In About Face, xoNecole gets the 411 on IGers who give us #skincaregoals on a daily. Here they break down their beauty routines on the inside and out, as well as the highly coveted products that grace their shelves and their skin.
For historian and influencer Blair Imani, beauty is in the details. Because she never really had acne outside of the occasional zit, she never really saw the importance of creating a skincare routine. However, 2020 marked a change for her and the way she approached taking care of her skin. “I had to make peace with the fact that I was getting acne in my adulthood,” she recalls. “It made me step back and realize that I was not taking care of myself, and I was putting a lot of value in whether or not I had acne. Choosing to confront that insecurity and focus on recognizing my beauty despite what I’d been taught has made all the difference.”
In addition to a newly implemented skincare regimen, the Los Angeles-based creator takes care of herself through her anxiety and ADHD medications, prayer, stretching, reciting mirror affirmations, and intentional forms of self-care. She tells xoNecole, “Self-care for me has been shifting to adding more plant-based proteins to my diet and pausing before I react to things. I’ve been learning the importance of amplifying the good instead of shouting at the bad and trying to apply that in my work.”
As an author, self-expression is something Imani knows a thing or two about. In our conversation, the 28-year-old recalls leaning into makeup at the age of five. Whereas her peers had parents who stigmatized makeup, her parents fostered her freedom of creativity and self-expression through makeup. It would eventually lead to one of her most significant beauty lessons: “You can just wear lipstick. You don’t need to wear a full face of foundation and concealer to justify it.” For Imani’s biggest beauty lesson to be centered on lipstick is quite the alignment as the woman behind the best-selling book, Read This to Get Smarter, has also created a beauty line where lipstick is the star of the show.
The Blair Imani x Fempower Beauty Smarter Lip Sets launched early last month and is a collection of matte/dewy lip color duos that include bold shades, nude shades, as well as shades paired with affirmations of mirror decals. Her favorites from the collection? “For a basic [shade], it’s 'Self,' and for a statement, it’s 'Ubuntu.' But my must-have is 'Ujamaa' which is our bold scarlet red with a message about resource sharing and cooperative economics.”
Courtesy of Blair Imani
Imani shares about entering the beauty space with her own collection, “It was so aligned. It didn’t feel like a departure, it felt like a continuation of my work in a new arena.” She continued, “Turning it into a business partnership that was mutually beneficial and was helping folks to get smarter through the medium of lipstick was an obvious path forward.”
Keep scrolling for more insight into Blair Imani’s morning and night skincare routines.
Blair Imani’s A.M. Skincare Routine Looks Like…
Step One: Double Cleanse
Face Reality Skincare
Face Reality Skincare
“In the morning, I start with a double cleanse. I use Face Reality’s Ultra Gentle Cleanser first and follow that with the Face Reality L-Mandelic Face and Body Wash. I love that these are a gentle way to remove excess oil. At first, I was on the fence about washing my face twice, but it actually helps because I need different kinds of oil removal.”
Step Two: Tone
Face Reality Skincare
“I follow that with my Face Reality Calming Facial Toner, which I have in a spray bottle and spritz on my face. Sometimes I mix it with the Thayers Cucumber Facial Toner. I love how they make my skin feel refreshed and hydrated.”
Step Three: Moisturize
“I also add the Royal Tulip Moisturizing Nectar from Bloom Effects for moisture. It’s really gentle and I love how my skin feels after I’ve let it soak in.”
Step Four: Lip Care
“I make sure to put on a Smarter Lip Set even if it’s one of the sheer glosses because of the hydrating hyaluronic acid that Fempower infused into the formula. Don’t forget that lip care is part of skincare too!”
Blair Imani’s P.M. Skincare Routine
Step Five: Acne & Spot Treatment
Face Reality Skincare
Face Reality Sulfur Spot Treatment
Face Reality Skincare
“In the evening, I do my exact morning routine, but I add in two products: the Face Reality 10% Acne Med and the Face Reality Sulfur Spot Treatment. I love putting these on in the evening so that they have time to take effect while I’m sleeping. Then, I wake up and I do it all again!”
Featured image by Kaelan Barowsky, illustration by Kyra Jay
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.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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Featured image by Stephen Zeigler/Getty Images