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Summer Time Fine with itiba Beauty

0131_073A0383Summer time is finally here and itiba has everything you need to maintain flawless, glowing skin in the season’s heat and be summer time fine! One of the biggest concerns for many during this steamy season is the appearance of dry skin. Being outside in the blazing sun for hours on end at the beach, in the park or doing other outdoor activities exposes the skin to the harsh elements of the sun. This can cause the skin to develop fine lines and wrinkles while appearing dehydrated, peeled, irritated and inflamed. Couple that with harsh soaps plus extra long baths & showers and you’ve got yourself a recipe for dull, dry skin. How can you avoid the appearance and annoyance that comes along with dry skin? Here are itiba’s four ways to protect and care for your skin from head to toe this summer and keep you summer time fine!

 

  1. Water Does The Body Good

When the summertime heat turns up, our bodies can become dehydrated very quickly. Who can remember to drink water throughout the day when we’re busy lounging on the beach drinking boozy beverages and sugary drinks? However, it’s important to drink plenty of water when the weather is a scorcher to ensure your skin remains hydrated and your energy levels stay high. Give your recommended 64 ounces a fun twist by infusing it with fruits and herbs like strawberries, lemon, mint, lime and cucumbers.

 

  1. Twice is Nice

Washing your face too often is another common cause for dry skin. During the summer, our bodies produce more sweat due to the increase in temperature, causing many to take more showers and wash our faces to rid ourselves of that sticky, yucky feeling that comes with 90+ degree temperatures. Wash your face only twice a day to prevent excessive drying of the skin. itiba’s Midnite Rain Body Soap is the ideal product for facial cleansing due to its detoxification capabilities. For oily and acne-prone skin, our Carib Lime Body Soap will cleanse and clear the skin without stripping it of oils.

 

  1. Cool as a Cucumber

Change up your long, hot shower routine this summer and take a 5-10 minute cool (not cold) shower instead. Hot water strips oils from the skin and the longer the shower, there’s a greater chance that your skin will lose its moisture, becoming dried out and dehydrated. Sooth and nourish dry skin with our Papaya Body Polish! Made with smoothly blended cornmeal, unrefined Shea Butter and natural oils, the luscious scent of papaya nectar will whisk your senses away to a tropical paradise while it gently exfoliates and moisturizes without drying your skin like many sugar and salt scrubs do.

 

  1. Minutes to Moisturize

Time is of the essence when it comes to moisturizing your skin. Be sure to moisturize within 3-5 minutes of taking a shower or washing your face and hands to lock in the skin’s moisture. Always pat your skin dry with a towel after washing your body, face or hands to ensure skin remains damp prior to moisturizer application. For instant relief of dry, patchy and irritated skin, get your hands on our Tranquil Sea Body Butter. Like all of our body butters, its non-greasy formula absorbs quickly into the skin while deeply conditioning and moisturizing.

 

Get your summertime fine by implementing these small changes in your routine. They will make all the difference in the quality and texture of your skin this summer, even all year round! For products rooted in Mother Earth from the teachings of our Caribbean ancestors, use itiba’s skincare line of lotions, soaps, body butters, polishes and more. Made with the natural ingredients of plant oils and butters plus no synthetic detergents or harsh chemicals, each itiba product is carefully and thoughtfully handcrafted in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Discover a new skin care with itiba, a natural skin care company, at www.itibabeauty.com!

Summer is coming…exfoliation made simple.

As part of a project that I have been working on for some months now, where I have experts in their respective fields speak to you about skin care, we are continuing our discussion on exfoliation and today I am so honored to have weighing on the subject one of our own family members, Aisha Massac, owner of Mankind Grooming For Men. She is also a Licensed Estheticians & Professional Makeup Artist based in Washington, DC. So sit back and enjoy the read on exfoliation 🙂 and Thank you Aisha Massac!

Exfoliation made simple

 

What is exfoliation? Exfoliation is the removal of surface dead skin cells, with the ultimate goal being to clear debris and free the retired cells to allow for better absorption, circulation, and brighten dull skin by promoting skin renewal. 

 

These dead skin cells, left on the surface, slow down healthy cell renewal, increase the depth of wrinkles and create a dull, sluggish appearance. The more you effectively exfoliate, the younger the skin looks and the better your skin care products can penetrate the skin.

 

However, too much exfoliation can cause redness and skin sensitivity. You should exfoliate no more than three days per week, as to not cause irritation or sensitive skin. If you already have sensitive skin as well as skin that easily hyperpigments, I would not recommend exfoliating since it can make your skin more sensitive and hurt your skin barrier. If you just HAVE to exfoliate (even outside of my recommendation), use an emollient based exfoliant and ONLY once a week; a light AHA would be a great option being that it’s moisturizing. A great option would be Dr. Perricone’s Advanced Face Firming Activator.

