A Nigeria-Based Entrepreneur Shares How She's Intentional About Self-Care

31 days, 31 cities, 31 perspectives. We're profiling inspiring women from across the world and asking them to share their beauty routines, products, and wellness secrets. Consider this your firsthand look into the beauty traditions and cultures of your beauty-obsessed counterparts from Thailand, Nigeria, and more. Below, meet creative technologist and entrepreneur Dara Oke, who's currently based out of Lagos, Nigeria.

Dara Oke

Name: Dara Oke

Age: 24

City and country of residence: Lagos, Nigeria

Your beauty icons:

Honestly, it would be my friends.

The skincare products you can't live without:

Belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb ($38), The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 ($7), Cetaphil Daily Face Wash ($9), CeraVe Moisturizing Cream ($10), and Raw Shea Butter ($15).

The hair products you can't live without:

Salon Care 360 Mist Sprayers ($10), Matrix Biolage Hydrasource Detangling Solution ($16), a great detangling brush, As I Am Curly Jelly Definer ($14), and oils like avocado, almond, peppermint, and tea tree.

The makeup products you can't live without:

LancГґme Teint Idole Ultra Long Wear Foundation ($47), Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer ($30), Nars Exhibit A Blush ($30), Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Stunna Lip Paint ($24), Laura Mercier Hydrating Primer ($38), and my $1 eyebrow pencil from the local beauty supply store.

What countries and cultures do you find most inspirational when it comes to beauty?

I'm constantly inspired by the hair and beauty creativity of black women all around the world.

The most popular beauty products and brands in your country right now:

A lot of makeup brands have started to expand into the Nigerian market, like MAC, Clinique, and L'OrГ©al with a ton of success. And there's also a ton of love for Nigerian brands like House of Tara.

The most popular beauty trends in your country right now:

Beauty industry and culture are huge in Nigeria, and currently “bold” is in. Whether it's a bold lip, dramatic lashes, or a perfect brow, Nigerian women love to make a statement with their makeup looks.

Favorite traditional beauty secret from your country:

Black soap and raw shea butters have been long-held beauty staples in sub-Saharan Africa, and you'll definitely find me constantly stocking up on these.

Where you buy beauty products:

A lot of popular beauty products aren't easily available for sale in Nigeria, even though it's a ridiculously large market. For that reason, I tend to stock up on goods when I'm in the U.S., from Sephora, Amazon, etc.

Dara Oke

What does “healthy living” mean to you?

It means being intentional about how I'm treating my mind, body, and spirit. I think in this phase of my life, I'm more aware of just how interconnected all these things are.

How do you define/practice self-care?

My self-care doesn't necessarily look like face masks on Sunday evenings. Rather, it's a daily practice of treating myself well and doing what I need to do to be my best self. Sometimes that'll look like spending a lot of time with myself to reflect. Other times it's being intentional about waking up early to do a morning routine that will inspire me. Recently, adopting better eating habits has been the most important and influential part of my self-care practice.

What's your favorite way to stay active, and why?

I've recently picked up going to Pilates regularly, mainly because the first Pilates studio just opened up in Lagos, and one of my core goals is to increase my flexibility and motion. It's really easy to get out of the habit of being active where I live simply because there's so much going on day to day, so having things on the calendar and scheduled has really helped.

What's your favorite healthy meal?

I've been meat-free for the past couple of months, so cooking for myself has become a big part of my week. I've mastered a five-minute coconut chickpea curry that is my go-to. When I have to grab something when I'm out, I opt for a black bean, quinoa, and kale wrap from my local health-conscious restaurant.

What are the most popular wellness trends in your country right now?

FitFam is such a movement in Nigeria now, and it's great to see businesses and people adopting healthy living and intentional eating.