So at this point, solely based on my previous articles on this platform, I don’t need to tell you I am a skincare junkie. I try so many products and lucky for me, I don’t react to them. For a product to be in my ‘Hall of Fame’, it means it exceeded my expectations and I will gladly repurchase it over and over. Choosing a favourite product can be difficult for me because there are so many I’ve tried that performed really well. Here are my hall of fame/holy grail/must-have products and why I love them. This doesn’t mean I don’t like other products but these were just excellent! There are 12 products in total, will share 6 in this post and the rest next week.

1. IS Clinical Cleansing Complex

photo source: skinstore.com

A gel cleanser, formulated with willow bark and sugar cane extracts deeply purifies your skin to reveal a glowing complexion. I always leave it on while I brush my teeth and take a shower to use as a mask then wash off (I do this with all my cleansers). If you have acne or you experience frequent breakouts then try this. I was one of those who disliked this cleanser initially but it grew on me.

WHERE TO BUY


 

 

2. Krave Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser

 

photo source: cravebeauty.com

Cleansers are my favourite category of skincare and it was really tough picking just the two listed (trust me I have about 10 cleansers I LOVE). This cleanser was released this year and as the name implies, it is formulated with matcha, oatmeal and other amazing skibcare ingredients that clean your skin without stripping it.

WHERE TO BUY


 

 

3. Biologique Recherche P50 1970 Original

photo source: shoprescuespa.com

If you follow me on Instagram then you already know how much I love this toner. This is the one product I will probably use as long as it is being produced. It is a powerhouse of AHAs, BHAs and PHAs no wonder it has a cult following. There are 7 variants but I believe the original formula is by far the most effective. Know the one required for your skintype, but I must warn you, it is strong and it stinks. Comes in a travel size so you can try before taking the plunge

WHERE TO BUY


 

 

4. Jordan Samuel Skin Hydrate Facial Serum

photo source: jordansamuelskin.com

Probably the best hydrating serum I have ever used. Chock full of cucmber, aloe vera, hyaluronic acid and fruit extracts. It leaves your skin supple and hydrated

WHERE TO BUY


 

 

5. CosRX Oil Free Ultra Moisturising Lotion

This has everything I want in a moisturiser; hydrating, light, affordable, and amazing under make up.

WHERE TO BUY


6. Eucerin Oil Control Sun Gel Crème

A chemical sunscreen that I call “a godsend for oily and acne prone skin”. No white cast, perfect for reapplication


 

Have you tried any of these products? Did you feel the same way about them.

Remember to check back next week to see what other products made it to my ‘Hall of Fame’.

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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 

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
Follow:

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_

Follow:

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.

Follow:
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: mint07.com

I have oily acne prone skin with hyperpigmentation, so I am always on the lookout for products that will help keep breakouts at bay. Since i am an avid user of acid toners i decided to look for one specifically targeted to oily skin. After a bit of research, I discovered that salicylic acid works best on oily skin because it is oil soluble which allows it penetrate and unclog pores, reduce blackheads and active breakouts. It also has antibacterial properties and reduces sebum (oil) production hence my interest in a salicylic acid toner.

 

photo source: amazon.com

Enter Paula’s choice skin perfecting 2% BHA liquid In my search, this was the product that was recommended repeatedly so I decided to give it a try to see if it lived up to its expectations. I ordered the product from Paula’s Choice website, and it was a simple process. All you need to do is register and then buy the product which arrived within 5-7 working days. Let’s get into the product proper

 

How to use:

photo source: thebodyshop.com

I put the product on a cotton pad and apply to my cleansed skin using horizontal swipes , then wait for 10-15 minutes to allow it absorb and move on with the rest of my skincare routine. The instructions given say it should be applied after your toner but I prefer to apply it directly after cleansing and then use my toner. Now because I use acid toners regularly it did not sting at all when I used it but it may be slightly different for newbies so, do a patch test before you proceed. Because of my skin care needs, I used this toner twice a day in the morning and at night, but made sure to use sunscreen during the day as acids can cause sun sensitivity. A bottle typically lasts about 2 months even with my twice a day use.

 

Results

For me this is an absolute Holy Grail product before I started using Paula’s choice 2% BHA solution, my skin was congested and I was having breakouts constantly. As one spot healed and another would take its place so my face ended up looking like the fur coat in 101 Dalmatians, not a good look. However this really helped to stop all that, don’t get me wrong it did not happen overnight but after roughly 2 weeks of consistent use I noticed that the breakouts completely stopped which allowed me to focus on dealing with my hyperpigmentation more aggressively ( which we can talk about later).

 

Pros

  • Affordable especially when compared to similar products
  • Treats acne effectively
  • Not harsh or irritating to the skin
  • Helps with hyperpigmentation

Cons

  • None

Where to Buy:

Hilary Says


Overall rating: 5/5 – My skin is not happy when I don’t use it consistently, I recommend this unequivocally.

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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

If you had told me a couple of years ago that I would be rubbing snail goo on my face, I’d have laughed you out of the room. ‘Snails are for eating hot and peppered,’ I might have said. But alas, here we are. I found this product late last year when I was looking to kick my skincare routine up a notch. You see, I have oily combination skin which is prone to congestion and I had reached a bit if an impasse where my skin seemed to be getting oilier but also felt taut and dry. I discovered that my skin was in fact dehydrated, and this is something that we oily girls often neglect to notice. My oily skin was just thirsty.

 

photo source: iherb.com

 

Okay but what is this stuff exactly? It is an Essence.

Essences are basically water based, light gel textured products that are packed with active ingredients to hydrate skin on a deeper cellular level than a moisturiser can. They are very popular in Korean Beauty skincare regimens which are very trendy right now.

