In continuation from part 1 , we are going to delve a little deeper into how exactly these common skin whitening chemicals work. If you missed Part 1, please catch-up here.

Skin whiteners cause significant health risks when used over long periods of time. In Nigeria where skin bleaching products are largely unregulated over-the-counter creams, created with home remedies or a mixture of multiple creams tend to be the norm. This results in scarring and burns due to use of these substandard products which contain hazardous chemicals in harmful quantities. Let’s take a closer look at these chemicals shall we:

Mercury

This is a toxic chemical, easily absorbed into the body but not easily removed because it is a heavy metal. Short-term side effects of mercury in lightening products include rashes and skin discolouration. Long-term exposure has serious health consequences which include kidney, brain and reproductive system damage. All of which may lead to renal failure, depression, problems conceiving and may also interfere with the brain development of an unborn child and young children if used when pregnant or breastfeeding.

 

Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone is used in film processing, rubber manufacturing and used in some hair dyes. Currently, skin-lightening products with 2 % hydroquinone are sold over-the-counter while products with 4 % hydroquinone can be obtained by a doctor’s prescription but should not be used long term. Common side effects include dermatitis (skin irritation), rashes, excessive redness and dryness of the skin. When used for extended periods hydroquinone can induce a condition known as “ochronosis” where the skin has blue-black darkening in certain areas. Hydroquinone may also increase the risk of complications of thyroid, liver disease and adrenal dysfunction. It is also considered to be cytotoxic (toxic to cells), mutagenic and carcinogenic (cancer-causing).Like other lightning products, it makes skin more susceptible to the sun’s UV rays and in Nigeria may lead to serious sunburn and increased risk of skin cancer. Source: allicanbe

Hydrocortisone

 

Many skin lightening creams contain steroids, with doses up to 1,000 times higher than in creams used to treat skin conditions. Medical use of steroids is done under strict supervision and the usage minimised to less than 4 weeks due to avoid side effects. However, it is one of the commonest methods of skin bleaching in Nigeria as individual’s use this steroid creams for their skin lightening side effect. Long-term use of steroids leads to thinning of the skin, acne, red permanent stretch marks and increased hair growth. Even worse the steroids act like cortisol a stress hormone which in excess leads to Cushing’s syndrome characterised by a swollen face and abdomen, weight gain, thin skin that bruises easily, stretch marks, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis and depression. It can also lead to a lack of production of cortisol production since it is provided by the bleaching cream. So stopping use abruptly can lead to illness since the body has ‘’shut off’’ production of the stress hormones. Steroids also slow the process of cell regeneration thus the skin’s natural regenerative process slows down causing the epidermis (outer skin layer) to thin out making it more susceptible to ageing. Thinning skin is more susceptible to physical damage from normal activity, increased susceptibility to sun damage and other problems of pigmentation.

Glutathione

This is seen as the modern alternative to bleaching creams but it is not without its challenges especially when taken intravenously or orally. There is increased risk sun sensitivity and skin cancer because melanin serves as a protection against the UV radiation as well as unwanted side effects on the nervous system. The long-term effects of Glutathione have not been studied as it is only recently become a popular method of skin lightening and may cause significant problems down the road.

 

Natural Alternatives

Skin lightening agents Although most chemical-based skin lighteners cause serious health concerns, there are some natural lightening ingredients which suppress melanin production but are non-toxic with less, not zero, side effects. Some of these ingredients include arbutin, emblica, liquorice, mulberry extract, kojic acid or Vitamin C.


Although the pursuit of fair skin beauty as a beauty standard continues to plague many cultures, we need to understand the dangers to our health ruined by the pursuit of light skin and end the stigmatisation of dark skin.

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Chizo is a skincare and makeup enthusiast who likes to travel and explore new places. When not working, she is browsing skin care and beauty sites looking to try new products or binge-watching series online.

You can find her:

Instagram @Chiripse 

Who better to recommend makeup to you than a professional Makeup Artist that actually understands the climate conditions you deal with all year round. They will offer recommendations based on a wealth of experience, having worked on a wide variety of skin tones & textures. So that’s why we went back to Theo, head makeup artist at Doranne Beauty, to tell us what makeup foundation we should be adding to our ‘Must-Have’ list.

