it might help you drop a few pounds initially, it’ll end up messing with your metabolism in the long run. Here’s the thing: Your body does an excellent job of eliminating toxins on its  own. A few days of drinking sugary juices won’t even dislodge that chunk of gum you accidentally swallowed three years ago … but it will spike your blood sugar levels, in turn causing your body to produce cortisol (aka why you feel stressed and hangry) and store the sugars in the juice as belly fat.

That being said, over time toxins can build up and essentially slow down our body system, and consistent exposure to toxins in the form of cosmetics or processed foods does have a negative effect on hormonal function. Instead of shelling out $200 for a three-day juice cleanse, start slowly eliminating those toxic beauty products and cleaning supplies and replace them with healthier, organic versions. If you really want to reset your tastebuds (another claim about juice cleansing) try a food-based detox, like Sakara.

Alkaline water

Alkaline water

Some bottled water brands like Essentia flaunt the fact that their H2O is basic, or alkaline, and claim that it’s necessary to drink in order to keep the body’s acid levels at a healthy level. Although it might taste good (they do!), we’re calling B.S. on alkaline water’s ability to “equalize” internal acidic levels—but it might be good for other reasons.

Different alkalizing agents like calcium, silica, potassium, magnesium, and bicarbonate are added to water before it can be called alkaline. These minerals certainly aren’t bad for you, especially if you’re an athlete who needs to replenish electrolytes. But it’s completely unnecessary to alkalize your blood—every organ system has a unique pH range, and our bodies do a great job of maintaining that pH for optimal performance.

Vagina steams

vaginafacialfeature-696x529

V-steams are a buzzy fad in wellness right now, but they’ve actually been around for quite a while. Known as in Korea as chai-yok, the practice is a centuries-old remedy for treating menstrual cramps and regulating a woman’s cycle. But the claims that it will “rejuvenate the look and feel of the vagina” and that steaming your hoo-ha will cleanse the uterus? Those are unsubstantiated.

Turns out, our lady parts are really good at naturally cleansing themselves (Author’s note: Are you sensing a theme here, guys???) Other cleaning methods like douching, and ostensibly steaming, can disrupt the vaginal ecosystem and cause bacterial overgrowth and infection.

Ear candling

Relaxed brunette getting an ear candling treatment

I don’t know what you were doing in the years of 2003 to 2005, but I was watching Newlyweds on MTV starring Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey. I’ll never forget one episode in which Jessica and her friend Casey stuck votive candles in their ears to try “ear candling.” Spoiler: It didn’t work. Probably because they were doing it wrong—real ear candling involves using a special hollow wax candle or cone—but also because the practice is pretty suspicious.

Basically, you stick this hollow wax candle in your ear, light it up, and the heat and smoke encourage ear wax to bubble up into the hollow candle and out of your ear. As a person who regularly defies the doctor’s orders not to use a q-tip to clean out my ears (earwax is just too gross to me), this sounds very intriguing. Alas, it’s totally bogus.

First off, earwax is important for maintaining inner ear health. Even if you do have a blockage—which doesn’t happen often—you should head to the doctor to get it cleared out, because doing it yourself can be dangerous. Second, the visible results that these cones reveal when pulled out of your ear? It’s just ash and melted wax from the candle, not from your ear. I know, I was bummed, too. Anyways, just say no to in-ear-candles, people.

Photo credit: iStock