Got a piercing and a thousand explanations just in case…

A good number of girls I know adorn their bodies with all kinds of jewelry that may be very obvious or understated. Face piercings have come and gone and are here again. There’s nothing new under the sun though, and I’m sure our parents and whoever before them did it, I mean, it had to have come from somewhere didn’t it? The common ones I’ve encountered though are the auricle, tragus, earlobe and nose piercings.

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Auricle piercing

After I got my second earlobe piercing I knew I had to tell my aunt soon enough, before she found out herself through a prophecy or a vision! My mom is quite the liberal whose main concern revolves around my sanity and well being. If those aspects are good, she’s ok. My aunt on the other hand though…Quite predictably, I got a request next day not to ever dream of getting a tattoo. I wanted an anklet also, and my grandma went like oh you should wait until after you’re married. This comment raised eyebrows in my mind. But I said okay and did it anyway. I still have questions, why do we (some Ghanaians) attach a negative or not too positive connotation to certain types of jewelry? I suspect some of these limitations come because in some of our cultures women exist because of men. oh don’t do this because you may send wrong signals to a potential mate, oh, men will think this oh men that. If these limitations come because of men and our inability to secure them if we get certain body bling, I wonder how many things men have to give up because  they want a wife… maybe someone can list them here.

Moving beyond this all important digression, I wanted to highlight how to not look like the strobe light in a culture that is not too accepting of our latest interests.

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Chioma

Before the piercing, I think certain considerations such as the body parts you want to highlight and certain life events such as the professional space and your future plans for your piercing should be at the front of your mind. Making a decision based off of being caught in the moment is cute, however, consider what an abrupt taking out of the piercing could do especially bearing in mind that not all of our skins enable flawless healing 🙂

Identify the body parts you want to highlight (If you have a face piercing, you do not want to have jewelry that’s ‘in your face’ in addition to that piercing. A neutral color choker or a simple necklace can do the trick. On the other hand, an elaborate earring can stand alone or come with an understated necklace if you need to. Your make up plays a role too, main aim is not to look over the top since your face piercing is already the only thing society sees even before you say hello)

Stick to similar jewelry shades (only because a mixture of color schemes can come out looking tacky in my opinion)

Certain colors (for clothes, make up, and jewelry) go better with some tones than others and depending on your complexion (I don’t believe that though because I think this depends on the human in question. Some claim gold looks better on lighter complexions. I think gold looks perfect on darker skin shades too. Do not limit yourself to the usual only because you feel your skin shade or the size of your features will not allow you. Do it anyway, only ensure to harmonize it. If you are unsure, stick to softer colors and gradually ease into bolder ones, after all, my roommate has used orange eyeshadow since I’ve known her and I’m not tired of it yet!)

Certain hairstyles also go better with some jewelry than others. An elegant go to look is wearing stud earrings with a middle part hair do (kim k way) or a neat twa also with studs; really depends in the end on how you see it, or rock it.

Finally, less is more, I believe the key to looking gorgeous is to keep in mind that you want to look organized and pleasing to whatever eye you have in mind or decent enough to make your own self content when you see your image in the mirror.

My friend’s mother hated her nose ring but suddenly loved it when it got replaced by a little diamond stud on her wedding day.  I wonder why her mom’s sentiments changed…

That obsession with white

I dream of an all white living space where hopefully palm soup and wine spills can be perceived in advance and avoided even before they hit the floor!

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Before the apartment dreams unfold though, I must say that white nail polish is the latest obsession in my life and I frankly do not know when I’ll get off it. White just gives that crisp feeling of freshness and purity. Some nail polishes become dirty overtime and my roommate knows more than well how to spot nail polish that has become dull overtime.

Image (6) Though white nail polish is not the easiest to keep color-wise, the choice of matte or glossy and how to keep it will make all the difference. Glossy nail polishes already have that shine and will look better and stay longer with a protective neutral top coat. When your matte white polish starts to dull up, you can simply use a drop of the same nail polish remover to clean the dirt on the surface. That will buy you enough time until your next polish or trip to the nail place.

Moving on, white outfits remain my best go to option, ummm, depending on the weather, occasion or place. Then again a white blazer is a staple that needs representation in every wardrobe… and a white dress too…

The Facial Mask Life

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I asked a few skin care guru friends about why they use face masks and their answers are summed up as follows ;

“Um, it makes me feel fresh and keeps my skin healthy”

“It makes my skin feel good” (what exactly does feel good mean Vanessa?!)

