Is clear skin only for rich people?

Written by: Chisom Okoye 

(Photo by Tetiana SHYSHKINA on Unsplash )

The other day I went to my local shopping plaza to shop  for groceries. There was a store right next door that I had always overlooked but that day, something told me to go in and check it out. Lo and behold, it turned out to be not just a beauty store but THEE beauty store I had been looking for since I landed in the US! It had all the popular (some arguably fancy) products I thought I could only find online and it was the first time I could actually consult a real life person about what I could use for my particular needs! No more driving miles to get to the other beauty store across town just for a product, no more ordering and paying delivery fees, no more waiting for days before my order is delivered, I now found a store right on my doorstep!

While I’d like to think I was in skincare heaven, I don’t believe heaven will charge this much!

I ended up paying about $50 for two testers in small packages promising to deliver the best results with their non-harmful, cruelty free ingredients.

Yes, yes, I know I always rave on and on about how much fun I’m having on my skin care journey and how much closer I am to being a skin care expert with not a single qualification. What I haven’t told you about is how badly this journey can break the bank – if you allow it to – and one way (out of many) that you can work your way around that!

While I do not regret purchasing these products, it got me thinking about how much one has to spend to find the perfect products for their skin, and when they actually do how much they have to actually spend a month to buy into the idea of achieving perfect skin. It got me cringing about how much I have already spent trying to find the perfect concoction! And while I tackled the question about whether all brands could have the perfect products in my last post, my question this time would be centered around how we could spend more wisely if we knew more about the ingredients we are paying more for in these products

I was speaking to someone who spoke about the skepticism he had when it came to the ingredients and the fact that we really don’t know what is in the products that we are buying. That some of them could actually be harmful and deceitful and it would be wise to make your own products!

“I make my own shaving cream,” he said, “I go to the grocery shop and I buy raw ingredients and mix them up and it works for me.”

(Photo by freestocks on Unsplash)

This comment amazed me because I had never thought to look at skincare beyond the products at the store or beyond mixing these already processed products up. I had never dared to mix up raw products to put on my skin, and I thought it was a brilliant idea!

So this week I leave you with the challenge to do more research about the products you’re buying and really assess whether the ingredients are indeed healthy and good for you. Of course you will not know everything and some will be far too technical for you to understand, but you will walk away learning SOMETHING about the ingredients and that is the point! Who knows, you might end up mixing up a good concoction for yourself and that might be just the trick you needed! And no, clear skin doesn’t have to be for the rich alone. And perhaps, making your own skincare products might just be cheaper and more effective!

So I will leave you with some tools to use on this challenge in the form of links to YouTube videos that helped open my mind to understanding more on how to choose raw ingredients if we to decide to go down the concoction (skincare) making route.

And an alternative opinions and warnings to balance things out:


Disclaimer: I am not an expert so follow these tips at your own discretion and DO YOUR RESEARCH!




Written by: Chisom Okoye 

(Christin Hume on Unsplash )

The other day I went to the nearest drug store to deal with my latest panic attack – my sunscreen had finished!

For some reason I thought it a wise idea not to carry more than one bottle of sunscreen in my suitcase when I packed for my big move to the United States because PEOPLE had advised it would be thrown out by customs. Everyone around me advised that I would find the same product, if not better, in the US and that it wasn’t a big deal. I believed them.

Then I found myself in the overwhelming sunscreen section weeks later, staring at rows of products (most of them in intimidatingly bright yellow containers promising the ultimate protection).

Spoilt for choice, I narrowed down my choices by picking the products that stressed their suitability for sensitive skin not only because I have sensitive skin but because I’m very sensitive about my skin. I also chose to focus on the products that promised the highest amount of SPF, for no particular reason other than seeking the ultimate protection. The game changer for me was focusing on brands that were known to produce the best products for skin generally – I needed that security, to know I wasn’t putting my skin’s health at risk!

(Birgith Roosipuu on Unsplash)

After purchasing the one I thought had ticked all my boxes, I found myself staring at my reflection in the mirror the next day, utterly horrified. I had never more disappointed with a product before! There I was, with the worst white cast I had ever seen (a greyish/white layer of cream all over my face). I thought it would break down and blend into my skin within minutes. For two hours I just sat there, almost looking like a clown. I just needed lipstick to complete the look! Never mind that it was supposedly the ‘best’ sunscreen product in the market, all I knew was that it would never see the light of day on my face let alone protect me from the sun!

I learned a very important lesson that day: when buying products to build the perfect skin regimen, the ultimate question shouldn’t be whether a skincare brand is good or not so that you can trust all the products of the one you decide is good. The question should be whether individual products are good or not!

