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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Whether it was your group chat, social media feed, or your favorite media outlet covering the spectacle, I’m pretty sure you’ve come across the viral Black wedding between actress KJ Smith (Sistas, Raising Kanan) and actor Skyh Black (All the Queen’s Men, Sistas). From their grand entrance to Jay-Z, Kayne West, and Beyoncé’s song “Lift Off” to KJ’s standout dance routine and the endless celebrity appearances, it’s an addictive TikTok scroll you can’t help but delve into.
But what many people would be surprised to know is that the couple’s original wedding plan was nothing like what it grew to be. What started as her simply scrolling through posts to get ideas eventually transformed into what the internet knows now as #TheBlackExperience. In an exclusive conversation with xoNecole, KJ walked us through her planning process, the morning of her wedding, and what she thinks of the online response.
Some women have their whole wedding planned out, from the bridal gown and venue to the bridal party and playlist. However, KJ was not one of those people. “I didn’t foresee a wedding in my future,” she reveals. “I was just gonna be the boss chick, rich auntie. I didn’t force love in my life until recently. I never had an idea of what a dream wedding would look like, it was easier for me to elope.”
Photo by Stanley Babb/ Stanlo Photography
And to many people’s surprise, that was their original plan – until Skyh brought up a valid concern. He was raised by his grandmother and thought she should be at the wedding, and naturally, that led to KJ wanting her grandmother to be there as well – then her mom – and later her sister – and, you’ve gotta invite the besties too, right? From there, the guest list continued to blossom. Much like the updo and pop of color bold red lip, she wore on her special day, which was initially on her Pinterest board as a soft glam look with her hair hanging on her shoulders, KJ is okay with changing her plan if it brings her and her loved ones happiness.
So let’s get into the wedding, which took place in Malibu, CA. The first thing you should know about the celebrity couple is that they’re non-traditional. They know, and they don’t care. So, in true unconventional fashion, they shared the morning of the wedding together.
“I woke up with Skyh, we walked our dog, had black coffee, and said good morning to the people who stayed at the venue with us,” she says.
Now, it was time for hair and makeup. While she was getting glammed up, she had Black-owned McBride Sisters wine and champagne (which ties into The Black Experience theme) on deck with her mom and friends, had her besties help rework her vows, retried on every outfit (sis is very Type-A), took photos, and ended the early-celebration with prayer and meditation. It seems very non-Bridezilla, I said.
“Yeah, I was the most unbothered bride ever. Everyone was just so supportive. As entertainers, we go on red carpets all the time. We actually have a production company,” she explains. “The get-ready process was like a day at work, but with people we love the most. Being entertainers, we didn’t feel stressed at all, but my excitement was so high.”
Things moved quickly, and before she knew it, it was time to line up to walk down the aisle.
“Yeah, I was the most unbothered bride ever. Everyone was just so supportive. As entertainers, we go on red carpets all the time. We actually have a production company. The get-ready process was like a day at work, but with people we love the most. Being entertainers, we didn’t feel stressed at all, but my excitement was so high.”
KJ Smith and her bridal party
Photo by Stanley Babb/ Stanlo Photography
Since everything started with their grandmothers, the couple wanted to ensure they honored them and planned to keep an element of their wedding traditional. Although we’ve all seen the reception videos and photos online, you may have noticed visuals from the wedding itself are harder to find.
“We planned for it to be traditional, but we’re not like that, so we tried to create those moments. We jumped the broom and had a salt ceremony (where the bride and groom individually pour salt into a glass container, symbolizing their lives becoming one.) But honestly, still, nothing was traditional about it.”
She goes on to explain that her mom caught the holy ghost coming down the aisle, her glam team was on deck, and she became so nervous with excitement that she had an anxiety attack – something she struggled with for years, she explains tearfully. Her friends had to literally cheer her down the aisle because of how overwhelmed she felt until she eventually calmed down.
“Skyh was standing there with his hand on his heart; we have our own little language, and I could feel the support,” she shares.
It was surprising to hear all these emotional moments happened before the party we saw online. That is until she once again got into the backstory.
“As a Black woman actress, for so long, it was popular to be mysterious and secretive, but that’s not who I am or what I like. Plus, we both wanted to create an experience for everyone there. We are the people who always host family and friends,” she says. “Like for me, the first order of business was getting sandals for the women so they can dance all night long. We had oxtail, D'ussé, and a coffee and sativa lounge – which is part of Skyh and I’s lifestyle and routine. We wanted to bring them into our world.”
