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All-Natural Ways To Get Your Skin Ready For Spring

Beauty & Fashion

It literally seems like just yesterday that we were getting our skin ready for chilly temperatures and snow. Now we're just weeks away from chirping birds, blooming flowers and warmer weather. You know what that means, right? More heat and humidity, which means more sweat, more sebum, and more reasons to be super proactive when it comes to how we care for our skin.


The following 10 things that I'm about to share with you, 85 percent of them I can personally vouch for because they are a part of my daily regimen. The other 15 percent, after doing some thorough research and asking around for personal reviews, I'm going to add to my routine.

All of them are natural, affordable, and most importantly, super-effective. They're the kind of items that will get your skin ready for that upcoming outdoor wedding, spring vacation, or the spring fever (wink, wink) that might heat things up where your love life is concerned.

1. Sweet Almond Oil

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As far as moisturizers go, nothing is quite as sweet as sweet almond oil. The high amount of Vitamin A and E makes it the kind of oil that heals acne and removes acne scars at the same time. Also, if you're not someone who wears sunscreen (all of us should do that, by the way), it's also an oil that will help to protect your skin from damaging UV rays. Plus, the fatty acids that are in it will also soften fine lines and keep your face moist without feeling greasy.

2. Sulfur Soap

Hands down, one of the best things to happen to my complexion is sulfur soap. Sure, it somewhat smells like rotten eggs (and can sometimes come through your pores when you sweat, so you might want to wash with it at night), but because it contains properties that dry up excess sebum and exfoliates dead skin cells, it's worth that minor inconvenience. I honestly haven't seen my skin so even-looking before, so if you want to wear less foundation as the temperature gets warmer, this can get your face ready to do just that.

3. DIY Sunscreen

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While 26 out of every 100,000 Caucasian people get skin cancer, 1 in every 100,000 Black people do. Yes, thanks to our beautiful melanin, we get skin cancer less but that doesn't mean we're not at risk. Plus, too much exposure to the sun can cause our skin to age faster than we would like. That's why it's always a good idea to put some sunscreen on.

If you're looking for a commercialized brand that won't leave an icky white residue on your skin, Banana Boat SunComfort Clear UltraMist Spray SPF 50+ Sunscreen and Coppertone Defend & Care Ultra Hydrate SPF 50 Lotion Sunscreen both will fit the bill. Or, you can make some of your own with help of some coconut oil, carrot seed oil, shea butter, sweet almond oil, and a little bit of zinc oxide (you can try out a great recipe here).

4. Cucumber Juice

Cucumbers contain a lot of water, which is automatically something that our skin needs plenty of. But it's a lot more beneficial to us than that. Cucumbers contain vitamins C and K, potassium, magnesium, and fiber. It is also loaded with antioxidants that fight off free radicals (it's also the kind of food that can help to lower your blood sugar levels too).

As far as your skin goes, the properties in cucumbers can detoxify your pores, reduce dark circles and wrinkles around your eyes, and (get this), if you combine ground coffee with some cucumber juice and a tablespoon of raw honey and rub it where you see cellulite, it can reduce the appearance of it too.

The best way to get these benefits is to drink some cucumber juice. You can get a great homemade recipe for it here.

5. Kiwi Extract

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If there are two vitamins that are skin is constantly in need of, it's Vitamin C and Vitamin E; kiwi extract contains both of these. The Vitamin C in it gives us the extra collagen that we need to keep our skin plump and youthful looking. Vitamin C is also what helps to lighten dark spots and dark circles underneath our eyes. Vitamin E aids in healing damaged skin as it speeds up the production of new cells; something that naturally slows down as we age.

Where can you pick up some kiwi extract? Typically, at your local vitamin store (Amazon has a good supply of it too).

6. Tomato and Honey Mask

Some of us have only heard of bathing in tomato juice if we encountered a skunk so that it can take the stank off. But tomato juice also helps to balance our skin's pH levels, tighten pores, soothe inflammation, reduce sebum, and give our skin an all-around natural glow. If you add some honey to it, since honey is a humectant (that means it pulls moisture from the air) that contains antioxidants and antibacterial compounds that soothes skin and treats fine lines and wrinkles, you've got the perfect skin treatment!

If you're not down to soak in a tub of tomato and honey, how about making a facial mask out of 'em? It's super simple to do. Just take half of a ripe tomato and blend it until it has a puree consistency. Then add a teaspoon of raw honey to it, mix really well, and immediately apply it to your face for 15-20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with cool water (to close up your pores) and you're all set.

7. Tea Tree Oil

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If you've got a zit that you need to go away as soon as possible, you're gonna have a hard time finding something as potent as tea tree oil! Every time a blemish pops up on my face, I'll dab a little bit on at night and I promise you, it's about 70 percent gone by morning. What makes tea tree oil so effective is the terpinen-4-ol that's in it; that's a compound that increases the production of white blood cells in your body while killing bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

Tea tree oil is not only great for treating acne. It also works as a great hand sanitizer (dilute it; it's super strong), natural deodorant, and a wonderful treatment for nail fungi too.

8. Zinc Supplement

Reportedly, there are a little over one billion people on the planet who don't have enough zinc in their system. The problem with that is zinc is linked to all kinds of health benefits including strengthening our immune system, improving our memory, decreasing the risk of contracting age-related chronic diseases, boosting fertility and yes, taking care of our skin.

Skin-wise, zinc contains plenty of antioxidants, controls inflammation, helps to heal rashes and sores and, it even can decrease the amount of dandruff or itchy scalp that you might have.

The best way to take advantage of what zinc has to offer is to take a daily supplement of it. However, foods that are high in zinc include chickpeas, eggs, cashews, whole grains, and red meat.

9. Homemade Face Mist

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Something that I like to see is skin that has that dewy youthful look. One of the best ways to achieve that is to make your own facial mist. Not only does it help your skin to look sexy, but it also helps to keep it moisturized too.

If you want the kind of mist that will reduce breakouts, mix a half-cup of steeped (and cooled) green tea with four drops of tea tree essential oil and two drops of lavender oil. If you want the kind that will keep your skin looking young and fresh, mix one-half cup of organic rose water with five drops of Vitamin E oil, three drops of ylang ylang essential oil, and one teaspoon of witch hazel.

Tip: Put your mists in four-ounce glass bottles. They'll be easier to carry around that way, plus they will last longer in glass than in plastic.

10.  Creamy Make-Up

If you hate the way powder make-up feels in warm weather, you're not alone. The alternative is cream-based make-up. It blends well, doesn't cake up, is super easy to apply, and gives your skin a hydrated and dewy-like feel.

Some cool natural brands that cater to our different skin tones includes Plain Jane Beauty, Au Naturale and Gabriel Cosmetics. If you want to step out and make your own all-natural cream highlighter, I found a cool YouTube video here.

Here's to a beautiful spring (skin) season, y'all!

Featured image by Getty Images.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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