Posts by Robyn

Watch: How I treated my acne

Why are we so obsessed with having clear skin?

Skin experts tell us that clear skin is beautiful, clean, and healthy. Pimples are definitely a warning from our bodies, letting us know that something is not right internally.

I’m not a doctor but I’ve been to many who all say the same thing: watch what you eat.

That’s a topic for another blog post but if you really want to clear your skin, it’s important to understand what’s causing it first.

Watch my story on how I’ve been treating my acne below:

Here’s some pics of how bad my acne was. I’m wearing makeup in all of them because, for some reason, it made me feel like it was less noticeable. Ironically, you can see it clearly here:

Taken 2015: I had just stopped using the strong medication prescribed my dermatologist because it was affecting my health. After a few months off YAZ, the breakouts returned.
Taken 2016: New year, new breakouts. My poor pores on my forehead were covered in a Mac foundation which just made my breakouts worse.
Taken early 2017: I’m not wearing any makeup here. I had changed my diet after seeing a homeopath and my breakouts had begun to clear but I still had a lot of scarring.
September 2017: I still get some breakouts before menstruation but it’s not nearly as bad as it was. I’m not wearing foundation in this photo and my hair is covering the sides of my face but that’s where I mostly still have scarring.

Here’s what I’ve been using to help reduce my acne scarring:

Toner

A toner is one of the most underrated products of a skincare routine. It helps to balance your body’s PH levels so that after you’ve cleansed, your body won’t try to produce excess oil to keep your skin hydrated. I’ve been using a Beaucience alcohol-free toner that you can get at Wellness Warehouse for around R 89.

Exfoliating Brush

I’ve recently upgraded from my sorbet face brush to the Clarisonic Smart Profile. The Clarisonic is the Porshe of face brushes.

I immediately fell in love when I started using it. Aside from cleansing and exfoliating my skin, the visible difference is how polished my face looks after using the face brush. I use it in the morning and evening.

Head over to Clarisonic shop SA to get 25% off, using my discount code: CLSNC-25-962

I apply a face wash to the bristles of my brush and then scrub my face gently to help remove dead skin and lighten my acne scars. It’s made a huge difference.

Clay Mask

Before acne, masks were a rare treat but now that clear skin has become a mission, I’ve started using masks more frequently. I was gifted the Loreal Detox Clay Mask at the launch of Loreal Elvive’s Curl Pride and decided to try it one night after my skin was looking dull. It really works! I use it once a week now.

Sunscreen

Brown people need sunscreen too! I never bothered applying sunscreen because I’d always worn a moisturizer or foundation with a low SPF. But if you have acne scars and get sunburnt, your scars will be darker so make sure that you protect your skin by applying a good sunscreen.

I use the YungSkin SPF 40 sunscreen which isn’t greasy at all. It has a matte finish, light, creamy texture, and smells really good.

A natural way to clear zits quickly

Cue the angels for tea tree oil.

It has a distinct minty aroma and feels a bit burny if you apply too much.

Pure tea tree oil will dry your skin if you apply oil to areas that aren’t excessively oily. My oily t-panel is where pimples show themselves first but then I apply tea tree oil and the bumps disappear within days.

Was this post helpful to you? Let me know in the comment section below and share it with a friend who may want to reduce his or her acne scarring.

REVIEW: Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Braid Refresher

There’s a new addition to Dark and Lovely’s Au Naturale Range.

Formulated with Jojoba Oil and Peppermint oil, this new wash-free braid refresher promises to condition your hair and scalp while eliminating unpleasant smells.

twist braids, braided hair, be whole, robyn ruth thomas
What my twist braids look like

dark and lovely au naturale braid refersher, be whole, robyn ruth thomasDoes the Braid Refresher deliver on its promise?

It sure does.

I sprayed the product throughout my hair, making sure that not a spot on my scalp was missing out.

I noticed that the spray has an oily residue that started to drip down my neck, which is likely due to the jojoba and peppermint oil included.

Be careful not to spray a lot of this product, even if you feel that your scalp is quite dry as this can cause a build-up of oil on your scalp.

My braids smelled great and looked hydrated but by the end of the day, my scalp was itchy and felt as though I needed a wash because I had probably applied too much product.

This product is perfect to spritz on your locs if you’re heading out and want to feel fresh.

It’s free of mineral oil, parabens, and petrolatum and of course includes fragrance – the ingredients of the fragrance isn’t specified.

Remember that the spray hydrates and adds a fresh scent to your hair but it doesn’t clean your scalp so be sure to still cleanse your scalp while using this product.

Jojoba and peppermint oils are both comedogenic, which means that it can be easily absorbed by your hair follicles but if you haven’t washed your hair in a while, bear in mind that the oils may not be able to reach your hair if you have already applied other products or if your hair is dirty.

How long do you normally keep your braids?

Let me know in the comment section below.

I like to keep my hair braided for about 4 to 6 weeks depending on how neat they look and/or whether I think it’s time for my afro to make an appearance.

One thing I really love about having braids – if they’re done properly, is that I can just get up and go, there’s not a lot of fuss to apply products, or waiting for my hair to dry.

But one thing that I have noticed about wearing braids over the years is that it can get really itchy if the braids are tight, and can begin to give off a not-so-great odour if you haven’t washed your hair in a really long time.

I still wash my hair because I’m so used to wetting my hair when I hop into the shower. I shampoo my hair using the Stylin’ Dredz Spray Shampoo (available at Clicks) and only focus on cleansing my scalp since the rinse will wash the shampoo down my braids.

Why it’s a bad idea to wash your hair without a spray applicator when you have braids:

1. Your hair strands become fragile when wet and are more prone to breakage.

If you’re wearing heavy braids and wet your hair, chances are that you’re going to be left with lots of broken-off strands of hair once you remove the braids, especially with rigorous movements.

2. You strip your hair of moisture without replenishing.

It’s pretty hard to moisturise your braided hair if you’re not using a spray applicator so try to make sure that whenever your hair is losing moisture, that you replenish it by spraying your favourite hydration product.

Giveaway! Capture your 2018 moments with a Nikon Coolpix camera

Stand a chance to win this cool Nikon CoolPix camera by subscribing to Be Whole.

You have a whole year ahead of you.

No matter what, it’s going to be an adventure.

There will be moments so beautiful that you’d wished you’d had a cool camera to capture the moment to look back on it.

One lucky reader will.

Subscribe to join the tribe below for your chance to win:

*Giveaway closed! * Congratulations Tarryn-lee Veldsman

What’s cool about the Nikon Coolpix?

nikon coolpix, be whole. robyn ruth thomas

It’s super lightweight.

Its 20-megapixel camera is great for taking those spur-of-the-moment pics or videos. You could pop it into your bag or carry it in your pocket with ease if you’re heading to a concert.

The pics are high-resolution. There’s nothing worse than having an awesome night and taking lots of pics, only to find that most of them are blurry and the only clear photo didn’t capture your good side. You don’t have to worry about blurry pics with the Nikon Coolpix’s auto-detect feature. The camera will focus on your intended subjects automatically to make sure that your snaps are clear.

It also has a tripod portal so that you can connect your selfie stick to make sure that you’ve got the best angle.

Zoom for days. The optical zoom feature lets you zoom in on objects a good distance away and snap them at a high resolution. No grainy pics unless that’s the look you’re going for.

How many pics can you take?

As many as you’d like. Similar to most digital cameras, the Nikon Coolpix has a memory card slot for you to decide how much storage space you need. While the camera itself doesn’t come with a memory card, once you have your own memory card, sharing photos and videos is made easy by simply inserting the card into your pc.

Increase your chance of winning by letting me know why you want to win in the comment section below:

NOTE:

  • This competition is valid for South African entrants only.
  • Only one entry per person will be allowed.
  • The winner will be announced on this post on 6 February 2018 and contacted via the email address provided.

VIDEO REVIEW: Twisted Sista Shampoo and Leave-In

If you’re thinking of trying the Twisted Sista Shampoo and Leave-In Conditioner, you have my vote.

There are so many amazing natural hair care brands making their way to South Africa and I’m happy that we have options!

Now, the struggle is not so much finding a product for kinky and curly hair types but rather, choosing which one.

To help you narrow down your selection, I’ve decided to create a series of reviews, using natural hair care products that are available in South Africa.

Let me know if there’s a product you’d love me to review by commenting below. 

What do you focus on when trying new products?

For me, the most important features when choosing new products are the ingredients, fragrance, texture, and packaging – in that order.

Watch my review of the Twisted Sista Shampoo and Leave-In Conditioner below:

Twisted Sista Clarifying Shampoo –   R179 (357 ml)

Features:

Specially formulated for curly hair types, the Twisted Sista Clarifying Shampoo claims to remove all product build-up while hydrating hair prone to dryness.

It’s paraben, mineral oil, sulfate and phthalate free.

 

twisted sista, be whole, robyn ruth thomas, wash and go, shampoo
Clicks.co.za

Experience:

Dividing my hair into two sections, I used an almond-sized amount of shampoo on each side.

I shampooed twice as always, first to lift any build-up and secondly to ensure that all dirt is removed.

My hair didn’t feel dry after shampooing at all. I was actually able to finger detangle my hair with the product in my hair. That was pretty surprising and great for those of us who don’t enjoy combing and/or brushing our hair.

The shampoo lathers well and also had a lovely citrus scent that reminded me of Drink O Pop.

Ingredients:

Water, Sodium Lauryl Methyl Isethionate, Sodium Lauroamphoacetate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycerin, Polyquaternium-7, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Citric Acid, PEG-175 Diisostearate, Fragrance, Disodium EDTA, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate.

Twisted Sista Intensive Leave-In Conditioner –   R199.95 (354 ml)

Features:

twisted sista leave-in conditioner, be whole, review, wash and go, robyn ruth thomas
Clicks.co.za

Features:

Unlike most leave-in conditioners, the Twisted Sista Intensive Leave-in Conditioner has a lightweight, mask-like texture to deep condition curly hair while preventing frizz. It’s also meant to act as a detangler.

Experience:

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the leave-in conditioner not only left my hair feeling hydrated but it helped to define my curls throughout the day.

Tip: be careful not to use too much product as this will leave a white (ashy-like) residue on your hair.

Ingredients:

Water, Glycerin, Amodimethicone, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Polysorbate-60, Stearalkonium Chloride, Methyl Gluceth-10, Citric Acid, Fragrance, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate.

Have you tried Twisted Sista before? I’d love to know about your experience. Let me know in the comment section below: 

WATCH: 5 holistic habits for the new year to gain healthy hair and skin

Hello! Hello!

Do you believe in making New Year’s resolutions?

I’ve been reading a book by Charles Duhigg, called the Power of Habit, which gives a clear-cut method on how to adopt new habits and abandon bad ones.

Did you know that if you developed short-term memory loss, you’d still be able to lead a normal life just by creating habits? Weird but cool right?

How do habits work?

It’s simple. Every habit has a cue – the signal or reminder of the habit, a routine, and a reward.

One of the examples that Charles gives in the book is the habit of smoking cigarettes. A box of cigarettes would be the cue to smoke, smoking a cigarette after breakfast outdoors would be the routine, and that sense of relief smokers feel after having a cigarette would be the reward.

How to create new habits:

The tricky part about habits is that they never die, Charles says. So in order to create new habits, you have to find different cues and routines that suit the reward you’re looking for.

If you’re smoking to feel relaxed for example but would like to quit, change your routine and swap the smoking cues for something else that feels relaxing.

Now that you know how habit works, here are 5 holistic habits to help you improve the health of your hair and skin:

 

1. Olive oil cleansing to remove make-up

This is a great way to make sure that your makeup is completely removed and it’s convenient since you can get it from your kitchen cupboard.

When searching for an olive oil, you want to get an extra virgin olive oil that’s not diluted or mixed with other oils as that could block your pores.

I remove the oil by applying a natural cleanser to my face brush.

2. Drink citrus water on an empty stomach

Did you know that eating fruit for breakfast is a great way to absorb their nutrients since fruit ferments faster and is digested faster than other foods?

Oranges are packed with vitamins so having citrus water is like taking a multivitamin in the morning. I blend a whole orange with a cup of water and a tablespoon of honey which tastes like a slushy and really gives me a boost of energy to start the day.

3. Eating more broccoli

If you want to look younger for longer, avoid inflammation, constipation, improve hair and skin health then broccoli is your best friend. It’s also one of the foods recommended to cancer patients to help their bodies fight cancer because of its high nutrients.

I love cooking broccoli in coconut cream which gives it a creamy flavour.

4. Dry brushing before a shower.

Dry brushing helps to reduce cellulite naturally. If you brush from your foot to your heart, you increase blood circulation and as well as even out tiny fat pockets that usually form around the thigh area.

5. Sleeping for 8 hours or more.

Just like our phones, our bodies need to recharge and it needs consistent recharging otherwise it won’t operate at its full potential.

Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep are easily persuaded into buying decisions, they’re grumpier which can affect relationships and they’re less productive which can affect how you work.

So try to get a good night’s rest.

Did you enjoy this post? I’d love to know which goals you’re taking on this year. Tell me in the comment section below: 

SA’s biggest Natural Hair Fest #CTNHF17

What a turnout!

The queue to enter the Cape Town Natural Hair Festival lined from the door, right into the parking lot.

More than a thousand people attended, making it the biggest natural hair fest hosted in South Africa.

Mothers and daughters, couples, friends, brands and media jam-packed the venue in Parden Eiland as the gusty wind blew us inside.

The atmosphere was incredible.

“What a time to be alive,” I said to a vendor who was selling natural hair colouring books for kids by the Light House Kids Books. Someone’s daughter is going to grow up loving her afro, I thought. And just as I turned around, a little girl was proudly standing with her hands on her hips and head tilted to the side, posing for a photo.

The event had everything you’d expect a festival to be and more. From local and international hair care vendors selling discounted products to clothing with inspirational quotes, jewellery,  live entertainment,  styling demonstrations, food, and drinks – the festival catered for a full day of fun for families in Cape Town.

Here are some pics of the 2017 Cape Town Natural Hair Fest:

If you’d like to see more pics, search the hashtag #CTNHF17 on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

View full size images above by pausing the slideshow and right-clicking to open the image in a new tab.

Please credit me (Robyn Ruth Thomas) for any pics reposted 🙂

GIVEAWAY! Win a night for TWO at Dolphin Beach Hotel

Do you need a break?

Everyone should get to take a little break away from their routine once in a while and spend it in nature.

Relaxation does wonders for the body and mind. You can literally add years to your life if you get enough rest. But not all of us can take an overseas holiday or even a full weekend break at that.

This is why I love coming to Dolphin Beach Hotel in Blouberg. It’s not far from the city but far enough from the bustle to offer complete serenity.

Wake up to the scent of the ocean, scroll through the perfectly manicured gardens, pop over to Blowfish Restaurant for a breakfast, dinner or sushi, and best of all, walk out onto the beachfront, mere steps from the hotel.

dolphin beach hotel, be whole dolphin beach hotel, be whole

dolphin beach hotel, be whole, giveaway

Sometimes the most beautiful adventures are lurking right under your nose. You don’t need to be long-flights away from home to feel a little free. That’s the beauty of it.

I remember my first night at Dolphin Beach so vividly. I could smell the sea breeze from behind the thick drawn curtains that darkened my room so much that not a peep of light could disturb my sleep.

Strangely, I could hear the sound of waves breaking against the shore but no sound from the hotel’s side – not even from staff or guests passing by my room.

You’ll never know how refreshing a short break can be until you check-in and experience it yourself. This is your chance to enjoy the downtime you deserve. 

When’s the best time to stay?

A seaside stay, even in winter, is an awesome experience. Winters at Dolphin Beach are rainy and windy but still quite scenic. It’s the kind of place you could go to write a book. It holds a warm atmosphere right from the entrance regardless of the weather.

Summer stays are of course the best for hopping out of bed and walking to the beach after breakfast.

What are the rates like?

The style of the hotel is really nautical and cosy. It’s a white-linen pants and sandals destination rather than a suits’ hub, even though checking-in on a business trip would make your time in the Mother City more memorable.

You can view the pricing and availability on the hotel’s website, here.

dolphin beach hotel, be whole

Why should you win this prize? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below 🙂

Terms and Conditions: 

*Entries open to South Africans only.

You must have a valid driver’s license or ID for the chance to win.

One winner will be notified via email on 8 December 2017.

The prize – one night’s stay for two will be valid to the winner for one year from the announcement date.

Only the original winner can redeem the prize unless an alternative has been arranged with the hotel manager.

The winner must arrange a suitable stay-date according to the availability dates provided by the hotel.

This prize excludes any amenities not mentioned in this blog post.

Entries closed.

Congratulations Abdul Khalfe !!!

 

Guy VS Girl natural hair tag with Malik Einero

Highly Requested!

Thank you so much to all of you who requested to see this video via my Instagram poll.

When I’d first met, model, Malik Einero, I’d had so many questions about how he maintains his hair and vice versa. I thought that it would be cool for us to share a bit of that conversation and most of you agreed.

Click on the play button below to watch the video:


We answered some of our most frequently asked questions and this video was originally inspired by the Youtuber, Shanel Inspired.

These questions include the worst and best products we’ve used, our go-to hairstyles, hair goals, routines, and some throwback pics of our earliest hair-journey memories.

It’s so refreshing to see a guy who’s embracing a natural hair journey too, as well as to see the differences and similarities that guys face with their hair.

Let me know if you enjoyed this video by posting a comment below and if you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them directly at robyn@bewhole.co.za

Rob x

Featured On CTInsider

Review: Buuya Hair and Body Butter

Woah, this product smells amazing.

It actually began melting between my fingers before spreading it all over my arms this evening. We’ve had a good couple of hot days in Cape Town this October, so the heat from my fingertips easily liquified the ingredients.

Have you used Buuya before? Let me know in the comment section below. 

I’m a sucker for beautifully fragranced products. This reminds me of those expensive scented candles that people keep in their bathrooms but never use. It’s likely the rich vanilla essential oil and shea butter that you’ll get a whiff of first.

Shea butter is my go-to for full-body hydration from hair to face and body, so I was eager to try Buuya’s blend of African and tropical butters.

Texture and packaging:

buuya beauty be whole

The butter comes in a 125 ml resealable hard plastic container. The packaging is quite earthy and neutral-looking which would suit the bathroom setting at a luxury nature reserve.

The ingredients are said to be whipped into its rich, buttery texture, which explains why it melted so easily onto my skin as I applied it.

Experience as a styling cream: 

First of all: don’t use a lot. I’d read the direction on the container before using the product and was expecting a much creamier texture to style my hair. I’ve tried twisting my hair using unrefined shea butter before and my hair literally frizzed within an hour of untying the twists. I really had no expectations for this butter.

My hair was freshly washed – damp – and had absolutely no other products on it before applying the butter. And with only one product applied after twisting, my hair dried quite quickly and was 90% dry when I woke up the next morning.

Tip: Your twists should be completely dry before untying them otherwise your hair will frizz. Click here to watch my twist out video tutorial. 

Pro:

Once I untied my hair, I did have a bit of frizz but I was really impressed with how shiny and defined my twists looked, especially since achieving a defined style with a butter is extremely difficult with my hair type (3c/ 4a). The twist out lasted me three days with the help of my sleep cap.

Con:

I used about a R5 coin size amount on each half of my hair, which is a lot for a butter but a little for a styling product (on my hair).

At the touch of my hair, I could still feel an oily residue on my hands by day 3. This was of course because I’d used too much product, but also because one of the ingredients, likely the coconut oil, wasn’t being absorbed by my hair follicles. I’d recommend using an almond size amount on each half of your hair if you have type 3 or 4 hair, and much less for type 2 hair.

Experience as a body product:

buuya beauty bewhole

I definitely wouldn’t need to wear any perfume when using this butter on my skin. `Since it blends some of my favourite natural ingredients to use on my body, I liberally applied it from my hands to my feet. It’s rich but doesn’t feel heavy on my skin and a little goes a long way.

I’d recommend using this as a body butter in the evening, after a shower, since the use of oils as a daytime moisturiser can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun.

What’s in it:

Unrefined shea butter, coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, olive fruit oil, Mongongo seed oil, Mafura seed butter, vanilla essential oil blend, and pure vitamin E oil.

Price Range: 

With the caliber of ingredients in this butter, I’d say that it’s a massive bargain for R125. A tub of each ingredient on its own would cost much more.

Buuya offers a variety of other hair and body products, which you can find on their website via this link.

buuya beauty, be whole, natural hair

Skin Renewal Review: Facial Peel for Acne

If you’ve watched my Instagram stories, you’d have seen snippets of what my first facial peel experience was like.

I had high expectations.

This mission to regain clear skin has been going on for years – before I even big chopped in 2014. By modifying my diet, taking natural supplements, exercise and trying to get more sleep (the last one is still quite difficult), I’ve managed to massively reduce the number of breakouts I experience.

No more painful red bumps that make my face feel like a grater.

I usually only experience minor breakouts when I’m due to start my period now or if I’ve had a lot of sugar. You’d never believe how much sugar there is in fruit. Despite what traditional dermatologists will tell you, it’s possible to treat acne by modifying your diet. At least three doctors who practice functional medicine – which is to treat the cause of a problem rather than just treating the symptom – have recommended that I modify my diet to treat my acne and it has really worked.

It’s the scarring that I’m battling with. Well, up until I found out about facial peels.

Watch the entire process below:

How much does it cost?

It depends on what you’re having done, where you go, and who is doing the treatment. I paid a total of R575 for my facial at the Skin Renewal Institute in Claremont/Newlands, Cape Town. One would normally have to pay a separate fee for a dermatologist’s consultation at the spa but if you book a treatment for the same day as your consultation, you only pay for the treatment. This was a nice surprise.

I’d researched many salons in Cape Town but opted for Skin Renewal when it was recommended by a friend who experienced great results.

Is it painful?

The duration of the entire treatment is one hour but the chemical peel only sits on your skin for 3 minutes before being rinsed off. Once the chemical peel is applied it does sting but it’s not unbearable. I think that this also depends on the intensity of the treatment and I was fine with the heat of the Azelan peel on my face.

Does it clear acne scarring completely?

Yes and no. My skin is considerably smoother and clearer than it was before but not all of my scarring is gone. The doctor advised that it was going to be a process and that I would need a few more treatments before my skin would clear completely.

What is the maintenance involved?

After getting the treatment done, my skin began to flake so that it could shed my old layer of skin and invite new, clearer skin to the surface. I was advised to wear sunscreen of at least SPF 40, to avoid unnecessary sun exposure, no harsh cleansing, and no moisturising until my skin had peeled completely.

My skin flaked for about 4 days which seems to be unusual since I was told that it wouldn’t really peel but perhaps mine is a special case. The flaking wasn’t really noticeable unless someone stood 5 finger spaces away.

When Is the best time to get a peel?

When you have a skin concern, the on-duty doctor will advise whether a peel is suitable for you. As everyone’s skin is unique, you may not receive the same acne treatment as I did.

Would I consider getting another peel?

I’ve already booked my next treatment. Needless to say that I was happy with the service at Skin Renewal.

Did you enjoy reading this blog post? I’d love to know your thoughts. Post your comment in the section below 🙂