Toni Braxton on How CBD Changed Her Life, and What Made the '90s So "Sexy"

Plus, why she swears by her vibrator — for her face.

Toni Braxton
Photo: Courtesy

Songs like "Unbreak My Heart," "You Mean the World to Me," and "Love Shoulda Brought You Home" are likely what first comes to mind when one thinks of the legendary Toni Braxton. But her career took a turn in 2008 when she was diagnosed with lupus, an autoimmune disease that causes joint pain and inflammation throughout the body.

As a performer, navigating her new diagnosis was tricky. She relied on her physical body to be able to put on the shows she was known for, but at the same time, she had to figure out how to make it work while managing the ailment.

Braxton figured out a treatment plan with her doctors, but was still curious about plant-based solutions — specifically cannabis.

"I've always heard that it had healing properties. But I just heard it, I never experienced it," she tells me over Zoom. "I was always nervous about it, because I had tried 'herbal refreshments' I'll call it a few years ago, and I didn't like how it made me feel."

While THC-rich products weren't the singer's jam at the time, it turns out CBD was. The cannabinoid offered all the pain relief benefits of the plant, without the buzz, according to Braxton.

Ironically enough, the singer got hip to the ingredient by mistake.

"[One day] my knees were bothering me, my legs were bothering me, and I couldn't find my [regular] stuff that I use," the mother of two says. "I looked under the sink and I was like, 'What's this Uncle Buds, did I get this from an awards show?' So I put it on my leg and I kind of forgot about it, and an hour later I was like, 'Oh my leg feels better! What was this stuff?'"

Now she swears by CBD, specifically the products from the Uncle Buds line. She even became a brand partner in 2018, which is a huge deal for someone like Braxton, who tells me she's a natural skeptic.

"I don't really endorse a lot of things, it's not my thing," she says. "What works for me may not be right for someone else." But she does share that some of her favorite Uncle Buds products include the CBD Lip Balm, the Hemp Anti-Bacterial Hand & Body Lotion, and the CBD Rose Gold Face Mask.

While the Grammy winner isn't normally one to tell people what to use, she admits that she's shared the collection with her very honest sisters (if you've ever watched Braxton Family Values then you know) along with a few close friends. "Tamar tried it, she puts it on Logan — he's seven," she shares. "I have all my girlfriends on it, I've sent it to Kris Jenner, I've sent it to Jada, and they think it's a pretty good product."

Of course, I had to ask if she's sent anything to Babyface.

"You know what, I have sent it to Babyface!" she exclaims. "But I forgot to ask him. You know he's like my husband [laughs]." We'll stay tuned for his review.

Speaking of the legendary musician, whose real name is Kenneth Edmonds, Braxton reminds me that next year will mark 30 years since she made her solo debut on the Boomerang soundtrack, which Babyface helped to write and produce.


"That was my first time in the music business, and my career went from zero to sixty," she recalls. "I was very blessed because [the film] set me up, and it's one of my favorite movies."

Like most of us, Braxton has been indulging in '90s nostalgia during quarantine. While she's known as an icon for crafting some of the most unforgettable R&B songs of our lifetime, her to-go genre when she's chilling at home may surprise you.

"You know I love rap from the '90s," she reveals. "I love Lil' Kim, she's my favorite. The other day I was listening to a Tribe Called Quest — just all of it is so good. MC Lyte's 'RuffNeck,' all of that." However, whenever her two sons — Denim Cole Braxton-Lewis, 19, and Diezel Ky Braxton-Lewis, 18 — get loud, she jokes that she loves to start singing Taylor Swift.

Music aside, the star has also been revisiting the fashion from the decade, something she admits she hasn't been able to do for a while. "I get to be a girl now and play Barbie, try on old clothes," she says. "I love '90s fashion, it was hot, it was sexy. It was very braless [laughs]."

Toni Braxton
Getty Images

Braxton has also been focused on skincare and exercise while staying home. Outside of Uncle Buds, she's a fan of Aveeno's Clear Complexion Foaming Facial Cleanser, along with the Lancer Skincare line.

She also swears by using her vibrator daily (on her face, relax) to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

"It works, I swear it works," she laughs. "But I will say, you can't put it on [level] three, girls. Don't put it on three — it ain't good for this part of your body. One is good, the lowest is good. It just vibrates and stimulates the muscles. I really don't have a lot of fine lines under my eyes or around my mouth."

In terms of fitness, Braxton switches between Billy Blanks videos, the Peloton Tread, and other workout apps. However, she does admits to treating herself to breakfast for dinner every other week, along with a burger and fries in between to give herself some balance. "I try to keep it healthy so I'll add a two or three sweet potato fries to the white potato fries," she jokes. However, overall, the performer looks at her body like it's a Maybach — and treats it like such.

"I work[out] hard. I can't lie, I work hard," she says. "The maintenance on this car — my body — has to last me 80, 90 years, so I have to take great care of it."

And considering that Braxton has pretty much looked the same from head to toe since the early '90s, I'm going to take her word for it.

Uncle Bud's products are available at InStyle readers can use the code "INSTYLE" for 30% off sitewide.

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