Skin Care tips, tricks and bullshits.

HELLO my loves. I hope you are as safe as you can be and dealing with the bullshits as well as you can. Today let’s talk about some things I wish I’d known when I got into skin care. We’re gonna go over lots of stuff.

First thing, some of this some of y’all are gonna be like BUT OMG AUNTIE IT WORKS FOR ME. Yes it might right now. Some of the things will cause later damage or are things that are highly comedegenic. Also if you don’t know, yes I love natural but natural ain’t always great. Cyanide is natural and you still shouldn’t eat it. That said, everything that exists is chemicals.

Now, when we talk chemicals do keep in mind that a lot of the scare articles don’t tell you the manner or level of ingestion. Too much of anything can cause a problem. You can die from drinking too much water. Don’t get too into that. Do your research but keep in mind, it is likely you won’t be putting a chemical up your own butt every day for 10 years and thus causing yourself a scary illness.

ALL RIGHTY THEN lezgo.

Let’s talk about exfoliation. When it comes to your face, here’s the problem. A lot of us suffer weird textures, etc and it is super satisfying to use a physical scrub. I was a devout physical exfoliator for YEARS y’all. Scrubs, brushes. ALL OF IT. However, once I learned the dangers including:

  • microtears in the skin
  • Said microtears helping bacteria get in and cause acne
  • Compromised acid mantle
  • Long term damage

I gave it up and switched to chemical exfoliants. My skin is still pretty sensitive so it took some product before I found the one. Every now and then I’ll use a very soft physical exfoliant, I have a knock off of the Tatcha Soothing Enzyme Rice Polish*. The long term differences between physically exfoliating and doing it chemically has been night and day.

I started with adding a gentle retinol to my routine and followed with experimenting with BHA’s and AHA’s. Not all at once. Please don’t do that. For me, while The Ordinary Glycolic acid*was like..BOOM POW it was a bit too intense for my face. I wound up only being able to use it a couple of times a week. That said, over time exfoliating chemically has proven to help fade my hyperpigmentation and a lot of it hasn’t returned in the same spots. Spots I’ve had for years that were black/purple have faded. And overall, I feel like my skin is in better health. No microtears and my acid mantle is intact.

I am tempted by physical exfoliation. I used my rice stuff last night because it is high allergy season for me so my face is flaky. It sufficed.

Now if you already have scrubs what do you do with them cause we ain’t wasting shit at aunties house. If OMG PLS DON’T BUY you have one of the St Ives type scrubs, please don’t use that shit on your face. Use it on your feet, use it on your butt, use it if you have bumpy areas on your body. Keep that shit off of your precious face.

If you have sugar scrubs, pro tip using them in tubes (as they usually come for skin) use them on your body. SUPER pro tip. The Freeman Facial Charcoal & Black Sugar Polish Mask is AWFUL for your face over time. BUT y’all, it is an amazing body scrub. It is a bit perfumey for me but I really love how silky it leaves my body.  Use it in combo with something like an exfoliating towel on your booty…then moisturize heavily and just rub it. You’ll be happy.

Moisturizing. Listen. Moisturize your damn face. Yes even if your face is oily. I used to have mega oily skin as in, sometimes it looked like I was sweating. However, once I started to focus on hydrating my skin it started to balance out. Look at being super oily as you needing to help your face realize it is moisturized so the excess sebum production slows down. It takes time. Your face will freak out. You might break out but, give it time.

What I settled on was using very rich, thick serious moisturizers at night and using something more gel like for day under my sunscreen. I often see in skin care groups folks being nervous about going to bed shiny. Go to bed lookin like a glazed donut. I mean it. Your pillow will soak up some product and also, matte is not important if you’re asleep. if you’re worried what your partner will think, maybe get them into skincare. Or tell them to fuckin’ deal with it.

I do not believe in rigid skin types. Skin is a living organ and changes. Also regardless of type, you need hydration. Drink water and moisturize.

If you find an oil you like, use that as well. I’ve used lots of them but my faves to use as my last step at night are squalene or rosehip oil. Other oils I like, hemp oil (shelf stable), vitamin e, argan oil, olive oil. Stop putting coconut oil on your face. Coconut oil can be highly comedegenic so use it elsewhere.

ALSO when it comes to products that will be on your face for hours make sure you check your ingredients. Essential oils are great for a lot of things but not on your face. Most of them even in small concentrations can increase skin sensitivity, irritation, etc. It can be hard to avoid so look for fragrant components at the end of the ingredient list.

Use SPF like it is your goddamn job. Especially if you are treating any type of pigmentation issues like melasma or hyperpigmentation. UV exposure will undo your work, put you at risk for skin cancer and overall fuck up your day. YES you too beautiful melanin rich people.

Also look.

