In About Face, xoNecole gets the 411 on IGers who give us #skincaregoals on a daily. Here they break down their beauty routines on the inside and out, as well as the highly coveted products that grace their shelves and their skin.
From the moment I heard Besidone Amoruwa speak at a digital conference, I was instantaneously mesmerized. Equal parts authoritative and relatable, Besidone effortlessly disseminated tips for monetizing your side hustle to young black business owners. And while I, along with thousands more, savored every morsel of information she shared, there was one topic that lived in my head rent-free days after the conference: her flawless skin.
As a Strategic Partner Manager, Besidone is an executive that facilitates relationships across beauty, lifestyle, and gaming verticals for Instagram's Emerging Talent Team. With such a strenuous job, making time for herself is a fundamental element to Besidone's success.
In this installment of xoNecole's About Face, the Instagram Partners executive talks family, connecting to your divine feminism, and aligning with your truth.
My holy grail skincare product is…
"My Amare I Lumi C serum - is the ULTIMATE keeper of my skin. It's my daily moisturizer and primer when I want to wear makeup. Making sure that my skin feels light and moisturized is my peace. I naturally have oily skin and I want to make sure that my skin only gets the nutrients it needs and leads out everything else."
I started taking my skincare seriously when...
"My younger sister became an aesthetician. She's always inspired me to do my own hair, makeup, and work on my skin because she would do it for me. So when she couldn't do it I had to learn (laughs). She inspired me to do the education and learn as much as I can for me NOT what society tells me."
"Making sure that my skin feels light and moisturized is my peace. I naturally have oily skin and I want to make sure that my skin only gets the nutrients it needs and leads out everything else."
The key to my morning routine is…
"Prayer. I have to wake up and seek peace first. Talk to God, write and listen. Feeding my inside spurs my whole well-being and spirit into positivity and alignment for my day. I love to read things that inspire me and teach me. Connecting to my divine feminine and the holy spirit within me grants me peace and perspective over myself and my day. I don't communicate on any technology until I have done this to be sure I am giving myself my 'me time' first."
My skin is the worst when…
"I'm eating dairy, fried food, or food with GMOs/hormones. I can just tell when a breakout is happening! I am not too strict on my diet but go through phases where I don't eat certain products and just stick to a variety of foods. I believe in balance but anyone who knows me knows: RUN me my chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream with rainbow sprinkles any day!"
"Connecting to my divine feminine and the holy spirit within me grants me peace and perspective over myself and my day. I don't communicate on any technology until I have done this to be sure I am giving myself my 'me time' first."
The most important item to travel with is…
"My cleanser. Traveling brings about so much dirt and my face needs to feel clean. I traveled a lot before the pandemic and keeping my skin clean and fresh while I was on my adventures was my top priority. I don't want to feel overwhelmed by a routine or the climate so keeping it basic is super important for me."
My makeup routine in three words would be…
"Give them face. I always like to serve whenever I do my makeup. It's like a mood. How sassy do I want to look today? How much cat-eye should I give them? It's important to show my own personal sex appeal. I like to be me and look like me. I don't want to look like anyone else but me in my own dark skin."
"It's important to show my own personal sex appeal. I like to be me and look like me. I don't want to look like anyone else but me in my own dark skin."
My evening routine consists of...
"A hot shower and my candles. I need my hot shower then it's my toner, retinol with a final layer of hyaluronic acid. Winding down is my absolute favorite part of the day. It should be a crime on how much money I spend on candles really but they are all over my house with different calming scents. My home now is basically like a mini art studio."
In my opinion, the secret to perfect skin is…
"Well, there is no such thing as perfect skin but I believe in healthy skin and medical-grade products. No lie. It is so important to go beyond topical products! Beneath the skin lies so much. I learned just how important it is to learn your skin. Everyone's skin type is not the same and our bodies are so different so not everyone's routine is gonna work for you sis, nor will all the products."
I never leave the house without this…
"Paw Paw ointment, keeps my lips smooth. I love my large lips so keeping them plump and moisturized and important. My brows or my makeup may not be done but one thing my lips won't be is chapped, chile. That's a big no-no. My lips are one of my favorite areas of my face and I love how large and supple they are so I take extra good care of them with scrubs, ointment, and sometimes a nice gloss."
