I like my skin. I mean, since it's what God gave me, I should, right? But if there are two things that irk me about it to no end, it's the fact that, even in my mid-40s, I'm still prone to period pimples (SMDH) and, because I naturally have larger pores, I oftentimes have what are known as strawberry legs. If you're wondering what the heck that is, it's those little tiny dark dots that you might notice is on your thighs and legs as well. For years, I used to think that there was nothing that could be done to get rid of my strawberry legs—but baby, guess what? Ever since I've applied an anti-strawberry legs regimen to my beauty routine, they've been so much less of an issue.
If you also happen to get strawberry legs and you're ready for that to change, so that yours can look as silky smooth and flawless as possible, here are the seven things that you definitely need to do to get rid of strawberry legs for good.
A lot of times, whenever we think about exfoliation, it's pretty much our face that comes to mind. But it really is a good idea to use a body scrub or to dry brush your entire body, at least a couple of times each month. When it comes to your legs, specifically, it's so you can prevent your skin's pores from getting clogged up with dirt, dried sebum or bacteria that can result in ingrown hairs (tea tree oil is great at dislodging those hairs and preventing infections, by the way), comedones (which are basically blackheads) or folliculitis (inflamed hair follicles). If you don't exfoliate, that can definitely cause your pores to expand and small black dots to appear. So, make exfoliating a part of your self-care routine. For tips on how to make a great DIY exfoliant, click here.
2. Shave in the Shower
Aside from the fact that shaving in the shower is easier than putting your legs over your sink, the more water that you allow to run down your thighs and legs before you shave, the easier it will be for your hair follicles there to open up, so that the hair is so much easier to remove.
If you do decide to take the shower route, avoid one that is too hot; that could dry out your skin in the long run. On the other hand, if you'd prefer to shave in the bath, soak for about 10 minutes and then shave. Doing that will give you your closest shave, for sure.
3. Use a Shaving Gel, Cream or Oil
Aside from not exfoliating and using an old razor (which I'll get to in just a sec), one of the worst things that you can do is shave your legs when they are dry (because you'll definitely be asking for a nick or two, if not 10 of 'em) or not applying a "base" to your legs in the form of shaving gel, cream or some type of a light oil (like sweet almond oil) first. This is beneficial because, not only will it help your razor to move along your legs easier, it will also help to keep your legs from drying out too. If you're someone who likes to know exactly what you're putting onto your legs (since everything that we put on our bodies, does go into our pores to some extent), there is a really cool homemade shaving cream recipe right here.
4. Hesitate About Going Against the Grain
Something that I used to do—and yes, it ended up resulting in strawberry legs on one of my thighs—was shaving against the grain when it comes to how my hair actually grows. Although it did give me a much closer shave, it also resulted in a fair amount of ingrown hairs that ended up looking like tiny dark dots. Because a lot of us have hair with a natural curly pattern to it, ingrown hairs are something that we're automatically gonna struggle with. Make it less of an issue by allowing your razor to follow the way your hair grows rather than in the opposite direction. Otherwise, you might end up with a pair of strawberry legs, whether you follow the rest of these tips or not.
5. Replace Your Razors Every 2-3 Weeks
OK, let's talk about your razor for just a moment. I know some people who buy new panties quicker than they swap out their razors and y'all, that is absolutely NOT a good thing. Razors are sharp enough to get right at the base of your hair follicles.
Between that and your pores being open while you're shaving, they are able to remove hair and bacteria that, if you keep using the same blade past its prime, both of these things could actually infect your pores, which could also result in strawberry legs.
So, how often should you replace a disposable razor? If you shave every day, you should replace your razor every 1-2 weeks. Every other day, every 2-3 weeks. If you only shave once a week, getting some new razors (or at least new blades), once a month is cool.
