What is Diversity in Beauty?

Disclosure: Hey folks, instead of doing sponsored posts, Makeup to Go is a member of Skimlinks and Amazon Affiliates. So if you purchase something via any of our links, we get a lil sumthin sumthin to help us keep running. Thanks much!

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some of the lovely ladies I’ve had the pleasure of doing makeup on over the years… #FSB


So I’ve been ticked off the last couple of weeks…

…But let me back up the truck first… I have been a career media makeup artist for over 15 years. I keep saying “over 15 years” because I really do not know how long its been, but quite frankly by now I’ve gotta be hovering at the 20 year mark. One notable element of my career is that while I am Black, and proudly so for sure, but I’ve never been sidelined into any particular style and/or type of work because of it. The range of work I’ve done has been diverse which is in keeping with my own outlook as a human being. I grew up in “multi-culti” Los Angeles. I grew up in a diverse neighborhood, I went to diverse schools (my brother and I were early enrollees into the Magnet program when it first first started in the Los Angeles school district), my friends and social life are diverse, and quite frankly my own family is diverse. Diversity is all I’ve known my whole life.

Cut to 2017 and the entire world seems to have lost its damn mind. Seriously. What on Earth is happening?!

I’ve mentioned a couple of times now how I have been finding it difficult to just blithely write about makeup with everything that’s happening in the world. Then I came to the point where I was fine with having makeup be a fun diversion. I now acknowledge that my artistry – what I create, how I create it, and what I use to create it – are in fact a PART of the world and that I cannot insulate it from the world or who I am as a person.

What set me off?

All three times I’m minding my business and looking at Instagram on which I – obviously – follow a lot of makeup accounts.

1) YSL –

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@YSLBeauty’s All Hours Foundation taken from their Instagram post on 8/3/17. I noticed they’ve changed the caption on the post.


YSL Beauty posted an advert for their new line of foundations, All Hours Foundation. The advert boldly proclaimed “22 shades for everyone!!!”. Sounds great! But I look at the picture and it’s literally 19 shades of beige and 3 brown colors. Well, 2 browns and one brown-ish color. And of course the deepest brown is not deep enough for someone of my (Naomi Campbell-ish) skin tone.

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If I were doing his grooming for a photoshoot, Nick *might* be able to wear that deepest shade…


Needless to say, the reception on Instagram was not what YSL Beauty hoped it would be as people chimed in – including at least one very well known high end celebrity makeup artist – to let them know that they did not find this acceptable. On the surface it would seem that the complaints were mostly by Black women and its true that we were probably one of the most forgotten groups in this foundation collection. But really – and I preface this by saying that I still need to go see these colors in person – but if these colors are really as beige/pinky beige as they appear to be in this photo, then I can say as an artist there are few people on which these would work. Going off this photo there aren’t good colors for a lot of Latinx, a lot of Pacific Islanders, East Asian, South Asian, hell even a lot of Caucasian folks. Unless you are fair and beige the vast majority of the colors would not work. And the brown colors they do have appear (again, I need to see them in person) to have a tawn-y undertone which most Brown people do not have. ??? I don’t get it. This is not a small company with limited resources.

2) Antonym Cosmetics

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@Antonymcosmetics was highly receptive to the feedback they were given and actually posted this swatch photo in response to requests from customers.


Antonym is a small company with limited resources, so their situation was more understandable. They just introduced a liquid foundation and what they have looks promising enough (again, I need to see it in person). Their problem was that they only introduced 6 colors, so that right there just isn’t enough. When asked about it, they said they were developing more colors to be released “in the future”. YSL actually said the same thing. “In the future” seems to come up a lot in response to questions of diversity of color range. What’s frustrating about Antonym specifically is that they are a vegan and organic brand. Therefore by not developing a color range to suit people of color, we are basically being kept out of this market niche. To be clear, Antonym is hardly alone. The vegan/organic cosmetics brands have by and large ignored people of color (OCC of course being an exception, but OCC was started by a makeup artist). Presumably these brands feel that we aren’t their customer but this is a “Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg” situation. IF the necessary colors were available, maybe more POC would be customers.

To their credit, when approached about it online Antonym was very receptive and appreciative for the feedback they were being given. Whereas YSL Beauty seemed to be giving fairly route answers, Antonym seemed to really be listening. I would not be surprised at all if Antonym releases their new color options before YSL does. YSL said they’d release deeper shades in a year or so. Why a year from now? Who knows. #Future.

