Here at Beauty Lies Truth we seek to create a space where women can openly and honestly share their own intimate beauty stories. We are thrilled to publish this personal essay by our dear friend and Bustle contributor Kristin Collins Jackson. Like many of us, Kristin struggled with maintaining healthy skin and hair. Keep reading and you'll learn that it wasn't until she rejected harsh chemicals and embraced natural alternatives that she achieved her desired beauty results.
Why Nature Is The Only Brand For Me
In 2012, my relationship with my face was on the rocks. A new love had come into my life, an afro, and just when some serious length began, I realized that my face was pissed. You see, I have a theory that my face and my hair are archnemeses and secretly want the other one to fail miserably. My face will break out, particularly on my cheeks and around my ears, and the suspect is usually a new carrier oil I've introduced into my hair routine. My hair, never one to stand for false accusations, will then become annoyed and coarse, begging me to use something as heavy as Shea butter, which will just further aggravate acne. I couldn't bear the thought of not putting oils in my hair, so I found a cheap, quick fix to shut my face up and continue my hair obsession.
I had first tried Proactive in college, this was back in the day when Jessica Simpson swore by it and we all wanted everything she had. My roommates and I signed up for monthly packages of cleansers, toners, moisturizers and acne-spot treatments — all at the low-cost of $49.99 for the entire package. I ended up ditching the treatment only after a few months, mainly because my parents weren't paying for my acne treatment and I was too cheap to continue it. Please, I was a college student waitressing my way into my senior year: ain't nobody trying to spend $50 bucks on something that kinda works. However, in 2012, Proactive and I resumed our relationship and I waited eagerly, for my face to clear up.
Here's what actually happened: The tender area around my eyes became so dry that I found it extremely painful, I began putting coconut oil around my eyes and my skin found it incredibly soothing. I would wake up with the skin around my mouth white, with dry-skin flakes; I looked like my body was breaking down because I was slowly turning into a zombie. At one point, my sister demanded to know if I had been bitten and threatened to tie me to the large birch tree in our backyard. Of course, I insisted that it was the dry winter months, but I too wondered what the fuck was happening to my face. The acne was somewhat controlled, but I was certainly not free from hormonal breakouts. Being someone who always runs on the oily side, I really didn't know what to look for in terms of treatment for dryness. I ended up at a Proactive kiosk and inquired about a treatment for dry skin; they recommended a moisturizer and within three days my face flipped the hell out! I'm not even singing woes of pimples. I'm talkin' weird boils under the skin that couldn't be popped and were incredibly painful and embarrassing.
Then it dawned on me, why would I treat my hair like it was my first-born child (because it is, duh) and not treat my face the same way? Since I chopped off my relaxed hair the year prior, my new hair has never felt the effects of any unhealthy, unnatural product. Suddenly, I realized that since I started puberty my face and I have had a tumultuous relationship. I would cleanse with one harsh product and then I would use another harsh product to get rid of the side effects that the first product gave me. It was a vicious cycle that needed to be stopped immediately.
Being that I wear my hair natural (and keep it natural) I have the privilege of knowing some serious natural beauty mavens. It turns out, many of these ladies are rockin' a toxin-free face as well. Don't get it twisted though, when I ditched my Proactive and went completely natural, my face looked all types of messed up. It took trial and error, research and a plethora of science projects with essential oils and food for me to get my face ready to be make-up free. Not only that, my face was purging a life-time of chemicals and needed to adjust to a simpler, healthier lifestyle. However, two years later, I know that I will never go back.
Sure, my face and my hair still have some serious sibling rivalry, but I know that the decision to go natural in my beauty routine was the best one for my face, my hair AND my health. Plus, making my own products feels like a huge accomplishment. My face finally has that same natural glow that's falsely promised by countless pricey unnatural products, and I'm constantly being stopped by strangers to discuss how much they envy my curls. I tell them EVERYTHING. I want as many people to feel confident in knowing that nature is one of the most reputable "brands" there is.
My recommendation is to start out slow, take your time and use test strips on your arms. The best rule of thumb is to know your body; if something doesn't agree with me when I eat it, I certainly do not introduce it into my beauty routine, no matter how many sources are raving about it. Trust your body, do your research and please join the natural beauty craze. The more consumers demand it, the more research can be done on essential oils and other natural ingredients. Harmful chemicals that leave us susceptible to a myriad of health problems will inevitably be phased out by our demands.
Join me. The movement is ours to make!
Kristin Collins Jackson