NOTES TO SELF – Ode to Self Skincare and Wellness
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NOTES TO SELF

The Making of SAVANT

The Making of SAVANT

I'm proud to debut one of our newest cleansers, SAVANT, to you all. After some time of thinking and hearing you out about creating a cleanser for a full routine, I finally did it, but it took me a while because I wanted it to be perfect and how I envisioned it.

I look at creating formulas like a work of art because it is essentially, a work of art. When you're dreaming up a product, you think of how you want the texture to be. You think of the perfect color (without additives). You dream of how it will feel on your skin and what you want to avoid. And with SAVANT, all of my dreams came true. 

When I thought about creating the perfect cream cleanser, I immediately thought of a custard. I wanted it to have the stiffness of a custard, but melted onto your skin effortlessly like a custard would melt into your mouth. Started to play with different ingredients that could give that affect and create a sort of "break" onto the skin without feeling too heavy. One of the contenders was the use of stearic acid. I realized that stearic acid created a very waxy and heavy feeling on the skin and made the product a little too thick. I thought about the use of butters, but initially I was against butters due to some being too think and majority comedogenic. So, for the first couple of tries, I stayed away from something that would inevitably crawl its way back into my formulation at the right "aha" moment.

Next, the challenge came when I tested cera bellina in the formulation and that definitely made the overall formula waxy. It didn't perform the way that I expected and I began to grow frustrated because all I wanted was a custard-like formula! Back to the drawing board and even at this time, SAVANT wasn't the name that I landed on initially either. The name SAVANT really didn't hit me until I took a step back to really evaluate everything and also, evaluate myself. I asked myself, "What is a word or thing that could translate into me understanding and knowing myself?" 

SAVANT, according to Merriam-Webster dictionary means:

1: a person of learning especially : one with detailed knowledge in some specialized field (as of science or literature)

I thought that this was a cunning word because as I began to look more in depth to understand its meaning, the Merriam-Webster site stated the most perfect insight as to what would become the most fitting name for this cleanser and fit in with the Ode to Self brand:

Savant comes from Latin sapere ("to be wise") by way of Middle French, where "savant" is the present participle of savoir, meaning "to know." "Savant" shares roots with the English words "sapient" ("possessing great wisdom") and "sage" ("having or showing wisdom through reflection and experience"). The term is sometimes used in common parlance to refer to a person who demonstrates extraordinary knowledge in a particular subject, or an extraordinary ability to perform a particular task (such as complex arithmetic), but who has much more limited capacities in other areas.

This couldn't have been the most perfect word that I stumbled across and to look at its root meaning made perfect sense. Ode to Self is rooted in getting to know yourself and understand yourself. And once you understand who you are, you've learned yourself in and out and you're wiser, smarter, about your wants and needs and what you require to stay whole and grounded. Once you know yourself, you're able to help guide others and share your experience to help them get to know theirselves as well. And no one else can tell you about yourself or who you are because only YOU (and God) possess knowledge about yourself and you are steadfast in the makings of you

This was indeed a fitting, yet rich, name and that's how SAVANT came to be. And that's how I managed to take a step back and slow down to find what I was missing from the formula to truly bring my vision to life.

Somehow, I can't remember, I stumbled upon Kokum Butter. It's almost as though it really feel into my lap, but I started studying it and found that it's non-comedogenic (big win) and possessed so many nurturing properties with one of them helping to restore skin's elasticity. Bonkers. I had to have it and try it.

I ended up switching out the type of surfactant that I initially used as well, and decided upon Decyl Glucoside, which is a mild surfactant and lathers gently and doesn't strip the skin. Perfect. It's as almost I found all of the right pieces of the puzzle and it ended up coming together harmoniously––almost.

The first test batch using the new ingredients and revised formulation, it ended up crummy. I almost gave up and just went to bed afterwards to be completely honest. I really thought that I had it. Buuuut, after being a drama queen for a couple of days, I tried again. Tweaked some things here and there. Heated both phases and took my time and really did it with love this time.

And this time, it formed the most smooth, structured, buttery, pillowy, and softest product that I ever made...with the likeness of a "custard" that I wanted. The orange-sorbet color comes from the Guava oil as there are zero color additives in this formula and the hint of cocoa intertwined with fresh Neroli comes from the Kokum butter with Neroli Hydrosol in this beautiful formula. 

