Quick Review: Skincare Products 2015 (Part 1)

Hello beautiful people!

No hair talk from this end right now because I’m in mini-twists, and MeeMee is rocking her beautiful Nazuri Curls wig. So instead, today, I’m talking skin care.

Before we proceed, can I clear something up first? I’m good, guys. I am. I really appreciate all the love and suggestions and positive affirmation I’ve been getting since the first time I shared that I’m struggling with acne, I really do. I never hesperred it. You are too too sweet. I’m good, though. I know it could be much worse, and I’m positive that this too will pass. Actually, I’m realising that there is a method to the craze- my face acts out on a schedule, so I’m learning to work with it. Plus, in the last two weeks, my face has been pretty calm. I’m trying two things that I think are really good to me. I’ll observe some more, and share them in my next post about this.

One of the facial washes recommended to me by someone ‘Clean and Clear- Morning Burst’ actually made me break out like crazy about two years ago when I wasn’t even having issues with my skin. Oil Cleansing, tried and trusted for generations- isn’t something I’m a huge fan of either. I committed to it for some of my time in law school, and it did not help. SO. My point is, skin care is something really specific to individuals. Don’t just hop on everybody’s suggestions without thinking them through. Save yourself the heartache too, by not having high expectations.

Today’s post is dedicated to the things I’ve tried so far. Again, skin care is unique to each individual, but when you’re feeling in the dark, looking for things to try, you scope reviews right? I know I do. So, maybe this post will help you manage your expectations if you ever want to try any of the things here:

1. Sebamed Clear Face Anti-Pimple Gel

Sebamed-Clear-Face-Anti-Pimple-Gel-166332(1)This is supposed to be a spot treatment. The idea is for you to apply the gel to zits, for it to neutralize them. This, was, crap. LOL. It did not do anything for me, not for one day but on the bright side, it didn’t harm me either. So I used it, till I finished all of it because money cannot waste. I can’t remember the exact price, but I got it for 1000 and something naira, at Health Plus or Med Plus.

2. Macleans

Macleans Complete Care Toothpaste (125ml)-500x500You’ve probably heard it said before that toothpaste can help with acne. I tried this in the past with red Close Up and it didn’t work. White toothpaste is reportedly the way to go. I chose Macleans because it is believed to be quite harsh. In the beginning, it really dried up my spots- but after a few weeks, it just stopped working. 😦 SO. Instead of buying the fancy Sebamed gel I discussed above, for almost 2k- do yourself a favour and buy a 100 naira tube of the most basic Macleans instead. If you’re in the obodos, I’m thinking Arm & Hammer toothpaste may be a good one to try, since it’s baking soda based.

3. Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Scrub

IMG_0111

Source: Ifys Musings. You can read her own review here.

Hmm. It’s complicated. At first, when I used this scrub, my skin felt exfoliated. Like something had been lifted. I would see my pores look free, and sometimes, half-exfoliated white heads would be on the surface for me to wash off. Then it stopped. I continued using it religiously anyway, as again- it wasn’t harming me. I eventually dropped it. When I picked it up again, it started working well again. So my conclusion is that, it’s complicated. We like each other, but the terms of engagement are yet to be determined. I could buy this again (it cost me 2,250 Naira), but it’s obviously not the one. I need a product I can be consistent with.

4. Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel

Oooooo my days. This scam. LOL okay I’m sorry, it is not a scam but let me explain.

I got this for $6 off Amazon last Christmas. But, if I got it at Health Plus for over 3k, I’d be feeling a little bad.

I had read a few blog posts about this product, and it’s a nice, simple toner. The ingredients are simple- water, aloe vera juice, glycerin- rose water & witch hazel extract towards the very end- and a few preservative chemicals. Is that worth 3k? No, darlings. No. Don’t buy it for 3k. I mean, do it if you’re a cash mama but, I’d rather you bought cake and ice cream.

Why do the bloggers love it so? Well. As I said, it’s nice. After washing my face, I apply it to my skin with a cotton pad. It sets me straight y’all. Probably the AVJ or Glycerine, trust me when I say my face looks okay, with no need for lotion. It’s also a nice refresher- if during the day, you feel a little too oily. It’s gentle so you can use it any time. This toner is really just water and humectants + preservatives + tiny witch hazel so, if you’re a DIY gal, you should just make your own. Witch hazel is the active acne fighting ingredient and it honestly isn’t THAT present in this product so, I guess what I’m saying is, it’s good for skin in general, but if you are concerned about your acne, I don’t think this toner will affect those blemishes.

I will repurchase this for $6 and definitely not 3k.

5. Coconut Oil

Gosh. We were in love. I was enjoying my simple coconut oil routine, but alas, as I definitely confirmed this morning, it is burning my skin. I’ve been applying a lot of it, especially on my legs- and the hot Lagos sun has apparently been side-eyeing me. I have been using this on my body, not my face- because non-virgin coconut oil is highly comedogenic (that is, it blocks pores and isn’t good for acne prone skin) and now, I’m going to have to stop- or at least, limit use of the coco to night time. I’m going to scrub my legs with brown sugar & probably a little of the same coconut oil tonight- and will definitely buy lotion this weekend. I can’t shout.

Alrightie boos. That’s all for now. 

As promised, I will write about the products that are working for me, in a later post. I just need more time to observe them.

Love,

AB,

xx

I Don’t Like My Hair

As I shared in this post, I got my hair done recently. I bounced out of the salon feeling very happy. I got into the car and Mr. E (my mother’s driver) said “ You don finish?” (Have you finished?) Ah. He had waited for more than 4 hours, how could he seriously be asking me that? So I said, “Ah ah, Mr. Emmanuel. Since that time? Do I look like I never finish?” And he replied, “Ehhhn, e look like say you never start.” (It looks like you haven’t started) Sigh. Did it sting? I’m not sure, but Mr. E is my homie and he’s 58 years old anyway.

