Coco Chanel said, "A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life." Muva was speaking the truth because a hair cut provides liberation and freedom for so many women.
It is especially hard for women of color to choose to embrace that freedom because our culture romanticizes long, thick hair. The moment you tell your mom, aunt, or play cousin that you plan to cut your hair, they will act as if someone died. For decades, it has been instilled in us that our hair represents our crowns. This means cutting your hair signifies being stripped of your glory.
Well, that is over and done because it's a new year, and we have the right to decide what our crowns bespeak. From rocking 4C kinky hair to donning a buzz cut, the choice is yours.
Rocking a buzz cut has to be the one of the boldest moves a woman of color can make. Thankfully, there are some daring and beautiful women living life unapologetically and wearing their buzz cuts with confidence and ease – these are their stories.
I decided to cut my hair the summer of 2017 because my hair was severely damaged, and I was really growing tired of my ordinary look. I also wanted to challenge myself and detach myself from my hair, since my hair was part of my identity then. As soon as I shaved my hair off, I immediately fell in love with my buzz cut and felt like a redefined individual. I felt free to be quite honest. I was breaking gender norms and embracing my baldness.
My shaved head reminds me that beauty is within and doesn't equate to how long your hair is.
Hair is just an accessory some people choose to rock more than others. Hair isn't a necessity for me; it's more like costume jewelry. Regardless of how people choose to rock their hair, buzz cuts should not be associated with just men. Buzz cuts are unisex hairstyles.
My first chop was in July 2012 and I haven't looked back since. I had a decent length of hair growing up and I was always told, "You won't be cute without hair," or "Your hair is what makes you." I never understood how having hair could define a person and I was sick of hearing it, so I headed to my nearest barbershop and told him to go for it.
One of the best decisions I've ever made.
I just recently tried to dye my hair gray after being blonde for months, and it magically turned pink… I have no idea or scientific explanation for it (laughs). But I decided to embrace change and OWN my pretty pink buzz cut by rocking it effortlessly!
Living in South Africa as a young black woman, I've had to find creative ways of redefining the buzz cut in a way that showcases my personality best.
I color my hair, shave letters into my hair, maybe even add glitter if I'm in the mood; or sometimes I just wake up and leave my hair to do what it does best, shrink into beautiful little coils on the top of my head. I used to find myself grabbing any accessory and makeup product to put on, just to make up for the absence of hair on my head, however, I have now come to learn the true essence of owning my buzz cut.
Firstly, I had to fall in love with my revamped self and then, I had to confidently allow the world to see my cranium in its true element. From there, owning my buzz cut has become so effortless, yet so impactful on my being.
I've realized that being in high school and cutting your hair off completely is a BRAVE MOVE because judgment is inevitable. Being able to conquer my fear of judgment really did empower me in so many aspects of life. I shaved my hair off at 16 because I no longer wanted my hair to be perceived as an extension of my personality. I was known as the girl with the bob cut, and constantly complimented on my hair.
I no longer wanted my hair to own me.
Hair is praised in society and steers discrimination in many South African schools today. On the other end of things, a woman that does not have hair (whether it be by choice or not) is judged frequently by so many people in society because it goes against the norm.
In grade 10, I started feeling as though my identity no longer belonged to me. I felt as though my identity was now made up of physical things, including the strands growing out of my scalp. That's when I decided to be brave and stood in front of the mirror, picked up the clippers, and shaved all my hair off. I have felt empowered, liberated, and truly myself ever since. Owning my buzz cut meant repossessing my true self. I wouldn't change the experience for the world.
I chose to cut my hair as a form of expression and to make me feel more confident.
Art is an outlet for me. Cutting my hair happens to be the best form of expression for me now. Before I decided to cut my hair, I was feeling uninspired. I was stressed out, I wasn't focused, and I was kinda depressed. It felt like nothing was going right, I didn't know what I wanted to do. I felt like I was wasting my talents, I felt like I wasn't good at it, I was losing myself and didn't care about things I loved. I had to get rid of that doubt and get out of that mindset. I've been through some tough times in my life and one thing that was always with me was my hair. My hair was there when I was sad, inspired, stressed, happy, motivated, and depressed.
Art had always been a way to express myself. I've always been daring with hair colors and other forms of creating but this time, I wanted to cut it all off. So the night before I got it cut while I was sleeping, I sorted through all of my feelings and any doubts and any reminders that stopped me from wanting to be great. When I woke up that morning, I was determined to feel better, do better, and live better. With every shave, I was close to feeling like a new person.
So now every time I cut my hair I'm freeing my body, my mind, and spirit of any negative vibes and starting over. To top it off, I'll dye my hair a new color.
Cutting my hair gave me a sense of power and confidence.
You have to be a strong and daring woman to rock a buzz cut. I own my cut by living in my confidence. Now my room isn't the only place I feel confident, I'm confident everywhere I go! I smile back at people that smile and stare at me instead of looking at my phone or walking in another direction. Honey, I own every room I walk in now.
I originally chose to cut all my hair off in 2009 to release myself from all the "good hair, bad hair" ideals I grew up with.
I know I'm not the only black girl who grew up telling people, "I have Indian in my family" just to give the impression that my hair would somehow be better because I was "mixed."
I have cut my hair and let it grow out many times since then, but this is the first time I have truly loved being bald! I enjoy the attention I get when I walk into a space and people are taken aback that my confidence is just as strong without hiding behind a bunch of hair. I serve face! I even started an Instagram page @baldgirlmagic and hashtag #BaldGirlMagic to celebrate beautiful bald women like myself. Whether you lost your hair from chemo or you chose to shave it, we all belong to this really cool club!
I own my buzz cut by simply being myself.
Six years ago, when I first cut my hair, I was uncertain about how I would be viewed. Not having hair has really allowed me to discover the best parts of myself and provide me with the confidence needed to go through life full-speed.
I am proud of the woman I am and the woman I'm becoming. I truly don't see me ever growing it out!
It's been almost 8 years now since I've cut my hair, and my reason for cutting it at 20 turning 21 was because weaves were expensive (laughs). I'd just wanted to try something new, finally getting to the legal drinking age.
I wasn't really thinking of the freedom that I was about to feel.
My reason for keeping it cut became so much more than just saving money. I'd felt so liberated, so open! I had nothing to hide behind.
I've owned having my short cut by being unapologetically me, no matter where I go.
By not being shy when walking into a barbershop filled with men, and by not being afraid to show the women in my family that there are many different standards of beauty.
I own my buzz cut in the most beautiful way.
I chose to cut my hair 5 years ago because I wanted a new look. Something to make me look more edgy and show off my beautiful features, especially my cheekbones, more. I feel like if you can rock a low cut, you can rock anything.
Hair doesn't define beauty, YOU define beauty.
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Originally published on April 3, 2018
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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.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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