Eyebrows on Fleek: Brow 101

Eyebrow History

Our eyebrows have changed a lot throughout the last century. From the 1920s ultrathin, droopy brow to the overplucked trend in the 1990s, thankfully today in 2015, our eyebrows are meant to be face-fitting, natural, and bold!

f_july_multitask_lrg2Like our eyebrows, the products to produce the trends changed and grew. Women and men now have  many choices to create their perfect eyebrow.

Eyebrows on Fleek (1)

  • If you have sparse eyebrows, try a pencil. ZuZu Luxe Cream Brow Pencil has 4 different colors and has a spoolie for better grooming and definition.
    • Positives
      • Easy application.
      • Doesn’t create harsh lines.
      • Can blend into the natural hair.
      • Better control in strokes to fill in the eyebrows.
      • Wax-based or cream-based–great for Normal to Dry Skin types.
    • Negatives
      • If applied incorrectly, can cause harsh lines and uneven shading.
      • Oily skin types might find the color to  fade throughout the day.
  • For barely-there brows,  try a mousse formula. Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof brow mousse has 5 shades and comes with a eyebrow-spoolie brush.
    • Positives
      • Can create neat, straight lines.
      • Color stays in place for hours.
      • Can be blended into the natural hair.
      • Great for Dry or Normal skin types
    • Negatives
      • Can create harsh lines, if not blended.
      • Higher risk of feathering.
      • Can be difficult to apply if not familiar with eyebrow brushes.
  • Have wild, unruly eyebrows that need to be tamed? Try tinted eyebrow mascaras. NYX Tinted Brow Mascara has 5 shades and is travel-friendly!
    • Positives
      • Creates a natural-look without harsh lines.
      • Works for all skin types.
      • Sets and tames the eyebrow hair.
    • Negatives
      • Might need to be applied multiple times to desired look (if you want bold, darker eyebrows!)
      • Not a good filler.
      • Does not cause neat, straight lines.
      • Can be hard to control application.
  • For any brows, try a kit designed for eyebrows. Milani Brow Fix Kit is described as a “swiss army knife” for eyebrows. This kit comes in three different shades with an array of tools to achieve the perfect brow.
    • Positives
      • Most kits are powder-based–great for oily or combination skin types.
      • Great for traveling.
      • More natural-looking.
      • All-in-one so more bang for your buck!
      • Easy application and blending.
    • Negatives
      • Powders are not the best choice for Dry skin types.
      • Can faded throughout the day.
      • Can’t create neat lines.
      • Sometimes can create harsh, neat lines if over applying in a straight motion.

Of course, this is a guide! Many people use a combination of products to achieve their perfect eyebrows. Do your research and test them out!

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Color of the Year: Marsala Nail

According to Pantone, Inc, a leading company in color development, Marsala can be identified as a red-brown wine shade that is rich and warm. In my opinion, a perfect color for the fall season. What better way to wear the color but to flash it on your nails?

Nail PolishListed from budget-friendly to CEO-status!

Highlighters for YOU: Dry Skin Verison

Highlighters Dry Skin

Part 2: Highlighters for Dry Skin types!

What are highlighters?

Highlighters are a product, along with contouring, that allows the wearer to add depth and dimension to the face. It gives the skin a “dewy” look, if applied correctly. If applied, incorrectly (i.e  applied in areas of redness), highlighters can draw attention to these problem areas. So please! Use the appropriate foundation and concealer to give you a flawless appearance.

What should I look for?

Following similiar rules to foundation, powders aren’t the best choice. You don’t want your skin looking flaky–so choose a liquid or cream highlighter.

As far as skin tones goes;

Continue reading “Highlighters for YOU: Dry Skin Verison”

Highlighters for YOU: Oily Skin Verison

Highlighters Oily_Normal

What are highlighters?

Highlighters are a product, along with contouring, that allows the wearer to add depth and dimension to the face. It gives the skin a “dewy” look, if applied correctly. If applied, incorrectly (i.e  applied in areas of redness), highlighters can draw attention to these problem areas. So please! Use the appropriate foundation and concealer to give you a flawless appearance.

What should I look for?

As far as skin tones goes;

Continue reading “Highlighters for YOU: Oily Skin Verison”

Foundation 101

We all have been there. Walking down the makeup aisle, choosing  a foundation “that looks right” and taking it home; only to find out it’s wrong color, finish, or formula. For women of color it is especially hard to find the right foundation. I grew up with an older sister who resorted to mixing TWO different foundations to create the one she wanted and needed.

So I have created a guide to help those who are looking for the right foundation.

