Selome Hailu | The UT Student Who Believes Taking Care Of Yourself Is An Art

The #BBTRstories highlights our real community of readers, while they take us through their bathroom cabinets and vanities to share their real-life routines. Want to be featured? Contact us at or tag us on Instagram at @beautybythereal #BBTRstories for a chance to be featured.

“Hello, angels! My name is Selome (@selomeee). I’m a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin, studying English and African/African Diaspora Studies. While getting through college, I try to spend my time as engaged with the arts as much as possible - through reading, writing, design, film, television, live theatre, and music. Surrounding myself with creative expression helps me feel really connected to both the world around me and my own needs. It's always been a great reminder to tune into myself and pay mind to my body, inside and out. Taking care of yourself is an art too!

I struggled with acne when I was a lot younger, and after my skin began to clear up it took a while to figure out how to take care of it. My skin is a little sensitive and definitely responds drastically to changes in the air and weather, and I’ve lived in Austin all my life, where the weather seems to change every five minutes. My face rotated between feeling too dry and too oily, but this problem went away when I started doing a full skincare routine only once a day. In the mornings, I wash my face with cool water only and moisturize with an SPF lotion. I’m still looking for the perfect SPF moisturizer, but right now I’m just rotating between drugstore brands like Cetaphil and CeraVe.

At night, I start with the 9 to 5 Cleansing Lotion from LUSH instead of makeup wipes, which are usually too harsh for my skin. I follow with the D:Tox System Purifying Facial Cleanser and facial scrub from Giovanni. Cutting down on washes helps keep me from stripping too much of my skin’s natural oils (and makes my products last longer!) while the strength of the activated charcoal and volcanic ash in my face wash keeps my pores clean. After cleansing, I use Thayers Alcohol-Free Lavender Witch Hazel Toner to pick up any remaining residue and let it sit on my skin for a minute until it stops tingling, then I moisturize. Right now I’m using Sunday Riley’s Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream, which gives me great moisture with just a dab of product. A little goes a long way! It’s on the pricier side though, and I got it as a gift, so after I run out, I’ll be looking for a cheaper alternative. 

I do face masks about once a week. In the winter when my skin is drier, I like to use a homemade mask with honey for moisture and cinnamon for its antiseptic properties. When I’m struggling with blackheads, oiliness, or just a general roughness, I use the LUSH Cup O Coffee mask. I recommend rinsing this one out in the shower - the coffee grounds get everywhere! 

Tea Tree Oil and Oil of Oregano are both great spot treatments anytime I have a breakout; they have intense antibacterial properties. In fact, I'm using my tea tree oil on a Q-tip to clean my new nose piercing while traveling right now so I don't have to bother with making or buying a saline solution.

As much as possible, I look for alcohol-free, sulfate-free products with as short an ingredient list as possible. It feels impossible to stick to that all of the time, especially on a budget, so I'm not too strict with myself - I just hold myself accountable to trying! This year I'm trying to support more local brands and small businesses that prioritize health and ethics while I shop for skincare. I'm also going to try out more recipes for homemade products. Self-care is a project in figuring out what you value and who values you, and that can totally extend into your beauty routine.”

-as given to BBTR

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