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A Brown Girl's Top-Down Spring Cleaning Guide

Experts in hair, skincare, style and fitness offer tips on how women of color can switch things up.

Oftentimes, the phrase “spring cleaning” is immediately associated with a weekend-long spree of knees-on-the-floor scrubbing, sorting, tossing and rearranging within one’s home, but it should be a little deeper than that. Yes, pristine living quarters are an ideal way to step from one season to the next, but that same fixer-upper dedication should also be applied to the self.

Self-care in 2019, especially for women of color, has become paramount. Audre Lorde said it best back in 1988 within the pages of A Burst Of Light: And Other Essays: "Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare."

In addition to caring for their well-being in terms of personal space, it’s also important for women of color to take care of their bodies and rejuvenate them from the top down as they would their closets before the summer sun hits. We tapped four experts in hair, skincare, fashion, and fitness to offer nuggets of advice for how to spring clean their habits to get to their brightest, boldest, healthiest and happiest selves for the rest of the year.

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Hair, as told by celebrity hairstylist Ursula Stephen

 

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If you have shrinkage, you might as well embrace it in heat and humidity.
You can't fight Mother Nature, but it's very important to invest in products that are geared towards shrinkage because they are making a lot of things for that. If you keep trying to make it be the thing that it's not, your hair's going to get depressed. You need to give it the love that it needs for what it's going through at the moment. Just like with your skin, your nails, it changes every season. It often changes every couple of years. I think it's a matter of paying attention to what your hair is doing and rolling with it. You have to grow with your hair and learn to understand it and work with it. Invest in a good diffuser. If you have shrinkage, after you pull out your twist outs or your braid outs, what you can do is, after you shake everything out, you unravel it. What the diffuser does is it helps to stretch the hair. It doesn't put direct heat on the hair. It doesn't move the hair around. That's another way of combating shrinkage. Another thing is just embracing it.

Don’t be scared to decorate and accessorize your 4C textured hair.
I think accessories are a big deal. I think I've been pushing accessories for years, I've been trying to get more red carpets and now finally people are using a lot of accessories. I think it's another way to excite yourself about your 4C hair because people are going through a lot. I know girls with shrinkage, [and] I think adding accessories, headbands, and scarves is a way to accessorize it and also get excited about the hair. Dress it up for the summer time.

Staple braid looks can lead to more fun, bold protective styling.
If you feel like it's something you really can't deal with [shrinkage] visually, the summertime is an amazing idea to do alternative styles like braids, and weaves, and getting extension pieces to extend your top knot. You can't hack Mother Nature, so you have to figure out how to work with it. I think long, box braids are a great way [the warm up to protective styles]. If you do long ones, and you're not used to wearing long weaves or whatever, that's your segue into your long hair but it's still keeping up with your natural self. I think doing something like braids, like long braids, or crochet braids, that still gives you movement are a good way to trick your mind, or slowly getting to a different look. I think braids are a good segue into long, box braids. You always notice girls that have long weaves, they're attached to their weaves and you know they're nervous to take it out, they always go to braids. It still gives them the natural feel, but also gives care, so it feels alright.

 

Skincare, as told by aesthetic medicine specialist Dr. Barbara Sturm

 

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When seasons swap, switch it up with skincare.
The misconception is that darker skin is bulletproof. The reality is the Achilles heel of darker skin is a greater sensitivity to the inflammation cascade. Inflammation can be easily triggered in darker skin, so it is essential to avoid inflammation triggers, such as aggressive ingredients in skincare, lasers, acid peels, inflammatory foods, smoking, sun and pollution exposure, and excessive drinking. Women of color need to remain vigilant against inflammation and all its triggers. This means in summer, or confronted with inflammation-inducing sun exposure, it is important to wear a high SPF sunscreen. I recommend a good Anti-Pollution serum year round, but springtime is filled with a natural air pollutant: pollen, which is inflammatory and can wreak havoc on unprotected skin. In warmer months, I recommend using a lighter formulation of moisturizer. In colder months, strong barrier protection is needed against harsh elements that also trigger inflammation. A higher lipid content moisturizer is recommended during the cold season. Strong anti-inflammatory skin care is required 365 days a year, and lasers and acid peels should also be avoided year round due to their inflammatory effects.

