You know it and I know it. Whether it's those cute lil' shorts that we bought on sale last fall, the swimsuit that we copped while on vacation, or the sexy strappy dress that hugs our curves in all of the right places, if there's any time of the year when we're out here showin' off the gorgeous melanin that God blessed us with the most, it's during the summer season. This means, if there's a time of year when we're also focused on making sure that our skin is as flawless as possible, it would be Memorial Day weekend (even though, this year, summer officially begins on June 20) through Labor Day weekend (even though, this year, summer official ends on September 22).
There are a ton of products on the market that claim to give you the glow that you're looking for, but if you'd prefer to take a more holistic approach, these 10 tips will have your skin looking just the way you want it to—all summer long (and beyond).
1. Eat Foods That Will Protect Your Skin from the Sun
Just like there are foods that can protect our natural-born melanin (what? You didn't know? Check out a list of those here), there are others that can actually protect our skin from the sun's damaging UV rays. Some of those include blueberries (the antioxidants fight off the sun's free radicals); tomatoes (they contain lycopene which absorbs both UVA and UVB radiation); cauliflower (it has the alpha-amino acid histidine in it which absorbs UV radiation); green tea (it contains catechins which fight sunburn inflammation); red grapes (they've got phytonutrients that help to prevent sun damage that can ultimately leads to skin cancer); dark leafy greens (they contain the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin that halt the cell growth that's related to UV damage), and watermelon (which has 40 percent more lycopene than tomatoes do!). All of these are good for you on a myriad of levels, so eat up as much as possible in the weeks to come.
2. Switch Your Soap Up
Hopefully, you're not someone who uses deodorant soap a lot (because it tends to be very drying). But just in case you are, make sure that you switch over to a more "fatty (acid) soap" (Dove is a good example) during the summer months. Not only will it help to moisturize your skin, but it will create a thin protective "film" that can keep your pores from scorching in the summer sun.
If you're into making your own soap, try and add some palm kernel oil to your recipes; it has lauric acid, myristic acid and oleic acids in it that can also protect your skin during this particular time of the year.
3. Get Dead Skin Cells Off of Your Body
If you want less acne, dull-looking skin, big pores or skin drama all the way around, exfoliating the 40,000-per-minute dead skin cells that you shed is an absolute must. While there are exfoliants that you can buy, you can also keep some coins in your pocket by making some from the comfort and convenience of your home as well. Combining some brown sugar and olive oil will certainly do the trick (feel free to watch Ebony Christina's DIY video on how to make it here). Or, if you want to try a recipe that helps to get rid of razor bumps while clearing up any skin discoloration you might have, Kaice Alea's YouTube channel has your back. You can check her recipe out here.
Boost Up Your Collagen
There's nothing sexier than creating that glistening summer glow. On the outside, bronzer can make that happen. On the inside, getting more collagen into your system is a surefire way to have your skin looking beautifully youthful. While there are collagen supplements that you can take, there are also foods that have lots of collagen already in them. Some of those include berries, garlic, bone broth, fish, chicken, carrots, bell peppers and pumpkin seeds.
5. DIY a Grapeseed Oil Toner
Skin toners are dope because they help to balance your skin's pH balance, deep clean your pores, make your pores appear smaller, hydrate your skin and they can even assist with preventing ingrown hairs. If you add a little grapeseed oil to your toner during the summer season, the oil will offer your skin cells the support that they need to repair and rejuvenate themselves, so that your skin has less fine lines or wrinkles and more of a radiant appearance.
6. Spot-Treat Pimples
I don't know about y'all but something that gets on my very last nerve during the summertime is body acne. Actually, I don't really get breakouts so much as a few pimples here or there. Still, they show up at the most inconvenient times and sometimes leave a mark that takes several weeks to go away. I'll tell you what, though, something that nips them suckers right in the bud is tea tree oil. All you've got to do is put a little of it, right on the pimples themselves, and thanks to the oil's anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, you should see a noticeable difference in how inflamed the pimple is within 12-24 hours and a much smaller zit in 48. Another thing that I like about this oil is it reduces the appearance of scarring too.
Just a heads up, if you've got sensitive skin, you might want to mix the oil with a carrier one like jojoba or sweet almond oil. Tea tree oil is super potent and if your skin is sensitive (or you've already popped the pimple), it could cause a bit of a burning effect. You want to avoid that if you can.
