This last year and a half of my life has been remarkably full of change. I’ve gone from being an over-committed student with eighteen credits and four jobs to a college graduate with only two. I’ve gone from weighing just over 200 pounds to 170, a size 17 to a 12. (I’m still working). I’ve recovered from debilitating emotional breakdown that caused a hospital trip and endless problems in performance. I’ve gone from being a meat-a-holic, juice-guzzling, scaredy-cat, exercise-a-phobe gal to being a yoga-loving, vegetable-devouring, life-embracing, vibe-feeling, archetype-loving, herb-taking health and women empowerment nut.
All of this change has been necessary, welcome, and delightful.
It has also (along with my age–early twenties suck for female hormones) wreaked havoc on my skin. My entire life I have been used to breakouts leading up to and during my period, but fairly clear skin the rest of the month. Over the past year my face has simply exploded with acne and I haven’t been able to do a thing about it.
I’ve tried Acnefree. I’ve tried Proactive. I’ve tried Equate brand and just about any acne-fighting drugstore brand. My skin just got worse.
I thought that perhaps my skin reacts poorly to salicylic acid, the main ingredient in acne-fighting washes.
So I tried face washes without this ingredient. I tried just water. My skin just got more dry, but strangely at the same time my t-zone started becoming so oily I felt like I had a completely different person’s face.
Over the past two months I have been trying products from Alaffia (I mentioned the Neem and Shea Butter lotion that I am in love with, I carry my hair sculpting wax everywhere, and the curl reviving tonic is a miracle worker).
*[I would like to say that I think the mid-level Beautiful Curls has too much shea in it for my hair, but the first level is working well now that I am getting the hang of it.]
So now, heart on my sleeve, I am trying one more time.
I am giving one final ‘system’ a go.
And I have high hopes.
I have been amazed by the results I have seen on a friend’s face over the last two months since she started using Alaffia’s face care system, and am ready to believe. There are no harsh ingredients like salicylic acid, instead there is shea butter, neem, melon seed oil and other natural goodies.
So here is what I shall be using:
In the mornings I will be using the Rooibos & Shea Butter Antioxidant Facial Cleanser, followed by the Roobois & Shea Antioxidant Facial Toner and Neem & Shea Butter Skin Recovery Face Cream. In the evenings I will be using, in lieu of the cleanser, Liquid African Black Soap. The melon seed facial serum will be applied lightly to bad breakouts.
My experiment will be this: For six weeks I will be taking a photo every single day, and blogging my results weekly on Sunday evenings. All of these photos will be going into a time-lapse video, so that you can track the progress of my face along with me. I will of course continue my normal posts so if you want to simply track my face care experiment you will notice the new tab up above.
The “before” photo is below:
Day One Reactions:
I started out in the evening, so I began with the liquid black soap. I rebelled against my face care mentor who advised non-scented; I just could not resist the call of “Savannah Spice”. I was pleasantly surprised at the subtle scent of the liquid soap because usually products with patchouli and ylang ylang make me gag, but the black soap was mixed with a deft and discerning hand. What I noticed first was how soft my face felt, just from using the black soap. One acne pimple by my lower lip had been causing me medium discomfort throughout the evening, but the uncomfortable sensation was washed away.
Uncertain whether to use the recovery cream or facial toner next, I reverted to the traditional order in acne systems and went with the lotion. [EDIT: A friend texted me to tell me I was doing it wrong and I have to agree, lotion always comes last in these systems. What can I say, it was past my bedtime.] It had a very light but soothing scent, and was absorbed very quickly into my face without feeling greasy.
Finally, I spritzed my face lightly with the facial toner and was immediately overcome by this unexpected feeling of soft lightness. My skin felt more relaxed and smooth than it has in months, and the simple “spritz” made me feel like a floaty princess (reminiscent of my Snow White days).
So, to summarize my day one reactions:
1–Scents are very subtle and comforting. (I feel like a boutique in downtown Olympia).
2–My acne pimples feel less irritated/inflamed. We shall see if this is only momentary.
3–The Shea butter makes my skin feel very soft, and clean.
In conclusion, day one feels lovely, but will the effects be positive and, most importantly, acne reducing and preventing in the end?
Check back every Sunday for the next six weeks to find out!
P.S. Latest new life goals:
1–Learn to code.
2–Get my motorcycle license.
3–Refrain from buying new clothing, and wear mostly home-made clothing. This will force me to improve my construction skills (who wants to walk around in shoddy clothing?) and allow me to finally give time to that part of my soul that just wants to design.
4–I am trying to cut back my meat consumption, hopefully to no more than one serving daily. I just feel much more clean and healthy when my diet consists mostly of greens.
It’s all good.