Skin congestion can be very annoying. I know the struggle because my pores get filled and very fast for that matter. If I’m not regularly clearing them, I know before long, my skin will feel rough and begin to look bumpy. In case you are wondering, congested skin aka clogged pores aka closed comedones are not like pimples. They are those tiny little bumps you feel under the skin, usually in clusters and usually not very visible. Clearing them is really easy especially if you know what to do and you have the right products. Here are some ways you can constantly keep your pores unclogged.

 

1. Use skin clarifying products.

Products with clarifying botanical extracts like willow back, papaya, pineapple, pumpkin, apple, kiwi and tomatoes can really help to detoxify and clarify the skin. Commonly known as fruit enzymes, they are very popular in Asia and you’d find them in many Korean skincare products. Witch Hazel, an astringent also has powerful decongesting properties and more so excellent for fighting acne.

 

2. Exfoliate!

 

While AHAs like Glycolic Acid and Mandelic Acid help to get rid of dead skin cells by exfoliating the surface of the skin, BHAs really go deep into the pores to remove oil, impurities and dead skin cells that could eventually clog your pores and cause breakouts. Salicylic acid is a widely-known, effective BHA. Betaine Salicylate, also very similar to Salicylic acid, at certain percentages works as an effective skin-decongesting ingredient.

 

3. Avoid Silicone / Pore-filling ingredients

In as much as silicone products (and its other cousins) help smoothen skin and gives you that airbrushed, flawless finish, it can be one of the reasons why oily/ acne prone skin is clogged. Dimethicone, a silicone based polymer, commonly added to primers, foundations and lotions trap moisture (which isn’t a bad thing) but also trap bacteria, facial oils, sebum and other impurities that would most likely cause acne. Apart from that, I personally find that products with silicone really just sit in my pores and make my skin look unnecessarily bumpy.

 

4. Try clay, mud or charcoal masks

 

What these three skincare ingredients have in common is their ability to draw impurities out of your pores to the surface of the skin so that you’d be able to rinse them off easily. Clay, mud and charcoal are especially good for people who also suffer from large pores and oily skin.

 

5. Go for facial extractions

They involve the manual extraction of gunk from your pores by a licensed skincare professional. This procedure is really to jump start the process of getting your pores unclogged. However, you’d still need day-to-day preventive treatments so after extractions make sure to still incorporate products that will help you unclog your pores.

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Ifeoluwa is a skincare blogger with growing interests in esthetics skincare & product photography. She shares most of her knowledge on caring for acne-prone skin on www.sheisnaturallybronze.com.

You can find her:

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Facebook: sheisnaturallybronze

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Have you ever wondered why washing your face with a bar of soap is not a good idea or do you have overly sensitive, inflamed or flaky skin? Or, why after using some products your skin goes absolutely crazy. It’s all about your Acid Mantle, never heard of this right? Neither had I until I went down the skincare rabbit hole and discovered just how important understanding the acid mantle is to maintaining healthy, clear skin. In this post I will talk about pH Balance, the Acid Mantle & how it protects your skin, why certain products work and then I will also recommend the best products to restore your skin’s acid balance.

This post might have you feeling like you’re back in your Biology class, but honestly this might be just what you need to better understand your skincare routine and what sort of products to use.

 

 

What is pH?

PH is a method of measuring the acidity or alkalinity of any substance and ranges from 0 the highest level of acidity to 14 the highest level of alkalinity and 7 which is neutral. Different body parts have different PH levels from 0-14 and maintaining this is crucial to health. Most substances fall on one side of the spectrum but water, however, is the only neutral substance with a PH of 7.

 

 

What is the Acid Mantle?

 

The Acid Mantle is a thin protective slightly acidic water-lipid (oil) film found on the surface of the skin that acts as a barrier between you and the outside elements. It also protects the skin from acne-causing bacteria and maintains its moisture balance. When your acid mantle is fully functional and intact your skin will look and feel great. The acid mantle is made up of dead skin cells, oils (sebum) and other skin secretions which, when mixed with sweat, forms the Acid Mantle. All of this helps keep your skin at an optimal, slightly acidic PH of between 4.5- 6.2 which is a protective barrier and serves as the body’s defence.

The acid mantle protects skin from environmental assaults by:

  • Secreting enzymes that down excess sebum in the skin keeping the oil in balance
  • Boost the immune system to produce antigens, occluding your skin to retard bacterial growth.
  • Keep your skin soft and supple, preventing cracks and abrasions

 

 

 

The acid mantle, unfortunately, can be disturbed by environmental factors, alkaline soaps/cleansers as well overly enthusiastic exfoliation and cleaning can raise the skin PH to above 6 breaking down the skin’s natural defences. Maintaining the pH of skin is crucial for its health, a pH of 7 is neutral and anything above creates an alkaline environment which is bad for skin. Healthy skin should be below a pH of 7 and a pH of 5.5 is optimum.

This is why you don’t want the squeaky clean feeling after you wash your face because it indicates you have stripped off your acid mantle. Good face cleansers are specially formulated to maintain your skins acid mantle, this is also why Acid Cider Vinegar (ACV) is recommended as a good face cleanser /toner for the skin (note that it is extremely acidic and should always be diluted). Once the acid mantle is disturbed, your skin’s natural defence system is down, which means it will be vulnerable to bacteria, allergens and foreign elements which thrive under alkaline conditions. Chronic disruption of your acid mantle affects the skin barrier function which can lead to dry skin, inflammation, dermatitis and atopic skin diseases. If bacteria, find a passageway through your skin they are able to bloodstream they create inflammation, allergies and breakouts.

 

 

How To Repair A Damaged Acid Mantle

 

 

The skin is able to restore its pH naturally within about 30 minutes, the damage to the acid mantle, on the other hand, can take much longer to repair depending on the severity of the disruption. First of all stop with all the activity which may have caused the disruption in the first place

  • Stop all exfoliating until your skin feels like it is back to normal, continued exfoliation will only continue to traumatise the skin.
  • Stop over washing or cleansing your face
  • Stop using hot water when washing or rinsing your face
  • Stop all exfoliation especially physical exfoliation which can be more traumatic

To repair your skin start by using products which are more acidic in all parts of your skincare regime

  • Try the oil cleansing method which is less stripping to skin
  • Use cleansers with an acidic pH to avoid more trauma to the acid mantle.
  • Use ingredients like copper peptide and rose water help restore the skin’s PH and help prepare them for the humectants
  • Add humectants moisture-attracting ingredients to your skincare regimen which include lactic and hyaluronic acid
  • Use face oils especially plant-based facial oils which are rich in ceramides & linoleic acids such as baobab, rosehip seed oil, evening primrose oil and Shea butter that protect skin from moisture loss

 

Product Recommendation’s to maintain your acid mantle

Cleansers

Cosrx -Low-pH Good Morning Cleanser

Sebamed Liquid Face & Body Wash for Sensitive Skin

Jordan Samuel after Show Treatment Cleanser (Plie)

Treatments

The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1

Niod Copper Amino Isolate Serum 2:1

Heritage Store Rosewater Spray

Stephanie Nicolas organic Moroccan rose water

Humectants

The ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

The ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA

Face Oils

Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil

Stratia Liquid Gold


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Hilary Says
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Cho & Zen Beauty
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Serenite Beauty
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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.

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Instagram @Chiripse 

photo source: blackhairinformation.com

Trimming. The dreaded word that strikes fear in the hearts of women all over the world. And hey, I get it! We’ve all had that scissor happy hairdresser who cuts off 5 inches when you say you only want 1 inch off. I know what it’s like when you’ve been taking SUCH good care of your hair and the thought of trimming and seeing your precious hair on the salon floor gives you anxiety. I get it!

 

 

photo source: Instagram (natureslocks)

Here’s the honest truth: trimming your hair is essential for having healthy hair – remember, health is more important than length. I’ll say it again: HEALTH IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN LENGTH. The ends are the oldest parts of your hair – they have been through the most wear and tear and require the most care. Even if you’re super careful, your ends will sustain damage a lot quicker than the rest of your hair. This can be in the form or split ends, single strand knots and breakage. The issue with not trimming is that these split ends will begin to creep up your strands and the damage will become a lot more extensive to the point that you will have to cut off double the amount or all your hair will be damaged. People often complain their hair isn’t growing but the real question is are you retaining length? If you’re not trimming your hair, your ends will eventually start breaking and that breakage may take off healthy strands as well as the unhealthy ones. Taking excellent care of your hair doesn’t mean you don’t need a trim – trimming is part of taking excellent care of your hair!

