I'll tell you what, if there was such a thing has high porosity skin (you know, like high porosity hair), I would have it. Whenever this time of year rolls around, it seems that, no matter what I do, my skin can't seem to get enough moisture. I can literally get out of the shower, put on some coconut oil or (my personal favorite) sweet almond oil and, two hours later, I can basically write "dry" on my arm. I did a little research into why cold weather seems to create so much dry skin drama. Apparently, it's due to a combination of humidity levels dropping outside (which causes a lack of moisture in the air) and us turning up our central air indoors (which zaps water from the environment).
Now that I know what some of the main culprits are, I decided that this is gonna be the last year that my skin has me out here lookin' like I don't know what lotion—or my preferred alternative—is. If you can relate and you too want to get your skin feeling super soft right on through Valentine's Day and beyond, here are some all-natural ways to make your skin feel like holiday season velvet (relatively speaking).
1. Get Some Omega-3 into Your System
As women, something that all of us need in our system, on a regular basis, is omega-3 fatty acids. It helps to relieve anxiety; improves eye health; reduces the risk of heart disease; fights inflammation and the risk autoimmune diseases; improves bone and joint health; soothes menstrual pain and yes, it definitely does wonders for our skin. A part of the reason why is because omega-3 fatty acids contain two different acids— docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). DHA is what keeps our brains working well while EPA provides our skin with the nutrients that it needs in order to regulate oil production while slowing down the aging process.
In order to get omega-3 into your system, you can take a daily supplement. Or, you can eat some salmon, chia seeds, spinach, anchovies or walnuts to get some of it into your body too.
2. Drink Lots of Herbal Tea
Aight. I'm gonna assume that you already know that herbal teas are good for you. Not only do they keep you hydrated but, based on the kind of herbal tea that you consume, it can do wonders for your health as well.
Since we're exploring how to keep your skin super soft this season (and the next), there are some specific teas that you should get. Rooibos tea contains antioxidants, zinc and alpha-hydroxy acids that not only keep your skin looking young, they also trigger collagen production; that can help your skin to appear soft and supple. White tea contains rejuvenating properties to slow down the breakdown of collagen and elastin. Spearmint tea has an anti-androgenic effect that reduces the production of sebum in your system so that your skin is soft without being oily or greasy. If the "softness" that you're looking for is to have an even skin texture due to less pimples or acne scars, chamomile tea has flavonoids and coumarin to reduce flare-ups and lesions. Finally, a multivitamin kind of tea is hibiscus; it's got vitamins A, B1, B2, C, zinc, natural alpha hydroxy acids, omega-3 fatty acids and iron—all of which your skin needs to look and feel its best.
3. Bathe in Warm Water (with Colloidal Oatmeal)
One skin mistake that a lot of us make during the fall and winter seasons is spending way too much time in the shower. Adding to that, we tend to opt for water temperatures that are way too hot. As far as the time limit goes, anything over a 10-15 minute shower (or bath) can start to strip the natural oils out of your skin. On the temperature tip, no matter how good "the hotter the better" may feel, lukewarm is best.
Oh, and if you're going to take a bath, make a point to put some fresh colloidal oatmeal in the water every once in a while. Oatmeal has the ability to seal in moisture while protecting your skin in the process. The properties in this type of oatmeal is also great for relieving itchiness that may stem from dry skin, eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis. You can get some colloidal oatmeal here.
4. DIY an Exfoliant Scrub
OK, so let it sink in for just a moment that every 60 seconds, your body sheds somewhere between 30,000-40,000 skin cells. Y'all, if that ain't enough of a reason to change your bedding at least once a week, what is? This also should inspire you to want to exfoliate your skin on a regular basis too.
Not only does exfoliating help to keep dead skin cells from clogging up your pores, it softens your skin, evens your skin tone, reduces pimples and acne-related scarring, brings upon the appearance of new skin cells and makes it easier for your make-up to be applied.
One way to exfoliate is to dry brush. Another way is to make your own exfoliant scrub. One of my favorite uses brown sugar as its main ingredient. You can learn how to make it by going here.
5. Create a Homemade Hyaluronic Acid Skin Serum
I'm pretty sure you've seen skincare commercials that try and get you to buy a product that contains hyaluronic acid. There is some merit to that because not only is it a type of acid that our bodies naturally produce, it also contains properties that support collagen and elastic production while also leaving your skin feeling really moisturized.
You don't have to run to any store to cop a cream, though. You can actually buy hyaluronic acid on sites like Amazon and then make your own serum at home. You can get some of the acid in powder form here. And, as far as a DIY serum goes, a really easy recipe is located right here.
