Thankfully, something that my ancestors blessed me with are thick eyebrows and long eyelashes. But because I actually prefer to do my own eyebrows at home (because sometimes the professionals shape them in a way that I'm not exactly thrilled with), there are times when I can get a little, shall we say overzealous, when it comes to removing sparse hairs. If you can relate to where I am coming from, then you know that it can feel like for-e-ver when you're waiting for your eyebrows to fill back in. Something that has helped are some of these all-natural remedies below.
Whether you're looking to have thicker brows or you want to be able to get a little more length on those lashes of yours, here are some things, that you probably already have at your crib somewhere, that can totally help you out and hook you up.
Jamaican Black Castor Oil
Personally, I'm a big fan of Mango & Lime's Jamaican Black Castor Oil line. Currently, my collection consists of their rosemary, lavender and vitamins A-D-E bottles. Jamaican black castor oil is dope because the properties in it are able to heal acne marks, deeply moisturize your skin and, it even contains antifungal and antibacterial ingredients that can help to heal skin infections over time. What I personally use this type of oil for is my hair. It conditions my tresses, helps to prevent breakage and even makes my hair thicker too. Something else that Jamaican black castor oil is able to do is nourish your eyebrows' and eyelashes' hair follicles so that they grow thicker over time.
How to Apply: All you need to pour about a half teaspoon of the oil into the bottle's top. Then dip a Q-tip into the oil and spread the oil over your brows and along your eyelashes. If you do this every night, you should notice fuller eyebrows and eyelashes in about a month. (Bonus tip: If you add a drop of vegetable glycerin to the oil, it can help your eyebrows to fill in even faster. Just make sure to NOT do this with your eyelashes. Vegetable glycerin can irritate your eyes if it comes into contact with them.)
Shea butter is the ish. It really is. The reason why it's considered to be a "superfood for your skin" is because it has a combination of nutrients (including vitamins A and E) and essential fatty acids that helps your skin to produce collagen, soften scars, reduce skin inflammation, seal ends of your hair and heal chapped lips. It's a great base for DIY deodorant as well (you can cop a great recipe here).
Something else that's special about shea butter is it's able to coat your eyebrows' and eyelashes' hair follicles as it provides vitamins to help them thrive. It's pretty common to notice that your eyebrows seem thicker, even after your first use.
How to Apply: For your eyebrows, all you need to do is scrape a little bit of shea butter out of its container and gently massage your eyebrows with it. Then use an eyebrow brush to smooth your eyebrows over. For your eyelashes, just rub a tiny amount between one of your index fingers and thumbs until the butter melts. Glide your index finger along the top of your eyelid where your eyelashes are. Do this before turning in every night. Growth should be noticeable in 4-6 weeks.
Onion juice is great for our health in a myriad of ways. Thanks to the sulfur, vitamins B and C and potassium that's in onions, if you consume them on a regular basis, they will help to maintain your heart health, fight cancer cells, boost bone density and fight off bacteria that can lead to infections up the road. Since onions also have properties that strengthen hair follicles while increasing your hair's volume too, that's what makes it another awesome treatment for your eyebrows and eyelashes.
How to Apply: Onions are pretty potent, so of course you don't want the juice to get into your eyes. As far as your eyebrows go, once you DIY some onion juice (there's a cool recipe here), you can apply it directly onto your brows. Dip a Q-tip into the juice and let it sit on your brows for 10 minutes. Then, with a wet washcloth, thoroughly wipe the onion juice off of them. If you want your eyelashes to get in on the action, drinking a little onion juice is the route that you should take. If you add some honey to it, you'll instantly have a potent all-natural cough syrup too.
Something that I've been taking for a while now is fenugreek supplements. I do it because, believe it or not, it keeps my breasts "perky", thanks to the phytoestrogen that's in it (if you're a new mom, it helps to get your milk flowing too). Some other things that fenugreek does is it regulates blood sugar levels, boosts the libido in men as well as in women, balances cholesterol levels, relieves menstrual cramps, maintains liver and kidney health, and can even help to reduce a virus-related fever. Something else that the properties in fenugreek does is strengthen hair follicles. Plus, the lecithin that's in it can help your eyebrows to retain their natural color and even slow down premature greying.
How to Apply: This particular remedy is best for your eyebrows only. If you soak one-fourth cup of fenugreek seeds overnight and grind them into a paste the following day, it will create a paste that you can put directly onto your eyebrows. Do this twice a week. You'll see results in around five weeks.