I'm so happy to introduce this lovely product to you all and so far using it has been wonderful. I absolutely look forward to washing my face daily with this cleanser as it doesn't leave the skin dry or stripped. Instead, it leaves the skin soft and smoother than before, with gentle exfoliation thanks to the 5% Lactic Acid that's in the formula. I hope you get to experience SAVANT for yourself and fall in love with it the way that I did, while falling into a deeper understanding of yourself as well. 

 

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How To: Using Our Wave Toning Essence

How To: Using Our Wave Toning Essence

We're walking you through how you can use the products in our line, starting with our Wave Toning Essence. Watch the video to find out how to use this amazing gel-like toner as a 2-in-1 to refine pores and assist with locking in moisture to the skin, resulting in tighter skin and an immediate healthy glow.

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Post-Inflammatory Erythema - All About Black Skin the Series

Post-Inflammatory Erythema - All About Black Skin the Series

We're back talking about Black skin and the challenges we face when it comes to our skin when finding and using skincare that works for us. 

I wanted to dive into hyperpigmentation because that's mainly where a lot of our skin problems arise from. When we take a deeper look though, we ask ourselves, "Where does the hyperpigmentation come from anyway and how to prevent it in the first place?" One cause of that, which is this week's topic: post inflammatory erythema or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. 

What is PIE/PIH?

Post-Inflammatory Erythema or Hyperpigmentation, based on Skin of Color Society (skinofcolorsociety.org), is a condition that "occurs after there is damage or irritation to the skin." They mention that the skin turns very tan, brown, or purple, hence the term "hyperpigmentation". 

Because people of color has more pigmentation, we're more prone to hyperpigmentation that occurs due to damage to the dermal or epidermal layer of the skin. The skin conditions that result in PIH are due to acne, eczema, burns, psoriasis, insect bites, allergic reactions, etc.

When inflammation occurs on the skin, a healing response is sent to that inflammation point. With darker skin tones, more melanocytes are sent to the area of distress to essentially "cover the spot" back up, resulting in more pigmentation than normal that doesn't match your current tone--it's either lighter or darker. 

In most Black skin, this results in darker, uneven splotches that sometimes is worse than the acne or scars that we were battling before. This is the problem that most Black skin battle with and find it hard to get rid of. Most products on the market don't necessarily focus on this issue for us, as the ingredients included in certain skin "lightening and brightening" products are things that may work for fairer tones of color--leaving out the middle and darker tones--which may be irritating for us (proven with me). 

With a lot of K-Beauty and J-Beauty happening around in the skincare industry,  there's still a lot of companies that are forgetting deeper skin tones like Black women and men, continuously denying putting our skin putting on the forefront of the product formulation process or even the idealization of a product line. Thus, sometimes those products that claim to even our skin's tone and reduce hyperpigmentation, barely do so or miss the mark, causing unnecessary irritation and possibly even more damage with the overuse of acids and other active ingredients. Not all active ingredients are bad, however, when combined with certain other ingredients, or too high of a concentration or percentage, this can cause an adverse reaction which can over-sensitize the skin and cause even further damage.

However, based on a study by Chua-Ty G et al, the conclusion was that skin tones that tend to be darker in pigmentation and lower on the Fitzpatrick scale (from IV to VI), suffered from hyperpigmentation the most as opposed to lighter skin tones, rather than racial contribution to the development of hyperpigmentation. 

How is this remedied and what does Ode to Self do to solve that problem?

To prevent dark marks or post inflammatory erythema, the best thing that you can do is do nothing at all besides your normal, basic skincare routine which just consists of cleansingtoning, and moisturizing--a.k.a.: cleanse, balance, and seal/protect. Sometimes, dark marks caused by pimples and acne tend to go away over time on their own over the course of a couple of weeks or months. To speed up the healing process with these, you can use concentrated treatments that cater specifically to your skin tone and peels that also are safe for your skin as well, being cautious to not over do it so that you won't incur further damage.

For helping with the top layer for epidermal hyperpigmentation, that's why we've created our De Palma Facial Oil as it contains Rosehip and Sea Buckthorn Berry oils as they have a high level of beta-carotene and antioxidants, along with vitamin e and Black Currant Seed Oil, which has been proven to help heal scar tissue and marks overtime.

In addition for bodily hyperpigmentation, our Dusk Body Oil has a higher concentration of vitamin E, since the skin of the body is not as fragile as our facial skin. Vitamin E plays a crucial role in skin healing as it's an anti-oxidant and helps to stop free radicals, or damaged cells, from scavenging our skin and wreaking havoc. 