Step 1: Before anything else, determine what kind of skin do you have. Are you oily? Dry? Maybe you are a combination of both, like myself. Or maybe you have a special skin condition that would classify you as having sensitive skin. Either way, be honest with yourself! THIS WILL HELP YOU IN THE LONG RUN! This test by Renee Rouleau, an esthetician who caters to the celebrities, will help you find out which skin type you are: HERE.

Step 2: Find out your skin tone. This is a little hard to explain, but it’s basically the color of skin. Some of the popular labelling for the skin tones go lightest to darkest.

skintone_categories-e1394306699611

  • Medium/Beige
  • Tan
  • Dark
  • Deep

Now some brands may differ on the skin tones AND your skin changes throughout the seasons and climates. For example, in the summer I am labelled as “medium dark” but in the winter I am “medium tan”. So I jump between the two different skin tones each season.
Step 3. Determine your undertone. Are you warm, cool, or neutral. Unlike skin tone, your undertone usually stays constant. YOUR SKIN TONE DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY DETERMINE YOUR UNDERTONE. The easiest way to find out is to check your veins (either on your waist).

  •  If you see mostly green, yellow, or olive-like color–you have WARM undertones.
  • If you see blue veins, you have COOL undertones.
  • If you see a mixture of both or have difficulty determining your colors, you are a NEUTRAL.

undertones3

YUNANALYSIS made this chart to look for keywords used to describe your skin tone and undertone (I am usually described as caramel or walnut). You can also go into any Sephora Store. They have partnered up with Pantone to create a device that measures the darkness of your skin. They will then give you an idea where you are on the Pantone Skin Chart (i.e I am 2Y11 in winter, 2Y12 in summer)!

Step 4: Coverage. How much of your natural skin would you like to cover? Now, in my option, I prefer sheer to medium coverage. Whatever imperfections that are not covered with my foundation, a light concealer hides the rest.

  1. Sheer: barely there. Barely hides imperfections.
  2. Medium: some coverage. Covers some imperfections.
  3. Full: A lot of coverage. Covers all imperfections.

Step 5: Which formula would you prefer? As a guide line: powders work better for oily skin. Liquids and creams work better for dry skin.

  1. Cream: Plain Jane Beauty Creme Minerals foundation
  2. Liquid: Gabriel’s liquid foundation cosmetics.
  3. Loosed powder: Jane Iredale Amazing Base loose powder mineral powder.
  4. Pressed powder:  BECCA Perfect Skin Mineral Powder Foundation
  5. Serum: Josie Maran Argan Matchmaker Serum Foundation
  6. Stick: Vapour Atmosphere Luminous Foundation

Step 6: Lastly! Which finish would you like?

  • Natural: I would describe naturall finishes as the between of satin and matte. These finishes look great on everyone! An California-based company, Bodyography, produces Natural Finish Foundations for an affordable price.
  • Matte: No shine, soft look. Oily or combination skin types look great in this look to keep away oily skin. However, dry skin may want to stay away to avoid looking ashy or dull. TARTE’s Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation SPF 15 is made with Kaolin clay to help with oil throughout the day.
  • Radiant: Dewy (described as a “wet” look). Dry skin types love radiant finishes because it makes the skin look moisturized. But because it looks “wet”, oily skin should shy away from this finish–unless you apply a matte finishing powder. Vegan foundation, Veil Fluid Makeup Oil Free Broad Spectrum by Hourglass, provides sun protection and has a good range of shades.
  • Satin: In the middle of radiant and matte, satin looks great on everyone.   Urban Decay’s has a powder compact described to “add ultra definition” that is buildable and oil-free, that can be applied wet or dry.

Prime Time: Primers For Your Skin Type

Primers for Skin Type

  • Normal Skin: Personally, I used this  primer for a while. However, I found it works better for normal to dry skin types. It did not reduce the appearance of oil or matte me, but it was very moisturizing and concealed my pores. With 7 ingredients listed, Reviva Lab’s Makeup Primer is a great choice!
  • Oily or Combination Skin: Made with Kaolin clay, a well-known natural substance to help acne-prone and oily skin, Mineral Fusion’s Mattifying Primer will do the trick of matting you and controlling the appearance of oil throughout the day.
  • Dry Skin: Emani’s Perfect 10 Primer Serum is cream-based primer made with 10 different plant extracts that not only give you a dose of antioxidants but also calms and moisturizes dry skin.
  • Sensitive Skin: Cover FX is considered one of the best brands out there for people with normal-to-high sensitive skin. Removing harsh chemicals and dyes, Cover FX produced this amazing product: The Calming Primer. It is dermalogically designed to be worn by people with sensitive skin types, even individuals with Rosacea.