 

 

 

So how often do you need to trim then?? Honestly, this is a personal decision. I know that when my hair was relaxed, my personal rule of thumb was about every 8-10 weeks. But now that I take much better care of my hair (no heat, weekly deep conditioning, regular moisture schedule), I trim a lot less. I actually trim every 3-4 months. This is why I say it’s personal! If you use a lot of heat or relax your hair, you may need to trim more often! You need to pay attention to your hair and do what works for you.

 

Just be sure to look out for the tell-tale signs that signal when a trim is due:

  • A lot of breakage
  • Split ends
  • A lot of single strand knots
  • Difficulty detangling your hair
  • Overly dry and brittle ends
  • Highly tangled ends
  • Droopy and lifeless hair

So don’t be afraid to trim! Find a hair stylist you trust and schedule those regular trims for healthy hair!!

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Tara is a hair and skincare blogger living and working in Lagos. She works a 9-5 job whilst building the business she is passionate about, Nature's Locks (a hair and skincare line of products and tools), which started out as a blog, natureslocks.to. You can find her:

 

Ingredients: Water, Aloe, Lactic Acid, Lemon Peel Extract, Orange Fruit Extract, Apple Fruit Extract, Witch Hazel, Organic sugar, Black Tea Leaf Extract, Oat Kernel Extract, Sodium PCA, Organic Chamomile Extract, Glycerin, Clary Extract

Product Claims:
This all-in-one toning treatment exfoliates and hydrates your skin while stimulating collagen production. It is specially formulated to strengthen the skin and regulate proper pH balance to reveal a smooth, healthy glow. Our newest tonic helps to build and protect your Essential Stratum BarrierSM and enables your skin to be at its best by ensuring cell turnover and rejuvenation.


 

Look and feel

It is completely clear with a mild, pleasant smell. It almost looks like water. On the skin it is cooling and soothing. If you are (like I was) used to toners that leave your skin feeling stretched and taut, this will surprise you based on how hydrating it is. Sometimes, if I haven’t used it for a few days, it tingles slightly when I put it on, as though it is eating up all the junk that accumulated in its absence. This pleases me greatly.

 

How I use this

I use this after cleansing and before moisturising. I either pour a small amount onto a cotton pad and sweep over my face and neck or I splash it into my palm and press it onto my face directly. Sometimes, when I want a heavier dose of acids/chemical exfoliation, I use this as a second toner, after I have first toned with my Pixi Glow Tonic.

 

Formulation

photo source: www.cultbeauty.co.uk

I find it so intriguing that a product in which almost all the ingredients could be food, is also so effective on the skin.
Take aloe, which aids digestion and alkalises the body. In this toner it heals and soothes stressed out skin.
Or lactic acid which is predominantly found in dairy products like yoghurt; in this product it improves skins texture and hydrates like a dream. If you have acne scarring, this ingredient is what does the heavy lifting to smoothen you out.
Glycerin which is used in baking to add moisture to some cake and fondant icing recipes, does the exact same thing here and encourages skin to attract moisture from the atmosphere and subsequent products.
How about the organic sugar? Rather than just a sweetener in our coffee, in this formulation it encourages the skin to shed its dead cells for a glowy, brightening effect. Almost like a sugar scrub but in liquid form!
And then finally, the fruit teas and extracts do exactly the same thing they do in the body – fight oxidative stress and rascally free radicals that cause faster ageing.

 

Results

Sometime last year, I realised that my beloved Clinique and I had to part ways after many happy years together. Thankfully, my skin remained reasonably clear through my pregnancy, but I have had to come to terms with the fact that the needs of 30+ are different. It was time to find a new crop of cleaner, more nuanced, and more effective toners. Enter January Labs Daily Brightening Tonic, stage left.

This toner is deceptively simple. The ingredient list reads like something you might expect to find on a new superfood health drink rather than on a beauty product. However it is definitely a chemical exfoliating toner, albeit a mild one, employing AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids). AHAs dissolve the cellular glue that sticks dead skin cells together.

At first I thought it wasn’t doing much, until I stopped using it and found that my brightness was backsliding. I never, ever, ever want to lighten my naturally dark skin, but I do want to make sure that I keep it healthy, radiant and glowing to the gods.