Included in Dusk as well are Yangu Oil, which helps with protecting your skin from ultraviolet rays (as told by Africans who use it for their skin during harsh heat weather), which in turn, helps to deflect sun damage and hyperpigmentation spots. This, also combined with Jasmine and Manuka oils, helps to alleviate dark spots on the body such as stretch marks, scarring left from bug bites, eczema, or scratches and nicks.

We're also in the process of developing a concentrated corrective serum to strategically fight hyperpigmentation of the face that specifically targets darker skin tones to accelerate skin cell regeneration (or turnover rate) to help fade dark marks. This would be a non-comedogenic formulation that has high, but safe, concentrations of specific ingredients that will serve as the extra boost in your skincare routine, and the step before applying De Palma. We can't wait to debut this this to you all soon and it's going to be amazing! Stay up to date with us by signing up for our newsletter to know when our serum debuts, plus other new products!

 

Do you have questions about PIH or your skin? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. We'd love to hear from you.

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Chere Lucas, MD - Skin of Color Society
https://skinofcolorsociety.org/dermatology-education/post-inflammatory-hyperpigmentation-pih/

Chua-Ty G, Goh CL, Koh SL. Pattern of skin diseases at the national skin centre (Singapore) from 1989–1990. Int J Dermatol. 1992;31:555–559.

Halder RM, Grimes PE, McLaurin CI, et al. Incidence of common dermatoses in a predominately black dermatologic practice. Cutis. 1983;32:388–390.

 

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What Is Desquamation and How Does It Affect Black Skin?

What Is Desquamation and How Does It Affect Black Skin?

Here we go kicking off the All About Black Skin Series with our first installation talking about desquamation.

Desquamation is a term that isn't heard on a daily basis and you probably are scratching your head as to what this even means. Today, we begin to look further into different skin conditions that affect Black skin more than others and why Ode to Self create the products that we do. In turn this gives you an understanding as to why we say that we make products specifically with women of color at the forefront, because it's definitely time to put our needs first and not be an afterthought.

Okay, so what is desquamation?

Desquamation is essentially skin peeling. Based on a clinical study, while some of the evidence was inconclusive, one observation showed that "Black have a 2.5 times greater spontaneous desquamation rate compared with Caucasians and Asians, possibly accounting for an increased frequency of xerosis seen clinically in Blacks." 

Desquamation is usually associated with differences in the stratum corneum layer of the skin and comes about due to harsh weather conditions and environmental stress such as the cold/winter and low humidity. When the conditions of the environment aren't favorable, this causes a loss or depletion of the lipid layer of the skin's barrier, which helps to retain the oils and moisture that we need. When the lipid layer is depleted, it causes dryness, ashiness, and flaky skin, which is more prominent in people of color. 

How does Ode to Self products help with this problem?

When desquamation, or skin peeling, occurs, it's normally due to the lack of moisture within the skin and a weakened/damaged skin barrier. That barrier can be strengthened overtime with humectants that draw moisture into the skin such as hyaluronic acid and propanediol, which is why we include these ingredients in our formulations. 

Using a facial oil, such as the De Palma Facial Oil, can help as the oil contains ingredients that are high in healthy fatty acid components, such as oleic acid. Oleic acid is essential in helping to reduce moisture and providing more moisture to the skin if it's been damaged or dry. Oleic acid doesn't clog pores, which is why the components that make up De Palma are mainly high in oleic acid due to their non-comedogenic properties, quickly absorbent, easy penetration to the skin, and amazing restorative and anti-inflammatory properties.

With our Wave Toning Essence, it's formulated with propanediol (Propanediol-1,3) which is another humectant that I prefer more so over glycerin because glycerin can be sticky and impart a tacky feeling when incorporated into a formula. Once again, the humectant draws moisture to the skin, which is why it's included in this formula, plus it's gentle and safe. We'll get more into ingredients a little later on, but we just wanted to touch based on the ingredients in our formulas which make up the final product and how it works for you.

This is how we keep skin of color at the forefront of our formulating process--from idealization to creation. It all starts with: what does OUR skin need? 

Shop the De Palma Facial Oil and start reinforcing your skin barrier for healthier skin like. Taking care of yourself is simply worth the investment. You don't need fancy tools or things that are highly expensive in order to make it seem like a luxury experience. You're gifting yourself luxury when you simply take charge in the way you care for yourself. 

