Tag Archives: beauty

Staying fabulous in 50 degrees centigrade: a special guide

As I have (repeatedly) noted, I live in a small concrete hut in a dusty suburb of Juba, with no electricity and an outside toilet with a bucket/hose shower. I have no fridge, no air conditioning, no fan, and our washing water is trucked in from the Nile: bugs, weird slimy leaves and all. I work in a shell of a building with no electricity for the fans. Despite the rains starting to dribble every two days or so – have been sweating through four months of dry season, where temperatures have been happily coasting at 40 degrees C in the shade.

So, it’s extremely hard to stay my usual beautiful, graceful self here. Unfortunately, I am entirely used to being glazed in sweat, which picks up a serious amount of blowing dust. My sporadic and extremely unskilled approach to makeup in the UK has not translated well here: things like lipstick or mascara just slide unhappily off my face. My hair has to cope with Nile water, direct sun, constant sweat and serious amounts of dust. Basically, if I am not visibly streaked with sweat and dirt, then I’m feeling pretty glam.

However! I have also developed some key extreme-weather “beauty” tips. (Beauty is in quote marks because these probably constitute basic sanitation and self-care more than Cosmo-level regimens.) So here follows my basic list of key tips for the cash-strapped, time-poor, electricity-deficient, overly-warm expat:

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Filed under Africa, Domestic bliss, South Sudan, Travel

Juba Nail Art: space age claws, sparkly leaves and French wiggles



Juba working hours – at least for many of us – are six days a week, over 12 hours a day; so I prioritise my Saturday morning nail bar sessions.  The nail bar, as I may have mentioned, is a wooden bench on the porch of a pharmacy in the middle of Souk Libya in Munuki, the suburb of Juba that I live in, just opposite the cucumber-and-stock-cube seller and along from the dried fish section.

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Filed under Domestic bliss, Procrastination, South Sudan, Travel

Skin bleaching, women, morality and national character in Juba

Male skin bleaching sachets, "extra strength for tough male skin"

Male skin bleaching sachets, “extra strength for tough male skin”

Anyone who has looked closely at non-European skin products knows that skin bleaching is a serious industry.  The international issues of race, racism and beauty standards must be addressed in any discussion of skin lightening and aspirations to white skin (and I would encourage you to read some excellent comment pieces on this and look at the academic work here).  It is hard to buy a soap, face cream or anti-acne product here in Juba that does not contain skin lightening agents.

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Filed under South Sudan, Uncategorized, Women

Nail art in Juba town

nail art Juba

The nail art industry in Juba is booming.  Run entirely by men – I haven’t yet seen a woman doing manicure/pedicure work – working out of salons or wandering the streets with a small box of lotions and polishes, door-to-door, you can get a relatively good mani-pedi for ten bob a pair here.  I am addicted.

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Filed under Domestic bliss, Procrastination, South Sudan, Women