Health Benefits of Aromatherapy

Alexus Baldwin | Staff Writer

aromatherapy pic.jpg
Courtesy of Alexus Baldwin

Aromatherapy is a substitute medicine that involves the use of essential oils that can be inhaled by people who have numerous health conditions. Health benefits include inducing sleep, improving the digestion system, relieving depression and anxiety, and strengthening of the immune system.

Fortunately, nature has provided mankind these oils to cure certain medical conditions.

The most known use of aromatherapy is for the relief of stress. Inside the oils, there are relaxants that help reduce anxiety levels and calm people down. Most use aromatherapy in their homes because of how easy the mixtures are.

Studies have shown that lavender, peppermint, vetiver, lemon oil and bergamot are most effective. These oils can provide a number of benefits; for instance, lemon oil can improve aging.

“Personally, I have never used aromatherapy. But, my mother has, and I have seen a huge improvement with her moods,” Baltimore native Rachel Jones said. “She is no longer as angry as she once was and is a lot calmer.”

Aromatherapy also helps with relieving depression. The most common oils used for this are lavender, jasmine, peppermint and chamomile.

Alzheimer’s disease affects memory, typically in the elderly. Although this disease is still incurable, aromatherapy can reduce the progression of this condition and can be used as an alternative with dementia as well.

Aromatherapy also has been shown to help younger people improve their memory capacity as well. Sage oil is recommended for this purpose.

Unlike aromatherapy oils, coffee, cigarettes and pills tend to have very dangerous side effects and should not be used for energy boosts.

“While a lot of us grab coffee in the morning to help us with energy, aromatherapy can do the same thing and is less damaging. There are plenty of oils to help with energy and even increase circulation,” registered nurse Marcella Douglas said. “If you want to give yourself an energy boost, try cinnamon, clove, tea tree, rosemary, sage or black pepper.”

Kayla Davis, a nursing major from Richmond, concurred.

“College students should highly consider this rather than running to Starbucks every morning before class,” Davis said. “This is a way healthier alternative than caffeine.”

Headaches and migraines are common occurrences. Instead of grabbing Tylenol or Motrin, aromatherapy is a healthier solution. Not only can it get rid of the headache, but it will also help with the medical origin of your headaches to prevent them from coming back in the future.

College students are welcome to take advantage of aromatherapy, especially considering the stress they face on a daily basis.

“After reading more about aromatherapy,” Jones said, “I plan to use this to help with my anxiety especially when there is an upcoming test or quiz.”

Shutting down the myths about black beauty

Sydney Shuler | Staff Writer

From birth, black women are given a list of rules of what they can and cannot do to be considered beautiful. But how much of it is true?

  1. Maintain a quiet crown

Black women are told that they have three hair colors to choose from: light brown (but not too light), dark brown and black. Anything else is unprofessional, uncouth and decidedly not for black girls.

Black women all over, including celebrities such as Rihanna, Lil’ Kim and Cardi B, have repeatedly proven that this is not the case.

  1. No nude for you

You’re getting ready for a night out and you’ve just finished your dramatic smoky eye. You remember hearing a makeup guru on YouTube say, “Always pair a smoky eye with a nude lip.” So you hesitate.

Too often, black women hear that nude shades will make their lips look dry and undefined, when that does not have to be true. The trick for a nude lip is to always pair it with a dark lip liner. Blending the colors of the liner and the nude shade will create a smooth and natural transition between the color of your skin and your lip color. As YouTuber and beauty guru Jackie Aina said, “Whoever says dark skin girls can’t wear nude lips just don’t know how to do it right.”

  1. Black folks don’t need sunscreen

As beautiful as melanin skin is, it cannot fully protect from the harsh rays of the sun. Although it offers some protection, the Mayo Clinic says that people with dark skin are at risk of skin damage from excessive sun exposure, despite getting sunburn less than people with fair skin.

Sunscreen is meant to intercept harmful UV rays from the sun before they reach the skin’s surface. Chineolo Chidozie, co-founder of the black skin care line Bolden, said, “Even though skin cancer doesn’t affect people of color as much as it affects people with white skin, that makes it more dangerous because it’s often not caught until it’s in an advanced stage.”