 

 

Sources: 

Wesley, Naissan. “Ashiness.” MDedge Dermatology, 11 Jan. 2019, www.mdedge.com/dermatology/article/80303/aesthetic-dermatology/ashiness.

 

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All About Black Skin - The Series

All About Black Skin - The Series

As a skincare and wellness company that's founded on the principles of obtaining and maintaining better wellness practices when it comes to our mental health, skin, and overall well-being for the Black community, we understand how it can seem to be just marketing jargon when we talk about how our skincare is made for us, so we wanted to answer the questions that you may be pondering:

How is it made for Black individuals specifically?

I've decided to go skin deep, literally, to help you understand the racial differences when it comes to skin and the variances that occur. This can help you to be a more informed consumer when thinking about skincare products, what our skin's needs are, and help you to be more comfortable in understanding why Ode to Self exists as the company we are growing to be. 

A lot of companies, not specifically naming names, believe that "all skin is the same." It may seem that way, but to be honest, Black skin in comparison to Caucasian, Hispanic, and Asian skin, is subjective to many different environmental, internal, and genetic factors, making our microflora different than others. So, we're going to be a little more transparent and honest, using studies and science to back us up here, because we're nerds like that.

As we dive into this series, I want you to understand that I've been pulling from research articles, so you'll see some references. As I'm educating you all, I'm educating myself so that Ode to Self can provide you with the tools you need for your skin and to live your best self. We want to be even more intentional as we're designing products for you, as we need to become more of the forefront and not the afterthought with the new skincare movement.

Take this knowledge that we're equipping you with and apply it to your decisions when it comes to taking care of your skin. We'll also tackle certain ingredients and why they're included in the formulation based on the function and purpose of the product, in relation to the studies that have been conducted for Black skin regarding certain skin complications.

As we develop this series, we'd LOVE to hear some of your questions in regards to your skin that you may have concerns about or things that you want to understand more. What are some things that you'd like to hear? What are your concerns? What don't you understand about skin or specifically your skin?

 

 

With much love,
Kimberlee, xx

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Back-Bar Esthetician Packages at Ode to Self Are Coming to You

Back-Bar Esthetician Packages at Ode to Self Are Coming to You

As we're diving further into the new year (hello February, finally!), we're excited to continue to expand our product line and offerings to better serve you and bring things in full circle.

As Ode to Self continues to grow, we don't want to forget our roots as our founder started off studying esthiology, and understands that as a new esthetician, it's hard to really be able to find and stock reputable, clean, and modestly upscale products that they can use on their clients during sessions and stock in store. One of the most important things when it comes to being an esthetician is being able to also sell the products that you've used on your client to help them keep up with a skincare regimen at home to continue reaping results. Additionally, it helps to bring in revenue for your business to help with expenses and profits. 

With that being said, we are going to start offering back-bar packages, specifically for estheticians or cosmetologists. However, you must be licensed in either one. The packages will include our De Palma Facial Oil, Wave Toning Essence, and our Dusk Body and Hair oil for after-treatment of facials and massages during treatment. The Wave Toning Essence would be used in place of a regular toner during treatments to help with the removal of residue from make-up, as it's gentle and safe for those with sensitized and easily irritated skin. 

In the next coming months as well, we have some additional family members that we'll be adding to the Ode to Self line up, including a cleanser that the people have begged us for (and we're so happy to give it to y'all), concentrated serum for blemishes and evening tone, and some ingestible wellness goodies that we're ecstatic about.

Along with our back-bar packages, licensed spa owners can also receive a 15% discount when ordering wholesale for your retail shop from us. Once again, this is only open to those who have spas. Discount cannot be applied if you do not own a spa or spa suite/treatment room. 

Applications will be available in the next coming weeks, along with information provided at time of application. If you have further questions or suggestions, please reach out to us at info@ode-toself.com. We're thrilled to offer this opportunity. 

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Reflections of the Future Year's Past - An Ode to 2019 and What's Next to Come

Reflections of the Future Year's Past - An Ode to 2019 and What's Next to Come

2019 was a huge year for us in so many ways, but also revolutionary in discovering the direction that we want to take OTS, which is exciting. 

