The ways we adorn ourselves can be sacred rituals or just plain fun—from how we style our hair to what we put on our skin. ELIXHER asked a few fierce women to share a bit of their #blackgirlmagic and beauty routines. Check out their wallet-friendly tips to looking and feeling their best (plus, some extras from Team ELIXHER):
1. Get Skin Smooth
It’s time to raid your pantry and grab that unopened baking soda. (You know, the one from that time you thought you were actually going to bake from scratch.) Queer pageant queen Djuan Trent keeps a box on hand at all times.
“I love baking soda!” says the former Miss Kentucky, who uses it as an exfoliant once a week or every other week, depending on how her face is doing. “I will mix about a half a teaspoon with coconut oil and scrub very gently. Once you rinse your face, you’ll be able to feel the smoother difference in your skin.”
2. Get Teeth White
Don’t put back the baking soda just yet. Djuan also recommends adding some to your regular toothpaste as a whitener: “I love the extra clean feeling it gives.”
3. Get Pores Un-Clogged
Speaking of toothpaste—if you’ve got pesky blackheads, especially on your nose, apply a layer of white toothpaste to create a clearing mask. Let it dry for 5-10 minutes while you go do something awesome. Use a warm washcloth to gradually rub off the toothpaste in a circular movement. Then wash your skin with warm water and voilà! Blackheads be gone. You can use an ice cube to close back up those now-clean pores.
4. Get Skin Clear
“[The] single most important beauty nugget of wisdom I can provide is this: Drink. A. Lot. Of. Water,” shares model and Real World alum Ari Fitz. “At one point I was up to drinking a gallon a day.”
A gallon a day?! We’ve got to seriously step up our water game.
L’lerrét Jazelle Ailith, trans activist, star of Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word, and glamazon, co-signs:
“I found that [actress] Gabrielle Union drinks a gallon a day with some lemon for taste and that’s how her skin is so ageless. While it can be hard to keep up with…I haven’t drank one glass today [Laughs.]…it does really help! My skin looks and feels amazing! No dark circles. No dullness.
But also be aware that your body only processes a liter an hour. So, I suggest drinking a liter every few hours. You only need 4 liters [to get to a gallon]. That’s my tip for flawless skin — because before you can achieve a beat face with makeup, you gotta have a flawless foundation.”
5. Get Skin Even Clearer
TOMBOYISH heartthrob Ari Fitz also insists that washing her face, day and night, has really improved her skin over the past year.
6. Get Free Makeup
Shop regularly at MAC Cosmetics? Know friends or family members who do? Nab their empty containers! For, eh, environmental reasons. Because the company shares “your commitment to the environment,” through the Back to MAC program, by returning six MAC containers to a MAC counter or MAC Cosmetics online, you’ll receive a free MAC lipstick of your choice. Winning.
7. Get Winter-Ready
“For the colder months, I swear by Aquaphor because I can use it for everything,” shares Kristen McCallum, ELIXHER Content and Community Manager. “I mainly put it on my lips but I’ve used it for cuts, burns, and even rashes. It keeps my skin supple and moist even in the worst of conditions.”
Six to eight bucks to beat the brutal winter?! Sign us up.
8. Get Longer Lashes
If you have super curly lashes that mascara fails to lengthen, flat iron them. Yup, you read right. Take a business card, fold that bad boi in half, and create a cutout at the crease that matches the shape of your lid. (Check out this YouTube tutorial.) Then use a flat iron to heat up the business card for 30 seconds. Hold on to the still-cool ends and gently clasp the warm corners to your lashes. Keep in place for a few seconds, careful not to burn your lids. Repeat until you get the desired results.
9. Get Face Moisturized
“I have combination skin and I’ve tried all kinds of moisturizers from expensive ones to cheapie ones, and jojoba oil has been my favorite in the winter and summer,” adds self-professed selfie curator Djuan Trent.
“I’d say about 3-5 drops should do the trick, but that’s relative,” she advises. “I recommend experimenting with the amount to figure out what works best for your skin. I use it in the morning and the evening.”
She promises, you won’t get Crisco Face!
10. Get a Bargain
If you’ve got oily skin and you’re not convinced jojoba oil is the way to go, try this affordable moisturizer ELIXHER editors can vouch for: GNC Vitamins E, A & D Moisturizing Cream. For just $1.99, you’ll be left with buttery skin—and money in the bank.