A common complaint among people with dark skin is the purple-tinted snail trail left by some sunscreen lotions. Some products that avoid this issue include Nivea Super Sun Protect Water Gel SPF 50, Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF and Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen.

  1. You’ll look like a boy

Our hair does not define us. Recently, more women have decided to “big chop” their hair as a part of the regrowth process, or simply because they want to.

“I definitely feel like more people are becoming accepting of short hair on black women,” said freshman major Kayla Hicks, who also rocks a short cut.

The best thing about a short cut: It’s easy to have fun with! Short hair can easily be dyed (any bold or natural color you’d like), chopped even more, brushed into smooth waves or glided into finger waves.

“I have 3A/3B hair,” freshman Rebekkah Maxwell said. “When it’s long, it is wavy because of the weight, but having short hair allows me to have tighter curls, which I enjoy.”

Make sure to keep your short hairdo moisturized and detangled for better growth. Who says black women can’t have short hair? Whether your hair is full of bouncing curls, locks down your back or a bald fade, it’s yours and it’s beautiful.

The struggle is real for black men who deal with mental health issues

Zipporah Baldwin | Staff Writer

Courtesy of Zipporah Baldwin

Mental health issues have attempted to snatch the crowns from the heads of black kings, especially through the struggles that only men of color face. Mental health and the black community are rarely associated with one another, but the time is now to address the elephant in the room.

“Mental health issues amongst black men are widespread and highly overlooked,” freshman Bryce McCain said.

Whether it is a past, present or future battle with overthinking, social anxiety, insecurity, self-rejection or depression, alongside other common concerns, take this as a reminder that you are not alone.

According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, “African Americans are 20 percent more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population.” This is due to discrimination, racial disparities and more.

“A lot of mental health issues that black men deal with come from discrimination,” said Andre Ray, a sophomore cybersecurity major. “The way that society has treated black men has had a traumatic impact on the way that black men think.”

Tradition says that women are the only individuals who harbor passionate emotion or show any sign of sensitivity. Despite what black social norms tell us, a man is not suddenly a woman simply because he makes the decision to address and resolve his own mental and emotional health matters.

Regarding the correlation between black men and mental health awareness, sophomore Steven Williams said, “There is none. The black man is misunderstood, especially in terms of communication. There needs to be more black representation in the mental health care industry.”

Remember these 3 B’s:

  1. Be YOU!

Why would you ever want to be anything other than the beautiful black king that you are? You are enough.

Others do not define joy for a black man – not family, not friends nor foes. So, cultivate the environment in which you desire to thrive.


  1. Be a conqueror.

Recognize the problem by educating yourself on what it means to be mentally, emotionally and spiritually healthy. The resources are readily available to you; it is up to you to increase your awareness on how to identify, prevent and solve the issues.

Address the problem by doing what you can within your power to improve your situation. A powerful method is replacing all negative thoughts concerning yourself with positive self-affirmations. Your words contain power.

Consider embracing a confidant. Whether it’s your mother, sister, a counselor, a mentor or even a trusted professor – consider talking with someone that you trust. Never feel ashamed to seek a specialized health care professional who can provide you with the necessary assistance to move forward.


  1. Be a brother.

Once you have secured your black boy joy, consider sharing it with a fellow king. Sometimes, we are unaware of what goes on behind closed doors. Offer a word of encouragement today. A few kind words have the power to positively impact the course of an entire day.

It is OK to feel, it is OK to seek help and it is OK to not be OK, as long as you work toward bettering your circumstances.

Social media: Rise or fall of the millennial generation?

Chevmonay Gaines | Staff Writer

Social media has a dominant influence on human interaction and society. There’s no doubt that the quick emergence of today’s social media sites is only the beginning of what has become a new, and more convenient, form of communication.

But why, though? What is the addictive ingredient that keeps social media users coming back for more? Let’s take a dip into some pros and cons of social media.


  1. PRO: Social media allows its users to keep up with current events

 I’ll be the first to say I rarely ever watch the news anymore. I get the latest local and worldwide news via outlets on Twitter and Snapchat. I have the ability to become notified on the latest breaking stories sent straight to my iPhone as soon as they happen.

