4 ways to feel beautiful in your skin

Most of us develop insecurities about how we look due to societal factors, including social media. Truth is, feeling beautiful in your skin is more than your physical appearance- it’s also about the way you take care of yourself and how you see yourself. Here are 4 ways you can feel more beautiful in your skin.

Embrace your skin tone

Embracing your skin means learning to accept how you look, your skin tone and how it feels. Part of this process is refraining from skin-to-skin comparison. Not comparing your skin tone to others allows you to love your skin, to see yourself uniquely and to take better care of your skin.

Don’t look for validation

Validation is the need to fish for compliments to feel good about how you look. Part of loving your skin is learning to self-praise. It’s important to find things you love about yourself and embrace them. The first person you should go to for encouragement is yourself, Choma.   

Practice self-care

Self-care encourages us to maintain a healthy relationship with ourselves. How you treat yourself reflects on how your see yourself. Self-care involves having a routine, learning about your skin type and the kinds of products you should use. It’s also being compassionate when your skin isn’t behaving the way you’d like. This means loving yourself through those breakouts.

Learn to love your natural look

It’s okay to have no make-up days. This actually gives your skin a chance to breathe, which can help it look and feel healthier in the long run. Learning to love your natural look can boost self-confidence and remove the idea of needing to look perfect all the time.

Beauty can be defined differently by each and every one of us. It’s important not to chase unrealistic beauty standards you see on social media, and learn to define beauty for yourself.

Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send a Facebook message or a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

Here’s why we need to embrace skin tone diversity

Here’s why we need to embrace skin tone diversity

Women are expected to conform to beauty standards that are often unrealistic and unnatural. Some beauty standards are based on skin complexion and tone, with lighter skin tones being preferred over darker tones. This has affected how people with darker skin tones see themselves and how they’re treated by society at large. This shouldn’t be the case, Choma, everyone is different and there’s beauty in our unique traits. Here’s why we need to actively embrace skin tone diversity.

Promoting self-acceptance

There are a lot of historical factors that have led to lighter skin being deemed as more valuable and beautiful. While these beliefs have been around since colonialism, they are not true and it’s time for us to move beyond them. Every skin tone is valuable and attractive and deserves the same care. When we are able to accept external things, like the colour of our skin, we’ll be able to accept the deeper things – like our weaknesses and flaws. Everyone deserves to have a healthy image of themselves.

Challenging societal beauty norms

Once we accept that beauty is found in all skin shades, we’ll be able to challenge unfair beauty standards that can lead to a lot of harmful and unhealthy practices. Practices like skin bleaching, which can be harmful to your skin over time, shouldn’t be done because of outward pressure to look a certain way.

Here’s how you can embrace your skin tone:

Know that there’s nothing wrong with you – whether you’ve got lighter or darker skin, it’s all naturally part of who you are and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.

Don’t compare yourself to anyone – while it’s okay to admire someone’s beauty, it’s not healthy to compare yourself to someone else. You are a unique individual and there’s a reason why there’s nobody else like you – embrace and celebrate that.

Take care of your skin – self-care promotes a healthy self-image. When you look after your skin, nourish it and show it love, you’re more likely to be happier with it in the long run. If you’ve been feeling insecure about your skin tone, then having a self-care routine dedicated to it, will help you understand and love it better.

The truth is, there are a lot of damaging beliefs that have been a part of our world for way too long. It’s good to see that we’re finally challenging them and choosing to see the beauty in everyone. Loving your skin and its colour is something that may not come naturally to some because of these beliefs, which is why I encourage you to share articles like these with them so that we can all finally get to a place where we love and accept ourselves, unconditionally.

Remember if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

How to love your coils

At first, it can be difficult to love your natural hair, especially if you don’t know how to maintain it. Taking care of natural hair doesn’t have to be a challenge, though. With proper hair care methods, you can show your coils some love and manage them without hassles.