Real talk. Three months or ten years of good skin care probably won’t give you influencer skin. Skin changes, hormones, weather, stress life, aging etc. Don’t give up because you’re not perfect after a few uses. What I’ve discovered is that rather than focusing on trying to attain that filter look or flawless glass skin, I concentrate on keeping my skin supple and healthy.

Also if you’re unable to keep up a full routine don’t give up on yourself. If all you can do is use a wipe or miceller water to take off the day, that’s okay. Don’t toss your stuff. Do what you can when you can.

Last pro tip from your fave Auntie. Treat your skin from your scalp to your toes like silk. Treat it good. Feed it well and put up with the bullshit it throws at you. If you can’t do it out of self love, do it because it holds in your organs and you need that.

As always affiliate links have a *. I encourage you to google for good prices. Go forth and glow baby.

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[image description: a photo of your fave auntie. Brown skinned, wearing glasses, a headwrap and a lip ring.]

Self-care stuff, smol victories and homemaking.

Hi babes. Today we’re going to talk about self-care and some things I’ve been working on to help preserve my little bit of sanity and improve the quality of my lived life.

So for context, those of you who don’t know me, have probably not read the book I wrote about self-care. You can download and read it for free here (right click and save as, if you use the kindle chrome extension, you can open the link and send to kindle). Please don’t redistribute it or steal it, it is free. If you share it please direct folks back here or at least use my name. I have had the material stolen before and it makes me feel like shit.

I’ve written new material about it off and on but lately I’ve been very focused on using my habit of writing stuff down, to remind myself that basically I’m not totally failing. With the current news I absolutely feel like a lot of us need to claim our small victories because too much of the world is shit.

ON to victory.

For me, I’ve been working on making my house a home. This is something I’ve struggled with my entire adult life. This is mainly due to childhood trauma (YAY SHIT) and working on it has been…bad. After we moved into our current place, I promised myself I would do the shit. I been doin the shit.

First up, below look at a little photo of my hallway. Over the last few weeks partner and I cleared a bunch of boxes and junk from the area and it looked like this after.

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[image description: photo of the authors home there are drawers in the forgroung against a wood floor. also in view a closet, an open bathroom door and some random items]

One of the challenges we’ve faced at home is that it is very small. Partner and I live in a tiny studio and when we moved in we had to throw out most of our furniture because it wouldn’t fit or it was too old and raggedy. I purchased the two bin things as a set from Amazon* (yeah it isn’t “real” furniture but whatever fight me) and I love them.  One of the reasons I love these is that empty they are very lightweight and I can move them by myself. Also I am going to decorate them with tape.

I had a small one like this* that I was able to move into the bathroom and I organized my skin care, hair care and whatnot. WIN. Another thing I like about this sort of plastic stuff is that they are super easy to clean. And I can use them where ever I need to.

Being able to arrange things to my own liking has been amazing. I’m really focused on keeping our home accessible to both of us, easy to maintain and I’ve discovered I have a BIG OLE love of organization.

Next victory.

I purchased a shoe rack* from Amazon. Partner got it together and he put it in front of our front door. Our door has a full swing to open and my lil shoes are out of the way and displayed in a way I find very pleasing. AND no shoe germs in the house!

victory

[image description: a black shoe rack with assorted black shoes on it]

With the area in the first photo opened up more, that means I can get my exercise on right there AND we will have space for my next thing which will be a rack to store some kitchen stuff on.

So why is this such a big deal? First reason is that, I’ve never allowed myself to prioritize my own comfort in my home to spend money on things I both like and need. That is a big deal for me and I’m learning to enjoy the process. Second reason is that, I ENJOY it. Part of my philosophy surrounding self-care is heavily involved in allowing myself to enjoy things.

Yes things are shit right now but, I will snag the joy where I can snag it.

I encourage y’all to do it too.

So tell Auntie your small victories. Remember to cheer your friends on. Do a victory dance when the family or kids or partner or friends do something.

PS

Affiliate links denoted with a * as usual. If you enjoy the self care book feel free to come back and tip me out.

 

 

No New Me

Hello babes! Yer fave Auntie is back and we’re gonna dig into the lie that is New Year New Me horse shit.

Up front let’s establish where I am coming from okay?

  • I do not believe that fat is bad.
  • I do not believe that weightloss and dieting is inherently good.
  • I do not believe that there is one size fits all everyone should have a six pack and thigh gap type of health.
  • I believe that it is deeply harmful to conflate health with appearance, weight or influencer status.
  • I believe that everyone has a right to do what is best for their body and not have to frame it in a way that is hateful towards themselves, shameful towards themselves or in any other way that holds to the idea that, you MUST hate your body and always be trying to change it.
  • I believe that we all deserve to engage with or not engage with wellness as we please.

OKAY now we have that out of the way.

