A Nightly Winter Skincare Routine (That Has Saved My Face)

I used to find my face so inconvenient. It scars easily, it’s too dark to some, I get pimples in crazy places, and hair removal makes it explode into an atlas of bumps. There was nothing great to me about my own personal flesh suit, so for years I just avoided it all together. You might be wondering, How can you ignore your face? Well, for me that meant never taking the time to nurture it. Beyond slathering on lotion I mostly worked around acknowledging how my body was doing, especially on the surface.

In 2017 I decided to recommit earnestly to my own mental health, self-care, and wellness through therapy first, but then it began to bleed into other aspects of my life. Now, I’m in a place where I don’t see my face and skin as an inconvenience, but a monument to who I come from. It’s all mine and mine alone, which makes it more precious than gold. I began to experiment with all manner of skincare essentials from oil cleansing (good in moderation for me) to a knock-off Clarisonic exfoliator (too harsh on my skin). Along the way I’ve picked up some really good habits and products that have helped me to see the fun in loving my face.

facial massage GIF
Refinery29

Today I want to share what products I’m using this winter to aid in keeping me looking fresh. I live in California where it isn’t nearly as cold as other parts of the country, but I’m still battling the dryness that accompanies a drop in temperature. As someone with naturally dry and sensitive skin, these products are helping to keep me from fully transforming into a mummy. I currently do this routine at night only, and so far it has helped to keep me hydrated a full 24 hours. The best part? Each product is under $50, and some under $20.

The details are below!

 

Target

First up is the bliss  in the honey mask. After a good cleansing with my generic face wash I will apply a quarter-sized amount of this yummy smelling goo all over my face and onto my neck. I let it sit for about 20 minutes, then wash it off with warm water.  This mask is hypoallergenic (great for my sensitive skin parts), phthalate free, paraben free and cruelty free, so I feel much better about myself in addition to getting skin like butter.

Amazon

I don’t think I’m ever going to stop singing the praises of rose water. I’ve written about my obsession before {here} when it comes to using it on my hair, but I’ve since learned that rose water also works great as a toner! After I’ve rinsed off the majority of the honey mask, I spray my face and neck with rose water, let it sit for a few minutes then jump to the next step. It makes me feel like I’ve just rolled in a field of (thornless) flowers.

 

Sephora

The Belif Moisturizing Eye Bomb  was part of a splurge I gave myself at Christmas, and I am so glad I did it. I had been in the market for a good eye cream for quite some time, because I am not exactly gentle with my peepers. I rub them, strain them, and have all around neglected the skin under my eyes for too long. I’m predisposed to saggy and dark eyes, yet I wanted to help them look their absolute best. This product has helped me tremendously. After the rose water has settled I will use my pinky finger to apply a small dab of the product under each eye. Then, I gently massage it in, mindful not to get it into my eye, which I did once and instantly regretted! All in all, I love this little bomb of power.

Sephora

Last, but not least, in my nightly routine is the Belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb. This product is the truth and the way for my prolonged facial hydration. At first, I was slathering it all over, but now I’ve learned that a little goes a long way. You truly don’t need much to reap the benefits of this moisturizer. After I’ve applied the eye cream and let it sit for a minute or two I will then apply a quarter-sized dollop of moisturizer to my face and neck. I again let it sit for a few minutes before I head to bed.

 

There’s one other secret weapon I only use after a particularly drying day – like after a hike or a flight:

Sephora

The Aqua Bomb Sleeping Mask from Belif is a great alternative when you’ve put your face through the ringer. I use it in lieu of the moisturizer after a particularly rough day. All I do is skip the moisturizer, apply a very thin layer to my face and neck, go to bed, then wash it away in the morning. I have to admit I was worried about my sheets, but it didn’t create any lasting damage. If you keep the layer light the effect will be the same as applying the moisturizer

 

facial harvey beaks GIF by Nickelodeon
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That’s it for today, kids! Enjoy your week and moisturize!

 

This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. 

My Super Simple Tips for Saving Dry Hair

Having dreadlocks has been, without a doubt, a wonderful experience. I can wake up and go, I don’t have to do much maintenance beyond a monthly re-twist and weekly washing, and I stand out in a crowd rather than blending in. Most importantly, I feel like me with my hair this way. Yet, for all of the ease, I’m learning that I can’t just leave my hair totally to it’s own devices without suffering some consequences. I have naturally dry hair and skin, so without some TLC my strands are left brittle and fragile. You might be thinking that with dreadlocks that doesn’t matter, but if my hair is weak the locs become weak and can break.  Today I want to share the habits I’ve picked up to keep my locs and scalp strong. The best part? These tips can work for any kind of hair – especially if you struggle with dry hair.