L.O.C in the love

Part of showing your coils love is making sure that they’re well moisturised. The L.O.C method is the best way to achieve this, simply because it allows your hair to retain moisture for as long as possible. With the right products, your hair will feel the love. L.O.C your coils in three easy steps:

L is for Leave-in-conditioner – Get yourself a good leave-in conditioner that you can massage into your hair and scalp once a week, after washing. This ensures that your hair gets a lift and an extra layer of moisture.

O is for Oils – Oils like coconut, castor oil, and olive oil help your hair retain (lock in) moisture. Use a hair oil of your choice and follow it up with a rich moisturiser, to revive and seal in the moisture. You can get yourself coconut oil at any pharmacy or even at your grocery store.

C is for Creams – The last step is moisturising your hair with a creamy moisturiser. The harder it is for your hair to retain moisture, the thicker your moisturising cream will need to be. You can get yourself whipped shea butter cream for R79.90 from NativeChild, or you can make your own cream at home with shea butter and essential oils.

Get rid of harmful products

When buying products for your hair, you want to stay away from products with harmful ingredients and heavy chemicals. The more natural a product is, the less likely it is to harm your hair or scalp. It’s also a good idea to air dry your hair to prevent any heat damage.

Wear it with confidence

For a long time, coily and kinky hair were considered undesirable and unflattering, and it was almost impossible to find products and accessories to help you wear your hair with pride. Luckily, this has changed over time and we’re realising just how beautiful every texture of hair is. Whether you choose to style it in dreadlocks, braid, straighten or put it under a wig – it’s important to love your crown and what it represents. Don’t allow anyone else to make you feel less beautiful or unworthy because of your hair.

Hair is a huge part of our identity and how we want to come across in the world, which is why it’s important to feel comfortable and confident with your coils. Take care of it and wear it however you want it, with pride.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

Choma Loves – Local beauty brands

Finding the right beauty brand for yourself can be difficult, especially because it seems like most of the products are made by people you have never heard of and advertised by models you can’t really relate to. But did you know that there are local beauty brands that actually cater to South African women and our different skin/hair types and needs? Here are just 5 of them:

Black Pearl

Black Pearl is a 100% natural hair care range designed specifically for natural hair. It was actually created through a partnership between Pearl Thusi and Ntombenhle Khathwane (who owns Afro Botanics). It’s also not too badly priced Choma.

Check out the range you can purchase at Clicks stores here.

Earthy

Earthy started out as a hair care range and was started by a woman from Soweto named Mummy Mthembu-Fawkes. Earthy now includes other products for your face and body. The products usually range from about R55 to R350 (for combos) and have been getting a lot of great reviews.

You can shop online for products at Earthy’s website here.

Connie

Connie Ferguson has released a range of body lotions that are extremely affordable – less than R20 at clicks. Some people who have used it say how much they love the scent and feel of the lotions.

You can view the Clicks store range here.

Malia

 

Malia Nail Care is a nail polish line founded by a young entrepreneur named Lebo Mphela. A huge focus for the brand is nail care and that’s why, according to Lebo, the nail polish doesn’t contain any toxic chemicals and is meant to stay on longer while keeping your nails stronger.

The website is down for maintenance but you can send a Facebook message here to check where you can buy the nail polish and for how much (the last price was R50).

Estella

Estella Cosmetics is a beauty range that sells matte lipstick and lipgloss as well as make up brushes. It was started by two young women named Naledi Sibisi and Salia Labo.

To order from them you have to email them: estellacosmeticsns@gmail.com or checkout their Instagram page to view their range.

These are just a few local brands that are made by South African women for South African women. Do you know of any more local, women-owned beauty brands that should be on the list? Please let me know in the comments section below. Always remember that you are naturally beautiful Choma!

Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Most of us have something about our body image that we don’t like or wish we could change. But, imagine worrying so much about a part of your body, like your face, legs, breasts, nose or skin tone – that you spend hours or days concerned about it?

This is called Body Dysmorphic Disorder, or BDD, chomas. People who suffer from BDD are obsessed about their body image and can’t think of anything else and this can last for hours or the whole day. They may avoid people completely because they are scared that others can see these flaws and judge them. This may start to affect their relationships with their close friends or family members.

