Disclaimer: I’m not an esthetician or dermatologist. I’ve just been very committed to educating myself on the right skincare practices for black women. Please take my advice below from a place of knowledge and personal experience.
If you’re a millennial that has been on the internet for the last ten years, you must have fallen a victim of various skincare advice masked under ‘trends’. No thanks to Pinterest which propagated all of these harmful skincare tips all in the name of ‘DIY’. Unfortunately, a lot of us are now walking around with damaged skin. But it is 2020, which means we are all ageing whether we like or not. We need to repent from all these skincare sins so that our skin can thank us in 10 years.
So,which of the following skincare sins are you committing at the moment?
- Not having a skincare routine at all.
Again, as a millennial, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be taking care of your skin. You should have a routine no matter how basic it is. Over time, you will realize that it is not about the price of the products or the number of steps you follow. It is about consistent maintenance. Ideally, you shouldn’t even be using products that you can’t buy 6 months supply of conveniently. So get a simple routine with products you can afford.
Not cleansing your skin for at least 60 seconds.
Last year, the popular esthetician Labeautyologist invented and popularised the #60secondrule. It simply means you should be cleansing your skin for at least one minute for the product (either foaming or gel cleanser) to do its job. Some of us wear layers of makeup daily and just cleanse for a few minutes thinking our skin is clean. No, it isn’t. Whether you wear makeup or not, make sure you’re cleansing your skin for at least 60 seconds every day. This will give you ample time to take out all the dirt and grime clogging your pores. Trust me, once you start, it easily becomes a habit.
Not double cleansing if you wear makeup regularly.
Still reiterating the point of cleansing especially if you wear makeup daily; you should absolutely be double or even triple cleaning. The first step should be your makeup remover/wipes or micellar water to take off the makeup. This step can also be considered a cleanse if you’re triple cleansing. The first cleanse should be your oil cleanser to take off the next batch of leftover makeup. The second cleanse should your foaming or gel cleanser to clean your skin completely. Listen! By the time, you remember how much cleansing is required to be done when you wear makeup, you’ll take out the time to work on your bare skin. This way you can walk around makeup-free unbothered.
Not using a hydrating toner.
In the past, a lot of us used products like Witch Hazel and other alcohol-laden products to tone our skin after cleansing. These products were basically doing more harm than good by drying out our skin instead of hydrating. Get yourself a good hydrating toner that has humectants like Glycerine, Aloe Vera or Hyaluronic Acid and see your skin flourish. Literally. If you’re anything like me and suffer from dry dehydrated skin and would want to step up your hydration levels, get into Korean essences. They will save your life.
Not exfoliating at all or over-exfoliating.
One of the really harmful skincare advice that a lot of us followed was using harsh scrubs to exfoliate. From baking soda to sugar and the very popular St Ives Apricot facial scrub. Listen, these physical scrubs have only been doing more harm than good. Our facial skin is particularly too delicate for them. They’re fine to use on your body if you like but get them as far away from your facial skin as possible. Instead, embrace chemical exfoliation.
Use gentle acids like Glycolic, Lactic or Mandelic to improve your skin texture and treat hyperpigmentation. Use Salicylic Acid to treat and prevent acne. If you’re still scared of trying chemical exfoliation because of the word ‘acids’, get into exfoliating toners. They typically come in Glycolic acids that are easier to use. But be careful when using exfoliating toners. Just because they are ‘toners’ doesn’t mean you should exfoliate every day. Over exfoliation is a thing and can also damage your skin.
Not wearing sunscreen daily.
The biggest skincare sin you are probably committing is not wearing sunscreen daily. I wouldn’t exactly blame anyone for this because there hasn’t been that much SPF awareness until recent times. I mean I also started wearing SPF regularly for an entire year and I’ve seen the difference it makes with my skin. Regardless of how basic or robust your skincare routine is, you should be wearing sunscreen daily. Imagine spending all that time and money on great skincare products, doing your AM and PM routine religiously but you’re not wearing sunscreen during the day. You’re literally wasting your time.
Sunscreen protects your skin from harmful UVA/UVB sun rays that penetrate into the skin and cause damage like premature ageing. So while you are treating your skin with different toners and serums, not finishing up your routine with SPF is basically undoing all your hard work. Please get into the habit of wearing sunscreen daily. All of the hyperpigmentation you seem to be struggling with will disappear when you combine the right products with a great SPF (nothing lower than 50).
Again, I’ll like to reiterate that it is not the number of products you use but the quality and consistency in using them. You can have an entire Korean 10 Step routine but you’re not consistent. Meanwhile, what will probably work for you is the simple routine of Cleanse, Tone, Exfoliate, Moisturise and Protect. Find a routine that works for you. Follow the right techniques. Ensure you’re not committing any of the six skincare sins above. Check back by the end of 2020. I promise you will see the staggering difference.
Ebun Oluwole is a Content Strategist by day and Lifestyle & Travel blogger by night. She’s currently obsessed with strength training, Korean skincare and solo travel. You can learn more about her through her blog at Ebun & Life.