Hair Type Doesn’t Matter, Here’s Why

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Every newborn natural (for those that don’t know: a “natural” is someone whose hair texture hasn't been altered by chemical straighteners, including relaxers and texturizers) has hit the ground running with their hair type chart in their hand. If you don’t know what a hair type chart is, that’s okay! The hair type chart serves as a guideline for defining what kind of hair one has: 1a being the straightest of strands and 4c being the kinkiest and coiliest of strands.

Many naturals have started their hair journeys trying to identify with one of these hair types, but don’t realize how ineffective this is for a few reasons. One of these reasons being the subjectivity of the hair chart.  Google one hair type and you’ll see completely different looks. For example, it can be difficult to tell the difference between 3c and 4a hair type. These types are close in range and therefore, very similar. So one’s 3c might be another’s 4a.

 

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Another reason why this chart is ineffective lies simply in the idea that most people do not have just one hair type on their head. For example, I have a range of every type from 2b to 4c. The back of my head is the kinkiest and the front is a lot more loose and wavy. When I first went natural, I did not understand that this was just different hair types. I assumed that I had damage and struggled to appreciate my curls for a long time.

 

 

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Lastly, the hair type chart does not have any relation to how you should treat your hair. Dwelling in what kind of curls you have will not help you learn what your hair needs. Instead, this hair type chart is one of the reasons we all have hair envy. Some of us want looser 3a curls and some of us wish we had tighter 4c curls. This also causes issues with our Youtube binge watching (yes, I am guilty). When I first went natural, I always looked for women on Youtube who had hair like mine because I believed I could follow their routines. False! Another woman’s hair routine, whether she has the same curls or not, should not be adopted as your own. Remember you are on a natural hair journey and that journey is yours to take.

That is not to say that you should never look to other people for hair advice. It is always good to try new things with your hair, so long as you listen to how your hair responds. However, your focus should be on the porosity of your hair. What is porosity? Hair porosity is the state in which one’s hair can be permeable by water and moisture. Every hair strand is made of many pores. The tighter the pores, the less moisture is allowed in and the looser the pores, the more moisture is allowed in your hair strands. Simply put, it is how well one’s hair retains moisture.

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Low porosity hair takes a long time to become moisturized, but moisture also takes a long time to leave the hair once attained. If water takes a long time to saturate your hair or your hair takes a long time to dry when wet, you likely have low porosity. I am a low porosity girl and washing my hair takes a whole day because of it. High Porosity hair is easily moisturized but also dries easily. If you find yourself having to wet your hair constantly when styling and throughout the week, you likely have high porosity hair. Hair porosity is important in finding your hair routine because it dictates what your hair needs. Natural hair is all about retaining moisture. If your hair is properly moisturized, your curls will shine, pop and grow. Understanding your hair porosity allows you to give your hair the love it needs.

In short, dear newborn natural, do not spend the first year of your natural hair journey obsessing with hair types as I did. They do not matter as you will not learn how to treat your hair from your hair type. Look to the porosity of your hair for how to care for your curls and coils. Regardless of anything, embrace your hair in whatever form you can. No matter how long or how short, how kinky or how straight, you are slaying it.

     Sincerely,

     A 4 year natural gal

     Tanaja

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How I'm Repairing My Hair After Years of Coloring and Extensions

 @clairedanks

@clairedanks

My earliest trips to the salon consisted of getting highlights, then I added in the lowlights and then eventually began brightening from root to tip. By the end of my high school career, I’d probably undergone around 10-15 coloring processing treatments, not to mention the fact that I was a swimmer. (Uh, hello? Chlorine…)

In my second year of college, I gave extensions a go, just for fun and out of boredom. I lasted 7 months before I started to really miss the simplicity of my natural hair. 

As women, we often experiment with different looks and treatments which cause tons of wear and tear to our hair. Needless to say, I've put my hair through a lot. After 4 years of dye jobs and 3 extension revamps, I have perfected a list of products that have undeniably made my hair feel thicker, healthier and longer after the fact. Yeah, that’s right! I just hit you with the trifecta… and that’s because this is NOT a drill.

Welcome to your processed/damaged/“wtf do I do now” Bible:

my little bag of tricks for summer hair recovery.

