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).
Take Our 2-Minute Wellness Quiz To Up Your Self-Care Game!
Black women are not a monolith. We all are deserving of healing and wholeness despite what we've been through, how much money we have in the bank, or what we look like. Most importantly, we are enough—even when we are not working, earning, or serving.
Welcome to Black Girl Whole, your space to find the wellness routine that aligns with you! This brand-new marketplace by xoNecole is a safe space for Black women to activate their healing, find the inspiration to rest, and receive reassurance that we are one small act away from finding our happiness.
Want to discover where you are on your wellness journey? You don't have to look far. In partnership with European Wax Center, we're bringing you a customized wellness quiz to help you up your wellness game. Answer our short series of questions to figure out which type of wellness lover you are, what you need to bring more balance into your life, and then go deeper by shopping products geared towards clearing your mind, healing your body, and soothing your spirit.
Ready to get whole? Take our quiz now!
Here's Why Very Few Relationships Can Actually Be 'Platonic'
Recently, while in an interview, someone asked me if I think that men and women can be just friends. I didn’t even hesitate to answer; my response was immediate, “Absolutely.” What I followed that up with is what intrigued them — “Life has taught me that not a lot of male/female dynamics are ‘platonic,’ though.” When they asked me to expound, the interview ended up taking a whole ‘nother turn.
As a writer who really pays attention to word meanings, something that can be a bit frustrating about our culture is the fact that based on whatever is popular at the time, folks will just up and change the original definitions of words to suit a particular agenda or whim — and the word “platonic” 1000 percent fits into this category. And perhaps that’s why we seem to continue to go in circles about whether or not people of the opposite sex can (and should) be friends and what that even can (and should) look like.
Let’s talk about it for a bit. Because as a word-literal type of individual, while again, I absolutely believe that men and women can be friends, at the same time, I think it’s about as rare as a red diamond to truly find yourself in a friendship that is…platonic.
It’s Time (More) Folks Knew What ‘Platonic’ LITERALLY MeansGiphy
So, let's do first things first — let's define what it literally means for something to be platonic. If you go to your favorite search engine and put something along the lines of "What does platonic mean?", the first thing that you're (probably) going to see is a ton of dictionary definitions that say something along the lines of "of, relating to, or being a relationship marked by the absence of romance or sex" (Merriam-Webster), "designating or of a relationship, or love, between a man and a woman that is purely spiritual or intellectual and without sexual activity" (Your Dictionary) and, my personal favorite, "purely spiritual; free from sensual desire, especially in a relationship between two persons of different sexes" (Dictionary). Yeah, bookmark that last one; I'll be circling back.
Keeping this in mind (and please do), where does the word "platonic" actually come from? From what I've researched, the philosopher Plato once penned something entitled "Symposium." In it, he addressed the topic of two people sharing the kind of love that is free of any type of sensual desire, one that is based on divine love alone. An author from the 1800s broke it down this way: "Platonic love meant ideal sympathy; it now means the love of a sentimental young gentleman for a woman he cannot or will not marry." A write-up on Merriam-Webster's site stated that "The term platonic was initially used to mock non-sexual relationships, as it was considered ridiculous to separate love and sex, but eventually this connotation faded away leaving us with today's notion of close friendships." Yeah, we used to live in a culture where love and sex were not separated. Hmph, that's another article for another time, though (check out "We Should Really Rethink The Term' Casual Sex'").
Anyway, as with many things (especially in our culture), the word "platonic" is kind of used in "broad strokes" these days (bromances, female friendships, etc.). However, because there continues to be this forever discussion — and oftentimes debate — about whether or not men and women can be "just friends," I'm going to tackle this topic strictly from that angle — from the place where platonic actually originated.