6. DIY a “Lip Blend”
I don't care how much your skin glows, if your lips are all chapped, it's gonna totally kill your vibe. Since the skin that is on your lips is way more fragile, take the pampering up a notch this time of year. If chapping or feathering is what you're trying to avoid, a little honey mixed with a dab or brown sugar and olive oil will get rid of both. For extra stubborn spots, massage the solution with a damp toothbrush. Something that naturally softens lips is shea butter. You can put some shea butter on before turning in at night or use it as a base underneath your lipstick. If you want to even out the color of your lips, do this. Put two teaspoons of organic coconut oil and four fresh raspberries into a pot on low heat. Mash the berries as the oil liquefies. Take it off of the burner, let the solution cool a bit and then apply it to your lips. After about a week of doing this daily, you should see a more even and brighter-looking lips.
7. Use More Essential Oils than Perfumes
Personally, I can't tell you the last time that I bought a bottle of perfume. For the past 6-7 years or so, I've totally been hooked on essential oils; not just due to their aromatherapy benefits but because their scents tend to last longer too.
Even if you are more of a perfume or cologne kind of gal, this is still the time of year when it's a good idea to add some essential oils to your arsenal. Because they don't have alcohol in them, you won't have to worry about them drying your skin out (like perfume and cologne can); especially if you mix them with a carrier oil like jojoba, grapeseed, sweet almond, avocado or rosehip oil.
8. Turn on a Humidifier
I live in two-level home. Anyone who does knows that can automatically become irritating, heat-wise, during colder months. Why? Because heat rises which means that while it's cooler downstairs, it can almost burn up upstairs, if you're not careful. Then, if you add to that the fact that dry heat is coming out of your vents, it could totally take the moisture out of your skin. One way to remedy that is to keep your thermostat between 68-72 degrees; it's good for your skin and your electricity bills. Another is to invest in a humidifier; that will help to keep moisture in the air as you sleep. If money is tight, you can also fill up a pot of water and place it in front of one of your vents in the bedroom. For the most part, that provides the same effect as a humidifier does.
9. Invest in Some Wool Socks and Cotton Gloves
If you want to keep your feet warm this fall and winter, cotton socks ain't gonna cut it. Go with wool instead; they have a better way of insulating your feet. Also, since our feet and hands (and elbows and knees) are the parts of our body that typically lose moisture the quickest, pamper your feet at night by applying a mixture of carrot seed oil (it's got moisturizing antioxidants) and jasmine oil (it has antibacterial and anti-viral properties) and then putting a pair of wool socks on. It will "trap in the oil" so that your feet will be baby soft by morning. If you want your hands to be silky smooth too, do the same for them while you're watching your favorite television show. You'll be thrilled by how deeply the oils penetrate after about an hour or so.
10. Apply Some Frankincense and Myrrh
I know, right? Could it be more fitting that another all-natural way to keep your skin feeling great is to pick up some frankincense and myrrh oil? Not only does this sweet 'n spicy combo relieve stress and anxiety, contain analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties to bring about pain relief, act as a respiratory aid and promote sound sleep—frankincense and myrrh is also really good to your skin too. It nourishes your skin, evens out your skin tone, and has even been known to heal eczema flare-ups. No wonder the three wise men brought it as a gift to Christ. And could there be a better endorsement for a product than that…weeks out from Christmas? Exactly.
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
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'Queen Charlotte' Star Arsema Thomas Worked At The United Nations Before Landing Her Breakout Role
Actress Arsema Thomas (Arséma Adeoluwayemi Hamera) may be new to the acting scene, but the star's standout performance in Netflix's limited series Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story is already leaving a lasting impression among many.
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, a prequel to Bridgerton, follows the young queen's life as her marriage to King George of England sparks an epic love affair and a societal shift.
In the drama, Thomas portrays the role of a young Lady Agatha Danbury, a close friend and confidant of Queen Charlotte, and it also depicts Lady Danbury's journey.
The series showcases the struggles Lady Agatha Danbury experienced in her lifetime. The list includes being forced to partake in a loveless marriage to a former African king Herman Danbury, becoming a widow, and possibly losing her estate and title following her husband's death.
Since Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story debuted on Netflix earlier this month, it has dominated the streaming service's top ten charts and piqued fans' interest in the show's stars, including Thomas.
Although many may not know a lot about the Atlanta native, who goes by she/they pronouns, and how she became one of the breakout stars in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, still, with the recent promotional tour Thomas has been doing for the show, she has shared some shocking details about her life.
Thomas' revelations within the past several months include details about her educational pursuits, previous work experience, her African culture, the steps she took to prepare for her role as Lady Agatha Danbury, and many more.
Arsema On Her African Heritage
Thomas, who is Nigerian and Ethiopian, is the daughter of diplomats.
The 28-year-old's parents, consisting of an Ethiopian mother and a Nigerian father, worked in the government to improve Africa's economic development.