There are two types of exfoliation methods:

PHYSICAL

The most common form of exfoliation is physical exfoliation, which is mechanically removing superficial layers of the skin. This can be done with a face loofah, brush, washcloth, or with exfoliating cleansers. Mechanical exfoliators that utilize abrasive agents with sharp edges actually scrape and cut the skin. Abrasive agents such as apricot seeds (St. Ives being the most popular), granulated peach kernels, corn cob, silica, walnut shells and sugar instituted a major following in the ‘80s, followed by brushes, sponges, and loofahs. These all resulted in pulled, torn, stretched, abraded and traumatized skin that was covered with microlesions. Microlesions can lead to bacterial invasion, further leading to acne and/or wrinkles. Better options for physical or mechanical exfoliation are the Clarisonic skin brush and/or home microdermabrasion device (using aluminum oxide crystals). The Clarisonic has different skin brushes for different types of skin (Acne, Sensitive, Normal), and it allows you to adjust intensity for light or deep cleansing, and to avoid irritation. Other than the clarisonic, a mild exfoliating scrub is a great way to go to get a refreshed and clean look to the skin. An option for a more mild mechanical exfoliant would be almond meal, corn meal, or even baking soda, which can be added to your cleanser.

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A gentle and mild exfoliant, like corn meal, can be found in itiba’s body polishes. Great for getting your skin ready for summer!

  A professional mechanical exfoliant favorite of mine is the Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant, which uses a rice-based enzyme powder, that when mixed with water, activates the papain and salicylic acid. 

CHEMICAL

Chemical exfoliation, in essence, dissolves the “glue” that binds the dead skin cells together. Chemical exfoliation involves applying products containing a form of alpha hydroxy acid and/or beta hydroxy acid that dissolve this “glue” around the skin cells, hastening the shedding of several layers of the epidermis. Estheticians throughout the world have long preferred enzymes for exfoliation such as pineapple, papaya and pumpkin, typically found in a mask form, to exfoliate the skin. These enzymes are natural forms of AHAs. My favorite type of chemical exfoliation is enzyme exfoliating products over the AHA’s and BHA’s. I absolutely love June Jacobs Perfect Pumpkin Peeling Enzyme Masque. I also love Jan Marini’s SkinZyme Papaya Mask. Other popular chemical exfoliation methods, found in the skincare world are retinoids. Retinoids are in the same family of Vitamin A and is used to treat some forms of acne, aging, and even psoriasis. Although retinoids can cause flaking, they don’t typically cause dryness – this flaking is the sloughing off of dead cells. Retinoids are also known to cause irritation or sensitivity and must at all times be used with caution in sunlight. *Note: look for retinoids that are encapsulated.Regular use of alpha- or beta- hydroxy products or clay-based masks is of utmost importance to help reduce breakouts and remove dead skin buildup that could clog pores. These are among the most effective exfoliating ingredients. Because AHAs are water-soluble, they can penetrate deeper into the skin’s surface to lift the dead cells. However, caution must be given as they may irritate sensitive skin if used in too high a concentration. On the other hand, BHA (or salicylic acid) is fat-soluble, and doesn’t penetrate below the epidermis. 

**Note: If you have sensitive skin or a skin condition, such as rosacea, eczema, seborrhea, or dermatitis, you may want to consult your doctor or dermatologist to find the most effective exfoliating method for your skin type.

**Note: Do NOT use products that contain more than one of the above in one product

To exfoliate: 

1. Wash your face

2. Take medium to large amount of exfoliant (about the size of a dime to a nickel) and gently apply to damp skin. 

3. Massage the exfoliant over your skin. Never press into your skin – you are not sanding wood! Avoid your eye area, as this is a delicate area.

4. Use a washcloth or damp cloth to wipe clean with warm water

5. Apply your moisturizers and serums. 

 

Written By: Aisha Massac, Licensed Esthetician & Professional Makeup Artist based in Washington, DC

Fight Oily Skin With…Oil?

jojoba-oil-for-skin stock photo

Yes…that is correct. The best way to treat your oily skin is to use…oil!

What?! Are you crazy? I am trying to get RID of the oil. NOT add more oil to my already oily skin! I won’t do it!

Ahhh…but  you should. And here is why!

Your skin produces oil to protect and moisturize as well as clean itself. With out the sebum that is produced by the sebaceous glands, our largest organ would not function properly. What we have traditionally done throughout the years, especially those of us with oily skin, is use harsh cleansers and astringents to strip away the oils. So when we go and use these harsh detergents and soaps and strip away our naturally occuring sebum, the skin goes into overdrive and produces even MORE oil to replace and compensate the oil that has been removed.