Coconut Oil & Olive Oil
The combination of coconut oil and olive oil is a pretty impressive one. Coconut oil has fatty acids, lauric acid, Vitamin E and iron that all work together to support your brain, kill various forms of bacteria, viruses and fungi, satisfy intense hunger cravings, reduce eczema symptoms, improve oral health and deeply moisturize your skin. Virgin (unrefined) olive oil is loaded with healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamins A and E, polyphenols, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and antioxidants that will protect against heart disease, reduce type 2 diabetes risk, treat rheumatoid arthritis and even improve bone health.
The fatty acids in the coconut oil supports the protein that your hair is made out of while the Vitamin A in olive oil will stimulate the production of sebum in your hair follicles so that your eyebrows and eyelashes are both strong and well-conditioned.
How to Apply: If you scoop out a half teaspoon of coconut oil, add a half teaspoon of olive oil to that and stir them both together, you can then apply a thin layer of the combination on your eyebrows and over your eyelids. Do this at nighttime and you should see thicker and healthier hair within 3-4 weeks.
If you don't have a bottle of Vitamin E (or a multi-vitamin that contains it), you definitely should. It's a fat-soluble oil that can deeply moisturize your skin, heal wounds, smooth out scars and fight signs of aging. Thanks to the emollients that it contains, Vitamin E can actually balance the sebum that your skin naturally produces. Also, thanks to all of the antioxidants that are in it, Vitamin E can also help to prevent infection too. Vitamin E is great on the eyebrows and eyelashes tip because it contains compounds that can increase blood circulation to your hair's follicles while strengthening the hair that comes out of them at the same time.
How to Apply: Vitamin E is super easy to apply. Use a needle to pop a hole into a Vitamin E capsule. As you squeeze the capsule, rub the oil over your eyebrows. When it comes to your eyelashes, because this type of oil is a little on the sticky side, just keep in mind that a very little bit goes a long way. Mixing a half teaspoon of almond oil with the oil from a capsule, then apply the combo to a disposable mascara wand. 3-4 weeks should give you some of the results you've been looking for.
Aloe vera is a plant that contains around 75 different components including vitamins A, several Bs, C and E along with calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and copper. So, it's no wonder that it's such a powerhouse with regards to maintaining our health. If you consume 100 percent pure Aloe vera juice, it will build your immune system, maintain your digestion, lower your cholesterol levels, relieve arthritic pain and can relieve constipation. If you apply it onto your skin in gel form, Aloe vera has antifungal elements that can treat dandruff on your scalp, soothe psoriasis and, thanks to the antioxidants that are in the plant, it can relieve chapped lips and tone your skin as well. Also, if you apply Aloe vera, in gel form, to your eyebrows and eyelashes, it can strengthen your hair follicles so that there is less shedding.
How to Apply: With a disposable mascara wand, put a thin layer of 100 pure Aloe vera gel onto your eyebrows and eyelashes before turning in at night, then wash your face in the morning as usual. Noticeable results should occur within a couple of weeks.
Biotin is a vitamin that all of us need. It improves the quality of our skin, strengthens our nails, stabilizes our blood sugar levels, boosts our energy levels and even helps to keep our thyroid levels in check. You know what else it does? It makes our hair healthier as it helps it to appear thicker too. So, if you're looking for an "inside out" way to get your eyebrows and eyelashes to flourish, getting more biotin-rich foods into your diet is definitely one of the best ways to do it.
Foods You Should Eat More Often: Next time you're at the grocery store, make sure to pick up sweet potatoes, cheese, eggs, mushrooms, spinach, nuts, avocados, almonds and sunflower seeds. All of them will give you the biotin boost you've been seeking so that your eyebrows and eyelashes are more glorious than ever, girl. Enjoy!
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
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.
It (almost) never fails. Whenever I do an interview, someone will ask me: 1) is it hard to be a marriage life coach and not be married (chile, these clients are a part of the reason why I’m more cautious than ever about mate selection) and 2) am I lonely when it comes to being single? From the angle of loving Black men and understanding, daily, what a marital covenant can do for a person, I am totally open to jumping somebody’s broom one day. Lonely though? No. Not really. And a part of the reason is because I have such an awesome group of male friends.
No, I’m not one of those women who don’t see the value in female friends too. It’s just that one demographic “scratches one itch” while the other scratches another. And when it comes to men, specifically, there are certain things that they bring to my life that are simply incomparable.
That’s why, whenever single women will tell me that they are getting restless as they wait on their husband to make his presence known, I am quick to ask, “Girl, where are your male friends at?” Because while they can’t meet every need that a husband can (and should), believe me when I say that they do offer some bona fide benefits that will definitely make them a great alternative on a few different levels.