Due to her parents' professions, the actress moved around a lot and lived in various countries like Kenya, Benin, Comoros, Uganda, and India, which exposed her to social issues. In an interview with Teen Vogue, Thomas opened up about having conversations about politics and government at a young age.
"Dinner table conversations were about politics, about African governance. I realized that in a lot of the countries I lived in, the effects of colonialism and imperialism were so blatantly obvious. That became the driving force for what I thought I should be doing as an adult," she said.
Later Thomas would ultimately reveal that her parents' work had inspired her to become a "doctor or something" because she wanted to make them proud.
Arsema Attended Carnegie Mellon University and Yale University
Prior to pursuing acting, Thomas revealed to Shondaland that she was a college graduate.
In 2016, she received her bachelor's degree in biophysics from Carnegie Mellon University. Following her graduation, Thomas interned at a mobile health clinic and a refugee camp in Kenya for over a year.
Around the same time, the star would continue her education by getting her master's in epidemiology and health policy at Yale University. Thomas disclosed that despite the educational success that she has achieved, acting became her main priority when she realized that this is something she could envision herself doing "100 percent of the time." This decision led Thomas to relocate to Paris, South Africa, and then to London to study drama.
"I packed up everything and moved to Paris because I wanted to do acting 100 percent of the time," she stated. "It was always something I had wanted to do, [but] I didn't think I would be able to. I thought it was going to be a hobby or a thing that I'd have to suppress in myself for the rest of my life."
Thomas would land her first role in 2021 as a guest star on the television series One Touch. Shortly after, she would participate in the 2022 film Redeeming Love as the character Rebecca. The rest would be history because, around that time, Thomas would receive the life-changing role of Lady Agatha Danbury in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.
Arsema On How She Prepared for Her Role In Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story
When the opportunity for Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story came along, Thomas took various steps to transform into Lady Agatha Danbury.
The actress, who has admitted to never seeing Bridgerton in the past, told Cosmopolitan UK's Up Close series that because she wasn't familiar with the fictionalized character, she decided to find things that she thought Lady Agatha Danbury would resonate with.
It includes reading books about women by well-known female authors who have made history in their own right, creating a Spotify playlist with music that Lady Agatha Danbury could listen to, and having waist beads made for her character.
"There was a lot of stuff I needed to get into this role because the character is fictional. So I read a ton of books about women or by women, that I thought that Agatha Danbury would resonate. So I read 'Ain't I A Woman' by Bell Hooks. I read Angela Davis' autobiography. I read Assata Shakur's autobiography, 'Tar Baby' by Toni Morrison, 'Eyes Are Watching God,' and 'Vaga Bonds' by Eloghosha Osunde. I made an extensive Spotify playlist, and I got waist beads made for Agatha," she explained.
Further in the interview, Thomas mentioned that she had waist beads made for Lady Danbury and wore them throughout the filming process because it helped ground her as she portrayed the character whom she described as entirely different from who she is as a person.
"It was a Nigerian woman threading these beads, and I asked her to thread beads specifically for this character, and I wore it throughout the entirety of filming," she said. "Because it was just kind of was a physical grounding point to this woman that is really, really actually far from who I am as an individual."
Thomas shared that talking to her grandmother, who had a similar background to Lady Danbury, such as having an arranged marriage at a young age, also helped her prepped for the role.
"I also talked to my grandmother a lot. I didn't realize how similar she was to this character. Because she was also married off when she was quite young," she revealed. "It was really interesting to kind of talk to someone in my life who I've known, who’s gone through something that is essentially the stripping away of their freedom, and someone who doesn't have any resentment or harbored anger towards the situation."
Arsema Worked At The United Nations
Thomas' work experience is an interesting one. Despite interning at three different health organizations, she previously worked at United Nations Population Fund, according to her Linkedin profile.
United Nations Population Fund's site states that the organization is part of the United Nation's "sexual and reproductive health agency." The gathered information on Thomas' profile says that she was an associate for the company from 2017 to 2018.
Some of Thomas' responsibilities included conducting "policy analyses" for United Nations Population Fund's sustainability and "supporting the regional desk specialist" in the program's division.
Arsema Speaks Five Languages
On top of Thomas' overwhelmingly impressive resume, the actress also speaks five languages.
According to the African publication Bella Naija, Thomas speaks English, Amharic, Yoruba, French, and Spanish. Although Thomas hasn't publicly talked about what inspired her to become multilingual, many can assume it is because of the various locations she has lived in throughout her life and her interest in learning.
Thomas may be a rising star now, but with the facts provided above, the actress has displayed through her work ethic and drive that she can soon become a household name.
Thomas' latest work Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, is now streaming on Netflix.
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