Skyh Black (L) and KJ Smith (R)
Photo by Stanley Babb/ Stanlo Photography
She went on to discuss the dance routine she did for her husband at the reception, which has taken over the internet. Apparently, that’s another thing that didn’t go according to plan. According to KJ, she had promised a performance at their joint bachelor/ bachelorette party, but her outfit got stolen from her car. So, Skyh ended up performing for her – complete with a strip tease. Still, she never forgot her promise to dance for him.
So, she hired her friend as a choreographer, learned the routine, made friends and family watch it endless times, and attended Beyoncé’s Renaissance show a few days before for a confidence boost. It ended up being a show to remember. But that wasn’t all the night offered. Lil Mo performed, and the guests received special goody bags featuring their favorite Black-owned products like journals, hair care, and more.
“We made sure everyone was taken care of all night. That kind of stuff makes us happy. I wanted everyone there to experience the joy and love I have for myself, my partner, and for them. I wanted them to feel full and whole, and they had the time of their lives,” she says.
But naturally, the internet is going to internet, and while there were countless people praising the event and applauding the newlyweds, some thought it was too over the top. I was curious to know her thoughts on some of the criticism.
“It’s cool. We did what we wanted to do. I’ve decided to share my world with people. Just how I went on social media platforms and found inspiration, I want people to do the same,” she explains. “I don’t think it's fair to my supporters not to give that out. There’s so much I wanna share with brides, specifically Black brides. I love that people are adding it to their Pinterest boards."
"I wanted everyone there to experience the joy and love I have for myself, my partner, and for them. I wanted them to feel full and whole, and they had the time of their lives."
Photo by Stanley Babb/ Stanlo Photography
“I’m happy with it because we did what we wanted to do. They can do what they wanna do. Don’t be cruel, though, because you will get blocked,” she said, laughing.
The more I spoke with her, the more her sense of freedom shined through. People are always going to have their opinions, but at the end of the day, it’s you who has to live your life, and it seems like the couple realizes that and embraces that power. She also stressed the importance of not living for others and the lessons life has taught her.
“I’ve been to countless weddings, and I’ve been in countless weddings. I’m a generally older bride. So when women in my demographic get married, and you and your husband are busy working people like us, you deserve to have the one you want to have,” she shares.
“This is what we wanted to do. Our loved ones love and support us. We did so much to honor them, but we also wanted to start our own tradition, legacy, and creation. I'm not going to be pulled back into ideas of the past when I’m trying to create a future with my partner. “
If you’d like to see more of the couple, you probably won’t have to wait long. Although no content is planned yet, she admits to being an oversharer. “Me being open and transparent about my experiences lets people know it’s okay to have flaws; it makes you human, and for many years, I didn’t believe that was okay. I had pressure to be perfect, and I’d crumble every time,” she explains to xoNecole.
Now, she owns her flaws and uses them as a superpower to connect with her community and feel and express her love.
“Some people give us [Skyh and KJ] a hard time because they say we just seem too perfect. I’m like, why is that a bad thing? I love the people I love. From my man to my mama, to my friends - unabashedly. We move through time and space how we want to move. If we did it another way, we’d let ourselves and our union down.”
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Feature image by Stanley Babb/ Stanlo Photography
This December will mark two years since I lost, hell, over 90 percent of my belongings in a house fire (check out “My House Burned Up. Three Days Before Christmas. What It Taught Me.”). Only people who have gone through something similar get how long it takes to…replenish. That’s why I was so excited about setting some money aside this year so that I could get the kind of fall wardrobe that I’ve been wanting for a hot minute now. Since autumn is my favorite time of year, I like to prepare for it more than any other season.
My hair is not exempt. Boy, the more I am intentional about achieving some real hair length, the more research I like to do when it comes to giving my tresses exactly what they need — this includes what’s required from season to season.
That’s what this article is all about. With fall officially being a week away, I wanted to give you some time to get your hair and your coins ready to provide it just what it needs so that it can adjust nicely to cooler (and oftentimes wetter) weather.
