Review | Did Shea Moisture Fix My Problem Skin?

Shea Moisture Problem SkinThere’s a good reason why this review took so long, I promise. It’s crazy, but I’ll get to it at the end of this review. Remember back in March, I told you guys about these skin care products for problem skin that I got from Perfect Trust Cosmetics? Super super thoughtful of them to send me these products, because as you probably know, ya girl has been battling adult acne for some years now.

I was sent the Facial Scrub/Wash, Facial Mask and Toner from the Shea Moisture African Black Soap Problem Skin line, as well as the Spot Correcting Moisturiser from the Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus line.

In this post, I shared my Shea Moisture skincare regimen, that is, how I used each product. Now, I’m back to tell you how it all worked out for me. You know we like to go deep with our product reviews and we are talking about 4 here, so buckle up!

Because this is a discussion about 4 products, let me just refer you to the official Shea Moisture website to read the product descriptions, and ingredient lists for each one. I used the products together, as a system. While I’m going to comment on how each one looked and felt, this review is really about how they worked TOGETHER. Okay? Okay!

Here’s how it’s going to go:

  1. Links to the Products
  2. First Impressions
  3. Notes on the Individual Products
  4. My Results After Using All 4 Products Together For 3 Months Consistently
  5. Sand Sand in My Garri

1. Links to Products under Review

African Black Soap Problem Skin Facial Wash/Scrub | African Black Soap Problem Skin Facial Mask | African Black Soap Problem Skin Toner | Coconut & Hibiscus Spot Correcting Moisturiser

2. First Impressions

Have you ever tried looking at the list of most skincare products in the supermarket or pharmacy? I am legit always so concerned because the lists are more complicated than my shampoo! Products that I am meant to put on my already stressed face!

My first impression about these guys was how simple the ingredients are, compared to other products I have seen, and used. The Toner has the cleanest list, followed by the Spot Correcting Moisturiser. The other two are good too. Ingredients wise, Shea Moisture represented like they always do.

I like how the products are packaged. The Scrub is perfect in the tube, and having a spray cap on the Toner is such a good idea! It’s the first toner I’ve ever used that comes with a spray cap, so I can tell you it is much more efficient for clumsy pants like me, than the regular ones you just “pour”. The Spot Correcting Moisturiser smells so sweet, and not in an overpowering way. The little glass tub it came in made me feel all grown up! (I really should up my skincare game, babes are getting old!)Shea Moisture Spot Correcting Moisturiser

The Problem Skin products (Toner, Wash & Mask) kinda smell like Shea Moisture’s other hair products and bath products in the African Black Soap line, like this one here. It’s a light, pleasant smell.

3. Notes About the Individual Products

TONER: I love that the Toner is really gentle. I have oily skin, and so far, in my skincare experiments, Toners haven’t been my best friends. Apart from natural remedies like diluted ACV, and Thayer’s Rose Water and Glycerine Toner, the regular chemical stuff is too harsh for me. They are okay for application on a stubborn zit but too drying for my whole face, which causes my skin to overproduce oil. Now, the crazy thing about certain toners that I will not name being harsh on zits is that, that is not the primary work of a Toner!

A Toner is meant to restore the pH balance of your skin after it has been somewhat upset by the use of a Cleanser. I’ve been forced to learn more about my skin than I was interested in, honestly.  So, this toner is very very gentle. It claims to reduce pores (I have visible pores and I can’t say it did this for me) but it definitely helped reduce shine. Even with the moisturiser, my face just wasn’t as oily as usual.

Shea Moisture African Black Soap for Problem Skin Toner

MOISTURISER: After the Toner, my favourite product is the Spot Correcting Moisturiser. I love it so. I mean, all the products worked together for good, but beyond the acne stopping, the evidence of acne cleared too! I think the Moisturiser had a heavy hand in this. Don’t just take my word for it. Nappily Nigerian Girl said her sister used it on a scar on her leg and it cleared!

Shea Moisture Spot Correcting Moisturiser

Shea Moisture Spot Correcting Moisturiser
Issa testimony!

SCRUB: I used the scrub about two times a week. It has tiny “beads” but these aren’t, to the best of my knowledge, the ones that are bad for the environment. When you first apply it, it looks like soap. I massage it into my skin in a circular motion until it is totally absorbed. The tiny “beads” small as they are, may not wow you, or have you feeling like wow, I just exfoliated! However, I did notice that after rinsing my face, sometimes, I would have little whiteheads poking out of the surface, so I could easily remove them.

Facial Wash/Scrub- Shea Moisture African Black Soap Problem Skin Line

MASK: I used the mask once a week, and I still use it now. After use, it has my face feeling “really washed”, like my iniquities have been lifted! HOWEVER, do not get carried away by this! The mask says to apply to CLEAN skin, and they mean it. It is NO substitute for a cleanser/ wash. The one time I thought I could use this as a one-step product to multi-task, I saw a lot of dirt on my cotton pad while applying the Toner after. Really weird, but I am now properly guided.

Facial Mask- Shea Moisture African Black Soap for Problem Skin Line

Now that my preamble is over, let’s get to the question you want answered:

4. Did these Shea Moisture Products Fix My Problem Skin, Tho?

I used all 4 products consistently through March, April and May. Six weeks in, my colleagues were commenting about how much my face had improved. I wear makeup to the office like 1 out of 8 times, so to be honest, while they were really good judges of my progress, I was a little embarrassed wondering how bad my face looked before. 2 people in particular wanted to know the products I was using, and I happily referred them to my source: Perfect Trust.

By the end of May (that is, after 3 months) my face was looking the best it had in a long, long time. No zit in sight, and a lot of my scarring was gone! Not only was the scarring gone, I started to realise how uneven my face had been before. All that hyper pigmentation from a few years of acne, with some of them super dark because of zits recurring in the same spot, had cast some kind of shadow on my face. I’m not trying to be dramatic lol if you’ve ever struggled with acne, or if you pay attention to these things, you know what I’m talking about.

Shea Moisture Problem Skin Results
15th March 2017
Shea Moisture Problem Skin Results
27th May 2017

My skin was glowing, you guys! Glowing in general and most of my scarring was gone! I even stunted small on Instagram! I’m not kidding.

In uni, I used to have a recurring hormonal zit on the side of my nose. Back then, my friends used to joke that it as like a nose ring lol! Well well. Nose ring who? It is GONE. I give the Spot Correcting Moisturiser most of the credit for this.

Shea Moisture Problem Skin Results
Spot the “nose ring”! LOL (15th March 2017)
Shea Moisture Problem Skin Results
Now, what “nose ring”? FADED!

Shea Moisture Problem Skin Results

Now, here’s the thing about procrastination. Like a good blogger, I should have been photographing my face every day, but life did not let me observe blogging best practices. I kept enjoying my new face, which I thought was always going to be here until…

Sand Sand for My Garri (If you’re not Nigerian, read as “a spanner in the works”)

June 9. I remember this day oh. The day my enemies attacked me for real.

Just kidding, I don’t believe in enemies!

I woke up that morning and as I did my face routine, I felt some knobby things under the surface of my skin. Not out there, but bubbling under. By June 10, the day of my birthday shoot, they were really threatening my peace. A week later, I had a colony of zits on my cheek, and they hurt! Soon enough, they started to spread fast. It was like my whole face from the cheeks down to my chin and jaw area. The way it happened, I was convinced that I was experiencing a severe reaction to something, but I didn’t know what. It didn’t help that I went out of Lagos on that day for a party. The last time I had a severe breakout like this was in December,  right after I returned from my work retreat in Epe.

I was going to post my review in June after 3 months of use, but after I started breaking out again, I decided I didn’t want to write about my skin until it was gone, or until I had a better understanding of why I was breaking out.

Between June and now, I’ve tried 2 topical treatments, been on a 45 day prescription, and seen a dermatologist. Actually, that should have been 2 dermatologists but the Nigerian public healthcare system is a mess and my appointment with the second one didn’t come to pass.

Including these details in my review is not to say that these products are bad. AT ALL. They were great. Really. I truly recommend, Even, see these phone pictures from June 10 when the breakout was still loading. You can see zits on my cheek, but also see how clear the rest of my face is. This acne thing… power pass power and we always want you guys to get the full picture.

Most people never get to experience acne as something more than a minor irritation that happens sometimes. If you are one, lucky you. I have been dealing with breakouts off and on for years, but my last 2 were severe, ad unlike anything I had ever experienced. At that point, you should seek professional help, like I did. Just like most hair care products are made for people with normal porosity, most skin care products that are available at supermarkets and drugstores, are NOT treatments. They can be helpful, but aren’t strong enough to fight the real issues that require treatment! Acne is DEEP, you guys.

These products are not out here claiming to be cures. For what they are, they are pretty good. If you have mild acne and your skin care budget can only accommodate drugstore products, I really encourage you to try them before you invest in Clinique or Clarins or any of them fancy stuff. I’d really encourage you to try these instead of say, Neutrogena or Clean & Clear. It’s simpler, cleaner beauty.

I feel like I should follow this post up with an update on how I’ve been coping since I stopped using this regimen. I had to stop using the scrub because my face was much too irritated for even the gentlest scrubs. My dermatologist advised me to stop using the Moisturiser (and really, all face products with natural oils and butters) and switch to an oil free moisturiser instead, which I have. I still use the Facial Mask every week. I recently ran out of the Toner, which I will replace.