Yes, Men and Women Can Be Just Friends. But…Giphy
At this stage in my life, I'm pretty sure that I have more male friends than female ones. There are layers of reasons why, yet I think a huge one is because I like the balance that masculinity brings to my femininity (especially as I'm learning to embrace different aspects of my femininity, intentionally even more). And while every single one of my male friends is respectful and is a super safe space in my world on every single level that I can imagine (and have been for years now), there are probably only a couple who I would say 100 percent qualify as being…trulyplatonic.
Why would I say that? Well, I'll illustrate this point with something that one of my male friends once said to me. He's super cute. He can sing his ass off (and definitely has one of my favorite speaking voices). People see us out together often, and some have told us that they assume that we've had something going on at some point. Anyway, after hearing someone share their theory about us, I told it to him.
Me: "I told him, 'He's my brother. We would never mess around.'"
My Friend: "Correction, you are like a sister. You are not my sister, though. Under the right conditions, you could still get it."
When I shared that exchange with another male friend of mine, he basically cosigned on the sentiment: "Shellie, I have never approached you like that because I really respect you. I want to be good for you for the rest of our lives." (That reminds me: check out "Question: Is The Man In Your Life Good 'TO' You? Good 'FOR' You? Or...Both?" when you get a chance.)
Then I went to one more guy homie and ran both statements by him: "Girl, yeah. If I didn't want to keep you in my life long-term, I would've tried to holla a long time ago!" And he and I have been friends for almost 20 years at this point. When did he get around to telling me this? Eh, maybe two years ago. LOL.
So, my takeaway from all of these "for real?!" exchanges is even though men and women can be just friends, there is a certain level of intention, self-control, and ability to see into the future (on some level) that must go into account — because, just because something more-than-friends-like may not have gone down, that doesn't mean there isn't a "dormant seed" lying around somewhere…whether it's one-sided or on both sides of the friendship dynamic.
As you can see, I just provided you with three instances where the male friends in my life; we've had nothing sexual or even physically intimate beyond a hug when we greet each other in nature — although things aren't exactly platonic if there is some sort of attraction or sexual/romantic curiosity that simply never got explored. Because again, according to Plato, a platonic relationship is free from all of that kind of…tension — or possibilities. Zero. Nada. Zilch.
And now you probably get why I entitled this article in the way that I did…right? I mean, just think about it — out of your male friendships, where is there NO sensual desire or dormant romantic interest…on your side and/or on his? If you're not sure about "his"…have you ever asked him? Or them? Because again, once I really let the definition of platonic sink in, I think maybe two guys in my life totally fit the bill.
This brings me to my next point.
Are You Platonic? Or Are You Friend-Zoning?Giphy
Now that you know that probably 70 percent of the people you know (both online and off) have been using the true meaning of platonic all the way wrong, let’s go about deeper: when it comes to your friendships with men, are they genuinely platonic or…is it more like you’re friend-zoning them?
A few years ago, I penned an article on the topic entitled, “Before You 'Friend Zone' Someone, Read This.” If you’re skimming this on your lunch break, I’ll summarize friend-zoning as knowing that a guy has so-much-more-than-platonic feelings for you, yet because you basically want to keep the benefits of the friendship or even his emotions around, you will string him along on some level.
Personally, I can’t stand friend-zoning. I think it’s selfish, with some sprinkles of manipulation and wasting someone’s time. Don’t agree? How would you feel if a guy was friend-zoning you? (Yeah…exactly.)
This all needs to go on record because, knowing that a guy wants to “take it there” with you (whether sexually or romantically), you not full-on addressing it and/or giving him just enough hope to take you out, listen to all of your stories about other men and give you the attention that you need knowing that he doesn’t have a shot in hell — that is NOT a platonic friendship and honestly, you’re not being a good friend at all. Friends protect each other’s hearts, not abuse them.
A platonic friendship means that you both have no interest in each other, and, as Plato put it, while you may have a strong and solid bond, it’s spiritual love that connects you. And what exactly does that mean? Spiritual love also deserves its own article, yet the gist would be that you recognize there is a purpose in your friendship, yet it’s about wanting what’s best for one another and even helping each other to get there.