Finding Your Perfect Blush for Your Skin Type

Like other cosmetics, it is important to know your skin type (along with your skin tone!). One blush type may work for your friend but it may not work for you. Save your time and money and check out the chart displaying which blushes work for your skin type!

Blush Skin Types

NARS Dupe

  • For Oily/ Combination Skin: Powders work best on us! Liquid-type blushes make us look even oilier. So try Silk Natural’s mineral powder in Afterglow. It is a peachy pink color with gold shimmer. This color works for all skin tones and undertones.
  • For Dry Skin: Unlike oily skin, powders aren’t your friend. Stick to more moisturizing, liquid blushes such as 100% Pure Cream Blush in Peachy.
  • For Normal Skin: You are lucky! You can choose ANY blush type.
  • For Sensitive Skin: Follow the rule if your skin is more oily, normal, or dry but be more mindful of unknown ingredients. W3LL PEOPLE creates products free of artificial preservatives, parabens, chemicals, dyes, fragrance, silicone, dimethicone, pthalates, sulphates, petroleum, talc, bismuth oxychloride, and nanoparticles! Try their Purist Blush Powder in number 63, a luminous apricot tone.

The Struggle is REAL! The Issue behind Cruelty-Free & Vegan Cosmetics

Before I get into the issue behind the cruelty-free and vegan cosmetic industry, I wanted to say to thank you all the companies out there that are creating wonderful products for those who want to change their lifestyle without completely eliminating the freedom that cosmetics give to women and men in improving their outer beauty.

However, with that said, there is an issue I believe exists behind this movement. This post, of course, is not meant to upset anyone but bring awareness and hopefully inspiration for more change in the near future.

I began wearing makeup (with my mother’s approval) around the age of 15. It was the bare essentials though. One foundation color (after I bought two to mix), one blush , a tube of mascara, a kit of eyeshadow and stick or two of tinted lip balm. That was my go-to makeup routine for a few years. I just drove to my nearest drug store and pick up whatever colors I thought look the most flattering on me. I honestly didn’t think too much about it. It was not until my sophomore year of college in 2011 (and about 4 years into vegetarianism), I was researching for a paper about animal cruelty. Of course, I knew of animal testing for medical research, but was not aware that many companies used animals to test their cosmetics. I was so shocked! I felt guilty. I went home and threw all my makeup away!

I had to start over. Going au natural was not my thing however. I was happy to see there were many companies out there! Even stores like ULTA and Sephora carried cruelty-free and vegan brands. I thought to myself, “Wow, this is easier than I thought!”. But as soon as I thought those words, the reality of the matter hit me… I am still a minority.

What that means to me is,  before I switched to this lifestyle, I had a difficult time finding the right shade of foundation or cosmetics designed for women (and men) with darker skin tones. I would walk down aisles and aisles in different stores and see many options for women with lighter skin tones, but when it came to darker ones, it was very limited. Thus, I would mix foundations because some of the darker tones were either too light or too dark for me. Yes, I knew of Clinique, Bobbi Brown, and M.A.C BUT it did not fit into my narrow views of what cosmetics should be: vegan or cruelty-free.

Four years later, I am still struggling. Not as much, but still finding my way.

Of course, I am not going to point fingers at any particular company or person! But I will express my frustration as a woman with darker skin that wants to lead a healthier lifestyle, both internally and externally,  has not been given the same opportunities as my lighter skin counteracts have. I would visit other makeup bloggers and majority of them are women with lighter skin tones. They will review all kinds of beautiful products but when I visit the website to research, there are only 3 to 4 shades created for darker skinned women. I am right back to mixing foundations like I did previously. Not only is that expensive, it is very time-consuming and tricky.

Blushes, lipsticks, eyeliner, and mascara are my safe haven but BB/CC/DD creams, tinted moisturizers, foundation, and an array of complexion products are very limiting in the cruelty-free and vegan world. I have found one or two awesome companies that sell makeup for individuals like myself but to me, that is not enough. I wish I knew the reason behind this. I have came up with some theories.

  1.  Creating darker tones are more expensive.
  2. There isn’t a large enough market to create these products.
  3. The myth darker skin has less “flaws” thus darker-skinned women did not need complexion aid.
  4.  Pure laziness or ignorance about dark skin.

I hope it is 1,2, and 3! Either way, I believe there should be an equal number of cosmetics for ALL people. From one side of the septrum to the other. Hopefully as my blog grows, companies will also and realize EVERYONE from ALL backgrounds want, need, and deserve to look beautiful inside AND out.

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Plum Lipsticks for Darker Cruelty-free & Vegan Ladies

Personally, fall is my favorite season. I love seeing the richer, deeper colors of green, orange, red, and yellow in fashion and makeup. I especially love fall because this means darker lip colors.

