In a bid for lighter-skin and mixed-race looks, some men have joined the skin whitening train by using a variety of creams and lotions called “Half-Cast” (sic) to bleach their skin.
“Half-Cast” is currently selling like hot cake on online shops where it is easier for customers to buy and have the product delivered directly to them, away from prying or judgmental eyes typical of the mainstream market.
Dealers in these products come out with very attractive adverts to catch the eyes of those who intend to “re-brand” themselves or “change their housing” to look mixed-race or in the colloquial language, “half-caste.”
Some of the inscriptions on the cream are : purely organic, no side effects, no green vein, no mixed complexion, no dark knuckles, it gives your skin that natural and flawless white skin you have always wanted.”
Prices for the products are mostly quoted in dollars and customers are requested to make advance payment online before shipment is done.
The creams and lotions come with various interesting names and each has a distinct price. For instance, Glow Half-Cast day cream is $29 (GH¢232), Half-Cast Egyptian Milk is going for $78 (GH¢624), Extra Strong Strength Half-Cast Bleaching is $130 (GH¢1,040), Snow White Half-Cast cream with lotion and soaps is $250 (GH¢2,000), a two-piece Whitenizer Milk Half-Cast is $150 (GH¢1,200), among others.
Besides using the creams and lotions, some of the men are willing to spend extra money to buy ‘stain removers’ or dark spots correctors. The stain removers are touted as designed to remove black spots on the knuckles, elbows, knees, face and toes.
Inscriptions on some of these products The Mirror chanced on indicated that they contain “intense whitening chemicals”.
Another set of Half-Cast products are the whitening serums which are equally very expensive. Some of them can be bought between GH¢500 and GH¢3,000.
A small bottle size of Hyaluronic Acid Serum quoted in Cedis is going for GH¢659.30, Antioxidant Serum is GH¢2,584, Restorative Placenta & Stem Cell Night Serum GH¢2, 520 and Vitamins C Serums are GH¢1,352.
Aside from the online shops, some of the cosmetic shops at Accra Central Market stock Half-Cast products. Some individuals have also decided to cash in by doing local preparations of the product.
A 28-year-old man, Mr Nat Adama, prepares some of the locally made Half-Cast products. According to him most of his clients were males.
He said he uses some chemicals, plants and essential oils to prepare his products which he said were in high demand.
“My clients are in the offices and security services, while some are in the universities. There are people who are very dark but want a mixed-race look while others are naturally fair but want to look brighter to attract people. Think of the song Akosombo Nkanea and you’ll get the drift,” he said with a wink.
Mr Adama prepares all his products in his room and sends them by courier to his clients. Those who know his house come directly to get the products.
Mr Thomas Zaaki and three of his male friends patronise various Half-Cast products. Mr Zaaki owns a hair-locking parlour and has so far invested over GH¢15,000 on various skin products to change his complexion from dark to light-skin.
Asked how he feels about using the products, he said “my friends and I have been using the products and it's been one month now and as you can see I am looking just like the name of the cream - like a half-caste. I love my skin.”
“The product has made me super light, I look mixed-race and I love it. My skin is flawless and amazingly glowing,” he added.
Yaw Boakye is another person who patronises half cast products. According to him “I have been using the brightening butter cream for about a year now on my armpits and bikini line area. I haven’t stopped using it yet. I have a really dark complexion and every time I shaved I dreaded it. Using this product twice daily, applying it on clean skin, and exfoliating once a week changed my life and has made me more confident when I wear a cloth for events such as funerals and weddings.”
A skin specialist Stanley Jafane explained that such products could cause serious side effects. He explained that the product will lighten your skin, could cause horrible acne, and make the skin so thin that it bruises at the slightest touch.
“Unfortunately, these products are scarily accessible–they are sold everywhere, online boutiques, beauty stores and some people are preparing them in their backyard without considering the danger such chemicals pose to the skin.”