Honest opinion about me: I'm pretty noncommittal when it comes to my body hair. I often switch back and forth between shaving, waxing and trimming -- not the best idea. Although shaving has always been the easiest and most convenient method for me, I grew tired of ending up with itchy ingrown hairs, the constant upkeep and not having the ability to get all my nooks and crannies.
Yearning to throw my razors away forever, I decided to give a Brazilian wax a try. I found the process to be painful, yet tolerable and I loved the immediate results of having smooth, sexy skin. However, after my third or fourth appointment, I started to realize that my vulva would always end up breaking out about 5-7 days post-wax, leaving me little time to luxuriate in my beautiful baldness.
Frustrated with my stubborn allergic reactions to traditional and hard wax, a friend of mine suggested I try sugar waxing as a natural alternative. Sugar waxing (also known as sugaring) is a hair removal treatment that has been practiced for centuries throughout the Middle East, Northern Africa and Greece. The wax is a gel-like blend that consists of sugar, lemon juice and water. When applied to the skin, the mixture penetrates the pores, where it adheres to the hair and pulls them out from the follicle. Unlike traditional waxes, sugar wax doesn't contain any of the chemical additives that can sometimes cause skin irritation.
Now, I'd always been interesting in sugar waxing and was really intrigued about trying this all-natural method. In true millennial fashion, I'd been on a lowkey quest to incorporate more natural and organic ingredients in my diet and skincare, so a sugar wax seemed like a sweet deal to me.
After scoring a $26 Groupon to a nearby salon, I excitedly made my appointment. According to their website, their sugaring removal paste is safe for all skin conditions, improves the tone and texture of skin, causes minimal discomfort or irritation and helps to significantly decrease ingrown hairs. And according to my research, most people found sugaring to be less painful than waxing due to the temperature of the wax (traditional wax tends to be hot and sugar wax is body temperature) and the fact that sugaring is all natural and doesn't stick to the skin.
On the day of my appointment, I arrived at the salon right on time, eager to live out my days (at least for the next two weeks) bare and blissful. I was ready to walk in hairy and walk out heavenly. I found the salon very cute, hippy and their welcoming vibe helped to put me at ease. At least for a little while.
Soon after, I met my esthetician and she walked me back the room. After inquiring about my waxing history and asking if my hair was long enough (they recommend your hair to be at least the length of a grain of rice and let's just say I exceeded the qualifications), she left the room for me to get undressed. Laying on the bed with my dress folded at my waist, legs in butterfly style, I nervously waited for her to begin. Once she returned, she quickly cleaned my area, sprinkled me with talcum powder and prepared to start waxing. I braced myself as she molded the warm paste onto the top of my vagina, spreading it against the direction of hair growth. This part was surprisingly uncomfortable as the sticky wax pulled at my hair in a way I didn't expect.
Nothing could have prepared me for what came next.
The first rip made my entire body jump. It was a pain that I never knew existed! Imagine having a band aid superglued to your skin and instead of snatching it off all at once, you have to aggressively tug it off, bit by agonizing bit. My esthetician was basically playing a violent game of tug of war with my hair follicles. I felt like running out of there.
There is a huge difference between sugar wax and hard wax that I was completely unaware of.
With hard wax, the esthetician applies a layer of hot wax to your skin, allows it to cool for a bit and then rips it off in one single swipe. You're basically one and done before moving to the next application. With sugar wax, the esthetician rakes a thick layer of paste onto your skin, yanks it back with a very strong flick of the wrist, only to immediately rake it along the area one or two more times before moving on to the next spot. It's like the gift that keeps on giving.
As much as I wanted to tough it out, I just couldn't mentally wrap my mind around what was happening to my body. I was expecting some discomfort, not torture. The internet lied to me. I have three tattoos, and this was still the worst topical ache I'd ever experienced. It was pure hell.
With every pull, I left a piece of my soul leave my body. The sting quickly became too much to bear and in a shaky voice I told her that I didn't think I could handle it. As she continued to wax me a few more times, I officially made up my mind – sugaring was not my ministry.
Soon as I vocalized my suffering, my eyes starting watering and I felt a lump in my throat. The esthetician remained calm and reassured me that I was going to make it through. "It always hurts the first time," she said gently. "You got this."
Unfortunately, her pep talk didn't work. Two rips later I was nearly full-on crying, with tears racing down the sides of my face. I cried like I got dumped by my 8th grade boyfriend. I was hurt and embarrassed. I looked down at my half-waxed, half-furry skin.
My vagina looked about as pitiful as I felt.
The esthetician finally paused to give me a quick moment to gather myself. Feeling foolish, I quickly wiped away my tears, anxiously laughing and apologizing about my behavior. I must look so crazy, I thought to myself.
Within seconds, she was back at it like nothing ever happened. I continued to cringe and flinch all over the table and the esthetician tried to fill the empty room with conversation. As I tried to hold my end of the convo, I wondered to myself, how could people subject themselves to such torment on a repeated basis? I silently swore off sugaring forever.