“My favorite thing about social media is being able to stay updated about the world around me,” journalism major Simone Bell-Dennis said. “Although it can be quite cryptic, I would rather know about what is going on in the world than to be completely in the dark.”

At the rate we’re going with social media spreading current events, news channels will likely become outdated.


  1. CON: Social media promotes a sense of not being good enough

 We all know someone with an “online personality.” They flaunt a dream lifestyle instead of addressing self-esteem issues with the goal of gaining “likes” and attention.

Seeing what a mutual friend (or even a stranger) has accomplished and wondering why you haven’t done the same, or better, can ultimately create self-doubt.

“People only post what they want you to see,” psychology major Kayla Snowden said. “You saw that they got the internship, but you don’t know how many times they applied for it and got denied before.”

It is imperative to remember that you must move at your own pace. What is meant for you will always be for you.


  1. PRO: Social media provides a platform for users to display their talents and hobbies

Whether you’re a designer, makeup/hair guru, musician or actor, you can become noticed for simply making posts of doing what you love. If your posts attract enough people, companies may even contact you.

Social media also provides a plethora of business networking opportunities.


  1. Con: Social media has filtered true human connection

I cannot tell you all the amount of times I’ve been to a party and seen people on Twitter and Snapchat almost the entire night through. I also cannot say the amount of times I’ve interacted with someone online and as soon as I pass by them in person…*crickets.* As ironic as it seems, social media has made humans less social.  Legitimate face-to-face communication lacks popularity nowadays.   

Though social media has its downfalls, there are situations in which it has supported human advancement and awareness. While we are always digitally connected with each other, we must remember to not become disconnected with ourselves. Social media will inevitably become more advanced, so be sure to make the best of it.

Seven Valentine’s Day gifts for under $14

Destany Manns | Contributing Writer

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching. Sometimes, it can be difficult to find your significant other a present that is both thoughtful and inexpensive. Here are seven gift ideas for under $14:
Teddy Bears — Most girls have said at least once that they would like a teddy bear for Valentine’s Day. It gives them something to cuddle with and remember you by.

“All I really want for Valentine’s Day is a Teddy bear,” said Asjah Wallace, a biology major from Charlotte, N.C.  “It doesn’t have to one of those big ones that you see on Twitter, but a nice sized one with a heart in the middle would be cute!”

Inexpensive teddy bears can be found at Walmart from $8.39 to $14.99.

A CD with a surprise on it — There’s nothing girls love more than originality. “Knowing that someone put in the time and effort to make me a gift would make me happy,” journalism major Tyla Barnes said.

Instead of going for the obvious, buy a pack of CDs and create a music playlist for different moods, or a collage of the time you’ve spent together.

“It doesn’t have to be the most extravagant gift, but to know that it came from the heart, that’s what matters the most to me,” Barnes said.
Flowers — A classic bouquet of roses will always do the trick. At the local grocery store or flower shop, roses or any other flower can be bought at a reasonable price.

Hayley Lawton, a journalism major from Houston, said, “I’ve never received flowers before, so that would be a really nice and simple gift to receive this year!”

Food — You can’t go wrong with food. A simple Cookout tray or ice cream date will definitely win your Valentine’s heart.

“In all honesty, I just want food or chocolate for Valentine’s Day. If a guy brought me back a cookout tray and had my order right, I would happy!” Connecticut native Raven Reaves-Jackson said.

Picture frame — Pick the cutest picture you can find, print it out at your local CVS, Walmart, or Target and frame it! Your significant other will love this personalized gift.

Gift cards — Sometimes, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Buying your loved one a gift card to their favorite store will save you the hassle of buying the “wrong” gift. If you have trouble figuring out which store, most college students would enjoy a gift card from Starbucks, Chick-fil-A or Target.

Chocolate — When it comes to food, this is a Valentine’s Day favorite. From chocolate-covered strawberries to Godiva, you’ll be able to find this gift at almost any grocery store for a good price.

These gift ideas are bound to put a smile on your significant other’s face this Valentine’s Day. Make sure you grab that gift now before it’s too late!

Nationwide flu outbreak strikes Hampton’s campus

Alexus Baldwin |Contributing Writer

flu pic
Leenika Belfield-Martin

H3NU — a relatively new strain of influenza — is causing a nationwide outbreak that college students are particularly prone to.