But my skin feels so icky and tacky and I have dirt all on my skin. How is putting more oil on top of the oil that is there make it any better? Basic chemistry lesson…like dissolves like. Meaning, oil will dissolve oil. It will also clean and replace. So instead of taking that harsh astringent or detergent to remove dirt from your face, take a cotton ball, dipped in oil, and clean your skin. The fresh, clean oil will dissolve the dirty, old oil and replace it with clean oil. Castor oil, which is very antibacterial, is the best oil to use for cleaning your skin. But Castor oil can be overly cleansing and may actually cause your skin to dry out, so you want to dilute it with another oil. An oil that is lighter in weight and not as strong in cleansing as Castor oil. Here comes Jojoba oil (my personal choice). This oil is the BEST oil to use. Jojoba is actually a liquid wax. Much like the sebum that our own skin produces. When it comes to cleaning and replacing the oil on your skin, Jojoba is the best oil to use as it is the only vegetable oil that closely matches human sebum. The following is a list of oils that can be used with Castor oil to help with the cleaning and moisturizing regimen for your skin. You will also see which oils are good for the type of skin your have.

  • Jojoba (all skin types, but very desirable for acne-prone skin)
  • Sweet almond (all skin types, especially oily)
  • Grapeseed (all skin types, especially oily)
  • Avocado (dry and aging skin)
  • Sunflower Seed (all skin types)
  • Olive (all skin types)
  • Apricot Kernel (dry, aging, and normal skin)
  • Argan (all skin types, especially aging skin … very pricey)
  • Tamanu (all skin types … very pricey)

Depending on your skin type, you are going to want to blend one or two of these oils with Castor oil to do your oil cleansing routine. Use the following ratios as guidelines, but keep mixing until you get the right combination for you. So I would recommend that you start with very small amounts at first until you get that perfect ratio!

For Oily Skin, you want to use MORE Castor oil than the other oil. So your ratio may be something like 3:1. Meaning 3 parts Castor Oil to 1 part carrier oil (any of the above oil)

For Normal Skin equal parts Castor oil to any of the carrier oil.

For Dry Skin you will do the reverse of Oily Skin and do 1 part Castor oil to 3 parts carrier oil.

Now keep mixing until you get a comfortable ration. This is on the diluted end but you will know your own skin best and you can mix it up how you like. Just remember, the oilier the skin, the more Castor Oil you want in your formulation. The drier the skin, the less Castor Oil you want in your formulation. A quick note about using this method to cleanse the face. With the first several applications, you will see your face actually look a bit…worse. Meaning more breakouts and the sort. Do Not Worry! This is normal. I remember when I did this years ago…I used only Jojoba Oil. My face broke out and I was freaking out! But after a couple of days it cleared up. Why did this happen? Remember the cleansing action of the oils? What the oils do, especially Castor Oil, is break up the dirt and draw out the impurities in the skin. So while you are starting this method of treatment, you will notice a change in how your skin looks and how it feels as the oils pull out the dirt and impurities. But be strong! The clear, even balanced skin will shine through.

How to use this method to clean the face!

OF course you have now found your favorite blend and ration. CONGRATULATIONS! Now you will begin putting it to you on your skin. The best time of course to do this is at bedtime.

1. You have your dirty face!

2. Rinse lightly with warm water.

3. Take your oil blend and pouring some in the palm of your hand and gently massage into your face and skin in an upwards movement. Do this massage for about two minutes. You can let the oil sit on the skin for an extra 30 seconds to let the oil combination to penetrate your skin and remove the dirt and impurities.

4. Rinse with very warm water. Take your clean wash cloth and soak it in the warm to hot water. Make sure the water is not so hot that it burns the skin.

5. Wipe clean with the washcloth.

You are finished! Remember, when you are first using this method of cleansing, your skin will react funny. It will take some time to get accustomed to and you may find that this is not the method for you. But if you do choose to use this method to clean your skin, you will notice a difference within a couple of weeks. Your skin will begin to balance out and you will see your problems slowly disappear.

Now you can fight or clean your oily skin with…OIL!

This post was put together with information gathered through research, personal use and online research via medical blogs and health and beauty blogs (Crunchy Betty and WebMD)

Hair, ACV and Mud! A New start for 2012.