As far as Antonym goes, I have very much liked what I’ve tried from them thus far and I respect the way they handled their situation. Therefore I feel good about continuing to support their brand.

On the flipside, there’s Beautylish.

3) BeautyLish –

… where to even start. Beautylish is off the list for me until further notice, period. It’s one thing to not come up with a broad color range that reflects the population. That’s a correctable mistake. It’s QUITE another to actively support and promote someone with known bigoted, hateful views. The issue? Jeffree Starr… I know he’s super popular in the Instagram/YouTube makeup set. I will be real that I’d not heard of him until one of my students told me about him a year or so ago, so to be honest I didn’t have any feelings about him one way or another. Then however I found out that he is an overt hateful bigot. In case you aren’t aware… In fact I won’t embed the video, but here’s a link if you want to go see. Those statements are not mistakes or accidents, nor are they confusing in their intent.

Beautylish apparently has some type of relationship with Mr. Starr and thusly they have willfully buried their heads in the sand on the issue. His image featured prominently in their booth at IMATS LA 2017 as they were selling his products exclusively, and when I went onto Instagram the other day, they’d posted an image of him regarding his new palette that he apparently has going with Jouer. Needless to say Jouer is now off the list as well which sucks because they make one of my holy grail lipglosses. I won’t defile my blog by posting the Instagram photo here, but if you want to see it you can go to Beautylish’s Instagram (@Beautylish). As I was reading through the post, Nils – one of the owners of Beautylish – stated “what a difficult positon Beautylish is in”, which they aren’t, they chose to work with Mr. Starr, and Nils asked that people not go off in the comments but email him directly instead. I sent him an email which – to date – they have yet to reply. I shared my email on my Facebook page and several of my friends in turn shared my post and emailed them. Beautylish DID, respond to a friend of mine we speculate because they identified her as a customer who recently spent a lot with them. I, too, am actually a Beautylish customer and I have actually spent a lot with them HOWEVER I generally do so at the trade shows. My friend and fellow makeup artist is also a person of color and we were both irate with Beautylish’s response. Not only did they double down on “what a difficult position they’re in” (again, they aren’t…they’re making a CHOICE), but they said – and this is a quote from the email – “I hope you can understand our position and can separate the joy of shopping at Beautylish from your concerns with Jeffree…”

Um no. No I can’t. Nor can I express in words how tragic a reply that is. First of all, at no time that I’ve seen have they elaborated on what this so-called difficulty is. Secondly that email is basically saying “we are going to continue to monetarily support and benefit from this known racist, but we hope you’ll keep giving us money anyway”.

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image courtesy of potential past via Flickr
https://www.flickr.com/photos/potentialpast/5582667252


I’m sure they’ll say “they didn’t mean it that way” but what a terrible statement to make with regards to an entire population of your potential customers.

Here’s the thing: diversty is not a product or a technique or what-have-you; it’s a mindset. If people wanted to be diverse they’d be diverse. If it were as much of a priority to have a full range of colors, brands would do so. If racial bigotry/homophobia/fat phobia/age phobia/whatever were really unacceptable to people, they would stop making excuses for it. It is frustrating to see how slow the beauty industry is to real change. By continuing with these kinds of – and I use this term in generosity – faux pas, companies are saying Very Clearly and Out Loud to their minority customers of all kinds that you and your business do not matter to us. They may not want to say that, they may not intend to say that, but that’s what they’re saying.

So how do we move forward?

Well, here’s The Other Thing: With regards specifically to the needs of people of color, brands aren’t going to be able to run and hide for much longer anyway. To site but one resource of many, the Pew Research Center released a paper last year on the changing demographic of America. America no longer looks the same and that’s only going to increase, not decrease. When I was a kid people often postulated about an American future wherein everyone is of mixed ethnicity. Well guess what…the future is here.

For my part, I want to be – and I want Makeup to Go to be – a part of the solution. I feel that we at Makeup to Go are uniquely poised to make a contribution in the online beauty-sphere. Myself along with the other artists who contribute to the blog are all media makeup artists who’ve looked at beauty from all sides (now). And many of us are people of color ourselves. We understand the situation both as professionals and as cosmetics users. Part of the reason the blog has been on radio silence is because I am preparing to launch a significant change in how Makeup to Go is going to operate going forward. More details to come, but my vision has become more clear than it’s ever been for where I want Makeup to Go…to go. lol. My hope is to empower consumers, artists and ultimately brands through knowledge and to help create a community in which diversity in beauty is celebrated. And to have fun and celebrate each other in the process.

