Tag: beauty

Looks We Love: Erykah Badu, Ledisi & Solange Cover ESSENCE’s May Beauty Issue

I love Nia Long and Gabrielle Union like most, but after awhile it’s nice to see someone new on the cover of ESSENCE. For the May beauty issue, ESSENCE features three fabulous women: Erykah Badu, Ledisi and Solange.

According to their website:

At ESSENCE, we’re all about celebrating individual beauty, and that’s exactly what comes to mind with the three women gracing the cover of our May issue: Erykah Badu, Ledisi and Solange. Each of these artists have captivated audiences not only with their songs, but also with their style and beauty. And for each of them, it’s always about self-expression.

How Erykah Badu views her hair and clothes:

I view my hair and clothes as functional art. I’m my own stylist and I love it, but I am not trying to make a statement.

Solange on individuality:

We all have the option of how we want to express ourselves through our life, hair, style or whatever we decide. We shouldn’t be pigeonholed into any one category.

Ledisi on not taking her hair too seriously:

Although I’m known for my long, colorful locs, I still don’t take my hair too seriously.I experiment a lot, dyeing it and constantly switching styles to grab attention. My hair is one of my best accessories and changing it helps express who I am.

Love it; these covers are so refreshing! The May 2014 issue of ESSENCE is available now.

Source: Essence

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You’re Invited: Money & Manicures

Dominique Broadway, the creator of Finances De•mys•ti•fied, kicks off her new series “Beauty on a Budget” (BoB) this month. BoB will arm everyday women with best practices, tools and resources that will allow them to properly integrate their beauty needs in a recurring budget.

The first installment of BoB is Money and Manicures, which will take place at the upscale Nival Salon & Spa. Guests will enjoy mini manicures, raffles, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and more!

Money and Manicures will also feature money-saving financial and beauty tips from Finances De•mys•ti•fied and Nival Salon & Spa.

Date: Thursday, March 27, 2014

Time: 6 - 8pm

Location: Nival Salon & Spa (5481 Wisconsin Ave, Bethesda, Md)

Tickets: $20 early bird ticket; $25 general ticket. Purchase here.

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Diva Spotlight: Lupita Nyong’o - Why Her Success Is So Important

Lupita Nyong’o has taken the world by storm!! I was so excited for her when she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role her in 12 Years a Slave (did anyone else shed a tear during her acceptance speech?)

Like the rest of the world, I fell in love with her beauty, style and grace during the award season. Every time she hit the red carpet, it was like BAM!  She can wear just about anything. And during her interviews, she was always so positive and humbled by the crazy journey she was experiencing.

During the Essence’s Black Women in Hollywood luncheon, Lupita talked about beauty. After all, people all over the world are fascinated by her beauty and gorgeous skin. She started her speech reading a part of a letter she received from a young girl who viewed her as a role model.

‘Dear Lupita,’ it reads. ‘I think you’re really lucky to be this Black but yet this successful in Hollywood overnight. I was just about to buy Dencia’s Whitenicious cream to lighten my skin when you appeared on the world map and saved me.’

She also spoke about how she used to pray to God for lighter skin. It wasn’t until she saw model Alex Wek on the runways and in magazines that she began to understand that  1) her dark skin was indeed beautiful and 2) beauty is something that just had to be. She couldn’t rely on how she looked to sustain her. Please check out her speech below:


Someone recently commented on a fashion blog post about Lupita that the actress may be overexposed. After all, every other post for 2 months was about her. She was EVERYWHERE; magazines, blogs and entertainment shows. A week couldn’t go by without seeing a picture of Lupita online.

But in this case, is overexposure really a bad thing? For some people it may be. But for Lupita, I don’t think so. The letter she received from a young girl wanting to lighten her skin is a testament to that. We live in a world where black beauty and talent is not always acknowledged and appreciated.  In our society, the definition of black beauty is very limited; let’s just say, dark skin women usually don’t fit the bill. In Hollywood and so many other industries, black women are fighting left and right to be acknowledge and respected for their talent and beauty. That is why it is up to black women to celebrate who we are and each other (hence why Black Girls Rock was created).

I think what makes this “Lupita era” so exciting is that she is a representation of so many women and in turn has become a role model for so many young girls; especially dark skin girls. She sends a message that beauty and success are not defined by how you look or where you come from. Lupita’s “overexposure” is a message to young girls (and women) everywhere that your skin is only a fraction of who you are. Compassion for oneself and others is what makes us beautiful. Lupita has also set the example that intelligence, grace, humility and hard work is what sets us apart from the rest.