7. Put a Scrambled Egg on Your Face (No Joke)
If you've read the health and wellness pieces that I do often enough, you know that I try and find items that make you be like "huh?" Well, today's offering are scrambled eggs. Word on the street is if you put a scrambled egg on your face, the warmth of the egg will not only be soothing on your skin, but it will cause the protein from the egg to penetrate into your pores faster and result in smoother skin and less wrinkles. While I know it might sound crazy, when you think about the fact that egg masks exist…it's probably not as wild as you might initially think…huh? (Make sure you scramble the egg only to get the best results.)
8. Apply a Little Papaya
If you're a fan of papaya, this is the perfect time of year to cop some; that's because it's in season from early summer through the fall. On the health tip, papaya is good for you because it contains a ton of Vitamin C, along with a good amount of Vitamin A, fiber, protein, folate and potassium to help keep your heart strong, fight inflammation and yes, even protect your skin from sun damage.
But the specific reason why I chose to feature it in this article is because, if you want to have less body hair this summer, papaya is an awesome natural hair remover too. All you need to do is mix a half-teaspoon of mashed papaya with half-teaspoon of turmeric powder, rub it onto the areas of your body where you want to see less hair growth (over time) for 15 minutes before rinsing off. If you do this 2-3 times a week, the enzyme papain (that's in papaya) will start to weaken your hair follicles and hinder regrowth. How cool is that?
9. Soften Your Cracked Heels
As far as summer beauty goes, I'm not sure if there's ANYTHING worse than seeing someone with some killer sandals on while their heels looking like they've been in a fight with a flour bag for two days. One way to prevent yourself from being this kind of statistic is to take extra care of your heels. A pumice stone (to exfoliate). Some (DIY) heel balm. Honey (if you apply it to already cracked heels, it will help to heal them). Coconut oil (to fight off skin infections). Shea butter (to deep moisturize). If you've got these five things in your skincare arsenal, your heels will look just as fly as those shoes you've been waiting to rock!
10. Make Your Own “Soda”
One more. Since one of the best keys to fresh, healthy and glowing skin is water, and also since we typically lose more fluids during the summer season, of course, taking in more water is paramount. While it's recommended to drink 64 ounces (roughly eight glasses) of water everyday during most of the year, from June through September, bump that up to 100 ounces (around 12 glasses), if you can.
If you're like me and water isn't exactly your favorite thing on the planet, try making your own soda to make consuming it easier to do. I personally just get some sparkling (or even mineral) water and add either some fresh fruit or juice to it. It's refreshing, it tastes great, and I'm still able to keep me and my skin well-hydrated in the process. Here's to the best summer skin of your entire life, y'all!
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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.
How Content Creators Hey Fran Hey And Shameless Maya Embraced The Pivot
This article is in partnership with Meta Elevate.
If you’ve been on the internet at all within the past decade, chances are the names Hey Fran Hey and Shameless Maya (aka Maya Washington) have come across your screen. These content creators have touched every platform on the web, spreading joy to help women everywhere live their best lives. From Fran’s healing natural remedies to Maya’s words of wisdom, both of these content creators have built a loyal following by sharing honest, useful, and vulnerable content. But in search of a life that lends to more creativity, freedom, and space, these digital mavens have moved from their bustling big cities (New York City and Los Angeles respectively) to more remote locations, taking their popular digital brands with them.
Content Creators Hey Fran Hey and Maya Washington Talk "Embracing The Pivot"www.youtube.com
In partnership with Meta Elevate — an online learning platform that provides Black, Hispanic, and Latinx-owned businesses access to 1:1 mentoring, digital skills training, and community — xoNecole teamed up with Franscheska Medina and Maya Washington on IG live recently for a candid conversation about how they’ve embraced the pivot by changing their surroundings to ultimately bring out the best in themselves and their work. Fran, a New York City native, moved from the Big Apple to Portland, Oregon a year ago. Feeling overstimulated by the hustle and bustle of city life, Fran headed to the Pacific Northwest in search of a more easeful life.
Her cross-country move is the backdrop for her new campaign with Meta Elevate— a perfectly-timed commercial that shows how you can level up from wherever you land with the support of free resources like Meta Elevate. Similarly, Maya packed up her life in Los Angeles and moved to Sweden, where she now resides with her husband and adorable daughter. Maya’s life is much more rural and farm-like than it had been in California, but she is thriving in this peaceful new setting while finding her groove as a new mom.
While Maya is steadily building and growing her digital brand as a self-proclaimed “mom coming out of early retirement,” Fran is redefining her own professional grind. “It’s been a year since I moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon,” says Fran. “I think the season I’m in is figuring out how to stay successful while also slowing down.” A slower-paced life has unlocked so many creative possibilities and opportunities for these ladies, and our conversation with them is a well-needed reminder that your success is not tied to your location…especially with the internet at your fingertips. Tapping into a community like Meta Elevate can help Black, Hispanic, and Latinx entrepreneurs and content creators stay connected to like minds and educated on new digital skills and tools that can help scale their businesses.
