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The “Make-Under” Look Matters for Spring—I’ll Explain With These 7 Outfits



The fashion pendulum is swinging heavily towards a more pared-down approach to dressing this season. Sure, the art of maximalism remains relevant, but there’s an overarching sense of bringing it back to the basics for spring with the evolution of wearable pieces throughout the S/S 21 collections (noting trends like reimagined trench coats and modern denim). And thus, the notion of a “make-under” enters the spotlight.

I interrupt a “make-under” as a concept that applies strictly to fashion with an emphasis on uncomplicated outfits that are easy to put together with simple, no-fuss pieces. Essentially, effortless and straightforward ensembles that can actually work within a range of people’s day-to-day life. Think classic crew-neck sweaters, straight-leg jeans, slouchy blazers, and flat boots.

To showcase this vibe a bit further, I rounded up a bit of visual inspiration below that showcases this more accessible way of dressing. And while you probably own many of the general items that make up each of the fits below, I also shopped out iterations for each just in case you’re looking to add a few more pieces into your offering.

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‘Kink’ Editors R.O. Kwan and Garth Greenwell Want to Talk About Sex



S&M is like “commedia dell’arte: a stock repertoire of stories, bits, lines, and gags,” muses writer Chris Kraus. Kraus’s short story (“Emotional Technologies”) is one of 15 in the recent anthology Kink, published earlier this year, which thoroughly explores the sexual practice. Suffice it to say, it’s pretty much the perfect companion for Hot Girl Summer. Here’s why: The joint editors—R.O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries, and Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You and Cleanness—compiled an array of voices, styles, and experiences to explore this charged psychological-sexual terrain without lionizing or criticizing it. Experiences are heightened and expectations are distorted, touching on risk, gratification, indiscretion, discovery, indulgence, discomfort, boundaries, and taboo. Ultimately—as stated in the acknowledgments—the collection is addressed, “To everyone who’s ever felt out of place because of what your body wanted.” spoke to the co-editors—located in the Midwest and on the West Coast, respectively—via Zoom to discuss battling TERFS, being deprived of “the sex talk,” and refusing to soften the flaws of kink experiences.

How did you become collaborators on this anthology?

R.O. Kwon: I first got to know Garth because I interviewed him upon the publication of What Belongs to You. I’d also heard him read in San Francisco. What he said was so beautiful and so eloquent and I believed in it so much—it felt like literature church. It was just like: “AMEN! To all of this!” [Laughs]

I approached Garth to work on this book with me in part because I really love his writing, in part because I really love the way he thought about the place of sex in literature. I emailed him, and much to my delight, he was up for it.

The idea for the anthology came about in 2017. How did things evolve thereafter?

Kwon: Since the book was conceived, kink is more of a topic of discussion. That said, there is still a lot of ignorance. I was steeling myself for it. But ignorance is never not a surprise to me, no matter how much I’ve prepared. We spent some of our time pushing back against that ignorance.

How are people communicating this ignorance—is it all online trolling? And what does pushing back look like, exactly?

Kwon: There’s an entire strain of people who conflate kink with abuse. I find it to be both ludicrous and exhausting. Kink has nothing more to do with abuse than sex has to do with assault. Abuse happens; assault happens. That doesn’t mean sex is assault; it doesn’t mean kink is abuse. To push back against it… What did we do, Garth? [Laughs] We’ve written some pieces.

Garth Greenwell: I was not shocked that there was ignorance and prejudice around kink, or by the overlap between anti-kink rhetoric and homophobic rhetoric. But in the U.K., there is this astonishingly loud and incoherent anti-trans discourse right now, and anti-kink rhetoric was coming from the same people. Someone would be yelling “kink is abuse!” on Twitter, and you go to their timeline, and all of their other tweets are about quote unquote men wanting to abuse women in bathrooms. Or quote unquote women who have internalized misogyny to such an extent that they want to erase womanhood—these really horrifying anti-trans standard arguments. I found that overlap curious and, in a horrible way, fascinating. To realize these are people who have—as a central occupation of their lives—the desire to tell others what their bodies mean, and what the things that they do with their bodies mean: “Oh, what you are calling intimacy, or play, or theater, is actually abuse.” What is really at stake is the question of autonomy, and who gets to determine what my body and my desires mean. That was a surprise to me—the extent to which the TERF rhetoric overlapped with anti-kink rhetoric. I hadn’t anticipated that.