Don’t wash every day

Tea Tree Oil Shampoo Compare to Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo 33.8 oz.
Sally Beauty

Shampoos are naturally drying, but if you keep your washing to a minimum you’ll reap the benefits without destroying your hair.  I really like to use this generic version of the Paul Mitchell tea tree shampoo, because tea tree oil is great for soothing the skin as well as aiding in the fight against dandruff. With this shampoo my scalp and locs stay fresh after one wash per week.

Keep it gunk-free

Bragg® Organic Apple Cider Vinegar - 32 fl oz - image 1 of 1
Target

If I have gone too long without a wash, or find that I’ve used too much shampoo and my scalp looks gross, I’ll turn to apple cider vinegar (ACV) for an extra kick. Apple cider vinegar is a real cure-all for the hair: it balances pH levels, fights dandruff, and pulls buildup clear from your strands. I mix 1/2 cup ACV to 2 cups water and apply it directly to my scalp. I massage it through, then rinse it out. It does a great job of clearing the excess away and leaves my hair looking shiny and strong.

Moisturize those strands

Image result for rose water
Amazon

I may have cut out the over-washing, but I still have to make sure my hair is getting proper hydration without being dunked in a bucket. My alternative? Rose water! It’s pretty hot right now, and for good reason – rose water is soothing, balancing and great for adding shine. I’ve even taken to spritzing my face with it first thing in the morning to tone. It’s currently my favorite body product.

Oil is your friend!

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Amazon

This one is a big one, so don’t skip it! When you suffer from dry scalp it’s really important to use the right kinds of moisture sealants. You don’t want to cake your head with things that are going to block out moisture and dehydrate your precious skin. I like to use jojoba oil, because it mimics the oil our scalp naturally produces, called sebum. After I spritz my scalp and strands with rose water, I will seal in the moisture with the jojoba oil. I apply a few drops all over my finger tips and massage it along my head and hair. It’s really made a difference in my overall hair health.

Leave it alone and watch it sprout

Admittedly, this is the hardest one for me to abide by. I have terminal hand-in – hair syndrome. I’m always playing with my hair, pulling it up, and twisting it about. Even with my locs it’s so important to just let it be to see results. Instead of retwisting my roots religiously, I now leave it be until it’s been about six weeks. Then, I will do a gentle retwist on my roots with just water and jojoba oil. Thankfully, my hair has thickened out because of this. Constant hairstyling, heat, or tight ponytails and buns will eventually lead to breakage or traction alopecia. So, if you want to watch your hair soar, you’ve got to sit back and trust the process.

What are you using to take care of your locs? Let me know in the comments!

girl hair flip GIF by Shalita Grant
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Redefining Beauty In Order To Heal

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.

– Confucius

I’m drawn to pretty things like a shallow moth to a flame. Sunsets, shoes, dresses, Chris Pine –  we’ve all got our weaknesses, and things that sparkle are definitely mine. I often get lost in thought when I come across something that pleases my eye, and forget where I am or what I was supposed to be doing. I’ve offended plenty of people by zoning out over a pair of impressive earrings. My obsession is equal parts nature and nurture, as my parents regularly showered me with dolls in shiny dresses with matching houses and toy cars. In that regard, I am virtually blameless for my shallow nature, right?

I used to have a very narrow mindset about beauty. It was so narrow that I didn’t even fit into it. For things to be beautiful they had to be perfect, stainless, balanced and bright, just like the dolls I loved so much.  A thing had to be wholly good to be worthy of such an esteemed acknowledgement.  I aspired to be like the things I considered perfect, and I was disappointed time and again when I inevitable fell short. Beauty became something intangible for a young woman like me, so I settled for

The thing is, now that I’ve grown emotionally, what I consider beautiful has shifted. When I started down the path towards deliberate, dedicated healing I was finally able to shift ever so slightly toward a new definition of beauty that  made room for more.The shift wasn’t easy by any means. It required a lot of analysis of how culture shapes beauty ideals, confronting my own self-loathing, and TONS of therapy. Most importantly, it required that I take the time to rediscover the great things about myself. It’s been proven to me time and time again that self-love bleeds out into the world if we make it a priority.