I hope you’ll join me.

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#Happenings – AJ Crimson BeautĂ© Boutique Opening

Disclosure: Hey folks, instead of doing sponsored posts, Makeup to Go is a member of Skimlinks and Amazon Affiliates. So if you purchase something via any of our links, we get a lil sumthin sumthin to help us keep running. Thanks much! 🙂

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from @ajcrimsonbeauty Instagram


One of my makeup passions

…is discovering small, independent and/or niche beauty lines that a creating high quality products with a unique point of view. From the jump I have been a supporter of celebrity makeup artist AJ Crimson’s line – AJ Crimson BeautĂ©. The line has changed around since my first post about it, but now it seems to be settling into a groove, and AJ Crimson Beauty is growing from being in the pro stores and at cosmetics counters in various stores (including internationally in England and Nigeria), to opening up a signature “Atelier” boutique on chic La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles (right next door to the infamous Pink’s Hot Dogs).

The AJ Crimson Beauté Boutique is a little jewel of a boutique offering a curated shopping experience. The AJ Crimson line and the boutique were designed to address the beauty needs of women of color, however pretty much any skin tone can find something to enhance their fabulousness. In addition to his own line, the boutique carries makeup brushes, skincare, candles, etc. Even though the opening was well attended, the vibe was less of a bustling retail feel, and more of a relaxed, casual elegance that invites shoppers to sit a spell and stay a while.


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shot in silhouette on purpose as a few celebs were in attendance…


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AJ Crimson Beauté

Since last I wrote about it, the AJ Crimson Beauty line has pared down it offerings and focused on skin and lip products. On display were the Dual Skin Cream Foundations (which as I mentioned I just got one for myself) and Dual Skin Correctors, the Universal Finishing Powders, the Mattes + Metallics Gloss Lippies, and my favorite product, the S & M (Sultry and Matte) Lipsticks.

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Melanie Mills Hollywood – Gleam Body Radiance
It feels like I’ve discussed Melanie Mills Hollywood Gleam products about a zillion times, so nothing new to say here but it was nice to see the Body Radiance in the boutique. As the goal of the AJ Crimson boutique is to provide products selected to work on women of color, Gleam products do not have white cast that can make deeper complexions look cakey or ashy. That chalky/ashy effect is something to watch out for when using highlighting products on people of color.

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Urban Skin Rx
I’d not heard of Urban Skin Rx prior to seeing it at the store opening. Urban Skin Rx is developed by a medical esthetician and it is described as “Clinical Skincare for all Skin Types”. The line is comprised of skin care treatments designed to address a myriad of problems including the dreaded Post Inflammatory Hyper-pigmentation that plagues so many women of color.

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Tribal By Nature
The entire space was captivatingly yummy smelling thanks to these delicious candles. These are elegant candles with refined scents that subtly grace a room with fragrance. Think Diptyque rather than Yankee Doodle. Strangely enough I cannot find a website for this company. ??? But I love a good candle so I’ll likely be back to purchase one.

Speaking of purchases; I swear I did not intend to buy anything on this trip – LOL! But real talk; well wishes do not pay bills. If we want independent retailers like the AJ Crimson BeautĂ© Boutique to survive, we gotta whip out those credit cards and get ta spending. With that in mind, I went ahead and purchased two gorgeous makeup brushes, and for doing so I was gifted a fabulous goodie bag! 😀


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very generous goodie bag!



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#04 is AJ’s personal favorite


MustaeV
First my purchase; MustaeV (which I now know is pronounced like “Must Have”). This was the first time I’d seen their brushes and it was love at first sight. These are from the Kowonhye* Collection which appears to be their high end line, so these were not cheap. Quality brushes, however, are never cheap. I was immediately interested in #3 ($44.50) as I’ve been contemplating getting a good buffing brush for a while now. THEN, however, both one of AJ’s artists and AJ Crimson himself told me that I had to get brush #4 ($51.00) as well. #4 is listed as a blush brush but AJ says he loves it to apply cream foundations. I love true artistry brushes that can be used multiple ways. What else could I do?! I had to get them both!
(*Kowonhye is a well known international fashion/celebrity makeup artist),

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purples look fab on deeper skintones… Coloured Raine Cosmetics liquid lip in “Roulette”


Coloured Raine
Never heard of this line, but the color is gorgeous. I like liquid lipsticks for certain types of photographic work, and I know lots of folks like to wear them as a long lasting lip color option. I’ll give this a whirl and report on it soon.

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I love a bright, poppy red. GloGirl Cosmetics lipstick in “Uno Love”


GloGirl
I’ve heard lots of good things about the GloGirl Cosmetics brand so I’m stoked to finally have an item to play with. And I’m glad this tube is not Blue or the like… (but GloGirl has really pigmented versions of all of those edgy colors if you are so inclined
)

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gorgeous nude that will work with numerous skintones – AJ Crimson BeautĂ© lipstick in “Nude”


AJ Crimson Beauty
My fave AJ Crimson Beauty products are the lipcolors, full stop. Not surprisingly this color stays sold out. This is a very universal nude color that’s neither too warm nor too cool, not too light or too deep, and not too brown or too pink. I imagine I’ll be using this one a lot.

I don’t think it needs to be said that the Holidays are upon us. In addition to the products carried, the AJ Crimson BeautĂ© Boutique offers education and events, makeup application services, gift cards, and more. If you are in LA or coming for a visit, stop by the boutique as part of your holiday shopping extravaganza.

(Nope, this is not a sponsored post. I purchased items as described and neither AJ Crimson nor AJ Crimson BeautĂ© know about this post until I tell them
 🙂 )
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#MakeupMonday – Black Girl Beautiful Inaugural Event

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The Black Girl Beautiful inaugural event took place this past Saturday (10/15/16) at the Siren Studios Orange in Los Angeles.

So let’s get the elephant out of the room…

Why is an event like “Black Girl Beautiful” even necessary? Well, I can think of a few reasons. First of all, the stated Vision for the event:

    “Black Girl Beautiful is an empowering, shopping and beauty event for women of color that want more. More products, knowledge and conversations with like minded women, and beauty experts focused on beauty for black skin.”

Sounds fair enough, no? As I mentioned in a recent post, I was kinda shocked that so many mainstream makeup brands still do not have deeper foundation colors. And I’ve been to many a consumer shopping event (so not including the pro shows like IMATS, the Makeup Show, etc.) where there were NO beauty products that would work for women of color. Likewise haircare products that work for the highly textured hair that most Black women have are generally not represented.

The other reason I can think of is that in 2016 we are still having “scientific studies” to explain why women of color are not considered amongst the most beautiful faces (in the full article that breaks women down by feature, Rihanna did slip in there a couple of times, as did Selena Gomez). Leaving out how incredibly tired and outdated it is to rank “most beautiful women” at all, it is difficult to believe that if we do still insist on making such a ranking, no women of color would make the cut. “Science” or no, that just seems ridiculous to me.

ALL women possess beauty and ALL women deserve a space to feel uplifted, and pampered and to have their beauty celebrated. That’s what the Black Girl Beautiful event was all about.


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Black Girl Beautiful founder Nikia Phoenix conducting one of the raffles…I did not win…



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It was a warm, sunny day in LA and the open space and white walls of the Siren Studios space gave the event a relaxed, spa-like feel. So since everything was out in the open I just started at one booth and made and shopped my way around…


mtgbgbtandpin

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werking the Black Girl Beauty booth…


I started, of course, with the official Black Girl Beautiful booth to pick up a tee and a pin. Super cute!


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the fab artist who matched my foundation at AJ Crimson Beauty

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#7 – a rich, red brown


One of my main goals was to look at a foundation for myself. I was matched by one of the AJ Crimson artists with AJSkin Duo Cream #7. It is oil based – which is a concern with my oily skin – but the initial color match was excellent. As the day went on, the foundation wore well and would have been fine if I’d had some powder on me. What I did notice when I took one last snapshot of myself before hitting the bed was that it had turned quite yellow on me. Now; I’m super red and notoriously difficult to match. But I do think this is more of a case of oxidation as the product sat on my skin. So that will be something to watch for as I try this product again. On the super plus side, the weight and texture of this product is outstanding and I never got the “GET THIS OFF OF MY FACE!!!” feeling that I normally do by the end of the day with foundations.

I’d go more in-depth about the AJ Crimson line, except I already have before. I do need to do an update (and I will be because something big is coming soon), but in the meantime keep AJ Crimson Beauty in mind. His line is one of the better brands for Black women currently on the market.


