This article is in partnership with Ulta Beauty.
Now more than ever, self-care is proving to be the essence of a life well-lived. As Black women, we often forget how vital it is to take the time to pour into ourselves in order to move through the world in the true power of our highest selves. While practices like meditation and lighting a candle are excellent ways for us to maintain our peace, it is equally important to find ways to radically practice self-care through acts of pampering and indulgence. What better way to indulge than to give your beauty and skincare routine a revamp. Enter, Ulta Beauty's 21 Days Of Beauty that is bringing us all the self-care energy we deserve!
From August 30 through September 19, the name of the game is self-care and Ulta Beauty has us covered with a lineup of daily Beauty Steals®. With their famed bi-annual event, daily Beauty Steals are Ulta Beauty's way of allowing beauty lovers to try new products that might have always been on their wish list at a fraction of the price (hello, bad and boujee on a budget). There's nothing like the therapeutic act of applying a new winged eyeliner or a rejuvenating face mask can have you feeling bomb while looking bomb.
Given our current life and times, it's the exact kind of pampering our days are calling for. Thankfully, Ulta Beauty is also providing us with a plethora of ways to shop. We can do so in store, online, in the app, or even curbside pickup. Keep in mind that highlighted beauty steals are only valid for a 24-hour window on the designated days. Are your carts ready? Let's get it!
Check out everything new and covet-worthy from Ulta Beauty's 21 Days Of Beauty event below:
Week 1 Beauty Steals
Day 1: Sunday, August 30
The Benefit Cosmetics Precisely My Brow Pencil is the definition of the mantra "my brow, but better" and is key to a defined brow. As a fan fave, this brow pencil is ideal for giving sparse brows the ultimate assist with a custom goof-proof tip and a smudge-resistant formula. As a beauty steal, the brow pencil is 50% off at a sale price of $12.
High-tech meets skincare with the Foreo Luna Mini 2. This device offers a gentle cleanse which is great for those with a sensitive skin type. However, the beauty steal doesn't sacrifice effectiveness, as it emits 8,000 pulsations per minute for a truly deep clean. And for a sale price of $59.50, our pores are already singing its praises.
Day 2: Monday, August 31
Do you have trouble with dark spots or hyperpigmentation? Get you an acid, sis! The Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser acts as a chemical exfoliant, gently exfoliating the surface of the skin to reveal brighter, more even-toned skin over time. In addition to consisting of a trio of acids (salicylic, lactic and glycolic) to help with skin tone and texture, the intensive triple-action cleanser also includes Jojoba skin-polishing beads to deeply clean pores while smoothing away dry and dull skin. New complexion, who dis?
The Murad Essential C-Cleanser is an antioxidant-rich cleanser that consists of a vitamin-rich formula that rehydrates your skin with the moisture it didn't know it needed. Even while inside of the house, thanks to social distancing season, your skin can be impacted by its fair share of impurities, and let's not get started on the dreaded 'maskne' some of us have become susceptible to. This 50% off beauty steal also helps to protect skin from harmful UVA/UVB rays and free-radical damage while replenishing dry skin with the moisture it craves.
Day 3: Tuesday, September 1
Looking for a more airbrushed finish to your go-to makeup look of choice? Well, this finishing powder is the beauty steal every makeup aficionado should have in their arsenal. The bareMinerals Mineral Veil is a special blend of minerals that help absorb any excess oil daring to infringe upon the perfect face beat. In its wake, it makes for a soft focus finish that's the matte finish most of us live for.
A first-time steal to the 21 Days Of Beauty line-up, Mario Badescu Regimen Kits are no stranger to the list of Ulta Beauty fan favorites. The regimen kits address a variety of skin concerns, from combo/oily to brightening. The Mario Badescu Brightening Regimen Kit contains products like the Glycolic Foaming Cleanser, the Alpha Grapefruit Cleansing Lotion, the Vitamin C Serum, and the Whitening Mask. The Mario Badescu Combo/Oily Regimen Kit contains products like the Enzyme Cleansing Gel, Cucumber Cleansing Lotion, Aloe Moisturizer, and the Flower & Tonic Mask.
