Day 30: Fall & Winter Fragrances for Men

Someone once said, “fragrance speaks the loudest on a subliminal level.” Make a subtle statement on the holidays with these powerful fragrances.

Men Fragrance Winter 2015

1. Herban Cowboy Natural Grooming Cologne Dusk ($28.99)

This natural, 100% vegan cologne utilizes natural scents from lavender flower oil, bergamot fruit oil, lemon peel oil, lime oil, clary sage oil and ylang flower oil.

2. Jack Black in Silver Mark™ Eau de Parfum ($25-$72)

Indulge in modern spice. Peppery notes of Geranium, a dash of Pimento and a splash of Ceylon Cardamom and a Wild Cypress.

3. L’ Aromatica Perfume in Dapper ($30-$60)

A wearable red rose fragrance for fancy men with Red Rose Absolute, Polished Wood, Pastis (Anise), Clovebud, Vanilla and Moss.

4. Portland General Store in Whiskey ($98)

Bring out that inner Brando with this elegant and charismatic fragrance, updated from a classic 1920s recipe. Power and masculinity are obvious in the deep wood and amber, and an unexpected hint of spice and floral complexity reveals itself over the hours. – PGS bestseller.

5. Le Labo in Vetiver 46 ($70-$240)

The Rolls Royce of Vetivers, nurtured in Haiti and retired to Grasse in accord with local know-how, is the pillar of this perfume that, without a doubt, is the most masculine of all Le Labo creations! Among the 46 essences that make it up, all have the distinctive “male” scent: pepper, garlic, labdanum, cedar¦ Each expresses strength of character in its own way, and the delicate accompaniment of olibanum, a mysterious incense, leaves an intriguing spiritual dimension in its wake.


Day 29: Facial Moisturizers for Men

Gentlemen, skincare is not just the ladies or even the “metrosexuals”. All men, from walks of life, should invest in a simple but effective skincare routine. The skin on a man’s face is between 20%-30% thicker than that of a woman’s which means you should find products purposely designed for me. Razor burn and bumps, sensitive skin, and hyperpigmentation can be common issues men of color face, so why not look into correcting or reducing those problems with an amazing facial moisturizers.

Facial Lotions for Men 20151. Seen in both Men’s Health and Men’s Journal magazines, Brickell’s Daily Essential Face Moisturizer for Men ($35.00) is perfect for all skin types. Quoting to ” only use the highest-grade natural ingredients”; this facial lotion is free of the major nasties! This is also vegan-friendly! 🙂

2. Got sensitive skin? Don’t worry! Most men do. After a good shave, your skin can be exposed to the elements more. Bulldog’s Skincare for Men Sensitive Moisturizer ($13.99) can help with both tender and dry skin.

3. Nothing can compare to Jack Black’s Double-Duty Face Moisturizer ($17.50-$48.00). Winning rewards left and right, it is said to be the best facial lotion for men. This creamy formula is perfect those who have dry skin and need extra hyrdation for all-day protection.

4. If I were a man, I would gladly purchase Every Man Jack’s Face Lotion ($6.00). Not only does it have sun protection, fragrance free for sensitive skin. and contains a few organic ingredients.

Day 28: What’s your undertone?

UNDERTONE. UNDERTONE. UNDERTONE. I can’t say this enough but it is so important to know your undertone. Your undertone, unlike your skintone, is a constant “color” behind your skin. With that said, while your skintone is easy to identify, finding your undertone is tricky.

YOUR SKINTONE DOESN’T AUTOMATICALLY MEAN YOU KNOW YOUR UNDERTONE. Just because you are darker, doesn’t mean you are warm!

However, there are five different find your undertone.

*= These tests amy be difficult to perform if you have a deeper skintone.

  1. White Test
    1. Grab a piece of white paper or dress and try to stand in front of a white background. Make sure the surroundings have natural light and you aren’t wearing makeup. Stand in the mirror and examine yourself. If you feel like you have a yellow tint to you, you are warm. If you look pinky, you are cool. If nothing seems to stand out, you are most likely neutral.
  2. Silver or Gold Test
    1. Get a piece of jewelry. If silver, looks amazing on you then you are cool. If gold makes you shine, then you are warm. If nothing happens, you are neutral. Try to wear both gold and silver at the same time to look at the differences.
  3. Skin Sun Reaction*
    1. While this test might not determine your undertone since most darker skin individuals do not burn easily, the rule goes warm undertones tend to tan easily, while cool understones burn very easily. Neutral individuals tan well but can burn if they are exposed to the sunlight too long.
  4. Wrist*
    1. Again this test is hard to find out your undertone. The darker you are, the harder it is to look at the color of your veins. But if you detect the color the rule follows: Green veins=warm; blue veins=cool; both colors=neutral.
  5. Sephora Color IQ
    1. If ALL fails, go to your nearest makeup counter. I love Sephora’s COLOR IQ because it is backup with science. They will placed a little device on your cheek and forehead. 30 seconds later you get a number. That number tells you your skintone and undertone to help you find the proper foundation shade. My summer color is 2Y12. My winter shade is 2Y11.