 

Verdict

I have enjoyed using this toner. I do suspect sometimes that my skin starts to get used to it, so I like to give it a break periodically so as to keep it effective.

I absolutely love the fact that the ingredient list is so minimalist. Not a nasty colour, filler, fragrance or preservative in sight. Everything in there is geared toward a specific task for your skin and not for gimmickey marketing. If you are passionate about clean beauty, January Labs is a brand to explore!

The no nonsense packaging (plastic bottle with a flip-up spout) is lightweight and great for travelling. I have never had any spills with this.


Will I buy this again? I think so. It definitely has worked well for me; however it is my first exclusively lactic acid toner so I would like to try out a few others to see where this sits among its peers. Stay tuned!

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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

photo source: Vogue

Beyonce’s much anticipated and talked about September Vogue cover is finally here and honestly, we are not worthy. Queen Bey looks luminous and youthful…serious dewy skin goals!

 

 

photo source: Vogue

In the 350 degree oven that is Lagos, this pared back make up look might just be the
trend we should all adopt.

Here are five tips for achieving this look (flower crown not included!):

1. Great Skincare

Clarins Double Serum

Amazing skin is the foundation of all great make up looks, not least a minimal one such as this. A good day and night routine is an absolute must. Cleanser, exfoliant, mask, toner, treatment, serum, moisturizer, and last but by no means least, sunscreen – Go. Buy. NOW!

This will help ensure your skin is hydrated, protected, youthful, and blemish free for the most part.

 

2. A Good Base

L-R: Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer, Koh Gen Do Moisture Foundation, YSL Touche Eclat                                          photo source: SpaceNK, ShopStyle, YSLBeauty

There are so many lightweight, medium coverage foundations on the market today that can achieve this look. You want to look for a natural (skin-like) satin finish as opposed to a full coverage matte finish for this look.

Also, a great base doesn’t always have to mean foundation. If your skin is relatively blemish-free, some spot concealing and under-eye coverage could be all you need. Basically, don’t mask your skin. Only use product where you need it!

 

3. All in The Detail

L-R: Huda Beauty ‘Warm Brown Obsessions’ Paletter, Kevyn Aucoin ‘The Precision’ Brow Pencil, Dior Lip Glow              photo source: ShopHudaBeauty, SpaceNK, John Lewis

It’s the little things that make this look. Think feathery brows, not ‘instagram’ ones. Think luminizer, not Trophy Wife. Substitute your Huda Beauty ‘Gemstones’ palette for your ‘Warm Brown’ one. Put the matte lip stains down, embrace the Dior Lip Glow!

 

4. Cream over Powder


I think we all know by now that a natural beat doesn’t necessarily mean you use any less products or steps than a regular beat. The key to making this look believable is using a light hand and mimicking the natural highlights, contours, and flushes of your skin. Only this time, choose cream over powder. Cream blushes and contour products are the way to go.

 

5. All Set!


You still need to set. Apply a finely milled setting powder on your t-zone to ensure your base stays where you placed it – remember, 350 degree oven! A good finishing spray will also help restore the glow and make you look dewy, not oily!

Good luck and I wish you Beyonce Vogue vibes.

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Simi is a company secretary and full time lover of food/sporadic blogger @inmylagoskitchen forever trialing skincare in search of the (nonexistent) 'ONE'.

 

You’ve tried it all: bone straight, wavy, curly, braids, all sorts and you’re just in a rut, not sure what you can do anymore… Ladies, we all go through it,  that period when you’re not really sure what to do with your hair anymore.

Well, hopefully I can help… Here’s some #HairInspo

 

1. PLATINUM BLONDE

photo source: instagram.com/joycejacobbeauty

 

photo source: instagram.com/kehindesmith

Blonde comes in different variations: sandy blonde, beige blonde, honey blonde, brown blonde, platinum blonde, etc. Platinum blonde has been so trendy with celebrities lately. I’m in love with it because it’s so different from the norm. Definitely a win! If it’s too much for you, you can tell your colorist to add dark roots and tone it down a bit like Kehinde Smith’s

Side note: Nobody rocks hair like Tiwa Savage. I have to give it to her; the lady can rock any hairstyle and color with no care in the world. She inspired this article!

 

2. GREY/SILVER

 

Another head turner, grey hair! Remember when grey meant that you were growing old? Yeah not anymore. This is also a good option if you’re trying to switch-up your look. Tiwa Savage and Kim Kardashian have both tried grey hair, Danielle Okeke opted to having dark roots added to hers.