 

First things first: the list of tips n tricks. Turn these into habits!

1. Brushing your hair

Divide your hair into sections. This will vary depending on how much hair you have (I do 3 sections). With a Wet Brush, in the shower, conditioner still in, start at the ends and work your way up to the root. 

 Taken from https://www.thewetbrush.com/index.php/detangle/the-wet-brush/original-pink.html.

Taken from https://www.thewetbrush.com/index.php/detangle/the-wet-brush/original-pink.html.

Make sure to completely cover your hair with product. This is important because thin and damaged hair breaks very easily when it is dry, therefore, the combination of the water and product gives it an armor against the harshness of the brush's bristles. Be gentle. By starting at the ends, you’re also less likely to tear the hair where it is splitting. In other words, you’re working to reduce split ends.

2.  Girl, you are fire! You don’t need more heat. Avoid using hair dryers, straighteners and curlers (basically any hair tool) and air dry whenever you can. If you must, always use a heat protectant. I highly recommend Dry Bar’s “Hot Toddy” Heat Protectant. I also recommend blow drying your hair on the cold setting.

 Taken from Sephora.com

Taken from Sephora.com

3. Working Out: If you’re like me, you love to exercise. Before you go into your sweat sesh, put nourishing product in your hair.

Why: I think working out is the perfect time to do a hair mask. Not only because I’m going to shower afterwards, but because I can put a heavier oil in my hair that I wouldn’t want weighing it down when I’m carrying on with daily life. My heavy oil and my light oil can be found below.

4. Do not wash your hair every day. Let your natural oils and the oils listed below harmonize on your hair. It will speed up the healing process tremendously.

Products

I read this article that helped me start identifying the right products for my hair needs. From this article, I discovered two products that I absolutely cannot live without, especially when I'm focusing on hair recovery.  

Oils

1) Opalex No. 3

 Taken from Sephora.com

Taken from Sephora.com

This product is the solution for dead ends.  If there is one thing you need, it’s this. It has made the most notable difference on the structural aspects of my hair. It has helped reduce my split ends and made my hair softer. Put it in root-to-tip, but I would recommend concentrating on your split ends because it really helps. I apply this product as a hair mask before I wash it. The result, without fail, is shiny, healthier looking hair. If you don’t believe me, read all the raving reviews online!

2 ) Cake Oil Serum

 Taken from http://www.gmreverie.com/shop/cake.

Taken from http://www.gmreverie.com/shop/cake.

This is my “heavy” oil. It’s still lighter than my old friend Moroccan Oil, which is way too thick for my fine hair. It’s the perfect texture to help add moisture to thin hair. I put this in with an Opalex treatment before I wash my hair and during my workouts. I also love that it is all natural blend of essential oils. It smells amazing, too!

My Shampoo and Conditioner

3) Kerastase Resistance Shampoo and Conditioner

Game changers. These products together are great for adding body and volume. A little pea size amount goes a long way, so it’s definitely worth the price.

Post-Shower

4) Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil

 Taken from Sephora.com

Taken from Sephora.com

I AM OBSESSED WITH THIS OIL. It is super light on the hair but still adds so much shine. It would take a heap of this product to make fine hair look greasy or weigh it down. I put it in my hair when its dry to add shine!

5) Christophe Robin Aloe Vera Spray

 Taken from Sephora.com

Taken from Sephora.com

I put this product in at my roots when I get out of the shower. It’s super natural and makes my scalp feel amazing. It's also a wonderful detangler, so this is also what I put in my hair if I go in the ocean to get rid of knots without ripping my hair out.

Aloe Vera is great for hair growth. It contains proteolytic enzymes, which help rebuild your hair’s proteins naturally so putting it at the root is key.

One more thing…

6) Keratin Supplements, Whole Foods, $35.99

You may have your favorite biotin already in your cabinet, but I have noticed my hair grows very quickly from taking these supplements. Seriously, my baby hairs are growing out the wazoo and I’m having so much fun watching my dark roots grow in!

Goodluck! Comment your hair journey below!

xx

Claire

 

A College Student's Beauty Secrets for Glowy Skin

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A compliment that I receive a lot is that I have very glowy skin! With this compliment comes the obvious question that follows: what foundation do you use?