Later in the day, I bumped into some guy that looked pretty familiar. We talked for a bit… small talk, exchanged names for the first  time, and then this familiar stranger (that turned out to be a classmate from Law school) said, “Yes, I know you. You have this really tall friend and you always had this shaggy…” I blinked. He continued, “…this shaggy hair do. I’ve never seen you like this with your hair done.”

At least he acknowledged my hair was done. But pause. My ‘fro? The one I would spend all of or more than 20 minutes combing? The same combing that I didn’t realise cost me a lot of length I could have retained if I knew better? That ‘fro was what this guy was referring to as… S H A G G Y?

me and my SHAGGY fro. :) NLS, February 2014.

me and my SHAGGY fro. NLS, February 2013.

Okay, I didn’t realise I was mad yet. After this encounter, I sent the mister photos of my new hair; one of the left side, one of the right, and then he decided to make a joke. No, sir! Wrong timing! It’s usually all fun and games, but I was sensitive from all the lowkey insults and I flipped. It escalated in little time to a small fight.

After having some time to think, I realised he wasn’t insulting my hair. If I wasn’t already burnt by the comments I’d been getting, especially as I thought my hair was all that and more, I wouldn’t have been so defensive. I would have seen that he was teasing me in his usual manner.

By the next day, I was in a state of zen, Dani Alves to the hair haters. My mom saying “Is this the hair? You paid money for this thing? Is this what you travelled all the way to Dolphin to do?” did not pinch me in the slightest. Balance had been restored.

I may not be team wash-n-go, but I LOVE my kinky coily fro!! ^__^

I may not be team wash-n-go, but I LOVE my kinky coily fro!! ^__^

That first day, though, got me thinking about the time on Curly Nikki, when I posted a comment about spending time combing my hair to look perfect (read as acceptable in a formal black/white environment). I got a bunch of replies, mostly people telling me I was living for others and that I needed to do me. Message received. But that’s not exactly how they put it. In some cases, the tone was almost accusatory. I know that their scolding would go into second gear if they heard that oh, I felt offended, a little angry even, at negative comments on my hair.

In this post on NikkiSho’s blog, she went over her hair journey; the things she likes and the things she doesn’t, asking for help with her issues. Someone came out of the blue, ‘Anonymous’ of course, accusing her of the usual. Haba.

nikkisho

Na wa!

Many times, in natural hair forums or discussions, I observe that there is this “All or Nothing” mentality. Probably because the greater part of the black race views natural hair as stressful (I maintain that it isn’t), naturalistas feel like we have to show that everything is peachy. Some people make it look like you aren’t allowed to complain. And I don’t get that.

Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you have to like them all the time and I think the same thing applies to hair. It’s a journey, it’s a process. I LOVE my hair, you guys know I do, but does this mean I can’t complain? NO.

I understand that hair has always been a hot topic, but it’s still a part of the body. I love my body, but it was a tough journey for me in my mid-teens to get here. And even now, I don’t like my nose all the time. Sometimes it’s fine, sometimes it just spreads. I don’t like that my eyes often look very tired. I’m not interested in getting a nose job even if it’s free & painless, but if I’m selecting a profile photo, I definitely don’t want the one where my nose and eyes are looking “somehow”. This is not your cue to preach to me about latent self-hate. If you like, quote Martin Luther King. NAH.

Insecurities. We all have them. But somehow, we naturalistas make it look like hair is immune from these feelings. You can encourage someone with positive energy, without coming off like you’re scolding.

I look forward to Washdays. I enjoy the time I take to baby my hair, but when I get a real job, and start working 12 hours a day, I know days will come when I’ll resent wash day.

I’m in love with my coils. I’m in recovery from hand-in-hair syndrome (70%), but sometimes my hair can be like a crying baby. Those times, I need to protective style to give me peace. I need someone else to cater to it, lest I cut it off.

I look at pictures like this (below) sometimes- and I’m like dang. My front hair too is about the same length when stretched, but look at her volume!

3c shrinkage

I don’t think it’s a bad thing to sometimes wish you had a curlier or more kinky texture, a faster growth rate, different hair porosity or maybe thicker hair if your hair is fine, as long as you understand why your hair is the way it is, and you accept that what you’ve got is beautiful. If you don’t love it yet, just remind yourself that as with good relationships, your feelings for your hair will grow. On this journey, I’ve learnt to accept and appreciate my own hair for all it can and cannot do. This appreciation is way deeper now than it was a year ago, cannot even compare to when I was transitioning! Just because I’m in this happy place doesn’t mean I must shove it down someone else’s throat.

Would you believe me if I told you that Curly Nikki did not like her hair for many many years? O_o It took years, and plenty of support from her boyfriend (now husband), for her to see her hair through the right glasses. She has since become a great source of natural hair info and inspiration for millions of women worldwide. Her hair story is over here.

This hair thing is a very personal journey. It is mostly rewarding with many ups, but let’s not forget there are downs too. With love and gentle encouragement, you can get another person to see the beauty in her hair.

My hair is mine, I do it for me. I know who I am. I LOVE my hair, but I don’t like it ALL the time. And in those moments, I reserve the right to complain, to feel how I want to feel.

Welp. This has been a long rambling rant. I hope you get my message. If there’s anything you don’t like about your hair, anything you find or found yourself sometimes wishing you could change (right now or in the past), feel free to share in the comments. No judgment here! 🙂

Love,

AB,

xx

P.S. For more hair rants, whining and D’OH moments, see the Hair Blues category 🙂