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I Drank A Shit Ton Of Water For A Month And I Still Don't Look Like Gwyneth


Hi, I’m Chelsea. Like many of you, I have been promised a radiant, natural, luminous glow...if I just drank enough water.

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Of course, I never have (I HAVE A SMALL BLADDER, OK!) but every time a model, magazine, or Gwyneth Paltrow herself swears by drinking water for a better life, I briefly consider it and then promptly forget. After all this time, I finally wanted to find out for myself: Would water call forth the goddess living beneath my brittle, dehydrated skin?

To start, I had to figure out how much water I should be drinking.

Sarah Burton for BuzzFeed

The hard-and-fast rule has always been eight cups of water a day, but I've always wondered — why should I drink as much as someone who is much larger or much smaller than me? I did some internet sleuthing, but I couldn't find a consistent answer there either. WebMD suggested I take my body weight, halve it, and drink that number in ounces. Meaning, if your body weight is 200 lbs, you would drink 100 ounces of water. Since I trust WebMD with all medical advice*, I decided to do that, adding a few extra ounces when I worked out.

*not recommended.

The rules:

1. Drink the loosely recommended amount of water every day for a month.

2. Add 1–2 cups of water when I exercise.

3. Take a picture every Monday without any makeup to hide behind.

Here's how it went:

Me, before the challenge started:

Jon Premosch for BuzzFeed

This was a picture taken on Day 1. The photographer, Jon, told me to look "serious" and this is as close as I could get. I was most curious to see if the dark circles under my eyes would magically disappear.

Week 1: I might not LOOK different, but I FEEL different.

Jon Premosch for BuzzFeed

At the end of Week 1, I did not feel more radiant. I did notice that I was more energized in my exercise classes, though. Again, it could be a coincidence, but keeping hydrated throughout the day seems to be a good workout prep situation, so I'm crediting it.

Besides constantly having to pee, I noticed right away that my hangovers were SO MUCH BETTER. I went to my boyfriend and his best friend’s birthday party, where there was copious amounts of drinking and I would normally wake up hungover AF. The next day I felt a little hungover, but not nearly as bad as normal. I did wonder if I was more responsible the night before, but nope. I was just as much of a shithead as ever. The next day, I was functioning, and the sunlight didn’t make me want to wither and die like some sort of vampire.

Do I feel different? Looks-wise? Nope. FEELING-wise? YES.

Week 2: I straight-up look WORSE. WTF?

Jon Premosch for BuzzFeed

HOLY SHIT, STOP THE CAR. We changed offices and the lighting is a little different from here on (notice the absence of my beloved nose freckle) but STILL. This cannot be blamed exclusively on the lighting. This picture is, uh, something I would prefer not to have on the internet? Even our photographer told me I straight-up looked worse, and then he laughed in my face.

There were a number of factors at play here: I had been doing a vegan challenge the previous week, I was very stressed out, and I was not sleeping well. All of these things definitely affected my appearance. But I THOUGHT WATER WAS SUPPOSED TO CURE THAT. Like, I thought water was the cover-up to end all cover-ups — like if Watergate had a little more water, we'd still be in the dark.

I’m sorry I had to show you guys this picture, but I MUST EXPOSE WATER FOR ITS LIES.

Do I feel different? Um yes, I feel awful and lied to.

Week 3: My body is finally getting used to this.

Jon Premosch for BuzzFeed

OK, so I'm back to having some color in my face. My body has gotten used to the massive increase in my water intake, and I'm not peein' all day every day. The pimple I developed on my cheek a few weeks ago is not going away despite watering my insides like an L.A. lawn before the drought.

Do I feel different? Nope.

Week 4: I look more tired, but I feel good.

Jon Premosch for BuzzFeed

I was finally done. I felt fine, but the pimple on my cheek got worse. It’s hard to tell completely because the lighting was definitely a little better the first week. But at BEST, I look the same — and at worst, my dark circles are howling in the moonlight of my face.

I did notice myself being thirstier throughout the day, especially if I hadn't had a cup of water by the usual time. It's kind of cool to retrain your brain to want something you need.

Do I feel different? I look more tired but I feel good. Overall, it's not anything to write home about.

Verdict: Did drinking enough water change my life?

Jon Premosch for BuzzFeed

Listen, drinking enough water didn’t hurt, and it certainly helped with hangovers. I'm sure my insides were really thankful and my kidneys were like YASS QUEEN every time I peed clear. I’m also very lucky to have access to fresh water, and I should be mindful of that. That being said, will I continue believing that if I just drink more water, I can become a radiant unicorn like Gwyneth, Giselle, or Beyoncé? HELL TO THE DAMN NO. But I appreciate that they tried to convince me it was that simple to change my genetics.

My main takeaways:

1. Water DOES make hangovers approximately 1,000x better.

2. Peeing twice an hour is annoying AF.

3. Water did not turn me into a radiant goddess, floating down the streets of NYC.

4. I'd like my money back from all the magazines that promised that water would dramatically change my appearance for the better. Thanks!