Skin, Deep: I Never Realized How Much My Culture Influenced My Skincare

Skin, Deep is a series that explores the ways in which our heritage, culture, upbringing, and life experiences impact the relationship we have with our skin.

I'm Cole, and I am Ghanaian. I was born in North Carolina, but was raised in the suburbs of Atlanta.

My mom and grandma taught me a lot about good hygiene and skincare at a young age. My grandma would slice limes to rub in my armpits. This is really great for body odor. Anytime relatives came, they would bring our family raw black soap and shea butter from Ghana. My mom always told me and my siblings the importance of moisturizing.

Because of the importance my mom and grandma put on skincare, I have always been pretty obsessed when it comes to my skin. I spend a lot of time taking care of it. The women in my family were always sure to remind me how beautiful my skin is. When it came to little jokes and teasing I got from other kids at school about my skin, it never really bothered me because of the confidence already instilled in me.



As of recently, I feel like beauty and skincare brands have done a better job in catering to skin like mine. Darker skin tends to much drier than other skin tones. Many of these common skincare brands do not use enough oils and butters in their products. Their products are water-based, and water is what makes our skin dry. I personally prefer butters and oils to moisturize, instead of lotions.


I don’t really have a skincare ritual, but I love to moisturize twice a day. I like to “over-moisturize” at night. I got this habit from my grandma… My earliest memory is when she used to give me baths. She would be sure to clean and moisturize every inch of my body. Sometimes she would overdo it on the baby lotion and shea butter. Shea butter has always been an essential for me.


Some people prefer not to exfoliate everyday, but I like to. I feel like it’s best for my skin after a long day to scrub out all the dirt in my pores. I use a spin brush on my face to exfoliate. For the rest of my body I use an African net sponge. This is a long strip of net-like material many West Africans use to shower with. The coarseness of the sponge is great for removing all the dirt built up in your pores. I never realized how much my culture influenced my skincare!

When you take great care of your skin, it develops it’s own natural glow. I love the smoothness and glow of my skin.

As told to ILLUUM.
For more from Cole, follow her on
Instagram and on her YouTube channel.

Images via Instagram.