Since the natural hair movement dashed on the scene, WOC everywhere stood in reclamation of their natural tresses. Learning to care for and love natural hair became a pilgrimage to embracing natural beauty in a society where that reflection is often not mirrored in mainstream culture.
Along the way, a glorified breakdown of hair texture became an encyclopedia for figuring out where your curl pattern fit. Like anything in Western society, the idea of what type of hair texture was more favorable than others started great debates. Though diversity in natural hair is more represented in today's social media climate, there still seems to be a quieted trend of underrepresenting the natural hair characteristics that are "least favorable" by collective admission and vocalized acknowledgement of the internalized pain this causes.
Today, as the natural hair movement has spread into blogging and Instagram, there is still a happy-go-lucky energy that ignores the lesser represented hair types and characteristics.
My personal testimony began as the natural hair movement exploded in our culture. YouTube gurus popped up left and right. Unfortunately, the forerunners of this movement had hair that looked unbelievably easy to manage. Finger detangling, washing hair without separating it in quadrants, and doing the quick wash and go with defined curls that seem cemented in time, are not things that every woman with natural hair can easily do. Yet, for a long while, that was the only type of hair texture you would see online.
I did not see many reflections of mixed 4B/4C, thin, coily, kinky, or Z patterned hair, and the process one would go through to wash, deep condition, and style. When I would happen to see a more fitting hair type tutorial, it would always be about how to stretch the hair and how to define a curl. The videos that I needed to see of women with thin strands and low volume seemed nonexistent.
I personally remember stressing over where the videos were of women with hair like mine. I used to think that I wouldn't see any of those videos because nobody wants this hair. I knew that my hair couldn't and wouldn't do the things that the softer, looser, longer, and curlier textured hair types could. For a long time, I felt left out and lost as I learned how to care for my own natural hair, after years of succumbing to the "creamy crack".
I knew I am not the only one feeling slighted by what the natural hair movement has become, so I reached out to some other women who have a lot to say.
*Responses have been edited and condensed for clarity.
Kayla Williams @KayJohnae
Kayla is a wardrobe stylist hailing from New Jersey, and she recently did the big chop for the second time.
"In 2014, I wanted to go natural. I did the big chop. I felt like my hair wasn't as pretty as the natural girls on social media, or my friends. I wore my hair out for a short time, and I put braids in and wore other protective styles. In 2017, I cut my hair back down. I went as low as a pixie cut this time and then I relaxed it. I wore my relaxed hair proud and boldly because I felt like it looked better than my natural short coily cut.
"Two weeks ago, I decided to embrace my natural hair fully this time and not backpedal. I cut the perm out of my hair after letting it grow out for five months. I'm now back down to my short coily cut. I feel completely naked when I wear my short hair, I can't hide under the perms, wigs or braids anymore. I've decided to embrace my hair and I finally understand that I'll never be the natural girl with the big curly fro."
Ayana Hall @yan_niii
Ayana is a model from New York City, and she broke down why the natural hair movement is misleading.
"In all honesty, we [in the 4b to Z patterned community] are so underrepresented and it's honestly misleading to those looking to join the natural hair movement. These images of looser textures have somehow become the face of our movement, when I know I never casted my vote!
"My beef is not with women with these textures, but with those spreading the propaganda and appeasing to this European standard of Black beauty. It's continuously holding us back from seeking and flourishing in self-love.
"Think about it, young black girls who are very impressionable see these images and still think that this is what it means to be natural, and this is the "look" I must have to be "presentable" and socially acceptable with my natural hair. Sound familiar? It definitely should, because this is the same idea and rhetoric behind relaxers; aside from the ignorant rhetoric about natural hair maintenance.
"It honestly kills me that people think being natural is just about hair! It's more than that! It's about embracing your true self! Appreciating what God has given you! Accepting your honest self and vowing to never let that truth slip away! This movement is about identity and standing firm in that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and TEXTURES! If we're gonna keep momentum going, it's time to be inclusive of all textures! From loose to kinky, soft to coarse, curls to waves, kinks to coils!
"My journey hasn't been easy and honestly, I'm still on it! You know the Black woman is one of the most disadvantaged groups in the world. Now tag on dark skin or 'nappy headed' and look, we've got more setbacks. With that being said, if we're going to do this, and if we're going to be in this, let's do it together and get it right! From my naps to yours."
Coral Foxworth @FXWRK
Coral Foxworth aka FXWRK, is an up-and-coming underground electronic producer and DJ from Brooklyn, NY. She had some profound truths to share about black hair and identity.
"I have 4C hair. But not the thick, long, dense kind. Not the 4C that does enormous puffs or juicy twist outs that hang and shine. Mine is short. Naturally thin. Highly porous and cottony. No curls unless I rake gel through it, or put rollers in. Too thin to hang, shrinks up and tangles badly when loose, but starts to lock if I leave it bound too long. It breaks so easily, not because it's unhealthy... it's just naturally fragile and knotty.
"I've been natural since 2010, and my hair is six inches long. It doesn't grow fast and never has.
"It's genetic. Coming home and falling asleep with loose hair or without a scarf on even ONCE can mean noticeable, irreversible damage from breakage...or tangling so bad I'm forced to spend four hours undoing it strand by strand. Most people without this hair type really don't understand.
"The natural hair movement initially gave me the strength to transition. It was about self-love and reclaiming the glory of something I'd been conditioned to hate. A few years into it, I started to feel the movement had changed a lot. It had become extremely commercialized and 'curl' focused. I found myself looking at famous YouTubers and bloggers with type 3 curls, and long, thick type 4 hair. It seriously seemed like NO popular vloggers had hair like mine. I won't lie; I got sucked in, and found myself coveting other woman's tresses, wondering if I used this cream or that method, that I could get their look and manageability.
"I would cringe with envy when I saw 'hair growth' videos celebrating six inches in one year, or styling tutorials for the many looks I can never achieve. Millions of girls have my kind of 4C. I hope the 'movement' changes to reflect our beauty back to us. Now I look for low manipulation YouTubers and ponder freeform locs because I'm tired of feeling like I HAVE to constantly soften, stretch, detangle and baby this stuff on my scalp.
"Is it really necessary, or is this a social construction the black community hasn't confronted yet? Is our hair really so unkempt in its truly natural shrunk state? Are breakage and knots inherently bad? Can we love our hair as is and not use styling as a way to avoid inner work?"
Featured image via Coral Foxworth
Originally published on July 5, 2018
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Fontaine Felisha Foxworth is a writer and creative entrepreneur from Brooklyn New York. She is currently on the West Coast working on creating a TV Pilot called "Finding Fontaine", that details the nomadic journey of her life so far. Keep up with her shenanigans @famoustaine on IG.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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Featured image by Giphy