These 3 Changes To My Skincare Routine Completely Transformed My Skin

Photo courtesy of  Pixistock

Photo courtesy of Pixistock


Let me tell you about I learned that I had dry skin - I was in my freshman year of high school. I was doing the normal teen thing of doing everything that everyone else was doing, including emulating their skincare routines. My friends scrubbed their faces everyday with harsh acne products, so I did too even though I didn’t have acne. All went well, until the day I woke up with huge scabby patches on my cheeks. I’d inadvertently given myself contact dermatitis, which means that I’d dried my skin out so much that the upper layers had turned into scaly scabs. Luckily an emergency trip to the dermatologist informed me that I could heal the damage by applying lots of water and Eucerin cream to the skin until it healed, which it thankfully did.

From that point on, I began my journey to understand my skin and how to best care for it. I’ve battled dry skin all my life and I’ve gone through a mountain of products to try to combat it. While I’ve had my bouts with acne, luckily I haven’t had to deal with much of it and it’s sporadic at best.

So what did I incorporate into my skincare routine?

Step 1: Double Cleansing

Double cleansing arrived in the US from Korea a few years ago, and it’s become a really popular method. Like the name suggests, it’s basically washing your face twice - first with an oil-based cleanser, and then following up with a water-based cleanser. The theory behind double cleansing is that you need the oil-based cleanser to remove sebum and other oil-based impurities on your skin, while sweat and grime are removed with a water-based cleanser.

I only double cleanse in the evening, and the oil cleanse is also my opportunity to remove my makeup. I’m currently using the Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil but I’m exploring drugstore versions because the Josie Maran is a little pricey. After oil cleansing, I immediately follow up with my water-based cleanser - either Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser or Tatcha Deep Clean Exfoliating Cleanser (which one I use depends on the next step).

Step 2: Exfoliation

For years I dealt with random acne, and little bumps on my forehead, and I assumed that I’d always have to deal with them. Then I read a random article somewhere that noted that people with dry skin need to exfoliate more, because their skin doesn’t naturally slough off. That dead skin can get trapped in pores and cause acne. Armed with that knowledge, I started testing various exfoliating products, from scrubs to chemical exfoliants. Unfortunately most products are just too harsh for me - if I’m left with a tingle in my cheeks, I know it did too much.

After much trial and error, I’ve finally landed on the products and schedule that keeps my skin healthy and glowing, but not irritated. I alternate daily between physical and chemical exfoliation, and I use a gentle chemical exfoliant. For my physical exfoliation I use my Clarisonic Mia cleansing brush with a sensitive skin brush head, and I wash with the Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser. On chemical exfoliation days, I use Pixi Glow Tonic toner after I use my Tatcha deep cleanse cleanser. I found that using both the Clarisonic and Glow Tonic on the same night left me with irritated skin, but alternating them allows me to remove dead skin without irritation.

Step 3: Serum Instead of Moisturizer

I know what you’re thinking - “you said you have dry skin, how are you skipping moisturizer?” I know this sounds absolutely crazy, but hear me out. Refinery29 ran a story in late 2018, in which the author shared that she hadn’t used moisturizer in 2 years. Instead, she turned to exfoliating and using serum, on the advice from a dermatologist. I was already in a good exfoliating routine, so I decided to try it out, and I was surprised to see fantastic results. To end my evening skincare routine, I use Vichy Mineral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum Moisturizer, and if I need a little boost, I’ll also add a few drops of The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid Serum as well. The Vichy serum does an amazing job of leaving my skin feeling hydrated, but not greasy or heavy.

Best Skin Ever

At age 36, I think I finally have the best skin of my life, thanks to finding a great skincare regimen. I use great products but its really the combination of techniques that have yielded the best results for me. It also helps that it’s a relatively simple routine to follow, which has really helped me stay consistent.

What do you use in your skincare routine? Are you having success or looking to change it up? Let me know in the comments!

