I have to say, my introduction to harmattan skincare tips came from my mother who, when we travelled home to the east for Christmas, would put layers and layers of “pomade” and vaseline on our skin so that “Uguru ama chu anyi”. Which literally means so that “the harmattan won’t chase us”.
Now that I am older and can make the decision to not look like a chicken being prepared for frying, here are the tips/steps I religiously abide by to make sure my skin looks good during and after harmattan.
Is this a no-brainer or what? Switch to products that have a lot of moisture and water content. Do away with the cleansers and lotions with astringents and stick to soft, mild cleansers, scrubs and serums. Anything to lock in that moisture and allow your skin glow!
This also includes the type of makeup you use this period. Lay low on the mattifying primers and mattifying foundations. I would say, ditch them altogether. Go for dewier, skin-like looks. If you must use a primer, use a moisturizer before putting it on. Use concealers only on blemishes to prevent that cakey, patchy feel.
You are what you eat. Or drink. This period, you should take in lots of fluids. Caffeine lovers like me, you should know that coffee does not count. It is a diuretic and what that does is draw water away from your body and towards the kidneys for expulsion. Aim for 2-3 liters of water a day, drink fresh juices and eat fresh fruits. Allow your skin glow from within.
Cover up properly
It gets cold and dry this season so we tend to add an extra layer of clothing. But we should do it right by using materials and fabrics that are good for the skin. Do not use fabrics like wool directly on the skin. It isn’t a natural fibre and so can rub on and irritate the skin.
On the other hand, silk and cotton are natural fibres that are gentler on the skin and allow it to breathe.
Take care of your hair and lips
It is easy to ignore your hair and lips during harmattan until you start noticing lip sores and hair breakage. Always carry a lip balm with you to quickly swipe on your lips. This will keep them hydrated throughout the day. For your hair, do not use stripping shampoos. Throw out the parabens and alcohols and introduce natural products that absorb water into your hair.
In addition, try protective styles this period. Braids and wigs are perfect to hide the tips and ends of your hair.
You may think you can’t see or feel the sun during harmattan but trust me, it’s there. I want to assume that we all wear sunscreen every day. And so, you should please continue during harmattan.
You may think you have enough melanin as an African to get away with using sunscreen, but like Molly Carter in HBO’s insecure says, “I’m black, but cancer don’t care!”
How many of these tips have you used? And which other ones would you recommend?