My name is actually pronounced [Oh-Bee-Uh-Gail-EE]. It’s not hard, it’s not tricky, it’s none of that. It just requires you to actually—try. My name means ‘One who has come to enjoy, not suffer’. Most of my family and friends call me Amina—that’s my name too. Queen Amina is believed to be the basis for Xena Warrior Princess. Amina was a Hausa Warrior Queen in Zazzau (now Nigeria). My name fits me perfectly, it personifies the spirit and strength of womanhood—learn it. Ever since I was a kid I’ve always had the thirst for knowledge and things un-known. I was extremely handy with my hands and I would literally try to build and concoct anything.
I present to you the first of by.Obiageli: The Interview Series. What you’re reading, is how it was told. Who better to go first than Me.
Up until about the age of 24—I typically used any cool drug store facewash. I didn’t have any acne, dark marks or textured skin. And I would use raw shea butter to remove make up and also it doubled as my moisturizer. My mask of choice then was Queen Helene Mint Julep mask—a dollar store staple. Then shit hit the fan! Hormones went out of control, stress induced problems happened more and my skin took a toll!
I usually wash my face morning and night. I use an oil cleanser I concocted for oBi skincare followed by my staple face wash— Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Cleanser. When I feel like my skin could use a little extra cleaning (usually a week after a chemical peel)—I use this exfoliating cleanser by Tatcha. I went thru a very bad hormonal acne phase (still usually happens) and I was a picker—so that made dark marks and my skin worse. I see my esthetician Leslie every 4-5 weeks and I usually get a chemical peel w/facial. The chemical peel I get usually leaves me with an ugly peeling stage for about 7-10 days. Every so often I’ll switch up for the microderm option which leaves me glowing instantly. One thing new I’ve been trying with Leslie is LED light therapy, if I come in with a major acne outbreak after eating shit I knew I shouldn’t have. The treatment uses LED light to kill acne causing bacteria. I can honestly say after that treatment I can see and feel a difference.
In my routine, I tone my skin with a new favorite of mine—Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Toner. I always use either hyaluronic acid, an aloe leaf or this skin gel on my face after toning followed by an acid serum. The serum really depends on what’s going on with my skin for the week. I use mandelic acid sometimes at night to help with hyperpigmentation—this is the best acid choice for darker skin women. Sometimes I’ll use lactic acid at night so my skin won’t become too familiar and start saying screw mandelic. Lactic acid is also really good for hyperpigmentation. During mornings I opt for a good vitamin C serum, mostly I use this one by The Ordinary. That serum works with my sunscreen to protect my skin from the sun and keeps it from making hyperpigmentation worse. When I do have acne or texture problems I’ll either spot treat with salicylic acid or do the overnight treatment with this night serum. That’s one of my TOP products, I see instant improvement the next morning.
To moisturize my skin, my final step—if it’s at night I use either this moisturizer by Farmacy or the small size of Tatcha Water Cream that I’ve been trying to make last forever. (You see that damn price.) During the mornings, my final step would be sunscreen before dashing out the door for work. Sunscreen is something I never knew was needed in my routine but since adding it, it has dramatically helped my skin. My go-to sunscreen is definitely Paula’s Choice.
My body is way simpler then my face routine. I dry brush before every shower. Dry brushing is extremely therapeutic and not to mention it helps ensure all my products are being soaked into my skin and it helps reduce appearance of cellulite. One thing I love doing is keeping eucalyptus or baby’s breath tied up on my shower head, it makes my showers that much more therapeutic. At this moment I have been addicted to method body washes —they moisturize without overdriving your skin. Wind down is by far my favorite but you can’t go wrong with any of them. Occasionally I’ll use this exfoliating body wash with acids from Mario Badescu. If you suffer from bacne or dry skin then I highly suggest that body wash coupled with dry brushing. I don’t use loofahs or towels when I shower, getting older I have become more environmental conscience and I bathe with this rubber scrubber that is BPA and latex free. My shower time is my ME time—I stretch, sing, cry, dance, meditate and just let all my stress melt away in the shower.
After showering I air dry my body (Yes, I roam my home naked) and then follow up with moisturizing with olive oil, coconut oil or I’ll use an oBi Skincare blend I’m working on. The only lotion I use—and that’s seldom is Nivea. I have gotten my entire family hooked on that lotion. I detoxed off deodorant years ago and it took a bunch of trials and tribulations to find the perfect natural deodorant…but I did! Schmidts has the best natural deodorant. Drinking water and my diet as well as detoxing from regular deodorant is what keeps my sweat odorless—even after heavy sweating workouts. I just use the little spatula and scoop it under my arms and once it melts I pat it over my full underarm.
I’m not too much of a make-up guru, most of my make-up for big parties or events are done by my friend Da’Vesha, owner of Vanity Throne. By myself, I like all my looks to look dewy and kind of super wet looking—I feel as if it’s better suiting for me.
Before applying makeup, I always mist my face with rosewater then apply a primer. My go-to primers are either NYX honey dew, Tarte maracuja oil (yes, I puts oil on my face before my makeup…Love IT!) or just plain rose water. As a matter of fact, after each step In my makeup rouitine I mist my face with rose water. My staple foundation is Maybelline FitMe dewy in 455 or sometimes I use Black Radiance in brownie or cashmere depending on if its summer or winter (I am a shade lighter during winter months). I recently attended an event for Clinique and was introduced to their Even Better foundation with SPF 15—the WN 115.5 Mocha is a new shade they introduced that matches my skin perfectly!
To set my makeup I either use this setting spray by Urban Decay which ensures my makeup stays in place all night and not to mention it gives like a luminous glow. For day makeup looks I’ll either set with just rose water or I’ll use this essence which doubles as a setting spray as well. The scent on that essence is amazing and not to mention the ingredients are all the shit my skin loves.
I have little beady eyes and I can never get use to false lashes so I stick to my mascara staples. Pat McGrath fetish eyes is on my list to try and that needs to happen sooner than later. I also like to be extra around the eyes since I do opt out for dramatic false lashes—so I always try to add a pop of color with a liner or go for a messy gloss lid look with a lip balm or any creamy eyeshadow.
My hair—phew shit, I’m going to try and make this simple. I transitioned from relaxed hair back to my natural hair texture around 2014. I’ve pretty much been relaxed since I was a little girl (earliest I remember is age 7—I had a taper fade in kindergarten and an S-Curl in 2nd grade—don’t ask, then came the years of relaxed hair). My hair has always been extremely thick, even in relaxed years. Once I got to college I maintained a pixie cut for years, I even shaved the back and had designs (Monica & Keyshia Cole were my short cut inspirations). Short cuts on my hair meant I was now getting a relaxer every 3 weeks or so. Though my hair was healthy, I still decided to transition—I did not want my hair to need to rely on chemicals. I hate hair typing, I feel as long as your hair is healthy…that’s all that matters. Good hair is a myth.
But since typing helps you help others….I’M 4C Y’ALL. I love my hair because with patience I can achieve any style. I only shampoo my hair 1x a month, it prevents my hair from drying out and losing a ton of needed moisture. When I do shampoo I use Design Essentials or if I feel my hair is extremely dirty or I’m taking down a protective style I’ll use Eden peppermint and tea tree shampoo. In between the shampoos I co-wash and deep condition my hair weekly. As I Am has one of the best co-washes that my hair seems to love. I’ve experimented with tons of different co-wash options and I always end up sticking to this one. For deep conditioning I use Carols Daughter Rhassoul Mask—trust me…this deep conditioner is amazing. My hair is protein sensitive so I stay away from products that say “restore, replenish, reconstruct” etc or contain lots of proteins hidden in the ingredient label—my hair needs moisture! At times that I do need to incorporate protein, I just make sure to balance it out with moisture which is why this babassu deep conditioner by Mielle Organics is another fave for my hair. I’ll add it with the carols daughter hair mask and do it all together about every 2 months or after protective styling.
I never use towels on my hair—I don’t need all the unnecessary tugging, I just wrap my hair in an old t-shirt after washing. I have to begin my styling process on damp hair. I haven’t used any heat on my hair in about 2 years—I have no inclination to use it anytime soon either. My hair shrinks about 90% of its true length and I’ve learned to embrace that shrinkage more. I begin styling by using my trusty and faithful de-tangling leave in. Its consistency is not too thick and not too watery, it’s just right for my hair and makes combing with my denman brush a breeze. After putting leave in on all four sections I go back in and follow up with EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil). EVOO helps with growth and scalp health without leaving my hair super oily.