Spoiling yourself with facials is more than okay, but quick fix skin regimens can make matters worse.
A facial is a luxurious necessity. In the right hands and using the right ingredient science, a facial cleanses, nourishes, and awakens the skin, while reducing inflammation and hyper-pigmentation, evening out irregularities in the skin, and strengthening the skin matrix. The ideal everyday skin maintenance regime improves the skin matrix and avoids the need for too much “corrective action,” which if aggressive, can trigger inflammation. I would never use a peel with any skin type, but darker skin needs to be especially careful to avoid post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and other dysfunction that can result from these “quick fix” approaches. I do not ever recommend a chemical peel for darker skin. A mask can be healing, hydrating and full of antioxidants and nutrition and should be used several times a week as a skin corrector. Serums, like my Darker Skin Tones Hyaluronic Serum, are one of the most essential elements of my regime and corrects the skin immediately while combating inflammation and oxidation.

It’s still possible (and preferable) to glow without a full makeup beat.
Summertime skin care means high lipid-content moisturizers can stay in the cabinet. A lighter formulation is appropriate for the warmer months and depending on one’s own sebum production and the climate, my serum may suffice as a moisturizer, which also contains Lumicol, a complexion brightening and skin evening ingredient. I am a fan of healthy skin that doesn’t require too much makeup, and makeup itself can contain aggressive ingredients triggering the inflammation that darker skin tones are uniquely sensitive to. To make my makeup pop or even instead of makeup on a hot summer night, I use my Glow Drops, which provide both anti-inflammatory anti-aging benefits and shimmer particle-delivered glow.

 

Style, as told by supermodel Chanel Iman

 

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Revamping your wardrobe is a lot simpler than you think.
I always keep my favorites. I always put them away when it’s wintertime, then bring them back for the spring, and then mix-and-match with different accessories. That’s what I do to make it look new again. Try it with a different shoe, or instead of wearing a heel or a tennis shoe with it, try to make it different than how I wore it the last year.

 

Fitness, as told by STRONG By Zumba co-creator Ai Lee Syarief

 

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Despite the heat of summer, sneak in fun ways to stay active and healthy.
I think the most important thing is that you do something where you have fun. Don't do something where you think, I have to do it because everybody's doing it, or it's like, Oh, I heard this is good. Let's just try it. In the beginning, you do it, but if you don't have fun, if you don't really enjoy it, you wouldn't do it. Make sure you do something where you have fun. Make sure you do something with your friend because if you're two, if you're three, it keeps you motivated. If you're only, "OK, I'm at home I'm doing a workout," and then today I'm like, "Aw, should I do it or not?" Or "should I go to the gym?" Make sure you have somebody, friends, do something you really love, too. And you know the whole package—workout, good sleep. Sleeping is very, very good. Make sure that you have a really good, balanced nutrition, and then I think you're going to be fine for summer.

Pushing through crappy weather days to get a quick sweat in is a motivation booster.
Even on the bad windy days, I don't feel like it's something bad. I mean, I love fresh air. For me even if it's windy, let's just go out. Be motivated and do something you love. That is going to push you very much. I think that STRONG by Zumba, what motivates you is the music. Find a factor that you really love. When results come, whatever the results are, you will get even more motivated. You do it, you love it, you see your results whatever they are and then you go like "OK, let's push through."

Additional reporting by Desire Thompson.

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Rico Nasty And Kali Uchis Join Bad Bunny As Performers For 2nd Annual Pornhub Awards

Pornhub has turned things up a notch for their second annual awards show with performances from Bad Bunny, Kali Uchis, Rico Nasty and Tommy Genesis.

The celebration of the adult film industry will also welcome Benny Blanco as Musical Director and British Art Director and graphic designer Peter Savill for the redesign of the show's statue. Last year's inaugural show proved to be a learning lesson for the company. Kanye West's presence attracted most the attention, with everything else including the show's presentation falling to the wayside. The rapper/producer performed last year with Teyana Taylor and also performed his single "I Like It" without Lil Pump (he was arrested at the time for violating his probation).