These days I’m still drawn to all that glitters, but it doesn’t just have to be gold. As I grow to love myself, I’m learning how beautiful imperfections can be be. Now I know we don’t have to be delicate to be beautiful. We don’t have to be flawless, or look a certain way, or wear certain things. To me, the most beautiful thing in the world is a person embracing their freedom to be.

What makes you feel beautiful these days?

Chippy the Dog GIF

 

 

Self-Care Mood: Olivia Care French Rose Oil

The older I get, the more I want to smell like a retiree lounging on a deck drinking coffee. The kind of ladies who read romance novels, watch Wheel of Fortune and make pork chops for lunch. Basically, I’m slowly transforming myself into my grandmothers and their ilk. That was the most glamorous lifestyle to me as a young girl, one full of good stories and even better smells. They all seemed to float through a hazy mixture of roses, baby powder, and cigarettes, which to my young nose meant culture.

These days I’m avidly against cigarettes and not a huge fan of traipsing around in a cloud of baby powder like I did when I was a kid, but their love of roses has made a permanent mark on my life. I vividly remember sampling perfumes in my grandmother’s room, moving from beautiful bottle to bottle dousing my skin in the fragrant waters. I so loved the rose-scented options that now the only perfumes I like carry similar floral notes. I’ve written before about the power of scent and I believe aromatherapy is one of the best forms of self-care.

valentines day perfume GIF by MSLK Design
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Enter today’s product: French Rose body oil from Olivia Care.

Olivia Care

I bought this for myself last Christmas when I should have been looking solely for gifts to my family (oops). After sneaking a peak at the little roses and stealing a sniff I knew I had to add it to my self-care arsenal. I do my best to avoid buying things to make myself feel better, instead opting for activities that feel healing, but a product here or there feels right to me, too. This is especially true for this oil. I add it to a bath after a long day to relax, apply it over my shea butter on my body for a perfumed effect, and have recently taken to rubbing just a tiny dollop of it onto my locs for a little perfume. The scent isn’t so heavy that it’s overpowering, yet it sticks to my skin and hair without fading immediately.

The best part about this oil is that it has lasted me almost a year. Just a few drops here or there have made a world of difference in my ability to disconnect from stress and breathe. I highly recommend it or any scented oil if you are looking for new ways to give your mind a rest without breaking your bank account.

What have you been using to relax these days? Let me know in the comments!

ZIIP Beauty Nano Device: Is It For You?

by Jesse Kadjo

I am a certified skincare junkie. I have suffered from chronic acne since I was 13, which immediately sends you on a quest for relief. After trying every acne and skincare product Walgreens had to offer, I graduated to the good stuff. I tried Biologique Recherche’s famed P50 Lotion after reading about it on Into the Gloss. It improved my skin texture by reducing the number of pimples I got. But I still had skin that was extremely oily in the day and dry in the night. I started experimenting with Korean Skincare after going down a YouTube hole of videos from K-Beauty maven, Gothamista. The combination of both a K-Beauty cleanser, essence and serums, along with the P50 has really regulated my skin on a more long-term basis. I still get hormonal acne but much less than before and less acne during the rest of the month.

Image result for P50 racked.com
via Racked

Now at 30, going on 31, my major skin concerns are hyperpigmentation. As with many dark skin women, I have acne scars that take a long time to fade away. I’ve tried creams with hydroquinone to good results, but you can only use it for 3 months in a row before it starts to darken your skin. So that was a bust. I’ve used Vitamin C and still do for all it’s antioxidant properties. It has worked to give my skin better overall clarity but does not fade the scars at a rate that I would like. In comes the ZIIP.

The ZIIP is a nano current device designed by celebrity electrical aesthetician Melanie Simon, that sends waves of electrical currents into your skin to address different skin needs. The device is a small and handheld, looks like a computer mouse and has two positive and negative charged discs on the bottom. It syncs up to an app which offers seven different “electrical cocktail” treatments. It comes with a gel that you put all over your face and allows the currents to be delivered to your skin. My favorite programs are Total Clearing for acne, Pigment Treatment for hyperpigmentation and Instant Gratification for exactly what it says, instantly plumped and brightened skin.

ZIIP
via ZIIP Beauty

At $499, the ZIIP is not cheap. But does it work?