Day 4: Wednesday, September 2
SeroVital HGH Dietary Supplement helps boost the body's ability to naturally produce the human growth hormone, otherwise known as hGH. For those of us over the age of 25, we might want to get in formation and incorporate this in our routine. In addition to helping reduce wrinkles, the human growth hormone is associated with increasing your energy, improving mood and sleep, boosting your mental acuity, and decreasing body fat. SeroVital helps with checking off the boxes of all of the above. So yes, you need this.
Day 5: Thursday, September 3
This product is the truth when it comes to prolonging your makeup look. Urban Decay All Nighter Waterproof Setting Powder is known to do exactly that: last all night. With its matte finish, the setting powder is celebrated for being able to prevent shine from oil, give the skin a smooth look, and extend the life of your foundation for up to 11 hours, no reapplying needed. Let's just say, we're sold.
Day 6: Friday, September 4
Lancome Monsieur Big Mascara is a fan fave because it gives you enviable lashes for days. Emphasis on 'days'. As a long-lasting, intensely black pigmented mascara, 'big' proves to definitely be in. With one swipe, the ultra-creamy Lancome Monsieur pumps up the volume times 12, providing your eyelashes with a 'falsies' look with the glue or faux lashes. Plus, the waterproof, smudge-proof formula also comes with 24-hour staying power. Need we say more?
Get your skin on wet-wet with Peter Thomas Water Drench Cloud Serum. It's the serum among serums. This product contains 75% Hyaluronic Acid Complex which allows it to act as a potent hydrator, with the equivalent of a liquid cloud filled with moisture. This product will provide your skin with long-lasting hydration with staying power of up to 72 hours.
Just like its companion product, the Cloud Serum, Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Toner Mist is the skin refresher you've been looking for. It rejuvenates the skin while offering an instant refresher, thanks to its Hyaluronic Acid Complex. The Toner Mist clarifies, hydrates, and moisturizes the skin, creating a more youthful, poreless complexion.
Day 7: Saturday, September 5
The Tarte Shape Tape Glow Wand is a liquid brightener that helps you create the appearance of an eye lift without a single nip, tuck, or filler. And it does so with a soft-focus finish. Formulated with a proprietary diamond complex that provides the product with its extra oomph, this first-time beauty steal also has the added bonus of being vegan, baby.
It's prime time that you stocked up on this primer. The Tula Brighten Up Smoothing Primer Gel is a silicone-free, yuzu-packed priming gel that brightens the skin and binds to your makeup without clogging your pores. It does this while giving your skin a burst of a cooling, refreshed sensation.
Week 2 Beauty Steals
Day 8: Sunday, September 6
The Anastasia Beverly Hills Luminous Foundation is a first-time steal during the 21 Days Of Beauty event. This foundation formula is lightweight, offers medium coverage, and has a shade range of over 50 shades -- hello, melanin! Anastasia might be known for her coveted brow pencil and pomade, but her Luminous Foundation is truly one to be coveted by any beauty-lover.
Perricone MD Cold Plasma Plus+ is a multi-tasking skincare collection dedicated to promoting healthier, more youthful-looking skin. The collection consists of an array of skincare treatments targeting the face, neck, eyes, and chest. The powerhouse products have the capability of meeting your unique skincare needs as well as addressing concerns like fine lines and uneven texture.
Day 9: Monday, September 7
Who said natural had to be boring? Too Faced Natural Palettes is shedding a new light to the richness of a good nude. Understated but never dull, these rich and pigmented face and eye palettes allow you to stunt and emphasize the warmth of your melanin.
These setting powders are a weightless, translucent powder that is the perfect punctuation to any makeup look. Formulated to lock in concealer and foundation flawlessly, Dermablend Loose Setting Powders have staying power for a total of up to 16 hours. The finish is flawless, smudge-proof, and transfer-resistant. No touch-ups necessary.
