Spell Magazine September 2021

Page 1

09 2021




Alana Maria Boldy changing the music scene (and box braids)


Urban Locs - Badu Locs • Colour: T1B/613 © 2021 Feme Ltd.

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10 The future's bright

06 Everything you need for back to school

Contents 04 S coop Breaking beauty news and the latest hair happenings 06 E verything you need for back to school A-star ideas for hair, make-up and well-being 08 D enim days The sturdy blue favourites takes on comfort dressing 10 T he future's bright Meet the new face of RnB, Alana Maria

04 Scoop

14 12 days of freshness Need to reset? Check out our beauty edit 16 T he elixir for hair growth: rose water Steeped in ancient tradition – this is not a gimmick! 18 M eet the skin whisperer Dermatologist Dija Ayodele leads the way for melanin skincare

20 Plastic-free periods? Yes, please

20 P lastic-free periods? Yes, please! The best eco-friendly tampons, pads and period wear out now 22 S pell loves Feed your inner product junkie 24 M y relationship with therapy Erica Matthews shares her journey to mental wellness 26 B ulletin The latest offers from spellbeauty.com 08 Denim days

09 2021




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Alana Maria Boldy changing the music scene (and box braids)


Cover of Alana Maria

22 Spell loves

EDITOR Jemima Cousins SUB EDITOR Julie Vuong WRITERS Jennifer Meredith, Keysha Davis, Erica Matthews, Gemma Rusiecki DESIGNER Marzena Wilk

FIND US ONLINE @spellmagazine E: editorial@spellmagazine.com


© 2021 Feme Ltd. Reproduction of the contents of Spell Magazine in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited. The views and opinions expressed in this magazine are the author’s own, and may not reflect the views and opinions of Feme Ltd.

P O SCO ry goss! all the indust Bulletin with


Nourishing Skin Oil, from £14


The realities of new motherhood and championing professional support


Nyree-Dawn Adams (left) and Anisah Kee-Scott (right)


Why Nyree-Dawn Adams and Anisah Kee-Scott, co-founders of postpartum recovery brand MBH, are on a mission to support new mums in the BME communities. Read the full interview at spellmagazine.com

Nyree-Dawn (ND): "As a social enterprise brand, Mum Bub Hub’s mission has always been to bridge the gap in perinatal care. This is particularly for women in the BME communities who may not have access to perinatal education or support on top of their standard midwife care. The pandemic really highlighted the inadequate provision for new parents; during the first lockdown we saw even more women falling through the cracks when it came to accessing support." Anisah (A): "So, as a brand, we decided to team up with perinatal psychiatrists, prenatal and perinatal educators, holistic wellness coaches and doulas to launch our Support Hub. This provides free perinatal education and personalised 1:1 SPELL



specialist support for those having difficulties accessing services." ND: "One of the things that isn’t talked about enough is the realities of the postpartum period. It isn’t pretty and it isn’t that perfect Instagrammable experience. To be brutally honest, during your first few weeks with a newborn, you’ll probably feel like a sleep-deprived, sore nipple, adult nappywearing, bleeding, sweaty mess of a new mum. This is all while trying to heal and adapt to your new life and be expected to continue as normal." A: "So often as mothers we take on many roles that we believe we must sacrifice every ounce of ourselves to experience true motherhood. But we need to make a conscious effort to

step away from the constant day-to-day demands and invest more time in ourselves, even if it’s just to run a bath and check out for 20 minutes." A: "Including a simple bathing routine in your day is one of the simplest and most enjoyable ways to selfcare. The floral, sweet notes of jasmine and lavender in the MBH Me Time Self Care set help to deeply calm the mind and enhance mood for a relaxing bathing experience." ND: "Taking care of ourselves is just as important as taking care of everything and everybody else. Making time for simple rituals and self-care allows us to get that muchneeded downtime in our hectic routines. It's just not acceptable to drive yourself into the ground.”




According to new figures, bookings for professional hair and beauty services are down. Salons are running at 30 per cent less capacity than they were pre-Covid while a shocking 7,300 have gone bust since last March. Fears are that this could just be the start. The British Beauty Council’s new ‘Oh hello beauty’ campaign is an important reminder (should we need it) that treatments can help us feel our best. So go on, get yourself booked in now!

TAKE A BOW Hair accessories are bigger than ever this season and we saw major fashion houses decorate their couture shows with girly ribbons and bows. Supersized bows were skilfully fashioned from the hair itself for the Giambattista Valli presentation, with hairstylist Odile Gilbert pairing old school Lady Gaga-esque creations with blunt cheekbone-length bobs. Resurrect the iconic look yourself by twisting your ponytail into two distinctive loops. Wallflowers need not apply.

