a little (day and) night music.

a little (day and) night music.

Stop for a moment to read my past comments about developing a skincare “regimen” and not really feeling that, simply because I was fine with 1) relying on those African juices; 2) not interrupting my pathway to sleep by stopping in the loo to wash my face before bed; 3) maintaining my general desire to be unfussy about everything. I knew changes were needed, as you can see from the previous post, but I…didn’t want to make them.

But you can ignore everything I said in that previous post.

When a gal enters her 40s, things change. When a gal enters a year into her 40s, things really, really change. All that said, smooth, African juicy skin or not, I made a conscious decision to focus on skincare. (Because even after that post, I wasn’t really doing much. This stubborn nature is precisely why my ninth-grade Algebra teacher threatened me with a belt. *shrug*) And it’s been going quite well. Here’s what I’ve been doing:

  • Washing my face twice a day. Honestly, this was hard for me to start doing. When I’ve laid on the couch long enough to yawn after multiple episodes of Family Feud and Law and Order, heading to bed means heading right to bed. I wasn’t in the mood to do all of that. For me, washing in the morning was enough. (Judge me if you like. ‘Tis what ’tis.) But that’s over with. I do my five/six-step routine morning and night and–drumroll, please–I love every single bit of it.

skin1

  • Researching skincare. That means reading articles about skincare, watching YouTube videos about skincare, dreaming about skincare…well, perhaps not, but you get my drift.

This past weekend, I visited San Antonio for a ladies spa and wellness weekend (the source of the photo in the thumbnail, which also includes my more-than-happy-to-join-the-photo-photobomber). During my facial at the spa, my esthetician mentioned that my skin was doing quite well. This was awesome to hear; it meant that the changes I had implemented were working. So, here’s my routine, AM and PM:

  1. Cleanse. In the morning, I prefer either Ambi African Black Soap or a light cleanser of my choosing. In the evening, I typically use Lancome’s Creme Radiance, a clarifying cream-to-foam cleanser. I use a spin brush for my face in the evenings, by the way. Mornings: the good old hands.
  2. Exfoliate. I don’t do this every day. Perhaps every other day, or every, every other day. Real talk: exfoliating my skin is the bee’s knees. I don’t know; there’s something about the texture of the product against my skin, removing all those impurities. Yes and please and thank you. My favorite exfoliating agent is Garnier’s Blackhead Eliminating Scrub with Charcoal. It has Salicylic Acid, which helps my post-facial wax, sometimes acne prone face.
  3. Tone. Look: toner is life. Provides additional cleansing after the main cleanser, shrinks pores, refreshes the skin, and all the other lovely things described here. I enjoy it immensely. Currently, my favorite toner is L’Oreal Hydrafresh Toner.
  4. Micellar Water. This is a new product for me. I typically use it at night as a makeup remover. So no more makeup wipes for me, for the most part. In the morning, it can function as a cleanser, which I’ve used for that, as well. I love the feel of it on my skin. Not too heavy, definitely refreshing. I use Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1. 
  5. Spot Treatment. This is when I add products that deal directly with any acne or blemish issues. I’ve been sticking with Murad’s Outsmart Acne Clarifying Treatment for a minute now.
  6. Moisturize. The final step for me. Light, not too heavy, refreshing: my criteria for a moisturizer. Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin for the win.

Of course, due to my abundance of research (I don’t do many things halfway once I set my mind on doing them), there are a few things I’d like to add to the routine. I’m newly intrigued by pre-cleansing oil, the pre-cleansing before the cleansing. My oily T-zone didn’t see the need to add oil to oil, but seems legit. We shall see. Secondly: serums and eye creams and masks. The package(s) is/are on the way. I’ll report when they arrive.

So, the moral of the story: my Algebra teacher was right. I should have listened the first time. But since Ms. Baker and I met again during my Sophomore year (and I finally listened and passed), I’ve renewed my intent to keep this skin healthy and aglow.

What’s your skincare routine? Share in the comments if you please. 

 

Blogtober #22: Ashy Knuckles and & Other Autumnal Indignities.

Look.

That lovely, crisp, autumnal breeze in the atmosphere? It’s wonderful. And also very, very dangerous.

This morning, as I trudged into work and settled myself at my desk, I noticed something as I was typing away on my keyboard. Something that took my breath away.

My knuckles were ashy. Like gray. The abject horror of it all. ashy1

Here’s the thing: I don’t play when it comes to lotion. Your Square Peg is a connoisseur of moisturized skin. I don’t leave my house without the epidermis gleaming from whatever silky lotion or oil I’ve decided to apply. Especially when it comes to these hands, which is the first thing folks see, other than the face. So the discovery of these ashy knuckles–and the skin between my fingers, my goodness–was like, whaaaaattttttttt?

Oh, Autumn.

