Y'all know we love a multi-hyphenate. Adrienne Bailon is that and then some. Over the years, our favorite Cheetah Girl has remained relevant with evolving identities from singer to actress to entrepreneur. Despite her first dream job of being an obstetrician, Adrienne's emergence as a superstar back in 1999 has proven that she is unafraid to experiment. Most importantly, The Real co-host's mission is centered around authenticity and transparency.
xoNecole caught up with Adrienne Bailon to talk about her beauty routine, the importance of self-care, being a serial entrepreneur, and why her new collaboration with Olay empowers women of color in more ways than one.
xoNecole: Can you spill the tea on your beauty routine and your top three must-haves?
Adrienne Bailon: This is pretty easy. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Hydration is key. I know this sounds super cheesy, but drinking water. I am a crazy water drinker. I actually just recently got one of those reusable big jugs that give you the encouragement. I swear by that. I think that staying super hydrated from the inside out is key to staying cute. Number two, when we talk about moisture, I think so many of us think beauty secrets, we always think about our faces and a lot of us neglect our bodies. I was raised with a mom that straight out of the shower was like, "You need lotion! Don't come out here with ashy knees and elbows." I am so grateful for that.
I am obsessed with Olay Body. They just came out with this new body lotion collection, and it is everything because we've used collagen on our faces; I've literally even done the collagen in the smoothies and put it in our teas and all that kind of stuff. But I'm like, "Why not just put it on our actual skin?" And I'm super excited about their new Olay Firming Body Lotion. I have to say, you actually see a visible difference. I started using it maybe two, three weeks ago, and I already see a huge change.
I love the idea of literally lathering it on and then I'll notice the difference the most in my thighs because they look way more hydrated, way firmer. I suffer from cellulite, so this has been like a godsend for me literally to see a visible difference in the firmness of my skin. For me, self-care is skincare. I take my moment to kind of just do what I gotta do. That is super-important to me. The last thing would be rest as a beauty secret. I think so many of us don't think of that—creating space for yourself to just relax. If you're stressed out, it will show up on your skin.
"For me, self-care is skincare. I take my moment to kind of just do what I gotta do. That is super-important to me."
You talked a little bit about self-care. As a multihyphenate, what does self-care look like for you?
Alone time. I think that in a business where I'm constantly surrounded by people and there's constantly a lot of chaos and talking, I think I really value my alone time. The moments when I get to hear the sound of my own voice. What is it that I want? What is it that I like? I think we don't realize that when we're around people, you watch the shows they want to watch. You listen to the music that they might want to listen to. It's very rare that you'll put on that random quirky song that maybe you just want to hear in the car.
I think that it's so important for me to have alone time. And that's really where I get a lot of my self-care time done, too. Obviously, I have a husband, so I live with someone else. For me, my alone time is in the bathroom. I literally take time to be like, "I'm checking out to go do my nighttime routine. I'm going to need like the next 30 minutes to just not hear anyone else's voice, but my own."
That's so good! Along those lines of self-care, what was kind of the breakthrough moment where you realized you needed to prioritize self-care in a real way?
Oh! Crazy enough, it was 2021, not 2020. In 2020, we were in isolation and it was crazy but when things started opening again, it hit us like a ton of bricks. For me, at least, it was overwhelming. It felt like a lot. I think a lot of us were concerned about finances and feeling like you got to get back into it and strike while the iron's hot.
That whole mentality for me was really overwhelming and that's when I started recognizing like, 'OK, I have to find balance. Yes, the world is open, but there was something really special about the family time that I got.' That's what made me buy a home in New York. It's marvelous having a job in L.A. but this is a place to work. Home for me is going to be where my family is so it was just making those changes during that time that were really important for me.
Absolutely. Tell us why you believe self-care is important for women of color specifically.
