Emani: Anything Olaplex. I’ve been dying my hair blonde since senior year in high school, so it’s been ages. At that time, they didn't have things like Olaplex. My hair has highlights in it. My roots are darker, and my hair’s cut into a bob when I don’t have braids in, like right now. Olaplex was the game-changer.
Olaplex No.3, the one I started with before I switched to the entire line, made such a difference filling in the bonds in the strands of my hair and making it stronger and healthier overall. When I put my hair into my braids, I know that when I take my hair out, it’s still going to be healthy, and I won’t experience a lot of shedding.
When I’m braiding other people’s hair, I’ll put in Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil, if their hair is colored. It gives an extra level of protection, which I think is pretty cool. When my own hair is up, everyone says, “Wow, your hair is super healthy.” And I'm like, “Thanks, Olaplex.”
Tangina: I usually have two to three different things for my lips, and Emani probably has five that she took out of my bag that I can't find because they’re in her bag. I remember one day I was like, “I don't have any lip balm in my bag. That’s weird.” Emani’s like, “Oh, I have some.” And I look in her bag, and all of mine that I lost are in hers.
Emani: Hand sanitizer. I prefer sprays just because they’re easy. You can just do a quick spray and keep moving.
What’s one thing you find most beautiful about your partner?
Tangina: The most beautiful thing about my partner to me right now, today—because there are different things all the time, right? I love the way that my partner makes people feel. She makes people feel like the best versions of themselves. If she knows you, she can identify something awesome about you and give you an idea on how to level up in life with that. She can see a talent. Emani has a gift of identifying others’ gifts and pointing them out in a way that makes people believe in themselves. She’s done that with me, but I love watching it happen for other people.
Emani: Well, I would say—aside from my partner’s beautiful freckles that love to make an appearance during the summertime—I really love the confidence that she walks around with. I love that every day is a choice to be happy and to do what fulfills her and to take the road less traveled in order to get to a more fulfilling place.
Tangina: I just love face oils. I like what they do for my skin. I’m a performer, and I wear heavy makeup when I perform. The health of my skin is the most important thing to me—before everything else. Ingredients are important, like clean, natural and vegan, when you can make those choices.
“I’ve been dying my hair blonde since senior year in high school. Olaplex was the game-changer." –Emani
Where do you find your confidence?
Tangina: That’s a new thing. I think that I’ve walked around with what people believe is confidence, and really, I’m just a Leo Rising. But now I really am. I’ve stepped into myself, and I really am confident about most things that I’m doing in life. And a big part of how I’ve stepped into that confidence has been self-care and giving that to myself. I think my commitment to taking care of myself has really changed how I feel about myself. In general, knowing that I’m worthy of care, so much so that I’m going to prioritize it in my own life. And when you take care of yourself, and you do things that make you feel good and look good, you start walking like you feel good, talking like you feel good, and just being more confident, in general. When I feel depleted, my energy feels depleted, and I’m not so confident, I’ll do some self-care things. And I’ll bounce right back.
Emani: I find my confidence in remembering that I am the prize, in knowing my value. Once you identify what your strengths are and know that every time you walk into a space, every time you walk into a room, that you’re there for a reason. Wherever you are, you’re adding value to the space and to the people that you’re interacting with. Oftentimes, you step into a space, and you feel small. But when you remember that you’re not small—you’re big and you’re meant to be there—it makes all the difference.
“I usually have two to three different things for my lips in my bag, and Emani probably has five that she took out of my bag that I can't find because they’re in hers.” –Tangina
Why do you feel self-care is so important for the Black community?
Tangina: I grew up in a very Southern Black family. And Southern Black families hold a lot of traditions that literally come from having ancestors who were enslaved people. For my family, it was always about excelling and working really hard. My partner’s family is Caribbean American, and it’s similar. For Black folks, it’s important that we unlearn some of these ideas, like that we don't deserve space to rest or to process trauma or to grieve, even. We’ve been living life in a way that isn’t sustainable, and you see that in everything—from the mental health crisis in our community to our physical health and the amount of Black folks dying from different illnesses. We’re literally fighting for our lives all the time, left and right. Even just for me and Mani as two queer, Black women, there are battles we fight every single day. How do we sustain ourselves to keep doing this, if we don’t take the time to show ourselves care?
The idea of a break can sometimes be daunting because breaks aren’t accessible for everybody. When I talk to my friends about self-care, I assume no one has space for a break because for the longest time, I didn’t. So I suggest little things, like taking a shower that’s untimed. Or picking up a new face wash that makes you feel good when you clean your skin. Before, I just kept going because I assumed there wasn’t anything easily accessible that would make me feel better. Until I realized that even the small things, like wearing a face mask on a Friday night after a long week, actually would.