Skin & Beauty

Article written by Tapiwa Mbaiwa

Excuse me queens! My apologies I meant goddesses, yes you with the kinky, coily curls; your shrinkage is impeccable and that’s on period!

For those of you that have no clue what I’m rambling on about, allow me to educate you, “shrinkage” as has been dubbed by the natural hair community is the phenomenon when hair appears shorter than it actually is especially after being drenched in water or when humidity hits.

So why on earth am I calling it beautiful?

Well, when your hair shrinks it means it has the ability to retain moisture, shrinkage is a great thing despite everything you’ve been told. Shrinkage means your hair is versatile, shrinkage means your hair is healthy, shrinkage means your hair is elastic. In other words, all the gel and mousse in the world couldn’t tame this mane!!!ROAR!!!

On the downside society views shrinkage as unappealing, ugly and unkempt. As 4C royalty myself I got the raw end of the deal. The backlash that comes with wearing the coiliest of hair types in its shrunken state is colossal. I had a guy say to his friend and I quote “Don’t worry, her hair isn’t usually like this”. Imagine being told that the hair that grows out of your head isn’t up to societal standards. Do you have any idea the time, energy and the stamina that goes into the perfect wash and go (I’ll insert a link on what that is below)? Anyway chilee! I wanted to hurt him so bad!!!!but then I realised that this is a universal problem that continues to persist because western beauty standards are what have been deemed acceptable for millennia.

Have you ever wondered how making snide comments about someone’s hair will impact their self-esteem heck their confidence? Society has groomed black girls who feel the constant need to have “presentable”, “manageable”, straight or stretched hair all the time. There is this constant need to please others and be more desirable which I find sad.

Today I want to preach self-love. Learn to love your natural features. If you don’t love who you are when you look in the mirror then you’ll be pressed about how others perceive you. Love the curls under that silk bonnet and remember to shower them with love as well. For the longest time I hated my 4C hair it was nappy and for lack of a better term “wild”, I felt like a cavewoman.  When I finally decided to take better care of it and wear it as a “wash and go” (the lowest form of hair manipulation) it became one of my signature hairstyles. You need to let go of unrealistic and unattainable beauty standards TODAY.

Before you come at me about how stretched and straight hair are just as beautiful. I agree with you. In fact, my hair is stretched to the max as we speak. I however didn’t come here to tell you how to stretch your hair or which products to use as it will be counter productive to this blog post. I would love for you to embrace your shrinkage, fall in love with it. Bear in mind it won’t happen overnight I mean they don’t call it a “natural hair journey” for nothing, it’s bound to be bumpy and messy, you just have to trust the process.

To everyone who has asked me when I’m relaxing my hair, we’re all good here sweetheart. I’m sorry the confidence I exude and will continue to exude threatens what you’ve been taught. I am beautiful and so is my shrinkage. Also, who died and made you people connoisseurs on MY HAIR, I shall wear it however I like. I look like Whitney Houston at the beginning of the week only to look like Baldylocks and the three hairs by Friday.

We need to band together to deconstruct societal norms especially when they impact how you view your natural features. You were blessed with that crown on your head. My fellow matriarchs you are endowed with the greatest of hair types that can transform with just a spritz of water, OWN IT, you are as sovereign and as majestic as you think you are.

I hope these songs can convey what I failed to capture in this article, black girls need anthems too:

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Have you ever stared at your mirrored reflection in disbelief because instead of seeing ‘cute you’, all you see is a dishevelled image grinning back? Yeah right, winter mirrors have a funny way of presenting what you NEVER anticipate, simply because that time of the year isn’t that chiq or friendly. If you don’t up your skin moisturising game, you might find yourself more chapped than fair. So if you’re as tired of chapped skin as I am this winter, you need these go-to moisturisers. They’re must-haves, because not only do they work wonders, but they’ll keep your skin glowing and radiating in the mist!