Let's get into it, here. It is so important because I think that culturally, I don't think it's something that we focus on. I don't think people discuss the awareness of checking in on ourselves. How do we feel? That's self-care. Self-care for me is literally taking a piece of paper and checking off all the things, "Am I happy? Am I rested? What's stressing me out? What's going on?" Taking inventory of myself. And I don't think that culturally, we take that. I don't think that that's considered. It's like, go, go, go.
If you're not stressed out and hustling and killing yourself, then you're not doing well. I think that sadly, it's a mentality that we have when it comes to work and success. What does success look like? I think for us, it looks like working really, really hard when success can also be just being at peace with yourself and at peace with your life. I don't think we prioritize that nearly enough as much as we prioritize the success of working hard or climbing the corporate ladder and all those other kinds of things. I think self-care for women of color is extremely important because no one else is going to give it to us, but us.
"Self-care for me is literally taking a piece of paper and checking off all the things, 'Am I happy? Am I rested? What's stressing me out? What's going on?' Taking inventory of myself... I think self-care for women of color is extremely important because no one else is going to give it to us, but us."
Yes, you can't pour from an empty cup.
You can not, and you can't expect anyone else to care about yourself like you do. So take those moments that you need. It's OK to express, "Hey, I'm taking a moment for self-care." I think exploring what self-care looks like to you is important too. It's not going to be the same as someone else's. If you are an extrovert, maybe self-care is doing something with a group of girlfriends and that's what you needed. Maybe you need a break from your kids. Maybe you need to have some adult time. Self-care for everyone is going to look different, but prioritizing it should be high on everyone's list.
I love that so much. We talked a little bit about working hard, what does it mean to be a fearless female entrepreneur?
A fearless female entrepreneur, if you think about it, if you're fearless, you're going to go for it. You're not going to second guess yourself. You are going to try it all, do it all, and be it all. There's something really dope about that. I think when we're fearless, we get out of our own way. And when we talk about self-care, I love that Olay is doing this campaign, and it's why I wanted to partner with them because how we start and end our day definitely contributes to how fearless we feel, you know. How fearless we feel in our skin, how we feel about our skin, and what do we do this morning that's going to benefit us two weeks from now. That mindset is so important.
I really do love that saying, "Do something today that your future self is going to say thank you for." I feel like my future skin is going to say thank you, my future mind is going to say thank you. The extra 20 minutes I put into not scrolling on Instagram and focusing on the things I have to actually do—being present— I'm going to be grateful for those things later on. And I think being present can make you fearless because you're living in the moment and not worrying about tomorrow.
I think those kinds of things are really important. And when you're fearless, especially as a female entrepreneur, you tend to not doubt yourself and you tend to actually believe in the ideas that you have, and that's where the success comes.
"How we start and end our day definitely contributes to how fearless we feel, you know. How fearless we feel in our skin, how we feel about our skin, and what do we do this morning that's going to benefit us two weeks from now. That mindset is so important."
Courtesy of Olay
That's beautiful. I love that you're doing this collaboration with Olay. I think it's a great collaboration with two beautiful brands. How has Olay empowered you to show up as your full self?
Oh my gosh. It's empowered me in more ways than one. I think that growing up, it was a staple brand in my home that I saw and now to see it being so innovative in 2021, I think that that in itself is inspirational. It's been around for so long and it's still doing groundbreaking things like putting collagen in a body lotion, putting hyaluronic acid in a body wash. These are things that were new that I wasn't seeing done in any other products.
For myself, especially as a female entrepreneur, to see that is inspiring, I'm like, 'Wow, so you mean to tell me that 30 years from now, I could still be doing something groundbreaking in jewelry and fashion.' Just to see that is super inspiring.
I love what they're doing for women of color entrepreneurs. They've partnered with LISC NYC to really empower women of color, especially in Washington Heights to do amazing things. I love that I am a female entrepreneur. I know what it's like to grow up in the hood and not have the information and the tools to become an entrepreneur. I had to learn so much along the way because I didn't have that knowledge.
