The Marathon Runner Whose Skincare Survived Mount


The #ITGTopShelfie interview series focuses on the beauty routines of the lovable, consummate, and loyal Into The Gloss reading community. Submit your own on Instagram – post your top shelfie (tag us with @intothegloss!) And add the hashtag #ITGTopShelfie so you can be featured on ITG.

“Hello! How are you? My name is Intisar Abdul-Kader (@intysar). I live in London, although I was born and raised in Abu-Dhabi and come from a very mixed ethnic background. Growing up I was always female Surrounded with beautiful shades of brown.My great-grandmother was Sudanese, and both of my grandmothers were Somalilander – all three women had skin that just glowed, and I wanted that for myself too.

My day job is to work for the National Health Service (NHS) as a coordinator for patient and public engagement. The NHS provides health care and a safe place to talk and heal. It is my job to help people return to the world after their therapy has ended. Experiencing these transformations fills me with so much hope! Everyone should be able to maintain a healthy relationship with mental wellbeing without the social stigma associated with it. When I’m not at work, I run and hike a lot for long distances. I’ve always been an outdoors person – my dad took me to my first swimming lesson when I was nine months old and later enrolled me in ice skating and athletics.

I started running marathons in my mid-twenties. There is something beautiful about this distance; it’s long and can be unforgiving, the training is tough, but the runner’s high is worth it all. I want to see more Muslim, black, hijab-wearing runners occupying the spaces and starting lines – representation is important, and I firmly believe that what you can see can be you. I hope my experiences inspire the next young girl to get up and run. If you don’t know where to start, just go through your surroundings. Running can get a little lonely at times. So when you join a local running group or find a partner in charge, it becomes easier and more fun. Despite hard work, running should be fun.

Pretty much all of my beauty routines revolve around my outdoor activities. I have a pixie cut like Zoe Kravitz in 2017 and I know that as a hijabi no one outside of my house sees my hair, but it’s still important to take care of it. The Moroccanoil Nourish With Love set is a staple for weekly wash days. It contains everything I could need: a moisturizing shampoo, an intense moisturizing mask, a leave-in conditioner, and an oil treatment. I avoid wearing a hijab when my hair is wet and use a blend of natural oils (like olives and almonds) and conditioners overnight to moisturize and keep my hair healthy. Wearing a hijab bottom cap helps my hair stay in place and is a savior from tough, sweaty speed sessions. And I also like to wear light, airy hijabs so that my scalp can breathe easily – my favorites are the modal hijabs from Sashion.

My skincare kept me together as I hiked to Everest Base Camp One at 5,363 meters above sea level and through four World Major Marathons. I like to use a really simple, gentle face wash like Ceraves Foaming Facial Cleanser or Garnier’s Micellar Water for a good cleansing that doesn’t affect the protective barrier of my dry skin. I use The Ordinary’s hyaluronic acid for hydration, but the best hydration trick comes from my mom. Hailing from Yemen, women in her country spray or dab rose water on freshly cleansed skin – rose is anti-inflammatory and can help reduce redness and puffiness. The fact that it’s a 1000 year old trick deserves my trust! In the morning, The Ordinary’s 12% ascorbyl glucoside solution works wonders when it comes to lightening and balancing my skin tone. It really helped reverse some of the damage I did to my skin in my 20s. I dab a Cerave Instant Hydration eye repair cream under my eyes with my ring finger, the weakest finger of my hand. Since this area is sensitive, it helps to be gentle. Then I wrap up all the goodness with Cerave’s moisturizing moisturizer and some sun protection factor. The Anthelios Ultra-Light Invisible Fluid from La Roche-Posay and the Invisible Shield from Glossier both work very well for me.

My skin care routine is a great foundation for my beauty routine – I’ve even stopped using primers. Ordinary’s Serum Foundation in shade 3.1 Y Dark is my first choice these days. It’s light, goes well with my natural skin tone, and has an added sun protection factor. I add a bit of Glossier’s Stretch Concealer in G4 where I want more coverage and finish it off with either Glossier’s Wowder in G4 or MAC’s Mineralize Natural Skinfinish in Medium Dark. I also use a different shade, soft and gentle, as a highlighter for my cupid’s arch, cheekbones, and bridge of his nose. For a bit of color on my cheeks, I use Glossier’s Cloud Paint in Haze, Storm or Eve. A little bit of castor oil is enough for full, thick eyebrows, but if that doesn’t work, Boy Brow in Brown or Dark Brown Charlotte Tilbury Brow Lift can do some magic too. My two favorite mascaras are Stila Huge Extreme Lash and Lash Slick. And during the day I’ll probably finish with Glossier’s Lip Gloss in Clear – in the evening I’ll do a red. My mom taught me that a classic red lipstick is a must in every woman’s vanity. Hers was Chanel Rouge Allure in 99 Pirate, and I would always break into her locked Samsonite suitcase to try it on. Now I have my own: Diva, Chili and Ruby Woo by Mac.

I use the same detergents for the night and then swap 1% retinol from The Ordinary for Squalane. This is another holy grail that will save my skin from my 20s! I use a heavier moisturizer, Weleda Skin Food Creme, and spray my face with Vitamin E Hydrating Mist from Superdrug. Skin lining can be very thick, and sprinkling a moisturizing mist before application makes it easier to spread. I think my skin takes it on better too. If I haven’t been there for a long time, I also use a mask. The day before the 2019 Chicago Marathon, I walked into a Sephora on Michigan Avenue and asked a makeup artist to recommend something for my skin. You hit the Oh K! After Sun Face and Neck Mask with Jeju and Aloe Vera, which helps restore the moisture that the skin loses when you are in the sun for too long. It became the post-launch companion I never knew I needed – my skin is grateful for the extra TLC.

I vividly remember my mother spraying classic perfumes like Chanel No. 5, Guerlain Shalimar, the original Yves Saint Laurent opium and Arabic ouds. I reflected my mother’s tastes in perfumes and some of my favorites today are Chanel Chance, Black Opium and Amber Wood by Ajmal. I also find the smell of incense to be very relaxing. Called ‘foox’ in Somali (the x is pronounced as h), it is a staple food in our culture and can be found in abundance there. I light a small amount of incense by placing it on a hot piece of charcoal in a fire extinguisher (called “Dabqaad” or “Girgire” in Somali). The incense burns for about ten minutes, but the smell lingers in the house for hours. A little foox, yoga, and taking care of my plants all help me relax after a long day of NHS work, running, or hiking. “

– as ITG said

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