Category Archives: Beauty

Beauty Our Way: Happy To Be Nappy

Coming into self

For a long time, beauty has been dictated to us. Black women have a very special relationship with beauty, especially when it comes to our hair. Even today hair is the focus of women’s beauty assets. For us, our hair can describe our mood, situation, our politics, and our sense of direction. In the 1960s, it was the “Afro” but some, like myself, were not able to sport the very voluminous style as my hair was damaged for a long time from the use of lye relaxers, then called permanents, and did not grow very fast.

This was a time when Black people were expressing themselves about race and racism. We wanted to let the world know that Black was beautiful. But alas, “Bo Derek”, took the wind out of our sail and launched an influx of afro, dreadlock, and braid wearing Caucasians in her wake. It was astonishing to say the least, to see a white person wearing an African hairstyle. Nevertheless, I have resigned myself to living with my short hair and learned to love my TA, “tiny afro” at the tender age of 57.

To really understand the beauty of blackness, we have to start with the “hair”. It took me a long time to shed my weaves and extensions due to my coyness about wearing my own short black hair. I am experiencing my own renaissance and hair evolution.

Hair care today

The other issue regarding our hair is hair care. For years the only thing that we knew as hair-care was the pressing iron and hair oil. Most of us called it straightening out the shame. You were not dressed unless your hair was pressed and curled. To have nappy edges was a sin and the butt of many jokes. So we fried, greased, curled our hair to disrepair. If that did not work, tight extensions and weaves was the next resort. Maybe that is why there are so many bald Black women wearing wigs today. Could be, but even baldness is changing the way we see ourselves. It has become a beauty statement among many Black women today.

My mom, aunt and cousins wear baldness proudly. Some African tribal women deliberately shave their hair bald, such as the women of the Mursi and the Masai Tribe. My hair is between tightly curled and wavy curl, but curly enough to wear it in the Afro style. I rarely wear a cap when swimming but I use a special shampoo that washes out the chlorine and use a rich moisturizer and natural oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, and Shea butter to recondition my hair.

For any hair to be strong and healthy, one must consider beauty from the inside. That means a good vitamin rich in Biotin, Vitamin B and protein. This should be part of your dietary regime. These nutrients will make hair healthy. Since Black hair is very delicate, we must take care that breakage does not result.

One of the greatest myth is that our hair does not grow. Quite the contrary, Black hair grows, but our hair is very dry and requires much moisture to prevent breaking. Because of the tight texture of curl in Black hair, breakage is problematic. It is not wise to brush our hair too often and a wide tooth comb should be used always for grooming. The hair should be moist so as to make it easier to comb. After combing the hair, moisturize with water based hair products such as coconut oil to moisten the shafts, then use a natural oil based pomade to seal in the moisture.

I recommend sleeping in a nylon or silk hair cap or pillow. Another thing regarding Black hair is how versatile it can be. Braids, short afros, twists, and blow dry Dominican straight make Black hair contemporary and stylish. All without ever using a hot comb or texture altering product.

Attitude and acceptance

I think the concept of feminine beauty is decided by the society in which Black people live. European concepts of beauty prevail and still a lot of us try earnestly to emulate it. Much of what Black women see in the media is European and most of us grew up with this image as being feminine. The toll on our self esteem was tremendous.

When I came of age straight was it; long you’re the dream of every man; but short and nappy, you were not acceptable. We had to burn our hair with straightening combs, deny ourselves the delights of swimming without a cap or not swimming at all, (that started the rumor that Black women can’t swim), turned down for dates with Black men because they preferred the girl with the hair and light skin. This was a horrible reality for many young Black women. The sixties changed much of that, when “Black is Beautiful” became all the rage.

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Of course, most Black women still do not like to get their hair wet. We are more comfortable with our hair than we once were in the past. Black women are seen on television wearing natural afro hair in scenes of importance and love interests in movies. We sport braids on the job, and wear our hair in very short hair styles with conservative business suits and evening wear.

Black young starlets prance down the runways with shaved bald heads with elegance and grace. Today more Black women discard the faux hair extensions for their own African locks and lack of, to prove that Black hair is indeed beautiful. We have shown the world that the Black woman makes the hair, but hair or no hair, she is enhanced as a woman. True, hair is woman’s crowning glory, but it is the glorious awareness that crowns Black femininity.

Department Store Approval Procedures For Beauty Consultants

Why Do Department Stores Have Approval Procedures?

