My Teen Skincare Life by Louisa Kiwana

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Louisa Kiwana is a Brand & Consumer Strategist, by day and blogger by night. When she is not executing strategies for brands she is running Afroblush which is her much revered website that was nominated for a Cosmopolitan Bloggers Award a few years ago. A beauty enthusiast, she took time out to tell me about her teen skincare life. I first came across skincare products when my mum smeared Vaseline over my face on the first day of school. That was my official inauguration into skincare, which I remember being an annoyance at the time, but instilled the universal rule of thumb when it comes to skin care - as a black female –avoid being ashy at all costs. Growing up as an only child with my mum, meant much of what I learnt about products and application was from observation and imitation. Products I distinctly remembered at that time included Ponds, Oil of Olay and all things from Avon.

My mum is a strong influence on my skin and personal care overall. She looks amazing and has a natural glow that I hope to have when I’m her age. Beyond that, I find that women who keep skincare simple have the best skin. It’s quite easy as a woman (and blogger) to get hooked into the latest skincare trends and products, but the secret to good skin has always been simple: 1) Consistency with products and routine 2) Stay hydrated 3) Get lots of rest and stay free from stress.

Looking specifically at media icons who have influence my skincare, I would say Kelis is a great example of a woman with great skin. I’ve been a big fan since I was 16 and listening to the Wonderland album, and 12 years on, she’s still flawless on Instagram (no filters). Her skin always looks fantastic on and off the stage. I've observed how she places a lot of emphasis on the foods she eats as a way of sustaining good skin and overall health.

Although I didn’t place any emphasis on skin or makeup until my late teens early twenties, but I’ve always used Johnson & Johnson’s Clean & Clear range; primarily because it was so easily accessible and affordable as a teenager. However, I still use it today because I think consistency is key. Once your skin gets used to the chemical compounds in a product, providing it’s good for you, I think it’s a good idea not to switch to other products too often. Besides from Clean & Clear, I buy the occasional night cream (L’Oreal Paris), but truthfully, I don’t think it makes the slightest difference. It just feels like a sophisticated thing to do. LOL

The biggest lesson I’ve learn about my skin since my teens, and which can be applied to most areas of life, is that you can’t cheat health. Whether that’s healthy skin or a healthy lifestyle in general, it all boils down to what you put inside you. I am of the belief that there isn’t a cream out there that can make my skin look better than when I am just happy and well looked after. Looking at my younger self, I thought that late nights, alcohol, lack of exercise and sleep wouldn’t affect me significantly. However, as you age, you realise that you’re body starts to lose resilience, and will hold you accountable for how you treat it.

My skin care regime hasn’t evolved tremendously; I still don’t place a huge emphasis over big name brands that promise me the world and I continue to stay clear of alcohol cleaners. One difference is that I now wear makeup daily, so I take care to be consistent in my morning and night time cleaning routine. I’ve also started swimming regularly and aware of the effect chlorine can have in drying out my hair and skin. To combat this, I apply a small amount of coconut oil in my hair and on my face to act as a barrier, which I then wash off after the swim. Lastly and most importantly I just try and live a happy life. I pay close attention to my stress levels, only have late nights when there’s a new season of #OITNB, and keep people around me that make me smile rather than frown.

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