To officially start this beautiful journey with you all, I’d like to introduce to you the sacred commandments (enter sensei mode).
I call them the ultimate BGTCS, also known as the Black Girl’s Ten Commandments of Skincare. I know, I know it all sounds much, but these are things we must never take for granted.
To tackle the perils of skin malfunctions, you have to place these commandments as your firm foundation, yes; it is that deep my dear. I know you’re all eager to know what the Black Girl Ten Commandments of Skincare are (my apologies if you’re male, please ignore my gender specifics then), well I’m also keen to share them with you. So, without further diddle-daddling, lets goo….
COMMANDMENTS OF SKINCARE 1: Stop! The Black Girl must never pick thy skin!!
You don’t have to explain yourself darling; I know the feeling. That big ripe pimple just sitting there, looking back at you in the mirror! You try to take a picture, and the darn intruder is right there, mocking you! And you think, what if I just end its reign? A tiny jab with my nail and the annoying thing is gone! Then you finally do it, you get the satisfied smirk as you dab your face with a wipe.
Now let’s talk of what happens the next few days, weeks, months, or if it gets that bad, years! You’re stuck with a cursed black spot, now your problem is not a tiny pimple that would have vanished without a trace in a week or two but a stubborn black spot that’ll take ages of commitment and exfoliating to get rid of. Now it’s the black spot that’s mocking you in the mirror and your pictures, the black spot you can’t get rid of with a pop.
It doesn’t have to be pinching or picking your face, even unnecessary rubbing and constant touching can do no good. Your hands carry a lot of germs, you use those hands to touch several surfaces thus accumulating germs. So, unless you want to wash your face or moisturize, keep those hands away.
The Black Girl must never pick thy skin!!
COMMANDMENTS OF SKINCARE 2: The Black Girl must always cleanse thy skin
I can’t emphasize this enough. One of the biggest causes of skin malfunction is oil and dirt buildup. See your pores as a temple, tiny individual babies you need to keep tidy. When you treat them right, they will honor you greatly. In the morning, when you wake up, cleanse! Right before you go to bed, cleanse! After a rigorous workout, cleanse! When you get home from the salon with your killer braids, cleanse! After a long day at the office/school, cleanse!
Find a good organic, alcohol-free cleanser or face wash and cleanse your skin twice daily, especially if you’ve had a busy day out. I emphasized the alcohol-free bit because as most of us know, despite the cleaning properties of alcohol, it dries up our skin. This is a big no-no. Although we want to prevent oil build-up and keep our skin squeaky clean, we cannot afford to dry up our natural God-given oils. This leads to excess oil production and you’re back to square one my queens.
Ladies remember, The Black Girl must always cleanse thy skin!
I cleanse my face no matter how tired I am or how many martini’s I’ve had that night – Romy Frydman.
COMMANDMENTS OF SKINCARE 3: The Black Girl must never sleep with thy make up on!!
You heard me right! I know everyone has been louding this since God knows when, but I must say it again for those at the back. The Black Girl must never sleep with thy makeup on!! I know you paid a good sum for that perfect Owambe makeup, I know It looks so good you don’t want to take it off (I mean who knows when next I’d be this glammed up); Yeah it’s been a stressful day at the office and the last thing on your mind right now is washing your face; I know you might have gotten home drunk and passed out on the couch, but you know what else I know sis? I know I don’t care. THE BLACK GIRL MUST NEVER SLEEP WITH THY MAKEUP ON!
Just imagine all that caked foundation, concealer, eyeliner mixed up with sweat and the day’s dirt, just sitting there, having a jolly good time on your gorgeous face. Contaminating your precious pores, remember your pores are tiny temples you must keep neat.
Use that last energy in you to wash your face. And I’m not talking about a few rubby dub dups with your make up wipes, no, I mean wash and cleanse your face. Wipes are next to useless for proper cleansing. I can’t tell you how many times in the past, I’ve wiped down my face with some good ole aloe wipes, and then I go to wash up in the sink and my water is still brown as ever. So, please ditch the wipes and opt for a good wash and cleanser instead. Trust me when I say all that rubbing on your skin does no good in the long run.
