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.
Writer. Empath. Escapist. Young, gifted, and Black. Shanelle Genai is a proud Southern girl in a serious relationship with celebrity interviews, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and long walks down Sephora aisles. Keep up with her on IG @shanellegenai.
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
From The Coconut Challenge To 'Ankles As Earrings,' These Are TikTok's Hottest Sex Trends
As I scrolled down my TikTok feed, I couldn't help but realize how sex-positive the app has become. TikTok has been one of the hottest social media platforms in recent years. Not only has it become a hub for dance challenges and lip-syncing videos, but it's also turned into the ultimate destination for discovering the latest sex trends.
From new sex positions to creative techniques, the platform offers a plethora of steamy ideas to keep things fresh in the bedroom. TikTok is definitely the go-to platform for sex-positive content. So, let's dive in and explore six sex trends on TikTok.
1.Egg Yolk Technique
TikTok is full of bizarre sex tips, but this one isn’t as bizarre as the name suggests. The 'egg yolk method' is a sex trend on TikTok that is helping men learn about the vulva. In a video posted by Kayla Christine, "How men should be taught.” Kayla is seen gently massaging the egg yolk in a slow circular motion before she presses a little harder and ends up splitting the yolk right down the middle. With the egg yolk representing the vulva, Kayla emphasizes the importance of applying just the right amount of pressure to it.
@iamcardib @theestallion @offsetyrn #duet with @bardi_song #megantheestallion
The Coconut Challenge has made its return to social media thanks to a viral TikTok video by rapper Cardi B. The trend actually started on TikTok back in 2019 and refers to a technique where, during sex, one partner tries to spell out the word “C-O-C-O-N-U-T” with their hips.
In a TikTok video, the rapper mentions Megan Thee Stallion, “going to do the coconut challenge on the d***,” which has inspired people to talk about the challenge again.
3.The Sex Pillow Hack
Another trending sex topic currently on TikTok is the sex pillow hack. The sex tip involves putting a pillow under your pelvic area during vaginal and anal sex to increase pleasure. Using a pillow under your hips during penetrative sex can shift the angle at which penetration happens slightly.
Another sex tip from Vernita! #MyColoredHair #JuntosImparables #FordMaverick
The four-minute foreplay technique is another TikTok trend that can spice up the bedroom. Basically, all you do is set a timer and take turns with your partner to pleasure them until it goes off. While this might not seem all that groundbreaking, four minutes of foreplay can be beneficial because it builds arousal, anticipation, and excitement. All of which are important, particularly for women, because being sufficiently aroused prior to sexual intercourse helps women to reach orgasms.
5.Ankles As Earrings
There’s a saying that goes, “There is nothing new under the sun,” and the 'ankles as earrings' technique proves just that. Depending on who you ask, the 'ankles as earrings' is a new sex position on TikTok that essentially is a modified missionary position. Basically, one individual is lying on their back with their legs propped up on their partner's shoulders. Users on TikTok claim the position can make you orgasm in minutes because it leads to deeper penetration.
#stitch with @nurse.ria11
Sex advice TikToker Nurse Ria posted a TikTok claiming that pressing down on a woman’s stomach during sex can help stimulate the G-spot. Applying pressure to the G-spot, located on the front wall of the vagina, can stimulate the nerve endings and increase pleasure for the woman. Using the pad of your finger, press gently but firmly downward in a "come hither" motion.
TikTok is more than just a platform for dance videos and lip-syncing; it's a space for creative self-expression and exploration, which now includes sex trends. By embracing inclusivity, education, kink, and sexual wellness, TikTok is revolutionizing the way we talk and think about sex. As the conversations surrounding sexuality continue to evolve, it's exciting to see where TikTok will take us next.
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Featured image by Cavan Images/Getty Images