Skin-Saving Advice From A Black-Owned Brooklyn Apothecary

Photo by Matteo Scarpellini/IMAXTREE.COM
See what Holly McWhorter has to say about keeping your melanin aglow this winter and beyond.

Like it or not, it's imperative to keep careful watch over your beauty regimen. For most of us, our daily routines adjust with the seasons and now that fall is in full swing, we're stuck in that inevitable transition phase.

Our skin can't decide if it wants to be dry, oily or some weird, unmanageable combination of the two. It's enough to make anyone want to give up. 

In desperate times like these, we refer to the experts for product recommendations that will calm our skin and nerves.

See what Holly McWhorter (above), co-founder of black-owned and Brooklyn-based PLANT Apothecary, has to say about keeping your skin aglow this winter and beyond. As an authority on organic beauty, we trust her advice on how our melanin can live its best life. 

For starters, you should know your skin type. Once you've identified which category you fall into, get familiar with McWhorter's eco-friendly recommendations.  

Normal Skin: 

This is the easiest skin type to care for—not only because it’s fairly low­,maintenance, but the vast majority of skincare products on the market are geared toward it. A good test of whether skin is this covetable type or not can be done first thing in the morning: Sweep a tissue across your forehead, nose, cheeks and chin. If there’s little to no oil on the tissue, and no visible signs of dryness, your skin type is normal. 

Things To Avoid: Steer clear of anything that ends with “­paraben,” sunscreen ingredients oxybenzone, homosalate and octinoxate, and fragrance listed as “parfum” or simply as “fragrance”—which are nearly always synthetic and potentially toxic. 

Products To Try: If you prefer all natural solutions, pure shea butter has an average SPF of 4 and is lauded for its skin-preserving properties. PLANT Apothecary will also be releasing their SAVING FACE face oil next month, which includes blend of ingredients that keep "normal" skin in check. 

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Oily Skin: 

The upside of oily skin is that because of all that excess oil, it often takes longer to show signs of aging like wrinkles. But that same oil causes unwanted shine, and can make makeup slip off more easily. Oily skin is common among those with darker skin, because darker skin tends to have larger pores and larger sebaceous (oil producing) glands. 

Things To Avoid: When shopping for a moisturizer, avoid ingredients that will dry it out. Most commercial moisturizers for oily skin have drying properties, but many experts find this to be the wrong approach. Natural moisturizers for oily skin go the other way around, recognizing that oil production happens in response to how much oil is present in the skin’s surface at any given time. If there’s enough oil already there, the sebaceous glands won’t overproduce. So the trick is to reset the skin’s tendency to overproduce oil by replacing skin’s naturally heavy, shiny oil with lightweight, non­greasy oils that absorb without shine. In short: less is more! 

Products To Try: PLANT’s Ø Face Oil for Oily Skin ($40, plantapothecary.com) contains super­lightweight grapeseed and pomegranate oils, which absorb into the skin immediately while offering up wrinkle­fighting, protective emollients. For an even more minimal approach, pure grapeseed or hazelnut oils make excellent moisturizers for oily skin on their own! 

Dry Skin: 

f you have dry skin, you know it—your skin gets ashy, itchy and flaky at the drop of a hat. Moisturizing after every cleansing is essential, but it’s easy to go overboard with dry facial skin and end up clogging your pores, leading to blackheads and other types of acne. 

Things To Avoid: Pore clogging ingredients! Instead, aim for single ingredient products that allow your skin to breath and still feeds it with protective, deeply emollient nutrients. One example of this is camellia (green tea seed) oil.

Products To Try: PLANT’s version of their SAVING FACE Face Oil for Dry Skin ($40, plantapothecary.com), teams camellia with other ingredients like super­rich avocado and healing sea buckthorn to give dry skin what it needs. It also contains essential oils of geranium and juniper, both of which help fight hyperpigmentation—an extremely common problem for black skin. 

Shop the entire PLANT line here

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