After a tumultuous year, making time to prioritize your mental and physical health feels particularly important.
But for Black women, self-care is essential, said Yasmine Jameelah, founder of Transparent and Black, a wellness collective created to help Black people heal from intergenerational trauma.
"We are nothing to anyone if we can not pour into ourselves first, and let our self-care overflow and extend to others as communal care," Jameelah said. "Black people are isolated at home fighting two pandemics: racism and COVID-19. And the traumatizing videos that we've had to sit with make self-care crucial, now more than ever."
Of course, self-care can mean many different things. Some people turn to a meditation practice, while others may find comfort in a daily skincare routine. That's why Shop TODAY asked five Black wellness experts to share what self-care means to them, along with the products that they turn to when they need to feel more relaxed or at ease. From relaxing bath rituals to active essentials, here's how they show themselves love when they need it most.
Maya Feller, RD
"Self-care to me means the activities that I engage in that support my mind, my body and my spirit," said Maya Feller, registered dietitian and author of "The Southern Comfort Food Diabetes Cookbook." Along with the below skin and hair care products, she also includes what she's putting into her body as a part of her self-care routine. "I love to stay well hydrated, and I do that with water and with fruits and vegetables," she said. "And then I also make time for eating the things that I love that follow my cultural foodways."
Bella Skin Beauty Turmeric Guava Glowing Cleanser
"I wash my face with this very gentle cleanser from Bella Skin Beauty," Feller said. Made with anti-inflammatory turmeric and guava, the creamy formula cleanses and nourishes skin. It's great for all skin types, including those with sensitive skin. "I absolutely love it," she said.
Supergoop Superscreen Daily Moisturizer SPF 40
"I put sunscreen on every single day," Feller said. For her face, this is her go-to. The daily moisturizer provides both hydration and SPF-40, to protect skin from UVA and UVB rays.
Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30
"For my body, I use Black Girl Sunscreen," Feller said. "I love it because there's no white residue, so it doesn't make me look grey or pasty." The nourishing sunscreen includes hydrating ingredients like avocado, jojoba and cacao oils.
SpaRitual Earl Grey Body Creme
"I have very dry skin and so I love this rich cream from SpaRitual," Feller said. "It's very luscious." The formula is meant to moisturize skin without leaving a greasy residue. The brand even recommends turning the application into a ritual, by massaging the cream into your hands to release the scent, then working from the bottom of your body upwards toward your heart.
Odacite All-Embracing Serum
When she needs an extra hydration boost, Feller uses this serum, which she said, "smells unbelievable." The serum includes ingredients like watermelon seed oil and hibiscus, to fight dryness and signs of aging.
Weleda Arnica Massage Oil
"Part of my self-care routine is making space and time to move my body intentionally," said Feller. "So I like to use the Weleda Arnica cream anywhere that I have aches and pains."
Kneipp Lemon Balm Bath Oil
On top of that, Feller said she likes to take a bath using this soothing oil. Just a few drops will transform your tub into a spa, thanks to the lemon and floral scent.
Juices & Botanics The Drip Healthy Hair Growth Elixir
"Another part of my self-care is my hair care routine," Feller said. "For healthy hair growth when I'm wearing natural styles, I use The Drip."
PATTERN Edge Control
To lay down her edges, Feller said she loves this edge control. The formula, from Tracee Ellis Ross's beauty brand PATTERN, will help you style and smooth your edges, while protecting your curls.
"For me, self-care is doing things that make me feel energized and pampered," said Valorie Burton, life coach and author of "Let Go of the Guilt." Below, she shared the two products that help her do just that.
Zadro Ultra Large Luxury Bucket-Style Towel Warmer
Burton said this towel warmer is her absolute favorite self-care product. "I turn it on before I go in the shower or the bath, I come out and pull out the towel and it's so warm — it feels so good," she said. The large warmer can hold up to two towels and you can set the built-in timer to heat for 15, 30, 40 or 60 minutes, so you'll always have a luxurious, warm towel waiting for you.