“The Health Center has seen an increase in influenza activity this semester, which is consistent with activity nationwide,” said MeGan Hill, a certified health education specialist.

H1N1 and Influenza B viruses are spreading as well. Those with the vaccine will not suffer as much as those without. The CDC said, “All states except for Hawaii and Oregon continue to report widespread flu activity.” It also reports that 42 states and the District of Columbia are experiencing high levels of influenza-like illness activity.

Certain people are more likely to contract the influenza than others.

“Students that have a weakened immune system or chronic illness such as diabetes, anemia, asthma, cancer or kidney disease are at an even higher risk,” said Marcella  Douglas, a registered nurse located in Yorktown. “Pregnant women have also shown an increase in issues dealing with influenza.”

Influenza A H3N2 was first identified in United States pigs in 2010. This virus can be deadly and is causing most of the sickness. According to the CDC, there have been 53 pediatric deaths in this 2017-2018 flu season.

If you display symptoms of influenza such as congestion, muscle aches, coughing, sneezing, sore throat or even new rashes, you are advised to call the Health Center to schedule an appointment or walk in.

The health center recommends that all students should get vaccinated if possible. The most recent campus flu shot clinic was held Feb. 7 in the Student Center atrium. Students also can receive vaccinations at the Hampton Health District or the nearest Walgreens.

“This year, I failed to get vaccinated, and I ended up becoming sick and leaving campus,” said Nyah Davis, a biology major from Richmond. “Now I know that getting vaccinated is critical. I plan on making an appointment and convincing other students to do the same.”

To prevent spreading influenza and to protect yourself, be sure to frequently wash your hands, cover your sneeze/cough with your inner elbow, use medication recommended by your doctor and sanitize your surroundings.

“[Hampton University] should make sure every classroom and auditorium has tissues and hand sanitizer for students, especially in the winter [when] it is common for students to be coughing and sneezing,” business major Brandon Davis said.

To find out more information in regards to influenza, visit For those with questions about the University Influenza policy, contact the Health Center at (757) 727-5315.

Valentine’s Day in VA

Leenika Belfield-Martin | Lifestyle Editor

Leenika Belfield-Martin

Valentine’s Day is the day of love, and Virginia is for lovers. Why not take a break from studying to enjoy all that Virginia has to offer? Here’s what Hampton Roads has to offer for the loveliest day of the year.

“There are many ways to celebrate [Valentine’s] day. Couples go on romantic dates, and friends have parties and watch romance films,” longtime Virginia resident Amanda Jones said.

Hampton’s own Pearis Bellamy, otherwise known as Miss Black Virginia, is hosting one event during Valentine’s week. Bellamy’s event, “Galentine’s Giveback: Girls’ Night Out,” is a girls’ night event in partnership with a local boutique.

This event will have a raffle, sparkling cider and desserts, card-making for survivors of domestic violence, spoken word, vendors and mini makeovers. The Galentine’s event will take place at Kiss My Denim Boutique, a consignment store that is less than five minutes from campus. It will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 13, from 7 to 9 p.m.

Want your Valentine’s Day to be filled with good food and laughter? Then head to Wing and A Prayer for a couples’ comedy night on Feb. 14. Wing and a Prayer is a newly remodeled restaurant and lounge. It is less than 10 minutes from campus and serves southern-style soul food. You and your significant other can watch two Hampton Roads comedians and eat a lovely southern dinner for $25. The lounge will have two showings: one at 7 p.m. and another at 9 p.m.

Spend your Valentine’s weekend with the cutest creatures at The Virginia Zoo’s “Kiss and Tail” program. The zoo is hosting a special adults-only (21 and up) program on Saturday, Feb. 10, from 3:30 to 6 p.m. This day includes complimentary wine, a zoo tour and a presentation.

“Going to the zoo is a cute date idea because it brings out your inner child. It’s also a good way to really get to know your significant other,” said Olivia Hinsley, a sophomore communicative sciences and disorders major.

If you prefer animals of the aquatic variety, The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center is hosting a Valentine’s Dinner on Feb. 10, Feb. 12 and Feb. 14.