Several of the stories express the inability of language to articulate specific desire. There’s an almost locked-in sense of something that’s impossible to verbalize. As writers, how do you wrestle with that failure of language—even as it is, of course, your tool?

Greenwell: I think that’s true about desire—but I think that’s true about many things. The whole reason I write is that I feel there are resources that literature offers. The pressure of syntax, and the shapes that sentences can take; those provide tools for thinking that I don’t have in everyday language. I think that’s why we sit and wrestle with a sentence for eight hours—because we’re trying to use some of those extra semantic resources that art allows us to access in language, to pack in more meaning than everyday casual discourse allows us to.

In Alexander Chee’s story (“Best Friendster Date Ever”), the main character says: “It’s good to be wary of people who are afraid of what they desire.” Melissa Febos writes the antithesis of that in her story (“The Cure”), with her character saying: “It is difficult to gauge one’s own desire when one is calibrated to the desires of others.” Although opposite opinions, both sentiments are understandable! There are those who know they want to be experimental, and those who have been so pressured by cultural normativity they’ve silenced their desires. What are your thoughts?

Kwon: There are difficulties that arise the minute anyone starts wanting anything—how complicated things can be when we want something for our bodies! I don’t think it’s controversial to say that the more marginalized you are, the harder it will be to claim those desires. For some people, it’s a lifelong project. People must think that, because Garth and I put out this book, we are free. I don’t feel free. I feel so wrapped up in confusion and shame with things having to do with my body. But I’m working through it, and it is a project of mine to work through it, and it is possible.

I didn’t grow up in a house where anyone ever talked about sex. This “sex talk” that people get? This does not apply to Korean women. [Laughs] We did not get talks. My sex talk was… I was not allowed to go to sleepovers. Good Korean girls didn’t sleep at other people’s houses. I missed out on all that bonding—I’m still hung up on this. Do you know how hard it is to be an American girl and not go to sleepovers?! It was fucked up! That was my sex education. I didn’t kiss anyone until college. No—I kissed one person when I was 11; his name was Elliott. It was at a two-week geek camp that you test into and are around people who love books as much as you do—for once in your life—and it’s glorious; then you go back home.

I just want to say for anyone who feels unfree: It’s not a binary. It’s not like you’re free or you’re unfree. It’s not like you get what you want or you don’t get what you want. And if you do feel unfree… maybe you can get a little freer. But also, if you can’t… it’s a hard thing. I don’t want people to beat themselves up about what they can and can’t claim about what they can and cannot do for themselves. Life is hard.

Greenwell: To me, the fact that both of those quotes feel true to us points to just how complicated these questions are. Which is why we need art to think about them.

What Reese said sounds familiar to me—I also never got a sex talk! My mother, a Southern woman, was not going to tell me anything about sex. I also went to a camp for kids who scored well on standardized tests—it was at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky. I was in 7th grade. And in the Student Center, there was a cruising bathroom. I didn’t know what that was, but it was covered in graffiti, like pre-Internet personals and sex ads. My mind was blown. It was a revelation to me that this world existed. From that point on, I was constantly looking for it. Cruising gave me a sexual education, but it was also an education in sociality itself. It was in cruising parks in Kentucky that I met people who my entire life was organized around to keep me from meeting. And then, all through my life, cruising—and certain kinds of sexual communities—have been central to how I’ve experienced the world. I feel really grateful for that.

Are there certain aspects of the story collection that you wish were more frequently discussed?

Greenwell: We’re so proud of the diversity of the anthology—diversity conceived along the lines of identity, along the lines of sexual practices—but we’re also really proud of the aesthetic diversity of the anthology. We have straight realism, deep psychological writing, an auto-fictional essayistic story, grand macabre historical fiction… I think that people have not talked enough about the art in the book. And I understand—the subject matter is obviously attention-getting, and it is an anthology organized around subject matter. But we weren’t just thinking about subject matter; we were thinking about form and style, and how these stories were working as art.

Kwon: Some people have been yelling: This isn’t erotica! Why are so many of these people sad?! I feel a little bad for people who picked this up expecting a certain kind of experience.

