Keep Hydrated To Look Good & Improve Overall Productivity

By Khanyisile Msebenzi.

The adult human body is up to 60% water.  The brain is 73% water and lungs are about 83% water.  The skin is 64% water, and muscles and kidneys are 79% water.  Our bones are 31% water.

Without water our bodies will not function, we must consume minimum quantities of water per day for our body to function optimally, women need about 2.2 litres of water a day and men about 3 litres of water a day.  Water is vital for life.

  • Water itself is a nutrient, it is part of every cell, the building block for all our cells
  • Water metabolises and transports carbohydrates and proteins our body uses as food
  • Water flushes waste and toxins from our body through urine

The ability for water to dissolve and carry so many vitamins and nutrients makes it a life force for everything living. 

But in our busy lives we tend to drink less water than we should.  And yet we need water to energise the body, concentrate and be productive. We also need water to rest and sleep deeply.

Photo by Leo Moko

Here are ways to make sure your body stays hydrated:

  • If you work out, be sure to drink a big gulp of water every 10 – 20mins of exercise. 
  • Sip on sports drinks or coconut water during exercise longer than an hour to replace electrolytes in your body.
  • Fruits are good sources of water and electrolytes, watermelon is very hydrating and banana is high in electrolyte potassium.
  • Have a glass of water for every cup of coffee or sugary or alcoholic drink you take.
  • Carry a water bottle with you, add fruit like lemon or strawberry to add flavour naturally to your water.  Take a gulp of water every hour to stay hydrated without having to pee as much.  This ensures you stay hydrated in dehydrating environments like air-conditioned rooms.
Photo by Brendan Church

What are electrolytes and why do they matter?

Electrolytes are composed of sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium and calcium.  These nutrients are critical for the health and functioning of our nerves and muscles.  Electrolytes are easily lost when we sweat or when we have a runny tummy or diarrhoea.

Beauty Benefits of being Hydrated:

  • Plump skin, when you are dehydrated your skin loses water and elasticity and wrinkles set in easier, hydrated skin is less prone to wrinkling.  Hydration slows the ageing process.
  • Hydrated and moisturized skin starts from the inside, if you suffer from constant dry, flaky skin, it is likely that you are dehydrated, remember skin is 64% water.  If you are dehydrated your skin will also be dehydrated no matter what you apply on it topically.
  • Keeping hydrated gives you clearer facial skin.  When the body is dehydrated it sends messages to the skin’s oil glands to produce oil as a defence mechanism.  When skin is hydrated it produces less oil and acne is less aggravated.
  • When skin is dehydrated it looks dull and stores toxins, which lead to occurrence of patches of irritation and inflammation on the skin.  Keep the body and skin hydrated for glowing skin.
  • It’s the same for hair, hydration and moisturisation of hair starts from the inside.  With our coily, curly, kinky hair, which is naturally dry, it is important to start hydration from the inside.
Photo by Rawpixel

Fun Fact:

There is a difference between hydrating products and moisturising products for your skin.  Hydrating products are water-based and increase water content in your skin to give it a plumper, fuller appearance.  Moisturising products may also be water-based but most likely formulated containing heavier oils to prevent water evaporating from your skin.

The connection between water and sleep

The body needs sleep and rest as much as it needs exercise or water.  We are able to exercise more and feel stronger and lighter when we have rested well.

  • Hydrate evenly throughout the day to avoid feeling dehydrated and thirsty before you sleep as drinking a lot of water before bed will cause you to wake up multiple times at night disturbing your sleep and quality of rest.
  • Our bodies do not only rest in sleep, they repair and rebuild, and the body needs water to repair and rebuild.  Muscles are rebuilt in our sleep so we can train better the next day.
  • Our body requires all kinds of hormones to function optimally; hormones are generated by the body when it gets adequate sleep and hydration.
  • Our concentration is better when we are rested and hydrated, the brain is 73% water.
Photo by Gary Butterfield

Suffering from Severe Acne? Ask your Dr about Accutane.