I’ve got a solid six for you today.
1. Men Are Not Women. Let’s Start There.Giphy
Listen, I’m sure that there is a lot of good stuff out in TikTok world; however, as a life coach myself, on the coaching front, truly sensible advice can really be like a needle in a haystack on that platform — especially when it comes to trustworthy (and sound) insight on men. So much stuff is rooted in bitterness, stereotypes, and gross generalizations (generalizations are typically rooted in bitterness, by the way) that there’s no way that it can be seen as being even close to being reliable.
And as much as some of y’all might not want to hear what I’m about to say, I think a part of the reason is because a lot of women don’t want to accept that men are just…different. Not in a “Yeah, I know. They should be more like us” kind of way. I mean, a “God made it that way by design, and science is there to back it up.”
For instance, some professionals believe that women having more blood flood to the brain is why they are more emotional in their communication style, while men are typically more direct (more on that in a bit). Other studies reveal that women are more comfortable with their emotions while men tend to be more centered (and sometimes quicker) at problem-solving. And while a woman’s right hemisphere of her brain is more developed to the point where she is more sensitive and empathetic, a man’s is more developed to where he is more “mathematic” (2+2=4, that’s it) and explorative.
This kind of stuff always fascinates me, so while I could go on and on, the bottom line here is men's and women’s wiring are not identical.
And while society keeps trying to make them be the same via all of these damn gender wars, the beauty in the differences is men and women can actually provide each other with balance. Because, after all, as a man by the name of Larry Dixon once said, “If two people were exactly alike, one of them would be unnecessary.” And both men and women are…necessary.
2. Guys Tend to Have a “Straight No Chaser” ApproachGiphy
Whenever I read an article about how social media is creating more narcissists than ever, I can’t help but nod my head up and down in total agreement. I don’t even hesitate because one example of this that I see on a regular basis is how people are becoming more and more wired for praise, and yet they can’t handle any kind of criticism or call out to hold themselves accountable to save their lives.
You know who will bring you back down to earth, though? A good friend. And guy friends? I guess due to some of the science that I just mentioned, I don’t have one in my life who pulls any punches. Although some are more, let’s go with tactful in their approach (LOL), there’s not one who sugarcoats issues or tells me what I want to hear. And you know what? I need that. I don’t need flatterers (even the Bible frowns on that…did you know that? — Job 17:5); I need folks who will be as direct, candid, and “Well Shellie, you asked” as I tend to be with other people. It keeps me responsible. It grows me up. And it helps me to better discern when my ego is getting all up in the way.
Yeah, if you want to hear the REAL real, a guy will deliver it to you. Which brings me to the next way that they are a true “win.”
3. They’re Good At Catching Blind SpotsGiphy
Back when I was on my “Get Your Heart Pieces Back Tour” (you can read more about it here), there was a guy from my past who I was talking heavy with for a few weeks. He’s always been fine. The sex was always incredible. And, back in the day, he was there for me during a time that was very dark in my life, which is why I will always hold a special affection for him. That’s why, I ain’t got no lies to tell y’all — after our first eight-hour-straight conversation, I was ready to get on a plane and (eh hem) relive some memories. So, what stopped me? One was a particular conviction that I have (perhaps we’ll discuss that at another time). Another was a conversation that I had with two of my male friends.
One asked me, “So, who contacted who?” Oh, the loaded question that will make you reflect on talking to these exes, chile. The other said, “He said he did what when he found out his ex cheated?” Listen, I don’t know who reads my content or not as far as people who know or who knew me, so I won’t get all into the details. I’ll just say that it wasn’t anything violent, but it was intense. And those two questions, put together, caused me to ponder some things that I wouldn’t have otherwise.
Because while my girlfriends thought that it was some rom-com come to life, my guy friends were like, “Uh-uh. Think it ALL the way through.” They simply had eyes where I didn’t because…they are guys who know guys. Simple as that.
4. They’re Like the Big Brothers (or More Big Brothers) You Never HadGiphy
I didn’t really notice how much I needed my blood brother until he moved to South Africa. Even though he’s younger than I, there’s a presence that he provided that made me feel protected; like if some ish really hit the fan, I had someone to call who could help me to feel safe. Thankfully, over the course of the first couple of years that he was gone, some “love brothers” came into the world. And when I tell you that they don’t play about me — I mean, at all.
A good example of this is when my house burned down back in December of 2021. Two immediately sent me a laptop (because for a writer, that’s like not having a car). One sent me the deposit for a new place to stay. Another came to check on me for a week straight. I can’t tell you how many mini-sermons I got on how to legally proceed with my landlords. Bottom line, they held me down and didn’t even give it a second thought. And although my girlfriends had my back as well, they were coming more from a nurturing stance, while my male friends were more protective.