Understanding Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body dysmorphic disorder, or BDD, is a mental condition where someone is obsessed with the ‘flaws’ on their bodies, like their face, legs, breasts or overall body shape. If you have BDD, you might feel that one of your body parts is too big, too small or out of proportion to the rest of the body. You would find it difficult to stop focusing on your ‘flaws’, believing that you have a defect or are deformed in some way and believe people can also notice this. You would also spend a lot of time comparing yourself to others and believe that others think you are ugly.

Symptoms of BDD

If you have BDD you may develop low self-esteem and have negative emotions like shame. This can lead to problems at school or work because you may start to miss class or not perform well at work. The thought of ‘being ugly’ takes over your life and going out in public might be difficult because you would start finding ways to hide your flaws, for example:

  • Checking in the mirror/avoiding the mirror completely
  • Exercising too much in order lose weight
  • Wearing too much make-up
  • Wear layers of clothes, even in summer
  • Skin picking, which leaves marks on your body

What causes BDD?

BDD may be triggered by:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Parents or friends who were critical of your appearance
  • A traumatic experience or emotional conflict while growing up
  • The media, which always shows ‘perfect’ looking people

Is there treatment for people living with Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

If you think you may have BDD then talking to a doctor or a mental health professional, through therapy, is a great start. If it’s triggered by someone you live with, maybe ask them to stop talking about your body parts or your appearance because it hurts you and makes you feel negative emotions. If someone close to you has BDD, make sure your words are always supportive and positive.

Remember chomas, BDD is a real disorder and it’s about more than just wanting to fix your appearance. Someone with BDD truly believes that there is something wrong with them even though there isn’t and this constant struggle disturbs the person’s life and keeps them from actually feeling happy.  Body Dysmorphic Disorder is nobody’s fault. The sooner you get help, if you are diagnosed with BDD, the sooner you can be on the road to recovery. It may be frustrating in the beginning but once you release yourself from these negative thoughts, you will realise your true worth – that you are beautiful just as you are.  

Skincare tips for darker skinned girls

Have you had trouble finding the best skin and beauty tips for your darker skin choma? Not seeing anything online doesn’t mean that there aren’t good tips for girls with a darker complexion.  Having a darker skin tone means you can use different shades of make-up and apply different methods to make sure that you bring out the best in your natural skin tone. Here are beauty and make-up tips on how to make the most of your beautiful dark skin while taking care of it.

Definitely apply sunscreen

Having skin that’s rich in melanin (melanin is the natural pigment that gives your skin its colour) means that you probably won’t burn as easily as others who have a lighter complexion, but this doesn’t mean that you don’t have to still protect your skin from the sun. The rules for wearing sunscreen are the same for everyone. If you don’t protect your skin by applying sunscreen then the sun will damage your skin and make you age faster.

Wash in lukewarm water

Washing in hot water can actually dry out your skin choma. Washing in lukewarm water helps keep your skin hydrated because it preserves your skin’s natural oils.

Moisturise every day

When you have dark skin and it becomes dry, causing it to look ‘ashy’.  This is why it’s important to moisturise your skin. If you can choma, get yourself a good quality moisturiser that you can use daily. To lock in that moisture on your face and make your skin look softer, mix a bit of your moisturiser with your foundation. Also, moisturise your body every day after you shower/bath. 

Limit getting pimples and acne

Always remove all your make-up at night. Use a good facial cleanser to keep your beautiful dark skin clean. Avoid picking at pimples because this can leave you with scars on your skin.

Use a toner

Using toner keeps the oil on your face under control and helps to clear up any acne too chomas.

Choose the right foundation

Look for foundation that compliments your natural complexion. Without having enough information about the right foundation for your skin you might end up choosing a foundation that is a few shades lighter and might make you look unnatural and grey. Before you buy, test the foundation on your forehead or on a spot on or above your jaw line. Liquid foundation works well for girls with a darker skin tone because it won’t look matte.

Exfoliate weekly

Once a week, scrub your face down to make sure that all of the dead skin is removed off your face. Your skin will feel lighter and breathe easier.

Eye make-up

Gold is one of the most flattering colours for darker skin tones. Apply a gold eye shadow on your eyelid then blend a medium brown shade on the crease of your eye.

