Summer of 2016 was trash sauce (as in absolutely terrible)! I was couch surfing because I was too stubborn to go back home and stay home after graduating (I didn’t want to look like a failure, plus, who the hell wants to live in Wichita, Ks??). I was completely stressed out because I didn’t have a job lined up post-graduation. My diet was trash because I was so broke, and the pressure of finding a job and getting my own place had my anxiety through the roof! I was mad at myself for waiting until the last week or two of undergrad to start filling out job applications and seriously depressed. The stress, anxiety and depression was very obvious on my face and skin. My eczema turned up to levels I had never seen, which resulted in me bleaching the skin above my upper-lip trying any and every over-the-counter eczema product. My poor diet and stress made my skin break out with acne, and anxiety kept me up at night. While I enjoy make-up, it’s never been apart of my everyday routine. During this period, I wouldn’t even run to the store without it on.
I hated hating the way I looked, and feeling like I was not in control of my life. I finally told myself I might not be in 100% control of my current situation, but I was in control of how I looked and felt about myself. I wanted to fix my face, but also stay away from chemicals, since that was part of the reason I was having such insecurities. Thus my long, long search on how to get my skin back on track.
I really got into my research on skincare, and I found that half of the battle wasn’t even about using the right products at all, but more-so lifestyle. Two things that kept coming up were water and sleep. To some people, I’m sure this tip is a duh, but to others it may be eye-opening. I use to be all about Sprite and juice, but I did notice in high school when I was in season (for sports) and water was the main liquid I was consuming, my skin didn’t break out as much. This summer, I really worked on getting that recommended, daily water intake of 8 glasses, and sure enough, the acne stopped and cleared up (I’ll give credit to cutting down on greasy foods as well). Drinking enough water in general helps to get out the toxins that are in your skin. I read the testimonies of so many that did the water-gallon challenge (drinking a gallon of water a day), and pretty much all of them brought up the glow their skin had once drinking water became a habit. Choosing water over soda and sugary juices also keeps the tummy slimmed down, so that’s also a plus.
Sleep had already been something I was losing out on as a college student, and that summer depression had me up all night and looking like a vampire zombie. The bags under my eyes were ridiculous and dark af. When I started reading I found out that most of your skin does its thang at night. I mean, your skin cells mostly rejuvenate at night, so it’s important to give your body that rest time. In addition, all the bomb products I’m about to tell you about are best used at night. Mainly because when you sleep at night, your skin is not exposed to the sun, so the products can really seep in and do their job, like locking in moisture.
This is what most people want to hear when they ask what I use on my skin, and most are surprised when I start listing out natural products that many already have in the home (especially if you have natural hair.) List of the products will be in the order that I use them.
Dudu Osun (pronounced doo-doo o-soon) Soap.
This is a natural, black, African soap and I love it with all of my heart cause it’s the bomb.com (yup). This soap helped correct so many things, like my skin discoloration. I had a lot of both light and dark spots on my face, Dudu Osun gave me a more even skin tone. It also helped with lightening the acne scars on my forehead (I have a serious pimple-popping problem). I will advise being careful when it comes to this product. I read up on it a lot before purchasing. I myself have never had any issues with it the six months I’ve been using it, but some reported that it burns their skin. Some also reported that it lightened their skin, but for me, it only lightened spots that needed to be lightened (my scars). I would just say, listen to your skin. The first time I used it, it did sting a bit, but nothing extreme and no burning ever since. If it’s causing your skin to burn every use, or you notice it’s changing the tone of your skin in a bad way, scale back on use, or stop use all together. Because I’ve never had any issues, I use it to wash my face in the morning, as well as at night before I go to bed.