Here is the problem with wellness as it is presented especially this time of year. The idea that we should be ashamed of the bodies we live in because they don’t aesthetically appear to be healthy, is abuse. Health is not an insta look. It is not the dehydrated fitness influencer sucking it in on the beach and face tuning their ass.

Change by itself is great. Change that is fueled by culturally approved self harm and self hate is not.

I come at this from the perspective of someone who will never, ever ever be the “healthy” ideal. Even when I have been thinner, I have not been a healthy person in the context of the idea that there is one true way to be healthy. I want y’all to take a second and think about what health is to you.

Does it mean you’re drinkin your water, doing what body movement you love, feeling the fuck out of your feelings and eating stuff that makes you feel nourished? Or is health to you the Get Thin Or Die Tryin mentality?

This time of year, we’re pressured to conform. We’re all supposed to decide to be skinny butterflies and go hard at the gym and restrict what we eat and really abuse ourselves into looking healthy. Is your engagement with these things based on wanting to look like X youtuber or X fitness model on instagram? Is your engagement based on being ashamed that you don’t eat X superfood or you don’t do X diet?

Rather than abusing ourselves with ALL of these often unattainable lifestyles and health goals, what if we do something else?

Rather than going with the, OMG SO FAT MUST LOSE IT ALL and going buck wild with your diet and exercise, what if instead you try this.

Look at your body and say, yo we don’t get along and I kind of hate you but here is some fuckin water. Or WOW I love you thighs, how good does this stretch/run/squat feel? FUCK WE ARE AMAZING LET’S DO MORE OF THAT.

You see what I did there?

None of us have to engage in these extremes of motivation for change. You don’t have to project or enact self-hatred and self-harm in order to look a way that let’s be real, you probably won’t ever. It is okay. All of our bodies are different. We are each our own weird little biological stew of weirdness.

Some of us are disabled. Some of us have chronic illnesses. Some of us don’t want to be doing Iron mans or whatever. That is natural. That is good. That is fine.

Here’s the thing. Self-hatred can only take you so far. I’ve been there. Shame is not a great lifestyle and rather than trying to shame yourself out of having the body you have right now, what if you didn’t?

What if you decided that even if you’re not ready to love your body yet, you still want it to be as okay as it can be. So maybe you drink more water. Do some yoga. Dance. Do crossfit. Whatever. I’m not saying that making fitness goals or nutrition goals are bad in and of themselves, for some of us goals are magic.

What I am saying is that, here in 2020 try a new approach. Try a new thought.

For me I am doing something. I’m looking at the ways my nutrition can help me be in less pain, feel satiated when I eat, help me have good regular poops.

I am worried about my body so I want to try and help my chunky friendo feel better. I don’t hate my big jiggly thighs, and I am not going to hate them into being something else.

I have a challenge for you.

If you are looking at health and fitness stuff, if you’re on Instagram or youtube pining for that body/lifestyle try this exercise while you’re comparing your meat vehicle to another person. Ask yourself:

  • Do I live in that body?
  • Do I have access to the same level of food quality and quantity, trainers, chefs, gyms, equipment, and support in order to DO the things it takes to have that kind of body?
  • Is this an advertisement?
  • Is what this person does sustainable?

If you are a journaling type, I suggest writing them down. Otherwise just, slow it down when you feel that (and no lie I feel it too sometimes) pull and shame that you don’t have that body/do what that person does.

Next exercise try this.

Instead of letting yourself fall down a shame hole because your ass doesn’t look like so and so’s ass, remind yourself that barring full on ass theft, you cannot have their ass. Your ass is your ass. Their ass is their ass. Instead of hating that your ass is not their ass, if you want to change your ass, focus on the things you can achieve.

Maybe instead of changing your habits or diet or how you exercise based off of shame and self-loathing, try celebrating.  I personally am pretty excited that even with my shitty ass back pain, I am a little closer to being able to touch my toes again when I stretch.

TL:DR look.

New Year doesn’t mean you are obligated to publicly flog yourself for not being some whole ass other person. You really don’t.

Love,

Auntie

 

2018 Priorities and Shit

Holy shitballs it is 2018.

I don’t do resolutions because I find the whole culture of that to be so shamey and gross. So instead let’s talk about priorities.

So far, my number one priority in 2018 is getting the partner and I moved and settled into a new place. This move will improve the quality of our lives so much, I’m super impatient but trying to stay calm about it. I’ve been saving and fundraising for months and after the illnesses and whatnot from Sept-December I was terrified I couldn’t do it.

BUT, I got the coins to cover at least move in so I’m happy.

Correlated to moving is that I’m hoping to be able to afford to do more for my health. I deal with a lot of chronic shit, some of it is shit I’ve had literally since birth. And as has happened time and time again in my life, my unintentional weightloss fixed none of it and exacerbated some of it.