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fab makeup artist Renee Loiz about to work her magic…

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ladies who booked a makeover with Renee received a lovely goodie bag…

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makeup pron: isn’t Renee’s setup gorgeous?

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I could not have been more proud of my makeup kin Renee Loiz who was in attendance providing makeup/skin consultations and performing mini-makeovers. Her booth set up was absolutely gorgeous and she was turning out those faces! She was too busy for me to even chat with her, which was great!


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Free Your Mane Conditioning Pomade and Reviving Spray

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Free Your Mane samples: Yuzu Body Wash, Restorative Hair Oil, and Hydrating Shampoo

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the gorg ladies of Free Your Mane


Again, the other big category of need for Black women at beauty shopping events is hair product. The Free Your Mane brand is new to me, but they’ve already been racking up accolades and have been written about in major mags like Allure. One important thing to know about natural Black hair: No two heads are alike. So FOR ME there were a lot of problmatic ingredients in the FYM products, namely ‘cones (various forms of silicone which is often used to smooth and de-frizz curly hair textures) and oils. My baby fine hair can’t deal. That said, a lot of women LOVE ‘cones and oils in their hair. So if that’s you, it is worthwhile to give Free Your Mane a looksee. The oils are high quality (their main one being organic Baobab seed oil), and their products are paraben, phthalate and sulfate-free. AND they are naturally scented and smell delish! (important with hair products!)

I picked up the Perky Curls Reviving Spray – which does have oils but it’s in a water base – for myself, and the Conditioning Pomade probably for my kit. Texture-wise, the Conditioning Pomade looks very much like Suavecito pomade, which I love. It’s more of a gel pomade as opposed to a heavy oil pomade. Gel pomades thin down nicely and are more usable on more varied kinds of hair, IMO.


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Leaders Skincare oily-head combo: Pore-Scaling Mask and Pore Minimizing Mask

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her eyeliner game is strong and if her skin is any indication, the face masks work a treat!


Leaders Cosmetics was on hand with their Korean-style face masks (they are a Korean skincare brand, and the primary seller of the now infamous Sheet Masks). They had several different kinds on-hand but I chose these to try as I have hellaciously oily skin (STILL!!!), but at 40+ years old, using products to try to “dry up” the oil is not what’s hot in the streets. It’s all about balancing the skin so it can be at its best. Because while having oily skin may be annoying, not having lines or wrinkles is not annoying. 🙂 The Pore-Scaling mask is a charcoal based powder mask designed to draw impurities and excess oil. The Himalayan Camellia Pore Minimizing Mask refines pores and soothes irritated skin. Camellia oil is the oil from the green tea seed (not to be confused with Tea Tree Oil, which comes from an entirely different plant) and it is a power-house beauty ingredient. It is emollient, anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, you-name-it. And the mask itself – instead of being a regular paper sheet mask – is a Coconut Bio Cellulose Mask for extra hydration. I cannot wait to use these back-to-back and watch my skin glow!


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I’m a new Onyx Box member!

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my 1st Onyx Box filled with goodies from Cargo Cosmetics, Cantu, Made Beautiful, Uncle Funky’s Daughter, and Linne Skincare

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the lovely ladies of OnxyBox


I’ve had my eye on Onyx Box as a beauty box subscription service I’d wanted to try for a while. Since they were in attendance at the show, I had to give it a whirl. At the show, I was able to pick out 6 products to create my first Box. And then of course in future boxes they will curate the contents and I’ll get a beauty surprise in the mail every month 🙂 As you can see, these are no skimpy little envelope samples that you could have gotten yourself at the beauty counter. And they aren’t a bunch of perfumes or “who’s that??” brands, either. These are 3 deluxe size samples and 3 full sized products of known, Premium brands, my friends. Now I’m not saying every box is half full sized product (I don’t know, I just joined) but I am saying that Onyx Box gives you product sizes you can actually use.

PRO TIP: If you are a beauty pro who does not happen to be Black yourself, but you want to learn about makeup and HAIR products that will work on your Black clientele, wouldn’t it make sense to join a service like Onyx Box? Do it! And if you do, please tell them Tania Russell / Makeup to Go sent ya!


