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Nicole Chikwe: Natural vs Chemical Skincare Products. What Works Better?

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NICOLE CHIKWE BEAUTY FEATURE_imageI’ve had problematic skin since I was 14, so I’ve tried pretty much everything under the sun in terms of skincare. During my endless search for the miracle products that will change my skin forever, I stumbled across several articles promoting going ‘All Natural’ with my routine and simplifying it to just cleansing and moisturising. This was something I hadn’t tried, and after years of using harsh chemicals and only getting mediocre results, I was happy to embrace the change. So for 2 weeks I used a popular Nigerian brand of Black Soap and Shea Butter.

My skin quickly deteriorated into its worst state ever. I broke out in huge cysts everywhere, even in places I don’t normally get spots like my forehead, and it took a month for my skin to get back to its normal state of a few blemishes here and there.

I’m such a big believer in natural ingredients though-  I only use organic products on my body. Some readers might have heard about my upcoming collaboration with BathKandy; a beauty company that produces skin loving, artisanal bath and body products using the finest natural ingredients. This is because natural products can be just as good as chemical ones (if not better) without any potential side effects in the long term. So here is a rundown of how I’ve tried to be #TeamNatural by incorporating natural ingredients into my routine, and the results I have gotten.

Eye Makeup Remover

I’ve tried wipes, micellar water, and different brands of eye makeup remover. But nothing beats good old Olive Oil. It removes even the most waterproof mascara, and moisturises your lashes which helps them grow longer and stronger. Unfortunately I can’t use Olive Oil when I have lash extensions in (as oil weakens the glue). So I’m quite happy with the Simple ‘Kind To Eyes’ Eye Makeup Remover.NICOLE CHIKWE BEAUTY FEATURE_image_4

Cleanser

I was hesitant to try black soap again after my first experience, but I had seen so many good reviews about the Fig Health Store Brightening Turmeric Black Soap that I was willing to take one for The Nicole Code team and review it for my readers. This was in November, and I’ve used it every single day since then. It is beautiful! It leaves my skin thoroughly clean but not stripped of all moisture.NICOLE CHIKWE BEAUTY FEATURE_image_3

Toner

I’ve tried using diluted Organic Apple Cider Vinegar which is supposed to be amazing for blemish prone skin like mine, with little to no results. I’ve also tried green tea and diluted lemon juice. I think with toner, I have to stick to proper acid like Salicylic which really exfoliates my skin. I occasionally spritz green tea on my face after I use my Salicylic toner to give my skin a boost of hydration and antioxidants.

Mask

I’ve tried so many masks, but my favourite is the Turmeric and Bentonite Clay mask. I’m obsessed with this stuff. Its very quick and easy to make at home, and gives great results. I use it twice a week to draw out impurities from my pores and speed up the healing of any blemishes. My skin visibly improves everytime I use this.NICOLE CHIKWE BEAUTY FEATURE_image_2

Moisturiser

As stated earlier, I tried shea butter and it was an epic fail. Shea Butter is a big no if you have Acne prone skin. I’ve also tried both Coconut and Jojoba Oil. Jojoba is probably the closest to what I need because it helps control my oil production (it ‘tricks’ your skin into thinking it has produced enough oil because it is the same consistency as sebum) and it gives my foundation a beautiful glow. But I found that after a while my pores started to get congested. Which really really sucked.  However I saw an Instagram post by MyHairMyBeautyNG which recommended the Josie Maran Argan Oil so I might give that a go.

Eye Cream

A lot of people swear by Almond Oil or Shea Butter around their eyes. I find that though they definitely moisturise the eye area, when I use either of them at night my eyes are a tad puffy in the morning. And they are way too heavy to use during the day especially if you use eye makeup. My current faves are the Oriki Mineralised Intensive Eye Treatment during the day, and the Clarins Super Restorative Total Eye Concentrate at night.

NICOLE CHIKWE BEAUTY FEATURE_image_1

In conclusion, you could try to find a balance between both kinds of products. But if all natural works for you, that’s awesome. If you are big on chemicals then go for it.  Just pay close attention to what your skin tells you and cater to its needs accordingly.