For instance, a platonic friend of yours may know that you desire to be married one day, so he has no problem setting you up with a good guy in his life. And if things go well, he would have no problem standing up as your own best man (without feeling like he’s dying inside) because he never saw you beyond anything but a friend. A guy in the friend zone doesn’t move like this; he likes you too much to help you move on with someone else. See the difference?
Why Relationships Should Start Off As NON-PLATONIC FriendshipsGiphy
Before I end this with some tips on how to properly care for the few platonic friendships you may actually have, since the use of the word may require a bit of mental reprogramming, I do think we should also address that if you've got a good guy in your life, who right now is a friend and either you've never thought of him in that way or the topic has never come up — he's someone that you may not want to brush off.
What I mean by that is, it's one thing for there to be absolutely no interest in someone vs. never considering it before — and the reason why you might want to give it some thought is because, ask any healthy married couple who's been together for more than five years and I'll bet you my next rent check that they will say that the best relationships are birthed out of friendship (check out "Are You Sure You're Actually FRIENDS With Your Spouse?").
Yeah, just because you've filed someone in the "I see him as a good guy" category, that doesn't automatically mean that y'all's friendship is platonic. For instance, I have a male friend who is fine and I adore on many levels, yet the reason why it would never work on my end is because there are certain relational standards that I have that he does not meet. However, don't get it twisted — I've considered him because, on so many levels, we "fit." So, the mere fact that I ever seriously thought about him on that level means that we are "good friends," yet it's not exactly platonic.
I'm not free of potential sensual desire…I just choose not to act on it. Yet because I get the value of having friendship as the foundation for my own future marriage (should life play out that way), I am wise enough to know that I would've been a fool to not at least…ponder him and the possibilities.
So yeah, if there is a male friend in your life that the thought of dating or having sex with him doesn't make you want to throw up in your mouth, there's a pretty good chance that it's not a classic platonic dynamic — and you might want to consider if it could/should go to the next level — if not immediately, eventually. Because there's a pretty good chance that if you are thinking that way, he probably is as well.
Protect Your Genuine Platonic Friendship(s) At All CostsGiphy
Let me end this with how one of my platonic friendships rolls. We both think that the other is attractive, yet neither of us is attracted. We both give each other opposite-sex insights. We both have said that the mere thought of dating each other makes our noses turn up like there’s an odor in the air. And even when I try to imagine us together, my mind goes blank. I love, love, LOVE this man — oh, but it is absolutely nothing more than platonic — and he feels the same way. It’s as close to familial love without being blood relationships. It’s a rare dynamic, and that is what makes it so special. There is definitely a spiritual type of love there; no more, no less.
If you’ve got someone in your life who you feel the same way about (again, it’s got to be mutual; he must feel that way, too), you’ve got a gem of a situation going on because there is nothing like having the kind of friendship where you and a guy can hang out, exchange perspectives and thoroughly enjoy each other’s company, knowing that’s all it is and will ever be. Things will never get weird. No one’s feelings are gonna get hurt (from the whole friend-zoning thing). You don’t have to walk on eggshells. You can just be.
And that’s why I’m all for platonic friendships. And listen, if you’re blessed enough to have even one in your lifetime, be fiercely protective of it. Don’t take it for granted. Nurture it in a way that your male friend needs (because it probably won’t be the exact same as your female friendships). Y’all, platonic friendships are so bomb because, if it’s honored and protected correctly, it’s the one male friend that you can probably keep for life because even your romantic partner will not find it to be a (true) threat — hell, they honestly could probably end up becoming (some level of) friends with your platonic homie as well.
I hope that I broke this all down enough to where, when you decide to use a word to describe your opposite-sex friendships, perhaps you will pause and ask yourself, “Wait, is this a platonic friend or a good or close friend?” Because the clearer you are on the differences, the easier it will be to know how to maintain your friendship — and feel about your friend. Feel me? Cool.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images