Seven Tips for Maintaining Black Beauty
According to an old saying, “Good black don’t crack”–but it can sag, wrinkle, or dry out a little bit. Don’t panic, though. Preserving and enhancing your natural beauty as an African-American woman can be simple, with these seven most-essential beauty tips…
Beautify yourself from the inside out by drinking lots of water, getting regular exercise, and finding lower-fat options for your favorite recipes. Yes, good old-fashioned soul-food like Madear used to make is delicious. But with silent killers like diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension rampant in the black community, maintaining a healthy weight is more than just a matter of appearance–even when “thick” is in.
Use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher to prevent skin cancer, as well as wrinkles. The extra melanin in black skin provides some extra protection from the sun’s rays, but use sunscreen, too.
Hydrate hair with moisturizing shampoos and conditioners–NOT the formula for “Normal” hair. These formulas are usually based on “regular” Caucasian hair, which tends to be oilier than black tresses. Also pour moisture into your locks with cholesterol deep conditioning every one to two weeks. Today’s black hairstyles include many options that don’t involve overloading your mane with too many scalp greases, gels, or sprays, which can actually cause breakage and dryness. Try these!
Protect your black hairstyle at night with a satin sleeping cap or pillowcase, and avoid too-tight braids, ponytails, or other black hairstyles that can pull hair out at the root. Always wear wig caps underneath your wigs, and experiment with a variety of black hairstyles to try and reduce the amount of heat on your hair. Think wet sets, wraps, or even braids or twists.
Keep skin smooth by gliding on lotion immediately after the shower. This locks in moisture, and cocoa butter lotion can also prevent, but not erase, stretch marks. Similarly, keep lips kissable every time you brush your teeth by brushing your lips, too, removing dead skin, and then applying petroleum jelly or lip balm. Avoid products containing mineral oil, though, as this substance tends to seal out moisture more than it keeps it in.
Maintain a dazzling smile by avoiding or minimizing your intake of coffee, tea, soda, and other tooth-staining foods and beverages. If you can’t go without, try sipping your favorite drinks through a straw.
Wear the minimum amount of makeup possible. Opt for spot-concealers instead of whole-face foundation, and highlight your best feature–eyes, lips, OR cheeks, not all three–with makeup colors that match and complement your skin tone. Mauves, purples, and deep pinks can be universally flattering, while bronzes, bright reds, and golds perhaps look best on lighter skin tones.
But remember, true beauty encompasses beautiful black hairstyles, as well as a sparkling personality, smooth, self-confident manner, and steady, helpful hands. So don’t forget to take time to help others and help yourself, through meditation, physical exercise, or just a few hours of music, poetry, or dancing, since whatever makes your heart happy will make the rest of you beautiful, too.