"My lips are one of my favorite areas of my face and I love how large and supple they are so I take extra good care of them with scrubs, ointment, and sometimes a nice gloss."
My most significant beauty lesson is…
"Beauty starts from within, and everything else comes out. If I love my insides, it will show on the outside. When you feel good you look good. It's taken a long time for me to love myself and understand what makes me light. Nurturing my relationship with myself has helped me 'stay in my light'. I like to live my life as a pro-lover."
The three fundamental products of my skincare routine is…
"Moisturizer, sunblock, and retinol. The anti-aging basics baby. I stay looking half my age and I am no longer mad about it. I fully embrace it, letting my skin do the talking. This sounds simple but it's not because I have to be consistent with the upkeep and genetics can only do so much."
"If I love my insides, it will show on the outside. When you feel good you look good. It's taken a long time for me to love myself and understand what makes me light. Nurturing my relationship with myself has helped me 'stay in my light'."
Besidone's Favorite Beauty Products:
Favorite Skincare Brand:Amare Aesthetics
Favorite Makeup Brand:Pat McGrath Labs
Favorite Skincare Product: Hyaluronic Acid Amare
Favorite Concealer: Tarte Creaseless Concealer
Favorite Foundation: Pat McGrath Labs
Favorite Serum:Amare I Lumi C Serum
Favorite Moisturizer: Skinceuticals Triple Lipid Restore
Favorite Mascara: Benefit Badgal Mascara
Featured image courtesy of Besidone Amoruwa
Courtney is a contributing writer, based in Puerto Rico by way of Tennessee. Interested in the intersection of fashion and culture, she has an affinity for fashion, empowerment, and really good tacos. Keep up with her on Instagram (@hautecourtxo).
Unapologetically, Chlöe: The R&B Star On Finding Love, Self-Acceptance & Boldly Using Her Voice
On set inside of a mid-city Los Angeles studio, it’s all eyes on Chlöe. She slightly shifts her body against a dark backdrop amidst camera clicks and whirs, giving a seductive pout here, and piercing eye contact there. Her chocolate locs are adorned with a few jewels that she requested to spice up the look, and on her shoulders rests a jeweled piece that she asked to be turned around to better showcase her neck (“I feel a bit old,” she said of the original direction). Her shapely figure is tucked into a strapless bodysuit with a deep v-neck that complements her décolletage.
Though subtle, her quiet wardrobe directives give the air of a woman who’s been here before, and certainly knows what she’s doing. At 24 years young, she’s a “Bossy” chick in training— one who’s politely unapologetic and learning the power of her own voice.
“I'm hesitant sometimes to truly speak my mind and speak up for myself and what I believe,” she later confessed to me a couple of weeks after the photoshoot. “It's always scary for me, but now I'm realizing that I have to, in order to gain respect as a Black woman— a young Black woman— who's still navigating who she is. And you know, I'm realizing that closed mouths don't get fed. And if I keep my mouth shut just because I'm afraid of what people's opinions of me will be or turn into, then that's not any way to live.”
For Chlöe, the journey into womanhood is about embracing who she is, without succumbing to the perceptions of what others think of her. From the waist up she’s everything you’d imagine. A gorgeous goddess with the kind of sex appeal that some work hard to embrace but fail to exude. But unbeknownst to anyone not on set, her bottom half is covered by a white robe, surprising coming from the girl who boasts “'Cause my booty so big, Lord, have mercy” on her first hit single “Have Mercy.”
But that’s the beauty of Chlöe. There’s more to her than meets the eye. More than what a few sensual photos sprinkled throughout an Instagram feed could ever tell you. Just like the photo-framing illusion of her portrayed from the waist up, what we know about the songstress is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much more beneath the surface.
Some hours later Chlöe leans back in a high chair as her locs are transformed from a formal updo to a seemingly Basquiat-inspired one. It’s pure art, and at her request, no wigs are a part of the day’s ensemble. She’s fully embracing her natural hair, a decision that wasn’t always a socially accepted one.
In the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, (Mableton, to be exact) Chlöe began to explore the foundation of her self-image. At an early age she and her younger sister, Halle, demonstrated a vocal prowess and knack for being in front of the camera that caught their parents’ attention. Soon after, they were sent on a parade of local talent shows and auditions, and eventually broke into the digital space with song covers on YouTube.