Once the base is done—yes, that’s just the base. Then I’m ready to pre-style my hair. I’ll either do a bunch of chunky twist or about 8 chunky flat twist (3 in back, 1 on the each side and 3 coming forward). If my hair has gotten too dry I often mist with a rosewater blend I made with a few drops of rosemary oil. Rosemary is really good for promoting growth and alleviating dry/itchy scalp. I either use this twisting soufflé by Mielle Organics or this curling cream by African Pride when twisting my hair. Either one gets the job done as far as definition, moisture and not leaving any heavy buildup. I air dry overnight or for a day and just separate and fluff my hair as big as I want when I’m ready. I don’t typically comb my hair during the week, I’ll just pineapple in sections and do daily scalp massages with EVOO and a light mist of the rosewater blend.
I protective style every few months with either box braids or marley twist. Those are 2 of my staples which I can style and decorate how I want to play into my moods. I sometimes wear wigs as a protective style—made by Jennifer. Wigs give me so much versatility—I can go big or I can go cute and short all while rocking straight backs underneath.
I’ve had too many bad experiences with natural hair stylist— so I trim and pretty much do my own natural hair.
Anyone who knows me know that I’m somewhat of an herbalist—I have an herb or some sort of concoction for anything my friends come to me with. Years ago I decided to cut out birth control pills after what I experienced it doing to my mental state and hormones. I even tried the nuva ring option which left me with flu like symptoms for weeks. I monitor and track my cycles and moods using Dot The App and that has helped me so much with understanding my bodies schedule and why I may be experiencing certain moods and feelings. I don’t use any traditional medicine or antibiotics—even after I had oral surgery, turmeric healed me better than the prescribed antibiotics could have without all the side effects and potential yeast infection that’s associated with antibiotics and women.
Stress and anxiety has tampered with my weight for a while so I’m nowhere near the stallion I was in college (Don’t act new, you KNOW). I try to regulate my stress with adaptogens and different herbs which also help to heal my entire body. I cut out soda and juices and all them processed sweet drinks a long time ago and I pretty much only drink water, herbal teas and coffee. I occasionally make my own rendition of a lemonade with boiled chamomile, hibiscus and lemon sweetened with raw honey. That drink is also extremely calming. I drink a cup of coffee every morning so I try and make it worth my while by adding collagen and a few adaptogens in it—mainly ashwagandha.
I take a multi-vitamin and vitamin C capsule daily. I know every day I am not getting the daily dose of all vitamins needed so I make sure to compensate for that. I am anemic so I have to make sure I get enough Iron in my body everyday—especially during my period. I usually eat green veggies daily or I’ll opt for a green smoothie full of spinach and/or kale and wheat grass. Sometimes I’ll add spirulina but you really have to ease that on your stomach or suffer the consequences.
I use to work out faithfully but now I try and squeeze in workouts every so often—a change is soon gonna come. Stretching is something I do daily along with taking a few minutes to meditate, breathe and reflect positive thoughts.
I love a good perfume and I wish everyone knew scents smell way different when they mix with your body’s natural chemistry. So Marc Jacobs Daisy can smell 10 different ways on 10 different women. Though I love that scent, I usually stick to a few staples. Chanel Mademoiselle is by far my FAVORITE scent. It interacts with my body perfectly and lingers all day on me. I have been a fan of that perfume since my late teens. Another staple which was hard for me to find for a while is Lolita Lempicka. That perfume became a favorite of mine in high school when I use to snoop through my sister-in-law’s room looking for anything and everything. (Thank you Jennifer!) Lolita is the perfume I wear that everyone loves but can’t quite pinpoint the scent—they just know I smell good.
I loved the aesthetic of the Le Labo store in Houston so a random errand one day sent me in there. With all the scents they have to offer my two favorite are Lys 41 and Jasmin 17. I prefer to wear the Lys 41 during evenings & nights and the Jasmin 17 as a day scent. You really can’t go wrong with either. I bought a sample size of the Ylang 49 to try and so far the scent has been amazing, it definitely lets people know you’re approaching. Some days I opt out of perfume completely and I’ll just wear a little lotus oil mixed with almond oil massaged into my collar bones and behind my ears. Lotus oil has a very calming and relaxing scent and really helps on days I’m a bit stressed out. I get small vials of the oil from a metaphysical supply store in Houston called Magick Cauldron.
-I talked to myself to talk to you.