Face and Body Care
Skin Cleansing: Black Soap
WHAT IT IS
Black Soap, also called African Black Soap, is a soap made from the ash of locally harvested plants and barks such a Plantain, Cocoa Pods, Palm Tee Leaves, and Shea Tree Bark.
Black Soap does not always come in the color black. The soap ranges in color and size depending on how the manufacturer processed the product, ingredients used and etc.
The company I bought my soap from is called White Diamond. I like this brand because the organic soap is handcrafted with natural ingredients using the traditional “cold process” method. The cold process method uses the right amount of heat to melt the natural oils in order to protect and retain the nutrients that nourishes the skin. The ingredients in this soap bar include Shea Butter, Jojoba Oil, Kukui Nut, and Bamboo ash aids.
HOW IT WORKS
Black soap works by cleansing the skin but without harsh chemicals. When you use the soap on your body it penetrates the skin to remove impurities. It will help fight acne by preventing excessive oil production and bacterial growth. In some cases, you skin may get worse before getting better. Due to the vitamins found in Black soap, the product also helps fade dark marks.
If you find that the soap is overwhelming drying or too harsh for your skin try mixing the soap with a cleansing oil. I use Garnier Clean & Nourishing Oil. This oil helps remove long-wear make-up with no greasy residue and is infused with Jojoba and Macadamia oil. Blogger Simone found “the greatest success…with black soap [by] cutting it with a skin friendly oil.” She uses drops of Jojoba Oil or Argan Oil because it is the closet match to the natural oils on our face.
WHERE TO BUY
Drug Store, Beauty Store, Grocery Store, or Online.
Acne Solution: illuMask
Following a good skin care regimen is always advised for all skin types. There are some products however that work best/don’t work at all on ethic skin. As an African American woman, I have found the illuMask to be the best light mask I have ever used to keep pimples away. What I love about the mask is that it uses LED light therapy to treat problem spots. LED light therapy is actually called photodynamic therapy or PDT. This type of phototherapy sends specific wavelengths of light to kill bacteria and assist cell rejuvenation.
WHAT PDT DOES FOR ACNE
Wavelengths of red and blue light target the strain of bacteria that plays a pivotal role in causing acne for many people. The light causes the development of oxygen radicals that kill acne bacteria without damaging healthy skin.
Even though there are a lot of benefits to light therapy, it can be expensive. I MEAN EXPENSIVE! At home treatments usually come in the form of a hand-held device and can range from $250-700 bucks. Professional treatments are just as pricey because you have to go in to the office for sessions consistently.
At first I had very little hope that I would ever use LED light because let’s be real…my pocket book is looking mighty slim. I nearly gave up on the whole idea until I found the illuMask!
All the masks in the illuMask phototherapy series are easy to use and hands free. You just wash your face, slip it on like a pair of glasses and relax. The acne mask distributes light therapy evenly across your whole face. The illuMask unit is disposable after 30 sessions, each session is 15 minutes. The acne mask allows you to read and do other activities while you are waiting.
In general, I love what illuMask did to my skin. I have smaller pores, fewer breakouts, and minimal acne scarring. I used to have oily/combination skin. My skin is now LESS oily than before.
To truly achieve brighter, clearer, smoother and more radiant skin, it is best that you use it every day with your regular skin care regimen. I have repurchased the IlluMask so that I can incorporate it as a staple in my regimen and have long-lasting results.
While light therapy is not the solution to all of my facial related problems, if certainly help my skin appearance and feel more voluminous and supple.
WHERE TO BUY
Hyperpigmentation Solution: Queen Helene
I recently started using Queen Helene facial masques after watching Youtuber Ellarie rave about them in her Current Favorites Skin Care video. Queen Helene, est. 1930, is a full line of affordable body care products. The line uses natural ingredients like cocoa butter that are rich with nutrients that will moisturize, improve and soften your skin.
Ellarie said that she has used the Queen Helene brand since high school. The Mud Pack Masque, Mint Julep Scrub and Grapeseed Peel Off Masque are some of her favorites. She especially likes the peel off mask because “it smells really lovely. Out of all the peel off masks [she] has this one is [her] favorite just because…it really adheres to your skin. When you peel it off you can feel [it peeling off all the impurities and even the hair on your face!]…Your face will feel like a new face.” Click to watch her video.
