My Teen Skincare Life by Bim Adewunmi


Bim Adewunmi is the culture editor at BuzzFeed UK and a columnist for The Guardian Weekend. She is a prolific tweeter and also blogs at Yoruba Girl Dancing. I caught up with her to find out about her teen skincare life. Tell us when you first came across skincare products. My whole life, really. I inherited dry skin from my mum’s side of the family, so that meant we were extra cautious about looking after it, especially during the winter. That meant aqueous cream, cocoa butter, shea butter, Vaseline, all types of thick body lotions and oils. My mum would mix glycerin into the lotions for extra potency, too. We showered every day, and every Sunday would have a bubble bath to which my mum would add bath oils (we used a fair bit of Avon, if I recall correctly) and emollient creams. Also, my mum read that Cleopatra used to bathe in honey and asses’ milk, and I remember one particular evening finding a bath of milk and my delighted mum telling us to hop in. That was cool.

Who were your influences in regards to your skincare? My mother, definitely. She was always very clear on the benefits of moisturising. She’s never had a pimple in her life, though, and I remember her not knowing the process of popping spots when I hit puberty. Turned out fine, because I never learned either, and I think I saved myself a good amount of scarring as a result. These days, it’s YouTube (thank God for dark-skinned black girls on YouTube) and the internet generally. I know what my skin likes for the most part, and have a few bloggers and Vloggers whose views and reviews I trust implicitly.

What were the brands that you started using when you were a teen? Like many British girls of my generation, it was Miners - from Woolworths and Mark One -obviously. I’ll always have a soft spot for ashy eyeshadow thanks to them. I began using the Superdrug own brand three-step system (cleanse, tone, moisturise) when I was about 16. I also remember trying the Natural Collection from Boots. I wasn’t very interested in makeup as a teen. I think that always baffled my Mum, who had a makeup case - not a bag, a case - and could not understand having two daughters so wholly unbothered by it. My first ever foundation product was from Iman, which my Mum insisted I buy in my second year of University. I must have been 19 or 20.

What have you learnt about your skin since your teen years? That it’s still dry, and probably will be all the days of my life, but it’s also pretty hardy. I know that exfoliation is the key to maintaining smooth, soft skin, and I’ve added dry body brushing to my regimen for years now. Makeup wise, I have discovered that I have red undertones, and my foundation now is Make Up For Ever in shade N180, and it is the best thing I have ever put on my face. Ever. I’ve learned there is nothing to beat great genes, though maintenance helps: so lots of water, exfoliating, sleep if you can get it, and generally leaving your skin the hell alone.

How has your skincare regime evolved since then? The biggest difference to my skincare regime has been the price points at which I shop. I try a lot more products, and I try more expensive products, at that. You always think there’s no real difference until you try the fancy stuff, and then you realise: “Oh, it’s expensive for a reason.” I’m a lot more adventurous with products.

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