Day 10: Tuesday, September 8
A dope pair of lashes can provide quite the boost when it comes to looking and feeling good. And today only, Ulta Beauty is giving you a few reasons to bat your lashes. From Lilly Lashes and House of Lashes to Blinking Beaute and Velour Lashes, Ulta Beauty is offering a wide array of faux lashes that add length and volume for 50% off.
Day 11: Wednesday, September 9
When it comes to perfecting makeup looks, in order to create your best look, you need to start with a proper canvas. The smoother your skin looks and feels, the better. BECCA Primers are a great way to help mimic those circumstances for your best FOTD yet. The vegan primers that can be used to mattify the skin and blur the appearance of pores all while helping your makeup to last all day.
Day 12: Thursday, September 10
Looking to diminish the appearance of lines and wrinkles under the eyes? IT Cosmetics Confidence in an Eye Cream might be the slice of skincare heaven you've been looking for. The product caters to the most delicate skin on the face with promises to rejuvenate your eyes, helping you say goodnight to tired eyes for good and giving your confidence a boost along the way.
Richly pigmented palette? Check. Consciously created product? Double-check. Cover FX Monochromatic Blush & Bronzer Duos features a pressed palette composed of both shimmer and matte shades. The lightweight talc-free product delivers a delicate but impactful pop of color in a seamless application.
Day 13: Friday, September 11
Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliners are an Ulta Beauty fan fave, and we know why. Their creamy, waterproof eyeliners are as foolproof as they are vibrant. In terms of application, the liners go on smooth and stay soft to blend, but when they dry, they stay put for a long-lasting finish of up to 24 hours. The liners come in 24 shades, allowing you to choose to showcase your mood across a variety of colors.
Sunscreen is one of the many ways to ensure that your black never cracks. In recent years, the old myth of black people not needing sunscreen has dissipated to make way for skincare practices that will ensure we protect ourselves from harmful environmental damage, like that of UV rays. Philosophy Ultimate Miracle Worker SPF 30 Moisturizer is a groundbreaking multi-rejuvenating cream that hydrates the skin while protecting it and defending it against the elements.
Day 14: Saturday, September 12
The Mario Badescu Grab and Go Duo is an exclusive Ulta Beauty steal and also happens to be a fan favorite among consumers. The drying lotion and facial spray combo is a necessity to cop for anyone seeking to obtain or maintain clear, glowing skin on the go. Keep your breakouts at bay with this power-packed duo.
Week 3 Beauty Steals
Day 15: Sunday, September 13
It's prime time to invest in a primer that is as replenishing as it is smoothing. And for those of us looking to level up our makeup looks while pouring into our glow game, the Too Faced Hangover Primer might be the Ulta Beauty steal of your derams. This primer is a fan favorite for a reason, as it hydrates and brightens your skin, promotes your skin's tone and elasticity, and soothes while it smooths. It manages to do all of this while making your skin the perfect canvas for your foundation. This primer will have you looking like you've been minding your business and drinking your water, and we wouldn't have it any other way.
Another Ulta Beauty fan fave, Too Faced Hangover Setting Spray is a weightless three-in-one replenishing mist that sets, primes, and refreshes your makeup look. While the primer creates a healthy glowed up finish by smoothing, hydrating, and brightening the skin, the coconut-water infused mist puts in work by making sure your skin keeps its dewy appearance. Yes ma'am, we slay.
Ulta Beauty's 21 Days Of Beauty is treating us to 50% off of yet another fan fave with their inclusion of these Skyn Iceland Eye Gels. For those of us who wish to give our undereye area special treatment, these 4-ct eye gels are the perfect addition to your self-care routine. Tone and de-puff the windows to your soul with this 10-minute or less beauty practice.
Just in case you wanted to level up your beauty aresenal and self-care routine by one more level, you can choose to invest in the 8-ct version of this Ulta beauty steal. In just under 10 minutes, the Skyn Iceland eye gels tone, de-puff, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Day 16: Monday, September 14
If you want to make sure your eyeliner escapades are precise, look no further than Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner. This waterproof liquid eyeliner glides onto the eyelid easily, dries quickly, and doesn't smudge or run. An added bonus is the fact that this quick-drying precision liner has all day staying power, lasting well over 12 hours.
