At some point in my adult life it just hit me! After years of trial and error, I finally figured out what works for me. From my skin to my hair, I invest time to preserve what God has given me. I get asked all the time about my makeup and my hair. Here's some of my key beauty secrets that I can't live without:
My daily must haves are drinking half my body weight of water and moisturizing twice a day. I know you have heard how beneficial water is for your overall health but it's even better for your skin. It keeps you hydrated and keeps the dry skin away. Yes you're going to have more frequent restroom visits but it's so worth it. A trick that I used to build myself up to half my body weight is to add an extra 8 oz of water daily each week until you reach your goal.
Moisturizer is another important aspect to preserving my skin not just visually but texturally. Sounds crazy but having soft skin is definitely something you have to work on. My husband makes fun of me because I spend so much time lathering up but he never complains about me having rough skin. I love Shea butter lotion. It keeps your skin soft but not too greasy. I can't use any products that have fragrance so anytime I find something that works and doesn't have a strong perfume smell, I latch on for dear life. I love Jergens Shea Butter lotion and body butter. I won't leave home without it.
In high school and college I didn't really take the time or have the means to invest in the proper facial cleansing products. I always struggled with acne even as an adult and I just got tired of using products that simply didn't work. I realized I had two issues: my face wasn't getting clean enough and the products were too harsh. I thought I had to use the strongest acne products and the super scrub cleansers to "fix" my face. Ironically, taking it down a notch using natural based products actually worked.
I wash my face twice a day. I use Neutrogena Naturals in the morning with Neutrogena daily moisturizer instead of the body lotion I had used in the past. I know "why would I use body lotion?" Well I didn't know any better. My night regimen is a little different. I use Neutrogena makeup removal wipes (only when I'm wearing makeup), I have a Clarisonic brush that works like magic. It leaves my face feeling so clean. I then use a tea tree toner from Body Works. I found this little gem along with my tea tree night cream courtesy of my best friend who has flawless skin. Works like a charm and removes unwanted scars.
My number one rule when it comes to my face is I never go to sleep at night with my makeup on!
My favorite look is the natural no makeup with makeup. Don't get me wrong I'm always ready to glam up but on a daily basis I would rather go with the less is more approach.
I live for 2 things, my hair and my eyebrows. The funny thing is before I discovered the power of the brow I always wondered why my face looked so weird when I had on makeup. I have very thin and light brows, partially due to genetics and partially to me over tweezing when I was a teenager. At the time I thought it was the grown up thing to do and little did I know that I was ruining my beloved brows. The secret to my signature brows is the MAC eyebrow pencil. I use the color spiked which is a dark brown. Now I'm not a makeup artist however I have mastered my signature look. My brows are the last step in my routine and takes 2 minutes flat. I go with a medium width base and slight contour tip. I also like to create a more defined arch by putting a little eyeshadow right at the crease of my brow because it brightens up my eyes especially when I look tired.
Concealer, Foundation and Blush
I used to use foundation until I realized that my naturally oily skin was not having it. So I had to switch to something that was lighter but still provided the finished look I desired. I use MAC mineral skin finish. It's super light and lasts for months. The application is light so don't worry about makeup transfer on your clothing. I use a concealer as well but only around my eyes. My goal is to make my eyes pop. No contouring needed! I have naturally high cheekbones so I use a light blush (one stroke) to give my face an extra humph.
I use mascara because it's hard for me to wear false lashes. I mess with my eyes all the time and it's too risky to have that much money be rubbed off by accident. I go back and forth with different brands but right now I'm using MAC false lash. It actually makes my lashes long as if I had false lashes.
I have full lips and I love them. Women spend thousands of dollars to get lips that look like mine so I definitely appreciate them. Leading up to my 30th birthday I decided that I wanted to do a fun challenge. I challenged myself to wear a different lipstick color for 30 days straight. This was difficult for me because I typically wear neutrals or soft colors because my lips are so full. However I decided what the heck, if I didn't like the color I could give the color to one of my friends.
I had over 30 different lipstick colors and I only paid for 10. How is that possible? Well I recycle my empty makeup containers with MAC and I get a free lipstick. You only need 6 to make the switch.
My favorite color is Flat Out Fabulous. It really pushes my envelope and looks amazing on me. There were some colors that simply didn't look good on me and I was ok with that. Remember just because they make it doesn't mean it will work for you.
Be bold and step out of your lip comfort zone.
I'm in a relationship with my hair. Not because I'm defined by it but because we spend so much time loving on each other. I'm natural and contrary to popular belief you can be natural and still straighten your hair. See I went natural before the trend hit and the primary reason was because the creamy crack was destroying my hair. I have never had short hair mostly because my face is not built for that and I didn't like the fact that relaxers were forcing me to cut my hair shorter and shorter. I tried every treatment that you can find and nothing worked. So I decided I'm done and I never looked back. I didn't do the big chop. I chose to transition with braids and sew ins. I have been completely natural for almost 10 years.
My hair is naturally oily so I use very few products. My at home staples:
Nexus shampoo and conditioner
Paul Mitchell leave in conditioner
Moroccan oil for shine
My CHI flat iron
I straighten my hair once every 2 weeks. I do touch ups around my edges after I workout and if I'm looking for a curly look I use my CHI to get curls. No other tools needed. Do I have heat damage to my curls? No! I take care of my hair and I stay away from over pressing it which saves my natural curls.
