The quest for good skin is a journey I’ve been on for quite some time, ever since I spotted my first pimple on my forehead in middle school. I ran out and bought those Q-tips you bent to release acne spot treatment into the other end (anyone remember those??). Then I became obsessed with Proactiv infomercials and when I finally got a chance to try it, it just stained my mom’s towels (benzoyl peroxide MUST be used with white towels everyone!!). After trying over-the-counter acne systems I got a prescription for acne-treatment pads and suffered through the worst of it.
By 18 or 19, my acne subsided and now I only get a handful of zits in a year, usually around my cycle. However, I do have quite a few blemishes that I love to hide with makeup, as you can see above. No, I don’t have the worst skin in the world, but I don’t have “I just need lip gloss and mascara” skin either. This is what I currently use:
I have really dry skin, my t-zone peels within a few hours if I don’t use this cream, so Pond’s SAVES ME. The acne wash is just a nice gentle cleanser, but it doesn’t do anything special for my skin. I also drink about 30-40 ounces of water a day.
I decided to craft my own skin care routine based on some things I’ve read recently. African Black soap is known for its incredible and almost endless benefits, so I wanted to test it out. Black soap
- treats acne
- gently cleanses without clogging pores
- fades marks and discoloration
- brightens skin
- treats rosacea, eczema and more
I also wanted to use products native to my Ghanaian heritage because 1. I’m proud of it and 2. Africans have really beautiful skin and I’m trying to be a part of that 😀
Zendaya also uses African black soap (instant seal of approval) and a product I had never heard of: Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner without alcohol. It protects against the sun, disinfects, reduces itching and redness, tightens pores and soothes skin. Tons of people swear by it on their skin care threads on Twitter, and you simply apply it with a cotton ball or cotton pad. So, I copped that immediately.
Many stars also drive home the importance of sunscreen, which I’m sad to say I completely ignore on my face. In the last year, I’ve noticed more moles or sunspots appearing near my eyes, and although this is probably hereditary, I realize the sun could be damaging my skin and I’m doing nothing to protect myself. With all the time I spend in the sun, this could be potentially disastrous, so I bought Neutrogena’s oil free Moisturizer with sunscreen SPF 15.
Finally, I read that Kelis has super dry skin, just like me! It’s refreshing to hear a celebrity battle my same problem because virtually everyone I hear says they have an oily t-zone *major eye roll*. Her routine centers around a ton of moisture, so I wanted a natural, extra nourishing moisturizer. Going back to my West African roots, I read about shea butter and decided to test some out.
Shea butter is extracted from the Shea tree, is high in Vitamins A, E and F and contains about SPF 6 sun protection. It moisturizes, smooths skin, reduces inflammation and under-eye bags, improves skin elasticity and heals scars. Both shea butter and African black soap can be used on every part of the body; head to toe, hair and beards included.
I use whipped shea butter from Black Girl Long Hair marketplace. They’re mixed with essential oils for a decadent scent and can be purchased online or in their storefront in Brooklyn. One bar of soap is $4, a sample set of 6 butters will run you $24 and singles are 3 bucks. A 12oz bottle is $30. You can also purchase raw butters that aren’t whipped. The cocoa butter smell s like chocolate and the vanilla scent smells just like ice cream! (can’t you tell I’m excited). They have scents for men too. Blogger Leila Noelliste founded the company, so if you’re into supporting American companies and Black businesses you should definitely purchase here.
Armed with this information, I created this skin care routine to take care of my skin. At night I wash with the soap, use my toner and apply shea butter. In the morning, I omit the shea butter and instead apply the sunscreen and Pond’s cold cream. If I’m wearing makeup I’ll add that, if not I keep rolling. On days I do wear makeup, I remove it with makeup removing wipes from Sephora and then follow my normal regimen. All the products (except the sunscreen and Ponds) are completely natural. The Earth produces everything we need to have healthy bodies, we just have to trust it and commit to it.
I’m sharing this with you so we can take this journey together and see if it works! Usually, bloggers share their story after their skin already looks like a baby’s bottom and they have one blurry photo from before their skin routine worked wonders. But I’m going to remain transparent with you. It takes 6 weeks for a skin care change to really show results, so I’ll check in again at 3 weeks and again at 6 weeks. Have tips, concerns or thoughts? Drop them in the comments below, I’d love to hear what products you trust and what routine you’re hoping to start. Happy cleansing!