The eyes have it, and the right mascara is key to ensuring your eyes pop whenever you get your smize on. While most people might not think a mascara primer is a necessary first step before applying your favorite mascara, Lancome Cils Booster Mascara Primer has other ideas. The vitamin-infused lash-conditioning mascara primer is an all-in-one product that primes lashes while improving its curl and thickness over time.
Day 17: Tuesday, September, 15
A first-time steal, Benefit Cosmetics Boi-ing Cakeless Concealer promises to help you conceal imperfections without giving you a cakey look, and let's just say our interest is piqued.It hides everything, from undereye circles to discoloration caused by scarring and hyperpigmentation. The lightweight liquid concealer is a full coverage formula that doesn't crack, settle into fine lines, or crack.
When we talk about skincare, we often focus on our face rather than our body, but as the largest organ of the human body, your skin should be catered to everywhere, period. In order to remedy our lowkey indifference towards the skin we're in, look towards Crepe Erase Advanced Body Repair Treatment for an assist. This Ulta Beauty steal improves tone, texture, and elasticity of the skin.
Day 18: Wednesday, September 16
Smashbox Primers are the GOAT when it comes to oil and shine control. The transformative gel-to-powder formulas are all lightweight and mattifying, taking your FOTD to all new heights. At the same time, it helps facilitate a vitamin glow to your skin without making you look greasy. The formula both refreshes and awakens the skin while preserving your makeup looks.
The Exuviance Performance Peel AP25 helps to refine pore size and smooth the skin's texture by exfoliating dull and dead skin at the surface level to unveil healthier skin underneath. Packed with its 25% blend of AHAs and PHA, this product is an absolute must in anyone who desires a flawless complexion. Perfect for all skin types, over time with consistent use, your texture will be smoother with a more refined texture.
Day 19: Thursday, September 17
Tarte Lights-Camera-Lashes Mascara is a four-in-one mascara that is regarded as a cult classic in its industry for a decade. Thanks to ingredients like Olive Esters and Rice Bran Wax, this vegan mascara is a nourishing formula that provides length and volume for days to your lashes with the flick of a wrist. With Tarte Lights-Camera-Lashes, every lash gets catered to and every curl defined with the help of its 360-degree magniLASH wand.
Do you have dry, sensitive skin? This moisturizer is the thing your skincare dreams are made of. Dermalogica Calm Water Gel Moisturizer is a weightless moisturizer that hydrates without clogging your pores or irritating your skin. The refreshing gel formula goes onto the skin in liquid form for skin-quenching results.
Day 20: Friday, September 18
The Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Starter Kits is a limited-time kit that includes a mini brow wiz, a mini definer, a mini clear brow gel, and a mini dip brow gel. The kits come in four shades, including Medium Brown, Dark Brown, and Dark Ebony. This exclusive first-time steal proves once again why the Anastasia Beverly Hills brand has become synonymous with the perfect brow.
Alexa, play "Nonstop" by Drake. This song is appropriate for all that Clinique Moisture Surge 72 Hour Hydrator can achieve. The hydrating gel-cream moisturizer provides a moisture boost and is packed with hydration so it can elevate the glow of even the dullest skin. This moisturizer stays moisturizing your skin for up to 72 hours without the need to reapply. And it does so nonstop.
Day 21: Saturday, September 19
IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Foundation is a full coverage moisturizing foundation that is formulated to improve the look of the skin while also addressing the need to practice effective skincare. Wearing makeup doesn't mean you ignore the importance of taking care of your skin underneath. This foundation gets that. From redness and pores, to breakouts and dark spots, IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Foundation quite literally has you covered.
You've got your canvas all the way together, but what about your paintbrush? You are an artist after all. IT Brushes for ULTA Full Coverage Complexion Brush #77 has your back, sis. The exclusive Ulta Beauty steal has a unique triangle shape that contours to the face for a smooth and even application. Your makeup finds couldn't have asked for a better complement.
Featured image by Shutterstock
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How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.