The most important aspect of my maintaining my body is finding what works for me. It took awhile but the end result is worth it. Remember you only have one body! So take the time and care for it.
Forever Fierce Fabulous & Flawless!
Why I choose to live a healthy lifestyle? Several years ago my grandmother had a stroke. She had suffered with high blood pressure pretty much her entire adult life, and she had been to the hospital before but this time was different. It was a few months before my undergrad graduation and I was crushed she wouldn't make it. She had never missed anything in my life and honestly I prayed that she would be healthy enough to make a surprise visit. Unfortunately, this did not happen. After her stroke I diligently researched for causes and found a mountain of rationales that left me even more confused than when I started. My grandmother's blood pressure was always high but her consistency in controlling it was less than fair. She had gotten to the point where she didn't even know when her blood pressure was too high. I realized that her issue with her blood pressure was a direct result of her diet. She was very active but she was heavy. An abundance of lard, butter and sugar was the staple for every meal. Pork was the primary source of protein and low calorie was never an option. I couldn't bear to see her like this. I had never seen her so vulnerable. I wanted to be like her in so many ways but I knew for sure that I didn't want to spend my life taking pills. Her pill pack was filled to capacity and she was taking one pill to fix the side effects of another. Crazy, I know!
I'm not alone when I say I've always had an issue with my weight and my overall health. As an adult I have more control over my healthy weight range and if I ever feel I'm venturing outside of that range, I cut back on certain items to find my balance. Don't get me wrong I still battle with my sweet tooth so I cut out anything that will offset the cravings. I only drink water and more often than not I always have it with lemon and lime. I stay away from fast food, fried foods and foods that I consider to be completely unnecessary in my daily life. I never keep bad snacks in the house. So no chips, sweets, ice cream, etc!
Unfortunately, as a child I didn't know any better and honestly no one encouraged me either. I was an overweight child. See I ate my meals and the leftovers. I ate just because it was there and not because I was hungry. The most egregious offense that I can recall is being 9 years old and eating at McDonalds every day my entire 3rd grade year. But I didn't get a happy meal, no that was too small, I wanted a double quarter pounder with cheese super sized with a root beer. Just thinking about that now is disturbing but it was my reality. I was very insecure about my weight and it didn't make it better when someone would say "you don't have to finish it because Nisha will."
As I got older I began to obsess about my weight but I was reassured by my family that it was baby fat and nothing to worry about. I was well beyond my baby years and I knew in my heart that it wasn't baby fat. The biggest issue wasn't that I was carrying extra pounds but that I was so unhealthy and it showed. From my face to my hair, my entire body was being affected by my diet. I suffered from acne, my hair was always dry and don't get me started on the muscle to fat ratio. The high level hormone intake caused me to develop super early. (I will spare you the GMO lecture). Any time I tell someone that I've been the same height since I was in 5th grade, they look at me puzzled with disbelief. When I attempted to workout it was discouraged and honestly for all the wrong reasons. I went from eating as little as possible in high school hoping to somehow slim down like my friends to eating whatever in college. Finally I said enough is enough and I embarked on a healthy journey. I was motivated by changes in my life but also by challenges that my grandmother was facing.
I learned what my body mass composition should really be and not some random number on a overgeneralized chart. I had to come to terms with the fact that I would never be "skinny" and honestly I didn't want to be. I love my curves and being fit was more appealing. I learned how to workout and what works for my body but I never stopped improving. Even today I have to constantly recalibrate my body, my diet, and my workout regime. Yes I care about how I look but more importantly I care about how I feel. Like I said, I don't want to live my life relying on medications.
Here are a few of my tips to living a healthier life:
1. Don't keep bad snacks in the house! It forces you to think about why you are eating the item and if it is worth it. Do you really need it or are you just being fat?
2. Be as active as possible! Now this one is really simple. While out shopping, I always park far away from the door (except at night when I'm alone). It allows me to get in extra steps and avoid the stress of finding a parking space. Take the stairs. Even if your just going down. Carry your groceries instead of using a cart. When I can, I take my groceries out of the cart and carry them to my car. Then just for a little extra, I always return the cart.
3. Drink water! Now this is one I know you've heard a thousand times but honestly it works! I love water and the first thing I did years ago was stop drinking everything but water. No juice, no soda, no sweet tea! I will have some green tea to help with my cravings but that's about it. Water is great for your skin, hair, digestive system, and overall body health.
4. Restrict your use of condiments! You would be surprised how many calories are in condiments well except mustard. Overuse of salad dressing particularly ranch and blue cheese will get you every time. Mayo is packed full of calories and fat. Don't get me started on syrup. No need to drown your breakfast in sweet goodness.
5. Find your inner peace! This may sound cheesy but it's so true. I'm the complete opposite of most emotional eaters. Food is not my friend when I'm upset or sad, it's my bestie when I'm in a fantastic mood, and most of the time I'm in a fantastic mood so you see my issue. It just prolongs my happy high. So I had to find an alternative to eating that would keep me happy! I found my inner peace by keeping busy. When I accomplish things it makes me feel like I can take on the world.
Of course there are other tips to living a healthier life but these are a good start. Why I workout and watch my diet? Because I would like to live a long and healthy life. A life free of diabetes, high blood pressure and other ailments that honestly my diet and exercise regime can control. I encourage everyone to be more conscious about what you put in your body and to keep moving. I'm not saying you need to become a fitness bikini competitor but remember you only get one body in your lifetime!
Forever Fierce Fabulous & Flawless!