Puberty, some of us were just never ready for what was about to hit us. During this growth stage we notice changes start to take place. There is literally no way that one can prepare for what is about to happen. With puberty we develop and experience our menstrual cycle, this means that our bodies are ready to reproduce, with this comes hormones, mainly estrogen and progesterone. While bacteria (P. acnes) and inflammation are usually the two main reasons behind the formation of pimples, hormones can also influence acne. Dr. Bowe says: “when a woman’s androgen receptors are particularly sensitive, these hormones can trigger excess oil production and cause skin cells to become sticky, leading to clogged pores and breakouts”.

There are ways that you can tell if your acne is hormonal, such as breakouts that usually occur in lower areas of your face, along your jaw-line, or if the acne flares up during your period. This type of acne can be treated with a specific birth control such as (Yaz/Yasmin). You can get a 6-month prescription from your local GP; consult about side effects, which are minimal. However, if your acne is more severe than the conditions mentioned above, then consult your local dermatologist and ask about Accutane.

What is Accutane?

Accutane is a generic version of Roaccutane. It is much more cost effect and they both have the same active ingredient Isotretinoin. This medication is primarily used on patients who suffer from extreme acne cases, and is sometimes used to prevent some skin cancers. It is also known to be a form of vitamin A.

Benefits of Accutane:

Your doctor will always advise as to how long you need to do the treatment for and the dosage. I found that the 10mg and 20mg dosage worked very well on my skin and I could witness the result almost instantly. Well, perhaps after two weeks. Accutane not only successfully removes all active pimples or acne prone areas, but also any visible blemishes. The ultimate result is clear, renewed smooth skin, especially your facial skin. The treatments targets clogged pores, drying them out and abstracting excess oils.

Dangers/side effects of Accutane:

This treatment is harmful to anybody who is child bearing, it will cause serious birth defects. It is also advised that you do not fall pregnant during this treatment. If you are sexually active, request a hormonal birth control, there is more than just the pill. There are many other side affects associated with this treatment; here are some that I experienced on the surface:

  • Chapped lips
  • Extremely dry skin (worse during winter season)
  • Peeling Skin
  • Eczema
  • Skin irritation
  • Itching
  • Less tolerance of the sun (always apply sunscreen but just avoid complete exposure)
  • Dry/watery Eyes
  • Less tolerance for brightness

Oh, I was later diagnosed by my ophthalmologist (eye surgeon) with blepharitis, this is basically an incurable eye disease that clogs the oil glands. I lived 6 months of my life thinking I had an incurable eye disease, when it was just an unknown side effect of Accutane.

Then there are some internal side effects, such as:

  • Joint pain
  • Drowsiness
  • Back pain
  • Dizziness
  • Changes in fingernails (colour)
  • Depression
  • Impaired night vision

… And much more, I personally never experienced these side effects, but they have been reported as common.

What to Avoid:

  • Avoid taking vitamin A supplements when on this treatment
  • Do not donate blood
  • Avoid using wax as hair remover
  • Avoid exposure to sunlight

The treatment will differ from one person to another depending on many factors. The side effects can be gruesome at times, but the results easily outweigh the side effects. Make sure you stay hydrated and do not overdose. I’m personally satisfied with results and I would easily recommend it to anyone who is suffering from severe acne to consult your local dermatologist. It’s time for your skin to glow!

At-Home Spa for Valentine’s Day

“Roses are red, Violets are blue, Sugar is sweet, and so are you.” Yes, you. I’m referring to you, the Girl Boss reading this article. You’re awesome because “you’re the girl who loves deeply, who nurtures her inner Goddess and dances to her own beat. The girl who honours her beauty and body as a living, sacred temple.” Honey, you’re sweet and I think you deserve to be pampered this Valentine’s day.

Why celebrate Valentines day?

Many believe that this is a day that was ‘invented by greeting card companies’ and is about the commercialisation and shallow expression of romantic love. That valentine’s day is a capitalistic holiday that encourages mindless consumerism. You shouldn’t have to work at an unfulfilling job just so you can spend, spend and spend on Valentine’s day gift cards, heart shaped jewellery, fancy wrapped chocolates, teddy bears and other valentine’s day trinkets, in order to show your love and affection. Just imagine all the red and pink, heart shaped trash that’s going to pollute the ocean and land, long after your fleeting valentine’s day crush has passed.

This is a valid critique of our consumerist society. However, gift giving and words of affirmation (in the form of valentine’s day cards) are two of “The 5 Love Languages” written by counselling psychologist Gary Chapman. These are the 5 main modes through which humans express love. They are quality time, acts of service, gift giving, words of affirmation and physical touch.  

What if you’re single?

Self-love is a buzz word and for good reason. We need to love ourselves more, not in a vain or arrogant way. But so, we can increase our happiness and life satisfaction. Loving yourself improves your confidence and elevates your vibration. It gives you that va-va voom, that x-factor that you can’t describe but makes a person stand out. Not only does it make you magnetic, self love allows you to adequately express the love you have for others. Nothing is more painful than loving someone and not being able to appropriately express it. It’s also painful for the person who loves you, but is unsure whether you feel the same way. Insecure love leads to heart break. Real love, deserves certainty. You need to know deep down that it’s not all in your head and that the feelings are indeed mutual. When you treat yourself with tenderness, you can truly and softly hold the heart of another. When you’re comfortable in your own skin you can give your beloved that passionate hug and lingering glance that says indubitably; I adore you.

Self-love makes you authentic. You can express who you really are and this integrity makes you love yourself even more. The feel-good vibes just go on, as you know, true love is infinite!

Humans are social creatures, we all crave intimacy and connection. Love, bliss, joy, playfulness and sexiness make life worth living! I believe life is meant to be fundamentally enjoyable. Your best life isn’t a day dream, it should be your reality. Of course, there is pain, and suffering but hopefully that leads to growth. Which leads to understanding and that increases your sense of freedom and therefore, happiness.  

So how can you tangibly love yourself and/or your partner? There are the usual valentine’s day gifts and messages, those can be sweet. But you can try something different and have an at home spa day. I propose that this valentine’s day, you treat yourself with deep relaxation. You can practice this alone, or with your sweetheart.

Here are some DIY spa tips to try this Valentine’s Day

Create the Spa ambiance

  • Hopefully you’ve read Zani’s cleaning article and were inspired to show some tender love and care to your household, specifically where you will be doing the relaxing like your bathroom, bedroom and lounge area. If not, I suggest you do some tidying up. Treat yourself as you would a guest, prepare the space. You can even put a house plant in the bathroom to really have that Spa tranquillity theme going.
  • Practice some aromatherapy and burn incense or essential oils. Pleasurable scents improve your sense of well-being. Also, the sense of smell leaves a strong impression on your brain and you definitely want to make this a valentine’s day to remember.
  • Make some refreshing lemon water or other vitamin infused water by using other fruits like strawberries or mint and basil. Give this drink some time to brew, leaving it overnight is ideal. You could also drink herbal tea.
  • Or you could drink some wine, rose or champagne to give your Spa day a luxurious feel. You can also prepare some light snacks, like fruit such as grapes, berries and nuts. Fresh salads are a good option for food that leave you satisfied but keep you feeling light. You can be healthy, but what’s valentine’s day but an excuse to eat chocolate? So do indulge, even if it is just a little.
  • Dim the lights. Light some candles, these can be scented. Be careful not to leave candles unattended and near flammable substances.
  • Play some relaxing music, this can be meditation music or nature sounds. Anything that makes you mellow and stress free. I love Sade and recommend her smooth voice and sensual ballades if you want to keep to the romantic theme of valentine’s day
  • Consider switching off your phone, or putting it on silent. Dedicate this time, to some me time. Or quality time spent with your beloved.
  • Set out clean bathrobe, towel, slippers, socks or comfortable clothes like pyjamas to wear afterwards.

Okay now that you have set the scene; let’s get down to the business of self-care.

  • If you have a bath you can do a body soak
  • If you have a shower you can wash your hair, and put on a hair mask.

If you have both a shower and bath you can do, both!

