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This Is Why Your Skincare Routine Isn't Working

Beauty & Fashion

Why is it that many of us have our hair, nails outfit, and makeup game on point but our skincare routine is close to nonexistent? Unfortunately, many of our mothers, grandmothers and aunts instilled in us that black don't crack as they greased our faces with vaseline and sent us on our merry way!


While the rich melanin we posses does in fact cause our skin to naturally age slower, we still need to protect it! Here are ten reasons why your skincare routine or lack thereof is simply not working for you!

1. You aren't exfoliating.

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Exfoliating is the process of removing dead skin cells from the top layer of your skin. Many women simply wash their faces, then pile makeup on top of dead, dry and flaking skin. Removing dead skin is important because it makes way for newer, healthier skin to come through and gives the skin an overall more beautiful, clean appearance. As we age, our skin cells don't rejuvenate as often making it even more imperative to remove that old nasty dead skin. Exfoliating should be done anywhere from 1 to 3 times a week. Invest in a good scrub or brush and start exfoliating today!

2. You don't regularly change your pillowcases.

How often do you change your pillowcases? Do you see grease stains on your pillowcase in the morning? Sweat, dirt, grind, makeup, dead skin and bacteria all love making a pillowcase their home. If you are sleeping on a dirty pillowcase, guess where all of those things are going to. Your face! You should be changing your pillowcase at the very minimum of once a week, if not more. You should have spare pillowcases in between wash days so that you change it as needed.

3. You aren't washing your makeup off before bed.

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You absolutely have to wash your makeup off before bed every single night! Our skin absorbs what we put on it. If you are going to sleep with makeup on, it's getting under your skin. Do you ever wonder why your skin appears blotchy, you get frequent breakouts, or dark circles often? It could definitely be due to you not washing your makeup off before bed. Purchase makeup removal wipes for nights you are dead tired and can't seem to make it to the sink. For most nights however, you should be washing your makeup off thoroughly before going to bed, then applying a moisturizer.

4. You don't moisturize your skin.

Some women don't apply moisturizer because their skin is naturally oily and they don't want to appear greasy, others simply never knew that it was a necessity so never bothered with it. If your skin is oily, you still need moisturizer. Sometimes skin produces excess oil because it thinks you need it. Applying moisturizer helps to regulate the amount of oil our skin produces. If your skin is dry, your body is not producing enough oil and you need moisturizer to keep your skin soft and supple. Find a moisturizer that works best for your skin type and use it regularly, especially before your makeup application so you can have a smooth flawless finish.

5. You have never seen a dermatologist.

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When you are sick, you go to a doctor, right? When you have a toothache, you go to the dentist. You have annual exams with your gynecologist. Why don't you see a dermatologist when your skin is going haywire? Skin is the largest organ of the integumentary system. Your skin plays a major role in protecting you against loss of water and harmful pathogens in the environment, so why aren't you letting an expert assist you with it? Anytime you have a skin issue, whether it is a skin tag, discoloration, persistent acne, rash, whatever, you need to see an expert. Sometimes Google simply isn't enough. Have your doctor recommend a great dermatologist to help you tackle any skin issues you may have.

6. You have no clue what an esthetician is.

I'm guilty of this. I had no clue what an esthetician was, until I decided I wanted to go to school for skincare and became one. An esthetician is a professional who specializes in skin and skincare. Licensed estheticians give facials including; chemical peels, microdermabrasion, LED Facials, oxygen treatments and more. It is recommended to see an esthetician once a month when you are first starting off until you have a handle on your skincare routine and then as needed. Estheticians are able to expertly determine the type of skin you have and what products are needed to ensure your skin is at its absolute best.

7. You are using the wrong products.

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It's easy to run into Walgreens and grab the first facial cleanser we see but is that really what our skin needs? Everyone's skin is unique and what works for you may not work for the next person. It's important to know whether your skin is oily, dry, combination, breakout-prone, aging, etc to know what is going to work best for you.

8. You aren't extracting.

Extracting is the removal of blackheads. Blackheads can occur when dirt and oil become trapped under the skin's surface. You can purchase an actual extractor at Sally's or your local beauty store, or you can use q-tips to extract as well. Steaming your face first opens up pores for easy extractions. Never extract an actual pimple or whitehead as it could leave scarring. Only blackheads should be extracted. If you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself, see an esthetician for a facial and analysis and advise them of the areas where you are prone to blackheads.

9. You aren't drinking enough water.

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Water helps skin to maintain a healthy appearance as well as keeps skin moisturized and youthful looking. If you notice consistent dryness in your skin, it could be because you are either using products that are too harsh or drying for your skin, or not drinking enough water. If you aren't taking care of your body on the inside, there isn't much you can do on the outside that will help.

10. You are eating bad foods/drinking too much alcohol.

Alcohol is drying. If you notice that you have a lot of dryness in the space in between your eyes, it most likely is due to dehydration. Dehydration can be caused by excessive alcohol intake or lack of water intake. Limiting your alcohol usage can help your skin look and feel better. If you are eating tons of meat, junk food and processed foods you could be experiencing dull, dry breakout-prone skin. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables not only helps you to look amazing physique-wise, it also plays an important part in keeping your skin looking great! Add more fresh fruits, vegetables and water to your diet and cut back on the unnecessary foods and drinks, your skin, body and overall health will greatly benefit!

Featured image by Getty Images

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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