My Wellness Wins: Dija Ayodele

The skincare specialist and founder of Black Skin Directory reveals what all Black women should know about skincare, plus what keeps her motivated and positive
Image: www.westroomaesthetics.com

My bedtime routine is… an evening shower. Then I do a deep, double-skin cleanse. I’m prone to dark circles when tired, so to help with facial lymphatic drainage, I do an eye massage, then apply vitamin A to fade discolouration and smooth skin texture. I also keep Cerave Reparative Hand Cream (50ml) on my nightstand and use before bed. I hate dry hands – as a mum and because of Covid, I’m always washing them. And I have to touch clients’ faces so I’d hate to think that my palms are rough and abrasive. Before sleep, I read 10 pages of a motivational book, such as Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth, then go on Rightmove to look at houses I want to buy on a particular road, to feast and manifest. I believe the things you think about the most materialise in your life.

My morning ritual is… a 4.30am wake-up! My children are aged two and seven, so it’s the only time of day I can get work done without any distractions. I love coffee but it’s criminal to drink it that early so I start with a lemon and honey tea, then a coffee at 5.15am. My desk is in front of large windows, so at sunrise I apply sunscreen. I love La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra Light Invisible Sunscreen SPF30 (50ml).

I always tell my loved ones to… strive for excellence. Even if you don’t achieve it, you’ll get close to the mark. When I created the Black Skin Directory the aim was to be the number one skincare platform in the UK for women of colour and now it’s multi-award-winning. None of what I do is down to luck, it’s by putting myself in the right place even when I don’t feel like it.

My favourite mantra is… what is for me will not pass me by. If something is intended for me but hasn’t happened, it’s because it was not right at that time or something about me wasn’t understood at that time. If it’s for me, it’ll come back to my life.

I love to cook… Middle Eastern food – Persian chicken, pilau rice and hummus. I think it’s because I was born in Sierra Leone and lived there until I was 10, when we then moved to London because of the civil war.

My favourite way of relaxing is… holidays! I’m like, ‘Unless there’s an emergency, do not call me’.

Exercise to me involves… training with my personal trainer three times a week – using lots of resistance, weights, cardio and HIIT. I also love 5-7km runs in the countryside while listening to a business podcast. I was a fat child and struggled to keep my weight down because I didn’t have a good relationship with food. It’s better now but it’s a work in progress.

My biggest turn on… good service. When you go somewhere nice and they open the door, know your name and make an effort with sprinkles on top. It makes you feel so special.

The bad habit I’m glad I’ve kicked… being critical of my skin. I have black skin so if I have a spot it will leave a dark mark and will cause hyperpigmentation – but me pointing out flaws doesn’t help women feel empowered and confident in themselves. My top skincare tip for Black women is for your serum to always contain a tyrosinase-inhibiting ingredient, such as niacinamide; liquorice root extract, vitamin C and kojic acid.

I inject positivity into my life by… reading emails from people saying how useful they find the Directory and, especially from Black women, how ‘seen and heard’ they feel. I haven’t always worked in beauty and skincare. I once had a career in banking and hated it. When I look at how far I’ve come, I always feel really positive.

No.1 on my gratitude list is… my husband and children. They are my biggest cheerleaders. My son is my four-leaf clover because he has inspired me to do even better. I do everything for them.

Dija is the founder of westroomaesthetics.com.

Are you a beauty buff who always wants to try the latest innovations? Then we want you on our volunteer panel of customer reviewers! You’ll get to test products currently in development, influence new launches and have a say on what’s on the shelves in Boots. We want our team of testers to be as diverse and inclusive as possible, so if you’re interested we’d love to hear from you. Find out more and sign up at bootsvolunteers.com/home