Ambi’s Chicago Panel Provides Wisdom on Skincare and Holistic Wellness

For over 50 years, Ambi has been a trusted provider of skincare essentials for the Black community. Regarded as a household staple, many relied on Ambi to address discoloration with certainty. Through consistent delivery, Ambi has earned the enduring trust of successive generations, particularly among people of color, solidifying its position as a reliable skincare ally.

During Women’s History Month, Ambi hosted its second episode of the panel discussion series “Skin Wisdom – It’s More Than Just Skin Deep” in Chicago, featuring prominent women from the Black community. Val Warner from ABC 7 Chicago skillfully moderated the discussion, with panelists including Blake Gifford, known as “signedblake,” an attorney and content creator; Vanessa Bouie, creator of “Fancy Homebody” and Hayet Rida, creative director of “ShopKhoi.”

Beyond skincare, this initiative provided a haven for candid conversations surrounding self-love, work-life balance and prioritizing personal well-being. The panel delved into a myriad of topics impacting women, including health, self-care, wellness, beauty and the significance of leading a harmonious life. Moreover, the panelists generously shared their top beauty secrets, enriching the discussion with authenticity, inspiration and profound wisdom.

Panel Discussion 

Ambi panel discussion L to R Hayet Rida, Vanessa Bouie, Blake Gifford and Val Warner

Val: Let’s discuss your guys’ generational skincare routine and what that looks like. What were you taught growing up about your skin being a Black girl?   

Blake: I grew up in foster care, and no one was talking about my hair or skin. I had acne my entire life — in middle school and most of high school. I grew up going to dermatologists, and nothing they did helped my skin. It wasn’t until I found Ambi while in college that I began to see a difference. It was the first introduction to products that are for me. 

Val: I don’t remember my family or friends talking to me about taking care of my skin. It’s something that I’ve learned in my adult years. 

The ladies bonded over growing up with dark marks and how Ambi’s fade cream helped them. 

Val: What does skincare look like? Did anyone talk about what Black skincare looked like for you? 

Vanessa: I’ve seen the ugly part of skincare since I was a little girl. My mother was very keen on self-esteem and making sure my sister and I had self-esteem and confidence. It was a big deal in our household. Skin care goes hand-in-hand with self-confidence, so Ambi and other products were in my kit early on. 

Vanessa spoke about the importance of males taking care of their skin. 

As a mother of two sons, she teaches them that having a skincare routine sets the foundation for self-confidence. It’s not just for girls; it’s for everyone. You need to take care of your skin, especially as an athlete, Val added, recounting conversations with her son. 

Hayet: The first time I saw Ambi, I was 15, when my mother brought it back to Ghana. Her mom taught her very young how important it is to take care of her skin! 

Val: How do you take care of your skin in terms of going to a dermatologist or esthetician? 

Blake: I do chemical peels a couple of times a year. I also do under-eye fillers, which help with under-eye darkness. It helps. It’s like night and day! I swear by it. As we age, you lose a lot of the volume on your face, and that creates shadows. Sometimes, some of the darkness in your eyes might be genetic or hyperpigmentation, but for some people, it’s merely shadows on the face. So, for me, it was putting back some of that volume. 

My dermatologist is a Black woman, and she understands that aging is beautiful and it’s normal. I want to look like the best version of myself.

Vanessa: I go see my dermatologist often. She takes care of her skin and also does her Botox. I love how it makes my face look fresh: Botox, peels, and laser. 

Hayet: I get facials once a year. For me, it’s about the things I eat and hydration. I try the inside/outside approach. 

Healthy skin is more than just topical treatments—it’s about nurturing mental health, inner well-being and achieving that radiant glow from within.

The conversation took a pivotal turn towards a crucial topic: how each woman navigates stress, anxiety and the challenges of balancing life, particularly in the realm of social media.

For influencers or entrepreneurs transitioning into the influencer sphere, maintaining an active social media presence is indispensable for their brand’s visibility, securing sponsorships and fostering connections with their audience, often regarded as extended family.

However, amidst the benefits lie potential pitfalls, such as social media overstimulation and social comparison. Blake candidly shared her experience of grappling with debilitating anxiety, prompting her to reassess her surroundings. This led to a much-needed social media hiatus, during which she discovered the importance of breaking away from a rigid schedule, prioritizing proper nutrition and getting adequate rest.

Vanessa, Hayet, Val, and Blake Official Group shot (Photo, Ambi)

The other panelists echoed similar sentiments, with Hayet emphasizing the significance of taking a moment to realign and refocus and Vanessa stressing the importance of indulging in moderation. They recognized that stress can profoundly impact skin health, emphasizing the interconnectedness between internal well-being and external appearance. 

Skincare transcends surface-level treatments—a holistic approach to nurturing our bodies.

As individuals achieve success, it’s imperative to dispel any guilt associated with feeling overwhelmed. Being overstimulated or feeling overwhelmed doesn’t negate gratitude. Instead, it signifies a need for self-assessment and self-care—a notion that should be normalized and embraced. Just as skincare routines are tailored to individual needs, so too should routines for mental health.

While Ambi introduced four new products to their iconic skincare line, including an Even & Clear Complexion Facial Cleanser, Even & Clear Pore-Minimizing Toner Dark Spot Fade Collection: Even & Clear Fade Cream and Even & Clear Facial Moisturizer with Sunscreen, the discussion didn’t dwell on specific products. Instead, it centered on holistic skincare encompassing physical, mental and emotional well-being—a testament to the depth of authentic wisdom the panelists shared.

Self-confidence is integral to everyone’s journey, and healthy skin plays a pivotal role in fostering it. Attendees (and YouTube viewers) were encouraged to embrace their skin confidently, recognizing that feeling and looking good empower individuals to perform at their best. 

Ultimately, confidence stems from what makes one feel truly empowered. So, if it boosts confidence, it’s worth pursuing wholeheartedly. Glow with confidence. When individuals radiate positivity and self-assurance, they shine their brightest.


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