ap fashion: skin and body restoration for the winter!

January 22, 2014

Sitting at my desk, drinking a cup of chamomile tea, listening to Lianne La Havas, checking the weather and my mood is dampened by yet another expected snowstorm. Winter is always trying to break us down. This brisk winter weather has been drying out my skin and taken a toll on my body. ‘Tis the time of year of eating everything I see, which has definitely weakened my immune system. Skin becomes super, super dry, people are recovering from colds and the flu…time to get back on track approaching the Spring semester. The holiday season/winter vacation is always the time of year when we eat tons of sugar, junk, etc. We stay up vampin’ all night, watching Netflix or just trolling on Tumblr and we wake up with dark circles under our eyes. Yup, for college students, this is definitely what winter vacation consists of and many of us are returning to school now—so start off the semester right with a few tips to staying healthy and on track.
Check out a few ideas and items to restore our bodies, our temples, for the winter season.

By Aliyah Blackmore, AFROPUNK Contributor *

• Face oils vs. cream
Now, this is just my personal take. Throughout high school—I tested out various skin creams—some kept my skin too dry, and some a bit too oily. I’ve found that using face oils work better than creams for some reason, during the winter. Protect your skin against the harsh air. When using a face oil, you only need a drop in the palm of your hand, evenly rub it on your face—and then you are ready to go out and face the cold. I’ve heard a few people trying out coconut oil—which can also be used in the hair (keeping the hair healthy and full). My mom has used the same face oil for about 19 years—and yeah, there are the expensive face serums that are “guaranteed” to keep you looking flawless and to get rid of bags under eyes, etc. but there are alternatives out there that do not cost you an arm and a leg. I love Sade African Brown Oil—I have used that now for the past 2 years and find that oil verses a cream leaves the skin looking very smooth, and hydrated during the winter weather. In not time your skin will be just as flawless as the beautiful Lupita Nyong’o and you won’t have to look flawless by applying tons of make up either—go all natural. During the winter, I try not to put on too much make up, but let my skin breathe and soak in any face moisturizers I may use.
Sade sells skin products online and out of their boutique on 125th street between 5th and Madison Avenues in New York; and I’ve bought my coconut oil from Trader Joes—nice big jar that will last you a while.

• Tea Bags
When I was younger I used to do this—not like I really had bags under my eyes – but now, considering school and work, the bags that form under my eyes are no joke. I searched the web for the best suggestions—follow the steps below. Thanks to College Fashion.

What You Will Need:
Two tea bags (green and black tea bags works the best—or something with caffeine really get rid of the bags)
Cup of hot water
Plate or Ziploc bag

Step 1:
Steep the tea bags in hot water for 3-5 minutes.

Step 2:
Take the tea bags out of the water and either put them on a plate and in the fridge or in a Ziploc bag, for 20 minutes, or until COLD.

Step 3:
After 20 minutes, take out the tea bags and squeeze out any of the excess liquid until the bags are damp.

Step 4:
Lay down, play some John Coltrane, The Weeknd or maybe some Lianne La Havas (just some of my favorites) and place the tea bags over your eyes and leave on for 15-30 minutes. Let your body relax—the puffiness under your eyes will go away.
When done, rinse off your face and BAM!

• Lipbalms and Lipscrubs
Finding a chapstick or lipbalm that hydrates your lips for the winter is very essential. You want to find something that keeps your lips perfectly moist and doesn’t’ need to be constantly re applied. I am finding that using a lip scrub at night helps in keeping my lips nice and smooth and then using my daily lip balm does the job. Mint or mentholated lip balms have worked best for me. I used to use lip balm that required using my finger—but in the spirit of staying healthy and avoiding germs I switched to a contained lip balm. Love the EOS lip balm (blue-mint) I never have to re apply. Also, I try to look for lip balm that aren’t too thick so that I can still apply lipstick without it feeling too caked on.
I admit, I first purchased this lip balm because of the cute little egg shape, but I have stayed faithful to it for two years now.

• Face Scrubs and Clays
Treat your skin to deep pore cleansing. There is a happy medium, because I’ve found that some face scrubs can be a bit too harsh on the surface of the skin (especially is your skin is sensitive). I’ve treated my face to a mask usually every other day or every two days. You are still getting off all of the dead skin, but making sure you aren’t peeling away your own skin. There is the Lemon and Sugar face scrub concoction, which is a perfect exfoliate—use fresh lemon, granulated sugar (white or brown—personally I like brown), honey and a bit of olive oil. In terms of face clay—that is not something that should be used on a daily basis- but, at the end of the week after work and school stress—suck all of the bad energies and stress from your face and really get into the pores. You can search Amazon for facial clays that don’t cost too much- I haven’t yet found a facial clay that I can swear by, but I have heard tons and tons of great reviews for an Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay. Now with clays, either mix with apple cider vinegar or water, apply to face, let dry for about 15 minutes and rinse off with warm water. Facial clays work in removing any dirt and impurities. Sometimes skin gets dried out and damaged by cold weather—rejuvenate your skin with a face scrub or clay mask.

• Detox Teas

Cleansing., something that everyone often dreads—I know. Laxatives sometimes can be harsh on the body and may not work out with the busy schedules that people often have, so try out a detox tea, whether to cleanse the body or skin. Cleansing the skin and body coming in to the New Year is a great way to feel refreshed and to rid yourself of all of the little treats eaten over the holiday season and winter vacation. I would suggest Yogi’s Detox and Skin Detox teas, which taste pretty good, and help maintain and healthy immune system to battle seasonal colds from getting to you. I have also gotten in to probiotic teas, great for digestive health and just to support your immune system. I Great investment for the kitchen cabinet—shy away from coffee every day—and make a transition to tea.

Enjoy the week and keep warm.

Stay fly!

* Aliyah Blackmore on Tumblr: