've been gone from the beauty section of Q.A.C for a bit, but before I wrap up my natural hair beauty series, I wanted to be sure that I talked about how I tackle wash day! Now, like many naturalistas, wash day is often this long dreaded part of the week, and as it grows, the task sometimes becomes even more arduous. Thankfully, after nearly 9 years natural (6 of which I actually knew what I was doing LOL), I've mastered my wash day down to a science. Now like all of my hair posts for this series, I'm going to try and keep this demo short and brief.
In today's quick beauty post, I'll be sharing my no fail skin secrets, just in time for cooler temps! As with most parts of our body, our skin (just like our hair) is a direct reflection of health and self-care. Take shortcuts on either and the poor results will be unmistakable. Case in point, although I love a beautiful healthy glow, over the past 3 months, I'd severely slacked on my skin regimen. Not only did I skimp on buying the products I knew worked on my sometimes problematic skin (what I rationalized as "saving"), but I'd gotten into the habit of occasionally sleeping in my makeup, crazy I know!
From forgetting to exfoliate when I finally did wash off my old makeup to moisturizing with all the wrong creams, the results ... Breakouts, dry patches, and pores the size of the ocean ... Were harsh. Do you know how annoying it is to have adult acne? LOL .. After a long hard look in the mirror one morning, and I knew I had to get my skin back on track!
Starting off my face routine, I begin with one of the most delicate areas, the lips! Let’s be honest, how many of us actually remember to include lip care in our face routine? It certainly should be, but if you’re like me, then you’re definitely guilty. Without full hydration (eight glasses of water daily) and proper care, our lips can fall victim to dryness, chapping, pealing, etc ... And lets be honest, no one wants to kiss gross cracked lips! To remedy this, I like to do two simple things, exfoliate and moisturize.
The first step of removing old cells includes creating a tiny homemade mixture of brown sugar and coconut oil. After mixing the two components, I gently wet my lips with water and ever so gently rub (in a circular motion) the contents over the top and bottom. I then rinse completely, leaving a bit of water present for my next step, applying a moisturizer.
After my newly baby soft lips are clean and prepped, I like to seal in the moisture and add a bit of protection. Here, this means applying my go-to moisturizer, EOS Lip balm. Personally, I'm a fan of using the Honeysuckle Honeydew formula from their Organic Smooth Sphere Line. The flavor is super yummy and it rolls on smoothly, keeping my lips hydrated and plump rather than dried out only minutes after use. Additionally, as a long-time sufferer of sensitive skin, I love that their balms not only include key vitamins and natural oils, but they're also dermatologist tested. Ultimately, with my egg shaped secret weapon, my lips are left kissably soft lips, proving this baby lives up to its motto of helping women feel sexy with evolution of smooth.
The first step in getting this adult acne in check and stopping this insane cycle of breakouts meant investing in the right skin cleanser. For me, that meant finding something that combats my oily / combination skin without drying it out ... Finding something gentle enough to not trigger my eczema, but active enough to remove a days worth of grime. After randomly trying a new product picked up by my mom from a local Connecticut store, I suddenly discovered my favorite morning cleanser. Thanks mom!
Different than most face cleansers, this one is 100% natural and charcoal based. Historically, charcoal has been used as far back as 1500 BC by ancient Egyptians. It's uses ranged from a preservative to early medicine, treating toxins and poisoning. Today, with additional ingredients including coconut, palm, argan, tea tree, and peppermint oil, this charcoal detoxifier is amazeballs for gently cleaning my skin and leaving it baby soft ... Perfect for my morning prep.
For evenings, thankfully, after previous attempts at trial and error, I already had a deep cleanser in mind. In this case, I rediscovered my old reliable face wash, Clinique Liquid Face Soap for mild skin. This cleanser is perfect for penetrating deep and removing a long day of makeup and NYC pollution. It's a bit more thorough than the charcoal but still equally as gentle. Loves it!
At least once or twice a week, I like to do a full facial scrub of my face. New York living can do a number on your skin. Between big city exhaust fumes and an insanely gross subway, our skin is exposed to a lot throughout the day. Removing all of the dead skin cells that can accumulate is another key way I ensure my skin is not only able to breathe, but that it's also free from acne causing bacteria. Plus, just like my morning face wash? This scrub has active charcoal to draw out all of the impurities from the skin naturally, while polishing it to a smooth, baby's bottom finish.
Another important key to my improved skin has been reducing my large pores through consistent toning. Again, rather than a bunch of harsh chemicals, as a naturalista, I prefer to use an all natural remedies. In this case? Witch hazel has been super clutch! Not only does it help in reducing the sizes of my pores, but used on a cotton ball, it is also great at swiping away any remaining grime or deep set makeup within the skin. I apply this after my morning / evening wash, prior to adding any moisturizer.
Finally, where I often went wrong with my skin regimen was with moisturization. Getting lazy and using any old moisturizer on my skin was such a big mistake! For my sensitive skin, one that is prone to acne ... Hyperpigmentation (dark spots and acne scarring) ... And easily clogged pores, what you can't do is just slap on any random lotion you have handy. Again, I went back to my trusted Clinique brand that I'd often used in the past. Clinique's Dramatically Moisturizing Gel does everything I need. Even in the harshest of winters, this cream keeps my skin soft and fully hydrated, while not giving me that heavy, greasy feeling with clogged pores. To seal in all the yummy goodness, I typically apply this after a fresh wash and toning.
As a special bonus skin boost, I like to add a deep purification mask treatment at least once a month in my skin regimen. Like a few of the products listed above, my mask of choice contains my key beauty ingredient of the moment .. You guessed it .. Charcoal! Across youtube, you've seen so many crazy "charcoal mask challenges" mixing of all things, charcoal with Elmer's Glue. The results? Absolutely ridiculous and painful. I mean guys, seriously? LOL! I don't know about you, but I'm not a fan of allowing any sort of glue chemicals to seep into my skin. Instead, I love Origins for their plant-based approached to beauty. Their products are derived from eco-friendly practices and resource sustainability in mind. From prior posts, you already know I'm a huge fan of companies that are mindful of their carbon footprint. In short, it's a way better than slapping chemicals on your face, right? RIGHT ... LOL!
As proof? This photo was taken Thanksgiving weekend with my big, little cousin and shared on my personal / blog stories on Instagram. After diligently following my routine, I can truly say, the glow up so real ... YEEEES!
In this photo ... no makeup ... no filters ... no special lighting other than a regular old house lamp LOL! My skin has come a long way in a short amount of time and I'm beyond happy. It's the only one I have so I have to treat it well!
So what do you think? Do you have any beauty secrets that keep your skin glowing as if you swallowed the sun? ^_^ Comment below and let me know what your beauty staples are! As always, the journey continues!
Share the Journey
Like so many, I've been struggling with dry, itchy scalp my entire life. My struggles go beyond just a bit of dandruff and the occasional itch. Instead, what I have is a condition called "eczema." Basically, this means that I have a condition that means my skin is extremely sensitive. If I get lazy and choose not to moisturize properly ... If I use a product that causes me to have an allergic reaction (anything nut based) ... If my scalp / skin decides to just act a fool because it can, it will! At it's worse, my scalp becomes scabby, inflamed, severely itchy, and sore/ tender. To combat this, I've been very diligent in the products I use on my skin and on my scalp. As any true "shea butter queen," nearly all of my products are natural ... My motto? ... If I can't eat or pronounce it? ... It doesn't belong on my body. Ironically, despite America's use of so many troublesome chemicals in food and beauty products, there has been this resurgence of organic / natural products, many of which have been in existence for hundred if not thousands of years.
Shrinkage. Men hate it ... Women, hate it even more, trust me fellas lol! However, when it comes to natural hair, there's this false notion that unless you absolutely love ALL aspects of you hair in its natural form, you must have some secret self-hatred within. This is especially the case when it comes to kinkier textures. Let me be the 1st to tell you, I'm completely in love with my hair ... from its thickness and volume to its health ... I love it! ... And yet, like most relationships, no one can say with a straight face that there aren't a few aspects which bother you or wish you could change. I mean really. Do you mean to say you love it when he leaves that toilet seat up .. or when she decides to pick off your plate after ordering her own? Didn't think so. LOL. The same thinking applies to how I handle my hair.
Let me preface this by saying, deciding to invest yourself and grow your natural hair won't be easy. If you're already somewhere on the natural hair journey, then I'm sure you've already heard this. But let's be clear. It's not just about finding a few great products or getting to know your hair in a generally superficial way. Nah ... To really see the results you're looking for, you need to get your hands dirty, take charge, and get intimate. In hoping to fully get your hair to respond, you need to treat it like your lover! Just like your lover, you need to know their like and dislikes ... what makes them happy ... what turns them on and keeps them moist (LOL) ... what triggers cause them to spaz out and most importantly? How to remedy the situation. In short, you need to know your hair so completely, that it doesn't even need to speak to you in order for you to be able to know how its feeling and instinctively what it needs from you. In order to start this process, I have 6 quick tips to get you on the road to being the kind of in tuned lover your hair has been craving!
Ladies! Let's have some real girl chat for a quick second, shall we? What is it about tough breakups that make us say " F*ck it! " ... LOL! I mean seriously. A really hard breakup will have us saying, " F*ck him! ... And matter of fact? ... * Goes to the bathroom to get scissors* ... F*ck this hair too! I'm done!..." Ladies what is that about? LOL! Somehow, so many of us find this cathartic release in shedding our hair. How many of you have marked a new beginning or major life change via a cut or drastic change to your tresses? I know I have! .. grumbles ... stupid boys smh! At any rate, a few years ago, not long after the tears dried, I looked in the mirror and realized just that. I needed to find happiness and reboot my life, starting with something simple .. my hair.