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.
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.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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Featured image by Giphy