As I move through life and experience different highs and lows, one thing that has become increasingly clear is the importance of self-love and self-worth. Now, I’m not saying it’s always easy, but I do feel like if it’s in a good place, people experience life more fully. And when it comes to love, my friend Amanda Wicks and her husband, Will Ford, are the perfect example.
Amanda may not remember this, but years ago, on one of her many visits back to Atlanta (we both went to Clark Atlanta University), she sat across from me at a dinner table and declared she was done looking for love. She was happy with who she was, and while she still desired it, it was no longer something she was chasing. “If it happens, it happens,” she said. The statement was so bold it made me quickly reroute our usual dating story catch-ups and awkwardly move to a different topic.
Well, the next time we met up, she told me she had met someone and was moving to Houston to live with him. Imagine my surprise and concern. Later, I’d find out that this decision, like so many other elements of their relationship, flowed naturally and organically. Their whole partnership has been full of peace and vulnerability.
Fast forward to today’s conversation, they’re still living together, celebrating four years of marriage, and planning to create a family. And while this stage of their story sounds generally normal, the way they got there is nothing but. Check out the "How We Met" feature below to see how a couple who never spoke on the phone and lived in different states ended up in a loving marriage full of ease, art, and authenticity.
Photo courtesy of Amanda Wicks and Will Ford
Walk me through your ‘How We Met’ story.
Amanda: We met on Instagram (laughs). He followed me first, and I followed back because he does art, and I was intrigued by that. Honestly, we followed each other for a while before we connected. But I remember one day I saw a post where he had on a Martin t-shirt that I liked, and that sparked our conversation. He ended up telling me he made the shirt and actually mailed me one. So when I got it, I made a post wearing it, and that’s where the conversation started. Since that day we’ve communicated every day since.
Will: Yeah, I initially saw her on a short-hair Instagram page and followed her because I thought she was attractive. I actually showed her to my co-workers on one of our monthly outings as an example of my “type” – something I had never done. But one thing I will say is, I noticed she had on a Nina Simone shirt in one of her photos, that’s what got me. It showed she had more depth.
I guess that answers my next question. Did you have an initial attraction to each other?
Will: (Laughs) Yeah, I did.
Amanda: For me, no. I just wasn’t looking at him through that lens. I didn’t follow him because he was attractive. I don’t follow people online because of that. I actually remember a time when we were going back and forth, and I was like, “Aye, you kinda cute.” It was a specific moment. Once I started looking through his page more often, I started to view him that way, but it still was more of an acknowledgment. We really connected primarily because of our creative interests.
So, how did it go to the next level?
Amanda: I was in Nashville, and he was in Houston. But I’m somebody where if I feel like doing something, I’m going to do it. I had been meaning to go to Houston for a while to see a friend, so I felt like it was the perfect combination of a circumstance. We had been talking a lot, and I knew I liked him as a person and really wanted to meet him, but of course, I was aware of the idea that it could blossom into more. I remember I sent him a text saying, “Would you think I was crazy if I pulled up to Houston?”
Photo courtesy of Amanda Wicks and Will Ford
What was your reply? Did you think she was crazy?
Will: In my mind, I was like, I don’t know. (Laughs) I wanted her to, though, so I wasn’t going to say yeah. It was a little wild, but I encouraged it.
Okay, so tell me about the date.
Amanda: I don’t know if you’d call it our first “date,” but the first time we met, we went to a skating rink. I was a little nervous about meeting him in person. Like, what if we don’t have chemistry – that was in the back of my head a little. But I brought my friend with me as a buffer, and thank God I did because he was so quiet the whole night. I literally can’t think of one thing he said the entire time. But the saving grace was that we had built a rapport. We reconnected the following night and were together until 5 a.m. – just sitting there talking. We ended up spending the whole weekend together.
Will: I’m socially awkward if I don’t know you. Also, before the date, I didn’t know what she sounded like or anything because, that’s another thing, we hadn’t talked on the phone. (They both really don’t like phone calls, so everything was through texts at this point.) I guess I could say I was kinda nervous, too. I had never met someone through social media, and then here I was, meeting her in person at a skating rink. I hadn’t skated in years, I was hoping I didn’t fall. But we had just been talking so much that I was open to it.
