Spring is starting to give what it's supposed to give and that means it's time to get your house in order. Shoes, accessories and clothes are just some of the things we are standardizing as the temperatures reach new heights. More importantly, we are preparing for the hairstyles that will match the spring fare.
One thing about Black women, they don't play about their "HAIR(itage)". We spotted this term on Yara Shahidi's Instagram and it perfectly encapsulates our love for donning queen-like hairstyles. It represents who we are: change-makers.
When thinking of our HAIR(itage), we can't help but appreciate the way our African lineage plays a major part in how we continue to redefine our beauty through our tresses. Braids have been on trend since before trends were a thing. We are talking B.C. – before Christ, not before coronavirus. Dating back to the days when Queen Nefertiti ruled, braids have served as a form of art. Each strand is steeped in feminine power and unique creativity. To this day, they continue to empower us to wear our crowns boldly. While you have natural inspiration flowing through your veins, we are here to help with what's popping this spring. Ahead, find nine braid styles that have been lighting up our braid-ar.
Not only did Nhyira abuse us with her melanin but she also snatched all of our edges with this knotless braids style. Knotless braids are one of the most popular braid styles with its convenience and flexibility. Because it does not include the small knot that starts at the root like traditional box braids, they don't put as much tension and stress on your hair. This queen went for a classic half up-half down style and it is perfection.
Caleb went for the knotless style but made it her own with curly coils in a bob form. The honey gold hue of her braids complements her skin like magic. The two single strands in her face is giving us 90s sitcom vibes and we all know that those were the best of times for style and hair.
You heard our sis! The category is spring so it's time to let your creativity bloom. Butterfly clips are wildly nostalgic and while TikTok will have you thinking it's a new trend, it's been around for decades. You know a Black woman started this trend too. This aesthetic brings back so many memories. One of my favorites was going to the beauty supply store to cop the latest butterfly clips. Ugh, those were the days!
Can you believe Emani created this beaded braid look all by herself? She's basically superhuman at this point. It takes real skill to cornrow your own hair and also braid individuals in the back. This style shapes her face like a dream. It's a simple style but the beads elevate it to the highest of heights. Cornrows and beads have been popular since the 70s and we don't think they are going anywhere any time soon.
Courtesy of Morgan
Straight backs are the old faithful. Our ancestors provided us with a hairstyle that has withstood centuries and we couldn't be more thankful. It might be one of the most prolific styles across time, genders and cultures. Morgan decided to add extensions to hers for length but she could also rock this style with her luxurious natural hair. We recommend this style for your upcoming vacays once the world really opens up.
Looking for a sleek and chic braided option? Dineo is showing exactly how to pull it off. The braided pony is one style that can be worn for various occasions. No more excuses for not working out because you can literally hit the gym, shower then hit up a happy hour with this style. See the way it has Dineo glowing? That could you be you, boo.
Yordanos has put us on to a whole new style with this hybrid creation. This is what happens when jumbo braids meet bubble curls. According to Yordanos, this style was a mistake. The 2 a.m. adventure left her with the wrong packs of hair so she made the best of a tricky situation. It's really the way she innovated a whole hairstyle for us.
Tribal braids on Chey is all the inspiration needed. So much so that she inspired me to get this style. After searching the gram for my latest 'do, I found this photo and it was love at first sight. The color and the length exuded all the strength and flair I desired. Best of all, I can create various looks with this style to do some shape-shifting.
This list wouldn't be complete without our very own hair goddess, Krissy Lewis, in these Pop Smoke-inspired braids. The cornrow style occasionally uses the stitch method, where the hair is sectioned into thin or thick horizontal lines using braiding hair. Since the rapper made the style popular, it has been trending upwards for months. Krissy is a whole mood with this style; we have added it to our list of must-try styles.
Read more about beauty, hair and skin here.
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Featured image via Yara Shahidi/Instagram
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.
How Content Creators Hey Fran Hey And Shameless Maya Embraced The Pivot
This article is in partnership with Meta Elevate.
If you’ve been on the internet at all within the past decade, chances are the names Hey Fran Hey and Shameless Maya (aka Maya Washington) have come across your screen. These content creators have touched every platform on the web, spreading joy to help women everywhere live their best lives. From Fran’s healing natural remedies to Maya’s words of wisdom, both of these content creators have built a loyal following by sharing honest, useful, and vulnerable content. But in search of a life that lends to more creativity, freedom, and space, these digital mavens have moved from their bustling big cities (New York City and Los Angeles respectively) to more remote locations, taking their popular digital brands with them.