1. Comb More than Brush
Although this one might sound a bit odd, hear me out. So long as you use the right kind of brush (a detangling one and/or a boar bristle brush), there are benefits that come with brushing your hair. Brushing helps stimulate your scalp and distribute natural oils to coat your hair strands, and brushing can get rid of natural hair strands that shed on a daily basis. However, the reason you might want to comb (or pick) more than brush during the fall season is because the semi-drastic shifts in temperature tend to create a jet stream that brings more wind and rain.
And when it’s damper outside, that can make your hair frizzier — and what can add to the frizz is brushing your locks because it separates each strand, which makes it easier for the cuticles on them to stand up and out (when hair isn’t frizzing up, the cuticles are smooth). Since the process of combing helps to keep your strands more “clumped together,” which can reduce frizz, it’s a hairstyling hack to keep in mind…if frizz is something that you want to avoid, that is.
2. Avoid Hair Drying Products
Speaking of controlling frizz, here’s another tip to keep in mind. Did you know that the main reason why frizz happens in the first place is because hair lacks moisture? Basically, the tiny “scales” that cover each strand, when there is no frizz, they lie down smoothly. Oh, but when there’s some frizzing going on, they stand all over the place. Since our hair is usually naturally drier anyway (because the sebum from our scalp has a harder time coating our strands from root to tip due to our curly hair texture), our hair frizzes up more than most. That’s why we have to be hypervigilant about keeping moisture in it.
And why is this relevant during the fall season? Well, if there’s more rain, this means that water evaporates into the air, and when the hydrogen bonds from the water connect with the protein in your hair, that can cause frizz, especially if/when your hair is already dry. That’s why it’s important to avoid hair products that have drying agents in them — ones like alcohol, sulfates, polyethylene glycol, ammonia (which is what’s in a lot of hair dyes), and dimethicone (a type of silicone) — for starters.
3. Apply a Leave-In Conditioner
If you’re looking for a proactive way to keep moisture in your hair, you can never go wrong with a water-based leave-in conditioner. What I like about them is they’re a quick way to add some moisture and softening agents to my hair in between wash days (which is my deep conditioning day). The way that I apply it is I add a couple of dabs to my hair at night before I put my hair in 2-6 plaits (in order to keep my hair stretched without heat).
By morning, the leave-in is dry, so I can style my hair without worrying about whether the dampness from the leave-in will cause my hair to look curlier than I might want it to be. As far as some of the best leave-ins (for curly hair) that are currently on the market, you can check out a few recommendations here, here, and here.
4. Use Hair Masks and Hot Oil Treatments
To tell you the truth, hair masks are something that should be used year-round. That’s because they add hydration, smooth hair cuticles, help to prevent split ends, strengthen hair follicles, keep your scalp healthy, and make your hair soft to the touch. As far as hot oil treatments are concerned, they’re great at repairing hair damage, reducing frizz, adding shine to color-treated hair, soothing scalp irritation (including the kind that is the result of dandruff,) and also keeping split ends from getting out of hand.
When it comes to how often you should treat your hair to a mask or an oil treatment, my two cents would be to alternate wash days — meaning, one wash day, go with a hair mask, and on the next, use a hot oil treatment. You can get some solid tips for how to DIY a hair mask by watching the videos here and here and how to do your own hot oil treatment by watching the video here and here.
5. Try Color-Depositing Shampoos and Conditioners
If you’re someone who likes to play with hair color, I definitely think that the fall is better than the summer to do it; that’s because the summer season brings a lot of heat that can dry out your hair, which can result in serious damage to dyed strands. Since the fall season is cooler, current trending colors like chestnut brown, wine, and bold highlights can have your hair looking amazing without compromising its health (quite as much).
If you want to keep your color lasting longer so that you don’t have to retouch it (and dry your hair out anyway) quite so often, invest in some color-depositing shampoos and conditioners. They’re basically semi-permanent hair products that will serve as a “top coat of color” for your hair for 10-15 wash days.
I’ve tried them before and, especially the conditioners, have done wonders as far as adding depth and shine to my hair without compromising its health. Cosmo has some shampoo recommendations here. Byrdie has some conditioner recommendations here.
6. Put Shampoo in Your Hair Dye
I wish I could remember where I learned this hack from, but just trust me when I say that it’s a TOTAL game-changer. It can’t be said enough that one of the biggest misconceptions that a lot of us have when it comes to our hair is that Black hair doesn’t grow long. The hell you say. Although genetics do somewhat play a role (for sure), the reality is a lot of us don’t see inches because our hair breaks off as fast as it grows — and that’s because we don’t take care of our ends as well as we should.
