The Harmattan season is officially upon us. It waltzed in, bravado style in all its windy, skin drying, lips chapping, low humidity glory. What more can we do, other than embrace its good parts and find our way around its not so pleasant sides. I personally love the harmattan season because once I put out my clothes to dry, before I spell H-A-R-M-A-T-T-A-N, my hangings are all dry and ready to take in. Tell me beauties, isn't that pure bliss. Unlike the rainy days where you practically dry clothes indoors. The thought of it alone sef is annoying! The season also comes with these cold winds that cools the body and makes you wish for it all year round.

That being said,the harmattan can be annoying in some ways. You sweep, mop your floors, dust your furniture and you go drop your cleaning tools. By the time you get back, ta daa!, there is dust all over the place again. This may get you thinking if the "Dust Fairy" just sprinkled some of her magic in your home...hahahaaa. No dear, its the harmattan doing its thing. Harmattan is a dry, cold, dusty wind that blows towards the West Africa from the Sahara Desert. It is characterized by low humidity (little water in the atmosphere) and as a result, the weather is harsh to our hair, skin and body. *Whew!..I just sounded like someone in a science class,*

Little wonder our people have an adage: Oge uguru ka e ji ama nwanyi mara mma (Its during the harmattan season that you know/can say if a woman is truly beautiful)- our elders and their wise sayings though. But hey, we are 21st century beauty savvy ladies that have technology and great products at our disposal. We can't let the Harmattan get to us, lets nip its harshness in the bud.

The skin is affected greatly during this season. Just as the harmattan dries our clothes faster, so it does to our skin as well. The cold that comes with the dryness doesn't help matters either. To take care of the skin during this season:

  • Avoid hot and long baths - I know its cold and you may be tempted to bathe with scalding hot water, please don't as this dries out your skin even further and you can end up with dull, ashy skin.
  • Do add a few drops of oil- almond, coconut or olive oil to your bath water. Neutrogena Body Oil is also great. The oil penetrates into your skin while you bathe instead of washing away your natural skin oils. Note that the bath tub becomes slippery after such, kindly clean the tub with detergent for the next person that may want to use it. Ehen! Please, we don't any bathroom accident or impending lawsuit. Thank you!

Almond Oil, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil and Shea Butter. My foot soldiers in this weather(great for skin and hair)

  • After bathing, do not completely dry your skin. Leave some water and apply your moisturizer or oils.As the body dries, it seals in the moisturizer into the skin.
  • Apply enough, not excess oils/moisturizer to the skin. We know the harmattan dries the skin but we shouldn't end up looking like a grease ball. When oils are applied in excess, it in turn attracts dust and that clogs our skin pores. Moderation is key beauties.

Invest in a good moisturizer, its a life saver.

  • Wash/shampoo your hair as usual,deep condition and  make sure to moisturize with oils and hair treatments. Shea Butter & other oils(pictured above) are also great for the hair
  • Feel free to tell your stylist when you feel your hair is being held too tight. Its your hair girl, and you are paying for that service.
  • As much as possible,wear protective hair styles that doesn't entail bringing out your hair.
  • For my fellow natural hair sisters, don't forget your oil/water spray(80% water and 20% oil mixed in a spray bottle). Spray unto the scalp to keep the scalp hydrated and moisturized.

Public Service Announcement! Ehmm, (clears throat) please this weather isn't reason enough to stretch out sand paper- textured hands to people for a handshake. Neither is it the time to blind our eyes with whitish, ashy legs and cracked heels. If anything, you should be hiding those. Ladies and gentlemen, there are many products in the market that can deal with these areas of the body.Its not enough to "paint ya face" as a lady, please take care of these parts too.

Invest in a good hand cream. They usually come in pocket sizes. I pour some of my Avon Moisturizer (pictured above) into a small handy bottle and throw into my bag. I particularly have soft hands so this gets the job done. Neutrogena Norwegian Formula has some great hand creams especially if you have not-so-soft hands.

Pamper your elbows, feet and heels
Your feet should look god especially if you are going to be exposing them in sandals or slippers. Get a good foot cream as they are especially formulated to keep the feet feeling and looking great.  I use the Avon Foot Works. They work really good for the feet and legs as well.When indoors, apply your foot cream and cover up in socks. It helps the foot cream work better and keeps the feet better hydrated.

This Bath & Body Works Heel of Approval gets my 5 Star rating. Its a cracked heel treatment that works as well for elbows. Even if you don't have cracked heels or elbows, it keeps them soft, smooth and better condition than they were.

The skin on the face is tender and more sensitive than that of the body. It should therefore be handled with care.
A rich moisturizer is the best bet for this season. It will keep the face supple and ready for makeup application. I recommend the Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre. It is a rich yet light weight facial moisturizer. It is moisturizing but doesn't leave a greasy feeling afterwards. A little goes a long way.

A good facial moisturizer is worth having in this harmattan season
Ditch the alcohol based astringents, toners and makeup removers.Opt for the cream based ones as alcohol can be drying and we wouldn't want that in this already harsh weather.

After applying your foundation, a light dusting of powder is okay as too much of it can give you a very drying effect and make your facial lines more obvious.

Well moisturized and kissable lips are what every lady who knows her onions should be aiming for. The Harmattan particularly dries out the lips causing chapped lips. The good news is that there are lip treatments to help salvage the situation.

A Healing Lip Balm and a Regular Lip Balm
Lip Balms, Salves and Glosses are a must- have during this harmattan season. Never forget to leave home without a tube of it as it can save you from having cracked lips. They come in different flavours/scents and are inexpensive so you can buy different varieties and keep in your car, handbag and home.

Ladies, I know the matte lip is trending no doubt. That being said, matte lips aren't for everyone. Yes you read right.They are not! How can matte lips be for you when your lips are cracked and peeling and you are giving orders to your MUA how you want dry, matte lips. Really? That will show all the cracks on your lips and that's not a good sight. Mix equal part lip balm and sugar. Using an old tooth bush, scrub those lips albeit gently. Keep applying your lip balm always.

Liquid Matte Lippies
Sister, even if you have smooth lips, apply some lip balm before you start your makeup. By the time you are done with the rest of your face your lips are well moisturized. You can clean off excess lip balm if any and apply your lipstick.

Matte Lippies with glossy side
Even if you must apply Matte lippies this period, I recommend the Maybelline Super Stay 24hr Color. It has 2 ends; one containing the matte liquid lipstick while the other end contains a gloss. Once the lipstick dries matte, you apply the gloss atop the lipcolour to avoid that drying effect. You can also add more as the day goes on. Talk about having the best of both worlds.

Enter the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream.This winner can't actually be called a cream because its actually a balm. I have this in my personal makeup bag and I carry it everywhere I go. If you have this during this season, you virtually have all you need- if you can stand the off citrus scent, that is.

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream...the all rounder
It can be used to:

Tame unruly brows(great for men's grooming),
Heal cracked Lips especially when applied overnight
Hand cream
Heals sunburns, windburns, abrasions and scrapes
For dry skin treatment
Great for peeling or flaking due to minor burns
I use it for my hairline
Smooth the elbows, heels and knees
Conditions nail cuticles for manicure
Works great to moisturize the nostrils as well during this Harmattan season
(Tip: Almond oil and coconut oil when applied to the nostrils with a Qtip works great too)

These are my must-have products for the harmattan season.
Do you have any other tips or products you swear by?
Feel free to share.

Till my next post,
Stay Beautie-ful & Radiant
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