If you made it to the end of this post, you’re a real champ! Thank you! Now, over to you. Have you ever tried any of these products or any of Shea Moisture’s other skincare lines? How was your experience? Let me know in the comments! Do you have any questions I haven’t addressed? Are you inspired to give the products a shot because of this review? What other clean(er) beauty brands have you discovered that work well for you? Sharing is caring!

Also, because this has been an awfully long post (my excuse: 4 products!), would you have preferred to watch a 4 minute video instead of having to read so much? Please let me know what you think!

Till next time,




14 Replies to “Review | Did Shea Moisture Fix My Problem Skin?”

  1. Woot woot!!…Made it to the end of the post!!….Good read!..I agree, acne is deep…In fact, it’s not beans. I have mild acne/pimples currently plaguing one side of my cheek + some spots around my forehead. Back to using the Shea Moisture spot corrector & hoping it works… Need to glow..Lol…

    Keep up the reviews, Ekene..Saving lives daily..Lol..

  2. Loooong post! And I got to the bottom of it! Hehehe, I totally understand what it feels like to be an adult and still have to deal with acne. I’m 31 and still do break out occasionally. It used to be really bad,on my face and chest. I started making my soap mix about 4 months back and it’s been working for me. I mix black soap, turmeric, camwood, lemon juice and coconut oil. After I have my bath I use a little coconut oil on my face, it has greatly helped with hyper-pigmentation too. Ps: I have oily skin. Hope you find something that works out well for you.

    1. LOL thank you, you’re a champ! I’m happy you’ve found something that works! I’ve been using Dudu Osun and I am looking to try other black soaps as well 🙂

  3. I totally feel you! The acne struggle is 100% real! I had acne in my teens- not terrible but a fair amount but it seemed to get even worse in my 20s with acne on my cheeks, chin, forehead etc. And then of course, I got sucked into the acne-fighting wormhole- Neutrogena, Clinique, ProActiv, Lancôme, Clarins, Dr Murad- basically going to any lengths, more or less working to pay for skincare products to fix my skin with money I should have been saving to secure my future- #gyalswantgoodskin . And then you know what comes with bad skin? Wanting to cover up bad skin with makeup. I never really wore makeup till I was like 23 and that didn’t help my acne at all- if anything it made it even worse. It took me like 2 years to figure out that I reacted to ingredients commonly found in most makeup (whether high end or low end- once again I thought paying more would get me makeup that didn’t break me out- so I shifted from Revlon and Black opal and Covergirl to Becca and Bobbi Brown and YSL and Lancôme and Benefit and MUFE)- you name it I’ve tried it. But you know what, whether high end or drugstore, most foundations and powders contain talc and silicones. Even talc in baby power breaks me out! So I found different makeup that was non-reactive on my skin and a mix of high end and low and thighs got a bit better in that I was now back to my acne baseline. The next year I spent realizing that my face hated benzoyl peroxide, most toners, witchazel, any astringent, any product with even the barest hint of alcohol, soap, most perfumes or fragrances which for some reason companies seem to think they should put in skincare- basically anything vaguely resembling skincare for acne. I started using a micellar water for sensitive skin from Bioderma to cleanse my face and a kaolin-based mask from Neutrogena I could use and a lotion from Kiss My Face for sensitive skin. I think I always thought my acne meant my skin needed to be punished with zero oil, harsh treatments to strip all the excess oil and sebum and clogged pores from my face, when it was really sensitive skin that was extremely reactive and just needed extra TLC. Since the beginning of this year, I changed products again because it’s not fun having to constantly “import” products for your skincare so I wanted to try out products available here. After like 5 years of not using soap or “foaming cleanser” or “face wash” on my face, I decided to try Fig Health Store’s Turmeric Black Soap- not the one with the egg and whatever else that needs to be refrigerated (because I think that’s doing the ASBSOLUTE MOST) but the shelf stable one that is for sensitive skin (I always get the sensitive skin version of everything). My face LOVES the stuff. I don’t know why because it’s basically soap which usually sends my skin into a meltdown but when I use this as a mask, it seems to shrink my acne and really improve my skin. I’ve tried other African black soaps and this is the only one that doesn’t make my facial skin furious. I follow it up with ACV as a toner and then I spray my face with water and whilst it’s still damp, I finish up with the Fig Health Store Turmeric Gel as my face moisturizer. I love this stuff, I feel like it shrinks my pores and it’s also a really great primer and oil control agent as I don’t get greasy at all with this. I’ve also realized that skincare is also a function of what you put into your body, I take a zinc supplement everyday separate from my multivitamin- I try to get at least 25mg per day with supplements (Zinc is amazing for the skin and fighting acne- solgar has a nice chewable one they sell at Healthplus but really any one is good). Zinc is also great for your immunity and fighting colds so win-win. I find that my skin is also worse when I eat dairy- so I try to avoid that as much as I can. Of course all of this took like a decade to figure out 🤦🏾‍♀️. A decade of trying everyone’s remedy on every blog and watching every “how I fixed my skin” YouTube video. And the only wisdom I have to offer is that in the end it’s all trial and error to find it what your skin in particular likes and tolerates no matter how many positive reviews someone gives a specific product, you may still be the one person with the negative product but we keep trying, eh. I’ve found something that works for me for now but I’m also aware that it may not work for me forever because that’s how sensitive skin plays you and lures you into false senses of security. I know this is super long but your post really hit close to home and I was like “girrrrrrrllllll!!!! You are my skin sister!”