The aquarium has several unique venues for dinner, including the Red Sea Tunnel, the Norfolk Canyon exhibit and the Light Tower Aquarium. The Red Sea Tunnel is located in front of a shark display, and the Light Tower Aquarium features sea turtles. This event is on the pricey side; it costs $189 for a six-course meal.

However, Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to break the bank. Groupon is a great resource for finding sales for up to 70 percent off. Some local businesses that have Groupon deals are Sushi King, Soya Sushi Bar and Bistro, Chops and Chanello’s.

Whether you choose a restaurant or a zoo, enjoy your Valentine’s Day in VA.

How to master winter skin and hair care

Nylah Powell | Contributing Writer

Courtesy of Ayanna Maxwell

Although winter has a lot of great aspects, such as hot chocolate and marshmallows, it also comes with negatives, such as frigid temperatures that can damage your hair and skin.

Skin can become dry, flaky and cracked, which can cause pain or irritation to the body.

Factors such as indoor heat exposure and extreme winds make the skin even drier. Below are a few simple steps to combat damage to your hair and skin in the winter.

First, stay hydrated. We tend to turn to drinks such as coffee or tea to stay warm, but remember, hydration stems from within. Start by drinking an extra glass of water than you normally would in other seasons. Also, avoid hot showers in the winter. Taking hot showers causes the water to evaporate quickly, leaving the skin exposed to air if it’s not immediately moisturized. This air exposure may result in eczema, or “winter’s itch.” Hot showers always feel great in the winter, but instead, wash in lukewarm water to maintain natural oils in the skin.

It’s important that you don’t wash your hair every day. The more you wash your hair, the more oil it will overproduce. Some shampoos may also strip the natural oils from your scalp and leave it feeling dry.

“I wash my hair once every two weeks because shampoo tends to dry my hair out,” freshman Kyndall Garlington said.

It takes time for your hair to adjust to new routines, but eventually it will produce less oil, won’t leave the scalp feeling greasy and will leave your hair feeling and looking healthier.

Avoid using blow dryers and flat irons during the winter season. If your hair is heat damaged, try applying a leave-in conditioner to the affected strands of hair. Leave-in conditioner protects against further heat damage and also adds moisture to the hair to combat static.

“The winter months can be very cold and harsh to our hair, and we want to make sure we are giving our hair the proper nutrients,” Hampton student and beauty influencer Nia Imani said.

Moisturizing your skin and hair is just as crucial as keeping them hydrated.

After you wash, immediately moisturize your skin. Applying a moisturizer directly to damp skin helps seal the moisture into your skin.

Not all moisturizers are beneficial; it’s important to choose the right kind for the winter.

Rather than selecting a water-based moisturizer, use an oil-based one. It’s more likely that your skin will hold its moisture with this type of solution. The driest areas of our body, including our hands, elbows, knees and feet, require deep moisturizing. Lather on a thick oil-based lotion at night to seal in moisture while you sleep.

Protecting your skin and hair is the last, most crucial part of taking care of your hair and skin in the winter.

“I wash my face with hot water and rub tea tree oil on my face to keep my pores clean and skin soft,” Garlington said.

While most people think sunscreen is only for summer, this is false. Sunscreen is just as important in the winter as it is in the summer. Winter sun can be just as harmful as summer sun, so make sure to apply sunscreen when you go outside. Additionally, keep gloves and scarves handy to protect your skin from harsh winds, rain and snow.

Invest in a silk or satin pillowcase to sleep on in order to protect your hair. While cotton pillows absorb moisture, silk and satin retain moisture. This allows your hair to stay strong and healthy versus weak and dry. An alternative to the satin pillowcase is the silk cap or bonnet, which will benefit your hair in the same ways as the pillowcase.

There are several ways to keep your hair and skin glowing throughout the winter. As long as you master the steps to hydrate, moisturize and protect your body, you will make it through the winter comfortably.

Starting a new semester off right

Leenika Belfield-Martin | Lifestyle Editor

Jessica Cook

It’s the start of both a new year and new semester, and starting the semester off right requires preparation.

For some, such as sophomore Jessica Cook, starting the semester off can be difficult because of the changes. Cook says that the hardest part about the start of a new semester is “getting back into a routine” after a break filled with no structure.