But with creative daring acts like Rico, Bad Bunny and Kali, the show might be visually stimulating for fans–musically speaking. Benito was previously announced as a performer last month. “Last year, we made history and we’re building on that momentum,” Pornhub's vice president Corey Price told Forbes. “No other awards show has ever even attempted to do what we do.”

The show will compete with the Adult Video News Awards — or AVNs — which honor stars in the adult film industry. Price is hoping to reach its very diverse audience with their selection of performers.

“We’re very excited to announce the additions of several creatives to the 2nd Annual Pornhub Awards Show. Peter Saville is absolutely legendary, having had some prolific output that has gone on to inspire entire generations of creatives,” Price tells VIBE. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Ian Isiah, Kali Uchis, Rico Nasty and Tommy Genesis take the stage with Bad Bunny on October 11th. We are so lucky to have such complementary talents entertaining for us on our big night. ”

The show will take place at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles. Categories include: Most Popular Female Performer, Most Popular Male Performer, Most Popular Verified Amateur, Top Channel, Top BBW Performer (c' mon diversity), Top Fetish Performer, Most Popular Gay Performer, Most Popular Network and Top Celebrity, among others.

Fans are encouraged to vote for their faves here.

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Nicki Minaj Offers Advice To Women In Abusive Relationships

Nicki Minaj took to Twitter over the weekend to address her female fans. In a series of tweets, the MEGATRON artist offered advice to anyone who may be in an abusive relationship.

When u see a woman in a toxic relationship, rather than laugh & say mean things, try to offer sound advice from your heart & root for her to learn her worth. We’ve all been there. I saw my parents fight & argue non stop & never divorce, so I thought this was normal behavior...

— Mrs. Petty (@NICKIMINAJ) September 1, 2019

It's unknown what caused Sunday's tweets, (Sept. 1)  however, in 2018 Minaj revealed the abuse she witnessed as a child in her Apple Music documentary trailer, as well as two toxic relationships she experienced.

"I remember when my mother would let my father be violent with her, and she always brings up this story as a little girl, I would stand in front of my mother and go like this," she recalled while extending her arms.

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#Queen The documentary - Coming Soon

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Newly engaged to music executive, Kenneth "Zoo" Petty, Minaj re-opened the conversation on domestic violence, self-esteem, and toxic relationships. She offered words of encouragement and advice to those who could be in situations she was once in.

When u see a woman in a toxic relationship, rather than laugh & say mean things, try to offer sound advice from your heart & root for her to learn her worth. We’ve all been there. I saw my parents fight & argue non stop & never divorce, so I thought this was normal behavior...

— Mrs. Petty (@NICKIMINAJ) September 1, 2019

Minaj also provided a checklist of warning signs women shouldn't ignore if present in their relationship.

Dear all of you beautiful souls.

A man who loves you does not:

1. Humiliate you on social media 2. Beat you 3. Cheat on you 4. Call you out of your name/put you down to lower your self esteem due to his own insecurities. 5. Hide his phone, passwords, where abouts, etc.

— Mrs. Petty (@NICKIMINAJ) September 1, 2019

The "Hot Girl Summer" collaborator also advised that loving yourself should be your top priority, not attaining a relationship goal.

I remember being so afraid to speak cuz I never knew when that person would be in a particular mood and I could maybe say one wrong thing that would get me hit. So the diff you see in me now is that feeling when a woman feels lifted up, safe, appreciated & unconditionally loved.

— Mrs. Petty (@NICKIMINAJ) September 1, 2019

But I first had to learn how to love MYSELF. 🙏🏾 if you wouldn’t let a man treat your mother, your sister or best friend like that b/c you LOVE them, then you wouldn’t let a man treat YOU like that b/c you love YOU. This isn’t about judging. We judge too much. Lift them up. 🙏🏾

— Mrs. Petty (@NICKIMINAJ) September 1, 2019

Although the 36-year-old never revealed who her abusers were, the Barbz surmised Meek Mill and Love and Hip-Hop star Safaree Samuels as her two alleged abusers.

