Do you remember the viral “tell me without telling me” challenge that appeared all over TikTok a year ago? Well, it’s time for a melanated beauty edition. Ladies, show me you’re a Black woman without saying you’re Black. If this were a TikTok challenge, right about now you’d be showing off a rattail comb, hair jewels for blinging out protective styles, Sacha Buttercup Setting Powder and a bunch of other tried-and true-favorites that are synonymous with being a fly sister. Here are more staples that make us feel sexy, confident and nostalgic all at once.
Shine ’n Jam
Clean, crisp parts are the key to pulling off braids that stun as much as they protect our natural strands underneath. Chances are that behind that set of fresh braids is a jar of Shine ’n Jam conditioning gel, which ranges from regular to supreme hold.
You may also like: ORS Olive Oil Ultra Hydrating Gel ($4.29, Target.com)
Long live the mornings when our mothers heated gold-plated pressing combs over the stove and tested the temperature on a white paper towel before smoothing down our edges. Nowadays, rocking a flawless silk press is easier than ever, thanks to salon-quality blow-dryers and flat irons. But don’t underestimate the precision of a good ole hot comb, especially for achieving a hairline that’s laid for the gods.
Forget diamonds! Oils — avocado, castor, jojoba, sweet almond and tea tree, just to name a few — are a sister’s best friend, from sealing in moisture for juicy curls, kinks or coils, to strengthening weak strands and relieving a dry, itchy scalp.
It’s not uncommon for a sister to have two or three wrapping scarves in rotation, whether she’s preserving a fresh silk press or letting that twist-out marinate overnight. With countless style options from various Black-owned brands, finding the look that suits your personality and whatever mood you’re in is easy.
No sister’s vanity drawer is complete without a giant tub of shea butter. Turns out, there are plenty of reasons why this inexpensive ingredient remains a lifeline for healthy, glowing skin. Heralded as a beauty staple for thousands of years, shea butter gets rid of ash, provides some added natural protection against the sun’s damaging UV rays when layered over sunscreen and nourishes your skin without leaving a greasy feeling. Hey, if it was good enough for Cleopatra, it’s good enough for us!
Clear Lip Gloss
Crimson-, mocha- and berry-colored lipsticks are great for drawing attention to a sister’s gorgeous melanin, but a couple of layers of high-shine, crystal-clear lip gloss can turn heads too. Because of the fullness and darker pigmentation in our lips, less is often more, especially if you’re going for that “no makeup” makeup look. Plus, there’s something about clear gloss that instantly makes your pout look fuller and more youthful.
Three options to try: NYX Professional Makeup Butter Gloss Non-Sticky Lip Gloss ($5, Ulta.com), Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer ($20, Sephora.com) and M·A·C Cosmetics Lipglass Clear ($21, MACCosmetics.com)
Intricate baby hairs can add flair to any hairstyle, but most edge stylers tend to run on the pricey side at double digits or feel a little flimsy, especially if you’re heavy-handed. The good news: A regular toothbrush is all you need to slick down those baby hairs. Just make sure it has medium bristles, and don’t confuse it with your actual toothbrush!
Hear us out: Blue Magic hair grease is a throwback for sure, but it still does wonders for sealing in all the goodness that leave-in conditioners and twisting butters promise to deliver. Naturalistas, the next time you do the liquid, conditioner and oil (LCO) or liquid, oil and conditioner (LOC) method, consider swapping out the oil for hair grease, but know that a little goes a long way. If product buildup is a concern, reach for a gentle, clarifying shampoo.
You may also like: Camille Rose Gro Grease ($7.47, Ulta.com)
Eco Style Gel
Sleek buns and ponytails, defined curls, snatched edges — is there anything the Eco styler can’t do? Ranging from olive oil– and argan oil–infused formulas to versions boasting coconut oil for frizz-free twist-outs and a maximum hold for sisters who enjoy hitting the gym, the brand Eco Style has held us down from day one.
You may also like: Wet Line Xtreme Pro Styling Gel ($4.89, Target.com)