Let's go back in time. The year is 3500 BC and weaving three strands of hair together is all the rage amongst the Himba people of Namibia. The array of styles and patterns was a way to rep yo' set aka your tribe and aligns with African women using their hair as a form of expression. Not only is it a form of art but it's also a rite of passage in our culture. Some of the most memorable moments of my childhood were of me plopping down in between my mama's legs to get my hair braided.
Whether it was plaits, cornrows or French braids, there was something wildy spiritual about that moment. Looking back, I think sitting there while my mom designed my crown was a way of connecting with my ancestors. To this day, getting braided hairstyles serves many purposes for me, from self-care to amplifying my Blackness.
Over the years, braids became an inventive way to wear our hair in lieu of straightening it or using relaxer. And somewhere along the way, a brilliant being decided to create braid extensions, opening the door to a universe of innovation. One integral part of the process: braiding hair. Black women know this to be Kanekalon hair which provides a kinky texture similar to our natural tresses. There are thousands of brands out there but we gathered some of the best to give you a quick rundown.
FreeTress is a hair braiding brand under the Shake-N-Go trademark. Since 1991, Shake-N-Go has been giving us the best human and synthetic hair to meet our protective style needs. I use FreeTress for various braiding styles from box braids to faux locs. As "the world's largest manufacturer of hair extensions, wigs, hairpieces, and accessories", this brand's versatility is what makes it top tier.
Rast A Fri is where all beauty is celebrated. It's the texture for us, because it doesn't irritate the scalp and keeps the stylists' hands intact. Under the Golden State Imports umbrella, Rast A Fri prides itself on quality, nourishing haircare products. Braiders across the globe love this brand because it has a variety of colors, smooth texture, and affordable price points for everyone. You aren't missing a thing when you opt for Rast A Fri, leaving all the room to be as creative as you want to be.
Hailing from Kenya, this braiding hair is here to change the game by offering more hair per pack and doing so without the itch. Atlanta Braider and Owner of Top Tier Styles & More, Latier says, "I like using Darling hair because of the quality and texture of the hair. The hair is strong and does not shed. The texture blends beautifully with our hair all while providing a sleek braided look. I love this hair and I look forward to using it many more times in the future."
If you were born in the 90s, there's an 80 percent chance your first braid style featured Sensationnel X-Pression braiding hair. The brand takes the name seriously boasting that they are truly definition of their name, "very good indeed; very impressive or attractive." With innovation at the forefront, Sensationnel has been dedicated to elevating hair products for decades. The proof is in the hair.
"I recommend the E Z Braid Spectra brand because the hair is Clean and Easy to glide your fingers through when crossing over the strands," says Tia Waller, Owner of Textures by Tia Salon based in Memphis, TN. "This brand also tangles way less than any other brand I've used. It also detangles very easy if you even have a tangle."
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Featured image via Getty Images
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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 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.
Watching Angela “Blac Chyna” White’s transformation in real-time has truly been a sight to see. It wasn’t that long ago that she announced that she was reversing her cosmetic surgeries in an effort to go back to who she was before the world came to know her as Blac Chyna. In previous interviews, she stated that she was dissolving her facial and lip fillers, removing her breast implants, and getting a butt reduction, as well as removing the dimple piercings that enhanced her fame and controversial tattoos.
In a recent Tamron Hall interview, the mother of two said that she has “fully recovered” from the procedures. She is also celebrating one year of sobriety and opened up about being worried about how her new journey would be received by others.
“I’ve been in the entertainment industry for so long, right, and of course, like, you know, coming out, I’m like young, I’m gonna do wild things as we all have,” she said.
“...I feel like by me being vocal and showing everybody you can change your life and things can get better, like through myself, that right there is an accomplishment, and that’s a part of freedom, too.”
But as she started on her journey, many people have shown her grace, which is something she’s grateful for. “And then the fact that people have been showing me grace, it’s like amazing,” she said. “And I feel like when I did it, I just did it. It was more so like spiritual thing and I feel like people see that, and I’ve always been like my authentic self, so what you see is kinda what you get with me, and that’s just kinda what it is.”
Chyna, who recently received an honorary doctorate from Sacramento Theology Seminary and Bible College, has also repaired her relationship with her mom, Tokyo Toni. The social media celebrity surprised her daughter on the Tamron Hall Show. Prior to the sentimental surprise, Chyna dished on the reconciliation and having a better understanding of her mom.
“I must say, some of the things I have to take accountability for because, like my actions. As a mother, you don’t want to see your daughter doing certain things ‘cause it’s like it doesn’t matter what my past was or what we’re going through, I didn’t raise you that way,” she admitted. “So, it’s like, okay, maybe I was a little bit wrong. Maybe I was acting out a little bit. But I feel like as we grow older, I kinda see more, and I understand more.”
Chyna will be starring in season two of Fox's reality competition show Special Forces: World's Toughest Test.
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Feature image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images