“It makes my skin look bright”

“To control the oil on my skin”

Well all these responses make sense, and resonate with one or two of the reasons why I personally use face masks…. Moving on, the main category of masks recurring on the market that I have observed fall in the grouping of Brightening masks, Collagen masks, Cleansing or detoxing masks, Firming/wrinkle elimination, Hydrating and mattifying masks. This post will tell you a bit about each kind of mask so your decision is informed and so you know exactly what you’re putting on your skin and what it will do for you. (The information I have sumarised here is gathered from research and months of hoeing. I’m a product freak 🙂 )

Brightening masks – these contain vitamin C that supports wound healing, contains antioxidants (antioxidants prevent or reduce the effect of reactive chemicals on the skin). Vitamin C has anti aging elements that can prevent photodamage (skin damage caused by ultra violet rays). To ensure you get the best out of your Vitamin C mask, I suggest to use this mask at night and allow your skin get into work mode while you sleep. I don’t know how smart it is to apply a mask and go into the sun right after, if you have to do this, you may use a sunscreen lotion to keep the benefits you just received from your mask intact, if not, this move feels like showering to go work out after…

Collagen masks – Think of collagen as the main structural protein found in skin. If you’re

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I generally stick with hydrating & cleansing masks

a meat lover and appreciate the difference between tender and firm meat, this analogy should help you; the only difference is that with your face, you want to make sure that you fall in the firm meat category. Collagen helps our skin keep its elasticity. If you opt for a collagen mask, you are essentially looking to vamp the elasticity of your skin and ensure it looks smooth and well taken care of.

Cleansing or detoxifying masks – These masks do what their names suggest. They would typically feature plant extracts like cucumber, aloe vera or honey. Aloe has cleansing and regenerating properties. It is best known for helping with the healing of cuts and scars. I like to think of cucumbers as all round useful gifts of nature, more like the palm tree. Cucumbers are 95% water so it makes sense  that they would feature in cleansing masks. Also check out this amazing article about doing a down there cleanse with cucumbers!

Firming/wrinkle elimination masks feature elements such as collagen, eggs,  and a bunch of natural stuff that have properties that firm the skin like tomatoes, avocado and our good old Aloe gel.

Hydrating masks add moisture to your skin. The real reason behind the famous stereotypical image representing wellness which features the lady with the mask and cucumber circles on her eyes is HYDRATION my dears! Cucumbers can form the base of vegetable juices and smoothies and will add moisture and suppleness to your skin on any day.

Mattifying masks feature elements such as charcoal. Outside charcoal having the best pH level for your skin, it has elements that control oil production. I would recommend a charcoal mask before you make up if your skin is very oily. I think i’ll probably put up another post about the extensive benefits of charcoal.

Finally my cousin swears by this clay mask …

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Squeeze that Serum

I was brought up on Eversheen. For those of us who grew up in Ghana, Eversheen or Queen Elizabeth Cocoa butter was the staple beauty product that we splattered down our  faces and our whole bodies. I didn’t particularly have a need for a special beauty regimen since my skin was more or less low maintenance…by low maintenance I mean the kind of skin that stays faithful and isn’t particularly problematic.

So I stayed basic with my ‘faithful’ skin until I had a life changing moment. Well before I digress though into the low key colorism situation that does exist in Ghana, let me just mention how lighter skin tones are more  ‘excused’ for whatever things society deems ‘flaws’ than darker skin tones. I was of course a product of the society so when I bumped into this lady who had lighter skin, I wasn’t as critical of her, after all, she had to be perfect since her skin was lighter.  We had a second encounter though, and it seemed her skin had a more velvety, luminous shade. I looked at her again, this time, more critically than my first cursory glance allowed me to, and this second time, she seemed brighter; her skin wasn’t dull in a worn out expected way, I mean this was 37 degrees Accra yet there was something about her skin that was all too good for me. There had to be something, so I asked.

Three years on, I’m still hooked on this liquid crack. Clarins double serum. I love light weight formulas that feel like they’re not there but are actually there working! This serum will leave your face feeling moisturized in a non-greasy way and has a very light and sweet fragrance that is not overwhelming.Image (1)

Most importantly, you will see that there’s a change in the look and feel of your skin. Your skin will appear plumper and you will look fresher in a way that’ll excite you! Happy trials and high five me if you’re feeling this product!