  1. Shea Butter.

A perfect moisturiser which is soft on the skin and gentle when applying, shea butter cream might salvage your skin this winter. Considering that the butter is natural if bought in a ‘raw’ state, there are little side effects it poses, so you can whip it up with your usual hydrating cream. It will aid in locking-in the moisture, whilst also giving off that aromatic scent that is welcoming and soothing.

2.Essential Oils.

There are a wide array of essential oils which can come to the rescue in winter BUT, you need to pick the right ones. The must-have essentials include coconut, almond, jojoba, avocado or olive oils. These contain fatty acids, which penetrate the pores effortlessly without leaving a greasy feeling. So to avoid the extra ‘shine’, you can mix them with a bland lotion so as to also maintain their fragrance.

3.Petroleum Jelly.

A babycare delight, petroleum jelly is a must-have in winter as it works pretty well on the lip, and also shields feet from cracking. Not only does it help repair damaged skin, but it is also warm after application. Who wants to snag their overpriced stockings with cracked heels, which simply need a lick of petroleum jelly? Not me definitely, so to avoid the inconvenience, grab a P.J. bottle! And remember to thank me later, after your heels, skin and lips mend.

4. Glycerine.

While you want to maintain your make-up regimen, winter can play punk on you, causing unnecesary breakouts. That’s when glycerine comes into play, as it is a good make-up remover. Since it is water-based, you can mix it with an essential oil and just swab your face with a cottony facial pad. A great toner, facial mask and leave-in conditioner, glycerine is definitely perfect for every skin type!

P.S. Winter has a funny way of humbling even the best of us, so always be on the look out because summer is coming, and you definitely want to be slaying in that bikini/short with perfectly smooth skin. (*wink*).

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I have often wondered growing up on a farm with everything organic why black women resorted chemically processed hair and weaves. I guess it was the norm that time to look good hair has to be straight. This is the reason woman of African decent are having trouble with alopecia.

It is often said that with slavery and colonization came a depletion in knowledge of traditional hair maintenance. Thank God kinky hair is now a trend. Here are some new and old favorites passed down generations:

Step 1: African Black Soap: Cleansing Wash

This is a traditional soap from West Africa and it’s main ingredients are shea butter, honey and plant ash. It is commonly made into a bar soap however I have mastered a DIY technique to keep it in liquid form as a shampoo. Thoroughly cleansing the hair and leaving the honey and Shea butter nutrients locked in my hair.

Step 2: Rhassoul Clay: Clarifying Hair Mask

Moroccan mineral filled gem, Rhassoul clay is a traditional mud wash that can cleanse oil and impurities from hair. The word rhassoul derives from the Arabic word for washing, “Rhassala.” It has an unmatched ability to draw out impurities from the skin and hair and is used for detoxifying, cleansing and reducing dryness. It has a reddish brown color and has been used for soothing scalp ailments such as dandruff and psoriasis.


  • Rhassoul clay is the moisturizer and softener.
  • It reduces dryness in the hair while also removing toxins and product buildup.
  • It improve hair’s elasticity and unblocks your scalp’s pores.
  • It reduces flakiness and aids in detangling and although it cleans like bentonite clay but unlike the detoxifying clay, it leaves your hair soft and moisturized.

    Step 3: Locking in moisture!
    Shea Butter, Avocado Butter, Cocoa Butter, Ghee Butter

    These are pretty common knowledge. The one thing that is consistent across the continent is the use of oil to help maintain hair moisture. This is perhaps the most important step in maintaining growth and softness do try to include an oil/butter treatment as opposed to cholesterol treatments. Ethiopian communities use ghee butter which is a type of clarified butter. The butter is used to help seal in moisture and strengthen hair. I have realised in my Hair care routine to apply the butter while the hair is still wet wear a plastic cap and voila you have an oil treatment 🙂 Thank me later.

    Step 4: Marula oil : Scalp Moisture

    This is a traditional oil from Mozambique and South Africa. I have found this to be gem especially mixed with hemp oil it becomes a magical hair growth oil. Applying only on the scalp 3 times a week.