ReSPR SeLF Wearable Personal Air Purifier
"This is a little personal air purifier that helps to keep air around me clean," Burton said. "It helps with allergies, eliminates bacteria and certain viruses, so I love it." You can get up to 24 to 30 hours of use from one charge, and you can attach it to your clothes or wear it around your neck.
"Self-care has been extremely important to me especially over this past year," said Kanoa Greene, a fitness trainer and founder of Plus-Size Adventure Retreats. "It's a way for me to prioritize my mental and physical health, making sure I'm pouring in things that make me feel energized, feel good and feel grounded."
Yogi Bare Yoga Wheel
"I get a lot of self-care through movement and one of the things I love is yoga," Greene said. She likes this wheel from Yogi Bare, which not only provides support in tough positions but can also be used as a body massage tool. "And it's just really sturdy," she added. "I love how this is built. It's for yogis of all shapes and sizes."
Yogi Bare Paws - Extreme Grip Yoga Exercise Mat
She also likes this mat from the brand, which has a firm, non-stick surface to keep you from slipping as you shift through yoga poses. It features a line down the center, which can serve as a guide to keep your body aligned throughout your practice.
Day Won Faces Performance Crop
"Whether I'm finding self-care through yoga, maybe a walk outside, maybe a dance party in my living room, it's important for me to have clothing I feel comfortable moving in," Greene said. She loves this brand, which makes cute and comfortable active essentials, like this crop top.
Day Won Faces Full-Length Legging
Make it a full set and grab the leggings, too. All of their options come in a range of sizes. "So it's designed to support all women on their self-care journey," Greene said.
"I like to lean into radical self-care," Jameelah said. "Work for me hasn't slowed down, so I've challenged myself to go deeper than self-care. Self-care often feels like something reserved for Sunday. But radical self-care says I will go out of my way to take care of me. It means dressing up to go to the store because right now, even Target runs are an event, scheduling my work calls around my evening swim, and watching reruns of 'Girlfriends' in the tub with a glass of wine just because I want to laugh loud."
Alexandra Winbrush Sunday in Brooklyn Candle
Jameelah likes to light this candle before she does anything else in the a.m. "This makes mornings in Jersey start out with such ease," she said. Her go-to candle features notes of lemongrass and wild basil, but the Black-owned candle brand has plenty of calming products to chose from, from scented candles to tea sets.
Brown Girl Jane Heal Body Butter
Editors note: For a more widely available option, we selected the above CBD body butter from another Black-owned brand, Brown Girl Jane.
Jameelah uses a CBD cream from Brwnbox, a New Jersey-based cannabis company. "It is really amazing," she said. "If I have any area in my body that has pain, I like to rub it on my shoulders... it gives a nice cooling sensation." You can order the exact cream by direct messaging the brand on Instagram or visiting the store.
Base Butter Radiate Face Jelly
This lightweight moisturizer rejuvenates and protects skin. It uses aloe vera to balance pH and evening primrose to boost elasticity. "It makes my skin feel super refreshed," Jameelah said.
"Self-care is defined by where I am mentally," said Nià Pettitt, better known as Nià The Light, founder of The Curl Bar in London and author of the upcoming book, "The Book of Light: Illuminate Your Life with Self-Love." "Usually the first step for me is listening to my body and asking myself what is wrong and seeing if it can be solved. But as of recently, self-care has been being still and being OK with not being busy all the time."
Mio Clay Away Body Cleanser
"This product is great for all my girls with body acne," Pettitt said. "It really cleanses everything and makes you feel like you've just been out of a spa."
Pureology Hydrate Superfood Treatment Mask
This weekly hair treatment mask is perfect for moments when your hair needs a little extra TLC. "This is great for deep conditioning my hair and making it feel alive again," Pettitt said.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540 Perfume
"This scent has really been relaxing me a lot and just making me feel good while chilling at home," Pettitt said. Even if you're not going anywhere, surrounding yourself in this eau de parfum with notes of jasmine, saffron and cedarwood, can feel like a relaxing and luxurious treat.
For more stories like this, check out:
- 15 must-haves for soothing dry winter skin
- 15 Black-owned hair, makeup and skin care products we're excited to try
- 15 Black-owned jewelry brands we want to add to our collection
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