It was during these early years that Chlöe first learned that the entertainment industry could be unforgiving to those who didn’t fit a particular beauty standard. Despite the then three-year-old snagging a role as the younger version of Beyoncé’s character, Lilly, in Fighting Temptations, casting agents requested that her natural locs be exchanged for more Eurocentric tresses. Ironic, considering that growing up Chlöe saw her hair as no different than that of her peers. “I remember specifically in pre-K we had to do self-portraits and I drew myself with a regular straight ponytail, like how I would put my locs in a ponytail,” she says. “I just never saw myself any different.”
Chlöe would also learn the true meaning of a phrase that would later become an affirmation posted on her bedroom mirror: “Don’t Let the World Dim Your Light.” After attempting to wear wigs to fit in, the Bailey sisters instead chose to rock their locs with pride, which undoubtedly cost them casting roles. Yet they would have the last laugh when making headlines as the “Teen Dreadlocked Duo” who landed a million-dollar contract with Parkwood Entertainment, and the coveted opportunity to be groomed under the tutelage of a world-renowned superstar.
Credit: Derek Blanks
While that could be the end of a beautiful fairytale of self-empowerment, the reality is that it’s just the beginning of the story of her evolution. For most girls, the transition into womanhood takes place in the comfort of their own worlds, often limited to the number of people they allow to have access to them. But for Chlöe, it’s happening in front of millions of critiquing eyes just waiting for an opportunity to either uplift or dissect her through unwarranted commentary.
Many in her position wouldn’t be able to take that kind of pressure. But Chlöe is handling it with grace. “I feel like all of us as humans, we have the right to interpret things how we want,” she says. “I put art out into the world and it's up for interpretation. I'm learning that not everyone is going to always like me and that it's okay.”
Chlöe isn’t the first artist to receive criticism for her carnal content, and she certainly won’t be the last. In 2010, Ciara writhed and rode her way to banishment on BET when the then 24-year-old released her video for “Ride.” In 2006, 25-year-old Beyoncé received backlash for “Déjà Vu."
"I put art out into the world and it's up for interpretation. I'm learning that not everyone is going to always like me and that it's okay.”
So much so that over 5,000 fans signed an online petition demanding that her label re-shoot the video because it was “too sexual.” Even 27-year-old Janet didn’t escape critical headlines when she shed her image of innocence for a more risqué appearance with the 1993 release of janet.
It’s almost as if public reproach is a rite of passage for young Black women R&B singers on the road to stardom. Good girls seemingly “go bad” whenever they embrace the depths of their femininity, and fans only like you on top figuratively. But Chlöe has learned not to bow down to other people’s opinions, but to boss up and control the narrative. As the saying goes, well-behaved women seldom make history. If sex appeal is her weapon, she wields it well.
On set, Chlöe exudes the energy of Aphrodite in an apple red, off-shoulder dress with a sexy high split. In between shots, she mouths the lyrics to Yebba’s “Boomerang” as it echoes throughout the space in steady repetition at my recommendation. The hour grows late, yet Chlöe is heating things up as eyes stare in deep mesmerization of the girl on fire.
Credit: Derek Blanks
Through music, she explores the depths of her being, a journey that seems to be, at its foundation, rooted in self-discovery. Whereas their debut album The Kids Are Alright (2018) boasts a young Chloe x Halle empowering their generation to embrace who they are while finding their place in the world, their second album Ungodly Hour (2020) shows the Bailey sisters shedding the veil of innocence for a more unapologetic bravado.
What fans looked forward to seeing is who Chlöe shows herself to be on her debut solo album In Pieces. In an interview with PEOPLE, she confesses that releasing her first project without her sister was “scary.” "It was a moment of self-doubt where I was like, 'Can I do this without my sister?’”
Chlöe has never been shy about sharing her insecurities or her vulnerabilities, all of which are laced throughout the 14-track album. “I want people to have fun when they listen to it and to just realize that they're not alone and it's okay to be vulnerable and raw and open because none of us are perfect; we're all far from it. And I think it's healing when we all admit to that instead of putting up a facade.”
The gift of time has given the self-professed “big lover girl” more encounters with romance and heartbreak. Love songs once sung for their beautiful riffs and melodies become more than just abstract lyrics and are replaced by real-life experiences, which she tells me is definitely in the music.
