7 Beauty Tips For Living In The Motherland

Kaylan Reid Shipanga, the author and Editor-in-Chief of African American In Africa.

Kaylan Reid Shipanga, the author and Editor-in-Chief of African American In Africa.

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links, which means we get commissions for purchases made through links in this post; however, these are all products I highly recommend.

THINK your beauty regimen could hold well in Africa?

Well, you might want to reconsider!

I've had to update several aspects of my personal care to suit life in the motherland. I learned the hard way that what I do in New York to stay cute does not fly on the continent.

Keep reading to find out what I've learned so you can stay on fleek!

easy ways to stay fab in the motherland

1. Give Your Feet Some TLC

Namibia, the country that I live in, is in many parts a desert. As a result, many expats develop dry cracked heals due to the country's arid sandy terrain. To prevent this, I have to moisturize my feet extremely well. I'm talking Vaseline daily. The climate is also very dry, so regular lotions leave my skin ashy! Thankfully, glycerin is sold everywhere here and it works amazingly for moisture retention when mixed with oils and lotions (you're welcome)! 

The sand all over Namibia also means that short walks can easily leave your feet caked with dust. Investing in pedicures and consistently soaking your feet will keep your toes looking pretty.

2. Hair Picks Up Whatever Is In Its Environment

One day I went on a long road trip and had the windows down the entire time. It was hot and I was also enjoying the air blowing in my face. By the time I arrived back at my hotel the entire left side of my head was caked with red dust!

You should also protect your hair while cooking or standing by a fire. Wear something to cover your strands like my female Namibian in-laws do. This keeps your hair from ending up with too much of a smoky stench later on.

3. Scrub And Lather Harder At Bath time

As mentioned earlier, the continent can be very dusty. There are still many unpaved roads, which means a lot of dust particles floating around in the air. By the end of the day, you’d be surprised at how much has settled onto your body.

I have noticed that people here lather and scrub a lot harder. I think it’s required to tackle the African dirt and get it off your body. So scrub away.

4. Just Because You're Black Doesn't Mean You Don't Need Sunscreen

The strength of the sun in this part of the world is unmatched. So your melanin will need some sunscreen and extra TLC.

I find that in Namibia where I live, the dry climate calls for heavier creams and thicker applications. Light ones leave me looking dry by mid-morning.

5. Makeup Doesn't Last As Well

Sadly, my beloved MAC makeup doesn’t last nearly as well as it should throughout the day here in Namibia. The heat makes it cake up in the creases around my eyes. Not cute. I have noticed a lot of Namibian women use powder foundations. These seem to last better than their liquid equivalents. Perhaps they're more durable for the climate here.

Before you leave your home country ask a local makeup artist for advice on makeup brands and regimens for hot climates. It's also a good idea to keep your products in as cool as places as possible to prevent them from sweating. So when I’m on road trips I always keep my makeup with me and not in the hot car trunk.

6. More Sweat Means Updated Regimens

Why is it while I'm dripping in sweat, Africans barely seem to be breaking a sweat? And my Body Shop sprays barely last half the morning in all my clammy glory.

I've also noticed locals often wear strong fragrances and that spray on deodorants are very prevalent here.  I personally choose not to use spray-on deodorants. However, something tells me they work way better than my little Ban from Duane Reade does.

Just be prepared for the possibility of needing to adjust your freshness regimen as you go along.

7. Hand-washing Gets Clothes Cleaner Than Many Machines

As soon as I could I bought a washing machine here in Namibia. This is because I absolutely loathe hand-washing. Since I didn't grow up doing it, I'm also not that proficient at the skill.

So, imagine my disappointment when I realized my Namibian Samsung washing machine was doing a sub-par job. It doesn't get whites white. And it is forever leaving my clothing with a layer of lint. All of this and we haven't even owned it for three years. So I've been tempted to go back to my makeshift attempts at hand washing again. At least for certain items.

Most people in Namibia hand-wash and I've noticed that their clothes are always looking meticulous. Way fresher than mine ever do. As they wash they use a lot of soap powder. They scrub and scrub with voracity. Stains get special attention. All of this direct contact is more than any washing machine could ever do. Living on the continent and notice your clothes are looking stale even after the machine? It might be time to get on your hands and knees and start scrubbing.

That's all for now. What personal care regimens have you had to change since living in or moving to an African nation? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

Wondering how your natural hair routine will hold up in Africa? Here's everything you need to know about natural hair care while living in the Motherland!