    Step 5: Styling : African threading

    The final step especially to straighten hair without the use of heat. African threading or Braiding the hair down gets the job done. This technique was used traditionally in West and Central Africa to wrap and protect hair as well as create intricate styles. Today, it is used in a similar manner and in addition is a way to stretch hair with no heat.

    As we commemorate our African heritage, let’s take a look at these old African health and beauty tips for healthy hair. Are there any other that you know of? Please share
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I was just 12 years old and my whole life had just changed without me even knowing it. His name was Dr Patel, he wouldn’t be the last dermatologist/skin specialist to transform my skin and fuel my passion for skincare. 

Hello, my name is Mazvita and l am utterly obsessed with skincare. 

What does “SELF-CARE” mean to you? pause for a second and really think about it. . . .


You know how that fresh manicure makes you feel or the joy deep in your stomach after a gym or workout session? Remember how it was the first time you took a whiff of that heavenly new fragrance or the nostalgia you felt having lunch with old friends and the complete peace after meditating or praying. These are all acts of self-care because being able to balance the internal and the external aspects of who you really are at your core, fosters a strength that can make the impossible possible. 

Skincare is definitely an important part of self-care and does not even come close to being associated with plain vanity in my humble opinion. Caring for our skin is not just about it making us look good physically but it’s also our body’s largest organ therefore in essence quite essential to do so. Our skin as strong as it is, it’s also vulnerable, quite the paradox, right? So it needs a lot of love, care and protection because it deserves that and more.


Insecurity in any form stunts your growth in more ways than one, a lesson I should have learnt early in life. Prior to developing allergies in my pre-teen years, skincare to me was my mother’s mandatory weekly Dettol baths with a true African pumice stone plus loads of Vaseline afterwards. Then came the terrific teen years where after several visits to a dermatologist I started paying close attention to my skin a lot more as well as having an awareness of skincare ingredients. I never really had acne as a teenager so that was never a true concern at the time so I focused on maintaining clear and even skin which involved drinking a lot of water, using fresh aloe vera masks, mealie meal & sugar water masks, lemon juice treatments and a few other family secrets (stay tuned, wink wink!). 


Protex Soap and Ponds Vanishing Cream opened up the world to my first encounter to the very matte “no makeup-makeup look” of that era (worth recreating right?). I also remember begging my mother to buy Bio Oil when I was about 16 because I felt very insecure and unsure of myself due to stretch marks, the myths in the society I grew up in regarding stretch marks made it even worse and unbearable as a young girl going through puberty. Fast forward to 2011ish, I was a 20 something year old woman with extreme acne and dark spots and it felt like I was back to being the young 12 year old girl with a skin disorder. “They are looking at my skin, I look horrible” ran through my mind all the time so l learnt to avoid socialising unnecessarily, I barely had friends, I felt very unattractive and just hopeless.


The second time in my life l consulted a dermatologist l was in my late 20s and this time l had extensive hormonal acne due to a change in the type of birth control l used. It definitely was a long and painful journey to healthy skin, which turned out to be the final nod I needed to share my experiences, start my own skincare brand and a career as an aesthetic nurse which is a whole other story in itself. All in all, knowing what l know now it’s all a bit clearer why all the ingredients, techniques and products in the skincare realm work or sometimes do not work at all and l want to share that with you all. 

In this section of the blog, every month going forward we will get right down to the bare skin basics all the way up to celebrity as well as dermatology secrets and how we can access that fountain of youth and glow on a smart budget with a few DIYs for good measure. Of course genetics and nature play a huge part in the overall look as well as health of our skin but trust me Beauties, even mother nature appreciates a bit of a hand with “perfection”.

The next post will be the beginning of a tremendous journey into the science and art of becoming our own skin specialists. If you have questions or topics you would like covered please fill in this contact form or send me a DM on my Instagram page BeautyParadox_Official where l post new content everyday.

Take care beauties and God bless.

Mazvita xX 


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