Another example. Earlier this year, I had to drive to another state to sue the person I bought my car from (heads up: a meditator told me that Kentucky has some of the strictest as-is laws in the country). Long story short, the dealer assured me of a feature that wasn’t there. Anyway, I asked one of my male friends to drive me, and even though we took my car, he was like, “Let me drive” — and I had no problem with that. He does it for a living; we had to leave while it was still dark outside, and he knew that I was kind of tired. There was a natural “let me cover you” energy about him that we didn’t need to be dating for it to show up — he’s a good man who knows how to take care of ALL of the women in his life. I love that for me.
One more example. One time my car didn’t start, and I didn’t know what to do. I had to leave it in a random parking lot and, so I called a male friend for some advice. All he said was, “I got it. I’ll call you later.” By that evening, he drove it to me. He had a mechanic friend of his put a new alternator in, and he didn’t even charge me for it. He was like, “Girl, you need to get a man, but until you do, I got you.”
When all you have in your life are guys who you date, sometimes it’s hard to discern what their motives may be. Plus, if things don’t work out, you’re back to figuring everything out on your own. When you have male friends, though? There’s no slick ish. Plus, they’re not going anywhere. You’ve got brothers from another mother who acts just like that. And it’s awesome.
5. They Are Awesome Friend (or Stand-In) DatesGiphy
One of my male friends, folks have been thinking that we’re screwing on the low for years now. He’s a cutie. He can sing his butt off. I tell him often that if I could turn his speaking voice into a person, that part of him (and that part alone) would be my sneaky link, for sure (that voice!). Yet nah — nothing even remotely sexual/physical has happened to us beyond a hug “hello” and a hug “good-bye.” And while I wouldn’t say that we’re exactly “platonic” because he sometimes jokes that “Shellie, you are like a sister, but you still ain’t my sister” and that holds a bit of subtext (check out “Here's Why Very Few Relationships Can Actually Be 'Platonic'”), we’ve got almost two decades under our belts — at this point, ain’t nothin’ finna go down. It just doesn’t “click” that way. And we are both so good with that.
That doesn’t mean that we’re not each other’s kick-it buddies, though. Aside from the fact that we try to have a lunch or dinner date once a month, if there’s something we want to do or a place we want to go to, we don’t hesitate to take each other as an unofficial date. That’s because we know that it will make the event more fun and less stress-filled because there is no extra stress, pressure, or expectations. We also know how to dress up or down, be casual or corporate — y’all get it.
Yeah, if you’ve got something coming up, you don’t want to go alone, and the idea of a traditional date seems like it would be “too much,” a guy friend is the perfect solution. It has worked out for me (with the guy whom I’m referring to and others) for years now.
6. Platonic Love Is Really SpecialGiphy
Clearly, I believe that men and women can be “just friends” (check out “Unpopular Opinion: Men And Women CAN Really Be 'Just Friends'”). And although the genuine definition of platonic means that there is NO sexual interest on ANY level (which is why I think that word is used too loosely), those types of relationships can exist — and they are truly one of a kind.
Final example. I’ve got four male friends who I absolutely adore. We hang out. We can talk on the phone for hours. We send each other stupid clips throughout the day. And HELL NAW, we ain’t gonna date each other. Like…ever. We talk enough about relationships that we get how and why other people are attracted to us — and still, that doesn’t mean we want to fit into those categories. We like each other. We love each other. We trust and respect each other. We enjoy each other. As friends, and that’s all it’s ever gonna be.
However, because I am a woman and they are men, we bring something into each other’s worlds as far as opinions, perspectives, and insights that no one of the same sex can. As their friend (for instance), I tell them when a woman has some ulterior motives that they haven’t even thought about, and as men, they tell me when a guy is just wanting to hit, no matter how cryptic their approach may be.
OH, HOW I LOVE MY MALE FRIENDS. They make my world so much richer. Plus, they’re great reminders that you don’t have to be sexual with a man in order for you to be intimate with him. Men are far more layered than that (contrary to whatever you may hear in the media).
So, if you don’t have any strictly male friends, I’m hoping that this will encourage you to at least consider getting some (or hell, at least one). And if you do, do what I do and treat your male friends to a meal sometimes, just to say “thank you”. Men who’ve got your back, just because, without wanting you to get on your back? Sis, they deserve a seasonal meat-‘n-three or somethin’. Wouldn’t you say? I WOULD.
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