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In case the title wasn’t a clear enough indicator, Mary Kay has a new skincare line called Naturally and it is a set of products that are all more than 99% natural. It includes a Purifying Cleanser, Exfoliating Powder, Moisturising Stick and Nourishing Oil. Over the past four days, I have infused these four products in my daily routine and there are a few things that have thoroughly impressed me. At the same time, I have a deep concern. First, I’ll summarise my daily and nightly routine over the past few days.

Daily Routine

In the mornings, I typically wash my face with “Dudu Osun” African Black Soap (this is what I use every day) before using the Exfoliating Powder mixed with water to a semi-thick consistency. Just like the directions instructed, I rubbed the mixture onto my face in circular motions and rinsed thoroughly afterward. Following a shower, I used the Moisturising Stick on my face and nothing else.

At night, I applied the Purifying Cleanser with Dove cotton pads and washed my face with “Dudu Osun” African Black Soap. After this, I would use 3-4 drops of the Nourishing Oil. Here are the Before and After pictures from using the products. What I loved the most about the effect (which, unfortunately you can’t see) is that my skin feels smoother and softer than it did before. Also, the intensity of the roughness of my face reduced gradually (I often don’t trust products when they make my face look smooth too quickly).

BEFORE:

     

 

AFTER: 

     

 

Why I Am Impressed

The products are unlike anything I have used, mainly because I have never used products that come in a set. Typically I use a randomized collection of whatever I’ve noticed has worked for my mum because we have very similar skin types. So, using Mary Kay’s Naturally line was new for me.

1. It’s Gentle

I have normal skin with an oily nose, so most products don’t irritate my skin. However, these products felt particularly gentle on my skin, so gentle that a baby could’ve used them. The exfoliating powder was the roughest of all the products (as expected), yet it still not harsh at all. 

2. It’s Easy to Use 

The directions are extremely short and straight to the point – but then again, I’m someone who read The DaVinci Code in four days. Besides this, I wasn’t intimidated by the complexity of including these products into my daily routine. It took very little time to use everything, and I got to class on time even when I woke up late. 

3. It Genuinely Seems Natural

Sometimes, companies advertise their products as 100% natural but then when I use the product, I’m like “Are y’all sure about the 100%?” However, this line had me believing every word. The Nourishing Oil smells so natural (it’s free of artificial fragrances) and it feels amazing. The colour and smell of the Moisturising Stick reminded me a lot of African Shea Butter, so I was convinced that it would be good and it was. Also, unlike a lot of products when I washed the Nourishing Oil, Exfoliating Powder, and Purifying Cleanser off my face, it left completely. Some people don’t like that feeling but I love when it doesn’t take me ages to get rid of a product (cough cough, make-up).

4. Mix n Match

I was very happy that I could mix the Nourishing Oil or Purifying Cream with the Exfoliating Powder. I was also pleased that I could use the moisturising stick on any part of my body if I wanted to (this Moisturising Stick really reminds me of African Shea Butter). Because the products were so flexible, it was exciting to mix and match when I had a bit more time for my skincare routine. 

5. It doesn’t leave my face too dry or too shiny

This is probably what impressed me the most. Neither of the products left my face feeling too dry or too oily (the latter is especially rare because my nose gets oily). The Nourishing Oil isn’t shiny and when I used it at night, I looked refreshed rather than oily and I loved it. I probably will eventually use the oil in the morning because it makes me look…nourished (I see why it has its name now). The Moisturising Stick also gave me a fresh, healthy glow and didn’t make me look like my face was oily or wet.

Also, the Exfoliating Powder didn’t dry my face out. Granted, I didn’t leave it on my face for longer than about ten seconds but when I washed it out, my face felt very fresh. The cleanser also feels good to use and washing it out was extremely easy.

My Concern

Before I began using the products, I watched various YouTube ads of Mary Kay’s Naturally. I didn’t really know what to expect from the products because I didn’t see a person of colour in any ad (I’m a black, Nigerian woman and I could only see white women in the ads) so I wasn’t sure if the products were even designed for people like me. Granted, my experience with the line was good, but little things made me question the products and their effectiveness. For example, because the products felt almost too gentle (almost nonexistent) on my skin, I would question if they worked. This is not to perpetrate racial impressions that black people have “tougher skin” or a “higher pain tolerance” which, for the record, I think is false. Rather, I’m trying to say that because I did not find anyone who looked like me using the product, sometimes it felt like the routine was pointless and l was just going through the motions.

Marketing is important in any organisation and so one would think that a strength of Mary Kay’s natural products would be that it would be suitable for all skin types, skin colours, etc. However, as I watched one ad after the other on YouTube, I saw no one who wasn’t a white woman. I don’t think it’s a problem for a product to be suited specifically towards a niche market, don’t get me wrong – this is not me being angry that black people are not included in the ads. To be precise, I think that if a company is going to advertise its products as being more or less “100% Natural”, they’re sending out signals:

  1. That the ingredients are derived from nature (which I do believe because the moisturising stick smells eerily similar to African Shea Butter due to its beeswax base

  2. That because the ingredients are derived from nature, anyone can use the product regardless of their sex or race – after all, I don’t recall nature being discriminatory.

So, I do think that having a line of products that are advertised as “100% Natural” and marketing that product as though it’s directed towards only white women should be mutually exclusive. 

While I don’t know the intentions of Mary Kay, it is important to take into account the marketing strategies they are using and the messages they send. It is time that beauty companies are honest and more deliberate in the inclusivity of their products. 

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