Greenwell: Some people have been upset that several of these stories are quite dark and interested in exploring aspects of kink that are not what you put on the poster to mainstream it or say, “Look how bright and happy everyone who engages in kink is!” We don’t do that. Some stories have sweetness and humor. But there are stories like mine, where an encounter goes really wrong. There’s been a lot of upset that that is not how we should be portraying kink. Anyone who has written from a minority experience has heard this, including me: “Why can’t you write gay characters who are happy and well-adjusted?” Well, I’m interested in fiction where people make bad choices! [Laughs] That is narratively more interesting. It’s not a self-help book. It’s not a how-to book.

I mean, a “bright and happy” version of anything is basically just propaganda. Who wants that?

Kwon: It’s a form of violence, honestly, to demand that people represent a part of their experience that has been marginalized in a shiny, happy way, so that people don’t look bad. It’s so foreign to my notion of what books are. I think it’s actually really disrespectful. If I only ever wrote about Koreans in a positive way, I would be an advertiser; I wouldn’t be a writer. The writers I love are interested in digging really deep—in seeing people. I wouldn’t want to read otherwise.

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7 Airbrush Makeup Kits To Invest In For Flawless Coverage



Anna Webber

When you think of airbrush makeup you probably think back to the early 90s and early 2000s when this novel way to put on makeup was at its peak in popularity. Though today the method is mainly used by makeup artists for special events like weddings and costuming, it’s becoming a go-to DIY method for makeup enthusiasts of all levels—and it’s easier to use than you think (when you use the right tools of course).

If you’re not familiar with airbrush makeup it’s basically pouring makeup (in liquid form) into a handheld tool that uses air pressure to push the makeup out so it comes out as a fine mist. “It’s much faster to apply than traditional makeup and much less product on the face too. It feels like nothing on the skin. And most of all, it’s an HD application so you look photoshopped straight from the lens,” says Los Angeles-based makeup artist Melanie Cristescu.

The flawless airbrush effect this method provides is reason enough to give it a try, but it’s not to be overshadowed by the more practical and timely—not to mention hygienic—benefits. “Makeup being pushed out in tiny particles onto your face by air makes blending (which is usually the most challenging part of traditional makeup) almost automatic,” says Tik Tok Beauty creator and airbrush makeup pro Jalyka Smith. “Not having to switch between different brushes for different parts of your face helps you achieve a full face more swiftly.”

Smith has also found that airbrush makeup is a great way to avoid breaking out when applying makeup. “The lack of brushes is a huge help when it comes to acne. Airbrush doesn’t transfer oil, dirt, and bacteria onto your face that traditional makeup brushes do. I have sensitive skin and airbrush makeup has never made me break out,” explains Smith.

You don’t have to be a pro makeup artist to add airbrush makeup into your beauty routine. This method is ideal for everyone no matter your skin type and skill level.

“Airbrush is ideal for so many people; people who hate the feel of makeup on their face because it takes a lot of the fillers out of liquid foundation and applies the pigment, it feels really natural. It’s also great for people with texture and fine lines because it sits on the surface, not sinking into the skin,” says Cristescu. Especially in the heat of summer or when you have to wear a face mask all day airbrush makeup provides full, natural feeling coverage that stays on, requiring little to no touch-ups.

When searching for the right airbrush kit for you it’s important to look for kits and tools that are easy to clean to avoid product buildup that could lead to acne. Perfecting a full face of makeup with an airbrush applicator can take a bit of time so opt for kits with an ergonomic design that is lightweight and easy to hold.

If you’re convinced and ready to level up your makeup routine here are seven expert-loved airbrush makeup kits for easy application and a flawless finish every time.

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Perfection Mist Airbrush Foundation

Sephora Collection


If you’re still skeptical about airbrush makeup, this spray-on foundation is a great way to get a feel for the process. The weightless formula comes out in a light airy mist that creates a matte-satin finish for every type of coverage.

Dinair Airbrush Makeup Starter Kit

Dinair Airbrush Makeup


Dinair is a great choice for airbrush pros and beginners alike. “I’ve been using Dinair Airbrush Makeup ever since I first started using an airbrush in 2015 (I was 14). I’ve been loyal to the brand since,” says Smith. The kit comes with everything you’ll need from 15 shades of foundations to 3 highlighter shades and 25 plus other shades for contour, blush, and everything in-between. 

