Singer-songwriter Gwen Stefani mines her heartache for inspiration. And her songs have helped her to cure a lot of emotional scars.

“The music I’ve done throughout my career has basically been about my life,” the mom-of-three has said. “A lot of those songs were so painful. But because of that heartache, it helped me understand I had a gift to write music and it took me around the world and healed so many people, as music does.”

In August 2015, Gwen had a nasty separation from rocker husband Gavin Rossdale after a 13-year marriage. Never one to stand still, Gwen was dating country singer Blake Shelton by November. “I kind of started falling in love,” 49-year-old Gwen later said. “Then I wrote a whole record about that… I was writing music about happiness.”

Since ancient times, music has been considered a curative tool. Shamans played drums to nurture the injured and cure the sick. Yogis and others of the East used the “om” mantra and sound to clear energetic blockages and to meditate. Centuries of scientific studies confirm that music changes people. Listening to music promotes healthy “rewiring” in the brain. Music enhances learning skills, elevates mood and improves sleep. Alzheimer’s patients can unlock memories by listening to a familiar song. Stroke victims regain cognitive function faster with music therapy.

Gwen Stefani
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“There was a lot of spiritual exorcising going on,” Gwen said of her songwriting. “It was magic.” The result was This Is What the Truth Feels Like, which debuted in March 2016. It was Gwen’s first album to reach No 1.

Gwen’s been performing nonstop since 1986. She’s dyed her hair platinum since 1998, her lips are a luminous red and her makeup is so seamlessly “her” that we forget she’s wearing any. “It’s an extension of your personality and mood and it’s a confidence booster,” the three-time Grammy winner has said.

Cosmetics also date back thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians used black mineral “eyeliner” to reduce glare and stave off eye infections. Today, makeup is considered a healthy outlet for self-expression and an overall mood enhancer. “I do my own makeup every time I go on stage,” Gwen once revealed. “I wrote a song called ‘War Paint’ about it. It makes me feel like I’m ready.”

Early in her career, Gwen wasn’t vigilant about removing all of her makeup after shows. “I was always on a tour bus, literally washing my face with bottled water,” the singer admitted, though now her tune has changed toward skin care. “The key is to keep it clean at night. Let your face breathe.” When skin is continuously covered by makeup and dirt, dead cells get trapped in your pores and cause breakouts, wrinkles, and — in extreme cases — rashes and infections.

Blake and Gwen at an event together
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Gwen and Blake are still going strong, but there is one troubling issue that has popped up. Gwen’s heavily treated blonde hair is susceptible to breakage (when brittle hairs split) and requires “soft” water to prevent damage. Soft water is “treated” water, free from harsh-on-hair minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Hard water is “untreated.”

Unfortunately for her tresses, Blake’s Oklahoma ranch had hard water. “We’re going to have to break up if you don’t put soft water into the system because I’m not going to have any hair anymore,” Gwen told Blake. “I really do take care of my hair, even more than my face.” Needless to say, Blake installed a new water system.