    TL;DR: Re: clean beauty, I’ve been loving Fig Health Store’s Turmeric Soap for Sensitive Skin (the egg-free one) and the Fig Health Store Turmeric Gel on a damp face as a moisturizer. I sometimes go in with ACV as a toner in between. I also take a Zinc supplement (of at least 25mg) everyday because it’s really helpful for acne. Also cutting out dairy has helped a lot. I preferred reading to watching a 4-minute video but I would have watched the video if you’d used that format.

    1. LOL hey Jite! Thank you so much, for the tips and the feedback about the format!
      This skincare thing is a journey, yo. One I really wish I could be ignorant about but unfortunately, we don’t have that luxury.
      So crazy that your skin is reactive to talc. It’s even crazier than MeeMee finding out hers is allergic to salicylic acid, which is in like half the acne products on the market!
      I hope your skin stays calm. I used to use a Turmeric gel from Namaste Organics but my skin wasn’t particularly problematic at the time so I couldn’t really rate the product. My skin is super calm now, but there’s a whole lot of scarring from the last period of breakouts. I’m just enjoying the zit-free situation for now, and not bothered about the scarring at all.
      I will defs look into the Zinc supplement! Thanks again, Jite xx

  4. Hi AB! 🙋🏾 I made it to the end of the review. I’m so sorry you had another breakout. I deal with hormonal acne on my chin and every month I always end up with hyperpigmented scars. I recently started looking into Korean skincare and a lot of their philosophies are quite good and science based.
    P.s Neutrogena is actually really quite good! They have a moisturiser that is really good for oily/combination skin, the Hydro Boost Nourishing Gel/Cream
    All the best with your skins are journey.

  5. Great post!! I definitely understand the struggle with adult acne, scarring and hyperpigmentation. It’s weird because I never had a problem with acne as a teenager in secondary school. I know you probably hear this a lot and are tired of recommendations ( I know I was)but switching from drug store to higher end products really did the trick after I watched Jackie Ainas you tube video In January about her favorite 2016 skin care products. Cleansing with Kate Somerville cleanser, Exfoliating with Kate someverville exfolikate twice a week, glamglow supermud as a mask and spot treatment and using Sunday Riley good genes and Luna sleeping night oil over the last few months have steadily cleared up my skin, scarring and uneven texture. I tried to get one product at a time cos of price tag. Getting the mask would be a good place to start. If you could try to watch he video, she gives a good review on the products . Wish I had pictures to share but not a blogger and didn’t document my progress. Sorry!
    Consistency and patience are definitely also a big part of it. Thanks again for sharing, love your posts!

    1. Thanks Oyin! I was scared to get into it with the higher end products because I didn’t want to risk the disappointment! The dermatologist recommended some products costing 70k total and was still saying oh, it’s not a total guarantee lol so I really couldn’t. Thanks for sharing your recs! I’ll look into these ones! 😀

  6. I too have been waiting for this post. You already know I have above average interest in all things Shea Moisture.
    Acne really is deep and it’s different for everyone. My short stint with a milder version gave me a glimpse of what people go through long term. I hope this one leaves you alone AB. Sometimes a product can solve a problem and then with continued use, create new ones (I should write about my experience with that) so I support your dermatologist.
    Still waiting on my friend to return from her trip and find that list of supplements that cleared her skin. I’ll send it to you when she does.

  7. Being the skincare enthusiast that I am, I’ve been waiting for this post. I used to have really bad acne as well but I used a combination of products from simple, Murad, Clinique, clearasil, sebamed to clear my skin. Currently dealing with hyperpigmentation. So I will def try out the spot correcting moisturizer… scratch that! I’m trying out all the products you mentioned. I generally just enjoy trying out new skincare products!

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