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DevaCurl Inspiration Wall…

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Last but not least I had to visit the Deva (pronounced Diva) Curl mini-salon. DevaCurl is not a Black hair salon. Many (I would even say most) Black hair salons specialize in hair straightening treatments, weaves, etc. Black women who wear their hair in it’s natural state – as I do – need a different skill set in a salon. Enter DevaCurl which specializes in Curly hair of all kinds, including highly textured natural Black hair. I don’t know if they were the first salon of its kind or if Ouidad was the first. Both are great salons. Ankywhoo, DevaCurl revolutionized Curly haircare in terms of both products and the infamous DevaCut™. So I’m not going to say explicitly why ya girl needed to swing by the mini salon to talk to a stylist, I’m just saying that I needed to swing by the mini salon to talk to a stylist… 😉

Honorable mention goes to;


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makeup to go blog makeup artist los angeles makeup artist san francisco makeup educator black girl beautiful inaugural event


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Nicolet Beauty and Body Culinaire, both of whom I visited although I did not purchase anything. Yet.

Nicolet Beauty – as you can see – is another member of the highly pigmented matte lips in “unusual” colors tribe. They also had very pigmented eyeshadows. The colors looked very good and were very true (so – for example – the purple goes on PURPLE, not magenta as some purple lipsticks do). I have to be honest – I personally do not care for how the matte formuations feel, nor am I into these colors for myself. So as a woman I’m like eh… HOWEVER as an artist I recognize that I need to incorporate some of these types of lips into my kit and the Nicolet Beauty lippies were some of the better ones I’ve seen of the type, with great colors for deep skintones.

Body Culinaire was a custom body scrub bar consisting of yummy skin loving all natural scrub ingredients (coffee, brown sugar, etc.) and luscious natural oils with which to make custom body scrub blends. The booth looked and smelled scrumptious! I loved EVERYthing about it, but my reality is I never use body scrubs on myself LOL! I will visit her site soon, however, because I do like things like this as gifts, and gift season cometh soon!

In addition to the shopping, there was a speaker series with various thought leaders in the Beauty industry weighing in on topics pertaining to Black Women and Beauty. Sadly, this is where my inexperience as a photographer failed me and I did not get any good photos because I had the wrong kind of lens with me 🙁 But I sat in on the “Cultural Appropriation” panel and the “Iconic Beauty” panel. The Iconic Beauty panel – in particular – was right on target for Makeup to Go with AJ Crimson, celebrity natural hairstylist Felicia Leatherwood, The Real head hairstylist and wig maestro Robbi Rogers, Lori Taylor Davis of Smashbox, and celebrity artist extraordinaire Autumn Moultrie as speakers. The topic of discussion ranged from influences, to what constitutes an iconic Look, to how do they create iconic looks for their clients. THIS was the diversity in the industry panel the pro shows were looking for.

To say I enjoyed the Black Girl Beautiful inaugural event doesn’t really say it. I practically floated back to my car and I’ve thought about what I saw and heard (as long as this post is, I left stuff OUT) all day today. In addition to who/what was there, the event itself was very well done. Everything about it was high-end, high quality #Excellence. This event was created to fill a need in the beauty/shopping experience market and indeed it did. I look forward to attending the event again in the future and I’m hopeful it will continue for many years to come!

(Nope, not a sponsored post. I purchased my entrance ticket and all products mentioned 🙂 )

Do you use any of these products? Did you attend the event? Tell me in Comments 🙂

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#MakeupMonday – Makeup Short Notes April 2016

Hello hello! As I’m getting back busy, I’m getting back to doing more exploration of new products. Here’s what has caught my eye of late in the Makeup Short Notes April 2016.

makeup to go blog makeup short notes April 2016 glossier generation g lip balm
1. Glossier

Glossier is a brand founded by the folks of the Into the Gloss blog. I’ve been slow to try it just because you have to order it online (to my knowledge. If there’s a stockist in LA, someone let me know please…), but I have been intrigued by it since it’s inception because of their tagline “skin care as makeup”. And you know how I love my skin care. Thus far I am digging their kind of combo skincare items more so than the color items. The main reason for that being that the color items are extremely limited. For example while the perfecting skin tint goes from “Light” to “Rich”, as they are named, there are only five of them. And I think it’s safe to say that there are more than five skintones in the world. Particularly with people of color, that type of range makes it very difficult to actually find a match without doing some serious mixing wizardry. But the “Balm Dotcom” (and the new “Coconut Balm Dotcom”) really is great as one of those type of Rosebud Salve/8 Hour Cream items that can be used for a bunch of different makeup tricks. I also really liked the “Generation G” lip color. There are only four shades but they’re all pretty universal including “Jam” which is gorgeous on deeper skintones. It has a soft matte finish and it feels good on the lips 🙂

makeup to go blog makeup short notes April 2016 fiona stiles beauty radiant aqua eye veil
2. Fiona Stiles Beauty