Lipstick

Red lips are bold and daring and very popular right now. If you feel like being bolder, try shades of orange and tangerine. These colours will make your lips pop out, especially for your dark skin. If you don’t like the attention that wearing a bright colours attract, then try warm colours that keep the focus on your eye make-up instead – like nude or natural shades for your skin tone. A matte lipstick or clear lip-gloss are great for this.

Don’t use heavy powder

Your dark skin is gorgeous chomas, so why cover it up with a lot of powder? Choose a powder that is close to your natural skin tone.

Want to share your own skincare tips chomas? Share in the comments below.

All About Lips

They can be big or small, they are used for eating and they help us communicate our feelings with our chomas, but have you ever thought of how to take care of your lips? Here are some interesting lip-facts and tips to say on how to keep them soft and ‘poutiful’.

Your lips can help choose your mate

There are some studies that claim that kissing plays a role in selecting a partner. Kissing brings possible partners close enough. Through kissing, the person may be subconsciously measuring a potential partner through smell or taste and thus picking up biological signs for compatibility or general health.

There is a name for that fleshy bump in the middle of your lip

There are a few names the fleshy bump has, namely labial tubercle, tuberculum labii superioris or procheilion.

Lips can become paralyzed

Some people may experience a paralysis of the facial nerve causing the muscles of the face to weaken, this is known as Bell’s palsy. This condition can make you have trouble smiling or even frowning. It’s caused by damage to the facial nerves. However, with time, people with Bell’s palsy normally recover.

The older you get, the thinner your lips get

Your lips contain collagen, which helps give shape to your lips. Collagen is a protein which is found in our muscles, bones and skin. Think of it as a glue that holds the body together and gives elasticity and strength to your lips.

As you get older, the production of collagen will naturally slow down. You start to lose your plumpness and then you develop wrinkles. This is because your body has slowed down in producing collagen. If you smoke, eat lots of sugar or expose your skin to the sun without any protection, then this will quicken the process of getting wrinkles or sagging skin. So, a few ways to preserve the plumpness of your lips is to protect them from the skin by wearing lipstick or lip balm with sunscreen and to quit smoking.

Your lips don’t sweat

Your lips don’t sweat simply because they don’t have sweat glands. One of the sweat glands’ jobs is to keep your skin moisturized. This means your lips will tend to get dry quicker than other parts of your body.

How to take better care of your lips

Drink lots of water

Try and carry a water bottle with you, wherever you go so that drinking water can be easier to do. This will keep your skin and lips hydrated.

Stop licking your lips

Licking your lips damages its protective barrier and can dry out the lips. When your lips feel dry, rather apply lip balm (with sunscreen) regularly instead of licking them.

Matte may make lips miserable

I understand that the matte look makes lips look edgy but they can dry your lips. I’m not saying stop using matte lipstick, but use it once in a while chomas. When your lips are extremely chapped, that’s when you should hardly apply any matte lipstick as that could dry your lips even further. Rather try out some light gloss as that could help reduce the appearance of fine lines around your lip area.

Exfoliate with a lip scrub

Shed the dead skin cells on the top layers of your lips by exfoliating with a lip scrub. This will help re-generate the growth of new cells. Get a course lip scrub and gently rub it on your lips. This will remove any dead skin. Rinse off the remaining scrub for smoother lips.

The best way to properly apply lipstick

  • Apply lip balm (with sunscreen).
  • Dot your lip with lip balm to smooth them and reduce the cracks.
  • Use a lip liner.
  • Apply lipstick by starting at the centre of the upper lip and moving outward toward one corner.
  • Blot your lips.

Always make sure you choose a colour that matches your lips and not your lipstick.

Now that we are approaching winter, these tips will be very beneficial to you. So pucker up, your lips will thank you! Do you have any other tips? Put them in the comment section below.  

How to get kissable lips

If you think the perfect pout, is just about putting on lipstick, then think again. Lip care should be part and parcel of your beauty routine.