For a relaxing bath, you can try Girl Boss’s brand-new hydrating bubble bath. It smells divine and leaves the skin ultra-soft. Nothing says luxury like a good quality bubble bath.  Or, you could try a classic salt bath, use either Epsom, Sea or even Himalayan pink salt. A salt bath, detoxes the body and skin as well as help soothe aches and pains. Add essential oils to your bath to help heal the skin like tea tree, eucalyptus or lavender oil and they smell amazing!  You could also try a bath bomb which has a combination of Epsom salts, bicarbonate of soda, fragrant essential oils and adds colour to your bath water. On a budget? Have no fear, you can try adding oatmeal to your bath, this makes your skin soft, soothes inflammation and helps treat eczema and psoriasis.

  • If you’re using a shower, you can also try a Hair Mask. Girl boss products are excellent because they’re made of natural ingredients, not tested on animals and are proudly South African and black owned.  The Hair Mask which is super moisturising, is recommended for relaxed hair and it contains, aloe vera, marula oil, castor oil, mango butter and vegetable glycerine. Your hair will love this, it’ll be shiny and healthy afterwards. For deep conditioning you apply the hair mask from roots to tips of clean damp hair. Don’t forget to give yourself a scalp massage to stimulate hair follicles and promote hair growth, it also adds a deeper layer of relaxation. Then you put a shower cap on and wrap your head with a towel to lock the moisture in and utilise the body’s heat to penetrate the moisture into your hair. Sit like this for 1 hour. If you have natural hair you can try the Girl Boss Deep Conditioner which has aloe vera, marula oil, castor oil, vegetable glycerine, mango butter and vitamin E oil.
  • While waiting for your hair you can care for your feet by soaking and then scrubbing them with a pumice stone. This isn’t glamourous but the results are so satisfying.  And/or do a facial mask.  I know the Korean sheet-masks are trendy but you can do a good old-fashioned clay mask with turmeric and rose water if you have acne prone skin. For dry skin, you can try a mashed banana, honey and oatmeal mask. Whilst you’re at it, put sliced cucumber over your eyes to decrease puffiness and relax whilst you wait for the facial and hair masks to do their magic.
  • After washing out the deep conditioner from your hair, if you’re using a shower, a body scrub is ideal. Now I prefer exfoliation gloves over body scrubs made of sugar, olive oil etc I think they’re messy and expensive for no reason. I know many people simply use an old orange sack to remove dead skin. Be careful not to press hard when exfoliating, just lather up with soap and move the hands in a circular motion.  
  • After your bath or shower, you can apply the Girl Boss body cream, there is one for normal skin and one for dry skin. The normal skin body butter contains mango butter which is an emollient, it soothes the skin and also reduces the appearance of scars. Marula oil, which is Africa’s ancient beauty secret, helps keep skin firm and reduce the appearance of cellulite. And, Aloe vera leaves the skin radiant. The Body butter for dry skin has all of this goodness but contains moisturising royalty, shea butter. When applying, be sure to give yourself or your partner a full body massage for even further relaxation (don’t forget to moisturise the feet).

After you are clean, soft and smelling heavenly. You can put on your robe or pjs and slippers or socks; and write out some affirmations.  For example, I am powerful, I am caring, I am grateful for all the blessings I have, I am simultaneously a masterpiece and a work in progress. These make you feel good and programme your mind to start believing the truth of your awesomeness. Remember words of affirmation, is one of “The 5 Love Languages”, so affirm yourself. Or, you can read a book if that helps you relax. Or else, you can watch a romantic movie whilst you paint your nails. Rub a natural oil into your nails beforehand (to keep them strong), and don’t forget to file your nails, this keeps them nicely shaped and stops them from chipping.

  • If you do have a romantic partner you can cuddle them, and whisper all the reasons you think they are epic.

Valentine’s day is about love. And I hope you feel nourished this valentine’s day. Whether you’re alone or with someone special, you can keep the spirit of Love alive. 

Here’s Why You Should Use Sunscreen Everyday

by Lebogang Mashasha

Out of all the cosmetic products consumers use, sunscreen is one of the most underrated. The only time most of us think of using it is when we’re going to the beach or spending time by the pool. Our skin needs constant protection from the sun’s UV rays to avoid ageing quickly and getting skin diseases. This article simplifies and explains why sunscreen is important and should be incorporated into daily skincare routines.

What is sunscreen?

Sunscreen is a product that has various ingredients in it which assist in preventing skin damage from the sun. The Sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can be harmful to the skin and need to be protected against. Sunscreen serves as a barrier of the sun’s radiation from reaching the skin.

Sun Protection Factor (SPF) refers to the sunscreen’s ability to protect against the sun’s UV rays. It is a measurement of this ability, the higher the number, the more effective the protection is. It varies from SPF 30,50 and even higher.

Reasons to wear sunscreen regularly

  1. Skin protection: due to the depletion of the ozone layer people are more exposed to the harmful rays of the sun. Sunscreen works as a barrier between the sun and your skin to protect it and reduces the chances of sunburn.
  2. Lowers risk of getting skin cancer: the daily application of sunscreen reduces the risks of contracting skin cancer and other skin related diseases. Approximately 80% of the sun’s rays can pass through clouds, making sun damage just as severe on cloudy days as on sunny days.
  3. Prevention of premature skin ageing: sun damage causes the skin to age quicker, resulting in discolouration, wrinkles and sagging of the skin. Sunscreens assists in the maintenance of even skin tone and the reduction of dark spots.

As with many products on the market, it is important for you to do research on the specific sunscreen you want to buy in order to ensure that you understand what you’re buying. Instructions are on the packaging to facilitate the easy usage of the product.

Sunscreen is not just a cosmetic product, it is equally a preventative health measure. The importance of taking care of your skin cannot be emphasized enough because skin is the biggest organ of the body and needs to be taken care of accordingly. The best cure for anything is prevention of it from the onset.

Skin Bleaching & Colonial Notions of Beauty in Africa

Following the big skin whitening campaign in Nigeria that became a big topic of discussion on social media when Blac Chyna announced that she would be travelling to Nigeria to promote her skin whitening cream, we came to realise that an estimate of 77% of women in Nigeria use skin bleaching cosmetics in order to obtain a whiter complexion. This shocking statistic raised awareness concerning the state of our self-image as African women. The World Health Organisation revealed in 2011, that more than 60 million people are using lightening products on a regular basis. How is it possible that such a large population of women are participating in what seems to be an act of poor self image?

Rwanda has recently become involved in the skin bleaching conversation, in a completely different way. Rwandan government has recently outlawed skin bleaching products and practises. Dermatologist Dr. Claudia Moloabi appeared on eNCA in August 2018, warning viewers that these cosmetics contain prohibited toxins like hydroquinone, mercury, steroids and lead, which are poisonous and damage the skin severely in the long term.

Lester Davids, a physiology professor at the University of Pretoria shared his observations on the topic saying that “the older generation used creams whilst the new generation uses pills and injectables. The horror is that we do not know what these things do in high concentrations over time in the body.”

Doctors and health specialists in Ghana have reported incidents in which they have had to stop women from applying skin bleaching creams on their babies and have even had to ask pregnant/breastfeeding women not to take the skin bleaching pills because of the harm it can do to the babies health.

Although Rwanda is receiving a lot of praise from cultural pro-Africans for banning these products, not everybody is happy with this decision. A Rwandan woman who was interviewed by eNCA stated, “these products make a woman feel beautiful.” Another complained, “If I don’t have these products I am afraid I will become too dark like I used to be. I still have a few products left but I hate the thought of becoming darker.”

“Skin bleaching is one manifestation of folks trying to get power and privilege aligned with whiteness,” says Yaba Blay, a researcher at North Carolina Central University. KwaZulu Natal’s ban on these cosmetics was issued with a statement urging all Africans to reject the colonial notions of beauty.

We at Girl Boss are very big on self love and self care; it is our biggest motivation and we are always inspired by women who love themselves. A poor self image is very harmful to the self esteem and it makes it nearly impossible to achieve the point of loving and caring for yourself adequately. The alarming rate at which this skin whitening phenomenon owns Africans is deeply disturbing to us and we want to do everything we can to bring self love back to African women. We are beautiful. Social media movements like #MelaninPoppin and #BlackGirlMagic are important and they should stay alive until our self-deprication is completely eradicated. A true Girl Boss loves the skin she is in!