Our hearts yearn for that place of serene contentment, and pure happiness. In this piece, Maryam expands on the human nature to find peace and beauty. She uses the pretty colour of ripe peach fruit as inspiration.
My heart is bleached with insecurities, Seeking for light with all sincerity,
If only I could teach it, its inability to live, I would take away its pain, To paint a tree of peaches…
With beaches, untamed with riches Each page’s bewitched with Beauties, Then, just maybe I shall set to lay over its reaches…
Let’s wave goodbye to this series of self-pity, and pave a way for knowledge and self-acceptance! That’s right my dudes, we’re closing off this chapter of my life and I’m leaving you with the last of my acne struggles, and the leftover burnt nuggets of wisdom about the products I use.
Where we last left off, I was coming to terms with having adult acne. Since then, I’ve spoken to my family doctor about whether it’s a sign of something deeper, and all I can say is that I’ll be scheduling my first gynecologist appointment soon. I’ve also started taking skincare rather seriously. I won’t say that I’m on the same level as a derma-specialist, but learning about my skin type, what it needs during the day and night, and what causes breakouts has become almost second nature to me!
Put oil on your pimples for clear skin
I mentioned in my previous post that I was taking a more natural approach in dealing with my skin. For a brief, blissful moment it was working – until I had a terrible reaction to tea tree oil. Now, let’s backtrack a bit before we get to the juicy agony. I was exclusively using natural products on my face – when I say natural, I mean all-out Mother Nature’s collection of oils and vegetation. I was using baking soda and tea leaves as facial masks. I washed my face with nothing but warm water, and exfoliated with coffee grounds. In the Summer, I moisturised with primrose oil – in Winter, I used jojoba oil.
The reason I switched between the two was because of their different structures. Now, let me show you how to science this b**ch! Everything around us has a structure, that’s why Harry Styles’ chin looks like a chiselled rock – because he is part soft structure, part geological mass.
When you’re looking at the structure of some the fatty acids in oils, you’ll find that you get two types of oils: linoleic and oleic acids. Those with acne-prone skin have lower levels of linoleic acids and the body can’t naturally produce these, so it’s a good idea to lather some on your skin and eat foods rich in omega-6 fatty acids!
In short, for those with already oily / acne-prone skin, use linoleic fatty acids: Evening Primrose, Rosehip, Grapeseed and Soybean Oil.
For dry skin types use oils high in oleic fatty acids: Jojoba, Flaxseed, Sweet Almond and Olive Oil.
dewy looks with acne skin
As I was on this journey the topic of ‘glass skin‘ came up.
Not sure about you, but when I think of something as glassy, I think of those creepy babydolls with the porcelain white skin and demonic glass eyes.
Actually, glass skin is a Korean beauty (k-beauty) trend that promotes flaunting your bare face: no makeup. No filter. All-natural beauty. Unlike some k-beauty trends, achieving glass skin is not impossible for brown-skinned girls! Aside from the steps being easy to follow, you can maximise your glassy effect by using excellent products.
The first step is cleansing. In the mornings, I just wash my face with good ol’ H2O. Nothing fancy, just plain warm water. However, when the darkness of night covers the skies, that’s when my mini beauty guru comes out (that was sarcastic, I have no actual beauty sense). I begin with an oil cleanser and then a water cleanser. Now you’re probably thinking: “Zahraa, WTF are you talking about oil again!?” Yes, my darling you heard right and in theory, this does make total sense. Have you ever tried to wash the oil off your hand with just water? If you haven’t, let me tell you that it’s no splash in the park! At the end of the day, your face is covered in a grimy layer of sweat and sebum (yum) and in order to deep cleanse those pesky pores of yours, removing that oil layer is really necessary. Remember, oil attracts oil, water attracts water!
After you’ve cleansed, use a good toner to tighten those pores up and calm your face from any redness. Then, my favourite step – MOISTURISE! Be sure to invest in a set of moisturisers – a day cream with a good SPF level and a night cream that’s deeply nourishing.
