Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Most Annoying Question RE: My Body

"WHEN/WHERE/WHY/HOW DID YOU BECOME SO CONFIDENCE?"

First, let's the define the word confident:
Confident
adjective
Having a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something : having confidence
 


For me, having confidence signifies that there's a potential of flaw, mistake, humiliation, or a risk of some type of embarrassment.  We say things like, "She spoke confidently with the data she provided" because there's room for error.

When you call me 'brave' or 'confident' in regards to my body, it is because YOU (not me) have self-consciously identified a reason for me to be uncertain. 

If you really think about it, you only need confidence or bravery if you have identified a potential risk.   Could you imagine someone telling you, "Wow, you're so brave for drinking that water!"  First thought for anyone would be, there's a reason you shouldn't be drinking that water!  Apply that same thought-process to being called confident for wearing a swimsuit at the beach.  To me, this just suggests that I shouldn't be wearing a swimsuit in one way or another.  

I get it, society says, "beauty, blah, blah, blah, standards, blah!"... But here is where your own self awareness comes to into play!  Once you've made yourself aware of your own personal health and body, everything else in society is completely intangible, subjective opinion.

So to answer the incessant question, when it comes to my body, I'm not brave or confident.  I just exist.
...Call me brave when I slay a dragon or something.

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Comment your thoughts!  Do you feel words like 'brave' or 'confident' are needed in the body image discussion? 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Skin + Care



I know I've been promising a Skin + Care post for months!  I've finally taken note of the daily process that keeps my skin clear for the most part.   


Let's start with clarifying my skin type.  I didn't always have clear, smooth skin.  I have Type - 6, normal to oily skin, meaning my T-zone can produce a bit of oil during certain times of the year. In addition,  I over actively pick and pop any pimples that appear which typically causes scarring and dark spots.   
Acne /Acne Scarring
Dark Spots / Hyper-pigmentation
I basically had to figure out a skin care regimen that incorporated a daily cleanser that could break up dirt and oil without over drying my skin and find a moisturizer that hydrated and cleared up scarring without clogging my pores.  My routine ended up becoming a modified version of what my mom has been doing for years, but now I understood the methodology.

Make Up Removal

At night, I typically start my routine by dampening my face with warm water and massaging in a dime sized amount of Unrefined Coconut Oil unto my face.  I use the coconut oil to break up the makeup bond and follow up with warm water rinsing away cosmetic residue.  

Cleanse

My daily face + body cleanser and all-problem solver will always be, all natural African Black Soap.   It keeps my skin clear, bright, and blemish free inexpensively.   Black soap is a great match if you have oily, acne prone skin.

I use it as face and body wash but if I feel a breakout on the horizon, I create a soapy lather from the bar and apply onto my face like a mask.  I can almost always feel the dirt and impurities being drawn out from my skin... but I'm dramatic so that's probably not what is actually happening.  If you have dry or very sensitive skin, I'd recommend you use a less abrasive blend of African Shea butter and Black Soap.  Since it is fused with a moisturizer it won't leave your skin feeling dry.  After about 5-10 minutes, I gently wash away my (makeshift) mask with warm water and use my Clarisonic Mia 2

The Clarisonic Sonic Cleansing Brush is the TRUTH; it's basically an electric toothbrush for your face.  What makes this cleansing brush the most effective in my opinion is the frequency of over 300 movements per second, it cleans your skin both gently and efficiently.  The results are really incomparable, I noticed minimized pores, smoother, clearer skin after about a month.  Out of all the brushes I've tried none really compare, plus it's rechargeable. 

Tone

Toners are used to help to open up your pores for your skin to better absorb moisturizers.  But if you're like me and don't necessarily enjoy watching your money evaporate, the most cost effective toner I have found is organic Apple Cider Vinegar! The benefits of ACV are extensive, but today we’re focusing on its use as a facial toner.  Similar to cosmetic brand toners, ACV is antiseptic, breakdowns your dead skin cells,  and helps minimizes the appearance of dark spots and acne scars but does so naturally.  Follow the directions below to make your very own blend!

ACV Facial Toner Recipe:

- 1 part Water (Depending on your skin type/sensitivity you can dilute with more water)

Apply a bit of your mixture onto a cotton ball and wipe all around your face while avoiding your eyes, and let air dry for 15-30 seconds.  

Moisturize

Timing is key! I moisturize right out of the shower when my skin is damp and most receptible to moisture.  Being completely honest, I use a variety of certain butters and oils for my face and body.   Depending on the weather, I'm consistently switching between unrefined coconut oil, cocoa and shea butter but they all work for me and my skin type.

Shea Butter

Shea butter has great use for me as a body moisturizer during the winter months because of its thick consistency.   I typically warm a quarter-sized amount of unrefined Shea butter and unrefined coconut oil by rubbing both ingredients in the palm of my hands until the butter has the consistency of an oily cream.  Then I massage the mixture unto my damp skin, the water residue from my shower helps me to distribute the butter evenly.

Sidenote: Unrefined Shea Butter has so many amazing benefits ranging from sun protection and erasing dark spots/acne scars to minimizing the appearance of wrinkles and stretch marks; however, Shea and African Butter are widely known to trigger or worsen cystic acne.  So be cautious with its use or try to dilute with two parts coconut oil if you have cystic-acne prone skin.


All Types of Shea Butter Are Not Created Equal

Cocoa Butter

Like unrefined Shea Butter, unrefined Cocoa Butter has a lot of the same key properties but the smell is more pleasant and the consistency is a bit thinner and easier to disburse.  I prefer to use raw cocoa butter for my face, neck, and chest area out of habit.  

Care and Make Up Free

Products

The most expensive product I use is my Clarisonic brush but since it was a one time purchase, the return on investment has been priceless.  All of the other products I use are relatively inexpensive and can last you about 3 - 6 months, the total should be no more than $80.   


Clarisonic Mia 2 - Cleansing brush
Raw African Black Soap
African Black Soap with Shea Butter
Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar
Unrefined Shea Butter
Unrefined Coconut Oil
Unrefined Cocoa Butter 

So there you have it!  My full daily routine that has cleared up my skin and kept it even and smooth.  If I realize that I missed anything else or have any new tips, I'll be sure to update!

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Comment your skin type and any helpful methods you have found useful!

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