*= VEGAN-FRIENDLY

Like choosing other lip colors, determining your skin tone and undertone is important so your skin doesn’t look dull or gray–but radiant and flawless.

If your skintone is within the range of medium to tan:

  • and has a warm undertones like Halle Berry or Kelly Rowland–chose a lipstick with a rich reddish-purple color (think wine!) or a burgundy. Because you are warm, a blue-tone berry lipstick will blend well with your undertone and whiten your teeth.  Like this dark berry, maroon lipstick by Aromi *.
  • and has a cool undertone similar to Rosario  Dawson or Jennifer Hudson, mauve lipsticks with pink or rose undertones are perfect. Ecco Bella’s lipstick in Rosewood * is a mauve shade with slight pink undertones.

Now onto the dark to deep skin tones (like myself!):

  • If your skintone is similar to Lupita Nyong’o’s or Gabby Union’s with warm undertones, search for lipsticks that are similar to wine colors–rich and dark. For example, Red Apple’s Wine and Dandy * is awesome! This deep, wine lip color with purple undertones will bring out your golden hues without being overpowering.
  • If your skintone is closer to Alek Wek’s or Uzo Aduba’s and has a cooler undertone, bright lip colors of magenta or violet look great on you. Even dark reds with chocolate-brown tones within them look amazing on you too! But because of the contrast between the deep, dark tone of your skin and the lipstick–I believe Lime Crime’s lipstick in Poisonberry * is just the bright and bold lipstick your skin tone wants!

Hints:

Lipliner is your friend!

Because your lips are darker, choose a more natural eye or blush color.

Should I wear Sun Protection?: Breaking the Myth + CRUELTY-FREE & VEGAN Sunscreens

There seems to be a myth among people with darker complexions that there is no need to apply sunscreen. I, too, use to believe this!  I mean,dark skin is evolutionarily designed to tolerate the sun rays, so why waste time and money on sunscreen? However, in our modern times with pollution and other factors, our skin is changing. We cannot see the differences but over time we will notice the fine lines and age spots much earlier than what we anticipated. To help prevent these changes, adding a thin layer to sunscreen will help you in the long run! And yes, that means wearing the sunscreen in both summer and winter!

Here is a visual guide to help you determine which skin type you belong to. Known as“The Fitzpatrick Skin Type”, it is a skin classification system first developed in 1975 by Thomas Fitzpatrick, MD, of Harvard Medical School. It measures genetic disposition and reactions to sun exposure.

FITZPATRICK-COLOR-CHART

Not sure? TEST HERE

  • Type I (scores 0–6) Pale white; blond or red hair; blue eyes; freckles — Always burns, never tans
  • Type II (scores 7–13) White; fair; blond or red hair; blue, green, or hazel eyes — Usually burns, tans minimally
  • Type III (scores 14–20) Cream white; fair with any hair or eye color; quite common — Sometimes mild burn, tans uniformly
  • Type IV (scores 21–27) Moderate brown; typical Mediterranean skin tone — Rarely burns, always tans well
  • Type V (scores 28–34) Dark brown; Middle Eastern skin types — Very rarely burns, tans very easily
  • Type VI (scores 35+) Deeply pigmented dark brown to black — Never burns, tans very easily

As you can see darker complexions needs sunscreen with a SPF 15 or higher.

All of these sunscreens can be worn under makeup; allow 5 minutes for the sunscreen to dry before applying makeup.


Normal Skin (VEGAN & PARABEN-FREE)

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DeVita Solar Protective Moisturizer SPF30+

$25.95 for 2.5 oz/75 ml

Order HERE


Oily Skin (VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE, PARABEN-FREE)

kiss-my-face-face-factor-spf30-face-neck-500x500

KISS MY FACE® Face Factor SPF 30 For Face and Neck

$12.95 for 2 oz/ 59 mL

Order HERE


Combination (VEGETARIAN, PARABEN-FREE)

Alba-Botanica-Very-Emollient-Sunscreen-Facial-SPF-30-Broad-Spectrum-724742003951

alba BOTANICA® Very Emollient Sunscreen facial broad spectrum spf30

$11.49 for 4 oz/ 113 g

Order HERE


Dry (VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE, PARABEN-FREE)

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COOLA® Face spf 30 Cucumber moisturizer

$32.00 for 1.7 oz/50ml

Order HERE


Sensitive (VEGAN, PARABEN-FREE)

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California Baby® Super Sensitive ™ (No Fragrance) Broad Spectrum SPF 30+

$19.99 for 2.9oz/82 g

Order HERE