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Picture-991The beauty industry has you fooled. They’ve gone out of their way to make us think that we need an inordinate amount of products to keep us looking and feeling our best, yet this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Besides being time-consuming and counterintuitive, spending exorbitant amounts of money on a separate products to treat supposed separate issues makes more of an impact on your wallet than it ever would on your skin.

I’ve had the unpleasantness (though I didn’t realize it at the time) of going through the rigmarole of implementing specific products into my everyday routine to target what I perceived to be a host of skin issues—issues that could only be solved by elixirs and potions whose labels promised to eradicate that which ails me. My regular trips to Duane Reade and Sephora were not only costly, but painfully arduous. Keeping tabs on a melange of products and remembering when and what to replace was more of a headache than it was worth.

It got to a point where my limited budget forced me to downsize and stick to the basics. It was a blessing in disguise, an epiphany that opened my eyes to the inaneness of such extravagance. Did I really need a “nighttime” and “daytime” moisturizer? A scrub only for blemishes? The answer is no. When taking care of your skin, it comes down to two simple things—something that cleans, and something that takes the dryness away. Instead of bombarding your skin with useless, pricey, mostly harmful concoctions, consolidate and purge. The things that work best for your largest organ, are those that are free of impurities, inexpensive, and of course multipurpose. As long as you have these three, you can rest easy:

1. Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap The original 18-in-1, it’s been around for decades and has more skin-benefiting organic oils than an apothecary. $15.00 will get you a 32-oz bottle that lasts for months. Use for: shampoo, body wash, face wash, soak, breath freshener, laundry detergent, vegetable cleanser…

2. African Shea Butter — It’s a centuries-old remedy for dry skin that is as rich as a smidgen of La Mer. It has large amounts of unremovable fatty acid which make it the superior vegetable butter. Ranging from $3 to $5 bucks for a tub, you’ll never seem to run out of the pithy stuff. Uses: Skin, scalp, hair, lips, eczema, burns, wrinkles and skin discoloration.

3. Fruits and Vegetables —– They come straight from the earth and work on your skin from the inside out. You are what you eat, and the vitamins and minerals that these foods carry will have a long-term effect on the overall health of your skin. Uses: soups, salads, masks, cleansers, yummy treat—the possibilities are literally endless.

– Princess Glover

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  • binks

    I will have to try Dr. Bonner’s products but I think less is more and usually work the best, I feel like if I get to complicated with beauty products/regimen then I will forget to do it and just stop doing it all together after awhile sometimes less is more and will give you the desire results quicker while saving you a bundle

  • Nikki

    Funny most of the Africans in my area that sell the Shea butter and a host of other products don’t seem to use it on themselves? I mean they have the worst skin. Ashy, bumpy, oily and the list goes on. I’m scared to use the products sometimes. My feeling is if these products are so great why aren’t they using them on themselves? I think I will stick to the good down south remedy of good ole Cocoa Butter. Fruits and vegetables are always a good skin pick me up.

    • sdot

      dig it! i think that’s in part because of the quality of the products they’re selling (and maybe or maybe not) using. just because it’s shea butter and sold by the african brother or sister around the way doesnt mean it’s the highest quality available. through trial and error, i’ve learned that some shea butters and other “natural” products, go through a chemical refining process, or have additives that make them no better than some of the stuff sold at the drug store.

      in short, educating ourselves on how to simply care for ourselves inside and out and weed out the people trying to capitalize on the “conscious” consumer can seem daunting at first but pays off in the long run.

      try apple cider vinegar, various essential oils, pure unrefined butters (be it shea, cocoa, mango seed, avocado etc.) and unrefined carrier oils (olive, jojoba, coconut, almond etc.) honey, sea salt, cane sugar — most of this stuff we already have around the house and some a bit of an investment in the beginning — will change the way we approach caring for and beautifying!

      …and of course, and most importantly, whenever possible, locally and seasonally grown fruits and vegetables!

  • Shea butter is totally excellent. I also use Vitamin E oil from the Vitamin store; it costs very little and I use it on everything. My face, my body, everything. It works really well.