Giambattista Valli


Save vs Splurge JUST TINTED Lip Balm in Delight, £3.95

September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month. And to help raise awareness about this life-long condition, DUMEBI founder Barbara Biosah has launched the Gideon’s Treasure Foundation. As a fellow sufferer, the luxury fashion designer is helping others living with Sickle Cell via a series of free creative workshops. To sign up, visit gideonstreasure.org.uk



PAT MCGRATH Lip Fetish Divinyl Lip Shine in Divine Rose 2, £33

The outspoken all-female trio behind podcast sensation Keep the Receipts is moving into pop culture stardom with the launch of their new book. It's so good it’s already a Sunday Times bestseller. Buy from bookshop.org, £15.79. SPELL




Tick your beauty routine off your to-do list with our complete grooming guide

Whatever you did during the summer months – whether it was dancing the night away at festivals, chilling with friends, or jetting off to a green list country – feeling the post-summer holiday blues is par for the course. Add to that a year of studying from home and being hustled in and out of the classroom between lockdowns. It’s no wonder so many of our lives were thrown off balance! The Mental Health Foundation says that emerging evidence from the

COVID-19 pandemic suggests ‘young people, in particular teenagers, in the UK are feeling more anxious than they did before the outbreak, a trend which is up to 10% higher for black and mixed-race participants.’ While country-wide lockdowns may be over, the pandemic most certainly is not. And as the new school year begins, it’s obvious that a simple beauty and wellness overhaul will unlikely dampen anxiety about the year ahead. However, we’ve also learned SPELL



about the importance of self-care this year – more than ever, and how what we do for ourselves each day can allow us to keep a level head. So, kick off the new term with a selfcare revamp, working in an updated hair, skin and make-up routine to complete the equation. Skip the influencer trends and browse our back to school guide filled with affordable products for all ages and handy apps to help you step into the classroom feeling like the best version of yourself.




APUJAN X XPURE Face Mask £30

IVY WILD Scalp Soother Therapy Oil £10.95

SKIN Tonic Calm Balm £13




NIP + FAB Purify Salicylic Fix Night Pads £14.95

NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Foundation £15

STILA Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner £16





SLEEP CYCLE Available on Google Play and iTunes

GODDESS SELECT from £16.75




Mark Fast @ryandestiny

DENIM DAYS After a year of loungewear, jeans don’t seem so casual anymore. Even Chanel is diving deep into denim for AW21, confirming the return of our blue cottons from wardrobe relegation. When it comes to the fit, say no to skinny. Slouchy’s where it’s at. Hey, we’ve got to get our comfort fix somewhere.


Marques Almeida




GEORGE, at Asda Jacket, £20



MONSOON, Jeans £59

RIVER ISLAND, Boiler Suit, £65




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Hair: X-Pression Ultra Braid in 613, T27, 613 and OM/Honey Cream, from £2.99 Fashion: Karen Millen Suit; top stylist’s own

THE FUTURE’S BRIGHT Meet the 20-year-old RnB futurist Alana Maria who’s confident to be herself – and do her own braids SPELL



Alana Maria is ready to fly the flag for the UK RnB scene. Inspired by soul veterans like Brandy and Aaliyah she’s taken all her favourite bits from the noughties, including the fashion, and made a hybrid vibe that’s entirely her own. “My music stands for being yourself. It’s about being happy, loving yourself, treating yourself right and being around good people. That’s what my music is about, that’s what I want it to stand for.” Signed to Atlantic Records, the west London artist has already worked with the UK’s hottest talent including the masked afrobeats star Midas the Jagaban. With the single dropping earlier this year, it’s clear to see Alana’s still on a high from collaborating with the hitmaker. “Working with Midas was such an amazing experience. I’m so grateful to have worked with her. As soon as I heard her verse on the song, it was straight FIRE.” Since her breakthrough last year, Alana has amassed over 300k views to date with her Instagram and is rapidly establishing her status on TikTok with over 350k likes. Her swaggy braids (which we come to find out she does herself) and street cool style makes her a breath of fresh hair to the music scene. Here, we get to know the 20-year-old on a deeper level and cover everything from social media fame to the virtues of beauty…



I guess it’s the carefree vibe. Everything was pure and filled with positive vibes and that’s what resonates with me most of all. YOU’VE GOT AN OLD AND NEW SCHOOL SOUND. TELL US ABOUT YOUR PROCESS WHEN CREATING MUSIC

Honestly, it’s an extremely vulnerable process. A lot of people wouldn’t understand the energy that goes into making a song. Being an artist means you have to deal with emotions head on as one beat can make you relive a lot of buried feelings you thought you’d dealt with. Writing lyrics is the most vulnerable stage as you’re putting every thought, feeling and emotion on paper and it’s for everyone to judge and hear. It’s like having no privacy or secrets, but once it’s out my system I feel so much better.


The next two tracks are very different to each other but they’re both based on good energy and you can vibe to both of them on REPEAT. I promise! WHO’S YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

That’s a difficult question because I love so many genres. I’m going to say a few of my favourite artists that would be a dream come true: Brandy, Young Thug, SZA, Kehlani, Anderson .Paak, Lucky Daye, Wizkid, J HUS, Dave, Tiana Major9 and so much more... AS AN ARTIST YOU’RE ABLE TO WORK WITH TALENTED HAIRSTYLISTS. WHAT’S BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE LOOK?

So far the majority of the hairstyles I’ve worn for shoots have been styles that I SPELL



wear as an everyday look. I like to show people the real me on camera and off. I want people to know what you see is what you get and I’m always myself to the fullest. If I had to pick one, I’d say probably the All Me pt.2 video shoot with the girlies Rebecca Garton, Ling Hussle and Tia Carys. I braided my own hair and added green highlights. HOLD UP, WAIT A MINUTE! YOU ACTUALLY BRAID YOUR OWN HAIR? WHERE DID YOU LEARN AND HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?

After transitioning to natural I taught myself how to braid my own hair. I used to wear French braids 24/7. Depending on the style and length I want, it varies from around three to nine hours. HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN YOUR NATURAL HAIR WHEN THEY’RE NOT IN A


100 per cent! I always show off my natural hair. There’s even photos on my socials with my natural hair all out. BEFORE MUSIC YOU WERE MODELLING. WHY DID YOU MAKE THE CAREER MOVE AND DO YOU HAVE ANY REGRETS?

Music became such a huge passion that it took over the other hobbies and creative things I enjoyed doing, such as modelling, dancing and athletics. I don’t have any regrets as the career I have now has always been my dream job. But I’d definitely like to get back into modelling. HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU THINK IT IS FOR TODAY’S ARTISTS TO SHOW DIFFERENT FORMS OF BEAUTY?

It’s very important to show different forms of beauty but only if it makes you feel powerful and confident within yourself! My mantra is always do what feels best for YOU.


I make my own deep conditioning treatments using avocado and egg. I also use a lot of oils like argan, coconut and olive oil. I have so many products on my shelf but the brands I like to use the most are Cantu, Shea Moisture, The Mane Collection. I’m a certified product junkie. WILL WE EVER SEE YOU IN A WIG OR SPORTING YOUR NATURAL HAIR ANY


I have to admit I understand why Drake did it. He’s in the public eye and it’s important you feel your best. I went through a lot of drama trying to figure out my hair texture and the porosity. It was hell because I didn’t know how to deal with it. I’ve finally figured it out though – I’m 4a-4b and low porosity. HAVING ACHIEVED SO MANY SUCCESSES IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR AND AT A YOUNG AGE, WHAT KEEPS YOU GROUNDED?

I feel like the main thing keeping me grounded is knowing no matter how

much success I have already achieved, there’s still so much more to come. For me this only feels like the start and because I’ve come this far it keeps me feeling grateful and humble. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT BEING AN INFLUENCE ON YOUNG WOMEN AND GIRLS WHO MIGHT WANT TO FOLLOW IN YOUR FOOTSTEPS ONE DAY?

I’m extremely excited about it. I feel like knowing people see me as an inspiration is what keeps me pushing even harder as I know how hard it is in this society to just BE YOURSELF! THE NEWS HAS DROPPED THAT X FACTOR HAS BEEN AXED. WHAT’S YOUR OPINION ON TV TALENT SHOWS?

I think it’s a great way for people to broadcast their talent, but I don’t really think its authentic. I believe there’s always a subliminal plan behind it. YOU’RE SUPER POPULAR ON TIKTOK – WHAT DO YOU THINK OF TIKTOK STARS AND FINDING FAME ON THE GROWING PLATFORM?

I think TikTok is a great app to show creativity and new ideas alongside humour and entertainment. I’ve learned a lot of educational things and witnessed amazing unique businesses being created through the platform. BESIDES YOUR MUSIC AND MODELLING SKILLS, WHAT’S YOUR SECRET TALENT?

I was an athlete the majority of my life! I used to compete in 100m and 200m hurdles and relay. If I wasn’t an artist now, I’d definitely still be on the track. Follow @alanamariaxo

ALANA’S STAR LINE UP From nineties oversized swag to reinventing classic box braids, here are Alana’s top picks this month.

CROCS Pink Classic Tropical Sandals, £55

X-PRESSION Ultra Braid, from £2.99

NIKE NBA Swingman Jersey, £79.95




CANTU Grapeseed Strengthening Repair Leave-In Cream, £7.99

Fashion: Top @e.m.r.l.d; trousers Ittierre Accessories: Tilly Sveaas




12 DAYS OF freshness

Forget spring clean, here’s everything you need to hit the refresh button 5

2 3






12 11 10

1. SuperfoodLx CBD Butter £22 • 2. Pixi Liquid Fairy Lights £15 • 3. Bybi Babe Balm Bronze £12 • 4. The Body Shop White Musk Free Eau de Parfum £10 • 5. Shiseido Aura Dew Face, Eyes, Lips £28 • 6. Bouclème Toning Drops £25 7. Elsa’s Organic Skinfoods Ocean Deodorant £12 • 8. Brushd. Dental Supplements £8.99 • 9. YSL Rouge Volupté Shine Lipstick in 15 Corail Intuitive £31 • 10. Leonor Greyl Shampooing Crème Moelle De Bambou £27.97 • 11. Becca Under Eye Brigthening Corrector £21 • 12. Glo32 Teeth Whitening Stilo Pen £10 SPELL



Photo by Why J Miller


The Feme Collection Afro Puff - Large -colour: 2. © 2021 Feme Ltd.

Made from the finest 100% human hair fibres for a realistic touch




EXCLUSIVELY DISTRIBUTED BY FEME LTD © 2021 FEME LTD. All rights reserved. feme.com

Photo by Richard Miles

THE ELIXIR FOR HAIR GROWTH: ROSE WATER Gain extra inches with this throwback natural ingredient

Roses are red, water is blue, blend the two together and you get a powerful hair-growing elixir just for you. Now the rudimentary poetry is out our system, let’s talk about rose water. Heralded for hundreds of years for its beautifying benefits – Cleopatra, was rumoured to take goat’s milk and honey baths with roses – the romantic flower contains skin-loving vitamins and anti-inflammatory qualities. When it comes to hair, not only does it have a pleasant scent, rose water has been extensively studied because

of the nutrients it contains, which is why it’s finding new fans today. Made by steeping or steam-distilling rose petals in water in order to separate the plant’s essential oils, its pH is similar to that found in hair strands. This makes it a potent ingredient for restoring the hair’s porosity, improving hydration and enhancing hair growth. “Applying rose water topically can have many benefits,” says trichologist Ebuni Ajiduah. “I recommend it to clients with persisting scalp issues. Continued use has led to to a SPELL



clearing up of dandruff and a visible improvement in hair growth.” Today’s pared back lifestyles, induced by lockdown, mean many of us are shunning extensive grooming treatments. More of us are taking beauty cues from the past and implementing old-school, natural ingredients into our current routines. So, if you’re concerned your hair growth has stalled for years, or you’re just curious about how rose water can solve issues like a dry, itchy scalp, then read on…

FOLLICLE BOOSTING VITAMINS TO GAIN GROWTH Rose water is loaded with strengthening vitamins such as A, D and B3 as well as antioxidants and flavonoids that prevent the scalp and follicle cells from ageing, instead stimulating them to thrive. Jackie Gilbert Bauer, Head of Product Development at hairstory. com explains: “Rose water contains some powerful antioxidants and it is especially beneficial to the scalp. These antioxidants protect the cells in the skin against all types of damage. Similar to aloe vera (another top ingredient used in our formulas), rose water also has anti-inflammatory properties and can help soothe the scalp of all types of skin irritations.” ANTI-ITCHING QUALITIES During protective styling season when we tend to wear braids, canerows and crochet styles to keep our tresses safely tucked away, our scalp can often fall prey to neglect and suffer from

dandruff and build-up. Rose water has a mild astringent quality and as such offers a refreshing tonic to combat any build-up and grime that may occur on the scalp. You can pour your rose water into a spray bottle, part your hair and spritz directly onto the scalp to calm it. QUENCHES THIRSTY CURLS With the change in season, you’ll undoubtedly find your hair becoming parched and starved of moisture. Rose water is a practical way to add nourishment and hydration to thirsty hair, especially if you’re not a fan of loading up on heavy creams. This can can act as a light top up on hydration. The clue is in the name: rose water. It uses distilled water as a primary ingredient and is therefore a quick and easy way to infuse your hair with the nourishment it craves during the colder months. Drink up. CONDITIONS DRY HAIR As mentioned, rose water is made from dousing rose petals in water to create

a rose-oil infused tonic. The floral concoction conditions and nourishes the hair naturally. For added impact you can apply rose water to your hair prior to washing it, or add to your usual shampoo and conditioner as an intensive treatment if your hair is feeling particularly dry. CONTROLS OILY SCALPS One of the reasons experts love rose water is because it contains an astringent-like quality, so unsurprisingly it’s an effective tonic for mopping up excess oil from the scalp. Trichologist Ebuni Ajiduah, who specialises in treating afro textures, suggests applying your rose water mix to a ball of cotton and dabbing it onto the scalp to zap any unwanted shine or just refreshen it. Due to the natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial components of rose water, it will help to calm and reduce any itching and swelling you may be encountering. This is particularly useful if your hair is in a protective style for the winter period.

Come up smelling like roses with these rose water infused hair goodies

CREATE YOUR HOMEMADE ROSE WATER A girl can never have too many roses, so now is the perfect excuse to buy yourself a bunch all in the name of haircare

FLORA & CURL Organic Rose & Honey Shampoo, £42

1 Pluck a bunch of petals for your rose water batch – around ½ a cup is sufficient. Tip: Damask roses have a high component of essential oils.

2 Prepare a pot with distilled water and submerge the petals in the pot. Make sure the roses are clean by removing any debris or dirt first.

3 Place the pot on your cooker and leave petals to brew for around 1530 minutes. The colour will start to seep away from the rose petals. When they’re colourless, turn the hob off and cool.

4 Once cool, use a strainer to separate the petals from your rose water. Discard of the petals and store your rose water a spray bottle. Store in the fridge and use for up to four weeks.


AESOP Rose Hair & Scalp Moisturising Masque, £25.00

HERITAGE Rosewater Eau de Rose, £9.99

OUAI Rose Hair and Body Oil, £26

HAIRSTORY Dressed Up Heat Protector, £39







Ay ode


The founder of Black Skin Directory talks skincare education and dishes sound skin advice Since its inception, the mainstream beauty industry has promoted Eurocentric beauty ideals, often leaving people of colour (POC) in the wilderness about how we should care for our skin. However, innovators like Dija Ayodele are pioneering change in this field, making skincare advice and information accessible for all with her platform Black Skin Directory. Here, she talks about the importance of skincare initiatives for POC and becoming Cantu’s skin expert. You’re well known in the industry. How did you first become interested in general skin health? Since I was a small child, I used to watch my mum’s grooming routine and I was always fascinated with all the lotions and potions that she would use on her skin and how it would magically increase her confidence. I’ve always associated the act of skincare with happiness and good self-esteem.

Cantu Skin Therapy from £4.99

What does it mean to you to have your own skincare clinic and treat people of colour? It means the world! It’s something I’m very proud of and worked very hard to create a space where women of colour can feel seen and understood both from a clinical and cultural point of view. I’ve listened too far too many Black women agonise over the provisions of the skincare and feel genuinely anxious and confused with an industry that generally didn’t speak to or include us. You’re the founder of the Black Skin Directory (BSD). Tell us a bit about it and why it was important to start this initiative? BSD for short is an online platform that provides skincare education and connects people of colour to skin care experts – from dermatologists to facialists. I set it up so that people can gain access to knowledge and information to help them care for their skin, understand common issues and find a professional to help. Everything that I was hearing from my clients and from our research that was important but missing.

Photo by Dom Aguiar

misunderstandings when it comes caring for the skin on our bodies? That we don’t need to do much! We often treat skin on our body like the poor relative and think that it can withstand harsh treatment. Some people are either not moisturising so skin gets dry and scaly or they are over exfoliating so skin is raw and prone to soreness! What’s the difference between nourishing and hydrating? Hydrating is all about putting water back into the

What are the most common


Melanin cells are a similar shape to the octopus with lots of spindly arms * The best time to moisturise is when the skin is damp * Alpha hydroxy acids such as lactic acid and glycolic acid are great for exfoliation




skin. Nourishing is putting water but also essential nutrients back into the skin – fatty acids, ceramides, cholesterol. Think of it like this: hydrating = drinking water, nourishing = eating a healthy, balanced meal. If you have troubled skin what can you do to improve the quality of your routine? The best thing you can do is sit down with a skincare expert for a full and proper diagnosis and treatment plan. It saves you a lot of heart ache and time. What do you hope the skincare industry will look like in 10 years’ time? More inclusive and diverse at all levels from products but also to ownership and management structures. I hope that we will be celebrating our differences.

Set your own trends What’s new, exclusive and iconic. Discover our curated digital hair and beauty boutique today.

Biocare Labs

The Feme Collection Afro Puff HH The Feme Collection V

Lace Wig Gloss Waves

Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap

Baby Tress Edge Styler


Urban Twist Passion Twist


Plastic-free periods?

yes, please!

From organic cotton tampons to zero-waste menstrual cups, the latest sustainable period products are kind to the body and planet.

What with PMS, cramping and brain fog, your TOTM can be difficult enough without the added guilt about where your tampons end up. But the environmental impact of our monthly cycles is startling and hard to ignore: around 100 billion non-recyclable period products are thrown away in the UK every year. That waste either ends up as landfill or gets flushed down the toilet, polluting our rivers, beaches and oceans. The main issue is single-use plastics. Traditional sanitary towels are around 90 per cent plastic and can take up to 500 years to break down while conventional tampons also contain plastic, not to mention the disposable applicators.


Luckily, things are changing and the future is not just greener but also gentler on our bodies. Look around and you’ll notice there’s more eco-friendly period product choice than ever before. From bamboo pads and organic cotton tampons to – dare we say it – sexy period-proof underwear. And while some alternatives are undeniably more expensive than their throwaway plastic counterparts, in most cases they can actually work out cheaper in the long run. It’s a win-win scenario. Here are some of our favourite ways to get through our monthly cycles with minimal environmental impact...