6. Let Your Razor Air Dry
Razors are designed to pick up hairs and oftentimes dead skin cells too, so it's important that you keep them clean. For one thing, you should continually rinse off your razor while you're shaving. That will help you to get a cleaner shave while keeping a lot of "stuff" from collecting onto your blade as well. Once you are done, run your razor under some warm water again. Then, when you're finished, allow it to air dry. If you attempt to dry it off with a towel, you could cause little pieces of lint to get caught in the razor or damage the blade in the process.
7. Apply Aloe Vera or Shea Butter When You’re Done
Once you're finished shaving, it's also important to put something onto your legs that will soothe them and prevent tiny scars from occurring. Aloe vera gel is great because the antioxidants and enzymes, along with vitamins A and C that's in them will help to heal your skin from any nicks while also helping to keep your pores/hair follicles from becoming inflamed. Also, shea butter is bomb because the vitamins and fatty acids in it will deeply moisturize your skin, while the antibacterial properties in it will keep strawberry legs in check (plus, shea butter can help to soften the appearance of any scars you might already have).
You don't have to give your thighs and legs the side-eye, simply because they're not as smooth as you'd like them to be. Now you know the tricks to getting rid of your strawberry legs, so that you can enjoy those shorts and little black dresses on a whole 'nother level now. Enjoy, sis.
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (email@example.com) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
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Here's Why Very Few Relationships Can Actually Be 'Platonic'
Recently, while in an interview, someone asked me if I think that men and women can be just friends. I didn’t even hesitate to answer; my response was immediate, “Absolutely.” What I followed that up with is what intrigued them — “Life has taught me that not a lot of male/female dynamics are ‘platonic,’ though.” When they asked me to expound, the interview ended up taking a whole ‘nother turn.
As a writer who really pays attention to word meanings, something that can be a bit frustrating about our culture is the fact that based on whatever is popular at the time, folks will just up and change the original definitions of words to suit a particular agenda or whim — and the word “platonic” 1000 percent fits into this category. And perhaps that’s why we seem to continue to go in circles about whether or not people of the opposite sex can (and should) be friends and what that even can (and should) look like.
Let’s talk about it for a bit. Because as a word-literal type of individual, while again, I absolutely believe that men and women can be friends, at the same time, I think it’s about as rare as a red diamond to truly find yourself in a friendship that is…platonic.
It’s Time (More) Folks Knew What ‘Platonic’ LITERALLY MeansGiphy
So, let's do first things first — let's define what it literally means for something to be platonic. If you go to your favorite search engine and put something along the lines of "What does platonic mean?", the first thing that you're (probably) going to see is a ton of dictionary definitions that say something along the lines of "of, relating to, or being a relationship marked by the absence of romance or sex" (Merriam-Webster), "designating or of a relationship, or love, between a man and a woman that is purely spiritual or intellectual and without sexual activity" (Your Dictionary) and, my personal favorite, "purely spiritual; free from sensual desire, especially in a relationship between two persons of different sexes" (Dictionary). Yeah, bookmark that last one; I'll be circling back.
Keeping this in mind (and please do), where does the word "platonic" actually come from? From what I've researched, the philosopher Plato once penned something entitled "Symposium." In it, he addressed the topic of two people sharing the kind of love that is free of any type of sensual desire, one that is based on divine love alone. An author from the 1800s broke it down this way: "Platonic love meant ideal sympathy; it now means the love of a sentimental young gentleman for a woman he cannot or will not marry." A write-up on Merriam-Webster's site stated that "The term platonic was initially used to mock non-sexual relationships, as it was considered ridiculous to separate love and sex, but eventually this connotation faded away leaving us with today's notion of close friendships." Yeah, we used to live in a culture where love and sex were not separated. Hmph, that's another article for another time, though (check out "We Should Really Rethink The Term' Casual Sex'").
Anyway, as with many things (especially in our culture), the word "platonic" is kind of used in "broad strokes" these days (bromances, female friendships, etc.). However, because there continues to be this forever discussion — and oftentimes debate — about whether or not men and women can be "just friends," I'm going to tackle this topic strictly from that angle — from the place where platonic actually originated.