Looking back at some of our accomplishments, here are some of our most proudest moments:

  • We relaunched Ode to Self as a direct-to-consumer e-commerce platform in June 2019 which our De Palma oil and Wave Toning Essence.
  • My partner and I exhibited at Project Beauty Expo in Los Angeles in September (we'd been planning for it even before we fully officially relaunched).
  • We launched more products in our line which included our Dusk Body and Hair oil and our Rebirth After Shower Body Silk.
  • Was interviewed for the Beauty Independent on OTS's pivot from retailer to brand.
  • Was included in gift bags for our first event in Memphis from a celebrity event planner.

There's so much more that we accomplished and feel really good about, like sending our first shipment to Australia to a customer, which we think is really huge. We've managed to make meaningful connections, which I'm big on, because true relationships and connection can take you farther than money ever can. These relationships range from just new friends in the business to press and writers and editors, which are invaluable to me because of the genuinity behind it. 

There's new skills that have been picked up, such as really learning how to create a cost of goods spreadsheet (geesh) and understanding profit margin and why some prices are going to go up in 2020. I've learned how to honestly go about making a business plan and understanding that it provides a roadmap to stay on course and not feel like you're off-track in your business.

*A note for anyone looking to go into business: a business plan isn't something that's concrete and set in stone. After experiencing some of my own struggles and listening to others, it's really just a way to outline what your year to year goals are (because it also will change yearly or even on a quarterly basis), how you plan to reach those goals (your financial plan in order to make a profit and increase), how you plan to monetize your product or service (what your sales plan is and how you plan to market it i.e. shows, farmers markets, retail partnerships, online, etc.), what your absolute bottom-line is such as goals, mission, core values and beliefs, and what your offerings would be as far as services and products go.

This helps because as someone who is as creative as I am and want to make *all* the things happen because I'm truly realizing that anything is possible, it's easy for me to get off track and go on a tangent to create eleven-million things, thus stressing myself out because my own thoughts aren't together. If you're a one man or woman show, you understand that you have to wear multiple hats until you're at a point where you can outsource and delegate tasks to others who are going at doing what you've handed off to them. And you understand that with juggling different roles comes the stress of trying to do too many things at once, and how frustrating that can be when it's just yourself and you're losing track of what your business needs are. 

Other things that I have learned and coming into understanding of is that self-care is the pinnacle of enhancing your quality of life. I've stressed myself out to the point that it's troubling for me to gain quality sleep because my mind is racing with never-ending thoughts.

I'm coming to full realization that I haven't been taking care of myself how I needed to and also, not giving 100% to Ode to Self either, which feels like I'm robbing my customers, my community--OUR community--of our full potential and what OTS truly stands for. I don't believe in teaching what you don't practice. Quite frankly, I feel as though I'm living a double life--robbing myself of true connection with this amazing circle we've built and continuously are building. This explains the distance that I've felt on social media when it comes to writing meaningful posts on mental wellness and self-care, simply because I have not been living it, because I've been battling my own depression, anxiety, and struggling to get back to a healthier place mentally and physically. It's no quick fix out of it, but it's something that I'll be working on more proactively in 2020 and beyond, so that I can continue to set the example of caring for your temple and owning your truth.

As 2019 comes to a close, literally tomorrow, 2020 isn't going to immediately feel like a "new" thing, but there are so many great things to come, we feel it and we're preparing for it. We're not only going after what makes us happy, but going after what makes us feel as though we're serving our true purpose for being here on Earth. We feel beyond blessed to even have made the journey this far, but there's so much more. We're giving our energy to what gives us life and no longer falling into the the "getting by" life that past generations before us have lived, because we know that that there's so much more to life than to be alive. I believe that we're meant to truly live, create, give, and serve. 

"We're not only going after what makes us happy, but going after what makes us feel as though we're serving our true purpose for being here on Earth."

We ask you to continue the journey with us and dedicate 2020 to be the year that you really dig deeper into your inner self spiritually and mentally. Take care of your inner temple and the outer will change. We're developing our wellness sector of Ode to Self which will be ingestible goods for mental clarity and wellness primarily, getting you to focus more on the inner you. So many other great things will come about from this as well--2020 is going to already be a blast. 

So, before I part, promise me you'll live more freely. You'll give your time and energy to things that matter. You'll take care of you by developing small habits over time. But most importantly, you'll own your truth. You'll own who you are. You'll be you. And you'll understand that you're just another beautiful soul on this earth whose life is just interestingly and beautifully complex as the person.

We love you and we thank you. Cheers to 2020 and a Happy New Year.