Pros: The most similar alternative to the products we’ve been using for years. Cons: Expensive compared to regular disposable products.

Pros: So comfortable you’ll feel like you’re in normal pants. Cons: If you’re a tampon wearer then these probably aren’t for you.

Pros: Low cost-per-wear and extremely kind to the planet. Cons: Expensive initially and some women may find them difficult to use.

If you’re looking to reduce plastic waste but don’t want to give up pads or tampons, look for plastic-free 100 per cent biodegradable versions. Made from natural materials, they’re still comfortable to wear but take considerably less time to decompose. Single-use tampon applicators have also been updated with planet-kind recyclable materials, and there are zerowaste reusable versions to try too.

Wearing period underwear feels almost like you’re in normal knickers, but each pair absorbs the same amount of liquid as several regular-sized tampons. Once worn, rinse them out and stick them in your machine on a delicate cycle (without fabric softer) and they’ll last for up to 50 washes. With so much choice on offer, you can match your flow and underwear style.

Mastering a menstrual cup can be tricky at first. The idea is that they’re folded then inserted into the vagina, where they pop open ready to collect your flow. They can appear to be quite pricey initially, but choose wisely and we’ve been assured they can last over 10 years. Menstrual cups are probably the most environmentally friendly alternative to regular pads and tampons as they offer a zero-waste solution.

UK brand Flo offers eco-friendly tampons, pads and panty liners in plant-based biodegradable wrappers. The Ultra Thin Pads (15pk, £2.85) are made from 100 per cent bamboo and are absorbent without feeling bulky. Alternatively, the Organic Tampons (16pk, £3.10) come with or without an eco-friendly applicator, which is recyclable and derived from sugarcane. Ohne Period Pads (12pk, £5.90) are made from 100 per cent organic cotton. It runs a subscription-based model so you never run low, and features additional products such as moodboosting CBD oils and chocolate bars to build your perfect monthly self-care kit. DAME launched the world’s first Reusable Tampon Applicator Set (£23.80) in 2019 to help eliminate period plastic waste. It’s easy to use and conveniently self-sanitising: simply insert your tampon, rinse and go. It works with most brands and tampon sizes and lasts for up to 12,000 uses.

For purse-friendly options take a look at Primark’s Period Underwear (from £6) and Love Luna Period Bikini Briefs (£10). Both absorb moisture and prevent leaks while looking like normal lingerie – Primark pants are available in Mini, Hipster and Midi – albeit with a reinforced gusset. The Modibodi range (from £14) includes six absorbencies – from moisture-wicking to 24-hour wear. And if you don’t want to sacrifice style over practicality, new colours and prints regularly drop onto its site. So shopping for period pants is now something you can actually look forward to. Designed for sports and active lifestyles, Iceni Silver’s period-proof knickers and shorts (from £22) promise to hold up to eight tampons’ worth of fluid. Created by two mums for their sporty daughters, it’s the only period wear on the market to use state-of-the-art SILVADUR technology, which prevents odours and even absorbs clots to keep you feeling ultra dry and comfortable.

Saalt offers a couple of options for women wanting to switch to a cup. Its original Saalt Cup (£25) comes in two sizes and is made from a slightly firmer 100 per cent medical-grade silicone that opens more easily once inserted. Meanwhile its Soft Cup (£25) has been designed for women with bladder sensitivity or discomfort with firmer cups (take its online quiz to find out which is right for you). Sea + Flo’s Menstrual Cup (£25) is uniquely designed in black to minimise staining, and comes in three sizes. It features a circular stem that doesn’t need trimming (most cup stems can be cut to suit cervix height) while it can be worn for up to 12 hours both during the night and day. Eco-friendly accessories brand BeYou offers a cheaper alternative in two sizes and colours (£14.99 each) which is the ideal shape for first-time users. It can be worn for up to 12 hours and comes with its own organic cotton pouch.


Primark Dame




Saalt Ohne Sea + Flo SPELL



Soul Cap

spell loves FEED YOUR INNER PRODUCT JUNKIE From washday-friendly towels to dramatic new make-up, here are the launches we’re lusting after this month


Terry cotton towels can strip moisture from your hair, so protect your curls on wash day with a microfibre version. Bouclème Gentle Curl Towel is ultrasoft and designed to adsorb moisture fast while its smooth layers care for your delicate strands. Alternatively, Soul Cap’s Hair Towel is ideal for thick, long and curly hair – promising to dry it twice as fast - while Ori’s Organic Bamboo Hair Towel doesn’t require as much washing, providing a great ecofriendly option.

Soul Cap Hair Towel, £24.99

Ori Organic Bamboo Hair Towel, £16

Bouclème Curl Towel, £25


Pics & captions we’ve liked on the ‘gram this month

@goodgirlwithbadthoughts Caption: Where is the lie?

