Yes, it’s winter but sunscreen is still a must. There are folks who would have you believe that Black people don’t need sunscreen, but I am here to tell you that according to science, they are liars. Check out how sunscreens work, why you need one and see the ones I’m using right now.
Lackluster skin is not attractive. A glowing complexion is a sign of health, youth and vibrancy -- it is coveted by ladies (and gents) the world over. While lightly applying your favorite facial oil, or strategic placement of highlighter can give you a temporary lit from within look, achieving a no filter "I woke up like this" glow takes a little time, patience and the right products. Luckily, I'm in your corner and here to share some of my favorite glow getters.
I all but neglected my skin while planning #FaceFlawlessSkin Clinic (of which Olay was sponsor) It's funny that at the time when I should have been taking the best care of my skin (So, I can show up to the event -- well, flawless) is the time I neglected it because I was too busy 'adulting'. Anyway, Olay Regenerist Luminous Cleansers does a great job cleansing the skin without drying it out. It is a creamy, granular, low foam cleanser that contains glycerin to help pull moisture to the skin, citric acid that may help brighten skin tone over time and vitamin E to nourish skin. While the cleanser works well to remove minimal amounts of makeup, I suggest removing heavy makeup first then moving to the cleansing step. ( www.target.com, $7.59)
I love that I can put this mask on and forget I'm wearing it. "Turmeric extract works to brighten and even out skin tone while providing antioxidant protection, kaolin clay purifies skin and refines pores and a touch of candlenut oil is added to soften and nurture skin." Of all the products on this list, this is the one I have been consistently using the longest. If you want to gently but evenly brighten your skin, this is a very safe bet. (www.skinstore.com, $37)
I have only been using this product for two week and it's already changed the texture of my skin. Not to brag, but my skin was in pretty good condition to begin with but after hearing Danielle (The Style and Beauty Doctor) rave about this product, I had to try it for myself. RoC Skincare Daily Resurfacing Disks are gentle enough for everyday use and have been clinically proven to reduce the appearance of fine lines after one week, reduce the signs of photoaging and after 4 weeks and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and enlarged pores after 12 weeks. I don't have fine lines or wrinkles ( thanks, melanin) but these act as a gentle daily exfoliant to give a nice glow and even texture. [RoC Skincare was also a sponsor of Face Flawless Skin Clinic] (www.drugstore.com, $9.99)
According to many leading dermatologists, including those at Skin of Color Society, hydroquinone is the "gold standard' for the treatment of hyperpigmentation. Ambi Fade Cream uses 2% hydroquinone (the max allowed over the counter by the FDA) to fade dark marks and even skin tone. The cream also contains alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) to boost the effectiveness of the hydroquinone and Vitamin E to help nourish the skin. I used this product on stubborn dark marks and it works exceptionally well. I haven't used Ambi Fade Cream in a while -- I am taking better care of my skin and doing everything in my power to prevent dark marks in the first place. If you are battling a serious case of hyperpigmentation, this is definitely worth considering. (www.walgreens.com, $6.99)
I'm not going to lie, this is one of my favorite products of 2015. It is everything to me and I keep talking about it -- but that's just how it is when I find a product I love. [I feel like I should have sample sizes to hand out to people in the streets. :)] Paula's Choice BHA Liquid “rapidly exfoliates both the skin’s surface and inside the pore, reshaping the pore lining, unclogging pores and improving skin cell turnover rate.” In short, the Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) works below the skin's surface to unclog pores prevent breakouts. For those pesky hormonal pimples that leave marks behind, it quickly gets rid of the newest marks while slowly working on those that have taken up more permanent residency. The BHA Lotion is very light -- it feels almost like a toner. I use once or twice daily with no irritation at all. (www.dermstore.com, $24)
It takes a little work to get skin smooth and even toned. One of the best ways to maintain your ideal tone and texture is to find a sunscreen product to use everyday. While dermatologist recommend an SPF of at least 30 everyday, it is even more important to wear an SPF while using the products above.