Once your face is all lubed up, feel free to use whatever spot treatment you have. I have fallen deeply in love with African Extracts. Their products may prove to be more on the pricey side for struggling students, but it’s a true investment if you ask me. Their products are vegan, cruelty- and paraben-free, and locally produced in South Africa! Local is lekker! So once you’ve snagged your first paycheck, spoil yourself on a fewAfrican Extracts products – they are to cry for! #notsponsored #ineedmoney
vegan skincare made locally in South Africa
After a few months of an all-out natural products assault on my face, I had a terrible experience with some tea tree oil. I used tiny amounts of the essential oil on my zits, but one dreadful night, the devil decided to land in the dropper and once that oil hit my face it felt like he had brought Hell with him! My face was on fire. But I, being a total idiot, thought – the burning means it’s working – Ohmygawd! I was so dumb, I went to bed with that hellscape raging on my chin until I couldn’t bear it anymore. I went to the bathroom, rinsed my face and when I looked up from the sink my already dead soul came back to life, just to die again at the sight of my chin’s red skin peeling away. I was left with a nasty red scar on my chin and it was then that I knew… this stuff was dangerous.
I said in my earlier posts that I had tried using exclusively chemical-based products and now I have tried natural-based products. And in both cases, I was deeply irritated and fed up with looking like a red pineapple. What was a girl left to do? Then, I came across African Extracts, who uses a wholesome mix of natural ingredients and effective chemicals to help keep your skin looking radiant while controlling havoc-wreaking acne. Tbh – I’ve never felt better in my own skin!
Since becoming more knowledgeable of my skin type, the deeper meanings behind my zits, and what’s truly effective for my skin – I have become more confident with my acne. I think the main reason I was so frustrated was because I didn’t know what was happening with my skin, I couldn’t see past the surface. I had to look past the puss (so to speak) and find that confidence from within again. It’s been tough, not gonna lie, but I have enjoyed learning so much about skincare and I hope that you will go out there and learn more about your skin too.
Remember kids: beauty comes from within! So eat well, sleep well, clean well and live well!
Below are a few videos that I found to be so helpful and really enjoyable:
We tried some homemade face peels, so you know exactly what you’re getting into. Aalia (best friend) says: I have always been really interested in the black mask that’s all over Insta. But they are sooo expensive, therefore these homemade masks caught my eye. Its natural and a cheaper option, with really good results.
Here’s what happened – mine consisted of rooibos leaves, vanilla bits, honey and gelatin! It looks a bit funny on your face, but what mask doesn’t? It dries for about 15 minutes and then the fun bit came. Honestly, I did not expect the pain, but it was not that bad. The result is fantastic! I was left with soft skin and as a double whammy – those blackheads evacuated my pores like scared little … blackheads? My first time trying the mask was such fun! I would try it again and recommend it to anyone aspiring for glowing, natural beauty.
Remember, these measurements can be adjusted to fit your face and natural gorgeousness!
2 tsp gelatin (unflavoured and unsweetened)
2 tsp milk
Here you can customise:
2 tsp honey
2 tsp rooibos/ green/ black tea leaves (ONLY HERBAL TEAS)
1 tsp lemon juice (for oily skin)
1 tsp olive oil (for dry skin)
1/2 tsp vanilla chips
Step 1: combine all your ingredients in a microwaveable bowl.
Step 2: put your mixture in the microwave for 15/20 seconds. (BASICALLY UNTIL EVERYTHING IS MELTED TOGETHER)
Step 3: allow the mixture to cool. Apply a small amount to the inner side of your wrist or the top side of your hand to see if it’s cool enough. (THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF YOUR PALM).
Step 4: apply the mixture to your face with the back of a spoon or a make up brush or get down and dirty and use your hands.
Step 5: remember to steer clear from your eye area and YOUR EYEBROWS !!!
Step 6: wait 15 minutes, or until dry – you’ll know it’s done when you tap the face mask and nothing sticks to your fingers.
Step 7: AND FINALLY… PEEL OFF THE MASK !!!
Share this with friends. Get your girls together and document your reactions. Or simply try this for yourself and witness the eerrrmmaaasssing results.Tell us what you thought in the comments below! And share your pics with us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!