Day 27: Common Mistakes Black Women Make!

The saying “practice makes perfect” can be (and should be!) said when applying your makeup. Remember, it takes time to master. Even professional makeup artists can make mistakes. However, they live and learn. You should as well! I make mistakes all the time. But I try again and again until I find a method or product that works for ME.

  1. Black Eyebrows
    1. I know most women, particularly Black women, have naturally dark brown to black hair. So why not reach for that black eyebrow pencil? Don’t do it! Black eyebrow pencils are just too harsh looking. Instead, get a pencil that is brown for a more natural-looking eyebrow.
  2. Wrong Color
    1. Wrong color! We all have been there. What Black women struggle with is finding the right foundation shade. Many usually use two shades to blend to create an even skintone. But like I said before, you have to understand your skin. Skintone and undertone must be considered to find the right color. However, this can be expanded to choosing wrong lip color or blush. Usually it is choosing colors that are too light. Again, understand your skintone and undertone to avoid looking washed out or older.
  3. A Little Goes a Long Way
    1. This isn’t a “Black woman” thing but might as well add it here. A little goes a long way. You are naturally beautiful and cosmetics, in my opinion, should be use to bring out your confidence. So heavy, cakey makeup will only make you look older and cover-up the external beauty you have.

Day 26: Which Ingredients to Avoid in Cosmetics

As most of you know, our skin is the largest organ we have. With that said, it is important to remember like other organs, our skin absorbs any product we place on ourselves. While some chemicals are harmless and do great things for us, many companies use nasty ingredients.

This list can seem very long. But it is important to read labels and avoid these ingredients for the greater good. If this seems overwhelming– do more research about your favorite products and replace any cosmetics that aren’t the best for you, slowly. Check out my ever growing list of vegan, organic, or cruelty-free companies or a google search can work too! 🙂

BHA and BHT: Used mainly in moisturizers and makeup as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disruptors and may cause cancer (BHA). Harmful to fish and other wildlife.

Coal Tar: A known carcinogen banned in the EU, but still used in North America. Used in dry skin treatments, anti-lice and anti-dandruff shampoos, also listed as a colour plus number, i.e. FD&C Red No. 6.

DEA/TEA/MEA: Suspected carcinogens used as emulsifiers and foaming agents for shampoos, body washes, soaps.

Ethoxylated surfactants and 1,4-dioxane: Never listed because it’s a by-product made from adding carcinogenic ethylene oxide to make other chemicals less harsh. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has found 1,4-dioxane in 57 percent of baby washes in the U.S. Avoid any ingredients containing the letters “eth.”

Formaldehyde: Probable carcinogen and irritant found in nail products, hair dye, fake eyelash adhesives, shampoos. Banned in the EU.

Fragrance/Parfum: A catchall for hidden chemicals, such as phthalates. Fragrance is connected to headaches, dizziness, asthma, and allergies.

Hydroquinone: Used for lightening skin. Banned in the UK, rated most toxic on the EWG’s Skin Deep database, and linked to cancer and reproductive toxicity.

Lead: Known carcinogen found in lipstick and hair dye, but never listed because it’s a contaminant, not an ingredient.

Mercury: Known allergen that impairs brain development. Found in mascara and some eyedrops.

Mineral oil: By-product of petroleum that’s used in baby oil, moisturizers, styling gels. It creates a film that impairs the skin’s ability to release toxins.

Oxybenzone: Active ingredient in chemical sunscreens that accumulates in fatty tissues and is linked to allergies, hormone disruption, cellular damage, low birth weight.

Parabens: Used as preservatives, found in many products. Linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive toxicity.

Paraphenylenediamine (PPD): Used in hair products and dyes, but toxic to skin and immune system.

