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Bolden Co-Founder Ndidi Obidoa On Keeping Her Skin Bold & Beautiful

This entrepreneur uses her own skincare line to keep her melanin rich.

About Face

In About Face, xoNecole gets the 411 on IGers who give us #skincaregoals on the 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.

If there's one thing I've always had a love-hate relationship with, it's my skin. Some days, she wakes up and she's happy, glowing and soft. And other days she's mad as hell and takes it out on me via extra oil production and random breakouts. Luckily for me though, this tumultuous tug of war is something Bolden co-founder Ndidi Obidoa knows all too well. After a day dedicated to some serious fun in the sun turned into a beach day gone bad due to a batch of melanin-averse sunscreen, Obidoa and her beauty partner Chinelo Chidozie were left fed up with the lack of skincare products made for darker-skinned women. Thus, Bolden was born.

Instead of begging brands for products that worked better for melanin-rich skin, they decided to create their own and in an effort to change the dynamic of the industry from within. Since launching, they've created several award-winning products and have become a cult favorite among skincare enthusiasts like Jackie Aina. xoNecole recently got the chance to chat with the 42-year-old Bostonian where she put us on to the importance of having a skincare routine as Black women, the best beauty lesson she's ever learned, and her self-care must-haves. Here's what she had to say...

Courtesy of Ndidi Obidoa

My morning routine consists of...

"Oh gosh, my current COVID morning. I have a six-year-old who I'm homeschooling, so I have to spend like about four-and-a-half to five hours every day with him. My typical morning really starts at 6:30. I try to get an hour workout. I luckily have a treadmill in my house and I have a group of friends where we track our steps daily so I get that out in the morning. I take a shower after that and usually I try to make myself spend five minutes on my face in the morning which is to wash my face for at least a minute, then tone. And then [I] put on my SPF.

"By the time I'm done walking out the shower, I grab coffee, grab like a cup of yogurt. If I have time for breakfast, I grab some and I'm at my desk by 8:30. I work with my son right in front of me while I'm also replying to emails. So it's like back and forth. And by 1-1:30, he's done and out of my office. And then I focus on work."

My AM skincare routine looks like…

"I have my cleanser in the shower. I wash my face. I really try to stick to the rule that we've been sharing with [our Bolden] customers, which is to wash your face for up to one minute. Because that's how long it takes for all the great ingredients we have to work well together. So, I cleanse with the cleanser and when I get out of the shower, I use a brightening toner. It's a product that exfoliates gently and it helps to tighten your pores. I think that's really what has helped me achieve my face. And then next I apply a SPF moisturizer, which I love because it's a 3-in-1 product. It protects your face from the sun. It's a great moisturizer because it keeps your skin soft. And then also it includes Vitamin C. So it helps you manage hyperpigmentation. I do not step out of my house without a SPF moisturizer. I use about four pumps, which might seem like a lot but it adds up very quickly."

Courtesy of Ndidi Obidoa

My evening routine consists of...

"I try to spend some time with my sons. I try to stay with them until they fall asleep. Sometimes we read, sometimes we watch a movie. They really like to cuddle and fall asleep with me, then I have to carry them back into their beds. But I've trained them to go to bed by 8:30 at the latest. I usually try to have dinner with them but if I can't, after 8:30 I'll usually try to have dinner with my husband. We eat and after that I watch Asian drama. I discovered it at the beginning of COVID and it's a whole other world."

My PM skincare routine consists of...

"I repeat the first two steps: the cleanser and toner. And then I just add our nighttime repair serum. I always use mine with a Shea oil because I just like that. People always have this fear that if they apply oils, your skin will get oilier. But that has nothing to do with it. Oil production is controlled by a whole different process, but yeah. And then twice a week in the summer, well like once a week, I use a glow hydrating mask to hydrate. I'll skip one of my nighttime steps and just use the glow mask instead. And that really just keeps my skin well-hydrated."

Courtesy of Ndidi Obidoa

How my skincare routine changes for the seasons...

"Living in Boston, it's cold out here [and] it gets drier in the winter months. What I do is I tend to use more Shea oil in my routine. In the morning, I apply the Shea oil and then do my cleanse after that. My skin gets really dry, like it itches and I have to take Zyrtec sometimes. So it's that kind of dryness, you know? I just use Shea oil and I only use Bolden products. We're actually working on some new cleanser for dry skin. So we hope to launch it by the new year."

My go-to makeup look consists of…

"Since COVID happened, I've only worn makeup once on my birthday. Everyone was calling me, FaceTime-ing me. So I had to try to look a little cuter than normal. But I have a powder that just sort of gives me a little matte look. And then I play up my eyes and my lips. I always have lipstick but I'm still learning how to apply eye makeup because that is really what dramatically changes my look. So it's simple.

"But I no longer have to use foundation, I don't use those big powders. I find that sometimes they really irritate my skin and my skin has gotten so healthy. I tend to use the glow mask before I apply makeup because it just makes my skin supple and beautiful, just like a glow."

Courtesy of Ndidi Obidoa

How I approach beauty from the inside-out...

"I made a commitment when I turned 40, and I revisit it every year, but I really wanted to make exercising my lifestyle--not just something I do to lose weight. I've done bootcamps and stuff. I've even 'wowed' myself with the weight loss. It's just not sustainable, I wanted something that I could do that is sustainable. So I walk, jog for like an hour a day. I really love it. It makes me feel lighter, it just makes me feel good. And I find that I'm less emotional about things that happen to me. And by being less emotional, I feel good. I feel good on the inside, you know? I have less negative thoughts about everything. My mind is clearer and I can make new, fantastic Bolden products."

What self-care looks like to me...

"I love my girlfriends. For my 40th birthday, me and eight of my friends went to Mexico and it was the best time I ever had. They're women who won't lie to me, they're my support system. That's my number one. I also love a bottle of wine. I indulge on weekends, only because I have to wake up early, so I'll try to have a glass then. The other thing is hope! We all have to have something that we're hopeful for, something that we can look forward to. I was also going to say massage, but I haven't had a massage since February. I love massages, I miss it. I was getting them at least once a month until COVID started."

Courtesy of Bolden

My earliest beauty memory...

"I grew up with my single mom. She was a banker, so she had to dress up every day in suits, and wear makeup and go to work. But she was really fastidious about taking off makeup at night, you know, mornings were a little crazy in our household back then. But in the evening, I would just sit by her bedside table and just watch her get rid of her makeup. That's my earliest memory in terms of beauty and skincare and having a routine or something you do every day to care for your skin."

How my views on skincare and beauty have evolved...

"Well, as I've gotten older, I definitely think that in skincare, I understand my skin a lot better than I did in my twenties. I know what my dry skin really is or if it's a little too oily, what things could be affecting the texture of my skin. So now, I just believe that you must have a skincare routine, you should have a routine that you follow every day. People have several routines, I know I have two routines that I go through every week, but you need something basic in good ways to care for your skin. In terms of beauty, now when I look at people and look at the symmetry of their face--it doesn't mean as much like it maybe did when I was younger. Now I think of beauty as the totality of who you are."

For more of Ndidi and Bolden, follow them on Instagram @boldenusa.

All images courtesy of Ndidi and Bolden Beauty.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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