If you were blessed to have melanin skin, be sure to thank baby Jesus. However, while we were born to glow, we still have to maintain it. Let's be honest - finding a well-balanced skincare routine without messing up our unique skin can be stressful. That's why we are grateful for people who know their skin and who know how to share the wealth. People like, Siraad Dirshe.
Siraad has made it her business to help black women, no matter their age, feel like their most beautiful selves. And not just on the outside but the inside too, because that's what helps us empower ourselves to live our lives unapologetically. Siraad's resume includes heavyhitters like Clinique, Nike, Vogue and most recently, Beauty Editor at ESSENCE. Needless to say, the saying "Trust Black Women" was high-key referring to Siraad.
She told the J Spot Collective, "I never thought I was 'good' at makeup, so I was pretty much afraid of it. I also think since beauty brands have historically not created products with us in mind, I never really found colors and tones that complimented my deeper skin tone. So I think skin care just seemed more accessible and easy to understand/use."
xoNecole has been intrigued with Siraad and her magic so it was only right that we talk with her about all things beauty, self-care and the virtue of black women.
You have been deemed "The Glow Expert," how did you come to snag this title?
SD: That's funny! I think it's something I just kind of claimed for myself because I thought it was catchy. A few years ago, it seemed like everyone was after having glowy and bright skin. I also had a lot of friends at the time who had asked about my skin care routine and how I would get to be so glowy. So I thought what better name to call myself (laughs).
What's your secret to glowing skin?
SD: I know this is super cliche but I really think 60% is not the masks, serums, or moisturizers. Of course, they're great but I really think it's things like sleep, water, and what you eat that truly make your skin glow and have the radiance that everyone wants. I make sure to get (at least) 8 hours of sleep, drink a gallon of water a day, and try to avoid things like dairy. I feel like once I started doing those things, my skin started to really change for the better.
What advice do you have for women struggling to maintain great skin?
SD: I would say that there's no such thing as great skin, there's only better skin. I think beauty companies can sell us a false ideal that we should all have glowing and clear skin and for some, that's just not realistic. So I instead say, strive to get your skin in a healthy place that makes you feel your most confident self.
"There's no such thing as great skin, there's only better skin... I instead say, strive to get your skin in a healthy place that makes you feel your most confident self."
When it comes to moisturizers, what's your go-to?
SD: I have super dry skin so for me it's all about cocktailing a mixture of oils, serums, and moisturizers so my skin stays hydrated all day. In the morning, I tend to be a bit lighter on the oils and serums (especially if I plan to wear makeup) and just go for a heavy moisturizer. A few of my favorites include Charlotte Tilbury's Magic Cream or Drunk Elephant's Protini™ Polypeptide Cream. Both are hydrating but also light enough that I can layer makeup on them and it won't slip or slide.
As a woman of color, what do you think makes us beautiful?
SD: Wow, this is such a loaded question for me. There are very few things I find more beautiful than Black women. While there's no denying our physical beauty, our range of skin tones, hair textures, bold features, I think it's our spirits that make us most beautiful. In addition to being resilient, creative beyond measure, and intelligent we also have an incredible love for each other that makes us truly beautiful.
Let's say you have 30 minutes for a beauty look, what products would you use for your desired look?
SD: I actually really try to keep my makeup to under 15 minutes so this 30 minutes seems like so much time. After washing my face and doing a quick mask (I'm really into this one right now) I'll use one of the above moisturizers. Next, I'll use a tinted moisturizer -- Glossier's new formulas are pretty great and give you some coverage without being super cakey (I'm shade G2). Then I'll use NARS' creamy concealer, which is hands down one of the best concealers. I like to use that under my eyes and then on any spots I want to cover up.
While I don't use eyeshadow everyday, when I do I love to use a super bright color. Because why not? Colourpop has amazing colors and their products are super affordable. I love their pinks or blues and I'll usually use the shadow on my lashline for a nice pop. Then I'll finish off the eyes with lots of mascara. I like it super clumpy and think and NARS' Climax mascara one is super good.
If I go for a bright color shadow then I'll keep lips simple with gloss. As of late, I've been really into the old school MAC Lipglass. I used to use it a lot in highschool, so it's super nostalgic for me.
Self-care has become a huge buzzword – what does self-care mean to you?
SD: Self-care to me consciously living and constantly checking in with my body and spirit to see where I am. It also means having healthy ways of helping myself get back in balance when I am feeling off. It also means exercising the word "no" a lot more. If something is jeopardizing my well-being, I know it's okay to say "no" to that event, hang out, or even relationship.
Can you share three products you swear by?