I obviously wanted a new face too so I tried Queen Helene and let me tell you…the line is amazing. My favorites are the Grapeseed Peel Off Masque and the Avocado & Grapefruit Masque.
Every two weeks, or when my face feels EXTRA dirty, I will first cleanse my face and use the peel off masque to purifying and lift impurities from my make-up clogged pores. According to the Queen Helene site, the Grape Seed Extract helps to brightens and evens your complexion. I leave this masque on for 15 minutes or so. The mask will harden and become stuck to your face practically.
In order to replenish and hydrate my skin, I follow up with the Avocado and Grapefruit Masque. This masque revitalizes and smooths the skin. It helps me hydrate and energize my skin.
Cosmetic Line: CoverGirl Queen Collection
Not to long ago the makeup industry was a sphere that catered to predominantly white skin tones. While this cycle of exclusion is perpetual, there are emerging cosmetic lines that are catering to ethic skin tones. Sacha Cosmetics, Black Up, IMAN, and Black Opal are some big name brands that are dominating the market that celebrates the multiple skin tones of men and women.
As far as affordable Drug Store brands go, the only line that is actually brown/black girl friendly is the CoverGirl Queen Collection. I LOVE the Queen bronzer in the shade ebony bronze. Sadly, it is the only bronzer that I can find at the drug store that is not lighter than my skin tone.
I highly recommend the CoverGirl Queen Collection to anyone looking for affordable makeup.
Styling Solution: Curlformers
I found out about Curlformers in my junior year of college. At the time I was looking for a hair styling tool that would help me in my transition from chemically straighten to natural hair. I had a mix of natural and relaxed hair so I wanted to find a way to achieve the same hair texture all over without heat. After watching Naptural85 and her review of the product I thought, “Hey! This could work for me!”
Curlformers were invented to create the perfect curl for all hair types, including wigs, weaves, 1A-4C hair, relaxed hair and etc. The curlers come in three different lengths and widths. Additionally, there are two colors for each size; one color rotates clockwise and the other rotate counter-clockwise.
The Curlformers site recommends:
Short & Wide Curlers: for typical curls on shorter hair.
Short & Narrow Curlers: for ringlet curls on shorter hair.
Long & Wide Curlers: for typical curls on up to shoulder length hair.
Long & Narrow Curlers: for ringlet curls on up to shoulder length hair.
Extra Long & Wide Curlers: for typical curls on longer than shoulder length hair.
You can also pick if you want your curls to have a spiral, barrel or corkscrew look. The spiral curlers come in pink and orange, barrel curlers are yellow and pink, and the corkscrew curlers are blue and green.
Since my natural curls are spiral –looking I decided to buy the spiral Curlformers. They actually work! I must warn you, the curlers are not comfortable to sleep on and it takes 2+ hours to install. If you install the Curlformers on wet hair, you should try sitting under a dryer to speed up the drying process.
HOW TO APPLY
Wash and condition hair. Apply styling products and detangle.
DETANGLE SOME MORE
Section your hair and use clips to keep it out of the way until you are ready to apply Curlformers to that section.
Put together the two parts of the Styling Hook and then, holding the handle, feed the Curlformer on to the Styling Hook.
Take a small section of hair approximately half an inch wide. Twist it. Holding the handle higher than the hook, slip the twisted section into the hook.
Using your thumb and index finger, squeeze open slightly the end of the Curlformer closest to the scalp, enabling you to draw the hook back through the Curlformer.
Repeat until all of you hair is in the Curlformers.
Leave the Curlformers in for AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. Literally, try to keep them in for longer than 12 hours if you have thick hair.
To remove the Curlformers, rub oil on your fingers and use your thumb and index finger to squeeze open the end closest to the scalp. At the same time, use your free hand to unfurl the Curlformer and then gently remove from the hair
The curl will spring back into place.
Style curls with fingers.
WHERE TO BUY
That's all the products I have for now. Don't forget to subscribe, read more posts, and follow me on social media. Link and forms to subscribe are at the bottom. Scroll down ;)
Untill Next Time,
"Your life is happening now. Make it amazing!"