I have been on a natural hair care journey for the better part of 15 years. And funny, I always wondered why my hair always seemed to be suffering so much. I tortured it for years with harsh chemicals trying to tame it and make it easier to control and then decided, one day after some real neglect, that I would wear my natural hair. Well, after doing that, I think I have finally gotten my hair to at least feel something close to healthy. And I am enjoying it now! 🙂 Late last year I discovered hair masks. That is not to say I have not heard of them before, but I frequently wore my hair in locs and just never thought I could use one. Last year, while my hair was still in the locs I tried my first hair mask and LOVED IT!  Now, one thing I will have to say before i go on is that I LOVE to change things up and will frequently cut my hair to suit a mood. I have worn my hair in cornrows, an afro and locs over the past 15 years. And for 2012 I decided to go back to an afro. We will see how long this lasts, but so long as my hair continues to feel this silky soft, I guess the natural afro will be the style for a while 🙂 Anyway, back to the mask. I tried the mask with locs (something I recommend if  you want to start to revitalize your locs) and I LOVED how my hair looked afterwards. Of course, it being locs there was more detail to washing to make sure that I got out all of the product I had just made, but still, my hair actually LOOKED ALIVE!

So now 2012 has rolled around, the locs are gone and I am nurturing an afro 😉 My hair was feeling neglected again so I continued with the monthly ritual of deep cleansing my hair and daily moisturizing and sealing. But for the purposes of this blog, I will focus on my deep cleansing routine. I had read up on ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) and Rhassoul or Moroccan Red Clay and their great benefits for the hair. Since I know was daily moisturizing my hair, build up would begin to occur and I needed to make sure that I did not begin to stress my hair so a monthly detox and cleanse for my hair and scalp is needed. So, to help my scalp along, I am doing a little detox! But first to remove the monthly residual and assist with the natural pH of the hair. One part ACV to three parts water. This is great and you can see immediately all the residual on the hair as it will turn milky white. Prepare this in a plastic bottle with a spout tip, easier to work into the hair this way. I applied directly to my hair and scalp, making sure that I massaged the scalp with the ACV/Water mix. I left this mix on for about 5-10 minutes to let it really help with clarifying my hair.  That will help to start the clarifying process and remove any and all build up on the hair. I should have rinsed out from my hair, but decided to leave on and added the hair mask. (If you are doing this I do recommend rinsing out before following with the hair mask).

This particular blend consists of Activated Charcoal, Henna, and Moroccan Red Clay. Mixed in the mask are Lavender Essential Oil, Rosemary Essetial Oil, Peppermint Essential Oil, Clary Sage Essential Oil, and Clove Essential Oil. I combined all and mixed with warm water and Baobab Oil. Olive oil is a good hair oil, VCO (Virgin Coconut Oil) is also another one I recommend. Use enough of the oil and water combination until it is a thick paste. Cover and let sit for about 10 minutes. After all this I put the mixture in my hair and cover with a plastic cap and left on for about 20 minutes. Rinsing this particular blend out is very important. And it is very important that you use a good clarifying shampoo. Or, any shampoo with SLS or that is sulfate based to make sure that  you get out ALL of the particles that will be there as a result of the henna. Usually I don’t use henna, but since I wanted to cover some greys and henna is a GREAT conditioning agent for the hair, I added it to the mask.  I shampooed until all the mud and particles are out of my hair. Until the water runs clean. My hair feels EXTREMELY clean at this point. Literally squeaky clean…and dry. This will happen once you have done the ACV/Water mix AND the clay mixture. That is why this next step is so important in taking care of the hair…CONDITION AND MOISTURIZE!

This next step is very important, you MUST deep condition your hair. So after a thorough shampoo and rinse, I condition my hair. Rinse this out and use a deep conditioner. I cover my hair with a clean plastic shower cap and left on for about 20-30 minutes. If you want to speed up this process you can sit under a hair dryer for about 10 minutes. Again, rinse until water runs clean. I make sure I dry out my hair and then I add a light moisturizer to my hair. This is important because the hair will be dry and the only way for the hair to feel and look lustrous is to make sure the hair is always moisturized. I moisturize my scalp and hair and then use a nice light oil to help seal in the hydration I just did. I made my own hair oil, a simple one of coconut and avocado oil with a touch of lavender essential oil. You can use whatever oil you want, preferably one containing coconut oil (VCO if possible) olive, essential oil Rosemary, essential oil of Lavender, or essential oil of Clove.

Lavender Flowers and oil.

I can honestly say that I have noticed a HUGE difference in the feel and even appearance of my hair since I started to treat it differently now. My hair is softer and more manageable. Definitely less stressed! Of course, drinking water helps with keeping the softness of my hair there, but also moisturizing and sealing my hair helps also. I chose the following essential oils because of their wonderful properties for hair, and I love the fragrance they leave. Lavender and Rosemary essential oils make great hair tonics. Also, both Lavender and Rosemary essential oils combined make great headaches relievers. Lavender essential oil aids in the stimulation of the hair follicles which aids in growth. Rosemary essential oil helps also with stimulation and circulation of the scalp and overall hair growth. A mix of Rosemary essential oil along with Tea Tree oil and Basil helps with most scalp problems and dandruff.