I pray that all young girls watching Lupita feel inspired to love the skin they’re in, but also feel like their dreams can one day become their reality. The sky is the limit!

“No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid” – Lupita Nyong’o

share save 256 24 Diva Spotlight: Lupita Nyong’o   Why Her Success Is So Important

You’re Invited: BET ‘Being Mary Jane’ Holiday Glam Nail Salon

You’re invited to join BET and DC blogger Naseya Minor of TheSeventhDistrict.com for the Being Mary Jane Holiday Glam Nail Salon on Friday, December 27th at The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. This event is free and open to all. Attendees will enjoy complimentary manicures, beauty products and more!

If you’re not in DC, no worries! The Holiday Glam Nail Salon presented by Revlon will be traveling to New York, Atlanta, Miami and Houston. Click here for upcoming tour dates.

After premiering earlier this year, Being Mary Jane starring Gabrielle Union returns to BET on January 7th! Can’t wait!

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You’re Invited: Join Me For A Holiday Pamper & Shop Party

Now that we’re in full holiday mode, I wanted to personally invite you to join me, celebrity stylist Apuje Kalu and celebrity jewelry designer Deborah Mdurvwa of Mdurvwa Collection for a Holiday Pamper & Shop Party hosted by PYNK Magazine.

All attendees will enjoy complimentary manicures & cupcakes, PYNK drink specials and style advice from Apuje (he has styled LaToya Luckett, Elle Varner, Mya and Jay Ellis to name a few). The first 60 attendees will receive a gift bag. You’ll also be able to shop the Mdurvwa Collection, which may serve as the perfect holiday gift for the women in your life.

 pynk party 3 You’re Invited: Join Me For A Holiday Pamper & Shop Party

This is event is FREE so please take a break from your busy weekend schedule and join us for an afternoon of pampering! RSVP at [email protected]

I hope to see you there icon smile You’re Invited: Join Me For A Holiday Pamper & Shop Party

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You’re Invited: Red Sprinkle Pop-Up Beauty Lounge II

Join the ladies of Red Sprinkle for an evening of beauty at their 2nd Annual Pop-up Beauty Lounge at Neiman Marcus Mazza Gallerie, hosted by Lianne Farbes of The Makeup Girl!

Get pampered with complimentary lash extensions courtesy of Elle Bella Lash Bar, a Dior Polish Bar, nail decals by Jamberry Nails, party pin-ups by Seven & Company. Guests will also enjoy facials, an oxygen bar, hand massages and more from Armani, Bobbi Brown, Chanel, Tom Ford & many other participating vendors!

Date: Thursday, November 21 2013

Time: 6-8pm

Location: Neiman Marcus Mazza Gallrie (5300 Wisconsin Ave. NW DC 20015)

Tickets can be purchased here: www.publ2.eventbrite.com. Use PROMO code SAVE5

50% of proceeds will go to benefit the Red Sprinkle Fashion Camp Scholarships, which assists young adults pursuing secondary education in the field of fashion.

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Beauty Tip For Oily Skin: Milk of Magnesia As A Primer

A few weeks ago during the Elaine Luxe photo shoot, makeup artist Jeneal and I talked about various makeup tips. I had mentioned to her that I have combination oily skin so my forehead and nose tend to get really oily. To combat oiliness while wearing makeup, Jeneal recommended I apply Milk of Magnesia to my face as a primer.  I had never heard of this beauty secret before so I when I came home from the shoot that evening, I Googled “Milk of Magnesia Primer.” Apparently, a lot of people use this product as a primer. Who knew?!

Available at Target for $4

Since Milk of Magnesia is dry, it mattifies the face for long lasting foundation wear.  Since I had plans to be out all day Saturday, I gave Milk of Magnesia a try. After washing my face and applying my daily moisturizer, I applied a THIN layer of Milk of Magnesia using a spray bottle (you can use a cotton ball, foundation brush or makeup sponge as well).  I let it dry completely before applying my tinted moisturizer. Make sure you blend in your moisturizer or foundation really well. After applying your tinted moisturizer or foundation, continue with your normal makeup routine (concealer, powder, etc).

I had my makeup on for over 12 hours Saturday and it held up well. I checked my makeup throughout the day and my forehead and nose weren’t really shiny. I think I reapplied my powder once since I hadn’t blended my concealer very well.  My face actually felt a little dry because the milk of magnesia makes your makeup matte, but my face didn’t appear dry. I think my face felt that way because I’m used to it being so oily.

No shine after 12+ hours of wearing makeup. Please excuse my hair frizziness lol

This was my first attempt so I’m definitely going to use Milk of Magnesia again the next time I wear a full face of makeup. I’m no beauty expert (I’ll stick to styling) but I do think if you have combination oily or oily skin, it’s worth a try. Check out what others had to say about using Milk of Magnesia on the Makeup and Beauty Blog and Makeup Alley. You can also Google Youtube videos.

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Shobha: NYC’s Brow Shaping & Waxing Salon Comes To DC

The struggle to find someone that can shape your eyebrows the way you like them is just as critical as finding the right hairstylist! After the lady I had gone to for a few years left the Perfect Brow kiosk at Tyson Corner mall, I struggled with finding someone that was consistent with getting my brows right. One of my brows is thin on the side; sometimes the hair removal specialists are able to keep a thick shape and length on with my “problem” brow. Other times they remove too much hair and it looks like part of my brow is missing. No bueno!

Earlier this year I received an email from the Marketing Coordinator for Shobha. Shobha is New York City’s hair removal expert offering a variety of services including threading, sugaring and waxing.  They moved to DC last month and the coordinator invited me to come in for complimentary brow shaping.

IMG 5706 Shobha: NYCs Brow Shaping & Waxing Salon Comes To DC

After going almost two months without getting my brows done, it was time for a shaping so I went to Shobha this past Tuesday. The space is bright but quiet and the staff is really friendly. I didn’t have to wait long to meet with the hair removal specialist Yamuna. While they do take walk-ins, it’s highly suggested that you make an appointment in advance.

IMG 5699 Shobha: NYCs Brow Shaping & Waxing Salon Comes To DC

What I liked about the threading appointment is that before starting, the hair removal specialist and I looked in a hand held mirror and discuss exactly how I wanted my brows threaded. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I’m big on customer service and taking the time to walk through with a client how they want to look is very important.

IMG 5703 Shobha: NYCs Brow Shaping & Waxing Salon Comes To DC

Once we discussed my shape and my issue with my “problem” brow, Yamuna got to work and did a great job; she shaped the exactly how I like them AND she got the brow that I struggle with just right (it helped that I went almost 2 months without getting them done)! She concluded the appointment with a cool compress (since threading like waxing can sometimes irritate the skin) and then I was good to go. The receptionist at the front desk gifted me with a brow pencil and brush I look forward to trying.

IMG 5712 Shobha: NYCs Brow Shaping & Waxing Salon Comes To DC

One thing that did catch me off guard was the pricing, but then again Shobha is supposed to be one of the best!  After all, they have been featured in Lucky, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan and more. It will cost you $22 to have your brows threaded. A bikini wax is $48.  I can get my bikini wax for less than $30 from a salon located around the corner from Shobha, so I probably won’t be stopping by for a wax. But brows are a different story. Those are seen on a daily basis which means I need to keep the brows in shape a lot more often! While it’s more than what I’m used to paying (I usually pay $12 for threading), I do believe in paying a little more to get exactly what you want. Fortunately, I’m not one that needs to get my brows threaded every two weeks, so I could pay the premium every couple months.

IMG 5701 Shobha: NYCs Brow Shaping & Waxing Salon Comes To DC

If you’re like me and have struggled with finding someone to get your brows just right, I do recommend giving Shobha a try. I think they offer a discount to first time clients and the service is definitely a step up from the brow kiosks you may visit at the mall.

For more information about Shobha and to see a full list of services visit www.myshobha.com

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My First Weave + Being Insecure

At the end of 2012 I decided I was ready to change my hair again. After three years of short hair, I wanted to grow my hair out so I had the option to wear it curly or in top knots on hot summer days (getting my hair to that stage will probably take years)!  After talking to my hair stylist, she also told me I really didn’t need relaxers anymore so my last relaxer was in December. Let the process to grow my hair AND go natural begin!

In January I got braids. I wore those for two months and by the time I took them out, my hair was at the “in between stage.” It wasn’t really short and it wasn’t really long. The “in between stage” is the WORST so I thought I’d try getting a weave. Folks have testified that wearing a sewn-in weave helped their hair grow so why not give it a try?!