I didn't have a mom that I can call and be like, "How did you do it?" I didn't have those connections. Sharing the information is super important and being able to work with brands that recognize the importance of supporting women of color is extremely important.
Wow, that's so good! So, what's next for you? What can we expect from you?
I am so excited we're back for season eight, with The Real. We are back in the studio with the girls and it's just been really special. Spending an entire year of being in Zoom boxes with random delays, we are so grateful that our audience stuck with us through all of that. And then to be back together, although we don't have a studio audience, I actually prefer it, as we're having really deep conversations. There's something really special about it just being the four of us and people that we're used to working with.
There are two cameramen and our stage manager, Sonia, who's been with us since day one. You can have those intimate, difficult conversations in a different way. I think that we'd have the tears on the seasons before but there was still an audience of over 200 people looking at it. It changes the dynamic. And I think it's been really, really special so far. I'm excited! I'm calling this our 'intimate season.' It's just the four of us. The table is gone. It's more casual. It feels special, and I think we're not taking this one for granted at all.
Yasss! My last question is actually about your audience. And how fitting since we're talking about self-care and beauty. So what's the secret lip gloss you use on the show?
OK, she might not like this, but I love a good tingle lip gloss. I love lip plumpers. I feel like if it's not burning, it's not working, so I am a huge fan. There's this brand called BUXOM Beauty. I swear that all their lip colors are life-changing. There's going to be a little tingle factor, but I swear the shine stays. That's the one.
To keep up with All Things Adrienne, check out her YouTube channel. And for Olay's new collection, head over to Olay.com to add some items to the cart.
Featured image courtesy of Olay
Joce Blake is a womanist who loves fashion, Beyonce and Hot Cheetos. The sophistiratchet enthusiast is based in Brooklyn, NY but has southern belle roots as she was born and raised in Memphis, TN. Keep up with her on Instagram @joce_blake and on Twitter @SaraJessicaBee.
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Sex is a big deal. In fact, the clients I have who try to convince me otherwise, I essentially tell them that all they are doing is showing me that the state of their own sex life is not up to par because, if it was, they would agree that…again…sex is a big deal. No, it’s not everything. And no, it shouldn’t be solely relied on to keep a relationship together (check out “Make-Up Sex Might Be Doing Your Relationship More Harm Than Good”). However, when you stop to really let it sink in that sex is one of the main things that makes, say, a marriage different from all other relationships husbands and wives may have — say it with me, folks: SEX IS A BIG DEAL.
That’s why, whenever I read articles that state things like (currently) only 23 percent of (American) people would rate their sex life as being “excellent” (what in the world?!), I feel that it is basically my duty and mission to do all that I can to significantly increase those numbers. One way to do that is to offer some not-so-obvious tips that can make climaxing faster and easier for you.
So, if you fall into the “other than 23 percent category,” just know that I totally penned this with you in mind. Here are 12 things (plus a couple of bonus points) that could very well change and put some of your own sex odds in your favor…quite possibly, as soon as tonight.
1. Have a Sex DateGiphy
Okay, so “When's The Last Time You And Your Man Had A 'Sex Date'?” If you’re wondering what that is, it’s a date that has nothing but a sex theme in mind. It can be a dinner that features nothing but aphrodisiacs. A sleepover at a local hotel that you’ve always wanted to try. A sexcation that literally consists of nothing (much) more than sex, food, and sleep. Aside from the fact that planning a sexcation can help to build sexual anticipation for both you and your partner, it can also remind you that quality time together should, at least sometimes, evoke feelings of eroticism, lust, and profound sexual longing too. Yeah, something that can definitely help to put you in the mood is a well-thought-out sex date (if you need a bit of help financing one, do you own a sex jar…yet?).