And then comes my reply: I’m not wearing any! (sometimes)

Although I know it's a skincare no-no, I give a lot of credit to good old fashion tanning under the sun. But I also have to give credit to all of the products I use and swear by. I haven’t always had a consistent skincare routine and used to jump around from product to product a lot, but I feel that I’ve perfected my skincare routine and am ready to share it with you!

Morning Routine

The first thing I do when I wake up, after I brush my teeth, is drink a glass of water with juice from half of a lemon. This is a CRUCIAL step for me and it should be one for you, too. Lemon water has a ton of benefits. 

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Lemon water:

  • Aids your digestion
  • Is a great source of vitamin C, which is important for your immune system
  • Keeps your skin fresh and hydrated
  • Helps your body produce collagen, which is HUGE. Collagen supports beautiful skin, healthy shiny hair, joint health, and digestive/gut health.
  • Helps you lose weight by making you feel full for longer.
  • Boosts your energy and your mood

It’s such a simple and easy step to bring into your morning routine. There’s no reason to deprive yourself of all these amazing benefits from an action that takes only five minutes! 

After I drink my lemon water, I wash my face with Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. 

 Taken from https://www.cetaphil.com/gentle-skin-cleanser.

Taken from https://www.cetaphil.com/gentle-skin-cleanser.

My skin is super sensitive and breaks out if I don’t take care of it properly and consistently. I’ve used all kinds of skin cleansers like Murad, Glamglow, and every other product you can find at your local pharmacy and convenience store. I have to admit: I'm a huge CVS girl. Cetaphil honestly changed my skin and I feel so much better using a product with no harsh chemicals or specific anti-acne ingredients because I don’t want my skin to be dependent on a product like that. Cetaphil just cleans my face perfectly. 

Immediately after I wash my face I put on Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer. I use the one with sunscreen (SPF 15) because my skin is really sensitive to the sun. I’d have so many more freckles than I already do if I didn’t use sunscreen. I’m also low key taking anti-aging preventive measures. 

 Taken from https://www.cetaphil.com/daily-facial-moisturizer-spf-15

Taken from https://www.cetaphil.com/daily-facial-moisturizer-spf-15

I do find that if I sweat, the sunscreen stings my eyes a bit, but it’s worth it!

If I’m breaking out, I’ll put on a bit of this topical acne cream that my dermatologist prescribed me. Read all about it here.

Then I’m ready to go! Sometimes, I’ll wear some make up. Here are the products that I’m currently using and LOVE. Screenshots were taken from Sephora.com.

Midday

Throughout the day, to keep my skin hydrated and fresh, I use Josh Rosebrook’s Hydrating Accelerator. I can’t stress enough how much I love this.

 Taken from https://follain.com/p/josh-rosebrook-hydrating-accelerator#851727005102.

Taken from https://follain.com/p/josh-rosebrook-hydrating-accelerator#851727005102.

Here’s what it says on the follain website: 

  • For normal and dry skin types
  • Sensitive-safe and hydrating
  • Nutrition for pores
  • Plumps skin
  • Sets makeup and amps skin care results

It feels really nice and refreshing spraying your face with this cool mist. It's a nice little wake up for when you’re feeling tired throughout the day.

Nightime Routine

I NEVER go to bed with my makeup still on. That’s just asking for a bad skin week. I use Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm. It’s this creamy substance that takes off all your make up and leaves zero residue. I love using this instead of makeup remover wipes. It’s a lot more gentle and doesn’t irritate my skin like wipes do. It also wipes away my super hard to take off mascara very easily. 

 Taken from https://www.sephora.com/product/green-clean-makeup-meltaway-cleansing-balm-P417238.

Taken from https://www.sephora.com/product/green-clean-makeup-meltaway-cleansing-balm-P417238.

All the ingredients are natural and cruelty-free! Sometimes I’ll clean my face again with Cetaphil just for an extra umph. 

I actually use a different moisturizer for bedtime. It’s my all time favorite moisturizer, but it’s a bit pricey so I just use it at night!

 Taken from https://bluemercury.com/products/m-61-powerglow-moisturizer?variant=33600937478.

Taken from https://bluemercury.com/products/m-61-powerglow-moisturizer?variant=33600937478.

M-61 PowerGlow Moisturizer. This is definitely the key to waking up with glowy skin. Its also really abundant in Vitamin K, which helps reduce the appearance of spider veins and helps with dry-rosacea-like-patches. Yay!

Now for my last step. Kate Somerville’s EradiKAte Acne Treatment. It’s this pastel pink liquid that you use to spot treat pimples. I use it A LOT. It's a life saver. If I see a pimple about to emerge, I just dab some on with a q-tip and POOF. Gone. See ya never. I swear by this product. It’s the best spot treatment I have ever used. 

 Taken from https://www.katesomerville.com/acne-products-eradikate-acne-treatment.

Taken from https://www.katesomerville.com/acne-products-eradikate-acne-treatment.

After every shower

Body skincare is just as important as your facial skincare. Love and take care of all of your skin! 

After I get out of the shower, I focus on my face first and follow one of my routines depending if it’s day time or night time. Then I focus on my body skincare. 

I moisturize my entire body with Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream for dry, sensitive skin. Get the tub version because I like being able to grab the lotion with my hands rather than through a pump. 

 Taken from https://www.cetaphil.com/moisturizing-cream.

Taken from https://www.cetaphil.com/moisturizing-cream.

Then I use Bio-Oil. I love using this. It makes my skin so soft and hydrated. The oil-like feeling doesn’t last long (for those of you who don’t like that feeling) because you'll find that your skin will soak it up extremely well.

 Taken from https://www.dermstore.com/product_BioOil_40999.htm.

Taken from https://www.dermstore.com/product_BioOil_40999.htm.

According to their website, Bio-Oil helps with:

  • The appearance of both new and old scars (I have so many on my legs)
  • The appearance of existing stretch marks
  • Preventing stretch marks
  • The appearance of uneven skin tone in both light and dark skin types
  • Soothing and toning the appearance of aging skin on your face and body

This is my last and favorite step in my routine. It says you can use it on your face but I only use it on my legs (to even out my skin tone and make any scars go away), on my butt where I have stretch marks, on my stomach, and on my chest, where I have more stretch marks. 

And that's a wrap! Let me know if you guys use any of these products, have recommendations, or are going to try these products. I’d love to hear about it.

xx

Nat

How this Beauty Guru is dominating Miami's Beauty Industry

Meet Monica Rodriguez, Co-owner of Four Corner’s Beauty Bar, Miami’s newest beauty bar specializing in ageless skin, beauty, and clothes. Monica was only 19 when she started doing makeup for her first freelance client. After a year in college, Monica took a leap of faith, left school, and decided to focus on mastering the art of beauty. At just 24 years old, she started her own company with her cousin, Gabrielle Torres, who manages the administrative side of the company.

Four Corners Beauty Bar offers a wide variety of services, making it a one-stop shop for beauty. Monica strongly believes that people can take care of their skin without having to spend a fortune. I sat down with Monica before being treated to a luxurious Hydrafacial, her most popular service, to learn more about her professional journey and get a few beauty tips along the way!

 Taken from @monicarodd.

Taken from @monicarodd.

Read about how this rising beauty guru is dominating Miami one beauty treatment at a time.

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Nat: What’s your story? How did you get in the makeup industry and how did you start your own beauty company?

Monica: I started off just like every other girl today by looking at beauty tutorials on YouTube in an effort to make my makeup better for going out. I ended up really falling in love with makeup application and would practice it all time. I would buy hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of makeup. Finally, I just got to the point where I was like, “Maybe I should start doing make up and charging people for it.” Once I started doing freelance work, I realized how difficult it can be to maintain a steady stream of income. I therefore decided to go to school to become an aesthetician. Initially, I focused solely on applying eyelash extensions, but then realized that I do not have the patience for this type of painstaking work, which led to me to falling in love with skincare. Once I got my license, I was lucky enough to meet two young female entrepreneurs that had started this express laser facial and teeth whitening company. There, I started learning skincare techniques from their nurse practitioner. I then went into dermatology full time with Dr. Zaiac, a top Miami-based dermatologist at Mount Sinai. During that time, my cousin, Gaby, and I were brainstorming ideas of businesses we could start together, when eventually we came up with the concept of a beauty bar- a one stop shop where you can come in and get everything you need to get done for whatever occasion. That’s how Four Corners Beauty Bar was born.

