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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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Black women are not a monolith. We all are deserving of healing and wholeness despite what we've been through, how much money we have in the bank, or what we look like. Most importantly, we are enough—even when we are not working, earning, or serving.
Welcome to Black Girl Whole, your space to find the wellness routine that aligns with you! This brand-new marketplace by xoNecole is a safe space for Black women to activate their healing, find the inspiration to rest, and receive reassurance that we are one small act away from finding our happiness.
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There have been times in my life when being strong wasn’t a choice, it was a responsibility. In the face of exhaustion and mental fatigue, still remained a looming pressure to “show up” and “just keep going.” But when you’ve gone so long on a low battery with no time to recharge, how do you have enough to give yourself, let alone the friends, family, and obligations that vie for your attention?
Resilience resentment is the resistance to the pressures of perpetually overcoming hardship. Often portrayed through tropes of “bouncing back” and the admiration of strength, the mental strain of this psychological concept is one that has emotional ramifications that go beyond the surface.
When we observe the grit and determination within a person’s journey, we can often overlook the grievances and weariness that they may experience behind closed doors.
For those who have public personas that embody their lifestyle, highlights, and achievements online, it may be difficult for outsiders to see their situations for more than what’s presented within touched-up and highly curated social profiles.
But when we pull back the layers, we soon realize that this outward portrayal of resilience is a by-product of skewed conditions within their environment.
Author Melissa Harris-Perry put it best in her book Sister Citizen through a concept called “the crooked room.” This analogy of the "crooked room" illustrate the experiences of Black women as they navigate through a society that wasn’t built for them. In this case, imagine walking into a room where the floor, walls, and ceiling are not leveled or straightened but instead crooked and slanted.
In this room, everyday tasks that would be simple in a normal space become challenging and disorienting, causing you to struggle to maintain balance and constantly feel off-kilter.
In this context, the crooked room symbolizes the societal difficulties that Black women encounter in their lives, leading to unique challenges that they are then expected to rise and excel from. Black women must navigate this crooked room, through stress, anxiety, and burnout, in spite of the structural conditions that tilted the room to begin with. All while remaining poise and not letting others see her sweat.
When we consider these nuances in their relation to the resilience of Black women in the face of these distortions, you can imagine the fatigue and frustration one might feel when they are expected to “still rise” and “boss up” in the face of obscure adversity.
When we think about how we view Black women’s resilience as a collective, there should be space to consider whether their strength is born out of default in their survival or out of the necessity to survive.
Acknowledging these complexities, we should create spaces of understanding and empathy and give Black women the space to live a life where joy and resilience coexist without bearing the burden of having to be strong at all times.
Presenting like we’re okay is a lot different from actually being okay.
But in order to shed the mask of resilience, we need judgment-free spaces and support systems to confide in when we don’t feel strong enough to be strong.
When we feel safe enough to not have to uphold perfectionism or continuous excellence, we’re then able to give our resilience a place to rest.
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