Until Next Time,

Nicole xx

Nicole is an ex-model, a mother of two beautiful children, and the girl Naeto C raps about in “5&6” who kidnaps all his clothes. She is also a Beauty Enthusiast and Blogger- her website- www.thenicolecode.com -is An Insider’s Guide to Beauty Secrets, Not-So-Secrets and Everything In-Between.

63 Comments

  1. keeks

    March 17, 2016 at 9:59 am

    what’s in the turmeric mask exactly? i started cooking with turmeric for palpitations and noticed a remarkable difference in my skin tone which was really nice, so my newest friend has to turmeric, but how can i incorporate as a mask.

    • whocares

      March 17, 2016 at 11:23 am

      @Keeks- just mix it with the clay I suppose.. I use Rhassoul moroccan clay for both face and hair (gorgeous result for natural hair even 4c but I digress) and it comes in powder form which I imagine the benzonite clay will come in also (I have never bought it, but it should right?) so maybe add a spoonful of turmeric to a spoonful of the clay (I add a dash of AVC when I use my clay just to be extra but it is not necessarya) and then some water to make a paste- slather on face, neck and other assorted body parts? What I find with this clay is it sometimes leaves my face too clean or too dry, so I sometimes add a drop of lavender or rose essential oil. I am definitely going to try it with turmeric now. I want fine face :p
      You know, I even read somewhere that turmeric is the new master ingredient (I saw a turmeric, honey and lemon drink concoction that is supposed to clear your lungs?) and so many things it is supposed to be good for besides Indian curry and fried rice. Ooh for oily skin, what I found that works wonders for me is rose water.. not rose water and glycerine toner, but rose flower water itself. You take a few roses, and vaporise it in your pot ( a semi long process to make I wont lie google it if you want to try your hands at it or- just buy on amazon if you can) spritz that on your face before you moisturise and it controls oil. Honezlay my face is loving it. On a daily basis I do not makeup besides lip balm and eye liner so its nice to know my face is not secreting enough oil to fry buns and I don’t look a hot mess. What also works wonders is aloe vera gel but funny enough, some of my friends have had severe reactions to using the gel in their beauty regime they broke out in hives and what not.. It is at that stage I like to remind them that I only recommended aloe vera i did not force them to apply it. lol

    • Seriously

      March 17, 2016 at 3:47 pm

      Nicole has beautiful skin. You can see her smooth, bright skin under her makeup. I’m highly interested in the Fig Turmeric black soap, can I order it from Nigeria and be delivered in California.

    • Person pikin

      March 17, 2016 at 4:17 pm

      Pls guys I need advice on what to use for oily face. My face is extremely oily! Like the oil from it can fry plaintain! I really don’t want to go into chemicals and creams anything natural will be fine. Any suggestions please?
      Thanks guys!

    • *curious*

      March 17, 2016 at 8:31 pm

      You can try “Seriously Shine Free” by Formula 10.0.6
      Here’s a link to their website formula1006.com/

    • Bola

      March 18, 2016 at 12:07 am

      Organic Lemon Essential Oil helps to reduce excess oil production, it should however be used with caution as it is concentrated. Alternatively, you can use raw lemon or lime juice, and dilute it with a teaspoon or 2 of organic honey. Apply on your face, leave it for about 15 minutes (it might sting, but it’s effective) and rinse with water. This also helps and works for acne prone-skin. You can do this twice a week and make sure it’s done in the evening or at night; never in the morning or afternoon. You don’t want direct contact with sunlight after doing this.

      And the plantain part of your message = absolutely funny and hilarious.

    • californiabawlar

      March 17, 2016 at 7:47 pm

      OMG!! I did this for my birthday last week…see as I dey glow!! to make it even better…. my roomie who’s been away just commented this morning on how noticeably clearer my skin is! I swear…this convo was literally just an hour ago…the mask I did was turmeric, milk, lemon and honey my skin has never felt better and I’m the queen of natural face masks…from yogurt based masks to tomato based ones…this turmeric one is definitely a winner!
      I’ll start cooking with it too now…thanks for the tip.

    • Misi

      March 21, 2016 at 9:12 am

      Just mix the bentonite clay in water with turmeric powder! Works wonders for my skin too.