What are your favorite products to get clear, even toned skin?
A good skincare routine begins with a great cleanser. If you wear makeup, you may start your nightly cleansing routine with a makeup remover or a cleansing oil but the next step inevitably has to be a cleanser that is right for your skin type. I have combination/oily skin that has a tendency to feel dry even while it looks like an oil slick. During colder months, it can be a challenge to find a cleanser that provides a deep clean while leaving skin feeling fresh and balanced. Over the last two months, these cleanser, while formulated for all skin types, have been working like a dream to keep my oily skin in check. Head over to ThisThatBeauty to see 3 Cleansers for Oily Skin.
Looking good without makeup is all about amazing skin. When wearing makeup one can conceal skin problems and accentuate positives facial features. However, without the power of a fantastic foundation, luscious blush, brightening bronzer, skin has to be nearly flawless.
The key to taking care of skin is to Know Your Skin
There are five basic skin types:
- Normal skin. This skin type has a proper balance of moisture and oil.
- Sensitive skin. People with sensitive skin often experience tinging, itching and might get blotches when they come in contact with some common ingredients found in facial care products.
- Oily skin. If your face looks shiny, greasy or slick an hour or two after you wash your face, chances are you have oily skin.
- Dry skin. If your face feels tight or stiff after you wash, chances are you have dry skin. Dry skin is also more prone to early wrinkling and creasing.
- Combination skin. As the name suggests, is a combination of two or more of the skin types mentioned above.
It is important to find the right cleanser for your skin type. With all skin types you want to choose a cleanser that removes impurities without stripping the skin of natural oils. Once you know your skin type, many manufacturers make it easy to find your perfect cleanser simply by reading the packaging. If you have dry skin, stay away from cleansers with alcohol. If you have sensitive skin look for cleansers formulated without harsh chemicals and irritants such as sulphates, synthetic dyes and fragrances.
Lancome Creme Radiance Clarifying Cream-to-Foam Cleanser is formulated with antioxidant White Lotus and soothing Rose de France penetrates deep into the pores without over-drying to gently cleanse skin and other impurities. This cleanser is suitable for those with oily to normal skin. Approximately $25.
Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel is a sulfate-free cleanser derived from amino acids. It deeply cleanses while preserving the skin’s natural oils. This Parabens, Sulfates, Synthetic Fragrances, Synthetic Dyes free formula, refines the look of pores and contains hydrangea leaf, green tea, and geranium that help to protect and perfect complexion Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin. Approximately $26.
Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleanser is a non-foaming gel that removes make-up, dirt and oil. The Alpha Hydroxy Acids from Papaya and Grapefruit gently exfoliates the skin, while glycerine moisturizes. Approximately $20.
Moisturizing is an important step no matter what your skin type. People with oily skin often think they don’t need to moisturize but it is possible for skin to be dehydrated under the slick of oil present on skin. If you have oily skin, look for an oil free moisturizer like Garnier Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel Cream -- it is light weight and contains pure antioxidant fruit water extracts and skin conditioning Vitamin E to prevent dryness and normalize skin. Approximately $7.99
If you have dry skin you might be tempted to use the heaviest moisturizer you can find. This is not necessarily the best approach. Look for products that contain ingredients such as glycerin and dimethicone. Glycerine attracts moisture to your skin and dimethicone locks it in. Kinerase Restructure Firming Cream is formulated for all skin types but works wonders on dry skin. (Kinarase.com $98)
The jury is still out on the necessity of a toner, however, I like toners. Toners remove remnants of makeup or hard water impurities left behind after washing. Toners can also help to balance the skin’s pH and makes the skin more receptive to moisturizers and other skin treatments, such as serums.