Day of weave installation

After doing some research and asking a thousand questions to friends and my hair stylist, I got a sewn-in a few weeks ago. When I see other women wearing good weaves, they look so natural. So I was hoping for the same result. Even though I had quality hair and the stylist did a great job with the installation, I didn’t FEEL like my weave looked natural. Once I stepped out in public, I immediately became insecure. Is the length of the hair too much? Does it look like I’m wearing a wig? People are probably looking at me and thinking ‘what is that on her head?’ These were the constant thoughts that ran through my head.

Part of the issue was that the stylist originally doubled up on some tracks which added extra volume.  After removing those pieces, the weave looked more natural but I was still uncomfortable.  I haven’t had hair past my shoulders since I was 8 or 9 years old so let’s just say walking around with long hair was an adjustment. Oh the tricks our mind plays on us when it comes to how we view ourselves!

2-3 weeks after installation

I’m not sure being uncomfortable with my weave is really a big deal, but the experience was definitely a lesson on how to deal with insecurities. My job as a personal stylist is to help women look and feel good about themselves; like so many women, I too sometimes don’t feel good about myself. We’re all a work in progress. It is natural for us to be insecure at times, but we can’t let our insecurities control us.  If you don’t think you’re beautiful, write “I am beautiful” on your mirror and recite it to yourself every day until you believe it. If you don’t like your current weight, decide today you are going to something to change it. If you’re insecurity is fueled by the messages you receive from folks around you, it is time to change your circle. If you’re struggle with insecurities, I challenge you to change your environment in order to turn those negative views into positive ones.

Although it’s just hair, being reassured by friends and strangers that my hair looks nice was the affirmation I needed to accept and embrace my new look. After all, I spent a pretty penny on this hair and installation so it has to work for the next 2 months! As I continue on this journey to grow my hair out, don’t be surprised if you see long hair on me again this fall.

What are some things you do to help you overcome insecurities?

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A$AP Rocky: Dark-Skinned Women + Red Lipstick Don’t Mix

A$AP Rocky is the latest entertainer to cause quite a stir with misguided comments about women.

In a recent interview with The Coveteur, A$AP Rocky shared his thoughts on red lipstick:

“But for real, for me, I feel like with the red lipstick thing it all depends on the pair of complexion. I’m just being real. You have to be fair skinned to get away with that. Just like if you were to wear like-f*cking for instance, what do dark skin girls have that you know fair skinned girls cant do…Purple lipstick? Naw, that looks stupid on all girls! Purple lipstick, guys! Like, what the f*ck…”

I really hate reading rapper interviews because they never speak in complete sentences. But I digress…

Does anyone else think this is a form of colorism?? A$AP Rocky needs to leave beauty advice to the experts because he clearly knows nothing about red lipstick. Last time I checked, red lipstick comes in a variety of shades that compliment every skin tone! And don’t get me started on purple lipstick. Purple lipstick is gorgeous; especially a dark plum shade that can be worn during the fall and winter season. I LOVE my purple lipstick. It’s a great alternative to red and looks gorgeous against dark skin women.  As the Huffington Post pointed out, ASAP’s Rocky’s fellow Harlem-native rapper Azealia Banks is making a pretty penny off her purple-hued pout.

Messages like this by folks like A$AP Rocky only emphasizes why campaigns like ImREDy are so important. Women of ALL complexions need to embrace their beauty and not be afraid to wear whatever they want. Red lipstick is fun, fierce, bold, sexy and helps women exude a confidence they may not always show (At least it does that for me. I hadn’t worn red lipstick for over 10 years until I decided to participate in the ImREDy campaign). All it takes is a little trial and error to find the correct shade.

In response to this foolish statement about dark-skinned women and red lipstick, Clutch Magazine offers some great advice on finding the perfect shade:

  • If you have a warm, golden undertone (think Gabrielle Union), reds with a yellow or brown base will work for you.
  • If your skin is more cool and you have a red undertone (think Viola Davis) or blue undertone (think Alek Wek), deep reds with a blue base are your best bet.
  • If your skin is olive based (think Lauryn Hill), reds with a neutral undertone are the best way to go.
  • Bonus: If your lips are dark, dab some concealer on them to even out the tone before applying lipstick.

In the words of Tamar Braxton, A$AP Rocky “TRIED IT!” My advice to him: stick to rapping and modeling in magazines.

Read his full interview here.

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