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. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Many have wondered if one time is ever enough to see Queen Bey. Some argue yes. However, many of us on the opposite end of the spectrum, including myself, would disagree. Beyoncé's "Renaissance World Tour" is a universal yet varying experience for everyone who attends. In the words of Oprah Winfrey, the concert is "transcendent." For millennials, we have over two decades of her catalog that has served as the soundtrack for many of our lives and painted a personal portrait of our most coveted thoughts. Her music provides mental clarity and self-expression by serving as a universal language that has united fans from all walks of life through community, fashion, self-acceptance, and healing.
With a multi-layered approach to her artistry, just as she did on that winter day in December 2013 with the infamous digital drop of her self-titled album, she changed the game again on February 1, 2023, when she announced her world tour in support of Renaissance, her seventh studio album. Her cultural impact set the internet ablaze, with everyone trying to gather their coins, barter for presale codes, and figure out which cities to attend. The group chats were lit, and the Beyhive was stressed trying to get their hands on tickets.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
Unfortunately, I was in that number. As the concert dates passed by and the one in my city drawing near all roads led to disappointment. With time ticking on the day of the Miami show and less than two hours to spare, my wallet bit the bullet, and I purchased three last-minute tickets, costing roughly $700.00 a piece (including fees) for me, my 9-year-old and 16-year-old nieces in Section 121 at the Hard Rock Stadium. With 10 minutes before showtime, we eagerly awaited the Queen to take the stage. A sea of metallic fringes, cowboy hats, disco fans, and western boots were in full effect and filled the entire stadium.
As the lights dimmed, a flood of emotions instantly overtook my body. It continued with each note she belted, along with nearly 50,000 roaring fans. The reverberating sound of the music through the stadium transported me from one era of my life to the next. As a teen girl in her bedroom daydreaming about her first love to blossoming into an unapologetic Black woman who is still on a road of self-discovery while learning to lean into the power anthem of "You won't break my soul." For over two hours, and with each set, I felt joy, love, peace, and a commanderie with fellow concertgoers. It was therapeutic as I danced like no one was watching and sang as if I were alone in my bathroom mirror.
There were no bars held, and I realized at that moment, "Nobody can judge me but me." The "Renaissance World Tour" proved to be so vast, and my Black girl joy was re-invigorated. It was magnetic and liberating, and I had to attend again, but this time, I needed to be up close and personal; I needed to be on the floor. In the days that passed, I watched more social media clips in different cities and asked myself if I would really splurge again to attend another Renaissance show.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
After all, this would be my thirteenth time (maybe more because I lost count) seeing Beyoncé live, whether she was on tour with Destiny's Child, as a solo artist, or doing a live appearance. I contemplated for a while, but it worked itself out on its own. I was gifted two tickets and the next thing I knew, I was off to LA to attend another Renaissance show with floor seats at SoFi Stadium during Beyonce's 42nd birthday weekend! This time, things were different: no kids were allowed. It was adults only this go round.
Although the energy at the Miami and Los Angeles shows was empowering, infectious, and a celebration of life, happiness, and identity, they each provided their own unique experience. However, both concerts were what I needed for my well-being, leaving me with sore feet from dancing the night away, on vocal rest for the next few days from screaming at the top of my lungs, and on an indefinite high on life.
My introduction and love for Beyoncé began in 1996, while my older sister lived in Houston, TX, right before Bey hit the scene in 1998 with "No, No, No" as a budding R&B member. Her evolution twenty-seven years later as an international superstar and into womanhood has been an incredible journey to witness. As Mrs. Carter reminds each of us in the audience every night before the curtain closes, "I want you to remember this moment, where you're standing, who you came with, and take it with you. I hope you feel inspired."
I truly felt inspired, so thank you, Queen Bey. You awakened my inner child, and I will definitely remember these moments and take them with me.
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Feature image by Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood