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
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.
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.
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).
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.
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
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.
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 MistGiphy
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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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
Victoria Monét has had an incredible year. Thanks to the success of the widely popular “On My Mama” that went viral, the singer/ songwriter’s Jaguar II album debuted in the top 10 of Billboard’s Top R&B Albums chart. She also went on to headline her own sold-out tour. So, when the MTV VMAs happened in September, everyone was surprised to learn that Victoria’s team was told that it was “too early” for the “Smoke” artist to perform at the award show. However, a couple of months later, the mom of one received seven Grammy nominations, including “Best R&B Album” and “Record Of The Year.”
Victoria is currently in London and stopped by The Dotty Show on Apple Music and shared how she feels “validated” after being dismissed by the VMAs.
“It really does feel nice and validating because, in my head, the reason why I wanted to be a performer at the VMAs or award ceremonies like that is because I felt like I am at the place where I should. I would work really hard to put on the best show that I could, and I was excited to do so,” she said.
“And I guess the best way to describe it for me is like when you're like on a sports team, and the coach is like, ‘No, you gotta sit this one out.’ When they finally put you in, and then you score all these points, and it feels like that feeling. You're like, yes, I knew it wasn't tripping, but I knew I worked hard for this, and so it's been super validating to just have these accolades come after a moment like that, and I know the fans feel vindicated for me.
While her fans called the VMAs out on their decision, the “Moment” singer kept it cute and is still open to performing at the iconic award show. “I feel no ill towards them because it's just maybe that's just truly how they felt at the time, but I hope their mind has changed,” she admitted.
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Feature image by Amy Sussman/WireImage for Parkwood