I use this AM and PM immediately after my toning step and right before moisturiser or serum.

 

 

If I can attribute the overall improvement in my skin’s health to any one product, I daresay it might be this. Used consistently, I have seen that my skin stays plump and hydrated for longer, which means it produces less oil to compensate and for me that’s a win. No more break outs or dry patches. It has calmed the temper tantrum my skin was throwing right down. I noticed that this has also greatly helped heal my pigmentation and scars. It feels a little tacky at first, but sinks in quickly and because it is odourless, it doesn’t feel as gross as it sounds. Once it is absorbed, I slather on my moisturiser and then my spf, and then my make up. Because it has helped to tame my oiliness, I find my make up is also staying put for longer – another win!

Apart from the snail slime itself, which makes up an impressive 96% of this product, there are some other foodie ingredients that contribute to its efficacy. Panthenol aka Vitamin B5 is famous for binding moisture. Arginine, a protein, encourages skin cell renewal which has an anti-ageing effect; and Allantoin, a compound which comes from garlic skin and/or comfrey, is responsible for soothing inflammation.

Repurchase? Definitely. I love the fact that it it not just a gimmick – it actually works!


Ingredients: Snail Secretion Filtrate, Betaine, Butylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Arginine, Allantoin, Ethyl Hexanediol, Sodium Polyacrylate, Carbomer, Phenoxyethanol

Product Claims: Formulated with 96% Snail Secretion Filtrate (Mucin), this essence protects the skin from moisture loss while keeping the skin texture smooth and healthy. This essence is created from nutritious, low-stimulation filtered snail mucin in order to keep your skin moisturized all day while bringing back your skin’s vitality. The filtered snail mucin replenishes and revitalizes nutrients with looking healthy skin. It’s suitable for all skin types. For best results, use together with Advanced Snail 92 All-In-One Cream.

Follow:
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

How often have you heard someone say “my hair doesn’t grow”?? How often have you said it yourself?? The thing is, if your hair isn’t getting longer, it’s not because your hair isn’t growing – it’s because you’re not retaining length. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule – if you have a medical condition or you’re under severe emotional distress, it can definitely have effects on your hair growth and you should consider seeing a doctor in that scenario. Length retention is the KEY. Think about it, if your hair is breaking at the same rate that it’s growing, your hair won’t get any longer. It is ESSENTIAL to take great care of your hair so you don’t lose all that precious length and you can reach your hair length goals if you have them! Maintenance is the main way to keep all that length. You can take all the hair growth vitamins in the world but, if you’re not physically taking care of your hair, it’s pointless! So here are some tips to get that hair long and healthy:

 

1. Deep Conditioning

When someone tells me their hair isn’t getting longer, the first question I ask is “Do you deep condition?” More often than not, the answer is no! Deep conditioning is SO important, especially for length retention. We all know that moisture is a necessity for our hair but deep conditioning is what will take that moisture to the next level. If done correctly, it actually allows the moisture to properly penetrate the strands. It’s unlikely you will retain much length without deep conditioning. BONUS: try steaming your hair or using a hooded dryer or heat cap while deep conditioning! It really gives the deep conditioner an additional boost and helps the conditioner penetrate deeper into the strands.

 

2. Pay Extra Attention To The Ends of Your Hair

I know a lot of us grew up with our scalps being oiled or greased but a lot of us have focused on the scalp and neglected our ends! Think about it, the ends of your hair are the oldest parts of your hair so, to stop the ends breaking off and hindering your length goals, you need to show them some extra love. This means using more product on your ends, sealing your ends diligently with an oil or butter and being extra careful when handling the ends of your hair. Don’t neglect your scalp – but be sure to give your ends the care they need.

 

3. Protein-Moisture Balance

This is something that can be a little tricky but it’s so important! Your hair is made of keratin (a type of protein). Sometimes, with detangling, styling, relaxing, washing, that protein gets depleted and it needs to be replaced! But with everything in life, balance is key. Protein brings the strength but you need moisture to balance it out. Too much protein and your hair can snap and break off. Too much moisture and your hair becomes weak and limp. If your hair begins to snap and break randomly, be sure to increase the moisturising deep conditioners. If your hair feels limp and mushy, you need a protein treatment. A good place to start is to do a protein treatment every 5-6 weeks and then use a moisturising deep conditioner every week. These things involve some trial and error so you’ll need to do a little experimenting to figure out what your hair needs!

 

4. Protective Styling

Protective styling is a winner when it comes to retaining length! A protective style is one where your ends are tucked away safely instead of being exposed. It is essentially you leaving your hair alone to grow and flourish in a healthy, protected state. So this can include braids, twists, wigs, weaves, buns etc. Here is the important bit: you have to make sure that protective style doesn’t turn destructive. So you NEED to keep your hair moisturised and you must make sure not to keep the style in for too long. Braids are not an excuse to ignore your hair for 6 weeks – nah sis! You have to keep it clean and moisturised. A mixture of water, some leave in conditioner and a few drops of your favourite oil in a spray bottle will do the trick.

 

5. Go Heat-Free (Significantly Reduce Heat Use)

This is probably the hardest thing to change or give up for a lot of people but heat is just NOT good for your hair. It can make your hair dry, weak and brittle. And heat damage is REAL and PERMANENT. If you get heat damage, you have to cut it off – that certainly won’t help your length goals. Try to avoid heat as much as possible. It may take a little longer to get your hair done but at least your hair will be healthier, longer and thicker! And if you must use heat, be sure to use a good heat protectant! My personal fave is the Tresemme Thermal Creations Protective Spray Heat Tamer.


 

Remember, your hair is growing, you just need to make sure it stays on your head! Do you guys have any other length retention tips?? Share below!

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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: