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CakeBae’s Going ‘Back to Black’ Thread After She Accidentally Bleached is The Inspiration I Needed

Tynoe Tuwe is the physical embodiment of what may be a cultural shift.

The beauty of melanin has been needlessly debated within and outside of Black communities for centuries. While the mentality that “light skin is the right skin” has heavily pervaded our culture, there’s been a growing movement to empower Blackness in all of its political, social and physical implications—and it’s silencing all that noise.

Baker and owner of Kravings Baking, Tynoe Tuwe, who goes with the name @AfricanFlamingo, is epitomizing this shift in Zimbabwe.

In October 2019, the self-proclaimed #CakeBae shared her going ‘back to black’ story on Twitter, going public about her dermatological ordeal after she had “accidentally/unknowingly bleached and ruined” her skin.

Here is the full thread: 

Let me take you through the time I accidentally/unknowingly bleached and ruined my skin. A THREAD

This thread has been a long time coming but here it is. I’m very passionate about skincare because for the longest time I didn’t have the best skin so I constantly felt I wasn’t pretty enough or worthy of attention. My skin did improve though after puberty and when I learnt more about skincare and routines. This was my unfiltered skin last year but for some odd reason, it just wasn’t enough. It still wasn’t there and I still wanted to doctor and ‘fix’ it.

Lesson one: don’t always seek the negative or the imperfections – be grateful and look at all the beauty you possess.

Let me just tell yalz straight up – I am a recovering product wh*re. If I see something new I want to try it even if I have a perfectly good product. If I see results then I want the same for my skin too. THAT’S how I ended up using this local homemade skincare brand. I won’t name the brand but at first, the products were good. I got a soap and serum and wow the dark areas around my eyes actually started getting lighter and my skin became fairer. I was happy man. But it didn’t last for long. Within two weeks I was two shades lighter…Anyone who knows me knows how much I loooovvvveee my dark skin. Guys, I was wounded and worried. I texted the lady and I asked her politely if this was correct and if I would keep getting lighter (in hindsight this is when I was supposed to drop that product but I didn’t). She was defensively and didn’t quite want to discuss the products in detail. Ini eeeh okay bhoo. I keep using this product.

Lesson 2: don’t use products without ingredients* in them

Lo and behold shit started going down and I broke out. I broke out so badly I used to cry when I looked at myself in the mirror. Remember I’m two shades lighter now so the acne is so visible and prominent. I didn’t like people seeing me or going out of the house. I took down my mirror because I couldn’t bare to see my face. I didn’t want to see jahman because I couldn’t look anyone in the eye for more than 30 seconds because I felt like they were judging my face. My only saving grace was that it was lockdown and we all had to wear masks.

Left is the calm before the storm. Right is when it started going down. I don’t have anymore images of this time because I couldn’t take pictures.

I stopped using the products and went back to basic Dettol and Vaseline. I had a cleanse for a week and when my skin was now drying up and I started steaming and using homemade remedies like turmeric, honey and lemon etc. After about a month I then started using the Body Shop tea tree ranger for oily and blemished skin. It did wonders in terms of clearing my breakout and restoring my original complexion which was my greatest insecurity. The range is for oily skin so I can be quite drying so I used the moisture day cream too

 

This was my skin when I was on the Body Shop treatment and when I was back to my old complexion. Note the dark areas on my face were back because that other product had bleaching agents which gave the illusion of recovery. At this point I was just happy my complexion was back.

 

After two or so months of using the Body Shop I felt my skin was ready for a bit of a step up. I then started using The Ordinary products. Due to many disappointments when I bought full lines of products that didn’t work – I started with just one product…

I started with the Alpha Arbutin which is a serum particularly for hyper pigmentations and dark blemishes. I used this for a month and I could see the improvement in my skin. I continued with the tea tree range together with the new serum.

I had just woken up. Excuse the bonnet and puffy eyes but this was after I finished the first bottle of The Ordinary serum. I was soooooo happy. So so happy because my skin was coming back.

When I saw that my skin was in a better place and responding well to The Ordinary, I added another product, which was the moisturizer because like I said the tea tree one from the body shop was drying and left my skin feeling funny. (I recommend it for those with excessively oil skin). Because of the drying effect, my skin was greyish and dull, I added…

…The sleeping mask (right) together with the Ordinary moisturizer to give my skin some moisture and brightness.

Although I love the body shop, the wh*re in me started using a new wash and scrub but it was also because it was hard to get my body shop products here from SA. I’ve still stuck to Tea Tree since my skin seems to love it just a different brand.

I recently added another Ordinary product which is the peel and I love love love it. I’m still on this skincare journey but I will share some major keys with you and what I have learnt in this period.

I recently added another Ordinary product which is the peel and I love love love it. I’m still on this skincare journey but I will share some major keys with you and what I have learnt in this period.

1. Don’t be a wh*re. Not every new thing on the market works for your skin. 2. You don’t need 12 steps in your skincare routine in order for it to work. Do what works for you. I am a very simple girl – I don’t like complications. Cleanse. Exfoliate. Mask. Moisturize. SPF. Done

 

3. Without sunscreen you are playing yourself. Whatever product you use won’t do much for you because the sun will always be countering your efforts. This is my trusted one. 4. Take collagen powder or pills to help fight skin imperfections from the inside out

 

5. Water and diet contribute a lot to skin. Drinks lots of water, take vitamins and have a balanced diet with minimum amounts of sugar, fat and diary.

6. Make sure your circle is loving and supportive. Stay away from people who will tease, laugh or ask insensitive questions. You don’t need that energy in your life.

7. Skin issues are temporary. They don’t last. We all eventually get through it. You will be just fine. If things get out of hand don’t resist going to the dermatologist.

8. Here is my simple skincare routine.

Sunday – Cleanse, Exfoliate, Steam, Mask (tea tree imperfection mask), Moisturize, Serum and SPF

Monday- Cleanse, Moisturize, Serum, SPF

Tuesday – Cleanse, Exfoliate, Moisturize, Serum, SPF
Evening – sleep mask overnight

Wednesday- Cleanse, Exfoliate, Steam, Peel (the Ordinary), Moisturize, Serum and SPF

Thursday- Cleanse, Moisturize, Serum, SPF

Friday – Cleanse, Exfoliate, Moisturize, Serum, SPF

Saturday – Cleanse, Moisturize, Serum, SPF

Frame one – Scrub and Cleanser. Frame two – Tea tree imperfection mask and Overnight moisture mask. Frame three – Vitamin E day cream. Frame four – Vitamin C Glow protect lotion SPF 30

 

 

Thank you for reading this long thread. Please feel free to slide into my DMs and remember your skin doesn’t define the beauty that is your soul and overall being. You are amazing.

****

Although many others continue to allow the misconception that lighter skin is more attractive to rob them of self-esteem, CakeBae was fortunate to escape that sunken place. On Thursday, March 25th, she added another tweet to the thread. The progress check tweet which came with the images below was captioned:

“It gets better. Don’t give up. You got this. One year later!”

 

For one, I find her journey quite inspirational. She was able to find self-love independent of external forces (although it came as a result of a dire dermatological accident). Today, she is the physical embodiment of what may be a cultural shift. As we become louder about our pride, we coat the meaning of self-love with all shades of melanin.

Let’s turn blind eyes to how the mainstream media and Black communities chose to ignore the beauty of dark-skinned beauty for a minute (minute meaning centuries), and focus on today, where the widespread fascination of models Duckie ThotKhoudia Diop and the bald and beautiful actress Lupita N’yongo is gradually making colourism a thing of the past.

The visibility of our unique beauty, poppin’ afros and the witty charm of Black Twitter have led mainstream culture to recognize Black women as … well … the new black and sparked the interest of culture vultures.

ImChris Charamba

Head Storyteller/Critic at Large in Culture at Enthuse Afrika

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