What does more for my health look like? I want to keep up with a few things. I do a double shot of EmergenC in ice water every day. I do vitamins too. Unfortunately I lost my ability to swallow larger pills so I’ve been subbing in gummies. They are okay but my ride or die line up are all horsepills and I’m trying to get back to be able to take them. I’m back up to being able to take some medium sized pills so hopefully 2018 is my year.

Correlated to that, my hair. I’ll be continuing to do the LOC method and my main goal is retaining length. Since braids were a total fucking fail (why yes, I am still salty AF about it) I’m back in wigs. Currently rocking a silver bob that I feel magical as fuck in.

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[image description: photo of the blogger, a Black femme person in a silver asymmetrical bob wig]

I’ll probably do my annual blowout soonish. My last one, my hair looked AMAZING. I may start doing a blow out once a month or so. Mainly to give myself the encouragement to do a monthly deep detangle. All the way to the scalp with the little comb.

I really want to avoid the deep terrible tangles I struggled with this year. I’m also cycling taking biotin and am going to mix up some hair oil for my scalp because I tried giving up greasing my scalp and nah son.

My poor scalp gets so dry like the rest of my body except my face. So yeah, I’ll be liberally greasing up literally from scalp to toes forever.

Overall my priorities this year are to remember how to take better care of my whole self. I want to return to my habit of figuring out DIY remedies and things. I want to maybe eve start making body care items again.

Hopefully, I will remember to bring y’all along for the fails and wins.

See y’all soon!

The Life and Times of a Twitchy Flailer.

If you’ve not seen me in meatspace you have yet to witness the awesome elegance and poetry in movement that is me stumbling around in the Spring.

Part of my seasonal allergies that are my ears clog up and I already uh, not super awesome balance is further off. I can’t walk a straight line, I often list hard to port or starboard, I kind of stumble over nothing.

I do it in my apartment, I do it walking around-I just stumble all over and on occasion someone will ask if I’m drunk or have CP.

I tell you this because I have a story to tell you about how elegant and majestic I really am.

Ready?

Picture yours truly at about 22 years old in the summer, it is a warm beautiful day in downtown Seattle circa 1999. I was job hunting and really desperately wanted to work at this bourgie little gallery place. I had a friend help me dye my hair burgundy, I had my eyebrows shaped by a girl I was seeing. I had my I take no shit red lipstick on.

I even remember I was wearing a beautiful vintage sundress I had carefully dyed black. I was in modern parlance feelin myself.

As I strode up first avenue, arms swinging, doing my I have places to go so move walk, something happened.

I was quite thin for me at the time and didn’t have the money for new underwear. I had on my nicest pair, a pretty silky string bikini type. For those with less booty in the pants, if you’ve worn silky undies, y’all know, sometimes they get a little roomy in the butt area. the sensation is weird, loose fabric occasionally rubbing your butt cheeks, but you get used to it.

I was too busy thinking about the interview to realize disaster was about to strike in the form of me walking right out of my panties.

I kind of tripped over them as they slid off of one ankle.

I had a few choices.

I could stop, turn, go back and pick them up and put them in my purse.

I could stand there mortified and hoping the ground would swallow me.

I looked at my abandoned panties, checked the time and sprinted to my interview. No tears and cackling.

Another story, more than a decade later.

I was doing my normal walk to the transit center and one second I was walking the next I was rolling around in some beauty bark showing my entire ass (the ONE day I wore cute undies that fit thankfully) and flailing like a weirdo.

A couple of drunk men helped me, they thought I was crying and I was in fact howling in laughter. I’d managed to not break my phone, not break my glasses and not hurt myself. I was covered in stinky bits of dirt and wood, but, it was hilarious. Once I got to my feet I laughed, they laughed. They offered to buy me a beer, which I declined.

I have fallen in public more times than I can count. Stone cold sober, I fell down a flight of stairs trying to make a grand entrance at a club. I’ve had a boob fall out when I was trying to (again) pretend to be regal.

Just today as I was heading out on my last leg of my commute to work I almost fell out of the bus, got my shit together and went into Starbucks. I’ve got a massive headache and got myself an Americano and because I don’t take room the cup was really full. I managed to get my three raw sugars, a dash of chocolate powder and a bit of cinnamon into the cup, stir it and the lid back on without spilling.

I got a little, uh, stopper thing and made myself walk slowly the last couple of blocks to work because I know, I know damn well had I hurried I would have fallen or spilled on myself or something.

My magical point is this. Know yourself, know your foibles and don’t stress too hard about it.

I am a twitchy, jumpy, bad balance having, frequently unable to operate my body person. That’s just how it is and sometimes it sucks (falling and staining/tearing favorite clothes or hurting myself) I spill things constantly, I’m weird and much like an asshole cat.

And you know what?

Fuck it.

Be as inelegant, awesome and prone to taking falls of epic proportions. You’re still awesome.

Be the Shruggie. I am the Shruggie.

shruggie