I’d even advise you to go makeup-free once in a while, let your skin breathe.
COMMANDMENTS OF SKINCARE 4: The Black girl must always be moist!!
Moisten those arms, moisten those beautiful legs, moisten those thighs, your face, everywhere! Just moisturize! Like I emphasized before on cleansing, I must not fail to emphasize the next thing to do; moisturize!
I stated in commandment no.2 the drying effects of alcohol, well truth is, you don’t need alcohol to help you leave your skin dry and patchy. You can do an excellent job by forgetting to moisturize your skin, after a shower or in the harmattan season. You’re an easy prey the dreaded flakes or as my dad likes to call it “crocodile skin” if you have a dry skin type. You’re much more prone to get unappealing flaky patches if you break this commandment.
So, save yourself the hassle and moisturize. This minor fact doesn’t exempt those with oily and combination skin type, moisturizing is just as crucial to balance the skin’s oil production.
I’ll be going into details on natural, effective moisturizers you can find everywhere around you later on. For now, stock up on moisturizers rich in vitamin E and SPF.
COMMANDMENTS OF SKINCARE 5: The Black girl shall never forget thy sunscreen and sunglasses.
Sunscreen. My lovely, neglected sunscreen (sighs), I have no idea why this isn’t the first commandment. Sunscreen is a crucial skincare product that is usually overlooked in this part of the world. You hear people say “I don already black finish, who sunscreen epp” or “Abeg I be oyinbo? Why I go dey rub sunscreen” or my favorite “Abroad sun and naija sun, no be the same o”.
Irrespective of your complexion or the fact you’re African, the importance of sunscreen can never be overemphasized.
Constant exposure to UV rays from the sun, which we have excess in this part of the world, can lead to a range of skin complications. Including, sunburn, hyperpigmentation/discoloration (tricky to get rid of), visible signs of aging and rarely skin cancer. That being said, do you still want to skip the sunscreen?
On to the matter of shades, this should be a win-win situation honestly. You get to wear your large framed stylish sunglasses and also protect your precious eyes from the harsh rays of the sun.
The eye region is the most sensitive region of the face, hence why most products tell to avoid applying around the eye. When we expose our eyes to these rays not only can it affect our sight but it also leads to darkening/ dark circles.
We do not want that. So queens, rock those shades proudly and for your skin, the bigger and darker the better!
Again! THE BLACK GIRL SHALL NEVER FORGET THY SUNSCREEN AND SUNGLASSES.
COMMANDMENTS OF SKINCARE 6: The Black must exfoliate at least twice a week
Exfoliating! My favorite pastime! I love the feeling I get after applying a good rich scrub. This is something I don’t get to do every day. Daily exfoliation can wear out your skin unless it’s very mild, but even at that, I do not advise it. Exfoliating is a must! A must!
The Black Girl must exfoliate at least twice a week! More often than we’d like our skin gathers up dead skin layers, loses its glow, becomes dull and greasy, let’s just say it has its ‘grumpy old lady moments’.
This is where the work of a good exfoliator comes in, it’s that mini spa day she’s been craving. Just a 5 minutes scrub and wash is enough to give her a complete turnaround (little secret: I’m guilty of leaving on my face scrub for much, much longer while I do other things).
You know those intensive cleaning you do on Saturday mornings, that’s kind of what it’s like when exfoliating. You get deep in your pores and do a good proper cleaning that you might have missed with your wash. Although there are exfoliating washes, those could be used daily.
If you’re yet to buy an exfoliator, go get one now! I recommend ones containing vitamin C, turmeric, tea tree or Salicylic acid to help bring back that glow and freshness.
Remember! The Black Girl must exfoliate at least twice a week but not daily.
COMMANDMENTS OF SKINCARE 7: The Black Girl must drink thy water and eat thy fruits
As a big Dani Leigh fan, I cannot pass up the opportunity to quote her lyrics, especially when she’s spitting holy facts. The Black Girl must drink thy water and eat thy fruits!!
The saying ‘you are what you eat’ has never been more accurate alongside my favorite ‘Drink water and mind my business’. Your body and skin neeeeeed you to load in on the vitamins, minerals, healthy fibers! And what better to place to find these than in your fruit and vegetables. A healthy balanced diet reflects a great deal on your skin.
In the same sense, excess consumption of food like diary and fatty nuts might lead to breakouts for certain people.
I’ll be busting the myths and facts on this area in articles to come. You could also take supplements, no one goes wrong with supplements.
Water, I don’t believe I have to remind us how important water is to our system. A natural detox drink. The more water you drink the better and cleaner you feel, you can’t have too much water honestly.
We are expected to drink 2 liters of water daily! Are you taking enough water? If not, you best fix that for the sake of your health and skin.
Down that bottle of water! Right now even, yes, go drink water and eat that salad. The Black Girl thy water and eat thy fruits.
COMMANDMENTS OF SKINCARE 8: The Black Girl must never bleach
First, I know everyone has a choice and freedom to do whatever they please but let me just say this, your black is beautiful. Whatever ever the shade, be it caramel or ebony, your black is stunning and I don’t see why you’d want to have it any other way.
Your colour holds heritage and power, you shouldn’t trade it for any form of “beauty standards”, those things change like the weather and you mustn’t get lost in the tide. Not to mention the nasty skin discolorations that come with it.
Now, what exactly do I mean by ‘bleaching’? There’s a difference between brightening, evening out, and bleaching.
Brightening from the name is removing the dullness from your skin, just like I mentioned earlier. Giving your skin a glow. It has nothing to do with pigmentation.
Evening out has more to do with dark spots. Maybe from sunburns or scars. It’s the process of getting those to match with the rest of your skin tone. Which most times involves lightening those spots/patches.
Bleaching is changing your skin tone using potent agents like Hydroquinone, mercury, topical retinoids, and others. Bleaching is synonymous with whitening, moving from dark caramel to an almost ivory tone.
Like I said before, we have our rights as humans but your black is beautiful.
COMMANDMENTS OF SKINCARE 9: The Black Girl must never mess up her sleep schedule
Your body needs rest, it needs to reboot. Imagine using your phone 24/7 non-stop, no time to recharge, or cool down a bit. It shuts down, starts lagging, the same thing happens to your body, you become inefficient.
While these are obvious consequences which most of you are ready to face with a good dose of caffeine. Are you ready to face the unhealthy consequences it brings upon your skin too? Are you prepared to deal with the eyebags, the dark circles, the unhealthy veins around the eye, the dull skin?
These are a few of my worst skin nightmares, to be honest, save yourself the hassle of expensive eye creams and stick to a solid 8hr shut-eye routine. Treat your skin at night with a cool water-based hydrating mask (or cold cucumber) and let your body rest.
The Black Girl must never mess up her sleep schedule!
COMMANDMENTS OF SKINCARE 10: The Black Girl must swear to consistency
The Last and most important commandment! The Black Girl must swear to consistency! Every other commandment I’ve listed previously is as good as nothing without consistency.
Exfoliating once a month does nothing for you in the long run, only removing your makeup before bed once in a while is as pointless as wearing sunscreen indoors. Consistency is the key. Stick to a routine! You have a product you know will help you, be consistent, or else you won’t see any result.
THE BLACK GIRL MUST SWEAR TO CONSISTENCY
Make a promise to yourself to be consistent in all your skincare endeavors right now!
There you have it guys. The ultimate BGTCS!! Follow these commandments with strict adherence to commandment no.10 and watch your skin honour you. Things might not always go smoothly. We all have awful days/weeks. There is the hormone factor, and the gene factor, but do not fail to persevere, and you’ll have it as close to perfect as it gets.