I used to be the type that copied and pasted skincare routines. If something worked for someone, I would just buy the product without doing any sort of research to understand my skin or the product really. It always baffled me because I will literally research into everything I’m into, but not what I put on my face? MY FACE!
Before 2020, I knew my skin was sensitive, and acne prone but overall it behaved, you know. At the same time, I knew I should be doing better. It wasn’t until last year that I (well my breakouts forced me to) finally decided to actually do the work to start really taking note of my facial skincare.
Here is what I have learned so far. Please note that I will refrain from sharing my skincare products right now as I’m only an expert in my skin, I am still learning and there are too many (unqualified) people recommending products. The whole point of this is to encourage you to learn about your skin and do the work of discovering what is the best for you. This is a direction of where you can start to look towards and look out for.
- Be open minded. If you are not ready to unlearn and learn, just stop. Matter of fact stop reading this too and go by your day. I know it’s hard to read things that go against what we have been taught to be right for years. However, if you are not willing to listen, research, understand how something fits or doesn’t fit in your personal life and just want to find things that fit your notion of what it’s right…well then, good luck with life. It’s normal to dislike being uncomfortable, however that’s where growth happens majority of the time. Be open minded to unlearning past behaviors and learn to change your views. It’s okay, it’s called growth.
- Following these skin care experts (linked below) on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, truly contributed to my knowledge. Now with these accounts don’t go barging in with questions. DO YOUR OWN WORK. It will be very likely that whatever question you may have, might have been answered already. Search for the persons name and the topic. For example: @person name: sunscreen. And then READ/WATCH! When it comes to truly getting to know your skin (for free I may add) you have to be willing to put in the time to search and watch/read the resources available. If not pay for the service. But even then, going in with the mentality I want this quick with fast results, is not going to get you anywhere. Patience is truly key.
- Know your boundaries when unlearning and learning. There are some tips about skincare like the “you don’t need to scrub or use body wash on all of your body” that go against every African bone in my body. But again that’s why skincare is personal. If it doesn’t hurt do what’s best for you. Trust your instinct. There may be great reviews about a product but it doesn’t work for you. You can feel it on your skin (literally), but you keep using it…why? There may be a lot of trial and error in this process, so it’s important to trust your intuitions. Respect your boundaries including your budget.
- Speaking of budget. You are going to have spend money, yes. You’re going to buy a product but then it doesn’t work for your skin. You will feel the pressure of buying expensive products. But how can you reduce these instances to the minimum? 1.First set a budget on what you will buy in a month and stick to it. Don’t impulse buy. Don’t buy a whole routine at once (also because you are suppose to introduce one or two products into your skin at a time to understand how and what your skin is reacting to). 2. Try with recommended drug store option for a product first. Usually these come cheaper but have the same effect. There are some really great drugstore lines out there (ie CeraVe) and cheaper lines out there (or Inkey List) that are highly recommended with great results. Also this gives you the option to test without breaking your pockets. 3. Ask for free samples. I know it can feel cheap, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Additionally, there’s nothing wrong with that. Stores like Sephora, often carry small testing size, especially for their more expensive products. It will not hurt to ask. Trust me. This has saved me so much money and really allowed me to make the best decisions for my skin and budget. The salesperson is there to help you, ask your questions, develop a relationship with one if that will make you more comfortable (yea that’s Jen my Sephora lady like yes, you have a eyebrow lady so why not!). Inquire! 4. Keep an eye out for releases. Some lines will release (limited editions) of their more expensive products in a smaller size or in a combo with another product. Two for one deals are awesome.
- Products don’t stop working. Your skin may just not need it anymore or may need something else for the time being. For example if your moisturizer is leaving your skin dry in the winter, it’s not that the product stopped working for your skin, it may be that your skin needs something more hydrating during the colder months. Which brings me to my next point.
- Different seasons, different skin care. Sometimes a product cannot be used all year round. So don’t throw it away yet.
- Understand what you are treating, what actives (chemicals/ingredients) you need to treat such condition, and what form you prefer. For example, I have acne prone skin and salicylic acid is the anti-acne active that works best for me. However, solely in a cleanser form. Using it as a toner or part of a moisturizer or something that stays on the skin is too harsh for me and tends to irritate more and lead to hyperpigmentation (which I’m trying to avoid). Nonetheless I have discovered that salicylic acid as a cleanser, which I wash off after 60 seconds, and use not more than 3 times a week, works wonders for me. That’s why I keep stressing how skincare is personal and takes time to understand and develop.
- Have patience and have fun. Discovering what works for my skin, testing products, going to Sephora, watching YouTube skincare videos has been so enjoyable and a luxurious aspect of my life. I truly look forward to doing my skincare.
- WEAR SUNSCREEN. If you don’t take anything from this post, take this last point at least.
I stated that I will not share my routine at this time (refraining from taking those nice pics of my products was really hard) but if you do ever need help in finding reviews on a product or (after doing your own research) want to see if I tried a product and like what has been working for me versus another, dm me! IG/Twitter: @simply_adjoa
Good luck and have fun!!
EXPERTS TO FOLLOW (Finding experts who are people of color and experts of dark skin made a difference for me!):
- Dr. Vanita Rattan The Hyperpigmentation Clinic
- Dr. Alexis Stephens
- LaBeautyologist-The Golden Rx
- Susan Yara/Mixed Makeup
- Sean Garrette
- Tiara Willis
P.S: I can see that this can be overwhelming, to know where to get started. So here is usually what I do:
- Select out the issue I want to deal with or achieve (ie. hyperpigmentation, dryness, brightening…etc)
- Watch dedicated videos on that subject by these experts (usually Dr. Rattan and Dr. Stephens help me understand why these problems occur, the science behind it-which the scientist in me personally enjoys. This is also helpful with prevention and avoiding self blame)
- Find out which ingredients to look for that work with my skintone/type of skin (Dr. Rattan, Dr. Stephens, LaBeautyologist, Tiara Willis) *Note: ingredients are more like the actives like azelaic acid, squalene, niacinamide…etc in a product.
- What great products (brands or forms like toner vs serum) have these ingredients (Sean Garrette, Susan Yara, Dr. Rattan & Dr. Stephens)
- Where in my routine should I incorporate it in/ how should I layer ingredients/ which combinations work well or don’t (ALL)