Phthalates: Plasticizers banned in the EU and California in children’s toys, but present in many fragrances, perfumes, deodorants, lotions. Linked to endocrine disruption, liver/kidney/lung damage, cancer.

Polyethylene glycol (PEG): Penetration enhancer used in many products, it’s often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide, both known carcinogens.

Silicone-derived emollients: Used to make a product feel soft, these don’t biodegrade, and also prevent skin from breathing. Linked to tumour growth and skin irritation.

Sodium lauryl (ether) sulfate (SLS, SLES): A former industrial degreaser now used to make soap foamy, it’s absorbed into the body and irritates skin.

Talc: Similar to asbestos in composition, it’s found in baby powder, eye shadow, blush, deodorant. Linked to ovarian cancer and respiratory problems.

Toluene: Known to disrupt the immune and endocrine systems, and fetal development, it’s used in nail and hair products. Often hidden under fragrance.

Triclosan: Found in antibacterial products, hand sanitizers, and deodorants, it is linked to cancer and endocrine disruption. Avoid the brand Microban.


Think Dirty Application


CosmEthics Application


EWG Application


Continue reading “Day 26: Which Ingredients to Avoid in Cosmetics”

Day 25: Black Feminism and Cosmetics

As a Black, 25 year old woman growing up in the United States, I can safely say I have experienced all kinds of rude comments and ignorance from all kinds of people. But what makes these comments so hurtful is the fact they are directed towards both my race AND my sex. Because I am both Black and a woman, I have to fight a battle from two fronts. Not only is it exhausting to keep a smile on my face while being hit with harsh words, but it makes me question my external beauty. Laid out from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, they explain what the Black Feminism movement is. 

Black Feminist Movement grew out of, and in response to, the Black
Liberation Movement and the Women’s Movement. In an effort to meet the
needs of black women who felt they were being racially oppressed in
the Women’s Movement and sexually oppressed in the Black Liberation
Movement, the Black Feminist Movement was formed.

What this has to do with cosmetics can be linked with the low representation of Black women in magazines and the runway. Women, like myself, are left in the background to figure out what makeup and fashion style work for us. To make matter worst is though these numbers are very real, many designers, makeup artists, and editors still hire white models to represent Black women. As seen the image below, model Ondria Hardin (16 at the time in 2013) posed for Italian magazine Numéro as an “African Queen”. While she is absolutely beautiful–the darkening of her skin using darker makeup to fit the role of an African woman, offends many like myself. This spread speaks volumes. It is saying “white” features are more desired. I am not opposed to her posing for the magainze. I understand there are whites who are born and live in Africa and I understand whites can wear African traditional wear in respect, but the fact the photographer could have hired a Black or African model instead if she/he wanted a darker model to begin with. The magazine apologized but I do hope this is a reminder how Black Feminism is important. Women of Color from all walks of life need to represented in any outlet–that includes in the fashion and cosmetics world.

Cosmetics and Black Feminism

Day 24: Trash it! When To Throw Out Makeup!

Bacteria is everywhere!Bacteria is everywhere! It is in the air, in our water, on our bodies–but most of the time, bacteria doesn’t cause harm. Actually, most bacteria helps us in some ways. However, there are some bacteria, when built up, can lead to infection. And what is a better home for bacteria than cosmetics? We constantly apply makeup using our fingers or makeup brushes…but even with a thorough cleansing once a week, bacteria still linger in the product.

That is why it is very important to throw away your makeup! Do not hold onto it. I know that palette costed you $50 but your health is more important.

Below is a chart to help you figure out when it is time to throw out your cosmetics.

Trash it!

  • Mascara, Liquid Eyeliner, Gel Eyeliner⇒ 3 months. Because these products are “wet” and applied closely to the eye, it is best to throw out these products after 3 months. Eye infections are a nasty business so replace these products frequently.
  • Cream Eyeshadow, Cream Blush, Foundation, Lip products⇒ 1 year. Most cosmetics you can keep for one year. Usually applied with a clean makeup brush or sponge, the collection of bacteria isn’t as high as the products mentioned above.
  • Pencil Eyeliner, Powders⇒2 years. Some may argue that you should throw your pencil eyeliner after one year, but because the materials used to create these eyeliners are different than a liquid or gel, the throw out time can be extended. Similar  with the powders, the materials are different thus you can hold onto your favorite powder for about 2 years.

Continue reading “Day 24: Trash it! When To Throw Out Makeup!”

Day 23: GET THE LOOK: Ava Duvernay November 2015 ELLE Issue

What I love about Ava Duvernay’s look, for November issue of Elle, is the natural feel to it even though she is rocking a smoky eye! She is just perfection!

GET THE LOOK Ava Dunervay

  1. Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation in Tan Honey (Tan Skin with Peach Undertones) $39.00
  2. Urban Decay Naked2 Basics Eyeshadow Palette $29.00
  3. Too Faced Bulletproof Brows in Universal Brunette $30.00
  4. Beauty Without Cruelty Mascara Full Volume in Black $25.95
  5. Plain Jane Beauty Mosaic Blush in Sweet Autumn $19.95
  6. Sparitual Lipgloss in Ray of Light (Peach with Gold Shimmer) $19.00

Day 22: Pre-Pre Skincare


So, today I wanted to step away from makeup and makeup related posts to talked about pre-skincare. The skincare from within!

This article came from an experience I had once back home. It began in ULTA. I was searching for a concealer. I asked one of the sales associates if she could point me in the right direction. With a smile, she walked me over to the TARTE aisle. What came next caught me off guard.

“You should not look for concealers,” she stated. “It is probably better if you took better care of your skin.” At first, I will admit, I took offense to that. The thought I had was, “How dare she tell me what to do with my skin. It is my face!” Of course, I thought this and didn’t say anything other than ask her how much the concealer was. But looking back at that moment now, she had a point. I needed to take better care of my skin. No concealer was going to heal my skin–just hide the problems.

Luckily, 2 years later my skin has gotten better because I am healing from within. Many people, like myself at that moment, want to fix the problem using external solutions. If you have wrinkles–they have a cream out there for you. If you have dark circles–they have a gel out there too. Whatever your problem (or problems), there is something you can buy and apply to fix. While this is great to go the extra mile, relying on these products, while not taking care of yourself, can be a time and money waster. What is more helpful is sleeping right, eating appropriate food, getting your heart racing, and staying hyrated to give you the healthy skin you always wanted.

*Disclaimer: I am not a certified medical personnel. These are my opinions about how to achieve better skin**

  1. Sleep is so essential. I understand there are not enough hours in the day, but lack of sleep can cause issues in both your mental and physical state. Below is a chart from the National Sleep Foundation that lays out how much sleep should one get based on their age.
  • Newborns (0-3 months): Sleep range narrowed to 14-17 hours each day (previously it was 12-18)
  • Infants (4-11 months): Sleep range widened two hours to 12-15 hours (previously it was 14-15)
  • Toddlers (1-2 years): Sleep range widened by one hour to 11-14 hours (previously it was 12-14)
  • Preschoolers (3-5): Sleep range widened by one hour to 10-13 hours (previously it was 11-13)
  • School age children (6-13): Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours (previously it was 10-11)
  • Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours (previously it was 8.5-9.5)
  • Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category)
  • Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours
  • Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category)

I am the at the end of the young adult years–so I should get about 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Which I follow! I love sleep too much to give it up. So every night I am heading off to bed at 11 AM and waking up at 6:30 AM to walk my dog.

2. Just like sleep, eating is an essential part to healthy skin (and mind!). Eating fast food or junk food can lead to a laundry list of health issues if it becomes a habit (a cookie once in a while doesn’t hurt though). Eating whole foods and grains each meal will not only make your skin look nice, but keep your mind sharp and your weight more managable. While this can be overwhelming and difficult to go into great detail, a great place to start is to check out the Choose MyPlate website to find information about calories, what foods are best for you, and what to look for when it comes to reading labels.

3. Getting your heart racing! My favorite thing to do! I have been running constantly for about a year now and I can say that has honestly helped me the most. But I know everyone has their favorite workout routine. Based from the Choose MyPlate program, how much physical activity is based on your age. Make sure though you consult your doctor before changing or introducing physical activity to your life.

  • Adults (18-64): at least 2 hours and 30 minutes each week of aerobic physical activity at a moderate level OR 1 hour and 15 minutes each week of aerobic physical activity at a vigorous level. Being active 5 or more hours each week can provide even more health benefits. Spreading aerobic activity out over at least 3 days a week is best. Also, each activity should be done for at least 10 minutes at a time. Adults should also do strengthening activities, like push-ups, sit-ups and lifting weights, at least 2 days a week.

4. Lastly, drink your water! You are made of out it. And no! Pop (soda) or juice doesn’t count. Plain ol’ water is the best. If you don’t like the bland taste of water; tea (NO SUGAR OR MILK) or a lemon can help!