The Ode to Self Family
Kimberlee, Founder & Maker

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You Don't Need Permission to Take a Time Out

You Don't Need Permission to Take a Time Out

I've been open with my anxiety and my battle with depression here and there. It's surface level, but it's something that I've struggled with for years. However, I've been able to manage it in the past with exercise, better sleep, and watching my stress levels.

For a while now, I haven't been able to focus how I normally do and really take care of myself the way that I need to. Besides running Ode to Self, I also--full disclosure--have a full-time job and a part-time, just to help with some expenses of Ode to Self and getting things together.

As you can imagine, I haven't been able to "get out and smell the roses", since every single day of mine that exists in a week are completely booked up by 8 hour workdays (on Wednesdays, it's actually more like 12 hours because of the part-time). Because of this, it's taken a toll on my mental and physical wellness. As you can imagine, it's not a great feeling, because I'm in this constant state of mental turmoil struggling to get back on track to taking care of myself how I once was before.

During this time, I've realized that it's okay if you need to take a break or to take time out for yourself. When I started working full-time about 5 or 6 years ago, I rarely never took a day off because I wasn't really cognizant of mental health, nor did I think that I could actually take a day off for other than being sick.

As I've grown and become more aware of myself, how I feel, knowing my limits, and when too much is too much, I understand that stress is definitely real. And I know that taking a break when you aren't really feeling your best--mentally AND physically--is of vital importance as your existence of being human.

It's something that you shouldn't have to feel guilty of and I believe that more people, especially in leadership positions, should encourage taking a moment for yourself and understanding the importance of a metaphysical reset. I think as a working human, a woman or man in a role of a father, mother, or guardian, we rarely give ourselves the time that we need to recover and hit the pause button to gather our thoughts. Everything is "go-go-go", and that's sadly what we've been taught, and that vacations or time off isn't necessary or needed, unless we're literally dying. 

I took a weekend off because I could hear my body and mind begging me for it, shouting at me literally to stop and catch me break, and I had to finally tell myself enough is enough--I listened. I feel a little refreshed, as I still feel guilty for time off because I'm worried about what my check would look like (the extra money helps to keep OTS running and provides a nice bump). However, I'm understanding that my health is more than an electronic deposit and I've built OTS on the premise on listening to your body, deepening the relationship with yourself, and giving yourself simply the best all around.

You don't need permission to take care of you. I hope that you always remember that and understand that.

 

Love,
Kimberlee, xo

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Skin Deep: The Secret to Clear Skin? Keeping Your Routine Simple

Skin Deep: The Secret to Clear Skin? Keeping Your Routine Simple

Everyone wants to achieve clear skin the "quick" way. In today's market, we've been inundated with believing that a 7, 10, even 12-step skincare routine is necessary. Let's be real and honest for a moment: it's not at all necessary. You only truly need a minimal skincare routine that really works for your skin, but more importantly, that includes tweaks to your diet and lifestyle.

The Basics:

The basics of a skincare is your tried and true method that you've been hearing since your days as a teenager. That's inclusive of:

- Cleanse
- Tone
- Moisturize

Your skincare products should really cater to what works for your skin and also how it makes you feel. However, when looking for a cleanser, we go by the following rule: for dry skin 

Your skincare product should really cater to what works for your skin and how it makes you feel.

When it comes to the toning step, it is absolutely necessary to tone the skin. It helps to truly re-balance the skin after the pH (it's acidity/alkalinity) has been thrown off with the cleanser that likely contained some type of acid, which are almost always ranging from 3.0 to 4.5 on the pH scale.

Additionally, toning helps to remove dirt and residue that was left over from the cleanser, especially make-up that wasn't removed. Plus it helps to prep the skin to receive the next steps of your routine, essentially "opening" up your pores a bit to allow the skin to be truly penetrated and getting the most out of your routine.

Adding moisture back into the skin and locking it in as the last step is absolutely a necessity. For drier skin types that are sensitive, you may be more interested in a gel cream that's more lightweight, but deeply penetrating with the ability to effectively hydrate and moisturize the skin without feeling like you've doused yourself in Vaseline, that contains ingredients that are used at safe levels/percentages that won't irritate the skin.

Down to Nutrition:

Some people state that what you eat doesn't show up on your face. We beg to differ as we know this couldn't be far from the truth. Your diet affects your skin, just as it affects your body. 