There is a good skincare channel on YouTube (Doctorly) that I recommend that you watch. It explains that the reason for this is because there will be brands that excel in one area and completely miss the mark in others, in other words they have more good products than others and that then makes them more trustworthy, but it still shouldn’t be the determining factor when you’re assessing which products should work for your skin. The key is assessing each product individually and then making your judgment on whether it is perfect for you and meets your personal skin needs. It all boils down to preference. It is also important to note that brands are also adaptable because they take notes about what people are saying about their products so never be afraid to try new things to see what works for you!

I eventually resorted to looking for a different sunscreen from the brand I chose and selected a brand I hardly knew. It was unfamiliar but works wonders for my skin… so do not be afraid to experiment and stop playing it safe when it comes to skincare by hiding behind “Good” brands which may be popular and not necessarily “good” for everyone!

The link to the video I got this advice from is


Written by: Chisom Okoye 


(Park Street via Unsplash)

I don’t know about you, but the skincare industry has slowly seeped into every aspect of my social media experience. I see it when I’m swiping through stories on Instagram, when I’m trying to watch a YouTube video, when I’m researching just about anything on Google… In fact, I think the only place I do not see it is on my banking app…and thank God because that would be scary.

Anyway! My point is moving back to the US in the middle of the worst Winter I have ever experienced forced me to go back to the drawing board to figure out what my skin needed. So I have been researching endlessly about skin and the internet’s algorithm has obviously caught on!

Luckily for me, the pandemic has seen the online skin care community grow exponentially and become more accessible to normal people like me who just desire to have good skin and are willing to learn without having to earn a ten year medical school degree!

While the flood of information from various sources can be a good thing, it can also be an overwhelming place for those who are just dipping their feet into the water for the first time and seeking cost free guidance. The scariest part is when your first and last stop of research is the aggressive marketing strategies we see from companies selling you what they swear is the best product around or influencers with perfect skin sharing their not-so-secret secret skincare routines and threatening to die by the latest product their promoting. This is the crossroads that I found myself in, drowning in the information overload and not really knowing who and what to believe.

What I did walk away with during my research is that the beginning of any skin care journey should start with you knowing what your skin type is FIRST! It may seem obvious and simple, but many people fall into the trap of mistaking their skin type for another which then leads to them buying the wrong skincare products for their skin.

(Anastasiia Ostapovych on Unsplash)

The status of your skin is affected by various factors including but not limited to the oil and water content of your skin, seasonal changes, environmental factors including pollution and dust, medications and age. Depending on the status of your skin and the factors affecting it, your skin type may change and you have to be able to identify these changes when they happen so that you can buy the right products for YOU.

According to Eucerin, there are four skin types that you may fall under:

  1. Oily – The over production of sebum, also known as seborrhea.
  2. Dry – The under-production of sebum, lacking the lipids needed for moisture and protection against external influences.
  3. Combination – Mix of both oily and dry skin.
  4. Normal – well balanced skin.

Reputable skin brand, CeraVe shared two methods on their website on how to know what your skin type is right at home.

Watching and Waiting”

This at-home test allows you to understand what kind of skin you have by just observing how your skin behaves after cleansing. To start, wash your face with a gentle cleanser then gently pat it dry. If after 30 minutes your skin appears shiny throughout, you probably have oily skin; if it feels tight and is flaky or scaly, you may have dry skin; if the shine is only in your T-Zone (forehead, nose and chin), you probably have combination skin; and if your skin feels hydrated and comfortable, but not oily, you likely have normal skin.

Blotting Sheets”

When pressed to the skin, blotting sheets absorb oil—and you can use them to help you understand what type of skin you have. After washing your face with a gentle cleanser, patting it dry and allowing it to rest 30 minutes, press blotting sheets to various areas of your face, then hold the sheets up to the light to see the oil markings. If the sheets reveal an abundance of oil in all areas of the face, you have oily skin; if they absorb little to no oil, then you probably have dry skin; if the sheets show only a small amount of oil from your T-Zone, you have combination skin; and if you only see minimal oil from every area of your face, you most likely have normal skin.”

While I am new to this life of becoming my very own skin care guru, this made me feel like an expert! I cracked the code! My breakouts in the beginning of spring after struggling to get my skin to behave in winter suddenly made sense – I was using the wrong products for the status of my skin!

I have started using a different face wash to balance the oils on my face since I have observed my skin producing more sebum now than in winter. It’s only been a week but I am already seeing my skin clearing up and glowing so I hope this helps you as much as it has helped me!


(Karlos Skincare on Unsplash)

For more information I have plugged a few websites and videos you can watch: