By Siraad Dirshe
Self-love. A small yet mighty word that many of us struggle to fully understand. Heck, I’m twenty-something and I still don’t really know what it means. I’m not exactly sure why that is or why it’s so hard for us to show ourselves the same love we give to others; but I do know that self-love is extremely important. Period point blank. Not only is it restorative but also makes us feel really good about ourselves. Of course, taking a well-deserved vacation once a year or buying that great pair of shoes is nice, but real care and love goes far beyond that. So far, I’ve come to define self-love as daily acts (big or small) that help us feel like our best selves – daily of course being the operative word. This year, I’m giving daily self-love in all of its forms – including physically, emotionally and spiritually – a solid effort. When I started this journey, I had no idea that skin care would become one of my most important self-love practices.
My interest in skin care began the way most of the great things in my life have, with my mother. One of my earliest childhood memories is my mom slathering Vaseline on my face to protect it from the cold harsh winters we often experience in the North East. Soon after, I was left to question my own beauty as a Black young woman who rarely, if ever, saw myself reflected in the ads of my favorite makeup brands. Yet, it was my mom’s early skin care advice combined with my complicated relationship with makeup throughout my teenage years that undoubtedly contributed to my enthusiasm for skin care.
Over the years, skin care has become more than just a hobby. I spend a good portion of my day thinking and reading about it as a writer. My skin care routine, a.k.a meticulously applying various products each day, has become my own form of mediation. My routine has become my daily ritual that not only calms me down but also allows me to feel and look my best.
Every morning and night I devote at least five minutes, but more like 15-20, to taking care of myself – something I had never done before the start of this year. Every morning as I stand in my bathroom and stare at myself in the mirror cleansing and exfoliating, I exclaim (out loud) that today will be great. Intentionally starting each day with positivity really helps to set the tone for the day. At night, as I do my routine, I state my gratitude list (one to three things I’m thankful for) to myself. Those few moments of solitude each day are sacred.
In addition to positively impacting me spiritually, my skin care routine has helped my skin to look the best its looked in a long time. I thoroughly enjoy the process of buying and trying different products. For me it’s become one huge experiment of finding the best combination of products and steps to help my skin really glow.
Over the last year, I have experimented with countless products and treatments in the name of great skin. However, for some, finding the perfect skin care routine can be a bit of a frustrating process. To save you the time and energy, and of course money, that comes along with experimenting, here are a few basic pointers to help jumpstart a solid skin care routine:
- Double Cleanse: The key to making sure you take off all of your makeup and achieve a super clean face is by double cleansing. That means using an oil-based cleanser, like this one, before using your regular cleanser.
- Exfoliate: Exfoliate, exfoliate often and use a chemical exfoliator! Exfoliating removes dead skin cells, which can get trapped in your pores and eventually clogs them. Exfoliating helps your skin look glowingly radiant. In addition to using a scrub one to three times a week, also use a chemical exfoliator. This is my favorite, which can make all the difference.
- Moisturize: This is pretty much a no-brainer. Finding a great moisturizer that leaves your skin feeling hydrated is extremely important. Also, experiment with serums and oils to really help lock in the moisture.
- Wear SPF: The sun can do some serious damage to our skin when we don’t properly protect it, so make sure to never skip SPF, even on the cloudiest of days.
- Water, water and more water: While not skin care specific, drinking a gallon of water a day for your skin will dramatically improve your it. After all, our skin is primarily made up of H2O.
I’ve found that when it comes to skin care there really is no one-size-fits-all solution for amazing skin. It’s extremely personal. However, developing a daily routine, whether it consists of one or twelve steps, will make all the difference. Not only will an investment in a skin care routine improve your skin but also positively impact other areas of your life and create a self-love practice that will last a lifetime.
Siraad Dirshe is involved with Black Girl In Om because she is a black girl who’s constantly searching for and trying to maintain her om (aka balance). She currently lives in New York City, but Boston raised her. Her go-to self-care practice is a good run (with music) and her skin care routine. Find her on Instagram @sdirshe and @theglowexpert.