Dilemma of a naija girl…that doesn’t want to bleach.

How do I start? Okay, here goes.

I am in my early twenties and I’ve never really had a body cream. Wait, let me explain. Up until my second or third year at University, I used Pears or Venus moisturizing lotion. Those last few years were the worst years of my acne episode, and so I had to stop. Inasmuch as my body looked nice, my face was a tropical rainforest. I still have not-so-fond memories of my brother calling my face “paradise of pimples”. It was that bad. If I say it didn’t affect my self esteem, I’d be a devilish liar. And so I was cream-less for a while, using the occasional Vaseline in dry weather. I fared no better.

By the end of my third year, a pharmacist talked me into using an antibacterial/antifungal cream to get rid of them, together with oral antibiotics. All was fine for a while and I actually had close to clear skin until I woke up one morning and wondered when I had become so light skinned. My face is naturally darker than the rest of my body, but at that point, I had people calling me “oyibo”. I threw the cream out. I can’t go and resemble Michael Jackson on top pimples mata. Back to square one.

Till I graduated, I probably never used any thing on my face, and my pimples flourished. Whenever I saw any lotion that didn’t have the words “lightening” or “brightening” on them, they were usually too oily and made me “aunty pimples” again.  Before I began NYSC, another pharmacist suggested a cream containing hydroquinone to me, saying that it would lighten me a bit, but it would help with the acne and spots. On the edge of desperation, I accepted.

Omo, when I got to camp, the Benue sun showed me that “khaki nor be leather”. I was tanned to a deep brown and always got this tight feeling around my eyes whenever I came out of the sunlight. I read on the body of the lotion that while using it I would have to avoid sunlight. Like, what the heck? Could this mean I would soon have sunburn? Whaaaaat!


No one told me to run.

When I began NYSC a friend suggested a lotion to me. It was one of the “toning” ones, but since she used it, and she looked the same as she had always been, I decided I would give it a try. It contained “natural plant extracts” and as a biochemist I know those are really good for skin. I used it all through the harsh Benue harmattan. And stopped during the wet season as it was breaking me out, again. The remnant is still lying in my wardrobe now.

To cut the long story short, when you have stayed so long without lotion as I have for months now, you will feel the need for moisture that won’t break you out. I’m not feeling my facial skin at all bruh. And the stores? They all stock the same damn things. Take a look here: IMG_20160520_141833

85% of the creams promise to take you from Lupita to Beyonce in a week. Now, I’m a scientist and I can tell you that that is downright scary. All the lotions that don’t lighten contain ingredients that break me out like mineral oil/petrolatum, cocoa butter, etc. What’s a girl to do? On a certain BBM channel I saw an ad for a range of products that promised to clear your skin really fast and make your skin really fresh. I was interested oh. When I looked at the before and after photos, I was shocked! Imagine Genevieve suddenly looking like Tonto Dikeh? That was what I saw. That wasn’t the surprising part. I saw comments where people were asking for how they could contact the seller to get the “half caste cream”. I literally died and rose again. Why does everyone want to be fair? What is the benefit? Can somebody explain to me?

This is the statement they always use to qualify the lightening: “sister, the cream will bring out your true colour”. He. He. He. I resemble mugu abi? When did we have many colours to choose from? True colour ko, true colour ni. I dislike the idea of being part of the bandwagon called “Lagos girls” who get a shade or two lighter every year, but how long will somebori keep neglecting her face kwanu? Person pikin cannot even go out sans makeup without summoning the angels of confidence to accompany her. Someone once asked me if I was so broke I couldn’t afford a decent face cream. #sideeye. Does this mean that in the whole of Lagos, there is no face lotion that will improve your oily skin without either breaking you out or lightening you?

A very high number of people are having this same problem and don’t know what to do.

I’m tired. Help.


90s chick; nerd, humanitarian; lover of life, family, fashion, food, art and literature; Christian by birth and choice. In short, I’m like jollof rice: you’re gonna love me. 😉

4 thoughts on “Dilemma of a naija girl…that doesn’t want to bleach.

  1. You may want to try using natural oils ,maybe coconut , jojoba, olive, sunflower oil etc. But you will have to discover which one works for your hair.
    i like your blog.

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