"I'm in a place now where my imperfections are perfectly mine. I decided that if I didn't like something about myself to either work on it and stop complaining or see the beauty in it. I learned that we all have insecurities and that we don't come 'one size fits all'. There is beauty in individuality. I admire a woman that isn't afraid to dance in the skin she's in. I don't recommend living an unhealthy lifestyle: crying about your freckles, height, voluptuousness or nose. If you shine light on your flaws no one else can make you uncomfortable doing it for you."
*What is your skin type and what are your must-have products to care for your skin?
My skin is oily, but oily skin is actually dry skin. Our skin overproduces sebum to make up for what it feels it's lacking. So, using the wrong products, I used to go from patchy dry to a grease machine in about an hour. I actually use virgin coconut oil now to moisturize. I cleanse with St. Ives daily cleanser and exfoliate once a week with their apricot scrub. I tone with apple cider vinegar or Aubrey Organics green tea toner, whichever is closer to reach. These simple and inexpensive products are my holy grail for my face. I recently began an eczema war with my body and have yet to find constant relief or the culprit in my diet. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
*What is your favorite everyday make up look and what cosmetics do you use to achieve it?
My favorite everyday look is clean and sometimes a bold lip. Brows, mascara, optional blush and lips. I fill my brows in as naturally as possible. My favorite brow product is Dior's Universal Styler. It's a charcoal color, which I find to be a natural color for most people.
Mascara is a MUST, I use Almay's 'Get Up And Grow' Mascara. I find it to be the only mascara that doesn't irritate my eyes. I LOVE blush! A subtle pink or peach color always cleans my face up. My favorites are NARS' Orgasm, CHANEL's Rose Ecrin 68, and Tarte's Exposed.
I adore a great red lip, especially an 'obnoxious' one. My favorite is Sephora's cream lip stain in Red #1. I wear an array of colors, but a few I frequent the most are MAC's Diva, Pink Plaid, So Chaud, Soulfully Rich, and their Mineralize Rich line in Luxe Natural. I am also a fan of Makeup Forever and OCC's lip products.
*Is your hair natural, relaxed, loc'd or otherwise and what is your go-to favorite style?
My hair is natural, I prefer to wear it in its natural state. That can be stressful because it tangles easily. My sides and back are currently shaved so I wear the top in a twist out or Bantu knot out until it's too shrunken to manage. Less is best for me. I commend the diligence of natural haired women who retwist nightly.
*What are your staple hair products and/or processes that keep your hair at its best?
My staple products are virgin coconut oil, raw Shea butter or a whipped concoction (Chic-Afrique brand in Adun), Shea Moisture's Coconut & Hibiscus shampoo, and Trader Joes' Nourishing Spa Conditioner or Jane Carter's Nutrient Replenishing Conditioner.
With my hair being short, I wash weekly and deep condition every other wash with The Jane Carter conditioner. I wash, condition, and apply oil immediately to my hair and scalp (quick scalp massage), then I apply the Shea butter or a leave in cream if I'm experimenting. Koils By Nature has an amazing leave in that I've been loving lately. Then style! Wet or dry. I don't touch my hair again until it's time to wash. I do, however, spray it with water or a liquid leave in before bed nightly. If I skip a wash week out of sheer laziness my hair has never or will never dry up and fall out (lol).
*What is your favorite trait or physical feature about yourself? Also, what is your favorite personality trait about yourself?
Hmmm, my favorite physical feature about myself. That's a hard one. There's no one part of me that I would say is my favorite. If I had to choose I'd say my eyes. I always get compliments on them. My favorite personality trait, that's easier, my open-mindedness. Being open minded and aware has changed my outlook on life quite a bit.
*What insecurities do you have or have you had about your physical appearance and how do you overcome?
Insecurities, good question. We all have them and the most notorious misconception is that a woman with a big smile, pretty face, and appears to have it all together doesn't. That couldn't be more wrong. I used to feel insecure about being too thin, not being curvy enough, being too tall, having a belly pudge and lord knows my eyebrows give me grief! Lol.
But, I'm in a place now where my imperfections are perfectly mine. I decided that if I didn't like something about myself to either work on it and stop complaining (belly pudge) or see the beauty in it (like my height). I learned that we all have insecurities and that we don't come 'one size fits all'. There is beauty in individuality. I admire a woman that isn't afraid to dance in the skin she's in. I don't recommend living an unhealthy lifestyle: crying about your freckles, height, voluptuousness or nose. If you shine light on your flaws no one else can make you uncomfortable doing it for you.
*What advice would you give to your 18 year old self about hair care, makeup and beauty self-esteem?
My 18 year old self... She was insecure, and always trying to be everyone else's idea of beautiful.
On hair, "CUT THAT DANG-ON RELAXER OUT!" Lol, if only I'd known then the beauty of this cotton candy hair affair.
On makeup, I'd whisper in her ear "It's not a sin, go ahead and play in it".
On beauty self-esteem, I'd advise her that "Being safe.... isn't safe". That she's stifling herself and that person she's 'hiding' can be politely introduced or can scare the hell out of everyone when she forces herself out and be mistaken as an identity crisis. Be unapologetically who you are in your heart and in your soul. When you are home alone and no one else is watching, you come out. Don't put her away... Be her, you... Be you all the time.
*What makes you feel beautiful?
I had to experience strong moments of solitude to let this settle in. I learned to love every part of me, to speak life in to myself, and celebrate my individuality. So whether I go out in torn jeans and an oversized t-shirt or my little black dress, I ALWAYS feel beautiful. A woman's greatest accessory is her smile, and I've learned to smile from my heart. Happiness and confidence are what makes me feel beautiful. I am confident in my individuality and solitude and that makes me happy. Even on a 'bad' day remembering how far I've come as far as self-esteem helps to put a smile on my face.
"And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." ~Marianne Williamson