In her single “Pray It Away,” for example, she contemplates going to God for healing instead of going at her ex-lover for revenge for his infidelities. “With anything dealing with art, I am completely vulnerable,” she says. “I'm completely myself, I'm completely open and transparent. So it's pretty much all of me and who I am right now.”
Has Chlöe been in love? That still remains to be said. Of course, she’s been linked to a few potential baes, but dating in the digital age isn’t as easy as a double tap or drop of a heart-eyes emoji. It requires a level of trust and vulnerability that’s hard to earn, and easy to mishandle. To let her guard down means to potentially set herself up for disappointment. “It’s difficult dating right now, honestly, because you really have to kind of keep your guard up and pay attention to who's really there for you. And you know, I'm such an affectionate person and I love hard.
"So when I meet the one person that I really, really am into, it's hard for me to see any others and I get attached pretty easily. And you know, I don't know, it's…it's a scary thing.”
Credit: Derek Blanks
“With anything dealing with art, I am completely vulnerable. I'm completely myself, I'm completely open and transparent. So it's pretty much all of me and who I am right now.”
While broken hearts yield good music (queue Adele), what’s in Chlöe’s prayer is the desire to be happy. What does that look like? Well, she’s still figuring that out herself. “Honestly, I'm the type of person who I don't truly learn unless I experience it. So it's like I can view and watch my parents and watch the loving relationships that I see in my life and be like, ‘Oh, I want that. I would love to have that.’ But then I also have to experience [love] on my own and see what my flaws or my faults might be or see what my good things about myself are. I feel like it's really all about self-reflection. And even though our base is our family and that's our foundation, we are still our own individuals and we have to find out specifically the things about ourselves that may be different from what we saw from our parents when we were growing up.”
Her ideal beau, she tells me, is someone she can feel safe to be her fun, goofy self with, but who also gives her the space to be the boss chick chasing her dreams. A man who understands that just because the world compliments her doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to hear those words from his lips or feel it in his touch. A bonus if he shows up on set after a long hard day of work with vegan cinnamon rolls. You know, the basic necessities. “I like whoever I'm with to constantly tell me they love me and that I look beautiful because I do the same. I am a very mushy person, and if I see something or you look good, I will never shy away from saying it out loud. And I want whoever I'm with to do the same, be very vocal. Tell me that you love me. Tell me what you love about me because I'm doing the same for you because that's just the person I am.”
Until she meets her match she’s married to the game, and for now, that seems to be perfect matrimony.
Credit: Derek Blanks
On stage at the 2021 American Music Awards, Chlöe solidified her position as a force to be reckoned with. It was a full-circle moment. In 2012, bright-eyed and baby-faced Chloe and Halle would walk onto the set of The Ellen Degeneres Show and blow the audience away as they bellowed out their future mentor’s song. Ellen would present the sisters with tickets to attend the AMAs, assuring them that they would be back and had a promising future. Nine years later, Chlöe descends from the sky cloaked in a snow-white cape and matching midriff-baring bodysuit for her debut performance. It’s the first time she’s graced the stage of the very award show that she was once an audience member of.
As she shakes and shimmies and boom kack kacks out her eight counts, it’s clear that she’s in her element. Just like her VMA performance a couple of months prior, and the many more stages she’ll continue to grace, she brings an energy that has earned her comparisons to the beloved Queen Bey herself. An honorable statement, considering few R&B songstresses are getting accolades for their entertainment capabilities. It’s on these very stages, in front of hundreds of astonished eyes and millions more glued to their televisions at home, that she tells me she feels most sexy. Powerful, even.
But off stage, it’s a different story.
It’s more than just the commentary about her image and media-flamed rumors that get to her. Mentally, she’s in competition with herself. The desire to be the best burns at the back of her mind with every performance, every production, and every time she steps into the booth. Before, she could share the weight of this burden with her sister. Being a part of a duo meant she could turn to Halle for quiet confirmation and encouragement without a word being exchanged. But lately stepping on the stage means stepping out on her own. And despite being a breathtaking, five-time Grammy-nominated star, Chlöe doesn’t escape the reality that sometimes we can be our own worst critics.