@missguided Caption: It’s official Missguided is now stocked in Asda and at george.com


@sweetpotatosoul Caption: What do these things have in common? They’re all edible! So many foods we consider scraps are totally edible.


@yogahoodldn Caption: I believe more than ever, that where I am right now is exactly where I’m supposed to be.

PAT MCGRATH Labs Divine Blush, £35



LAURA MERCIER Rose Gold Highlighting Powder, £26

Whether you highlight your cheekbones or dust your eyelids with multi-faceted shimmer, AW21 makeup is all about the drama. Pat McGrath Labs’ Divine Blush boasts ultra-fine powder pigments that can be built up from barely-there to bold. Meanwhile, Laura Mercier’s Rose Gold Collection serves up highlighter in a pearly pink blend. For dramatic eyes, Nars Climax Eyeshadow Palette contains silky matte, metallic and multidimensional finishes. Lastly, Uoma Beauty’s Double Take Contour Stick can go from subtle glow to radiant shimmer. Just don’t wear them all at once.

UOMA BEAUTY Double Take Contour Stick, £34 MAC Senior Pro Artist Charlene Williams

NARS Climax Eyeshadow Palette, £45


If you want to wear a hat but don’t want to mess up your hair, we’ve found the perfect solution. Only Curls Satin Lined Baseball Cap has been specifically designed for curly hair, promising to protect curls, reduce tangles and banish frizz. There’s also a large curl-friendly opening at the back with an adjustable clasp, so you can wear your ponytail with pride. Available in seven colours, £16.

MAC Studio Radiance Face & Body Sheer Foundation, £27





Finding your perfect foundation can be a tricky business. Luckily, MAC’s senior pro artist Charlene Williams has pretty much tried them all – and she’s revealed there’s one she can’t live without: “It would have to be Studio Radiance Face and Body Sheer Foundation by MAC,” she says. “It gives me the natural radiant look that I love. I’ve tried and liked so many foundations, but I always end up going back to my first love.” *Adds to basket now.


Erica Matthews

Photo by Ismail Hadine

Over the years Spell’s feature writer Erica Matthews has learnt not one therapist fits all

Experiencing the highs and lows of mental health? Just know that you aren’t alone. In fact, the Institute of Race Relations noted that black women are more likely to experience mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. If we have a moment of honesty, the current pandemic forced us to come to a halt and address what it is we have been working, praying, eating and dancing away for all these years. In my case, this meant going to therapy again.

WHAT THE EXPERT SAYS Keeping an open mind is one of the key things you need to remember when getting therapy. In doing so, we are allowing the process to come more naturally, allowing our therapist to help us reach the answers we’ve known all along. This takes practice and the right therapist will be able to guide you through that. Anthony Davis Therapy

DO COUNSELLORS UNDERSTAND BLACK WOMEN? My first ever experience of counselling was when I was 14. I was secretly struggling with low moods and a crippling lack of self-esteem. Being the youngest of four, I was convinced that no one understood me and that I was constantly left behind. School often had me questioning my blackness and how I was able to show up as myself in the world. I wasn’t very clued up on terms such as unconscious bias, colourism, misogyny(noir), but I knew for a fact that it always found a way to discreetly tell me ‘my lips were too big, my skin SPELL


wasn’t light enough, my hair wasn’t straight enough or long enough’. So there I was, being pushed into therapy at a young age, sitting across from a middle-aged white woman who wanted to ‘talk’ – I truly hated the concept. How could she possibly understand me and my experiences or fix it? About a month into therapy, I decided to stop because of the disconnect I could feel with it all. I felt like I was being listened to in my therapy session, but never truly heard in the real world. This early experience with therapy left its mark on me. I was desperate

to work out how the mind worked so I decided to study psychology. I learnt a lot about myself during my degree. However, it was through life experiences that I later came to the realisation that counselling doesn’t only exist to serve those who are experiencing a mental breakdown. Twenty years ago, therapy was a taboo subject. The idea of someone going to therapy possibly meant they were unstable. Not fit to work. Unable to juggle a relationship or hang out with friends. The way I see it, if I can fill a car with petrol so it runs smoothly and never breaks down, then why is replenishing our priceless mental health any different? HELLO COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY This year I hit another low. I knew the signs. I had the tools, but like a bad dream I couldn’t move my legs to step forward out of my rut. I decided to take what control I had and began Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) treatment. This type of therapy focuses on challenging and changing how your mind may distort situations and behaviours. It’s about improving your mood from day-to-day, while guiding you to develop personalised coping strategies to target your problems. At first, I felt embarrassed sharing my experience with my followers on Instagram, however the response was more than I could have wished for! Despite the nerves of opening up about

issues such as anxiety and low moods in my sessions, I realised that I felt most embarrassed telling my therapist that my relationship with a social media app makes me feel bad about myself. I can hold my hands up and say my self-employed years as a creative have made me increasingly aware of how people respond to my brand; what I put out and what I interpret that

“I FELT LIKE I WAS BEING LISTENED TO IN MY THERAPY SESSION, BUT NEVER TRULY HEARD IN THE REAL WORLD” to mean about me as a person. I’ve noticed more times than I can count my mood completely plummeting after a post hadn’t done well or I came to this bizarre decision that I am not good enough because I am not picked for as many campaigns as my counterparts. The reality is that it’s all in the mind. My fears aren’t real nor are they physical hurdles I have to push away based on my physical strength. We have millions of thoughts each day

and we get to make the decision to pick which ones we will focus on. Processing the same negative thoughts over again won’t reward the mind and release the endorphins you need to feel good. This is the trap some of us fall into while trying to keep up in a digital world, whereby the rewards are from ‘likes’ and not from how we actually think or feel. FOR THE NAYSAYERS Struggling with mental health is no joke. I’m convinced those who are able to show up every day and function are the superheroes without capes. More times than I can count, I’ve waded knee deep in my emotions and this is a reality for many people. But being equipped to notice why I may not be feeling like myself and the ways on how I can deal with it, has become such a powerful tool for balance (and survival) in my life. You may read this with reservations about the power of therapy, or you were drawn to the title because you are feeling hopeless. Often, we are left feeling like another number churning through the medical system of life. But my growing relationship with therapy has shown me that there is always hope to get back to feeling like yourself and that it’s not a one size fits all journey to get there. I want to remind you that self-love should never be an option and although filling your own cup first may sound clichéd, try driving to Scotland on an empty fuel tank and you’ll understand where I’m coming from.


Improve your mental well-being with these useful tools

REDjuvenate Medical Whole Body Red Light Therapy, from £85



Michelle Williams, Checking In, £9.99



I Love Myself 21-Day Planner, £10



SPELL-OMETER What’s hot and what’s not in the world of Spell


Launches, promos and discounts you don’t want to miss




FALLING HARD Fall fashion has arrived, but we’re not quite ready to let go of summer.

BILLIONAIRE BAD GAL Forbes has declared Rihanna a beauty billionaire thanks to the success of Fenty Beauty.



EQUAL PILLS The male contraceptive pill could be a reality soon, after recent funding from the Gates Foundation.

BROW WOW Knowing we’ll never have brows as thick as Zendaya’s is a hard pill to swallow.

SMALL BUT MIGHTY Trade in larger locs for a mini alternative with the new Urban Locs Micro Locs. Available in two lengths – 12” and 18” – as well as seven shades, these authenticlooking twists allow for versatility while giving you much of the desired freedom of a loose natural style, thanks to the crochet application. For ideas on how to wear the it, head to spellmagazine.co.uk




July’s cover star Jourdan Riane is rocking low-maintenance holiday braids in a recent holiday snap. She wears the X-Pression Ruwa, which is made with Aquatex fibre from Kanekalon. This special fibre is treated with a hydrophobic coating that repels sweat and water, making it easier than ever to enjoy the sun, sand and sea without panicking about hair maintenance. Available now for £4.49.

BITTER END What are we going to do with our evenings now that Love Island 2021 has ended?


NAILED IT This season’s minimalist nails are the perfect segway from summer to autumn.



BY DESIGN Design Essentials Wigs & Extensions Collection delivers unrivalled care for all your lace fronts, weaves, clip-ins and more. There’s no harsh chemicals here – the range features nourishing Moroccan argan oil which will keep your hair wardrobe looking beautiful while cleansing and detangling. It also reduces shedding. Available now from £4.95. SPELL







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APUJAN X XPURE apujan.com BEYOU beyouonline.co.uk DAME wearedame.co DUMEBI dumebifashion.com FLO hereweflo.co GEORGE AT ASDA direct.asda.com LOVE LUNA tuclothing.sainsburys.co.uk MODIBODI modibodi.co.uk MONSOON monsoon.co.uk OHNE get.ohne.com RIVER ISLAND riverisland.com SAALT saaltco.uk SEA + FLO seaandflo.co.uk SLEEP CYCLE sleepcycle.com THE TRUTHBRUSH thetruthbrush.com

COVER CREDITS Photography Zek Snaps Retoucher Monica Chamorro Hair Tolu Agoro for Cantu Beauty Assisted by Nicole Gyamfua-Yalley Make-up Natasha Wright Styling Mariamu Fundi Assisted by Ellie Ford and OJ Adensanya


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Outre - Big Beautiful Hair Clip-in - 4A Kinky Curly 10” • colour: Natural Black • © 2021 Feme Ltd.






sta. ay naturali d y r e v e e th cessor y for mium blend c a 4A KINKY CURLY 10 ir a h o g The clip-n- 100% human hair pre