Case in point, since our ends are the oldest parts of our hair, if you plan on coloring your hair (especially if you’re about to retouch your color), your ends need to be color-treated the least — one, because they are already fragile and two, because they already have some color on them (if you’re coloring for the first time).
That said, one way to give your ends a ”once over” of color (for added depth) while damaging them as little as possible is to put some shampoo in your hair dye once you’ve already colored the rest of your hair. As you’re preparing to rinse the dye out, use that shampoo to penetrate your ends for about five minutes before thoroughly washing your hair without shampoo that has no dye in it (make sure that it’s sulfate-free).
Your ends will get a coat of color, and you won’t have to worry about stripping them of the natural oils that they need to keep from breaking off. Brilliant.
7. Don’t Forget the Thermal Heat Protectant
Hands down, I think the best time of year to get some longevity out of a blowout is the fall season. That’s because, since it’s cooler outside, that means less sweating, which means your strands are able to stay stretched out for longer periods of time. Now, this doesn’t mean that you should just go ham with your blow dryer and flat iron on a daily basis — but you should be able to pull off a few blowouts before Christmas without any hair damage…so long as you deep condition your hair and apply a thermal heat protectant before applying any heat.
Although some come in sprays and others in creams, my recommendation is “Option B” because it tends to coat our hair better. You can check out a few options to go with here. And as far as how to create the perfect blowout on natural hair, some YouTubers can walk you through it step-by-step. Check out this one (here), this one (here), this one (here), this one (here) and this one (here).
8. Get Some Hair Serum
Even though I did say earlier that a type of silicone can dry out your hair, that doesn’t make every silicone on the planet the devil. The reality is that serums, which are made from silicones, can be beneficial when it comes to extending the dye in your hair, preventing heat damage, increasing hair elasticity, detangling your hair, and definitely adding some major sheen and shine to it. That’s why you can never go wrong with hair serum being the “final touch” to your blowouts.
InStyle has some of their top serum picks here. Some keys to making hair serum work best for you are to take the “less is more” approach, to warm it up a bit beforehand (to keep it from going on so thick), and to not go more than ten days without washing your hair if you’ve applied the serum more than a couple of times; otherwise, you run the risk of dryness and breakage, if you’re not careful.
9. Oil Your Ends
Wool. Flannel. Corduroy. Hemp. Microfleece. Something that all of these fabrics have in common is they help to keep us warm. Problem is, that they can be really drying (and snag-inducing) when it comes to the ends of your hair. That’s why it’s a really good idea to be intentional about oiling the ends of your hair on the days when you know that they are going to be out.
Grapeseed, avocado, jojoba, sweet almond, and rosehip oil are all potent enough to keep your hair moisturized while being light enough to not weigh your hair strands down. Or you can use a hair oil blend. Although I personally don’t have locs, there is an Etsy store called The Loc Shop NYC that carries some oil combos that I’m a huge fan of — they penetrate my hair for days on end, and the scents are amazing. You can check ‘em out here.
By the way, some gentler fabrics that can also warm you up as they are kinder to your locks include cashmere, cotton, polyester, and, believe it or not, silk.
10. Invest in More Hats
Hats are my jam — everyone who knows me knows it. They’re great for bad hair days. They are awesome fashion accessories. And they can keep your head warm on the coolest of days in the coldest way possible (see what I did there?). That’s why you couldn’t tell me a damn thing when my new, large, gray Fedora came in the mail last week. After doing some internet skimming, it looks like bucket hats, newsboy hats, baseball caps, beanies, and berets are gonna be all the rage this fall season. Hmph. Betta get you some. Hats can shave off 15-20 minutes of your morning-get-ready routine. EASILY.
BONUS: Get a New Umbrella
Many days have started out a good hair day and then turned into an epic fail because either someone forgot their umbrella or the one they have is so old and tattered that it didn’t do them much good anyway. For this very reason, not too long ago, I copped myself one of those clear bubble umbrellas, and my hair couldn’t be more thrilled! As a bonus, not only does it keep my hair perfectly dry, but it also covers enough of my body that I can enjoy outdoor events in drizzling weather without getting the top half of my clothes wet, too. It’s the truest must-have fall accessory, no doubt about it.
There you have it: ten things that can get — and keep — your hair right this coming fall.
Don’t say a sistah wasn’t looking out. #wink
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