  2. keke driver

    March 17, 2016 at 10:00 am

    Mehn see those claws…ain’t kidding

    • hezekina pollutina

      March 17, 2016 at 10:45 am

      when is natural nails craze going to start?

    • Aku

      March 17, 2016 at 11:52 am

      I wear my natural nails because I’m most comfortable with them, others decide to wear false (faux) nails for whatever reason(s) best known to them, however it shouldn’t be any of your concern now, should it?

    • Hatsoff

      March 17, 2016 at 6:35 pm

      ?????

  3. Ada

    March 17, 2016 at 10:42 am

    Beauty is work o!

    • ramat

      March 17, 2016 at 1:38 pm

      Reallllll work o. I did not know how lucky I was that I can just slap Palmer’s on my face and wrists and I’m out the door. No breakouts, no puffy anything. #thankful

  4. Kay dollz

    March 17, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Is this wahala not too much?

    • Ararumegirls

      March 17, 2016 at 11:30 am

      It is ooohhh I wonder if all dese beauty bloggers really do this!

    • daisy-ada

      March 17, 2016 at 11:49 am

      I don’t think so. Think about all the work that goes into testing and creating products for different skin types and conditions. There’s a market for it because people are always looking to solve embarrassing physical features.

  5. Lauretta

    March 17, 2016 at 10:55 am

    Heard Tumeric And Honey Mask Works Well Too But i’m Scared To Do That Because I have A Very Sensitive Skin And Usually Take My Time To Enquire About Everything Skin Related Before I Use Them.
    Has anyone tried it? If you have, please let me know how it worked for you.

    • toluh

      March 17, 2016 at 1:12 pm

      i do tumeric, lemon, Coconut oil and honey mask, it’s the best. I replace the lemon with ACV or Yoghurt.

    • Abk

      March 17, 2016 at 2:50 pm

      Lauretta, if you have sensitive skin, then be careful.
      I have extremely sensitive skin too. I squeeze 1 lime or half a lemon in a bowl and add a tablespoon of pure honey, mix it together, apply on my face, leave it in for at least 10 minutes; rinse off and apply a good moisturiser or acne moisturiser; the moisturiser I use is from clean and clear. But be sure to do the lemon/lime procedure at night. I also use the cleanser from clean and clear, the face wash for sensitive skin and all these things are quite helpful.

  6. elia

    March 17, 2016 at 11:19 am

    where can I get turmeric and cinnamon to buy

    • Nonye

      March 17, 2016 at 1:54 pm

      Ask those mallams that sell ginger and garlic and other spices in wheel barrows.

  7. Bloggersofcourse

    March 17, 2016 at 11:21 am

    Everyone is a beauty blogger dese days? Are you a qualified skin care therapist?

  8. OgechiA

    March 17, 2016 at 11:22 am

    Your biography is that Naeto C sang about you? Looool why should we bother with ur advice girl!!! Nexxxttttt

    • Jo!

      March 17, 2016 at 11:58 am

      She’s his wife, dodo. Guess that’s her own way of saying “I’m married to a (former) superstar”

      What does Naeto do these days sef? The entertainment industry is too fickle and he’s too smart to not have had a backup plan

    • cee

      March 17, 2016 at 12:04 pm

      @Ogechi, so that is the only thing u saw in her biography abi?? Women are their worst enemy ‘tufiakwa’

    • Mimi

      March 17, 2016 at 12:33 pm

      She’s his wife. It was funny and made her relatable.

    • marcel

      March 17, 2016 at 12:38 pm

      She is Naeto’s wife.

    • Duchess Maria

      March 17, 2016 at 12:41 pm

      A sense of humor. Use it.

    • youknow

      March 20, 2016 at 5:51 pm

      Hi hater!

  9. Tilda

    March 17, 2016 at 11:31 am

    Water and mild soap always does the job for me. Just water if you’ve got sensitive skin. A good diet and good quality rest. It’s what you put into the body that reflects on the outside.
    The epidermis is a pretty good seal against water soluble organics, which is why you can’t get drunk on alcohol through your skin. It’s also a good barrier against ions, or else a few hours in the ocean would dehydrate and kill you. Most vitamins and minerals fall into these two categories and anybody claiming some nutrient absorption that way had better produce studies to back it up, as onus is upon them. In general, such claims are against that which had generally been found, so you should be heavily skeptical.