Nat: That’s amazing. Can you describe to me what the “Four Corners” name represents?

Monica: Every corner of our beauty bar has a purpose. You have an ageless corner, which is the skincare corner. Another corner is the beauty corner, where makeup and hair is done. Now we’re implementing a boutique where you can buy clothes and products. The concept is that you go through every corner. Skin, make up, clothes, and you’re out the door!

Nat: What made you leap into starting your own company?

Monica: I don’t know how to describe it. It’s that drive of you wanting to do more and keep growing. It’s the ambition of it. I could work for a dermatologist forever and watch Gaby manage her practice forever, but I would just keep asking myself “what else can I do?” It’s really hard, definitely not easy, but every day we come up with new ideas and concepts, and we want to see our thoughts flourish into something that’s attached to our name and that we’re proud of.

Nat: Who are your biggest beauty guru inspirations?

Monica: For make up, I would say Mario Dedivanovic, a celebrity makeup artist who’s best known for his work with the Kardashians. I’ve done some master classes with him and Kim Kardashian. I think he’s very tasteful, but he also steps outside of the box whenever he has to go more editorial. He knows when and how to switch it up whenever his clients need it. For skin, it depends. Personally, I work for Dr. Zaiac, who is one of the top dermatologists in Miami. He and his PA, Annabelle Clement, are both people that I’ve learned a lot from and admire. Another person in skincare who inspires me is Shani Darden. She’s a celebrity aesthetician who has a great following on Instagram. She gives really amazing tips.

 Taken from @monicarodd.

Taken from @monicarodd.

Nat: What cosmetic or beauty treatment could you not live without?

Monica: I can’t live without Hydrafacials, which is what we’re going to do to you today. Essentially, it’s a hydradermabrasion, which is a more advanced microdermabrasion with hydration. The machine that we have here, the Hydrafacial MD, goes a little bit above and beyond the typical machine. It has a vortex tip, which is a patented technology that vacuums the skin and also infuses it with moisture. This technology makes the first step of the facial an exfoliation with glucosamine, which is going to help break down dead skin cells. The second step is a glycolic and salicylic acid peel. It contains a very light percentage of the glycolic and salicylic acid so you won’t actually peel, but it will help further brighten your skin and help the products used later in the process penetrate deeper into the skin. Step three is extraction, which is done completely through the vortex tip. It’s like a vacuum. While the tip is vacuuming, it’s infusing salicylic acid into your pores to help kill and fight bacteria. The last step is the infusion of hyaluronic acid, antioxidants and peptides. We always finish off with a sunscreen.

Nat: That sound’s like a dream.

Monica: It’s one of the lightest versions of skin resurfacing that you can do without getting to a laser or surgery level.

Nat: How would you describe your professional and personal growth from your first job in the beauty industry until now?

Monica: Haha. I always say that I feel badly for my first client because only God knows what she came out looking like. It’s really just about overcoming your fear of doing something wrong. There will always be clients that don’t like your work. When you’re starting off, there will inevitably be clients who you don’t do your best work on. It’s all a learning process. It’s growth. From my first client to now, it’s a complete 180. You just have to value your craft and be humble. Don’t think that you’re too good. Even now, I still go to seminars and try to teach myself new techniques from people that I admire.

Nat: What are your future plans for the growth of your brand?

Monica: Right now, we’re trying to get brand awareness, as I’m sure you guys know about well with your startup, Slay. Little by little, we’re going to start implementing more services and features. Hopefully, down the line, we’ll have multiple locations and our own product line associated with this business.

Nat: That’s so awesome to hear. What is a piece of beauty advice that you wish you had known when you were younger?

Monica: Don’t sleep with your make up on. Everything you do in your teens shows up on your skin in your twenties. Everything you do in your twenties shows up on your skin in your thirties. So just always remind yourself: don’t sleep with your makeup on and wear spf. It’s the best prevention.