Eating processed meats, too much dairy (cow's milk, cheese, ice cream), starchy carbohydrates (french fries, corn, peas [yes, peas are a starchy veggie and should be limited]), high sugar, and even SOY shows up on your face as most of these are highly processed and disrupts your endocrine system and your hormones. 

As a tried and true diet to follow, eat more green vegetables such as broccoli and kale (when you saute it with salt and paper within a dish, it's so good), and whole foods/carbs such as butternut squash, sweet potatoes (white potatoes are actually good, too), brown rice, and beans. Healthy fats like eggs, avocados, and salmon in moderation helps your skin flourish as well. 

And Moving Your Body:

What if we told you that exercise is not only to help you lose weight, which honestly it's only one part to losing weight, but it could also help your skin glow to to gods? You'd think that we're kidding, but we really aren't. 

Exercise, even simple activities like walking around your neighborhood or on a treadmill, gets your blood pumping just a smidge. When your blood circulates better, it allows for better oxygen flow throughout your skin's cells 

With the way things are being presented in the market today in stores, there's a lot of options to choose from and a lot of confusing jargon used that can make it overwhelming and give you FOMO. However, there's no need to feel intimidated, because more than half of these products you don't truly or necessarily need at the moment.

Simply following the basics of skincare and treating your body right, reducing stress levels, and being mindful of the foods that you eat, contributes to healthier, better skin. If you do have cystic acne that's genetic and very hard to get rid of, you may require more vigorous treatment.

However, we recommend trying a holistic approach first, evaluating yourself and your overall lifestyle and make small changes if necessary. The key it to remain patient with ourselves and nurture ourselves and best as possible. Rushing the process can often lead to rushed results, with more damage to the skin done and worse results than expected. 

The overall goal? Take time with learning yourself and keep it simple. Don't overdo it and remember less is always best. 

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The Beauty and Skincare Benefits of Cape Chestnut Oil

The Beauty and Skincare Benefits of Cape Chestnut Oil

Yangu oil is a South African Botanical, as it derives from the seeds of the Cape Chestnut tree, which can be found in the Cape in South Africa. The Cape Chestnut tree also tends to grow in other parts of Africa, too. From Kenya, to Tanzania, Zimbabwe, to Drakensberg Mountains and forests in Port Elizabeth to Cape Town.

The Cape Chestnut tree produces gorgeous pink flowers and dry fruit capsules, from which the seeds of those fruits are cultivated to produce the oil that is heavily used in African skin care traditions.

The Benefits

Yangu seed oil is comprised of essential fatty acids that help to nourish the skin, as well as antioxidants that help protect the skin from free radicals. Think of free radicals as free scavengers that like to wreak havoc on the town and cause chaos. Once free radicals have caused chaos on the skin, it results in irritation, dullness, premature aging, and exposes your skin to more damage from environmental factors such as the sun, air, and other pollutants. 

The fatty acids that make up the composition of this lovely oil is Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Oleic Acid, and Linoleic Acid. 

To break it down even further let's look at the benefits of each acid for the skin.

Palmitic Acid functions as an emollient for the skin, which helps to soften and soothe the skin. Palmitic acid also acts as an occlusive agent, as occlusive agents form a film on the skin to help lock in moisture. Therefore, this helps to keep the skin hydrated and moisturized. 

Stearic Acid helps to protect the skin's surface by forming a moisture barrier; protecting the skin against water loss and essentially "beefing up" your skin's protective barrier.

Oleic Acid is as it sounds: oily. It's good for those with deeply dry skin that is irritated, cracked, or matured--especially for those with eczema, psoriasis, and flaky skin. It deeply penetrates into the skin's dermis to replenish moisture that is lost that comes with age. Oleic acid also has free radical fighting capabilities, while also remaining non-comedogenic, as oleic acid mimics the oil that's already found in our skin's cells--resulting in a more youthful, hydrated appearance.

Linoleic Acid has anti-inflammatory properties, while helping the skin cell turnover/regeneration process. Our bodies don't product linoleic acid, but it's essential for healthy skin, even though it doesn't penetrate as deeply as Oleic Acid does.

Conclusion

Yangu Oil is a powerhouse ingredient that we included in our Dusk Body oil formula because of the mega-properties that it houses as a luxurious South African botanical.

When combined with all of the other ingredients in Dusk, the synergistic effect it has in healing, moisturizing, and soothing is like none other. Then again, you'd have to try it for yourself to have the full experience.

Learn more about our Dusk Body + Hair Oil here.

 

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