Yes, all of the caps! I la-love bentonite clay, especially as a face mask. Listen, I don’t have measurements, I just feel it out, but making your mask is easy! All you need is your bentonite clay (which can be found at any health, vitamin, and sometimes herb store) and some water (filtered), and sometimes I use just a splash of apple cider vinegar. Your mask should be wet and muddy looking, get it to a consistency that’s easy for you to spread on your face. With the exception of your eyes and lips, spread your mask all over your face. Sometimes I use a brush (like one to dye hair or one used for painting pictures), sometimes I just use my fingers, just make sure your hands are clean. The amount of time I leave it on varies, but it’s usually around 10 minutes, just don’t let it dry and get hard on your face. Rinse with warm water, using a wet wash cloth is good for removing the mask. These masks are dope because they pull toxins out of your skin, help reduce oily skin, unclog and shrink pores, makes the skin softer, lighten scars and gives a natural glow. Those aren’t even all of the benefits, just my favorite. I do these 2-3 times a week.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) as a toner.
I used ACV for soooooo many things, each time I’m impressed with the results and how quickly it works. ACV as a toner was no different, and it’s so easy to make! My personal favorite brand of ACV is Bragg. I love this brand because I know it’s natural and organic, and it has “The Mother” (that stingy stuff in ACV). Some recipes advise using a 1:1 ratio of water and ACV, but because I have eczema and sensitive skin, I used 1 part ACV, 2 parts filtered water. It’s best to put your toner in a glass container, but I put mine in a 50 oz water bottle and have had no issues. Take a cotton ball and wet it with the ACV and dab it onto your face. I usually start at my forehead and do circular motions. Let it air dry and don’t rinse it off. I store mine in my bathroom closet, so a cool, dark place is fine. I made mine 6 months ago and it’s still good. ACV as a toner also helps with oily skin, reducing acne, blood circulation in the skin, and balancing your pH levels. ACV is strong, so I mostly use it at night, unless I’m wearing make-up (this toner makes my make-up look even better) that day, or just take breaks from it if I’m using it twice a day.
Shea butter and coconut oil.
Most ladies already use these for everything (as they should). I first got a hold of these products for my hair, but they’re just as good for moisturizing and locking in moisture for the skin, so I replaced my lotion with these. I alternate between the two, but at night I’ll mix them together and use both. You really only need a small amount of either when using it on your face, especially coconut oil. Too much can undo the work of all of the other products and just clog your pores again. I usually prefer Shea butter because it’s a little heavier and I have dry skin. I’ve noticed that it has also helped with lightening the acne scares on my face and aides in controlling eczema.
A couple of other things are exfoliating, opening your pores, and closing your pores. There are so many exfoliating products out there, some have too many chemicals and some are just too dang expensive for my cheap self. So, I use a hood favorite: wash cloths/ face towels. Many of us have been exfoliating our whole lives if you grew up in a household that used face towels. I keep rough wash cloths on hand just to exfoliate. The cheaper the wash cloth, the better. I usually do this right before washing my face or after. Just wet the towel with warm water and scrub your face. I especially loves this for my lips. It really helps taking off dry, dead skin, and really helpful for the days you plan on wearing lipstick, especially the matte kind.
It’s also good to open your pores either before washing your face or putting on your clay mask. You can do this by either steaming your bathroom, placing your face over hot water for a minute or so, or placing a wash cloth in hot water, and then placing it over your face for as long as you can take it. Opening your pores helps your soap and mask really get the dirt out of your skin.
After washing your face or taking off your clay masking (depending on if it’s a day your’re just doing one or both), and before you put on your toner, close your pores. This can be done by splashing cold water on your face, or placing a wash cloth in cold water and then placing it on your face. This just helps lock in the moisturizer you’re about to put on.
I hope these tips help!!
Thanks so much for checking out Blackgirl Candidly’s first installment of Beauty Blogs! If you decide to make this your own routine, or implement some of these products or are already using them, show me your results and tell me about your experiences in the comment section! I tried my best to do a before and after, but I was too embarrassed to take pictures when my skin was at its worst, so I used one from shortly after starting this routine.
Like, comment, share and be dope!