Nat: One last question. I know you’re a fan of false lashes. Do you have any tips on applying them?

Monica: Well, my favorite lashes are the Ardell Demi Wispies because they’re the most natural looking. Before you put them on, you NEED to cut the band to make them shorter and to fit them to your eye shape. Then place the glue on the lash band and let it dry for thirty seconds until it gets tacky. That’s when they stick on the best. Don’t put the glue on and try to put them on right away because they’ll just move around and make a hot mess.

Talk about a real life #GIRLBOSS.

Don’t forget to follow Monica and Gabrielle on Instagram at @monicarodd, @gabyperezz, & @fourcornersbeautybar.

Watch the clip below for a sneak peak at what your typical Hydrafacial look like. Big thank you to Monica for treating me so well. Enjoy!

Aanika Patel & The Search for Diversity in the Makeup Industry

Last month, I was in Miami visiting my college roommate and Slay co-founder Kelly Bonilla. Like the good Floridian she is, she immediately took me to Publix to stock up on snacks for the weekend. I was running low on foundation and was heading on a long work trip after visiting Miami. I took a detour from picking up an essential crate of kombucha to stock up on my go-to drugstore foundation—Loreal Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation. The line comes in 13 shades. The store carried only the seven lightest.

Women of color have long faced this frustration. Makeup brands—from drugstore to high-end— have historically created limited shade ranges and retailers have limited supplying the full extent of lines at their stores. While Publix is not a drugstore where you would expect to see the volume of products you would at a CVS or Walgreens, my encounter is representative of what women of color ask themselves when trying to buy beauty products—who makes my shade and where can I find it?

For many years, women of color turned to high-end brands such as MAC which carried over 40 different shades and a variety of foundation formulas that met their skin needs. These kinds of brands were rare and didn’t always meet the coverage, color, and skin care needs of women of color.

In recent years, high-end makeup brands have launched foundations with a wide range of shades. The kicker, many of them are led by minorities. Both Huda Beauty, founded by middle eastern makeup artist Huda Kattan, and Fenty Beauty, founded by Trinidadian pop icon Rihanna, both launched foundations in the past year with an equal distribution of 40 shades from across the spectrum of skin color and a marketing campaign that highlighted those very faces. Both lines sold out almost every shade within weeks of launch, dispelling the idea that sales considerations limit creating a shade range inclusive of deeper shades. Meanwhile Tarte’s launch of its highly anticipated Shape Tape Foundation released with only 15 shades and was met with criticism and an eventual apology from Tarte for launching a line with so few shade ranges. The verdict is clear, thebeauty brands must become more diverse.

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While high-end brands primarily found at brick and mortar locations or retailers such as Sephora and Ulta, drug-store brands still dominate the beauty industry. Drug stores which carry products such as the Loreal True Match which boasts over 45 shades, don’t stock their shelves with every shade. My trip to Publix, but also traditional drug stores in my own hometown of Richardson, TX or other cities from Harrisburg, PA to Redondo Beach, CA where I have scrambled to replenish foundation on work trips, has led me to be met with towers of makeup ranging from light to beige instead of the light to dark chocolate I know exists.

Here, the issue is not that beauty brands don’t create these products— drug stores just don’t always supply them. If you can’t afford $30+ for just over 1 oz. of product, you are limited to paying for a significantly more expensive product or trying to find- and sometimes pay a premium to- a retailer that carries your product. For example, the Loreal True Match pre-tax is as low at $7.95 at my drugstore but costs $10.95 online before shipping. As expected, online retailers or the brand website will more often carry the full range but have additional shipping costs or are more expensive than a local drugstore. 

The beauty industry led by minority women has made significant strides in creating more inclusive brands from creating wider and nuanced shade ranges to marketing campaigns that highlight a variety of skin tones. The next step is to learn from the success of those brands by highlighting the shades at the other end of the spectrum as prominently as the “ivories” and medium beige” shades and ensure that retailers are filling shelf space consistent with the vision that created the product. Drugstore and high-end makeup brands and retailers have a responsibility to ensure that products from inception to sale are inclusive and representative of that vision. I for one am looking forward to finding my perfect match no matter where I go to buy makeup.