If you missed her last recommendations on Primers, click here!

 

1. LANCOME TEINT IDOLE ULTRA

 

Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Wear – N22,000

WHERE TO BUY


 

2. NARS RADIANCE LONGWEAR & ALL-DAY LUMINOUS

NARS RADIANCE LONGWEAR – N22,000

WHERE TO BUY

 

 

NARS ALL-DAY LUMINOUS – N23,000

WHERE TO BUY


 

3. MAKEUP FOREVER ULTRA HD

Makeup Forever Ultra HD – N24,000

WHERE TO BUY


 

4. GIORGIO ARMANI LUMINOUS SILK


5. FENTY BEAUTY PRO FILT’R SOFT MATTE LONGWEAR

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r – N17,000

WHERE TO BUY


6 L’OREAL TRUE MATCH SUPER BLENDABLE

L’Oreal True Match Super Blendable – N5,500

 

WHERE TO BUY


7. BOBBI BROWN LONG-WEAR WEIGHTLESS FOUNDATION

Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear – N24,500

WHERE TO BUY


You can find Theo on Instagram: @Theo.DoranneBeauty

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photo source: pinterest.com

So here’s an interesting question: How long should your weaves/hair extensions last? A month, 5 months? A year, 5years? Honestly your weaves could last forever, it all comes down to HOW you maintain them. How have you been treating your weaves? What are your go-to weave treatment essentials? Let’s be honest, weaves/wigs are a bit of an investment so the only logical thing to do is treat them as such.

 

In caring for our weaves, we should always look to assess the state of it at given periods of time to enable us stay on top of its condition (i.e. is it frizzy, dry, brittle, limp, dull, oily, damaged?…list is endless. Here are some tips on what you can do to build a ‘weave maintenance culture’ for your beloved tresses and keep them in good condition for as long as you care for it:

 

Silk Works Wonders

Be it a silk scarf, silk bonnet, or silk pillowcase, the objective is to keep our weave from being sapped of moisture (which happens with cotton due to friction). Silk fabrics won’t dry the hair out, keeping it in tip-top shape while you’re catching your zzzs and ready to be let loose when you get up.

Some Oils are good!

Natural oils like coconut oil gives nourishment to our strands and works best on weaves that are prone to frizzing. For fine/straight weaves, it’s best to concentrate its application to the ends of the hair to tame fly-aways/split-ends/sun-damaged tips etc. However, nothing beats deep treatment using such oils to treat extensions from the inside out.

 

Protect while you sleep

Most of us find it easy styling our weaves using bendy rollers, especially when we go off to bed. It’d be good to secure it with a silk scarf/bonnet to keep your style and tresses on point (and away from friction).

 

Towel-dry Gently

When running DIY conditioning on your weave, never wrap a towel around the hair strands too tight; doing so stretches the hair and causes damage to the cuticle.

 

Sun Protection

Yup, constant sun exposure isn’t good for your extensions either. UV rays can be damaging to our strands causing colour treatments to fade, as well as dryness and brittleness which takes away from the joy of rocking gorgeous, healthy hair. Using products containing antioxidant/sunscreen ingredients, as well as regular deep-conditioning treatments also does wonders to lock in much needed moisture to hair strands.

 

Hope these tips were helpful and if you just haven’t got the time to maintain your extensions yourself our Treatment Centre is open specifically to offer bespoke treatment services for weaves/wigs, only using effective premium treatment products, coupled with our unique application process that will leave your extensions refreshed and revitalised, ready for its next use.

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Weave Clinic has been set up to provide services for optimum health & maintenance of weaves, wigs & hair extensions.

You can find us:

Instagram @weaveclinic

Telephone: 08090088991

Email: weaveclinic@gmail.com 

photo source: @iamtberry (Instagram)

Skin-lightening or bleaching is an epidemic in many countries worldwide, and Africa in particular. Nigeria currently has the dubious honour of being the skin bleaching capital of the world, with an estimated 77% of Nigerian women using skin-lightening products. Skin bleaching is not new and cuts across ethnic lines and Queen Elizabeth the first of England famously used lead as a skin whitener. Skin bleaching, however, became popular among African women in the late 1950s probably as a consequence of colonisation.