 

3. COLOURED BRAIDS

Braids are my all-time favourite, so classic and effortless, and also low maintenance. Times have evolved, people are rocking colored braids. If you are tired of weaves and wigs, you can opt for this. Like Stephanie Coker’s wine braids.

 

4. PASTEL PINK HAIR

Another daring look that looks so bomb when executed right. Pink is called “fashion color” in the coloring world because it is a lot of work and super high maintenance.  For my dark-skinned ladies, fear not, with pastel pink it’s all about the tone!

 

5. MULTI-TONAL BLONE/BROWN

We all know this is Beyonce’s signature colour –the wavy/curly wig swirled in brown, brown blonde & honey blonde shades, hardly does she rock any other color. You go through all her pictures and most of her videos, she is most likely dancing to “Single Ladies” in her signature look. This is the ladies  who want to play it ‘safe’ but still want to be a little adventurous. If it is still too much for you, you can rock it as an ombre or highlights.


Hope I managed to get some of you inspired for your next hair appointment. And if you’re looking for a colourist you can trust, I’m your girl!

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Ajoke runs a hotel in the day, and a hair colorist at night. When she’s not doing either, she's Netflixing all her favourite TV shows.

You can find her:

Instagram: @shadesofbella_ / @adejoke_

photo source: hercampus.com

Koreans probably have the most extensive skin care routine in the beauty industry. They take skincare seriously and are very particular about what they put on their skin. This is part of what makes me rather interested in K-beauty. Before I became familiar with the famous 10-step Korean skincare routine, I had heard about “glass skin” – a Korean term for clear, pore less, glowing and well hydrated skin. My skin was very dehydrated at that time and the promise of glass skin using Korean skin care products seemed like a very good idea to me. I tried and now, I’m a K-beauty convert. Simply because I have used products that have dramatically improved my skin. My skin is in such a calm, happy place and I owe part of my skin’s progress to these K-beauty babies.

 

Klairs Supple Preparation Unscented Toner

At the time I discovered this product, skin was dehydrated and I was looking forward to remedying it with this product. Little did I know I would be solving multiple skin problems! My skin became more hydrated, less oily and broke out less. Now I tell people that one of the ways to improve acne effectively is to properly hydrate their skin. With its major moisture-binding ingredient (sodium Hyaluronate aka Hyaluroic Acid), I can be sure my skin remains hydrated through the day.

 

 

Cosrx Low PH Good Morning Gel Cleanser.

Apart from the fact that this cleanser does a proper job at cleansing and refreshing all skin types, it’s formulated to keep your skin protected. One of the things that you can do to improve your skin is definitely using a low PH cleanser. Koreans believe in protecting the skin’s moisture barrier and I honestly believe that too. The reason some people have acne is because their skin’s barrier has been severely compromised and has a low defense against external aggressors. It also contains tea tree oil & betaine salicylate (a milder form of Salicylic acid) which is even more beneficial for acne-prone skin!

 

 

Klairs Midnight Bue Calming Cream

I don’t even know how to properly explain my love for this cream. I tried samples and automatically well in love. Now I have the full size pot. This cream is my pick-me-up on days my skin is irritated and screaming for help. It’s so effective at soothing, inflamed and troubled skin. I like that it has a soft, buttery feel on the skin without being oily. Best part for me is it doesn’t feel my pores like most creams I’ve used in the past.

 

 

Cosrx Ultimate Moisturizing Honey Overnight Mask

Sleeping masks are masks introduced to me by Korean skincare. They are essentially made to deeply hydrate your skin as you sleep. I find that this overnight mask works great at night, although some people swear that it could replace their daytime moisturizer. Using this mask as a moisturizer isn’t something I would recommend for acne-prone skin as it is quite thick and can clog pores but I can tell you it’s fantastic for those days you really aim to wake up with plump, hydrated and glowing skin.

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Ifeoluwa is a skincare blogger with growing interests in esthetics skincare & product photography. She shares most of her knowledge on caring for acne-prone skin on www.sheisnaturallybronze.com and retails Korean Beauty products at:  Your Skin's Love

You can find her:

Instagram @sheisnaturallybronze

Facebook: sheisnaturallybronze

Pinterest: sheisnaturallybronze