ISO Skincare Is What Happens When Skincare + Self-Care Collide

We all desire to love the skin we are in but that takes inner and outer work.

I Tried It

My skincare journey has been quite interesting since I moved to the driest of climates in Colorado. I used to have extremely dry skin back when I resided in the Dirty South. Ironically, since I became a Denver transplant, my skin is now a combination of dry and oily. With the elevation and the close proximity to the sun, I also have to be mindful of getting sunburned. And while some black folks think that we don't burn, I don't like to play with danger that way.

When I had the chance to see what ISO Skincare was all about, I had no choice but to say "yes". Skincare has become so popular as of late. I love the "trend" because it promotes a glow that requires less makeup and more self-care. For ISO, it is a journey of healing from the inside, out. The journey incorporates both internal and external healing to achieve a constant state of self-love, confidence and a clear, healthy glow that will give you no choice but to love the skin you're in.

ISO Skincare founder Aniqah Iman created this line because of her own bouts with stress-induced acne. Aniqah says," I've always suffered from moderate acne, but the main issue for me was the scars the acne left behind. It weighed heavy on my confidence but I never wanted to cover up my face with makeup. I spent a lot of time out and about around the time of the makeup craze. I didn't want to give into that craze, I always wanted clear, flawless skin."

And who doesn't! We all want that Beyonce glow without having to spend that Beyonce coin. The founder told us that ISO stands for "inside out" because during her journey to achieving clear, glowing skin, she realized a lot of her acne was a reflection of what was going on in the inside. She knew she had to adapt a lifestyle that would support healthy skin from the inside, such as eating right and maintaining stress. ISO is not just skincare, it's a lifestyle. While they provide products to treat acne from the outside, they also provide lifestyle tips that treats acne from the inside.

ISO Founder Aniqah Iman and her glorious skincare transformation. images.squarespace-cdn.com

After process of elimination, Aniqah realized that her acne was caused by stress so she knew she had to adopt a more peaceful lifestyle. But she soon realized she would also need more than meditation and yoga to heal her skin issues. Knowing she was done with toxins, she delved into her background in biology to fully grasp acne on a molecular level which led her to trialing essential oils. The founder says, "I began formulating products using my self-taught knowledge to create recipes and after much tweaking and testing on myself, my skin cleared up; allowing me to gift you all with ISO Skincare: a lifestyle/skincare brand that embodies the importance of exuding self-love through self-care habits, including meditation, lifestyle changes and of course, a 100% natural skincare routine."

This boss babe sees herself in all of her customers; from the struggles to the feeling of defeat when trying to find products that actually work. So the relief they feel when her products finally help them reach their goal is unexplainable. Aniqah pours that into the formulas she creates every time by handcrafting these 100% natural products to order.

Keep reading to see my honest review of a few of the products.

Purifying 'French Green' Clay Mask

ISO Skincare

The Purifying French Green Clay Mask was designed to draw out all of the impurities from the skin while controlling oil and reducing the appearance of pores. The benefits of this mask also include clearing blemishes, toning and firming skin to naturally cleanse skin and deeply nourish skin cells. According to ISO, the Geranium essential oil gives this mask the ability to slow the growth of bacteria, relieves congested skin and has a scent that aids in balancing emotions and hormones.

I saw that this mask is recommended for combination skin types with moderate acne so I knew I needed to try it.

Writer Joce Blake/xoNecole

I loved the smell of this mask and I could immediately feel the power of the essential oils purifying my skin. I used an ELF Pore Refining Brush to apply the mask all over my face.

Detoxifying 'Bentonite' Clay Mask

ISO Skincare

The Bentonite Clay Mask is dedicated to detoxification. "This clay mask deeply cleanses pores, draws out toxins, reduces oily skin, prevents and gets rid of blackheads, reduces inflammation, reduces the appearance of acne scars, and firms and tightens skin. With the addition of peppermint essential oil, this mask also has natural antiseptic properties and aids in control of oil secretion." ISO recommends this product for oily skin types with moderate to severe acne.

My thoughts:

One word = refreshing. I loved applying this mask to my skin because it had a minty scent from the the peppermint essential oil. I felt like my face was taking long, deep breaths and it was amazing.

GLOW Nighttime Serum

ISO Skincare

Looking to achieve supple, glowing skin? Try this GLOW Nighttime Serum filled with vitamins A, C, and E; linoleic acid to promote healthy sebum production. It also contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, decreases the appearance of dark marks, and helps skin draw in and maintain moisture.

My thoughts:

After each night of applying the masks, I completed the routine with this serum. I will admit that its red hue alarmed me at first until I realized it was infused with black currant seed oil and red raspberry seed oil. I don't normally use serums before bed but I can already see the difference in my skin's tone and moisture.

Overall, I totally approve this message. The best thing about this line is its promotion of self-care because using these products forced me to step away from work and take real time for myself. It even forced me to come up with a nightly routine: apply a mask, read a book, sip some SleepyTime tea and disconnect from social media. As a result, I can also already see a change in my skin.

The founder even created a 7-Day Self-Care and Skincare Challenge including AM & PM skincare routines, water infusions geared towards healing skin, daily water guide, healing affirmations, and meditations. Aniqah adds, "Skincare is a simple form of self-care. Carving out a set time in the morning and nighttime to commit to a routine is a form of self-care that results in achieving the optimal skin health, which in turn leads to more self-love and when one sees the results of just one self-care habit, they can then implement even more self-care habits into their lives."

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

This article is in partnership with Staples.

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