Content Creators Hey Fran Hey and Maya Washington Talk "Embracing The Pivot"www.youtube.com
In partnership with Meta Elevate — an online learning platform that provides Black, Hispanic, and Latinx-owned businesses access to 1:1 mentoring, digital skills training, and community — xoNecole teamed up with Franscheska Medina and Maya Washington on IG live recently for a candid conversation about how they’ve embraced the pivot by changing their surroundings to ultimately bring out the best in themselves and their work. Fran, a New York City native, moved from the Big Apple to Portland, Oregon a year ago. Feeling overstimulated by the hustle and bustle of city life, Fran headed to the Pacific Northwest in search of a more easeful life.
Her cross-country move is the backdrop for her new campaign with Meta Elevate— a perfectly-timed commercial that shows how you can level up from wherever you land with the support of free resources like Meta Elevate. Similarly, Maya packed up her life in Los Angeles and moved to Sweden, where she now resides with her husband and adorable daughter. Maya’s life is much more rural and farm-like than it had been in California, but she is thriving in this peaceful new setting while finding her groove as a new mom.
While Maya is steadily building and growing her digital brand as a self-proclaimed “mom coming out of early retirement,” Fran is redefining her own professional grind. “It’s been a year since I moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon,” says Fran. “I think the season I’m in is figuring out how to stay successful while also slowing down.” A slower-paced life has unlocked so many creative possibilities and opportunities for these ladies, and our conversation with them is a well-needed reminder that your success is not tied to your location…especially with the internet at your fingertips. Tapping into a community like Meta Elevate can help Black, Hispanic, and Latinx entrepreneurs and content creators stay connected to like minds and educated on new digital skills and tools that can help scale their businesses.
During a beautiful moment in the conversation, Fran gives Maya her flowers for being an innovator in the digital space. Back when “influencing” was in its infancy and creators were just trying to find their way, Fran says Maya was way ahead of her time. “I give Maya credit for being one of the pioneers in the digital space,” Fran said. “Maya is a one-person machine, and I always tell her she really changed the game on what ads, campaigns, and videos, in general, should look like.”
When asked what advice she’d give content creators, Maya says the key is having faith even when you don’t see the results just yet. “It’s so easy to look at what is, despite you pouring your heart into this thing that may not be giving you the returns that you thought,” she says. “Still operate from a place of love and authenticity. Have faith and do the work. A lot of people are positive thinkers, but that’s the thinking part. You also have to put your faith into work and do the work.”
Fran ultimately encourages content creators and budding entrepreneurs to take full advantage of Meta Elevate’s vast offerings to educate themselves on how to build and grow their businesses online. “It took me ten years to get to the point where I’m making ads at this level,” she says. “I didn’t have those resources in 2010. I love the partnership with Meta Elevate because they’re providing these resources for free. I just think of the people that wouldn’t be able to afford that education and information otherwise. So to amplify a company like this just feels right.”
Watch the full conversation with the link above, and join the Meta Elevate community to connect with fellow businesses and creatives that are #OnTheRiseTogether.
Featured image courtesy of Shameless Maya and Hey Fran Hey
This Is Your Sign To Try The 75 Soft Challenge
They say it takes 21 days to start a habit and 90 days to make it a lifestyle, but there’s a popular internet challenge that’s meeting us in the middle to form new habits and hit the reset button to our daily routines. It’s called the 75 Soft Challenge.
Derived from the popular 75 Hard Challenge that took off on TikTok in 2020, the 75 Soft Challenge got its gentler alternative from TikTok creator Stephen Gallagher, which still promised to change your life through improved mental toughness and self-discipline.
We all have our reasons for needing a reset. At times life can get to such a place of monotony and stagnancy that we start to realize that we’re moving on autopilot. With the 75 Soft Challenge, individuals who take part in the daily routine are encouraged to go outside the comfort of their normal routines in order to build new habits that promote physical and mental well-being. While the rules can seem strict, they require a level of discipline and consistency to be tapped into, which can be a benefit to those looking to improve their self-esteem and confidence while feeling a sense of accomplishment once it’s completed.
For Dresden Davis, creator of the Curlie Cook, starting the 75 Soft Challenge was a way to kickstart a new beginning after an 18-month season of depression. Having not been in the best mental space, Davis began to see her weight fluctuate over time, which sparked her interest in taking on the 75-day challenge. With the goal to focus on her discipline, get back to herself, and restore her mental fitness, Davis tells xoNecole, “I was looking to restart my discipline.” She continues, “75 soft, in general, is about fitness and health, but it's more about discipline: can you do something that you say you're going to do for 75 days?”
But what are the rules to the 75 Soft Challenge?
- Eat well and only drink on social occasions.
- Train for 45 minutes every day for 75 days. One day a week is to be active recovery.
- Drink three liters of water a day.
- Read 10 pages of any book a day.
- NOTE: If you miss a day, you have to start over.
From January 1st to March 16th, Davis embarked on the daily challenge of mental and physical transformation, one that resulted in 11lbs lost over ten weeks and a mental and physical shift that she can attest to. As a way to track her progress, Davis shared her 75 Soft Challenge meals on her TikTok account and even went without telling her immediate circle that she was embarking on the journey.
There, she showcased different ways to eat fruits and veggies that were in season, shared delicious dishes like broccolini pasta, spinach pasta, and roasted Brussels sprouts, and presented ways to prepare one type of protein or vegetable in different ways. “I took the time each week to write out what I wanted to eat, and over the years, I've learned that for me high protein, veggies, and complex carbs work best for me,” she shares. Because the rules of the challenge don’t specify what “eat well” means, Davis recommends to "define what eating well means for you."
week 8 of 75 soft. less than a month left + whew. ate out twice this week + instantly regretted it so there’s that☹️ going to finish out these last few weeks strong! i’m 12lbs from my goals. i know i got this. #75soft #75softchallenge #mealsoftheweek #weekofmeals #healthyliving #healthyeating #weightloss #roadto30
Before starting the challenge, Davis researched the results of the 75 Soft participants to approach the challenge with realistic expectations and avoid the hasty temptation of comparison.
“I didn't want people to come and look at mine and be like, ‘Well, she lied,’ or, ‘That's unrealistic.’ So I decided that I needed to be honest,” she recalls. While results of the challenge may vary from person to person — depending on their body type and personal goals — Davis emphasizes the importance of listening to your body. “Do what works for you and not necessarily what works for everyone else,” she says.
“If weight loss is your reason for doing the challenge, healthy and sustainable weight loss is one to two pounds a week,” Davis shared. “If you are losing more than that, you could be doing something drastic that's not sustainable.”
“Always do what's sustainable, especially if you're doing this for a healthier lifestyle. A lifestyle is not a quick fix. It should be something that you can maintain for a long time,” she says.
What makes the 75 Soft Challenge unique is its connection to building self-efficacy within oneself. First cited by Albert Bandura, self-efficacy is an individual's belief regarding their ability to shape the outcomes of their life events. Unlike self-esteem, which often revolves around notions of an individual's value or merit, self-efficacy is founded on one’s confidence in their ability to navigate future situations. So while self-esteem is largely focused on the present, self-efficacy is more oriented toward the future.
“The mental aspect of when you stick with something, and you see the results and feel good about it, and you're not tempted to go back to those old ways,” she says. The results of the challenge go far beyond the physical, as her mindset has seen an even greater improvement post the 75-day commitment.
“It's not even about eating well or working out; it's the commitment to yourself,” she says. “I know people always say, ‘All you ever have is your word,’ and they always relate it to other people. But if you tell yourself you're going to do something, are you going to do it? For me, this wasn't about anyone else. I was trying to get back to feeling better about myself.”
Davis admits that there were mental roadblocks for her to overcome throughout the challenge, like waking up at 5:30 a.m. in the freezing weather to head to the gym or finding time to reach each day. “You're not going to be motivated every day. But you said you were going to do this. And if you don't do it now, when are you going to do it?” she says.
Looking back, the greatest reward was the mental fortitude that she gained in the process, and enjoyed the experience overall. Sometimes it’s not always what we think we can do, it’s what we do to prove to ourselves what’s possible.
But the question is, would she consider doing the 75 Hard Challenge? “Looking back, I'm kind of like, maybe that was a little easy. Maybe I can do a little bit more. Maybe I’ll try 75 Hard too.”
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Featured image by Morsa Images/Getty Images