Yes, Men and Women Can Be Just Friends. But…Giphy
At this stage in my life, I'm pretty sure that I have more male friends than female ones. There are layers of reasons why, yet I think a huge one is because I like the balance that masculinity brings to my femininity (especially as I'm learning to embrace different aspects of my femininity, intentionally even more). And while every single one of my male friends is respectful and is a super safe space in my world on every single level that I can imagine (and have been for years now), there are probably only a couple who I would say 100 percent qualify as being…trulyplatonic.
Why would I say that? Well, I'll illustrate this point with something that one of my male friends once said to me. He's super cute. He can sing his ass off (and definitely has one of my favorite speaking voices). People see us out together often, and some have told us that they assume that we've had something going on at some point. Anyway, after hearing someone share their theory about us, I told it to him.
Me: "I told him, 'He's my brother. We would never mess around.'"
My Friend: "Correction, you are like a sister. You are not my sister, though. Under the right conditions, you could still get it."
When I shared that exchange with another male friend of mine, he basically cosigned on the sentiment: "Shellie, I have never approached you like that because I really respect you. I want to be good for you for the rest of our lives." (That reminds me: check out "Question: Is The Man In Your Life Good 'TO' You? Good 'FOR' You? Or...Both?" when you get a chance.)
Then I went to one more guy homie and ran both statements by him: "Girl, yeah. If I didn't want to keep you in my life long-term, I would've tried to holla a long time ago!" And he and I have been friends for almost 20 years at this point. When did he get around to telling me this? Eh, maybe two years ago. LOL.
So, my takeaway from all of these "for real?!" exchanges is even though men and women can be just friends, there is a certain level of intention, self-control, and ability to see into the future (on some level) that must go into account — because, just because something more-than-friends-like may not have gone down, that doesn't mean there isn't a "dormant seed" lying around somewhere…whether it's one-sided or on both sides of the friendship dynamic.
As you can see, I just provided you with three instances where the male friends in my life; we've had nothing sexual or even physically intimate beyond a hug when we greet each other in nature — although things aren't exactly platonic if there is some sort of attraction or sexual/romantic curiosity that simply never got explored. Because again, according to Plato, a platonic relationship is free from all of that kind of…tension — or possibilities. Zero. Nada. Zilch.
And now you probably get why I entitled this article in the way that I did…right? I mean, just think about it — out of your male friendships, where is there NO sensual desire or dormant romantic interest…on your side and/or on his? If you're not sure about "his"…have you ever asked him? Or them? Because again, once I really let the definition of platonic sink in, I think maybe two guys in my life totally fit the bill.
This brings me to my next point.
Are You Platonic? Or Are You Friend-Zoning?Giphy
Now that you know that probably 70 percent of the people you know (both online and off) have been using the true meaning of platonic all the way wrong, let’s go about deeper: when it comes to your friendships with men, are they genuinely platonic or…is it more like you’re friend-zoning them?
A few years ago, I penned an article on the topic entitled, “Before You 'Friend Zone' Someone, Read This.” If you’re skimming this on your lunch break, I’ll summarize friend-zoning as knowing that a guy has so-much-more-than-platonic feelings for you, yet because you basically want to keep the benefits of the friendship or even his emotions around, you will string him along on some level.
Personally, I can’t stand friend-zoning. I think it’s selfish, with some sprinkles of manipulation and wasting someone’s time. Don’t agree? How would you feel if a guy was friend-zoning you? (Yeah…exactly.)
This all needs to go on record because, knowing that a guy wants to “take it there” with you (whether sexually or romantically), you not full-on addressing it and/or giving him just enough hope to take you out, listen to all of your stories about other men and give you the attention that you need knowing that he doesn’t have a shot in hell — that is NOT a platonic friendship and honestly, you’re not being a good friend at all. Friends protect each other’s hearts, not abuse them.
A platonic friendship means that you both have no interest in each other, and, as Plato put it, while you may have a strong and solid bond, it’s spiritual love that connects you. And what exactly does that mean? Spiritual love also deserves its own article, yet the gist would be that you recognize there is a purpose in your friendship, yet it’s about wanting what’s best for one another and even helping each other to get there.