And that’s the thing: the cool breeze comes bearing dubious gifts. Dry skin, dry limbs, the whole ashy shebang. whenever we’re outside and subject to the elements. (Even that beautiful, heated atmosphere in the home can be a little intense for the skin.) How can we counter it? A few things I plan on doing more of, although apparently at least one of them didn’t work this morning:

  1. Lotion it up. I have lotion on my desk at work, in my handbag, wherever I go. Take the time to apply some on your hands, face, wherever you’re susceptible to starting a brush fire with your skin. Yikes.
  2. Extra facial moisture. So this morning was a struggle, which may explain why some things fell by the wayside. But as I was driving in and applying makeup on my face (be ye not judgmental; I’ve actually gotten better at not doing this, dear reader), I noticed some dry spots on my face. So yeah, I plan on upping my skin care game for real during this time of year.
  3. Brush your lips. I don’t know where I read this, but one way to counter the peeling of skin on the lips (something that happens to me a lot), is to gently brush them with a toothbrush. Exfoliating for the win. I also just read that a bit of Vaseline or lip balm on the lips first and then brushing is even better. Don’t brush hard, y’all. Do this one at your own risk. I’m not a doctor or an esthetician, but I play one on TV. (I just googled and there are plenty of lip scrubs out there. Research!)

And remember: all skin is capable of ashiness. All. Skin. Just a friendly reminder.

Happy Monday, y’all. Upwards and onwards and skinwards.

African Black Soap is The Truth.

Happy Monday. So, I talked about my skincare routine here. Recall that I wanted to make some improvements to my quick routine, being that with age came crazy, random blemish bursts and also, I think my skin had become way too used to the products I had been using for years. Several months ago, I was in the store and saw a bar of African Black Soap on the shelf.

I asked myself, Self, why haven’t you gone the African route? Hello? Your blood is 100% Motherland. Of course the Motherland would have the remedy for your skin. I checked out the ingredients (I knew it wasn’t pure, raw African Black soap; that one will tear your skin apart and I needed to take baby steps towards that kind of detoxification) and decided to purchase it. Slowly, dear reader, I saw the improvements to my skin. Trouble spots, particularly on my left cheek (three pimples that were hanging on for dear, dear life) and that insane forehead of mine slowly began to fade and ultimately disappear. I started doing more research on the YouTube about black soap and decided to try Shea Moisture’s products. Even better results.

The above two are my personal favorites. I use the soap twice a day (look at your Square Peg; months from 40 and making good skincare choices) and the mask is a once-a-month thing. Here’s my new and improved skincare routine, broken up by night and day:

clayclay2Night

Day

Same routine, except I skip the toner.

I haven’t yet hit up any eye creams and serums, but the toner has been great in diminishing the dark, waking-up-at-3AM circles under my eyes.

So far, so good. I’d very much like to apply African Black Soap all over my life, but that’s entirely another matter.

Bon Monday…

that skin(care) thing.

By now, you get that I like when things are low key and simple, right? Low maintenance rocks my quiet world. I watched a YouTube video today about skincare products and was reminded of just that: when it comes to skincare and beauty regimens, you can imagine how utterly unfussy I am. If it takes longer than 5-10 minutes to do any of it, just no. Give me my Mac Studio Fix and my Ruby Woo. Give me my Neutrogena face scrub, a moisturizer, and let’s be done with it. Words like toner and serum might as well rhyme with binomial and integer: they mean nothing to me. (Big ups to all my Math side eye people–uninterested and confused, one fraction at a time.) The word regimen itself makes me tired.

But a girl gets older and the acne from 10th grade wants its home back, right on my forehead. Or a girl gets her face waxed and the pores become hotels who always have a vacancy. Or weird blemishes pop up and have me wondering what happened to all those superhero African juices that, post-puberty, combated whatever pimple tried to disturb the peace. And when This Square Peg realizes that her status quo must change…she reluctantly realizes that she must change it.

My current “regimen” for skincare:

  1. Wake up.
  2. Consider calling out sick. 
  3. Wonder if a murderer or serial killer is also waking up at the same time as you, being that it’s 5 something in the morning and that hour is reserved for killers.
  4. Trudge to the loo.
  5. Pull out your Neutrogena Oil-free Acne Wash Pink Grapefruit Foaming Scrub and apply a dab to your brand new Vanity Planet facial brush. (You’ve used your hands to wash your face for, oh, 23 years, up until a month ago. But you saw a YouTube video and the wallet was close by and there was a discount, so…) Start cleaning. 
  6. Finish, wipe face.
  7. Apply light moisturizer. Store brand or Equate.
  8. Crawl back into bed. Kidding. Maybe.

That’s all, folks. No face masks, serums, toners, brighteners, prayers to the good skin gods. But the blemishes keep coming. Not every day, but they pop up here and there. Might be the stress from all the changes I’ve gone through these past few months. Might be the reactions to said stress, which typically involve carbs and liquids that aren’t water. I’ve long known that skincare has a lot to do with diet and nutrition and not necessarily just superhero African juices. Anyway, I’ve used Neutrogena for years, and decidedly the acne combating brands, since, as stated above, pimples were my main issue since age 15. The clusters have long gone, but one likes to decorate the center of my head every now and then. But perhaps it’s time to find something different, a new product.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it (and you will, because you love me):

  1. Tell me what skincare products work for you. 
  2. Do you sometimes battle a blemish here and there? Acne?
  3. If you understand what toner is and its point, please: share with the class. Convince me. Remember that I’m still doubtful on whether fractions mean anything in real life. (Says the woman who can’t figure out the difference between 1/2 and 1/3.)
  4. Do you have a–gulp–skincare regimen? If so, please share that with the class in the comments.

All for research purposes. My forehead thanks you. 

p.s.: I’ve recently discovered Melanglow, an awesome place to get beauty and skin advice and recommendations for us brown girls. So yay for that. Check it out.