The other day, I shared my regimen for caring my hair so today I’ll list some of my staple products. I’ve tried lots of different shampoos, conditioners and moisturizers during the last few years. Some things worked, lots didn’t. Once you go natural, you’ll find some of the products your relaxed hair loved just no longer works for you.
It’s been almost two years that I’ve been fully natural after transitioning for almost two years. This natural hair thing is one of the few times I joined the ranks of trying out a trend. Despite hearing about all the benefits to dumping harmful toxic chemicals that can leave scalp damage and chemical burns (UH, BEEN THERE), a lot of us refused to give up the creamy crack and embrace (or at least accept) our natural curls, waves, kinks or coils – because you never know what’s really under there until you’re fully natural - until scores of brave souls led the way with positive results. And only then did we start stalking the social media pages of these women by watching videos, taking notes, reading posts, peeping regimens and gawking at pics, only to start considering the possibilities before taking the plunge or chop.
Taking care of sensitive skin can be tricky and frustrating. Although there have been great strides taken to eliminate harmful ingredients from a marketing perspective, you have to be vigilant when it comes to ingredient lists.
Two things to avoid. Two things to try.
- Avoid fragranced skin care products or makeup. Fragrance is a pretty word that disguises a laundry-list of chemicals of up to 300 chemicals used to create that coconut, gardenia, baby powdery cloud of “freshness” that can come with a steep price health-wise. Allergic reactions, itchy skin, sneezing, watery eyes, pimples just to start, so error on the side of caution & avoid synthetic fragrances on labels.
- Scrubs aren’t really your friend. I’m a huge fan of skin exfoliation. It’s important for maintaining clear pores and smooth skin. Exfoliation gets the gunk out of clogged pores and helps to prevent future breakouts. It also removes dead skin that leads to scaly, ashy, unattractive layers voiding the effects of moisturizing, since lotions & creams just sit on top unable to do their job. But for sensitive types, harsh mechanical scrubs can irritate and possibly damage delicate cells. Opt for a gentle topical serum or moisturizer to do your exfoliating. You can receive the same results just without the actual scrubbing action.
- Wash and rinse with cooler temps. Hot water feels great in winter when the temps plummet but it can be too much for delicate skin types. Stick to lukewarm and cooler water to soothe your skin thus avoiding irritation.
- SPOT TEST. Now, if you’re frowning and giving me the “who the hell actually spot tests” face, I absolutely understand. Spot testing is a lot like leaving the tags on your pillows – no one really does it even though the tag clearly states to leave them on forever. I’ve never quite figured out the reason but when it comes to spot testing, better safe than sorry. Simply follow the instructions for spot testing on the package or as a rule of thumb – dab a little of the product in your inner elbow & leave it for 24 hours. If there’s no irritation, you’re good to go! This is a safe way to determine if a product will irritate your skin & if it does, take a careful look at the ingredients list, google the first five & gain some insight into which ingredients you want to avoid in the future.
Saying goodbye to last year’s memories and embracing what lies ahead. Trying to see today with optimism and not carry the load of yesterday’s woes into the spotlight of a new day can be difficult and frustrating but there’s victory in the effort, which is progress in itself.
I’m not one for making grand resolutions, but I’m all for gradual progression. Slow and steady wins the race and allows us to keep up some momentum. Running at the speed of light is a guaranteed gas guzzler, draining us of our endurance and speed long before the midway point. So here’s wishing you a first quarter of great gradual progression. Track your progress and acknowledge your month-end successes with mini celebrations.
Anything is better than standing still. : )
Happy New Year my friends!
You will either step forward into growth, or you will step backward into safety – Abraham H Maslow
Dry skin often gets a bad rap. There are some positives to having dry skin. Pores are less visible and you rarely ever suffer from chronic blemishes. The downside? If you slack on moisturizing, lines and wrinkles surface quickly and overall your skin will appear flat, dull and aged.
Here are the basics for caring for dry skin:
- The Right Cleanser: Creamy cleansers are your friend. They offer lightweight hydration which is key for drier skin types. Cleansers that strip your skin of moisture will only result in irritation and advanced aging with the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Remember, dry skin needs moisture included with every beauty step, and that includes your cleansers and even your foundation choices.
- The Right Moisturizer: Select a cream that will moisturize and hydrate skin to keep it smooth and supple. I highly suggest applying cream to damp skin (not wet) in order to lock in water for maximum softness.
Here’s a good five-minute rule to follow: if your skin feels tight just five minutes after moisturizing, your formula isn’t rich enough.
Nighttime Tip: Here’s when you’ll want to kick it up with a super-rich cream loaded with antioxidants. You’d be surprised what a difference maintaining hydrated skin makes in your appearance. Hydrated skin looks plump, vibrant and fresh, not to mention, younger! If your home is really dry, use a humidifier during colder months. Also, always apply a rich eye cream since the skin around your eyes is thinner and more delicate than anywhere else on your face or body. Be sure to include a lip balm at night, as well.
So here’s the deal, normal skin IS combination skin. We tend to think of normal skin as perfect – no irritation, no sensitivity, nice & even, translucent and break-out free. Not true.
We all have more oil glands along our T-zone (the forehead, nose and chin areas) than anywhere else on our face. Everyone sees more shine there. Normal skin has more of a dewey than oily appearance midday, but fewer pimples overall. It’s considered “combination” because it can veer toward oily or dry most days.
My skin was oily during my 20′s when my hormones were completely out of whack thanks to PCOS and a stressful job. Then as I entered my mid-30s, my skin calmed down a bit with fewer pimples & less oil.
For me, supplements, diet & skincare choices made a huge difference in my skin’s improvement. I realized that I was doing more harm than good by using too many acne prevention products, which only worsened oil production due to constant dehydration, resulting in more pimples and a vicious cycle of searching for new ways to counter it.
Now I treat my combination skin with the right products to hydrate, correct, moisturize & protect. My regimen is a little extensive but for a more simple approach, always start with the basics:
- The Right Cleanser: Liquid cleansers tend to be mild and effective at washing away dirt and oil without stripping your skin with daily use.
- The Right Moisturizer: Lightweight lotions are best for delivering a good amount of moisture without being too heavy. Too heavy tends to clog pores. I suggest a slightly heavier cream at night to hydrate drier areas of the face, along with your neck and décolletage. It’s ideal to apply a richer cream at night for a supple glow in the morning.
Follow this simple regimen for four weeks before seeing a difference. Your combination skin will thank you.