For instance, a platonic friend of yours may know that you desire to be married one day, so he has no problem setting you up with a good guy in his life. And if things go well, he would have no problem standing up as your own best man (without feeling like he’s dying inside) because he never saw you beyond anything but a friend. A guy in the friend zone doesn’t move like this; he likes you too much to help you move on with someone else. See the difference?
Why Relationships Should Start Off As NON-PLATONIC FriendshipsGiphy
Before I end this with some tips on how to properly care for the few platonic friendships you may actually have, since the use of the word may require a bit of mental reprogramming, I do think we should also address that if you've got a good guy in your life, who right now is a friend and either you've never thought of him in that way or the topic has never come up — he's someone that you may not want to brush off.
What I mean by that is, it's one thing for there to be absolutely no interest in someone vs. never considering it before — and the reason why you might want to give it some thought is because, ask any healthy married couple who's been together for more than five years and I'll bet you my next rent check that they will say that the best relationships are birthed out of friendship (check out "Are You Sure You're Actually FRIENDS With Your Spouse?").
Yeah, just because you've filed someone in the "I see him as a good guy" category, that doesn't automatically mean that y'all's friendship is platonic. For instance, I have a male friend who is fine and I adore on many levels, yet the reason why it would never work on my end is because there are certain relational standards that I have that he does not meet. However, don't get it twisted — I've considered him because, on so many levels, we "fit." So, the mere fact that I ever seriously thought about him on that level means that we are "good friends," yet it's not exactly platonic.
I'm not free of potential sensual desire…I just choose not to act on it. Yet because I get the value of having friendship as the foundation for my own future marriage (should life play out that way), I am wise enough to know that I would've been a fool to not at least…ponder him and the possibilities.
So yeah, if there is a male friend in your life that the thought of dating or having sex with him doesn't make you want to throw up in your mouth, there's a pretty good chance that it's not a classic platonic dynamic — and you might want to consider if it could/should go to the next level — if not immediately, eventually. Because there's a pretty good chance that if you are thinking that way, he probably is as well.
Protect Your Genuine Platonic Friendship(s) At All CostsGiphy
Let me end this with how one of my platonic friendships rolls. We both think that the other is attractive, yet neither of us is attracted. We both give each other opposite-sex insights. We both have said that the mere thought of dating each other makes our noses turn up like there’s an odor in the air. And even when I try to imagine us together, my mind goes blank. I love, love, LOVE this man — oh, but it is absolutely nothing more than platonic — and he feels the same way. It’s as close to familial love without being blood relationships. It’s a rare dynamic, and that is what makes it so special. There is definitely a spiritual type of love there; no more, no less.
If you’ve got someone in your life who you feel the same way about (again, it’s got to be mutual; he must feel that way, too), you’ve got a gem of a situation going on because there is nothing like having the kind of friendship where you and a guy can hang out, exchange perspectives and thoroughly enjoy each other’s company, knowing that’s all it is and will ever be. Things will never get weird. No one’s feelings are gonna get hurt (from the whole friend-zoning thing). You don’t have to walk on eggshells. You can just be.
And that’s why I’m all for platonic friendships. And listen, if you’re blessed enough to have even one in your lifetime, be fiercely protective of it. Don’t take it for granted. Nurture it in a way that your male friend needs (because it probably won’t be the exact same as your female friendships). Y’all, platonic friendships are so bomb because, if it’s honored and protected correctly, it’s the one male friend that you can probably keep for life because even your romantic partner will not find it to be a (true) threat — hell, they honestly could probably end up becoming (some level of) friends with your platonic homie as well.
I hope that I broke this all down enough to where, when you decide to use a word to describe your opposite-sex friendships, perhaps you will pause and ask yourself, “Wait, is this a platonic friend or a good or close friend?” Because the clearer you are on the differences, the easier it will be to know how to maintain your friendship — and feel about your friend. Feel me? Cool.
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