2. Drink Lots of WaterGiphy
It doesn’t matter what the (physical) issue may be, it seems like water is always going to be one of the remedies for it. That makes sense, being that our bodies are made up of somewhere around 60 percent of it. When it comes to having an orgasm, consuming lots of water can help when it comes to getting you to produce more natural lubrication (the wetter you are, the less friction you’ll feel, and that can make climaxing so much easier to do). As a bonus, it can also reduce your chances of experiencing a Charley horse (you know, a random muscle spasm) that can sometimes pop up when you’re in sex positions that can help you to achieve an orgasm, yet you’re so dehydrated that a “horse” gets in the way.
3. Give Each Other a Scalp MassageGiphy
If you’ve got a lot on your mind, you’re totally stressed out, or you’re so focused on having an orgasm that you can’t seem to calm your mind or body down — how about getting a scalp massage (or giving yourself one)? Since scalp massages are able to produce feel-good hormones in your body and put you into a better mood, it’s the kind of unsung foreplay that should be factored in a helluva lot more than it tends to be. Also, since scalp massages can bring relief to headaches and migraines — well, if that’s been your reason (or is it a low-key excuse?) for not having sex, you might want to keep your partner from reading this. #Elmoshrug
4. Listen to Binaural BeatsGiphy
If you’ve never heard of binaural beat therapy, probably the best way to explain it is, it’s a type of sound wave therapy that is designed to reduce anxiety and stress, improve focus and concentration, and even improve your level of confidence. Since it’s also characterized as a form of self-help, all you need is some headphones and some beats that are on a specific kind of frequency to make this effective.
And what does this have to do with having an orgasm? Some people are huge fans of binaural beats because they say that the vibrations that come from them are quite sexually stimulating. I actually put a few friends to the test by sharing a link to a popular orgasmic-themed binaural beat (here). Guess what? They went in cynical and came out saying that, although they couldn’t quite put their finger on it, they did end up feeling a lil’ sumthin’ sumthin’. Just sayin’.
5. Focus on a Great (Sexual) MemoryGiphy
This is one of those times when I’m simply gonna say, “Hey, don’t shoot the messenger” and leave it at that (LOL). That’s my intro for sharing that, although I think most people reading this would scream at the top of their lungs that their partner saying someone else’s name during sex is the ultimate no-no, I once read an article where a neuroscience professor stated that it shouldn’t automatically be triggering. According to him, it could be nothing more than a cognitive euphoric reaction to a past experience that was equally as pleasurable; it’s usually not a sign that your partner is longing for someone else.
Whatever the case may be, my biggest takeaway is, focusing on satisfying sexual memories can get your mind ready for what your body is about to do. It does this by reducing anxiety and cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Plus, the nostalgia can make you feel closer to your partner as well. So, while you might want to go with the present instead of your past, taking a sexual stroll down memory lane could end up totally working in your favor.
6. Introduce Him to the “Egg Yolk Method”Giphy
I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if you already knew that yoni eggs and egg vibrators can help you out with your orgasm mission. Okay, but what you might not be aware of is the fact that eating eggs can give you more energy and activate a neurotransmitter in your brain that can help you to have longer and more intensified orgasms (spinach and mushroom omelet, anyone?).
Also, keeping in with the theme of all-things-eggs-related, if you didn’t catch the viral TikTok from last summer that some media simply called “the egg yolk” method, you can watch it for yourself here. The gist is a woman decided that caressing an egg yolk is the best way to teach men how to stimulate your vulva. Thoughts?
7. Try the Kivin MethodGiphy
It’s no secret that it’s easier for many women to cum from cunnilingus than intercourse. Well, something that you can try that may help to intensify oral sex orgasms is something known as the Kivin Method. The mindset here is, if your partner orally pleases you horizontally instead of vertically, they will “cover more ground” that way. To make it happen, you need to be on your back while holding one of your knees to your chest. Then he comes in on his side and starts to orally stimulate you that way. That will cause him to stimulate more than just your clitoris. Pretty interesting, right?
8. Learn About the Coital Alignment TechniqueGiphy
Ah yes. The thing that actually inspired me to write this article in the first place. For the past few years, when it comes to the topic of achieving peak sexual pleasure, something that has been receiving quite a bit of attention is the coital alignment technique (also known as the CAT, although some call it “grinding the corn”). It’s a sex position that’s a variation of the missionary position that hones in on the clitoris.