Others, such as five-year MBA major Amanda Jones, find re-adjusting to the campus atmosphere as difficult. Jones says the most difficult part about starting the semester to her is “adapting to newer classes and newer teachers.”

Although some students believe syllabus week is unnecessary, you can miss important information without it. While reviewing the syllabus in class, don’t hesitate to take out a highlighter and highlight the parts that matter the most, especially the sections concerning absences and tardiness. You can also discuss any concerns with your professor.

You shouldn’t only look at your syllabus in the first week of class. In a planner or on your phone, record all of the important topics and assignments for the semester.

Courtesy of Leenika Belfield-Martin

Also, get a tutor in the beginning of the semester if you think you’ll need one. This way, you can have help with your courses before you make a mistake in them. If you wait until after you fail a test, it might be too late to save your grade in a class.

A new semester can mean the loss of friendships created in the previous semester. This happens because of schedule changes, as well as other obligations. To avoid this, coordinate your schedule with your friends before you get too busy during the school year.

It’s normal to lose touch with people throughout your years in college; however, be careful of the bridges you burn.

“Sometimes it’s hard to keep in contact with people who aren’t in your major, but even though I may not have their numbers, I always acknowledge them when I see them on campus,” Jones said.

Cook said that to financially prepare for the semester, she had to budget. She had to tell herself, “Don’t spend [your] money.” To help with stacking money, Cook says it’s best to “work during vacation. It’s hard to pay for books with money you don’t have.”

If you have a meal plan, use it! Those $7 Chick-fil-a meals and $6 Subway sandwiches can quickly cause a dent in your pockets. If you’re not going to the cafeteria, you’re wasting your meal plan — or, in other words, wasting money you’ve already spent.

Textbooks and other course materials also can set students back financially early in the semester. Before you go onto for your books, look on This website combs through more sites that sell and rent textbooks.

If your schedule permits, you may also want to consider getting a job to help you finance extra expenses throughout the semester. When applying for jobs in the area, make sure to remember that your academics come first. Consider applying to jobs on campus or even remote jobs, such as freelance writing.

Starting the semester off on the right foot also means starting it off with the right mindset. Let go of any negativity from previous semesters. The only way to prosper in college is to prepare and be positive.

Debunking common myths associated with mental disorders

Alexus Baldwin | Contributing Writer

It is common for people to be more sympathetic for someone who is being afflicted by something that can be physically seen, such as a person who has lost their skin pigment in patches due to vitiligo.

However, when someone is suffering from a mental disorder and other psychiatric issues, it can be far less noticeable, unless time is spent with them daily. In today’s society, people tend to keep their pain very secretive in fear of judgment and shame.

Dr. Stanley Jones, former professor from Youngstown, Ohio, said that because teens perceive oral therapy as unnecessary, psychiatrists have to use a different method of therapy.

“Psychiatrists today try to approach their patients by the use of cognitive-behavioral therapy instead of being old fashioned and just talking,” Jones said.

According to Jones, this method “works on changing irrational thoughts and behaviors that are causing the patient serious problems.”

Jones also said it’s best to start treatments early.

“The longer you wait to be treated, and if you miss that window of opportunity to do so, [the harder] it will become,” he said.

Another myth, according to research, is that people can outgrow mental health disorders. In actuality, people are more likely to develop a disorder rather than grow out of one. If a person has a mental disorder as a child and is never treated for it early, it can make adulthood more difficult.

For example, if a child is depressed, this could cause them to fall behind in school. This mental disorder could hinder the child’s learning abilities and shorten his or her attention span.

Without proper knowledge of mental disorders, people are more likely to make assumptions and develop misconceptions. It is easier to understand people who live with mental health disorders once you become educated about them.

“A lot of people tend to think suffering from bipolar disorder can only have effects on a person’s mood, when that is not true,” said Marcellus Williams, a graduate student from Hampton. “When you suffer from this mental disorder, not only is it affecting your energy levels, [but also your] self-esteem, concentration and even your memory as well. I believe that everyone should educate themselves on this disorder instead of believing what they only hear.”

People who suffer from mental health disorders are still capable of having successful lives. They can still build families, buy houses and obtain great jobs. All of these goals can be met with healthy coping skills, a stable support system and treatment.