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Tracee Ellis Ross attends the Marie Claire's Image Makers Awards 2018 on January 11, 2018 in West Hollywood, California.
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Hair Hero: Tracee Ellis Ross Launches Pattern Hair Care Line

Tracee Ellis Ross is hoping to change our curl patterns for the better with her new haircare line.

The multi-hyphenate blessed fans with news about the line called Pattern on Monday (Sept. 3). Ross told WWD her vision for Pattern started on the set of fan-favorite series, Girlfriends in 2008. After realizing she was one of the few actresses in La La Land rocking her natural curls, she put together the idea for Pattern, which specializes in curly, coily and textured hair.

"I believe everyone should have access to their most beautiful selves in the bathroom," she said. Just before announcing Pattern's launch, Ross highlighted her hair journey on Instagram over the weekend, sharing how she came to terms with loving her curls.

"I can literally chronicle my journey of self-acceptance through my journey with my hair," she captioned a gallery of hair pics from her youth. "Growing up, society told me there was a right way to wear my hair and a right way to look. Those ideals didn’t match what I saw in the mirror, so I tried to beat my curls into submission— putting body lotion in my hair, sleeping in rollers, blowouts, relaxers, texturizers, ponytails so tight they gave me a headache, and I even whipped out an iron (the kind you use for clothes) in an attempt to straighten it that way."

After coming to terms with her hair, Ross says she's ready to take on the beauty industry for women of color, especially those in the 3b to 4c category. "The culture of beauty has been so steeped in patriarchy, racism, and sexism for so long," she said. "It’s not that those skin tones and hair types haven’t existed, but there hasn’t been a large space and understanding for it. That’s why it’s taken me so long to make these dreams happen.”

Ross explained on Instagram that Pattern "is for those of us who need more than a quarter size of product" and encouraged fans to share their journey with the hashtag, #RockYourPattern.

Sign up for updates on Pattern's launch here.

 

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Thrilled to introduce PATTERN // my new hair care brand specifically for curly, coily, and tight textured hair.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ @patternbeauty is the result of 20 years of dreaming, 10 years in the making (I wrote my first brand pitch in 2008, right when girlfriends finished ) and 2 years of working with chemists. I’m so excited to share this with y’all. ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ @patternbeauty is here to empower and nourish curly, coily and tight-textured hair. 3b to 4c. The formulas are unique and packed with luscious & safe ingredients-trust me I know, because my panel and I tried 74 different samples to get these 7 formulas for phase one.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ @patternbeauty is for those of us who need more than a quarter size of product. large conditioner sizes that actually fulfill the unmet needs of our community. accessible pricing because everyone should have access to their most beautiful hair in their own shower, and gorgeous packaging that conjures the legacy of our history and makes us all feel like the royalty that we are. ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ I’m excited for PATTERN to join the natural hair movement, and to celebrate our hair for what it is: beautiful! The line will be available on patternbeauty.com this Monday, September 9 at 9am ET!!!! #RockYourPattern

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IF MY HAIR COULD TALK ~  oh, the stories it would tell. i can literally chronicle my journey of self-acceptance through my journey with my hair. growing up, society told me there was a right way to wear my hair and a right way to look. those ideals didn’t match what i saw in the mirror, so i tried to beat my curls into submission— putting body lotion in my hair, sleeping in rollers, blowouts, relaxers, texturizers, ponytails so tight they gave me a headache; and i even whipped out an iron (the kind you use for clothes) in an attempt to straighten it that way. trying to make my hair look “easy and breezy”, “bouncin’ and behavin’” actually had the opposite effect. my hair was broken, damaged, and tired of trying to be something that it wasn’t. i finally took the leap and stopped relaxing my curls, thereby beginning the healing journey towards loving my hair. it was a long road to knowing, understanding and, eventually, loving my curls. now i just let them be the happy little ringlets and zig zags of joy they want to be. if your hair could talk, what would it say? #fbf #hairlove

A post shared by Tracee Ellis Ross (@traceeellisross) on Aug 30, 2019 at 3:50pm PDT

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