I should start by saying I think it takes 60 to 90 days to see lasting results from any product. That being said, first impressions can be powerful and if you see something at the start, it will likely get better with time. The first night I tried this, I slathered the gel on my face, opened the app and synced the device to the Total Clearing Program. Each program comes with a step-by-step video that is easy to follow along. Initially I felt nothing, but then felt a sting. Melanie Simon says the sting is the electricity killing the bacteria. When there is no bacteria left, you feel nothing. The sting feels satisfying, in the way that extracting a pimple does. I went IN and did a Pigment program and the Instant Gratification. When I was done, my skin was super soft – baby soft – softer than it had been in a while. It was glorious.

After only 7 days, I can say this: I still have the same hyperpigmentation and I just got 2 huge pimples ( period is on it’s way). This was to be expected as it takes 30 days for my skin to turn over and longer for the spots to fade. However, in terms of instant gratification, the texture of my skin has improved, it looks brighter and my makeup goes on smoother and looks better longer.

So do I recommend it? Yes, but with an asterisk. Taking time out of your day to care for yourself is important. If you can do so with a state of the art device that gives you professional results over time, even better. If this is not within your budget, get yourself on a good skincare regimen in line with what you can afford. Skincare is not about getting every new product or treatment.  It’s about using the right products for your skin type with diligent and consistent use. No one serum or device can give you great skin. It takes a good diet, good skincare and above all, sleep to truly get that glow.

 

Jesse Kadjo is an activist and writer living in Oakland. You can follow her healthy life journey on her food blog thechocolatemousse.com or Instagram and Twitter @JesseKadjo

Shea Butter For The (Skincare) Win

I had chronically, tragically dry skin as a kid. It never mattered how much lotion I would slather on, by the time mid-day rolled around I looked like a chimney sweep. And, oh did the kids in school let me know it! I’m still on my way to healing from the trauma of looking like no one loved me enough to grease up my elbows, but today my woes when it comes to dry skin have been remedied thanks to shea butter!

Chances are you’ve heard of this stuff whether it be in connection to hair routines or moisture, as everyone seems to be enamored with the butter – and for good reason. Shea butter can be whipped and mixed with other oils to produce delectable concoctions which lock in moisture and rejuvenate the skin. I personally love to mix shea butter with warm coconut oil, and a few drops of one of my favorite essential oils and apply it all over before bed. In the morning, it’s like I have a new layer of ash-free skin. It seems like this miracle cream is too good to be true, but with a little investigation I’ve discovered it’s the real deal. Let’s dive in!

History

Shea butter hails from across the West African coast, along the Saraha and into Eastern Africa. The shea tree that the compound is derived from thrives within the dry climate. According to the Journal of Ethnobiologyshea butter has been created from the harvested nuts of the shea tree starting as far back as 100 B.C.E. During the excavation of a site in Burkina Faso in West Africa, a team of archaeologists discovered shells from the shea nut, and realized the practice of making the butter predates the previous belief that it began in 1100 C.E. That’s a long time to perfect the art of shea butter! The process is still carried out quite similarly to the past, and includes the aid of the entire household.

How is it made?

The process is very time-intensive and requires the involvement of the entire household, or a team. In this lovely video from Hamamat, you can watch the different stages of extracting, cooking, and forming shea butter from the nuts of the shea tree by the people who know it best. It’s quite interesting!

 

What does it do?

If you’re struggling with dry skin like I do, shea butter is a great alternative to traditional lotions or oils. It locks in moisture, softens rough patches, and I have experienced it clear up irritated spots. She butter can be applied to the skin of the body, your hair and face to fight dryness as well as the weakening of hair shafts. I do warn that it does not easily wash out of hair, so if you have dreadlocks like me it’s not a good option for the hair. In loose hair it works wonders. What’s great about the product is how long it can last. A little goes a long way, so you could potentially keep a jar of it for months to years without it spoiling.

 

There you have it! Have you tried shea butter? What oils or butters do you use to take care of your skin? Let me know in the comments!

Back to the Beginning: My Natural Hair Journey

 

Bald head scallywag/ aint got no hair in the back/ gelled up, weaved up/ your hair is messed up!”

These lyrics from “Chickenhead” by Project Pat haunted me as a teenager when I first heard them. I felt personally attacked by the imagery of a black woman with rough hair being ridiculed, because I had often looked at my own limp relaxed hair (that never seemed to grow beyond my ears )with resignation. It was so sparse that you could almost always see my scalp – I felt like I had one strand per square inch! For years I felt like relaxers weren’t working for me. Not only was the process painful, but the results left my crown looking like a mound of wet noodles. I usually ran around in box braids during the summer and for sports, but even those weren’t all they were cracked up to be. After hours sitting between a stylists’ legs, powerless as my edges were demolished, I was ready to run away from home. Nothing we did to my hair made me feel like I was me . I always felt like I was occupying a costume of what a young lady should look like.

