African Black Soap
The soap is a generous 180g bar. This is genuine ABS as one can tell from the mottled brown, bumpy appearance. Many hair and cosmetics shops in our CBDs sell pitch black, smooth bars as ABS and these will be unbelievably cheap. Those are not the real deal, as they’ve been artificially dyed and mass produced. African Black Soap has been used by generations of women on the continent as an effective cleanser for problem skin, which may be prone to oiliness, pore blockage, eczema and psoriasis amongst others. ABS has high levels of antioxidants as well as Vitamins A & E. The soap is reputed to deeply cleanse and help give the skin a natural glow.
I liked this soap because it helped to balance out my oily T-zone, especially during the heat of our summer. However, if you have super sensitive skin, do be careful as some may experience a reaction. Initially, I experienced some sensitivity on the thin skin of the “bags” under my eyes. I now use the soap every other day, and have not experienced that again. I have read that some use the liquid form and the soap bar as a clarifying shampoo. I haven’t tried that as yet.
I purchased the handy pack of four 100ml shea butter variants, namely Rose blend, Lemongrass & Grapefruit, Aloe and Mint, as well as the Allergen Free. This was part of a special Corium ran in December 2016. In addition, I bought the 200ml Skin Perfecting Body Butter. I have to say I prefer the consistency and effects of shea butters on my skin and hair (yes, you can use these in your hair regimen) over coconut oil. Like coconut oil, these butters do become liquid when the temperatures get very warm, towards 35 ℃ or so. When they cooled down and solidified again, I was glad to see that they returned to their normal creamy texture, without any ingredients separating into layers.
All the shea butters, with the exception of the Allergen Free, have an earthy, slightly spicy base scent. I really like it. My favourite two scents are the Rose Blend and the Lemongrass. I often used the Rose blend and opted to go without perfume for the day, because it is so intensely fragrant and feminine. The scent is detectable but doesn’t overpower. Sadly for me, my sister took the Rose Blend & the Aloe and Mint with her when she went back to varsity, so I am currently doing without both. The Aloe and Mint is so refreshing and slightly tingly. I often applied it to my feet after using my foot spa, and immediately put on my fluffy socks. The next morning my feet and heels in particular are soft, smooth and sandal-ready.
The Allergen Free is one that I use on my toddler as an everyday, natural alternative to nappy creams (although when there is a little rash, I have to use the trusty Benpathen or Sudocrem. I must do a post about Sudocrem as facial skin care too). My son and I both suffer from eczema from time to time, so having an allergen free and natural skin moisturiser in the house is very handy. I haven’t had a flare up in years, thank goodness. When I don’t want to have an additional layer of scent, I use the Allergen Free or the Skin Perfecting Butter, although the latter does have a slight fragrance.
The butters are all very rich and will be a lifesaver for my extra dry skin. I love using these butters to seal my natural hair on wash days and every other day, while in a protective style under my lacefronts. They are quickly absorbed by the hair and don’t leave a sticky residue or have any chunky bits.
Lemon Brightening serum
The serum is an oil, and not a silicone base. Because lemon can cause photo-sensitivity, it suggested for use at night. I’d also suggest using a good SPF cream during the day as a normal part of your skincare. My preferred cream is the Neutrogena Visibly Even 30SPF. I used the lemon serum for about a month. One or two drops per application from the dropper is more than enough. It’s a rich consistency and doesn’t sting – some lemon based products with AHAs can initially sting sensitive skin. I experienced a gradual evening out of some dark marks from blemishes, but nothing dramatic that would leave one looking ghostly or peeling.
Last year I started growing some Turmeric, from roots that my mom-in-law gave me. The plants are coming along nicely. Apart from cooking with it, turmeric is also used in Ayurvedic skincare to even out dark marks. Corium has a Turmeric mask that I may try out soon, as well as a Turmeric soap from the Corium Luxe range.
Corium Skincare is a black woman-owned, South African brand whose range is available online with courier delivery and at some beauty stores.