Air Deluxe Airbrush Kit



Temptu is one of the more popular names among airbrush makeup tools. Loved by professional makeup artists this kit comes with a lightweight application tool with a precision tip for meticulous blending. The rechargeable battery makes it easy to travel with and you can practice all you want without worrying about a new battery.

Airbrush Makeup System

Art of Air


This six-piece airbrush set has all the essentials you need to get started if you’re new to the method but enough color options to play around with if you’re more experienced.

4-Piece Complexion Starter Kit

Mineral Air


With a rechargeable applicator, a cleaning solution, and a choice of over 10 foundation shades, you’ll be well on your way to a flawless face of makeup with the Mineral Air starter kit. Ideal for beginners, this simple kit is customizable for your comfort level. Keep it simple with just the foundation or add in your favorite liquid makeup products for a more layered face.

Airbrush System

Luminess Air


Another popular airbrush kit, Luminess promises to use 10x less the amount of foundation as other kits but with the same flawless coverage. The kit includes an applicator and 6 shades of foundation, perfect for those days where you want light coverage for that “your skin but better” look.

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The Best Products To Slay Your Edges This Summer



Delmaine Donson

Laying your edges—also known as baby hairs—can instantly add that wow factor to any hairstyle. Half of the mission of styling your edges to perfection lies in the products you use. The right edge control will allow you to style your edges to your liking, without leaving behind any flaking or buildup. But most importantly, a good product will stand the test of time and keep your edges laid all day and night. With so many edge controls out there it’s hard to determine which is best for you. Whether you’re rocking a protective style and want elaborate baby hairs or styling your natural hair and want sleek edges to compliment your curls, here are the 10 best edge control products to keep your edges laid with no fuss or flaking.

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The Every Day Go-To

Creme of Nature Argan Oil Perfect Edges Extra Hold

Creme of Nature


The Creme of Nature edge control is practically a natural hair beauty staple. It gets the job done by slicking down your edges to a smooth finish that lasts for hours.


The Beauty Store Staple

Ebin New York 24 Hour Edge Tamer



I’ve yet to come across a Black woman who hasn’t used this edge control religiously at one point in their life. It lives up to its name and keeps your edges “tamed” for 24 hours or honestly however long you need your edges to behave.


Best For Protective Styles




The cherry on top of any protective style is laid edges—the more elaborate the better. Loved by many Youtube hairstylists and protective style aficionados, this edge control is best used for creating sharp clean parts but also works amazingly to style edges once your hair is all done.


The All-Nighter

Murray’s Premium Edgewax Gel



For those nights you know you’ll be out until dawn, this edge control has you covered. With a thick wax-like texture, Murray’s slicks down your edges without build-up or flaking. Even through the elements of a great night out (sweat and the occasional spray of champagne) your edges will hold up in whatever unique pattern of waves or swirls you styled them in.


The All-Nighter

Design Essentials Sleek MAX Edge Control

Design Essentials


Not only is its flexible gel texture great for more unique and intricate baby hair patterns, but the addition of castor oil helps breakage and damage around your edges.


The Light Option

Miss Jessie’s Hold Me Down Super Edge Control Hair Gel

On the days you don’t want your baby hairs doing the most, Miss Jessie’s gel is perfect for that. The gel is lightweight enough to clean up your edges for a natural look with enough hold to keep them in place.


The Light Option

Curls Twist N Shout Cream

We’re tempted to say the best part of this edge control is the smell fragrant blueberry scent but it’s actually its lightweight formula that leaves your edges sleek, not stiff. 


For Fragile Edges

Kinky Curly, Gloss Pomade

Kinky Curly


Edges can suffer from breakage due to over-styling and using the wrong products. If your edges need a little more TLC, the Kinky-Curly Gloss Pomade has a combination of oils including jojoba oil, avocado oil, and almond oils to nourish your baby hairs while the thick pomade texture tames flyaways with a glossy finish


For Fragile Edges

The Mane Choice Growth Stimulating Edge Control

The Mane Choice


Another great two-for-one styling product is the Mane Choice edge control, which uses castor oil and other nourishing oils to stimulate growth while moisturizing your edges.


Best For Wigs

Got2b Ultra Glued Invincible Styling Hair Gel

Got2B gel is popular among wig wearers for its stronghold and easy application. A little bit of this gel goes a long way and works well for slicking down the edges on a frontal or closure for that natural “scalp” finish.

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