  10. boo

    March 17, 2016 at 11:40 am

    Hi guys. Please how can one stay fresh in Nigeria? since I got back my skin lost its glow. I’ve tried everything you can think of. Please I need suggestions. Thank you very much.

    • Anon

      March 17, 2016 at 12:58 pm

      Invest in some good facials and moisturise at night.

    • nene

      March 17, 2016 at 12:58 pm

      avoid the sun

    • kay

      March 17, 2016 at 1:37 pm

      A good moisturizer dear.

    • Abk

      March 17, 2016 at 2:57 pm

      See my previous comment on lemon/lime solution. If you have acne, get an acne moisturiser for your face. Some clean and clear products are very helpful. Try to shower twice a day or when you’re sweaty or too hot. Avoid too much sunlight; UV Rays. And make sure you have a good diet. Sometimes it’s not if you’re in Nigeria, or Toronto, or Abu Dhabi. If you don’t change your bedsheets or pillow cases regularly, (I change my every 2/3 days cause my skin is annoyingly sensitive) you will have skin irritations, if you use the same towel for your body on your face, you will have skin irritations; and if you don’t wash it (towel) at least once or twice a week. If you don’t drink enough water, you won’t have good skin.

    • Anita

      March 30, 2016 at 9:31 pm

      Regular baths, exfoliation, light moisturiser and suncreen is the way to go girl! Had similar issues until I found a popular page on IG called @goodskinguru run by folks in the medical field. They offer great skin advice which I’ve found really helpful. I’ll suggest you check them out too 🙂

  11. Aku

    March 17, 2016 at 11:55 am

    I need to jump on this tumeric bandwagon, I have been slacking really. This looks great! Would check out some of the products.

    • Aku

      March 17, 2016 at 11:59 am

      Ooh, I forgot to add… I’m a huge fan of ‘simple’ products they work best for me. Need to figure out where I can stock up on their products in Nig. I’m running low

  12. Rayva

    March 17, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    Found this post really helpful , because I have similar skin issues.
    Thanks

  13. Skinenthusiast

    March 17, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    I should be getting beauty advice from Tilda. You seem quite knowledgable on this unlike all dese out new beauty bloggers (Nicole and Nnenna Okoye) dat just recommend off the shelf poisonous thins. How can I reach you by email

    • tilda

      March 17, 2016 at 1:13 pm

      Awww honey. I’m just straight up frugal, loool, it goes against my nature to waste money on hype. There are Loads of good ideas on Google ☺

  14. Duchess Maria

    March 17, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    Nicole, I really like your blog. My skin is also very oily and acne prone but has been improving. I love bentonite clay mask. Been meaning to try it with turmeric but it stains everything 🙁
    My current face wash is dudu osun black soap but I’ll have to try the one you recommended soonest.

  15. Anon

    March 17, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    A thick helping of bentonite clay mixed with water under the eyes de-puffs them instantly. leave it to cake and then wash off. I do it first thing every morning.
    I have sensitive and oily skin which I control with natural products.

    Nicole – I am wondering if you used adulterated Shea Butter. The pure one is the business. It calms the skin and all that redness. Was the black soap Dudu Oshun? Some people don’t know it’s adulterated but it’s sold as pure. I have found the Ghanaian black soap quite pure. A tad harsh but I water it down/liquidise it.

    These are good –
    Egg whites as a mask (then the yolk is used to steam my hair.)
    Bicarbonate of soda as a scrub.
    The best cleanser I have used all my life is Seaweed Purifying Facial Cleanser from The Body Shop. The entire seaweed range is a revelation.
    It is water based and doesn’t have oil. Everything else touted for oily skin has oil in it.

  16. Miss_Flygerian

    March 17, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    Bentonite clay mask is bae!!! Been using it religiously once a week for the last 2 years. It makes my face really smooth and clean.

  17. Gerry

    March 17, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    4.500 for black soap??? Okay o. Team Natural indeed

    • Jay

      March 17, 2016 at 3:01 pm

      And the black soap even looks different from many of the black soaps I’m familiar with. If you want to use Black Soap, go on Konga and buy from Estella’s Pride or Namatse; they’re not expensive and are effective. Please I have a budget abeg. My shampoo isn’t even up to 4500 why will I buy black soap for 4500?