My limp relaxed hair in middle school

So, when I heard those hateful – and admittedly hilarious – lyrics I felt like the jig was up. It was pure serendipity that India Arie came onto the scene not long after I began searching for new examples of what black hair could be. She was so vibrant and joyful in her “Video” music video that I became obsessed. I wanted to look and feel just as free as she appeared. Goapele came out with “Closer” around the same time, and her locs absolutely captured my heart as well. Those two women were joined by images of Lauren Hill, Whoopi Goldberg, and my cool aunt Gidget who had her own set of locs. Their beauty made me feel so excited about my hair’s potential that nothing could sway me from dreads.

My first set of locs after two years

My parents didn’t take much convincing when I told them I wanted to have dreadlocks, which I am so thankful for. After speaking with a hairstylist, my mom learned that I would have to grow out my relaxer to start the locs. We started transitioning my hair before we even had the terminology for it! I braved the box braids situation all through my senior year of high school until I had enough growth to cut off the relaxer and start my little locs. I remember being so enamored with the nubs when they were formed in 2005 that I couldn’t pass a mirror without gawking.

I went off to college feeling like the best version of myself and my locs truly flourished. I played with color, curled them and tried different updos in ways I never could have with my relaxed hair. The only time I encountered any push back against my hair was during a meeting with a woman in a corporate setting. This was my junior year, and I had to interview her about company policies for my class. Everything went well until the end when she suggested I needed to change my hair if I wanted to be taken seriously. I was struggling with depression at the time, so her comment – regardless of her intentions – struck me right in the gut. A few months later, while feeling worse and worse about myself, I went to a barber to have my hair shaved off. That moment was so painful that I vowed to never have locs again.

In the years following, I relaxed my hair in an attempt to look “normal”, but I felt just as uncomfortable and sad as ever. Instead, I decided to wear my hair in different ways to see what felt like me, such as a fro, a close crop, then braids, but nothing could compete with feeling ropes of my own hair floating free in the wind. So, it was only natural that I broke my vow and drifted back to the style that had made me so happy in the beginning of my journey.

My second set of locs, after being dyed

I put my second set of locs in on my own, thanks to several Youtube videos and articles on natural hair forums. Instead of worrying what others thought, I was devoted to having more fun with my hair. So, I grew my twists into locs, then dyed them a bright pink that rivaled cotton candy. I was so in love with how I looked and how free I felt. Sadly, those locs were so damaged after the bleach and dye that they had to be cut off once again. Yet, I didn’t feel the same at the time as I did with the loss of my first set. This time, I felt at peace with the decision to move forward. It was finally on my own terms, rather than being steeped in fear.

 

Before starting this current (and definitely permanent) set of locs on Christmas Eve in 2014, I came to terms with three lessons I’d been avoiding. I wanted to really commit to healthy hair, and these three realizations have helped me to push forward:

  1. Locs are all about acceptance. Not everyone is going to like them, and I had to accept that. I had to accept that my hair would do its own thing and I had to be at peace with the loss of control.
  2. I had to abandon the old habits of care. No more harsh chemicals, or waxes, no more going to bed without covering, and at least for now there is no more dye. I want to see how strong they can be with proper care.
  3. Whether I realized it or not, my hair is tied to my mental health. This isn’t true for everyone, nor do I think it’s wrong or right, but it’s the way it is for me. When I’m taking care of my hair I feel better, I feel strong, I feel nice and that’s alright. I know that hair will grow back and its just dead cells on my scalp, but I also feel the most me with my locs.
Me now, happy with what I’ve got

The tendrils on my head twist and bend in ways that are unique to every experience I’ve had with them like going on gator tours, volunteering in Haiti, and getting married. Every moment of joy, as well as bouts of sorrow, are weaved into my crown in a beautifully individualized manner. I don’t think there’s one way to look or be that everyone needs to follow. The beauty of our hair is that it’s strong enough to withstand journeys back home to who we want to be. I’m happy now that I’ve come back to myself in a big way and I hope others will find that kind of happiness, too. I can’t wait to share the process as I go.

Thank you for reading! Stay strong out there!