 

 

The skin lightening industry is a lucrative business and is set to be worth $10bn globally and is expected to grow to $23 billion by 2020. In Nigeria, the cost of skin lightening varies significantly from few hundred Naira for a cream or soap to thousands of Naira for a professional treatment. Unfortunately, with increasing westernization, the popularity of skin lightening products has skyrocketed. This popularity spawned the release of products like ‘’Whitenicious’’ launched by Cameroonian-Nigerian pop star Dencia. Although it was promoted a treatment of hyperpigmentation, sales were driven by images of Dencia, dark-skinned before and significantly lighter afterwards.

 

 

 

photo source: modern southern

We all know that fair skin is considered the beauty standard and this is deeply ingrained in many cultures where darker skin is associated with dirt or poverty. The preference for light skin is expressed subtly or blatantly and is played out in pop culture with the villain having dark skin or features and the protagonist the opposite as seen in the video clip.

 

 

photo source: pinterest.com

This preference for light skin comes with tremendous health consequences since most skin lighteners contain products which are dangerous to health. More worryingly is that women actively seek out products that contain harmful ingredients, because they are perceived as more effective.

How skin lighteners Work

Melanin is a pigment produced by melanocytes in the skin that gives skin its colour and provides protection against the harmful effects of UV rays. Skin whitening creams slow the production of melanin in the skin’s outer layer by reducing the action of the enzyme, tyrosinase, which controls melanin production in the skin.

 

The Dangers of seeking Lighter Skin

Skin lighteners cause significant health risks when used over long periods of time. In Nigeria where skin bleaching products are largely unregulated over-the-counter creams, created with home remedies or a mixture of multiple creams tend to be the norm. This results in scarring and burns due to use of these substandard products which contain hazardous chemicals in harmful quantities and the main offender’s ingredients responsible are:

  • Mercury
  • Hydroquinone
  • Corticosteroids
  • Gluthathione

Health complications

Some of the consequences of skin bleaching are associated with the toxic compounds mentioned above which may cause cancers well as severe skin conditions. These side effects may be internal or external; internally side effects include kidney and liver failure or cancer while external side effects include eczema, severe acne, pigmentation problems and host of other skin infections. Bleaching also affects the skins ability to regenerate which means injuries may not heal as quickly or not at all after prolonged use.

 

Although the pursuit of fair skin as a beauty standard continues to plague many cultures, we need to understand the dangers to our health, ruined by the pursuit of light skin and end the stigmatisation of dark skin.


In part 2 of this series I will go in-depth, explaining the extremely harmful side-effects of skin lightening, particularly honing in on the 4 ingredients I listed above. I will also share a few natural alternatives that suppress melanin production but are non-toxic with less, not zero, side effects

Be sure to check back soon!

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Chizo is a skincare and makeup enthusiast who likes to travel and explore new places. When not working, she is browsing skin care and beauty sites looking to try new products or binge-watching series online.

You can find her:

Instagram @Chiripse

Two questions I am often asked is “what exactly does retinol do” and “do I need retinol”. I am a strong advocate of including retinol in your routine once you are 25 and above.

However, I understand your confusion when it comes to what retinol or retinoid to use so here are some quick definitions:

Retinol – a mega antioxidant, also known as Vitamin A, and the gold standard of anti-aging. It has the power to reverse the signs of aging (I use reverse loosely here), smoothen lines & wrinkles, fade acne marks & hyperpigmentation as well as accelerate skin renewal.

Retinoid – derived from retinol. A potential irritant but great for acneic skin or if you need to smoothen your skin. I know glycolic acid does this but I got better results using RetinA for my ingrown hair bumps after I got laser hair removal.

