As I age, my interest in clean and effective skincare products continues to grow as I'm becoming more aware of my health and appearance. A few years ago, I finally discovered super affordable and easy products that would solve my overly oily skin, changing my skincare routine forever. Now that I have the basics down, my quest for radiant skin continues as I'm determined to achieve the perfect summer glow. While I love my current cocktail, I'm interested in new products that can do more to enhance my natural complexion during warmer weather.
Due to the advancements of skincare, there are countless products and tools on the market specified to help certain skin types. Not only is it important to know which products are made for you but it's also important to know the products to wear during seasonal weather changes. With so many formulas promising to revitalize and rejuvenate our skin, it can be difficult navigating which are actually worth our time and money. On the hunt for inclusive products for melanated women of all skin types, I enlisted the help of skincare expert Simedar Jackson for advice on her favorite must-haves this summer.
Simedar Jackson, NYC Aesthetician/Founder of Skinfolks
Courtesy of Simedar
An NYC-based esthetician, Simedar is the founder of Skinfolks, a service to help people of color feel seen within the world of skincare by sharing new and award-winning products while dispelling common myths within the black community.
Check out Simedar's suggested products as well as a few that I stumbled upon on my own that are lightweight and perfect for women with darker skin tones this season.
It's true the more melanin within our skin, the less likely we are to experience sunburn. But one of the biggests myths is that black people don't need sunscreen. The darker the skin, the more it protects us from sunburn, but our melanin shield doesn't protect against harmful UV rays. If enduring continuous long-term exposure to the harmful rays, then damaged skin will surely follow.
"We don't need a special sunscreen," Semidar explains, "What we need are sunscreens that cater to our skin. Bad sunscreens will leave you looking like a ghost, leaving a white cast. SPF products that include zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are for people with oily/sensitive skin by controlling oil."
Black Girl Sunscreen is gaining popularity because of its sheer application perfect for enhancing melanin. With a strong SPF 30, BGS was created for everyday use and filled with natural ingredients that will protect skin from the sun while doubling as a moisturizing lotion.
Product Recommendations for Sunscreen:
For a dewy look, everyday application.
Unseen sunscreen, Super Goop for oily skin acts like a primer.
For a cheap yet effective quality sunscreen, found at any drugstore.
As a black woman, the thought of paying for a tan seemed counterproductive until recently. As the idea became less far-fetched, I began to speak with more Black women who don't shy away from the experience of tanning or using self-tanner.
"For black women, we think tanning is only white women. A sunless tan leaves us with no burn and irritation from the sun. Black people get sun burned too, so this product creates sunkissed skin without the sun which damages the skin," Simedar explains about the Dr. Dennis Grossman Alpha Beta Glow Pad. "The self-tanning glow pads build a natural looking tan over time blending perfectly into your natural complexion. Another one of my favorite benefits is the natural, makeup free foundation or concealer acting as a replacement. I'll use gradually once a week for a smoother, glowier look."
She continues, "For a hydrating moment with a no makeup/no filter effect apply pads to head and neck applying with full coverage like foundation just below the jaw." She advises this however is not a treatment for hyperpigmentation.
Product Recommendation for Self-Tanner:
3. Pore Perfecting Cleansing Gel
The basis of every facial routine is the perfect cleanser. When it comes to removing excess oil, I prefer cleansers that are created to be soft and gentle on the skin, getting rid of dirt with ease. After applying the Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta® Pore Perfecting Cleansing Gel for the first time, I instantly knew this product was a gem.
Soft and moisturizing, the gentle gel is like no other. Simedar seconds that thought as she adds, "Pore Perfecting Cleanser is one of my favorites for everyday use and is gentle enough for sensitive skin."
Product Recommendations for Cleansers:
4. Alcohol-free Toner
This cool and calming alcohol-free toner by Revision Skincare is made with ingredients that hydrates and refreshes after cleansing. A blend of plant and algae extracts, this is a toner that won't leave your skin feeling dry or tight. Soft and gentle yet strong enough to remove excess makeup and dirt, this is one of the best toners I've tried for those with all skin types. I'll be ditching my old toner for this new favorite.
Product Recommendation for Alcohol-free Toner:
5. Moisturizing Body Bar
A soft peachy souffle, this moisturizing bar by The Body Butters was more lustrous than expected. The handmade nature of the bar adds a specialized touch to the incredible moisturizing experience. Described as a spa at your fingertips, I can attest to the sweet yet relaxing aroma instantly boosting my mood in the process. Don't forget the exfoliant glove as it completes this magical skincare treatment.
Product Recommendation for Body Bar:
6. Body Exfoliator
Natural Radiant Life's Body Exfoliator is made of a captivatingly sweet aroma, taking body therapy to a whole new level. Activated when the combined ingredients are rubbed all over your body, dead skin and toxins are gently removed while adding moisture and much-needed oxygen to your skin helping the skin look bright and plump. I can tell with consistent use, I will have healthier, softer and more radiant skin.
Product Recommendation for Body Exfoliator:
Featured image courtesy of Simedar Jackson
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.
Russell and Nina Westbrook are one of those low-key, unproblematic couples we don’t talk about enough. They met in college and got married in 2015. They also have a beautiful family with three kids. While Russell is an NBA star, Nina is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a mental health advocate.
She recently launched the podcast The Relationship Chronicles with Nina Westbrook, and in the latest episode, she had none other than her husband on as a guest. The college sweethearts dived into important topics from marriage to children and how they navigate it all.
One of the topics they touched on was dealing with resentment in your relationship. The former MVP highlighted the sacrifices his wife has had to make in order for him to pursue a career in the NBA, and that’s why it’s also important for him to support his wife whenever he can.
“For me is respecting and understanding what your partner do and the time it takes,” Russell said. “Not kind of downplaying what they do, understanding the time and energy and effort they're doing to make sure whether it’s their job or making sure home is taken care of, and understanding that, I think that is the challenge of not being resentful.”
Nina agreed and also shared her thoughts on resentment. According to her, one of the best things couples should do is have their own identity and passions outside of the relationship in an effort to be fulfilled.
“I also think that when you’re in a relationship, that’s why it’s so important that each individual kinda pursue their own passions and follow their own dreams as I feel like it only becomes or leads to resentment when one person is not feeling fulfilled in what they're doing in their lives,” she explained.
“And so, they will start to look at the other partner who’s happy or excelling or promoting or moving along in their journey, then they’re left feeling stuck like they sacrificed themselves, their happiness, their career, their future and have not pursued it in the name of the relationship or their partner. So, it’s so much easier to avoid those feelings of resentment when you’re each equally pursuing your passions.”
The couple has many passions that they work on together and separately. Outside of basketball and his family, Russell has become known for his eclectic style and started the fashion brand Honor The Gift. Nina has her podcast, and she also started the mental health website Bene. Together, they run the Why Not? Foundation, which works with kids in underserved communities.
“I’m a firm believer that one person can’t be everything to you, so you have to sort of seek out those different friendships or groups or hobbies or activities that help to fulfill you,” Nina concluded.
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Feature image by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Religion of Sports