Over the last year, she’s been coming to terms with who she is on her own while overcoming the fear of failing to become who she’s destined to be. While the world waits to see how Chlöe wins, the real triumph is in every day that she chooses herself and continues to walk in her purpose. “I don't really have anything all figured out, honestly. But what I try to do, a lot of prayer. I talk to God more and I just try to do things that calm my mind down and just breathe.”
To whom much is given, much will be required. She’s been chosen to walk this path for a reason. Once she fully embraces that everything she’s meant to be is already inside of her, she’ll be an unstoppable force. “My grandma, Elizabeth, she just passed away and my middle name is her [first] name. So I feel like I truly have a responsibility to live up to her legacy that she's left on this earth. I hope I can do that.”
There’s no doubt that she will. With a role in The Fighting Temptations at three years old, a million-dollar record deal, a main role on five seasons of Grown-ish, five Grammy nominations, a number one solo record in Urban and Rhythmic Radio, a debut solo album, and starring roles in recently released movies Praise Thisand Swarm (just to name a few), Chlöe’s certainly already made her mark, and she’s just getting started.
Photographer & Creative Director: Derek Blanks
Executive Producer: Necole Kane
Co-Executive Producer: EJ Jamele
Producer: Erica Turnbull
Digitech: Chris Keller
DP: Alex Nikishin
Gaffer: Simeon Mihaylov
Photo Assistant: Chris Paschal
2nd Photo Assistant: Tyler Umprey
Features Editor: Kiah McBride
Special Projects: Tyeal Howell
Hair: Malcolm Marquez
Makeup: Yolonda Frederick
Fashion Styling: Ashley Sean Thomas
For More: Cover Story: Issa Rae Comes Full Circle
Make Protecting Your Peace A Daily Practice By Following These 5 Steps
When I was in my mid-20s, my life was a hot mess. Chaotic doesn't even begin to describe it. I worked a full-time job while doing consulting gigs as a side hustle, and I spent all my free time helping others while neglecting myself. Eventually, I had a total meltdown and an existential crisis. I felt like I wasn't living my life, leaving me empty, depressed, and miserable. I was always exhausted and super irritable.
As a former therapist, I know how important it is to engage in therapy to manage our well-being. I'm lucky to have had a therapist who called me out and helped me realize that the chaos and lack of peace in my life were the results of poor choices I was making when it came to managing my mental health and well-being. "Protecting your peace" has become a popular tagline on social media for a good reason. It is one of the best ways to help preserve your mental health.
However, while it sounds good in theory, many people still struggle with taking the necessary actions to make protecting their peace a daily practice. Mental health work is daily work. And here are five steps you can start taking daily to ensure you are protecting your peace.
Muslim Girl/Getty Images
1. Consider yourself important enough to be protected.
You have to consider yourself important enough to be protected. Engaging in self-neglect is not going to help you have a peaceful life. There are going to be things you need to say no to in order to care for yourself, and you don’t have to feel guilty about putting yourself first.
2. Set boundaries and limits on who and what has access to your energy.
You cannot be everything to everyone. You have to be willing to set limits because if you wait for others to set them, you will never have peace in your life. Having boundaries means learning to realize what you can say yes to and exercising your voice, and saying no when needed.
3. Evaluate the relationships in your life.
As part of protecting your peace, evaluating the relationships in your life is important.
- Are these people adding value to my life?
- Do they encourage and support me?
- Do they constantly bring me down, make me feel drained, and spark the dysregulation of my nervous system?
Some relationships are meant to be seasonal; it’s okay to move on from relationships when they no longer align with your growth.
FG Trade/Getty Images
4. Create space for self-care.
Let go of unnecessary commitments that cause burnout and protect your peace by creating space for rest and self-care. This might look like finding a new hobby, doing fun and exciting activities, and trying new things that are for pleasure and not for work.
5. Let go of the need to control the external and instead focus on the internal.
Trying to control everything can create anxiety and stress. Let go of the need to control external circumstances and instead focus on what you can control---your attitude and response. Sometimes, you have to be willing to say, "What am I going to do to get through this?" as a way to remind yourself that you have choices. Sometimes the choice you need to make is leaning into radical acceptance and learning to move forward when things don’t go your way.
By letting go of these things, you can create a space for yourself to nurture your inner peace and cultivate a sense of well-being that will benefit every aspect of your life.
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Featured image by FG Trade/Getty Images