I Conquered My Fear Of Wearing A Red Lip, And Now I'm Obsessed

I got into the makeup game late. Unlike other girls who experimented with makeup in their teens, I waited until college to start wearing lipstick and mascara. My first introduction to makeup was MAC Cosmetics, which is a fave brand of many a woman of color. I remember my very first purchase - a chestnut lip liner and a beautiful bronzy brown lipstick, which I wore faithfully for years. As I got older, I experimented with different shades like plum and berry, and even a nice pink, but I was too afraid of red lipstick. Red lipstick may seem like an innocuous thing, but it carries with it numerous connotations. Ask your average Black woman, and they'll tell you that someone in their family - be it Mama, Big Mama, or Auntie - cautioned them against wearing red lipstick. In some families, red lipstick and red nail polish were reserved for "grown" women, not little girls or teenagers. For some, red lipstick was a sign that a girl was "fast" - too sexy at a young age. Others said that red lipstick was not for women of a certain skin color - I can't be sure which one, because I've heard that both light-skinned and dark-skinned women should not wear red lipstick (and who even comes up with these rules?).

I can't say that any of these so-called rules were handed down to me in-person, but I picked them up over time. No one ever said to me "you can't wear red lipstick!" but something in me felt like I shouldn't. A little voice inside me said "no, it's not for you!" and I didn't have the strength or desire to drown it out. I'd see the magazine spreads proclaiming that red lips were in, but I never thought I could pull it off. Browns, plums, pinks - they were all safe and expected, easy to wear with no stress and no fuss.

Overcoming My Fear

I can't say there was a moment or event that caused me to tackle my fear of a red lip. I suppose it was a gradual change, that started as I also started to embrace and love more of myself. That started when LM came into my life - his love and admiration of me has rubbed off on me. I've become more bold in my fashion choices, and my overall outlook is changed. I feel better and that translates into how I look, and I take more care into my appearance. All that coupled together has given me confidence to try new things...including a red lip.

I took the plunge during a makeover at Sephora. I was having my face done for my bridal shower, and I wanted to try a lip color that I could wear for my wedding. On a whim, I told the makeup artist about how I'd always wanted to wear a red lip, but I was worried I couldn't pull it off. He listened, studied my face, and walked away. He returned with a YSL glossy stain and carefully applied it to my lips. I turned to look at myself in the mirror, and I immediately loved what I saw. I was wearing a red lip, and it looked great! I had done it! I decided to buy it and use it as my lip color for my wedding, and the compliments I received at my bridal shower confirmed my purchase. I loved wearing the YSL glossy stain on my wedding day - it held up through photos, kisses, and even the delicious food and drinks at our cocktail hour. I only needed to reapply once through the entire night!

Clinique Chubby Stick Chunkiest Chili

After that first taste of a red lip, I was hooked. I started making more frequent trips to Sephora, to try new products and different shades of red. My next purchase was the Clinique Chubby Stick Intense Moisturizing Lip Color Balm in Chunkiest Chili.  Its listed as a brown red, but I don't see the brown in the color. Normally lip balms are more sheer, but I love how pigmented this chubby stick is. I started wearing this color everywhere, especially because it provides much-needed moisture for the lips.  Around the same time, I also received my Sephora birthday gift, which was two NARS lip pencils, a satin rosy pink, and a velvet matte in Cruella, which is a scarlet red. Now this was a red lip! Bold, bright, and matte! I loved how the satin lip pencil wore, so I also picked up one in Majella, a garnet red with plenty of shine. This was my absolute favorite to wear, and I wore it faithfully every day. I remember the first time I wore it to the office - I felt so bold!

NARS Satin Lip Pencil Majella

My current favorite red lip color is Le Marc Lip Creme in So Rouge, which was the gift in the Sephora VIB Rouge 2015 welcome kit. BTW, I hit VIB Rouge at the end of 2015 - yay! I did not expect to love this color so much, but it's so vibrant and wears so beautifully, you can't help but love it. It's so gorgeous that I have to make myself alternate it with the YSL glossy stain and the NARS satin lip pencil.

Le Marc Lip Creme

It's been a little over a year since I decided to be bold, and finally try a red lip. Verdict? I'm so happy I did it. It's given my confidence a major boost, and I see now why so many women say that wearing a bold red lip makes them feel powerful. I never thought that a lip color could affect your mood and your confidence level, but I'm now a believer. Since I've started wearing red lipstick, I've added several to my collection and I wear a red lip almost everyday. How's that for conquering a fear?

Do you wear red lipstick? What's your fave?