 

Retinol rules to live by:

  1. Use at night only
  2. Do not use while pregnant or breastfeeding
  3. Ensure you are religious with sunscreen during the day
  4. Proceed with caution when using with other actives like glycolic acid. It is fine for me but those with sensitive skin may have some irritation
  5. Do not apply a higher quantity of product more frequently for quicker results
  6. Start slowly say once or twice a week and build up to a maximum of 4 times a week
  7. For retinoids (retin A, Renova, Differin) you may want to start with the lowest percentage 0.025% and work your way up to 0.05%. Personally I think 1% Tretinoin will be too much for most people. If it comes in one strength, use less frequently.
  8. Apply directly after cleansing. Some prefer to use a hydrating serum to buffer the dryness or peeling that may follow but I usually apply directly then wait 15 to 30 minutes and follow with a moisturizer or facial oil. On the other 3 nights I am off retinol I either use a hydrating serum or an acid serum.
  9. Get formulas with droppers or tubes to avoid contamination or loss of efficacy from jar containers

 

 

photo source: amazon.com

 

Some of my favourite retinol/retinoid products

  • Skinceuticals 0.5% Pure Retinol
  • Paula’s Choice 1% Clinical Retinol
  • The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% (available on Allure Beauty StoreGebeesq & My SK Beauty)
  • The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane (available on Gebeesq)
  • Tretinoin (sold under different trade names)
  • Differin (main ingredient is Adapalene, a type of retinoid) (available on Hilary Says)
  • Indeed Labs Retinol Reface (great for beginners)
  • Medik8 Retinol 6TR
  • Jordan Samuel Skin Etoile with Retinol (available on Hilary Says)

 

Have you ever tried retinol? What was your experience? What is your favourite retinol product


We have a number of BeautyDirectoryNG listed businesses that retail Retinol Products:

PRODUCT SUGGESTIONWHERE TO BUY
1. INSTANATURAL RETINOL SERUM
2. PURITAN RETINOL CREAM
3. RENTINA 0.5 CREAM
Allure Beauty Store
1. PETER THOMAS ROTH RETINOL
FUSION PM (1.5% RETINOL)
2. SKINMEDICA RETINOL COMPLEX
(0.5% RETINOL)
3. JORDAN SAMUEL SKIN ETOILE
WITH RETINOL (0.2% RETINOL)
4. DIFFEREN ADAPALENE GEL
(O.1% RETINOID)
Hilary Says
1. THE ORDINARY GRANACTIVE
RETINOID 5% IN SQUALINE
2. THE ORDINARY GRANACTIVE
RETINOID 2% IN SQUALINE
3. THE ORDINARY RETINOL 0.5%
IN SQUALINE
4. THE ORDINARY RETINOL 1%
IN SQUALINE
Gebeesq
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Olabisi is a Medical Doctor and Skincare Blogger based in Lagos. When she is not busy working with vulnerable women and children, she is writing blog posts on www.thatgeminigirl.com.

You can find her:

Instagram @that.geminigirl

Twitter: @geminigirl03

Email: olabisi@thatgeminigirl.com 

We got a LOT of emails from readers asking for more Dupes, so here it is. If you missed the first one, you can read it here. This time around we took it a step farther and have now included links to BeautyDirectoryNG businesses that stock some of the products mentioned! Once again, we went back to Julia to see if she had any more dupes to share and thankfully she did! Julia is an Associate Makeup Artist at popular makeup house Doranne Beauty, and she is known for her ‘nack’ at finding cheaper alternatives for more expensive products; these are termed ‘duplicates’ or ‘dupes’ in the beauty world.

In this post Julia shares with us, another, 5 Dupes she uses on her clients, that give her similar results to the more expensive product:

1. MAKEUP FOREVER STEP 1 MATTTIFYING PRIMER

 

WHERE TO BUY

Makeup Forever Step 1 Mattifying Primer

 

Pond’s Lasting Oil Control


2. MORPHE EYESHADOW PALETTES

 

WHERE TO BUY

Morphe Eyeshadow Palettes

Hush Beauty NG


3. FENTY BEAUTY BODY LAVA

WHERE TO BUY

Fenty Beauty Body Lava

Sephora Illuminating Bronzing Oil


4. ARTIST COUTURE ‘LA BRONZE’

WHERE TO BUY

Artist Couture ‘La Bronze’

Yanga Beauty ‘Kporkish’


 

5. OMGLO Cosmetics Spray

WHERE TO BUY

Omglo Cosmetics Spray (200ml)