What made you want to take that risk?
Will: She has a level of authenticity that I’ve never seen in any other woman before, and once I saw her, it solidified that. I knew I wanted her around.
Amanda: I don’t think it was anything specific. It’s not hard for me to connect with people. But there were no red flags. We align across the board. That was different. We really connect on how we see the world.
"She has a level of authenticity that I’ve never seen in any other woman before, and once I saw her, it solidified that. I knew I wanted her around."
Photo courtesy of Amanda Wicks and Will Ford
Out of curiosity, what are your love languages?
Amanda: I connect with all of them. I think it just depends on what I’ve been lacking. I appreciate words of affirmation because I’m so big on actions that I like those bold statements of love, and of course, I appreciate quality time. The older I get, the more I appreciate physical touch, but that’s not something I need. With receiving gifts, I like thoughtfulness, and I like giving thoughtful gifts, too. But acts of service is for sure my biggest one. I love when someone considers me and makes my life easier. That speaks to me most.
"I love when someone considers me and makes my life easier. That speaks to me most."
Will: I think it all depends on how I’m feeling, too. But probably also acts of service. I like how Amanda will buy me deodorant when I run out (laughs). She just does so much all the time to show that I’m thought of.
At what point in your connection did y’all have the “what are we” conversation?
Will: I don’t think we ever had that convo. We never defined anything, we just kinda went with how it was going. However, I knew I wanted it to be more serious when I went to visit her. She had been coming to Houston once a month, and I went to Florida (she was there for work) to see her. I realized I felt comfortable coming into her space, too. That gave me that last little bit of whatever I needed.
Amanda: Yeah, I can’t say I had a defined moment like that. But again, as we had more and more interactions, there were just no red flags. The more we thought about it, the more we realized no matter where we went relationship-wise, we were adamant about being a part of each other’s lives. We never had the “talking to other people” conversation or anything. But we did both understand we weren’t going anywhere. Eventually, it graduated to convos around building a life together, but even that was over six months in. I just liked him as a person.
Have there been any negative revelations that your partnership and marriage have taught you about yourself?
Amanda: I’ve always felt that partnership is supposed to make the other person’s life easier. For me, it was a struggle to let someone help me in all the ways I didn’t really know I needed help. As I started having less capacity, I had to realize that it doesn't work anymore. It was hard for me to acknowledge and ask for help. I think that’s something I am still coming to terms with, even with other relationships in my life.
Will: I think I’m learning and still learning how to get out of my head. I’m the kind of person who always has to visualize stuff before it happens. And this relationship is the first thing that I don’t do that with. Of course, we plan stuff, but I know it’s gonna be good regardless. It allows me to stay in the moment. If I can do that with this, which is the most important thing to me, why can’t I do that with other things?
Photo courtesy of Amanda Wicks and Will Ford
What challenges have you faced together?
Will: For me, the preconceived challenge was living together. I’ve never lived with a woman before. Even in my previous relationship, it was long-distance. I’m also the type of person that likes my space, but as soon as she got here, that was out the window. It was so smooth it made me feel stupid for questioning it.
Amanda: I’m grateful to say we don’t necessarily have challenges between each other together. But we have been struggling with infertility and health issues. Our biggest challenge thus far is trying to get pregnant. Even articulating that makes me realize I’m grateful it hasn’t caused a rift between us. I think we have been able to face it in a healthy way. But that’s an example of how having someone else there can be helpful. I was so functional as a full-blown individual doing everything by myself.
So, in my head, I don’t need anyone, but having someone there who is happy to support me has taught me it’s okay to welcome that. It’s made us stronger because it’s taught us how we both function under duress – it’s good to know it’s not terrible (laughs).
"Our biggest challenge thus far is trying to get pregnant. Even articulating that makes me realize I’m grateful it hasn’t caused a rift between us. I think we have been able to face it in a healthy way."