 

Noto Botanics: The Gender-Fluid Cure To My Self-Care Slump

Anyone out there as addicted to Pinterest as I am? I could scroll through the outfits, inspirational quotes, and art for days – which I’ve done on more than one night when I should have been planning posts! I regularly find myself tumbling down rabbit holes of information, discovering people or concepts that the omniscient Universe just knew would keep me distracted for hours. I floated through my “Hair” board on the site, looking for a little encouragement to keep on with my growing my locs, when I stumbled onto the face of Gloria Noto. It was an old article on Refinery29 about cool hairstyles in LA and her face popped out to me immediately. So, being the internet sleuth that I am, I consulted my partner in crime (Google), to find out more about the captivating character. As always, what I “discovered” was exactly what I needed.

Image result for gloria noto
Image via notobotanics.com

 

Gloria Noto is a makeup artist and business woman who founded Noto Botanics to cater to people with a desire for products that are glam without being harmful. The products are multi-use, i.e. oils you can use on hair, face, and body and good for customers across the board. I’m aesthetically drawn to the clean, crisp packaging, but more so enraptured with the glorious mix of oils and herbs designed to take you to the spa with every use. I’ve always struggled with dry skin, so a big part of my beauty routine is the application of oils, butters, and hydrating serums in order to ease my ashy woes. I’ve found myself in a bit of a slump lately, as my routine seems to have plateaued leaving my skin wanting something different. After being on the hunt for something I can use on my face and hair, Noto is a godsend.

Deep Serum
Deep Serum Image via notobotanics.com

 

I’m looking forward to giving Noto Botanics a try, because stagnation in routines – particularly the self-care variety – seems to lead to abandonment, which I have no desire to do. Even better? Gloria shared with V Magazine that Noto Botanics raised 15k for organizations such as Planned Parenthood and LGBTQ Center of LA. I’m all for a company that is concerned with the exterior and interior betterment of the community.

I’ll keep you updated on the magic as I move forward! What products are you looking forward to trying? What do you do for your beauty routine? Hit me in the comments with your suggestions!

Beautycon Is The Event I Didn’t Know I Needed

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I used to have a seriously sketchy relationship with makeup. I’m talking never wearing it (not a bad thing) unless one of my friends slathered it on me in a shade too light for my skin. I once put blush on so harshly that I looked like Chris Farley after getting hit by a 2×4 in Tommy Boy. Real talk.

So….. I stayed away from the brushes and palettes.

It wasn’t just the struggle of makeup that kept me from doing anything considered really feminine: I didn’t think I was pretty enough to be “girly”. From the very beginning we’re inundated with images of beauty that are light years away from what I see in the mirror; it’s all about being tall, thin, white or lighter in complexion and definitely fine-featured. Add on top of that the positively LOVELY tendency of some folks to tell me I look like a guy, and you’ve got an adorable complex. So, when I did wear makeup, it was to hide or reduce the features that set tongues wagging in ridicule.

It’s taken a long time, but I’m unwinding all that programming and replacing it with the knowledge that beauty isn’t about what you put on your face or body – it’s all about what you radiate from within. I’ve learned a few things along the path of life that make looking in the mirror a joy rather than a nightmare:

A) The way others see me isn’t really about me. They’ve been shaped by the same beauty standards as I have, and some people will never shake that.  

B) Calling myself ugly isn’t just a diss to me, it’s a diss to the people I come from, and they surely don’t deserve nastiness. 

C) Loving myself is my right. Plus, it gives other people permission to love themselves, especially if they look like me. 

Now, I can look at makeup and beauty routines as fun, rather than necessary to gain someone’s approval. Instead of hiding my big nose, I part my hair down the middle to let it shine. I rock my hair free and dreadlocked because it makes me feel like a warrior. I wear lipstick when I nothing else will brighten my day. These days, I love how I look at my most discombobulated just as much as when I get my makeup done professionally, because that’s when my strength really shines through.

Yet, even with my mind where it is now, I still look to the media for inspiration when I want a push to glam up, which is where Beautycon comes in! I have not been able to go to the event yet, however reading about the programming has me salivating for the chance to join the masses. Beautycon is something I sorely wish would have been available to me during those ashy foundation days and moments of self-doubt. I love that they’ve got role-models from all walks of life talking about real-world issues like body image, colorism, representation, and self-love. It’s so wonderful to see leaders pushing away from one type of beauty being the standard.

I truly feel the most rebellious thing a person can do in this life is to own and proclaim their own beauty. It’s not easy, but I’ve found it is so rewarding. If you’re like me and need to feel inspired to keep going or just want to learn, click here to watch videos from Beautycon! What makes you feel beautiful these days?

 

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