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Five Summer Skincare Do’s & Don’ts


Five Summer Skincare Do’s and Don’t’s for the Black Woman on the Go
Achieve your perfect summertime glow with these tips for healthier and more radiant skin, without all the fuss.

The expression “black don’t crack” is often used to describe the phenomenon of how gracefully Black women tend to age. They typically display the common signs of aging, like wrinkles and fine lines, a little later in life than other ethnicities. But this gift can easily become a curse if proper skin care techniques are not adopted, in addition to relying on good genetics. However, some Black women complain that time and money often hinder them from properly taking care of their outer layer. So here are a few skincare do’s and dont’s that are easy and affordable for any busy woman on a budget, but especially addresses the challenges Black women face with their skin.

#1- Cleanse your face with more than just water
I have heard it said too many times that “I only wash my face with water.” The problem is that water alone has to do a lot of work trying to remove the dirt and impurities from the environment that lands on our faces, not to mention the makeup that most women use on a ‘don’t leave the house without it’ basis. Water needs some help, and that help is in the form of a cleanser. A cleanser is not necessarily a bar of soap. It is a cleansing agent that is specifically formulated and pH-balanced to gently wash away impurities and leave your face feeling soft, supple and well, clean! Clean skin is the beginning of a healthy and radiant glow because it addresses all three layers of the skin. And now many cleansers are free of oils, perfumes and abrasive exfoliants that can often irritate the skin. Find one that fits your particular skin type for best results.

#2-“I don’t moisturize because my skin is oily”
An age-old myth. For the record, hydrated skin does not equal greasy and oily skin. The goal is for our skin to be properly cleansed and hydrated. Moisturizing is the only way to achieve this. I often tell my clients to think of shampoo and conditioner. I would never wash my hair and not condition it. Shampoo cleanses, yet strips the hair of natural oils and moisture, therefore conditioner is needed to repair and restore the hair’s moisture balance. The same theory applies to your face. The key is finding a moisturizer that fits your skin type and budget. Since many black women fall into the oily or combination-skin category, I suggest an oil-free concoction that feels light-weight and is free of dyes and perfumes. Keep cost down by reading the labels to make sure it doesn’t contain other unnecessary additives. And your moisturizer should also contain some vitamins and possibly a sunscreen element, which leads me to another common myth…

#3- “Black people don’t need sunscreen”
Although Black skin may not “crack” easily, it certainly is known for having uneven tones. Hyperpigmentation, or a darker coloring in certain areas of the face, is a leading cause of why Black women scout the drug stores and department stores, trying to find the latest and greatest product to rid their faces of dark spots and blemishes. And although hyperpigmentation is also a result of acne and burn scars, photo-aging (or aging from the sun’s rays) is most often the cause. Adding a sunscreen to your skincare routine can greatly reduce your chances of being a victim of uneven skin tone. A sun protection factor, or SPF of 15-35 is recommended for the face, 25-45 for the body. For facial sunscreens, look for one that protects against the sun’s UVA and UVB rays to avoid skin discoloration. The great thing is that many moisturizers now include sunscreen, so you can moisturize and protect in one easy step.

#4-Foundation should enhance, not mask
Do you suffer from “ring around the neckline” when you wear foundation because it is the wrong color or too heavy? Or perhaps you opt not to wear foundation at all because of these fears? Well, there is hope. The cosmetic industry is growing rapidly with foundations and tinted moisturizers that are made to help your skin rather than harm it. I could talk all day about how to find the right foundation, but I mainly want to stress these things: If your skin is combination or oily, you do have the option of wearing liquid foundations—you are not doomed to a compact of thick, matte powder. Find a light-weight, oil-free liquid where water is the first-listed, or main ingredient. This means that your skin will still be able to breathe while it is on your face. Second, limit the amount of powder you use to set your makeup. Ultimately, you want to look ‘finished’, not embalmed. And lastly, try using a primer under your foundation to mattify and reduce excess oil secretion. Your foundation will last longer throughout the day, and you will end up using less of it when applying.

#5- Add a pop of color
Trick the eye of the beholder by adding color cosmetics to your daily routine. Especially if your skin is not your best asset (yet), splash on a pretty, vibrant eye shadow, or perhaps a sultry, high-shine lipstick or gloss. All eyes will focus on how beautiful you look, and no one will concentrate on your skin as much. And get excited, because Black women are free to wear ANY color they choose! If your lips are full, don’t be afraid to draw attention to them with a bold berry lipstick. And you won’t look like a drag queen if you pull off wearing four eye shadow colors. Just be adventurous and have fun with it. Perhaps start by using the colors to accessorize your outfits and then build from there.

If you are a master at skin care and already do the things recommended above, then go to the next level and try some spa skin care treatments or more advanced serums keep your skin aglow. Because the truth is, what worked for you 10-20 years ago may not work anymore. Our skin changes and sheds every 30 days, so keep it fresh and keep it guessing. And if you are a beginner at taking good care of your skin, don’t get frustrated. Try one or two tips at a time, then build. And remember that you don’t have to break the bank to do so. Hopefully these quick tips will keep us all looking fab this summer from the outside-in.
-Ahleeya R. Kirkland