SD: Three products that I swear by are:
1. Biologique Recherche p50,
2. Drunk Elephant's Babyfacial,
3. Vintner's Daughter serum.
Are you ready to glow? Be sure to follow Siraad's tips!
- 93 Skin-Care Products Beauty Experts Use Every Morning | SELF ›
- A Guide to Korean Skincare for Women of Color - Racked ›
- Siraad Dirshe - Vogue ›
- Siraad Dirshe - Coveteur ›
- Siraad Dirshe | POPSUGAR ›
- What are Korean Skin Whitening Products and Do They Bleach Your ... ›
- Interview with Siraad Dirshe, ESSENCE Beauty Editor ›
- Siraad Dirshe Archives - Essence ›
- Siraad Dirshe ›
- Siraad Dirshe's Recent Articles - Refinery29 ›
Joce Blake is a womanist who loves fashion, Beyonce and Hot Cheetos. The sophistiratchet enthusiast is based in Brooklyn, NY but has southern belle roots as she was born and raised in Memphis, TN. Keep up with her on Instagram @joce_blake and on Twitter @SaraJessicaBee.
This New Scalp Care Line Is Exactly What Your Wash Days Need
This post is in partnership with SheaMoisture.
When it comes to healthy hair care, there are a few things that will help you achieve healthy strands: a healthy hair care regime, hydration, consistent treatments, and scalp care. While scalp care is one of the most neglected practices, it is also one of the most important. Why? Because it helps promote healthy hair growth, clear hair follicles, and remove build-up.
When it comes to creating a healthy scalp routine, it helps to know exactly what you’re up against so you know how to specifically treat it. Two of the most common concerns are dandruff and dry scalp. It can be tough to decipher which is which, but here’s a quick breakdown: dry scalp is caused by a lack of moisture in the skin, while dandruff is caused by an excess of oil and yeast buildup on the scalp. Knowing that both of these are big concerns, SheaMoisture released two separate product lines to address both issues: the Scalp Moisture collection and the Anti-Dandruff collection.
Needless to say, if you tend to experience dandruff then I’d recommend you try the Anti-Dandruff collection. However, my biggest concern has always been dry scalp. A lack of moisture on the scalp can be caused by several factors like weather, age, and hair products to name a few. I’ve noticed that when I use certain gels or skip out on a deep scalp cleanse, my roots feel itchy and dry nonstop, which is uncomfortable.
The only way to relieve the discomfort is to properly wash and moisturize my roots, so I tried the Scalp Moisture collection and this is what I thought.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
First, What’s In The Collection?
The Scalp Moisture collection is a four-product line that includes a pre-wash masque, a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, and a moisturizing scalp cream. Each product uses moisturizing and strengthening ingredients like aloe butter and vitamin B3 as active ingredients to provide eight times the moisture. Together, aloe butter and vitamin B3 work to restore dry and brittle hair, as well as add relief to the scalp.
Now, let’s break down each product…
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Pre-Wash Masque
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Pre-Wash Masque may actually be the all-star of the collection. Using this deep conditioning masque is one of the best ways to target your dry scalp, restore hydration, and nourish your strands before shampooing.
I started by completely saturating my hair and scalp with water, then making small sections to apply the masque directly to the root. For my girls who have experience with relaxers and perms, it helps to apply the masque to your roots just like you would do with a relaxer. This way you can make sure you’ve covered as much of your scalp as possible while minimizing any breakage.
Pro tip: you can also use a color application brush to make this step easier.
After I completely covered my scalp, I massaged the product into my roots, used any excess on my strands, then left the masque in for 30 minutes. I was shocked by how moisturizing and clarifying my scalp and hair felt. One of the things that I love about the masque is the slip and how much softer it made my hair. While this is marketed as a scalp care product, it can completely transform your hair from dry and parched to completely hydrated.
In my opinion, the downside of this masque is that the quantity is too small for my liking. Truth be told, naturals go through deep conditioners faster than any other product (especially when it’s this good.) So SheaMoisture, if you’re reading this, we’d love a bigger jar.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Shampoo
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Shampoo is a gentle cleanser packed with the same moisture as the masque. The pearl-colored shampoo is lightweight with a serum-like consistency and a light and clean scent. The smell is pleasant, subtle, and not overbearing. When I applied the shampoo, I noticed immediately that it foams and lathers up very quickly, so less is more.
After applying the shampoo, I parted my hair and started at the roots to target as much of my scalp as possible. I recommend really taking the time to work the product and massage your scalp as much as possible.
Pro tip: using a scalp massager makes it easier and it feels amazing.