What are some of the shared values that are important to your relationship?
Will: How we see life, what we’re here for, and how you’re supposed to treat people. It sounds really simple, but it’s not as common as you think.
Amanda: We value being really good people – without strings. We both don’t value money, but we value stability. So we don’t have to endure the “why are you not hustling” arguments. We were both stable people individually, and we came together. Also, we both value meaningful connections, alone time, reflection, and family. That guides us in what we do and how we build a life.
Finally, what is your favorite thing about each other?
Amanda: I’ll say one of my favorite things about him is that he’s brilliant. I view myself as a smart person, but in my head, he can do what I’m doing ten times faster. There are times I want to push myself to do stuff, and I’ll just ask him because I know he can do it. It’s incredible.
Will: My favorite thing about her is how people see her. Being a witness to how important she is to other people’s lives is amazing. Standing to the side and seeing how she affects them is really special.
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Feature image courtesy of Amanda Hicks and Will Ford
Zoe Saldaña is raising her sons to mirror her in the most incredible way.
The From Scratch star opened up to PEOPLE in an exclusive where she spoke about leading her household by example, the different seasons of parenthood, and teaching her boys to embrace their femininity.
The 45-year-old actress is a mother to three sons that she shares with her husband and longtime love Marco Perego-Saldaña. The couple have twin sons, 8-year-olds Cy and Bowie, and a 6-year-old named Zen. The working mom never hesitates to be transparent about the delicate balance that is headlining films while raising a family.
Zoe told PEOPLE that she regards parenthood as "the most amazing thing," but she doesn't take the impact she has in molding her sons lightly.
"We are here to set very big tones for them in life on how to be, how to react, how to regulate, how to repair, how to heal, how to stand up for yourself. So they're going to be constantly mirroring what you do, knowing that you're being observed at all times," she explained.
Zoe credited communication and teamwork as a saving grace for how she and her husband Marco are able to adapt and adjust depending on their busy schedules. The star told the outlet that they are "very honest with each other about what your bandwidth feels like it can be."
She continued, "Certain seasons, I'm the one that may be taking over all of the domestic operations so that my husband can mentally break away and focus on his creativity. And other seasons when I go completely back into work mode, then we're switching off. I don't think it's ever an even share of the load, which is why I think it's important to be absolutely transparent with your bandwidth and where you are and how you're doing."
Zoe has also been candid about her belief in not instilling gender roles into her boys. Instead of adopting a mantra of "boys will be boys," Zoe and her husband take their approach to parenthood as an opportunity to teach their sons "to honor and celebrate women." Just as important to Zoe is showing Cy, Bowie, and Zen how to also "honor themselves, their femininity, to celebrate their feminine self as well."
"We're very hard on our boys the same way we're hard on women. And boys are encouraged to be strong and to suppress their emotions. And then once you learn to do that so much for so long, you become completely excommunicated from your feelings," Zoe explained to PEOPLE.
She added, "We definitely understood the assignments and accepted it knowing that we were raising boys during a time when women's movements are so important."
This isn't the first time the Avatar star has touched on the importance of a strong female presence in her growing boys' lives. Back in 2017, the Marvel actress told Yahoo Style about her young sons' superhero obsessions at the time.
"My boys are obsessed with female superheroes. And we have to search high and low to find these toys. [My sons] are demanding a female presence as much as a male presence. I am accepting this ironic challenge that this universe has presented to me."
In the past, Zoe has also been vocal about the importance of a village when raising a child and dispelling the myth of "having it all" and instead embracing "compromise" and "sacrifice" in her reality as a working mom.
“Our assistant, our nanny, and our housekeeper. They are literally raising our children with us,” she told Yahoo Style in 2017. “It’s because of them I am able to rip myself away as long as I can, and my husband as well, to do what we do. They’re teaching us how to manage our pain as they’re raising our kids with us … When you’re away a little too much, it compromises a lot more things. It’s a sacrifice and a pain that will never go away. You take every day at a time.”
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Featured image by Daniele Venturelli/Getty Images for Fendi