Cafecitos with Briana Brown: Native New Yorker with a heart for Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood

We sat down with Briana Brown this week to discuss her personal style and beauty routine. She’s an entrepreneur and self proclaimed “builder, traveler, and over-thinker” who moved to Little Haiti a little over a year ago.

We asked Briana the secret to her slayage, and she had a lot to say…

MUST HAVE BEAUTY ITEM

“Earrings! I’m very much an earrings and accessories person. I only just started wearing makeup, like actual foundation and things within the last 2-3 months. Just this year! I don’t wear makeup all the time but I always keep a spare pair of earrings in my car for the days when I forget to put some on.”

FAVORITE ACCESSORY

“I looove hoops. I wear hoops all the time. I think part of it was that my mom wouldn’t let me wear hoops. Like, when I wore them they had to be really really small. But then in high school I think she gave up. And my dad doesn’t really care, but he thinks hoops of this size are a hazard. I’m like, yeah, but they build it so it will fall out easy! No one’s gonna rip your ear off! Honestly most of my earrings can fit over my arm and can be worn as bracelets. That’s how I tell if the size is good enough!”

FAVORITE THING ABOUT LITTLE HAITI

“I like the personality of the neighborhood. From what I’ve heard, and I can see it, it’s very defiant. I think there’s a lot of people who are against gentrification here and are working really hard to make sure that the neighborhood stays true to itself, which I really appreciate.  I definitely appreciate living here, more than I’ve ever appreciated living anywhere else outside of New York. There’s so much culture here. I love that I can just walk to stuff that reminds me of home. Where some people can say, ‘I can’t support black businesses,’ that’s not a problem here. There are so many black owned business and treasures in this neighborhood that I’d like to discover and support. “

BEAUTY REGIMEN

“My skincare routine is generally taking good care of my body. Drinking more water, and less alcohol. My gramma says: use hydrogen peroxide, Clean and Clear astringent, and then moisturizer. My gramma and mom both have beautiful skin and my gramma’s in her seventies. So I know I’m going to be okay, but I just need to get their regimen down. Most products they use are astringents each night, then moisturizer, something light. I’m trying to get on their level!”

FAMILY BEAUTY SECRETS

“I would say aloe vera. My family uses aloe vera for everything, and I’ve kind of been rediscovering it. I’m gonna get a plant, because I mean, every Jamaican household I’ve ever been to has an aloe vera plant. Whether it’s for cuts, or using the jelly for their hair.”

PERSONAL STYLE                                                                                   

“I have very different styles. Some days I look like a total professional, and some days I look like I just walked off the streets! I just dress how I feel. Whatever I wear I try to be able to capture how I’m feeling for the day. And sometimes it’s ‘I’m feeling shitty’ so I’m gonna wear bright colors to perhaps feel better.”

STYLE INSPIRATION

“I LOVE Brooklyn Betty (@Br00klynbetty on Instagram). Her style is just so colorful. I can just look at her outfits and get inspired. I love the way she mixes sneakers into her outfits. It’s just a very New York-esque style. Like you just don’t give a fuck about how people think as long you like it and think it looks good. I also really admire a friend from college, @gabsoul on Instagram. Her style is also very New York, but it’s a bit more simple and earthy. I admire the feeling of the clothes and her style as opposed to the clothes themselves.” 

BEAUTY SERVICES

“When I was living that corporate life, I would get a mani pedi twice a month, and I loved it. It was my treat to myself. The people that I would go to knew my name, and they’d ask me about my hometown, New York. I used to get my brows waxed, but my skin was sensitive to it, so eventually one of my friends helped me grow my brows out to a more healthy length with threading. You can target the hairs a little better with threading than with waxing. I’d go once a month. Now, I go about once every two months.”

SPLURGE-WORTHY BEAUTY

“If I had a bonus, I would go get a massage. I love getting massages. I’d go to a fancy ass place where they have chocolate and champagne  with an amazing atmosphere, they give you the nice little robes, and they just cater to you. The peace of mind that you get for X amount of hours is just worth it. I love to eat, so I would leave from there and go have a really nice meal.”