Here’s how to get those soft, kissable lips:

Lip scrub

Exfoliating or removing dead skin cells will help keep your lips in tip-top condition. You can make your own lip scrub by mixing a little sugar and honey. Simply rub the mixture on your lips to smoothen and polish them. You can also make a lip scrub using a lemon juice and sugar. This mixture will also help plump up your lips.

Moisturise

Always keep your lips moisturised. Never go to bed without applying a bit of nourishing lip treatment like a lip balm or chapstick. Try cocoa butter or coconut oil for an extra bit of pampering to keep lips soft. During the day and especially when you are going to be out in the sun, be sure that your lipstick, lip gloss or chapstick has a Sun Protection Factor or SPF of 15 or higher. The SPF is a measure of how well the sunscreen will protect against sunburn.

Don’t bite

Biting or picking at dry skin on your lips can cause unnecessary redness and bleeding. Always apply chapstick whenever you feel your lips are dry.

Drink water

If you lips are constantly dry or cracked, this could be a sign of dehydration. This means you are not drinking enough water. Drink at least eight glasses of water throughout your day to keep hydrated.

Wearing lip gloss or lipstick

Create an even outline or shape of your lips using a lip liner. Then fill in with a colour tinted lip gloss. If you are wearing a dark lipstick colour, keep colouring to your cheeks and eyelids soft. Don’t forget a well-defined brow and some mascara. Nude or lighter lip colours are best matched with a natural make-up look. Use eye shadow and blush to match your skin tone.

Mwah!  

Shaving Dos and Don’ts

So you’ve noticed that your body has started to change. Your breasts start growing, you perhaps have your first period, and you begin to grow hair under your arms and pubic areas (on and around your genital area). It becomes thicker and more visible, even on your legs. You might also start to notice an odour when you sweat that was probably not there before.

Body changes and hair growth are completely normal chomas. Although it might seem awkward at first, you soon begin to realise that it’s a perfectly natural part of growing up. Some people feel pressured to get rid of body hair immediately, while others feel fine leaving their hair to grow. At the end of the day, it is your choice. As long as you know how to take care of yourself and your hygiene you should be fine.

You don’t have to start shaving immediately after your body starts growing hair, there is no rush. But, if you feel like you will be more comfortable with less hair under your arms and pubic areas, then that is still all right.

If you’ve never shaved your armpits, legs or pubic areas and are scared to even try to because you are scared of cutting yourself don’t worry choma, here’s a quick guide.

It is simple to accidentally cut yourself when shaving, especially for the first time. So here are ways to avoid cutting yourself while shaving:

  • Try and shave in a warm bathtub or shower. This is because water will make your skin softer making it easier to shave without getting a cut. 
  • Before shaving, soak your skin for a few minutes before. Then apply large amount of shaving cream or rub a bar of soap. Leave the cream or soap on your skin for at least five minutes before you start shaving. 
  • To prevent your skin from being burnt from the razor, make sure you shave in the direction of where your hair is growing. So if your hair grows downwards, shave downwards. 
  • Take your time, there is no need to be in a hurry when you are shaving. It’s important to shave slowly and gently. Don’t push down too hard with the razor. If you rush, you’re likely to cut your skin. • Change your razors regularly. An overused blade can cause rash by irritating your skin. You can also cut your skin more easily with an overused blade. 
  • Never share your razors with friends or family. 
  • When shaving around your knees and ankles, be extra careful to not cut yourself, this is due to the shape of your ankles and knees. 
  • After shaving your skin and cleaning and cleaning your razor, moisturise it with your favourite lotion. This will help keep skin from drying out. Thoroughly wash the razor with soap and warm water.

If you find that your hands are shaky, perhaps wait a while until you are confident. It’s better to use a blade with a handle, than one without one because you could easily cut yourself with a loose blade. It’s very important that you use a new blade and not one that is already used by someone else. Don’t use one that is rusted or that is dirty because you put yourself at risk of getting an infection.

Lastly, if you don’t have body hair, don’t shave. You could cut your skin or get skin irritation from using a blade.

Do you have any questions about puberty? Simply click on ‘Ask Choma’ and ask me.