Famed celebrity makeup artist Fiona Stiles introduced her cosmetics line this year. I’ll be doing a full story on the whole line in a future article but I tried it out this weekend and I really liked it. It’s one of those brands that’s obvious it was started by a makeup artist in terms of the pigmentation and the textures. What’s really nice about it is that it is available at Ulta and the price points are not crazy. As always I tried some of the foundations, some of the eye colors and some of the lip products. Right now I do have to say the standout for me were the “Radiant Aqua Eye Veil” cream eyeshadows. Most consumers are terrified of cream eyeshadows, so it’ll be interesting to see how that goes in the marketplace. However most makeup artists I know love them, myself included. The cream eyeshadows in the Fiona Stiles Beauty collection are super pigmented with color and have a creamy/velvety texture. I will be purchasing all of those I’ll just tell you that right now.

makeup to go blog makeup short notes April 2016 erborian skin care bamboo waterlock mask
3. Erborian Skincare

I also hit Sephora to see what’s new and happening out there and makeup world. Not a whole lot was happening makeup-wise in Sephora (same old, same old brands, etc.) however there were some very interesting skin care items. Number one of which is a Korean/French fusion skincare brand by the name of “Erborian”.

makeup to go blog makeup short notes April 2016 erborian

Erborian liquid moisture bar


The premise of Erborian is highly intriguing; using Korean principles/inspiration/ingredients in Western formulations. I am getting sucked more and more into the layered skin care approach made famous by Korean women, but I’m honestly weary of the use of some of the more unusual (unusual to me) ingredients in true Korean skincare (like “snail essence”). Therefore this line could be just the ticket. In addition to the four items pictured, the brand has several cleansers including a skin-cleansing balm that is not petroleum based, several masks and moisture emulsions, and a BB Cream. I did end up purchasing a couple of items so look forward to that in a future article after I’ve had time to try them out.

4. Melanated Beauty

Lastly it’s time to look for a new foundation for myself. I’ve mentioned numerous times I have been using Bare Minerals Matte powder foundation. I have a different brand of powder foundation I want to try but in general I think I want to move away from so called mineral foundations. First of all using the powder formula doesn’t seem to do anything regarding my hyper oily skin, and using mattifier underneath, over, sideways etc. doesn’t seem to make a difference. Secondly as I mentioned in my last short notes, what the Bare Minerals Matte foundation did to me in my drivers license photograph was just wrong; Massive TD reaction, I looked aged and a completely different color. A few other recent photos also showed hints of the dreaded TD reaction. I looked at old photographs of myself and it did not do that, so I’m wondering if there’s been a change of formulation. Further my skin is just in different condition now and it really does not need that much coverage and nor does it need to be covered all over, just in a few key places. I want to go back to either a stick formulation or a good quality liquid that I can use in spots.

** I was amazed at how little choices there were for my skintone in retail makeup brands in 2016.**

Again, this was NOT a case of the store not carrying it. I was in Emeryville which is a diverse city in the very diverse San Francisco Bay area. This was a case of trying the deepest color available in a given line, and that deepest color being nowhere near deep enough. Too many lines still have an inadequate color range, period. I’ve heard makeup artists complaining about lack of color choices and that always struck me as bizarre because there are plenty of color choices in the pro brands from creams to liquids to BB creams etc. However if you are an artist in a market where you are largely doing your shopping from retail stores or if you are the average non-pro makeup artist beauty consumer who just wants to hit the store and get something right quick, I can see where the frustration lies. This is a picture of my hand with swatches from several brands in their darkest color (click on photo for specific foundation names).

makeup to go blog makeup short notes April 2016 melanated beauty foundations test foundations for black skin foundations for african american skin

my hand testing foundations. Click on image to see who’s what…


As you can see most of those are highly incorrect. There are a couple on there that could work for me but would be too red for a lot of people, and then most of them are too light and too yellow for me. Being a pro makeup artist who works on every type/shade/age/etc. of person there is, I’ve never felt the need to orient this blog towards women of color specifically. However AS a woman of color and seeing now that the cosmetic situation is still highly problematic to say the least, I am going to start doing more reviews specific for women of color. Because that was crazy! Suffice to say I did not end up buying anything for myself. 😐

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