From those first teenage greasy T-zone moments to just a few months ago, I have always labelled my skin type as ‘oily’. I’m mixed race and have always believed that my skin leaned towards the slippier side. But lately, I’ve started to wonder if I’ve been completely wrong.
As a teen my glasses would slide down my nose (you really don’t want to see photographic evidence of my eyewear wardrobe back then) and my first forays into serious makeup were abysmal – thanks to the lack of shades as well as the ‘either or’ nature of foundations at the time: super thick/greasy or ridiculously matte. As I got older I would experience several ups and downs; acne that had me looking down at the ground but which the doctor deemed ‘not bad enough,’ followed by periods where it would glow and be spot-free, only to revert back. Over the years I began to comfort myself with the fact that, although my skin type was oily, by the time I reached ‘old age’, whatever that is, I would look at least 10 years younger, thanks to the positive qualities of having an oilier visage.
Over the past couple of months though, my skin has been a real pain in the ass. I’ve been a hair and beauty journo for 12+ years and although I’ve tried many things, and read many tips, tricks and hacks, I still haven’t found my own skin type secrets. Lately my skin still deals with eruptions, but instead of oil, there’s dryness. Dryness around my nose, across my cheeks and at the corners of my lips. I’ve made a concerted effort to ditch dairy from my diet (a wellknown pore-clogger) and have tried just as hard (although not completely successfully) to ditch sugar – known for drying out the skin and reducing it to a husk over time. Nice.
One day, after admiring New York-based makeup artist Yacine Diallo’s ultra-glowsome skin on Instagram, I decided to ask her what her secret was. Now, makeup artists come and go, but Yacine is a master at creating beautiful skin, often with mere hints of colour, plus her own skin is just, well, go check it out for yourself @yacinediallo.
I’ve often commented on Yacine’s Insta Stories and have to admit, I’ve bought a few beauty products based purely on her recommendations (and I don’t regret one of them), and she’s always been cool with replying. But her response to this question prompted me to take numerous screen shots because what she was saying made so much sense. Yacine told me she had always believed that she had oily skin and over the years she had exfoliated her skin religiously, but over the past couple of years she has slowed right down, realising that her skin needs gentle stimulation.
This fact alone stopped me in my tracks – I can’t even begin to guess at how many exfoliants I have tried, particularly physical (as opposed to liquid/acid-based) products. For me, a good scrub meant ultra clean skin, and ultra clean, scrubbed skin meant that I would be less prone to spots. But that hasn’t really worked out to be true, has it?
Lately Yacine uses an acid toner every other night, and occasionally indulges in a physical scrub with ExfoliKate – a pretty intense product I can definitely vouch for after receiving a sample in the Cult Beauty goodie bag I recently bought.
Yacine consistently uses a Vitamin C serum and when it comes to moisturising her skin, she swears by face oils every night. She also encouraged me to think about what stress does to the skin, advising me of the supplements she takes: ashwaganda (I’ve been taking this for a couple of months – it’s said to reduce cortisol levels as well as relieve stress and anxiety and reduce blood sugar levels), a probiotic, magnesium and a max strength Vitamin C supplement daily. She also told me that black and brown women’s skin is often way more sensitive than we realise, and as many of us suffer with hyperpigmentation, we can often reach for the more harsh/intense products, when what we really need is gentle care and a softly-softly (patient) approach.
So, what have I changed since this goldmine of beauty advice?
*I’m more determined to cut down on sugar (not on Yacine’s advice, but I know it’s a personal issue of mine.)
*I purchased Altrient C 1000mg Vitamin C – it’s almost like a small package of jelly that you add to water – it doesn’t dissolve, the water just helps it go down. At £40 a box (30) I’m sticking to one a day and counting on the rest of my diet to deliver the rest of my Vitamin C.
*I bought the Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum – it advises that you use it every other night on cleansed skin, and I honestly think it’s already working. My skin feels a lot calmer, but that might be down to the fact that I’ve also succumbed to their ridiculously popular Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rose Water – my skin loves it! T
oday I have noticed a small patch of pigmentation that wasn’t there before on my face, but I’m putting that down to the new regime, so I will monitor it daily. Overall I definitely feel like I’ve got a little glow going on, despite two or three visible pimples.
*I’ve bought The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion. It’s yet to arrive but I only plan on using it a couple of times a week. Yacine advised that The Ordinary is a fab brand to try if you want to experiment with serums but don’t want to do double digits. This one costs £8 at Cult Beauty.
On top of this I’ll aim for a minimum of three litres of water a day, and will be sticking with this new regime for the next six weeks. If I use a physical exfoliator it will most likely be once a month when I do a full-on at-home facial. So far this softly-softly approach definitely feels better, so I’ll be sure to check back in with you in a month’s time.
As always, I’d love to know your skin secrets – let me know in the comments!