She then instructed me to hug my knees to my chest, so she could wax my bum, which was very humbling. She told me that my hair was reacting well to the wax and I was just happy that something was reacting positively.
Within twenty minutes, I was done and I think that we were both glad that the experience was over. She sprayed an aloe vera mixture that soothed my achy undercarriage and I bent down to make sure I was still all in one piece. Everything looked smooth and hairless and I breathed a sigh of relief. I survived.
All in all, I have to say that I am very satisfied with the finished result and the service was quick and efficient. I am over one week in and I still feel like a new woman. I'm happy to report that I haven't had any irritation nor one ingrown hair, which is almost unheard of for me! Now the question is, would I get it done again? Maybe, maybe not. Part of me still shivers at the thought of any wax coming close to my nether regions and part of me wants to return if only to reclaim my dignity.
But for now, I will enjoy being bald and bougie.
Featured image by Getty Images
Jamie Harrison (@JayNHarrison) is a freelance writer whose work has been featured on Ebony, Huffington Post and Black Enterprise. She frequently writes about health and wellness, professional development and social issues.
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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.
The first big leap was moving to a new city and getting settled into my new home. The next big leap? Was finding community and belonging. Moving to a new city excited me! I looked forward to having my own apartment, decorating it, and exploring what the city had to offer. I also found excitement in the thought of meeting new people and expanding my connections. When it actually came down to it, I felt nervous. I heard that making new friends as an adult can be hard because we all have different responsibilities and schedules that may not align. I knew in order for me to really feel at home in my new city, I had to create community.
Having a community of people who I can share memories with, lean on in times of need, and inspire each other is something I always valued. I took a moment to truly center in on what I desired from the new friends I would make. Then I realized it all would have to start with me. I had to be centered and confident in who I was to attract who I desired to be aligned with. As someone who moved to a new city and established quality friendships, I gathered these six tips that helped me feel grounded and create community in hopes that it will help you, too.
6 tips to start building community and making new friends in a new city:
Sean Anthony Eddy/ Getty Images
Be true to yourself
Do you know who you are? If someone asked you to describe yourself in three words, what words would you use? In order to develop deep friendships, you must be a friend to yourself first. Know what refuels you and what zaps your energy. Self-study your habits and why you do the things you do. All this will be important to keep in mind when looking to create bonds with others. Every day there’s all kinds of people telling you who you should be, how you should act, or what you should wear. At the end of the day, the only opinion about yourself that truly matters is your own. Spend some alone time with yourself indoors or out at an event you like to truly discover who you are in this season of your life.
Pray about it
Before you step out into the world and cross paths with all kinds of people, it’s important to pray about building your community. God outlines what true friendship looks like in numerous Bible verses such as "Iron sharpens iron." - Proverbs 27:17 and “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” - Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. If you desire friendships that last, pray about what you seek in friendship. I remember praying for mentally stable, happy, and whole women who moved through life with abundance mindsets. Take a moment to journal about the community you want to build and then pray on it.
Go to fun events to meet people who share your interests
Most metropolitan cities like Washington, D.C., New York City, and Atlanta are known to have strong young professional communities and events where you can connect with others. I highly encourage you to attend events in or near your community to see what the city is like and meet people. It’s likely that the people at the event have the same interests as you, which is a great way to start a conversation. You can start by searching for events on Eventbrite or following Instagram pages that highlight events happening in your city.
Carlos Barquero/ Getty Images
Accept that you won’t be compatible with everyone you meet
While living in your new city, it’s likely you’ll meet a variety of people. Please know that everyone you meet will not bud into lasting friendships, and that’s okay! You are uniquely created and not made for everyone. Then you’ll meet people who are good for only surface-level connections, and then you’ll have your girls who you can get deep with. I think sometimes people can look down on surface-level friendships, but not everyone needs to fully know you. That’s a privilege to have and to accept within yourself. Continue to check in with yourself and be real about who you crave to spend more time with and who is nice to see for a monthly or quarterly catch-up.
Join Facebook groups & GroupMe chats
If you haven’t used Facebook in a couple of years, it’s time to dust your profile off. Facebook Groups is a great place to join online communities for people who just moved to a new city like you. Typically, you have to agree to the group’s guidelines, and then you can join. For example, you can search for groups in the Facebook app by using keywords like women, Black girl, or [the name of your city] foodies. With the GroupMe app, you’ll have to be invited to join an already existing group. While you’re out and about networking, don’t hesitate to ask if they’re in any online groups/communities they recommend you join too.
Be friendly to folks in your neighborhood
When I first moved to my new apartment, I spent the first week walking around the complex and working in the community spaces to get a better feel of it. I was able to meet people in my neighborhood, enjoy small talk, and learn more about what the community has to offer. Step outside of your comfort zone and work in your apartment’s community space or a local coffee shop to connect with others.
Overall, you may feel alone in your new city, but I guarantee you’re not. There are other people experiencing living in a new city too, and all you need to do is find each other. I hope these tips help ease the nervous feelings you have about building a new community and inspire you to make a new friend today!
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