Once you start to massage your hair you’ll feel the product start to work. There’s a tingling sensation that might catch you off guard if you’re not used to it, but it’s not nearly as strong as other scalp products I’ve tried. I know some may not appreciate the sensation, but I loved it! My scalp felt clean, light, and breathable.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Conditioner
Like the shampoo, the SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Conditioner shares that pearly color and serum-like feel. It applies very easily while softening and moisturizing your hair. When I applied it to my hand, it gave my hands a lotion-like feel, which speaks volumes about its hydration capabilities. I also loved that the conditioner comes with a pump, instead of having to squeeze the product out – to me, it makes application easier.
I typically apply my conditioner to the ends first but because this is a scalp care product I started at the root and worked my way down to my ends. I did leave the conditioner in for ten minutes, although the bottle recommends leaving it in for three. The conditioner also provides that same breathable feel to your scalp. I honestly loved the relief.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Cream
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Cream is more of a daily relief product for your roots rather than your overall hair. It’s great for providing moisture and immediate relief to a dry and itchy scalp. Just like most of the collection, it gives a light and breathable feel – without the tingle. The applicator bottle targets specific parts of your scalp and makes applying easier.
Pro tip: I typically just squeeze the bottle to wherever I need the relief and use the tip to massage it into my scalp so it doesn’t mess up the hairstyle.
Overall, SheaMoisture’s scalp care line lives up to its claims – it moisturizes, strengthens, and provides immediate scalp relief. I definitely recommend trying the Scalp Moisture collection for an affordable way to treat itchy and dry scalp.
Featured image by Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Chilli's Reason For Severing All Ties With Usher In 2019 Is A Lesson We All Can Learn
Rozanda "Chilli" Thomas, a member of the iconic girl group TLC, exemplifies the importance of cutting all ties with an ex in order to find true love as she shares valuable insights about her past relationship with R&B singer Usher.
For context, the pair dated for three years, from 2001 to 2004, despite meeting nearly a decade before when Usher joined LaFace Records, the same label Chilli and her group were signed to. During that period, Usher and Chilli's union was widely admired by fans because of the couple's attractiveness and chemistry, which was shown in various music videos.
In 2004, following their split, limited details about why Usher and Chilli broke up were released to the public. But as the years progressed, social media users developed their own assumptions because, coincidently, around the time Usher and Chilli went their separate ways, he had released his hit album Confessions, and the lead single with the same name talks about a man admitting to possibly fathering a child outside of his relationship.
Due to conflicting reports from past interviews and Usher's song, many believed that infidelity on the "Yeah" singer's part could have led to the demise of his union with Chilli. In a recent interview with People magazine, Chilli --who is currently dating actor Matthew Lawrence-- opened up about her ex, how their relationship didn't necessarily end in 2004 despite it being announced to the public, and why she officially severed ties with him in 2019.
Chilli (L) and Usher (R)
Photo by KMazur/WireImage
Chilli On Her Past Relationship With Usher
During the discussion that took place earlier this month, the 52-year-old revealed that she and Usher were initially attracted to each other because of their intense chemistry.
But over the years, as their union evolved, Chilli realized that the pair was "different" and that the initial chemistry they once shared only occurred when they were working.
"We definitely had some chemistry. But working chemistry does not mean it works in your personal life. If we were working, it was great. But outside of that, we're so different," she said.
Chilli would add that even though her relationship with Usher looked great to the public, it didn't work the first time around because the "Burn" vocalist failed to meet certain requirements.
"It looked great, but in real life ... he knew he had to be a certain way with me, and he couldn't," she continued.
Chilli also disclosed that Usher's album Confessions wasn't about her and that their split in 2004 was due to opposing values and trust issues.
Still, Usher and Chilli would rekindle their union privately on and off for years when they weren't exclusively seeing other people. The "Unpretty" songstress explained the reason behind it was because they couldn't "get over" each other.
"I love hard. I was like, 'God, why can't I get over this?' He couldn't either," she stated.
Chilli On Why She Cut Contact With Usher In 2019
But all that would change in 2019 when Chilli, guided by her faith, cut off all contact with Usher because she wanted to "focus on" herself.
In addition to no longer speaking to the "Glu" singer, the mother of one decided not to date temporarily because she didn't want her past relationship with Usher to ruin her chances with a potential suitor.
"I even stopped dating. Because before that I thought if I met the right guy during that time that I wasn't over [Usher] it wouldn't work. I would never want to straddle the fence, " she said.
Toward the end of the conversation, Chilli shares that she had "no hard feelings" against Usher, who is now with Jenn Goicoechea, a senior vice president of A&R and Epic Records.
Chilli's recent admission about Usher and having to cut ties with an ex to find her significant other could motivate others to follow the same steps or at least re-evaluate the situation.
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Feature image by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images