During a beautiful moment in the conversation, Fran gives Maya her flowers for being an innovator in the digital space. Back when “influencing” was in its infancy and creators were just trying to find their way, Fran says Maya was way ahead of her time. “I give Maya credit for being one of the pioneers in the digital space,” Fran said. “Maya is a one-person machine, and I always tell her she really changed the game on what ads, campaigns, and videos, in general, should look like.”
When asked what advice she’d give content creators, Maya says the key is having faith even when you don’t see the results just yet. “It’s so easy to look at what is, despite you pouring your heart into this thing that may not be giving you the returns that you thought,” she says. “Still operate from a place of love and authenticity. Have faith and do the work. A lot of people are positive thinkers, but that’s the thinking part. You also have to put your faith into work and do the work.”
Fran ultimately encourages content creators and budding entrepreneurs to take full advantage of Meta Elevate’s vast offerings to educate themselves on how to build and grow their businesses online. “It took me ten years to get to the point where I’m making ads at this level,” she says. “I didn’t have those resources in 2010. I love the partnership with Meta Elevate because they’re providing these resources for free. I just think of the people that wouldn’t be able to afford that education and information otherwise. So to amplify a company like this just feels right.”
Watch the full conversation with the link above, and join the Meta Elevate community to connect with fellow businesses and creatives that are #OnTheRiseTogether.
Featured image courtesy of Shameless Maya and Hey Fran Hey
Halle Bailey Says She Appreciates That Everyone Wants To Protect Her, But She's Got This
Halle Bailey and her boyfriend of over a year, rapper DDG, are young and in love. We learned the two were dating in January 2022 after they were spotted together at Usher's residency concert in Vegas. DDG later confirmed the romance that March when he made it all IG official with a birthday shoutout to his bae. And since then, they've been seemingly inseparable, attending public events together, most recently, for the Vanity Fair Oscar party as Halle prepares for the premiere of her career-defining role in The Little Mermaid.
While there, DDG gave flowers to his bae, telling PEOPLE, "I'm very proud of her. And I'm just happy to see it. I feel like sometimes I'm even more excited than anybody else. Just seeing it and seeing everything that she dreamed of coming to life, it's really dope."
It's the support for me, m'kay?!
And listen, Halle loves her 'some him' too, showing that she pulls up for his music career by starring in the music video for his single, "If I Want You." "Everyone go watch 'if i want you' by @ddg it's out now ❣️you might see a familiar face 🤭💗," she wrote on an Instagram post. She doubled down on her support, revealing to ESSENCE that she had been "a fan" even before they met, adding to the cocktail of their romance that has captured the hearts of many by simply being two young lovebirds navigating their journey of fame, loyalty, and love for the world to see (and dissect).
Well, that was until a little drama, or ex (his), showed up on their doorstep and publicly tested whether the couple's relationship is what they say it is. And after the dust settled (and a little PR work), Halle hopped on IG Live to basically tell us what's understood between the two of them, does not--and will not--be explained. In fact, after sending comment sections into a frenzy for weeks because the culture was coming to her defense, she let us know that, yeah, she appreciates the love, but she's got this.
When speaking about the new music she's recording she said, "This music that I'm making right now, is a lot about the time, how I felt, when I was filming. I was very independent and on my own but also felt isolated and it's also about what happened when I got back home and being in love and all of that..."
"I just think it's so funny, people getting to see me, you know, being in love, in a relationship...I think because I've grown up in the public eye since I was younger, people just feel like this sort of protective energy that they feel like they have to have with me, which honestly I think is sweet, but it's funny."
Halle also wrote on Twitter in a now-deleted tweet, "the devil is working ♥️ lol please don’t feed into the lies, especially from a third party 💕✨stay blessed everyone."
In other words, it's giving 'nothing-to-see-here-but-I-ain't-the-one-and-he-knows-that-so-we're-not-even-going-to-entertain-this.' And as grateful as Halle is for the continued support she has received, she admits is in the process of setting boundaries surrounding matters outside of her craft.
She touched on the subject again, telling Yahoo!'sThe Unwind, "They still see me as that 13-year-old girl that they first discovered and I understand how if you've been supporting somebody for a long time you get invested in their personal lives," she says.
"It's definitely been a learning experience for me. And the beautiful people that have supported me and stuck with me for a very long time, can continue to support what I do publicly in my business affairs, and I really appreciate that, but everything else is my business. And I have to make that priority."
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Featured image by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic