The Dubai Resident With The Castor Oil Trifecta


"Hey ya! My name is Kiwi Mohamed (@alepheight), and I’m an ad agency baby living in Dubai. I’m a Toronto native, but moved to the Gulf two years ago because the cold and the grind of the city was really getting to me. I’m currently in the thick of things of Dubai, this super future city. I’m a creative copywriter by title, and I work with this wonderfully intense group of people from all over the globe. Our focus is concept creation, and we try to come up with interesting campaigns that push the region forward.

The hours I keep at work and the city really do define my outlook on skincare. Living in Canada, where there are actual seasons, the routine would be altered accordingly, mostly slathering copious amounts of coconut oil from head to toe. AKA the literal reason why ‘black don’t crack’ in my opinion. Now, with the long hours and insane weather, I’ve had to boil it down to the basics and really prioritize skincare over makeup. When it’s 50 degrees [celsius] outside, the last thing I want is to be wearing foundation, and feeling it slowly shift off my face.

I didn’t really pick up a beauty routine 'til I was in my early 20s. I’d been combatting low self-esteem for a good portion of my adolescence, so that once I got in to university I’d moved on to ‘fuck it’ mode. By 25, I opted for fragrances as my costume of choice, obsessed with the notion that a scent associated with me would forever imprint itself on the minds of those I loved. HA! As childish as it may seem now, I still believe that's true. Currently, it’s Loewe’s 001 Woman, Chloé Eau de Parfum and a signature oud that I had custom made. A mix of leather and citrus that I only use for special occasions.

As a teen I had acute acne, and nothing seemed to work for me until Proactiv hit the shelves. Soon after, my skin leveled out, and I focused more on moisturizing, using a mix of cocoa butter and coconut oil—a blessing during frosty winters. For my oily t-zone I stick with the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel. Now, my morning routine begins with the Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Cleansing Oil followed by the Jeju Volcanic Toner or the Bioderma Sensibio Solution. Then I rub a dab of Bioderma Ultra-Nourishing Atoderm Balm on my face and neck. If I’m feeling extra blah and my skin looks tired, I’ll use the Liz Earle Brightening Treatment Mask. It's made with witch hazel and aloe vera and instantly brightens my face! I try to use it only when I’m desperate, as I picked it up while in London.

At night, I go through a more rigorous routine. I once again double cleanse with the Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Cleansing Oil, followed by the holy grail of K-beauty, Son & Park Beauty Water. I live for this—it cleans, hydrates, refreshes and is less drying than its daytime counterparts. Then comes the Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum and Secret Key Snail Repairing Essence, keeping my face looking plump and youthful. I then moisturize with my Bioderma Ultra-Nourishing Atoderm Balm, or once a week I’ll use a mask. Right now, it’s the Dr.Jart+ Dermask Micro Jet Brightening Solution that I’m addicted to. Would love to try their Lover Rubber Masks though. The selfies alone would be a riot!

With makeup, I always opt for a look that has a natural glow to it. I use MAC Select Moisture cover in NW45 to blend and hide my dark circles or discoloration. With my Beautyblender I’ll dab on Make Up Forever's Ultra HD Stick Foundation in 178 = Y535 Chestnut. I was so surprised that this color worked on me at first, but it blended in easy, light and even. On my eyes I use my 'mascara of the month,' which currently happens to be Make Up Forever’s Smoky Extravagant Mascara in Black. My favorite eyeshadow/highlighter is the Butter Bronze in Amber Gold from &OtherStories. And if it’s a night out, I’ll swipe Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Satin Black across my lids and Chanel’s Rouge Allure 247 Ultraberry on my lips. In my hair I use the Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil formula in it’s trifecta—shampoo, conditioner and leave-in conditioner. It smells divine and manages to protect my curls from hard water. I’ll sometimes make a homemade oil treatment of jojoba, castor and olive oil and let that sit and seep in to my hair. It bounces back nice and shiny.

Ironically, despite all the sunlight in Dubai, I suffer from Vitamin D deficiency, so I make sure to take supplements and I’m slowly trying to ween myself off coffee and drink loads more water. Still, sunblock has become a religion. When it comes down to it, I’m lucky I get to travel a lot and pick up products to test out from across the globe. Dubai is a place that has everything and nothing all at the same time. It can be rather infuriating! But I’ll probably just keep flexing all that cocoa butter melanin goodness anyway."

—as told to ITG