It's no secret that shopping for new hair products isn't always an easy task. With so many different brands and products hitting the market, it can be hard to figure out what will actually work on our hair. Whenever I visit my local drugstore or beauty supply store, I spend so much time scrounging the internet for reviews and texting my girlfriends for advice before committing to purchasing a product. But, finally, a solution exists that makes haircare shopping more efficient for Black women everywhere.
Meet: the Coily app.
Founded by tech entrepreneur Asha Christian, Coily is a one-stop-shop for product reviews, product recommendations, and hairstyle inspiration. "After spending money on edge gels that didn't work, moisturizers that left flakes, or wigs that didn't last that long, I just got frustrated and decided to pair my background in technology with my passion for hair and create Coily," Christian says.
After beta testing the app in Guyana in 2019, Coily made its official U.S. debut in February of this year. One of the app's most enticing features is its barcode scanner. "You can walk into a store and scan a barcode on a hair product or even scan a product you have in your home and see product reviews for it," Christian says. "You can see image results of women who use the product on their own hairstyles. You can also sort those reviews and styles by your unique hair type."
To make your experience more personalized on the app, you can fill out Coily's hair quiz– a brief survey that asks questions about your hair texture and hair goals. Filling out the assessment unlocks your ability to receive curated product and hairstyle recommendations in the app.
Christian says that the community-focused features of the app have also received positive feedback. Coily users can upload hairstyle recipes, share product reviews, bookmark hairstyles, and build community with other haircare lovers on the app. One of Coily's standout elements is its hair type percentage match feature. You can visit any users' profile on the app and see how similar their hair type is to yours. "I know, it's been exciting for [users] to click on a profile and see that they have like a 60% match or an 85% match, and then be able to see how exactly they match up," Christian says. "They can see if they both style their hair a certain way, if they both have a certain hair texture, or even if they both have dyed their hair in the past six months."
As she maps out the future of Coily, Christian has her sights set on growing the platform into the largest and smartest black, black haircare marketplace in the world. Her next move? Brand partnerships. "Some of the coolest feedback we've gotten is that once they discover their products, they wish they could buy it right then and there on the platform," she explains. "So, we've spent the last month creating brand partnerships so that we can begin selling products on the platform this month." In line with her mission to encompass the Black haircare system from end to end, Christian also plans to add hairstylist booking to the app so you can easily browse and book appointments with stylists in your area.
You can download Coily in the App Store and stay connected with the brand on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Featured image by Shutterstock
Olivia Hancock is a writer who can constantly be found putting pen to paper or typing away at her keyboard. The transplant ATLien is currently working on her undergraduate degree in Journalism and roots for all things #BlackGirlMagic. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram at @oliviahancock_.
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From Monogamy To Polyamory: 'I'm In An Asexual Poly Marriage With My Husband Of 7 Years'
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be asexual and in an open marriage? Relationship Coach Mikki Bey shared her first-hand experience with us as well as answered some of our burning questions.
Like a lot of people, Mikki met her now husband, Raheem Ali, online. As soon as they met, they instantly fell in love and got engaged on their first date. Just 90 days after they met, the couple tied the knot and have now been married for seven years. Raheem and Mikki aren’t your typical married couple, and despite being married for almost a decade, their marriage is anything but traditional. Mikki and Raheem have what she calls an "asexual polyamorous marriage."
Defining Her Sexuality
It wasn't until last summer that Mikki found the language to define her sexuality. "I didn't have the language for it until last summer," she explained to xoNecole. "Looking back, I just thought sex wasn't my thing. It was never enjoyable for me, and I'd go years without even noticing.”
Mikki always thought she was broken because she had no interest in sex. Mikki noticed after her friends came to visit and started discussing their sexual fantasies that she realized something was different about her. “At that point, I knew something was definitely different about me since I do not have sexual fantasies at all. It was truly news to me that people are at work thinking about sex! That was not my experience.” This led to Mikki researching asexuality, which she soon realized fit her to a T. “It felt like breathing new air when I was able to call it by name," said Mikki.
"Looking back, I just thought sex wasn't my thing. It was never enjoyable for me, and I'd go years without even noticing it."
Asexuality refers to people who experience little or no sexual attraction, experience attraction without acting on it sexually, or experience sexual attraction differently based on other factors. Like most things, asexuality falls on a spectrum and encompasses many other identities. It's important to remember, however, that attraction and action are not always synonymous: some asexuals may reject the idea of sexual contact, but others may be sex-neutral and engage in sexual activity.
It's possible that some asexuals will have sex with someone else despite not having a libido or masturbating, but others will have sex with a partner because it brings a sense of connection.
From a Traditional Marriage to Kitchen Table Polyamory
Although Mikki never really had a high sex drive, it wasn’t until after the birth of her son, that she noticed her sex drive took a real nosedive. “I never had a high sex drive, but about a year after my son was born, I realized I had zero desire. My husband has a high sex drive, and I knew that it would not be sustainable to not have sex in our marriage at that time.”
She was determined to find an alternative to divorce and stumbled upon a polyamory conversation on Clubhouse. Upon doing her own research, she brought up the idea to their husband, who was receptive. “It’s so interesting to me that people weigh sex so heavily in relationships when even if you are having a ton of sex, it’s still a very small percentage of the relationship activity," Mikki shared.
They chose polyamory because Mikki still wanted to be married, but she also wanted to make sure that Raheem was getting his individual needs and desires met, even if that meant meeting them with someone else. “I think that we have been programmed to think that our spouses need to be our 'everything.' We do not operate like that. There is no one way that fits all when it comes to relationships, despite what society may try to tell you. Their path to doing this thing called life together may be different from yours, but they found what works for them. We have chosen to design a marriage that works for us,” Mikki explained.
"We have chosen to design a marriage that works for us. We both consent to each of us having everything from casual sex partners to lifetime partners if it should go there. We believe love is abundant and do not limit ourselves or each other on how we express it."
She continued, “We both consent to each of us having everything from casual sexual partners to lifetime partners if it should get there. We believe love is abundant and do not limit ourselves or each other on how we express it. Our dynamic is parallel with kitchen table poly aspirations.”
Kitchen table polyamory (KTP) is a polyamorous relationship in which all participants are on friendly terms enough to share a meal at the kitchen table. Basically, it means you have some form of relationship with your partner’s other partner, whether as a group or individually. A lot of times, KTP relationships are highly personal and rooted in mutual respect, communication, and friendship.
Intimacy in an Asexual Polyamorous Marriage
Mikki says she and her husband, Raheem, still share intimate moments despite being in a polyamorous marriage. “Our intimacy is emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical, although non-sexual. We are intentional about date nights weekly, surprising and delighting each other daily, and most of all, we communicate our needs regularly. In my opinion, our intimacy is top-tier! I give my husband full-body massages, mani-pedis and make sure I am giving him small physical touches/kisses throughout the day. He is also very intentional about showing me his love and affection.”
Raheem and Mikki now use their lives as examples for others. On their website, thepolycouplenextdoor.com, they coach people interested in learning how to be consensually non-monogamous. “We are both relationship coaches. I specialized in emotional regulation, and Raheem specializes in communication and conflict resolution. The same tools we use in our marriage help our clients succeed in polyamory."
Mikki advises people who may be asexual or seeking non-monogamy to communicate their needs openly and to consider seeking sex therapy or intimacy coaching. Building a strong relationship with a non-sexual partner requires both empathy and compassion.
For more of Mikki, follow her on Instagram @getmikkibey. Follow the couple's platform on Instagram @thepolycouplenextdoor.
Featured image by skynesher/Getty Images