The Body Shop Tea Tree Toner is great for oily, acne prone skin. The toner helps reduce the appearance of blemishes, prevent future breakouts, and control oil and shine. Approximately $11
L'Oreal HydraFresh Dermo-Expertise Hydrafresh Skin Toner Liquid contains beta hydroxy to gently exfoliate and pro-Vitamin B5 that helps protect against moisture loss. This toner is suitable for all skin types. Approximately $6.99
Sunscreen is a must 365 days per year, no matter your age or ethnicity. Use a broad Spectrum SPF that way you are protected from both UVA and UVB rays. Prolonged exposure to the suns rays ages the skin causing fine lines, wrinkles and darks spots.
Dermalogica Solar defense Booster SPF50, Oil free Matte SPF is great for those with oily skin because not only does it protect against the harmful rays of the sun but it also mattifies the skin. (Dermalogica.com $48)
One of he best way to give skin a boost is to exfoliate. Exfoliating removes dead skin cells and speeds up cell turnover. Exfoliating also increases circulation to the skin giving the face a nice glow. It is generally safe to exfoliate at least once per week. However, you don’t want to exfoliate if you are breaking out because it can make the problem worse. Treat the breakout and once pimples are healed you can exfoliate. There are physical exfoliators like microbeads, as well as chemical exfoliators like glycolic acid. There are also products that combine the two.
Exfolikate by Kate Somerville is made with microbeads and Fruit Enzymes that clean pores, while Salicylic Acid balances hydration without over-drying. This exfoliator is suggested for all skin types. (katesomerville.com $85)
If you are short on time then these exfoliating pads are for you. It is a one-step glycolic acid treatment product that is derived from pure cane sugar and contains salicylic acid to gently resurface skin and treat acne. ($60 for a 30 day supply)
Fade Dark Spots (Hyperpigmentation)
Hyperpigmentation is one of main reason women (and men) wear makeup. In addition to exfoliating, fade creams, gels and serums such as Murad’s Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum ($60 murad.com) can help to minimize and even eliminate dark spots over time. While using fade creams and exfoliators it is extremely important to use an SPF everyday and avoid excessive sun exposure.
Enhance Lashes and Brows
One of the easiest ways to look and feel glamorous is to have bold, beautiful lashes and well shaped brows. If you have paltry lashes and sparse brows try a lash and brow growth serum such as Grande Lash. Grande Lash is formulated with natural ingredients to enhance lashes and brows in as little as 4 weeks. Approximately $64.95 for 3 month supply.
Very few people are lucky enough to do nothing and still have beautiful skin. If you are among the lucky few, good for you! If you weren’t born with the gift of flawless skin, the steps above should help you look great without makeup.
I have not had much luck with Retinol products. The usual results with these products is that my skin becomes extremely dry and flaky and because of this, I never stick with them long enough to witness any kind of skin transformation. I know the power of retinol, so, I keep trying. When the Specific Beauty Night Treatment Complex entered my life, my luck with retinol products changed. (Praises to the beauty gods!)
Specific Beauty Night Treatment Complex is an intensive night treatment serum that contains retinol and a "unique cocktail of niacinamide, linoleic acid, and licorice [to] even out skin tone while vitamin E, a powerful anti-oxidant, works to protect the skin from free radical damage."
Perhaps the concentration of the retinol in products I tried in the past was too high but the concentration and formulation of Specific Beauty Night Treatment Complex was perfect for me; It really helped to smooth out my skin and even out my skin tone. With daily use, It took about three weeks to see changes . I switched to every other day use once I saw a change in my skin. Please note, it is extremely important to use SPF everyday , but even more so when using this and any other retinol product.
I didn't use the whole Specific Beauty system when I used the Night Treatment Complex, I used it with this creme at night. I also did once weekly mask with either this, or this. After more than two months of using the Specific Beauty Night Treatment I am extremely happy with the results it delivered and look forward to trying more products from this line.
Specific Beauty Night Treatment Complex has a suggested retail price of $23.99 and is available here.
Have you tried any Specific Beauty Products?
What were your results?