Soo Pro Cosmetics Hydra Mist (200ml)


You can find Julia on Instagram: @Jhulia_

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At any given time, I have about 10-15 different salts on rotation in my kitchen salt collection but there are some that are permanent staples, no matter what, and Pink Himalayan Salt is one of those staples due to its health benefits. The pink colour comes from over 80 trace minerals including calcium, potasium, magnesium and iron. It is one of the purest salts in existence. I was drawn to this scrub because while I have used salt scrubs before, I wanted to see whether the benefits of this wonder pink salt would be evident on my skin.  Let me just confess that I am on my third tub of this. I don’t remember how I discovered it, but I do know that I don’t want to run out, ever. 

How I use:

This scrub is an evening affair for me. I shower as usual, rinse, and then buff this onto my body with my hands, do a final rinse and go. Other times, I rub this onto damp skin and then soak in a nice hot bath for 30 minutes. On occasion, I mix a pinch of the scrub with my face wash to purify and deep clean my face before slathering on a face mask. 

 

Results

This scrub is pink and grainy as you would expect from a salt scrub. Apart from the pretty colour, the smell is amazing and it leaves a little bit of a minty cooling tingle on your skin. They are not lying when they say it purifies and gives you inner balance. I really do feel completely renewed when I use this, which is why I save it for stressful days when I need something to calm me down or lift my spirits or scrub away stress. The smell, the feel, and the ingredients work well together in this product.

 

Pros:

  • Top notch fragrance notes – unlike some other scrubs on the market which smell too sweet cloying, this has a plush, rose fragrance which feels rich, authentic and hella sexy.
  • Super moisturising – this scrub is packed with natural oils which themselves are beneficial to the skin such as peach, almond, coconut, macadamia, olive and jojoba oils. After this scrub, there is no need to moisturise your skin as it leaves you supple and soft. You can if you want to, (and there is a matching body butter from Rituals which intensifies the experience) but I find I don’t really need to. An exfoliating product that also cares for my dry skin is a win for me.
  • Generous size – this tub lasts me ages. Admittedly I save this for when I need a big dose of TLC. That said, I have had my current tub 6 months and still have enough a couple more sessions.
  • Exfoliation intensity – I have tried a fair few scrubs in my time and have decided that I prefer salt and/or sugar scrubs for my body because they are more effective without damaging my skin. Wax bead scrubs are nice but too soft and don’t do much. Walnut shells are alright but they tend to be a bit too abrasive and scratchy. This scrub gives me the right amount of exfoliation.

Cons:

  • A little bit of waste-age – I mentioned the scrub texture being grainy and this is because it is made with many natural ingredients. While it is great that there are no synthetic waxes in it (like there are in other scrubs) I find it is best to use it on damp skin. Otherwise it falls off into the bath tub and wastes, which can be annoying. 

Ingredients: Sodium Chloride, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Parfum/Fragrance, Argania Spinosa (Kernel) Oil, Macadamia Integrifolia Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba Seed) Oil, Prunus Persica (Peach) Kernel Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive Fruit) Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Rosa Centifolia Extract, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Menthol, Tocopherol, Isopropyl Myristate, Benzyl Benzoate, Citronellol, Coumarin, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Limonene.

Product Claims: A purifying body scrub that contains ancient crystal salt from the Himalayas, which has a purifying and harmonising effect for inner balance and vitality. This purifying scrub leaves an intensely soothing thin layer of oil on your skin. Enriched with the delightful aroma of Indian Rose and the soothing effects of Sweet Almond Oil. According to traditional Ayurvedic science, scrubbing is a highly effective way of purifying your body and of stimulating the flow of energy. This process is enhanced when taking a warm bath.

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Minjiba is a creative African food blogger, TV cook and content creator based in Lagos and her cooking show ‘Minjiba Entertains’ airs weekly on The Africa Channel in the US & the Caribbean. In addition to developing exciting recipes from local ingredients, she is a sworn skincare addict and loves to explore products that use active food ingredients.

You can find her:

Instagram: @minjibacookey

Twitter: @minjibacookey

Website: www.minjibacookey.com