  18. Getpurecoconutoil

    March 17, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    Natural is key.
    Get your pure coconut oil @kokodiapurecoconutoil on IG
    Using coconut oil as my lip balm has been the most recent discovery I have of this nature’s wonder.

  19. Nky

    March 17, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    I bought the Fig Tumeric black soup after reading about it on her blog. Best investment so far. I bath with it daily and also use it as a face mask once a week. My skin is fresher now and the spots on my skin is gradually becoming invisible. The downside is that you have to refrigerate so running to the kitchen every morning is not funny.

  20. ozed

    March 17, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    Anybody knows the local name for bentonite clay? pls help a sister. Thanks.

    • Anon

      March 17, 2016 at 3:44 pm

      Nzu baby. You know nzu right? That clayey stone? There you go. Crush it and pulverise it.

  21. keeks

    March 17, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    where can i get bentonite clay mask from in abuja?

    • Bibi

      March 21, 2016 at 1:58 am

      Hi Keeks! You can buy bentonite clay from this store here konga.com/indian-healing-clay-1979519 . Their delivery was quite fast,too.

  22. Ruth

    March 17, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    A good dermatologist will advise you to clean your skin regularly, using something mild with no artificial additives .
    Your foundation, lip stick , mascara, are all great breeding grounds for millions of microscopic bugs. They can cause break outs and infected spots .So change them frequently.
    You may also want to pay attention to your diet If you suffer break outs.
    our hot sun means we sweat a lot and that is all you need to clear your pores.
    Keep you fingers from wondering to your face as they can carry germs that cause breakouts.
    Some breakouts are linked to hormones. remember to keep hydrated.
    Sometimes placebo does make one feel pampered so I guess no harm done in spending money on them if you’ve got it. I’ll rather buy fresh veg, fruits and good wholesome food. To each her own.

  23. Concerned

    March 17, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    Since Ezinne started Beauty blogging all of you have risen to beauty blog too una welcome atleast be original

    • Idomagirl

      March 17, 2016 at 5:58 pm

      Who is Ezinne? #honestquestion

    • Adwoa

      March 17, 2016 at 6:20 pm

      The Beauty in Lagos girl. I didn’t know initially; “thanks” to BN and Instagram I now know her.
      I however like Nicole, I don’t think she’s trying tOo hard like the rest or wants attention of any kind. She had a beauty brand she co-owned with a friend in 2011 or thereabout; she’s always been enthusiastic about anything beauty and fit fam related.

  24. Tunmi

    March 17, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    Any natural recommendations for sunscreen?

    • Adwoa

      March 17, 2016 at 6:23 pm

      If you’re asking of Natural products, relating to the post, I believe Avocado Oil and Coconut Oil. They protect the skin from harmful UV rays. You can get them on Konga, Jumia, Estella’s Pride, African Naturalistas, Ebeano Chevron, or any beauty outlet really.

    • Bibi

      March 21, 2016 at 7:44 pm

      Hi hun,you are right but please see my response above. They protect from the sun but are very mild. Using any oil in the day will attract the sun to tan and darken you.

    • Bibi

      March 21, 2016 at 7:42 pm

      Tumi, please be careful and if possible,just use an SPF. The truth is for something to really protect you from the sun (the way you need) it must have zinc oxide. Just go store bought on this one. SPF 50-100. People always say coconut oil,shea butter etc, which is true to a very small extent,the truth is the shiny nature of these oils on your face will draw the sun to you and burn you more. This is why people complain of darkening while using shea butter,coconut oil,vaseline,etc. It is not these products in themselves but the combination of them,their gloss on your face and the sun.

  25. Gorgeous

    March 17, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    Girls with apuruka skin that can use shit as mask, will be giving beauty advice. Please be careful about all these fads, my fellow sensitive skinned people. If you have sentitive skin, only very mild products will suffice. And diet is most important

  26. bb

    March 18, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    @gorgeous, go and look for a hustle and stop using multiple ids to bring down a hardworking sister. All these stay at home mums who do nothing but sit on instagram and blogs all day causing trouble. After now you’ll start looking for grammatical and spelling errors where there’s none. Go nikky

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