My Teen Skincare Life by Yassira Zaandam

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Yassira Zaandam is the founder of Sable Beauty which is a website that sells beauty products aimed at Women of Colour. The site is the first online luxury beauty store where you can purchase a wide range of beauty products from premium designer make-up, niche brands to organic skincare. Yassira took time out to share her teen skincare life journey with us. Growing up I was more obsessed with sports; ballet, gymnastics and tennis than with beauty but I come from a very large family and was always surrounded by inspirational women who took pride in their appearance so beauty and fashion were always in my subconsciousness. I came across my first skincare product courtesy of my Venezuelan grandmother, who kept the biggest pot of ponds cold cream on her dressing table. She wore little make up but her skin was gorgeous, soft and wrinkle free. Whenever I was at her house I used to sneak into her room to smell her cream because it had this really nice clean smell.

As I grew older my interest in fashion and beauty grew, and I remember being obsessed with US Vogue (my aunt had a subscription), and with CNN's Style by Elsa Klensch which featured the runways in Europe and New York and the most beautiful and models from all ethnicities were a big inspiration. Beauty wise I had a signature look of too thin eyebrows, a lot of Maybelline mascara, a fake mole (this was the early Nineties so moles were a thing) and a red lipstick.

Skinwise my teens started ok but it ended on a less happy note as I started to experience breakouts which left me with hyperpigmenation spots that would took ages to fade which was incredibly frustrating. This was I would say, the beginning of a journey which eventually led me to create Sable Beauty. I became obsessed with trying to understand why my skin was suffering and more importantly how I could solve it. I started with brands more geared towards teens like St Ives Apricot Scrub, Clearasil and that sort of stuff, although my sister was really into high end brands and I would occasionally snatch her Clinique Soap Bar which was way too powerful for my skin.

I have learnt a lot since my teens. After university I started working as a lawyer, in an incredibly dynamic and high paced environment and my skin suffered from the long hours and lack of sleep. But in the little spare time I had I continued my journey of researching brands and ingredients. Initially I bought into the big standard luxury brands but I often found that they did not address the issues that women with darker skin face. You know a multi-million pound advertising campaign might be fun to watch but it does not guarantee that a product works for your skin. Dark skin is gorgeous but complex, it blemishes easy, it is often dehydrated despite being oily etc.

Personally I understand my skin so much better now and what its needs are. The sensitivities, that it does not work with harsh chemicals, it might be oily but stripping it from its essential oils only makes breakouts and blemishes worse. Also that it requires attention and dedication, a more multi step approach to keep it radiant and glowing.

This is what I want to offer other dark skinned women with Sable Beauty, a place where they know they are in good hands. We understand their skin and beauty challenges and edit our products and brands around their needs. We really embrace the shift in luxury skin care - niche brands set the standard now and they are so much more chic because of their passion, their focus on natural ingredients, essential oils and sourcing of ingredients ethically. Brands like Antonia Burrell based on skin perfecting plant therapy or Dr Jackson's Natural Products with its roots in pharmacognosy principles. They work wonderfully on darker skin.

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