December 17, 2016

What Have You Done For YOU Lately?

Photo by CreateHerStock

At the beginning of the year I made a pact with myself to be more intentional about practicing self-care. It's an absolute necessity not only for my physical well-being, but more importantly for my mental health.

There is the obvious narrative of those who work too hard - women, millennials, under employed, over worked, underpaid, never a moment to catch a breath etcetera etcetera. The physical tolls of hard labor, long work hours, little to no sleep, poor diet, and sometimes completely forgetting to eat. We are clear on the physical tolls the desire to survive takes on the body. And while we are becoming more open about the invisible strain that is often par for the course, I believe we still have a long way to go with how we receive and react to openness about mental health issues and struggles in certain communities.

This is not a finger pointing post, and I intend to go into more detail about my own personal experiences at some other time. My intent for this post (and others to follow) in #theselfcareseries is to share small rituals or practices that help restore me either physically, mentally, spiritually or some other -ly. Lol.

The hardest bit is being consistent with the practice of self care. I certainly haven't been consistent, but I can give myself credit for being more conscious of when the need to take a moment to reset, restore, remove myself, or recuperate was necessary.

For some of us it's about too little time or too little energy after the exhaustion of a work week. But for all of us it's ultimately about seeing ourselves as worth the time and effort. It's about valuing ourselves enough to say, "I need to pour into me so that I can give my best self to my life, my work, my family... myself."

What I hope resonates over time with this series is that acts of self care are a way to practice and build self-love. And self-love isn't always about some grand expensive gesture like a spa day or vacation ( ballin' on a budget, anyone?) Sometimes it's as simple as reading your favorite book again for the umpteenth time, locking the bathroom door so your toddlers can't interrupt your few precious minutes of solitude while taking a shit, or netflix and chillin' by yoself in yo robe with your favorite beverage.

As I'm laying here typing this I'm struggling with feeling like I haven't been treating myself well. It's the end of the year and my diet has been shit the past few weeks, I've been battling with insomnia for over a month, there's a tangled and matted afro at the base of my locs, my anxiety is too damn high, and I really need to do some laundry. 

So today, I'm going to rededicate my Saturday to grooming: I'm tackling my hair and my really involved skin care regimen (yes, even more involved than the one I just posted). 

At this point I want to offer to you, whoever needs the reminder, that you don't need to feel guilty for feeling better when you think you look better. Society sends conflicting messages, asking us to "always look our best" in order for people to take us seriously, or respect us, while calling us vain, shallow or self involved for dedicating time to our looks, aesthetic, or physical presentation, and deriving any pleasure or sense of self from the aforementioned. You can't win, so I say fuck em and do what nourishes your wholeness.

It's currently 5:45 am as I type. I've been up since 3:20 am because insomnia. So I'm going to go ahead and carpe my diem by tackling this mess on my head, and in my head. Join me. 

What are you going to do today to take care of yourself? What have you done for *you* lately?

December 13, 2016

My Current Skin Care Routine for Acne Prone Skin (and Changing Weather)

This post is not sponsored, however it may contain affiliate links. I may gain a commission if you shop through these links. These views and opinions are my own and I will always give an honest review. 

Hey Love!

Are we ready for the holidays? I'm not! My sweet tooth and love of salty snacks are currently in a fierce battle, and have been even prior to thanksgiving (aka the "Inflate" setting has been on since November); I have done absolutely NO shopping as yet, which doesn't matter anyway because I have no clue what I'm getting these folk, and I just mourn every year how much of the joy I used to feel at Christmas time has evaporated.

But nothing a little Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers, Boyz II Men, and Songs of Blackness can't fix amirite??? Comment below with your favorite holiday song! Maybe we have some in common!

Any who! Today's post *and* video is actually about my skin care routine. I get compliments on my skin ever so often, and I still struggle to accept these compliments because, believe it or not, I've been fighting acne for the majority of my life. I have finally reached a place where I feel my skin is manageble. Finally! And it hasn't been easy, and I've had to make plenty tweaks, adjustments and complete 180's along the way in terms of methods and products.

I make changes and adjustments for weather and skin concerns, however what I share in this post and video today is the routine that I've stuck to for the past few months with what I think are good results. This is basically the routine I've been using since April. However I'd say this routine has been in effect since September since that's when I returned to the US from Barbados. The climate there is quite different, in addition to which there are natural things there that I included in my regimen that are not readily available to me here e.g. sea baths/sea water (although I could make my own with store bought sea salt😕), humidity, fresh aloe, hot ass sun, and my grandfather's bush tea and bitters.

I highly recommend watching the video as I talk about WHEN and HOW I use these products. The blog post, however, will cover the benefits I've experienced from using the products more in depth, and what they are supposed to address (the WHY). At first glance my routine may seem intense and complicated but it has become second nature to me. When you've struggled to get into a skin care groove, a basic/foundational routine that you can build upon is truly a gift. So read along here as you watch the video!

  •  CLEAN YOUR HANDS.... WITH SOAP! This is my typical morning skin care routine so no matter what comes before, I make sure my hands are clean in preparation for placing them on my face. If you inadvertently scratch your booty in your sleep this is even more important for you. No judgement... I'm just sayin'! Inadvertently touching your face with dirty hands can lead to break outs and acne. I tend to fixate on pimples when I'm stressed, so I make an effort to never touch my face unless my hands have been immediately cleaned. This has been an underrated but very successful practice.
  • My custom oil cleansing face oil has been a part of my regimen since 2013/14. Initially I used it solely for oil cleansing when nothing else worked to treat a terrible bout of birth control related acne. However, I continue to use it in my routine to prep my skin before cleansing, a part of my make up removal process, and sometimes as a night time moisturizer. The ingredients in this oil have helped to accelerate healing of my acne blemishes, and has also improved the texture and tone of my skin. Not to mention it has aided in the regrowth of my edges over months of sustained use. I tweak the recipe depending on season and skin needs.


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