It does this by having your partner move his body slightly above your clitoris so that it can be rather easily stimulated during penetration. For many, it’s a cool “workaround” if they are unable to achieve a vaginal orgasm. Try it (if you haven’t already) and report back.
9. Engage in Nipple Play During IntercourseGiphy
The reason why I once wrote, “So, What If 'Typical Erogenous Zones' Annoy TF Outta You?” is because I know what it’s like to have a partner assume that a part of your body is easy to get turned on…when it actually isn’t. If, for you, that happens to be your breasts (and, more specifically, your nipples), at least consider letting your partner stimulate them during intercourse.
Believe it or not, according to science, your brain responds to nipple stimulation in the same way it does whenever your genitals get sexually excited. This means that, even if you don’t “see the mountaintop” from penetration alone, sometimes the tag-teaming of intercourse and nipple play can get you the orgasm that you’re after.
10. Get into the Fetal PositionGiphy
As far as sex positions go, while the spoon and fetal position are quite similar, the fetal wins when it comes to being able to give you an orgasm quicker, mostly because the closer your knees are to your chest, the easier it is for your partner’s penis to be able to stimulate both your clitoris as well as your vagina. When that is the case, you increase the chances of experiencing a full-blown vaginal orgasm, something that continues to be an exclusive club because less than one in five are able to pull that off.
11. Have Him Press Down on Your TummyGiphy
If you’ve ever wondered if your G-spot can be stimulated from the outside in (or if you’ve been patiently waiting for your partner to figure out just where your G-spot actually is), how about pressing down on your stomach to see if that works?
From what I’ve read and researched, although this approach gained popularity due to a now-deleted TikTok post, there are medical professionals who cosign on the fact that putting a bit of external pressure in the abdominal region during sexual activity has a great chance of intensifying orgasms, for sure. Word on the street is, you increase your chances of climaxing quicker when this happens, too.
I mean, at least ask for a tummy massage before the action begins. Seems to me like this is an easy enough hack to try at least once.
12. Breathe Deeply Through Sexual StimulationGiphy
Something that your body needs a lot of during sex is oxygen. One of the reasons why is that it helps to keep the blood flowing throughout your system — and that includes your genitalia. And the more blood that rushes down that way, the more pleasurable your orgasms will be. That’s why it’s critically important to remember to breathe deeply during the sexual experience. Although it can be tempting (and even understandable) to want to hold your breath or have shortness of breath at times, those are the very moments when taking air in and breathing it out slowly can make all the difference in the world when it comes to having some of your best orgasms — EVER.
BONUS for Postmenopausal Women: Topical TestosteroneGiphy
For better or for worse, something that none of us are going to be able to escape is menopause. It’s a fact of life that will impact everything — including our sex lives. And just like our estrogen levels will drop, so will the testosterone that runs throughout our system. This is relevant because testosterone plays a significant role in your sex drive and how fulfilling sex can be for you. One solution to having lower testosterone is testosterone therapy in the form of applying topical testosterone.
As far as who can use it, where and when you should apply it, and the dosage amount that is beneficial, those things are pretty particular; that’s why you should definitely consult with your healthcare provider before adding it to your sexual self-care regimen. As far as this article goes, I’m just letting you know that there are some options available.
BONUS to Get HIM There: Make a FistGiphy
Finally, if you’re down with giving head yet you just can’t seem to work around the involuntary gagging that sometimes happens, here’s the hack for all hacks: did you know that, by forming a fist with your left hand and then squeezing your thumb inside of it, it can relax you and open up your throat? No, really. Although supposedly this discovery was birthed out of making dental visits easier, I’m pretty sure you can see how this can translate (quite well, I might add) over to the oral sex department ,too. Here’s hoping, sis. #wink
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Featured image by Giphy