Stand alone locations, department stores need to have a strong identity in order to persuade enough customers to travel there to shop. Department stores were once vast emporiums with a monopoly on many types of goods, high-fashion make-up included. Now that we can buy most items elsewhere, there needs to be a reason to visit a department store. That reason often includes atmosphere and service. In order to help achieve this, everyone who works in the store must have some easily recognizable and unifying attributes.

While beauty brands have high standards of grooming, they all work hard to preserve their own brand identity. Yet in the department store, overall experience usually has to come first so that customers make an effort to visit again. All the brands within this umbrella then benefit from having future business, which might otherwise not be guaranteed to walk through the door.

High-end department stores offer prestigious resume credits for beauty consultants. Some stores bring an eclectic mix of high quality brands and exquisite merchandise together, creating a fun and high fashion boutique atmosphere. These stores can be a little more laid back with image, if they have the right customer service. Stores such as these include Liberty and Fenwicks, both in London.

Other stores, such as Harrods in London, trade on a name that guarantees a certain type of experience, which they need to uphold at all times. All these types of department stores usually require a store approval to make sure that you fit the image and the team that you will be working with.

How to Pass Department Store Approval

Store approvals should be prepared for as regular job interviews by finding out information about the store beforehand. Knowing a department store’s history is usually part of working life as this is tied in with the customer experience. For example, part of the façade of Liberty’s grade II listed building comes from two British ships. The stores know that you want to work for your make-up brand and may be seeing the approval procedure as an additional chore. So showing some interest in the department store itself will go a long way.

Beauty companies usually put you in a store they think will suit you: It wastes their time to send people to store approvals they don’t get. This means that if you follow the rules, a store approval should go smoothly.

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In terms of image, smart is safest. Unless a store is particularly fashion focused, aim for the slightly more conservative end of the scale with clothes and make-up:

  • Wear the beauty company uniform if relevant, or a smart suit if not.
  • Ideally make sure that jacket and bottoms are of a matching fabric.
  • Skirts should not be too short; knee length is usually the best.
  • Smart, clean, enclosed shoes are essential and ideally shoes with a proper sole rather than ballet pumps.
  • Wear retainers in any piercings and try to only wear one main set of earrings.
  • Pay attention to detail Clean nails, tidy hair and fresh breath are essential.

In all but the strictest stores, dress code after a store approval is fairly fluid as long as the appearance is well groomed.

A very few stores now have daylight but for others a strong, ambient light is typical. This type of lighting flattens the face and blasts out features. Therefore a little more make-up is required to look representative of a cosmetics company. This might be partially responsible for the legend of the orange-faced, freakishly made up beauty consultant.

In truth, that is mostly just myth these days and most beauty consultants are not encouraged to apply make-up like a mask. However, a really natural look that might be just perfect at home often does not show up in a department store.

  • Make sure that features are well defined, obviously but gently made up and that products are extremely well applied.
  • The safest look is flawless neutrals with one feature such as a bright lipstick or liquid liner.
  • Mascara and eyeliner should be crisp and fresh.
  • Avoid gaudy or theatrical colors, even if working for a make-up brand that champions them. You might just be unlucky enough to be interviewed by a store manager that hates lime eye shadow or purple lipstick. There will be time enough for personal favorites after you have secured the position.

Some people love working in department stores, settling in to the hierarchy well and enjoying the luxury environment. For others it is just a necessity of working for a particular make-up brand. Promotion to national and regional artist positions often comes from time spent in department stores, so many consultants work hard to achieve this by making a success of their job in store.

Beauty companies are loyal to their good salespeople, so failing a store approval does likely mean losing a job. If a position came up elsewhere you might still be put forward by the brand. However, passing relevant department store approvals can lead to regular work as well as a faster chance of promotion in beauty retail.

Beauty Solutions For The Mindful Shopper

Beauty on a Budget: Simple, Inexpensive Solutions for Beauty Buys

Healthy, beautiful skin and hair often comes with a high price tag and the constant barrage of advertisements does nothing but confuse buyers and encourage spending. Fortunately, there are options that do not cost an arm and a leg, some that you already may have access to at home, that can help reduce the cost of beauty. You can make small changes that will put money back in your wallet.

Ten Beauty Tips to Consider

  1. Drink tons of water. It may seem like common knowledge but many women do not realize that they do not drink enough water. Summertime is the prime season for reminders that sunning outside or sweating in the gym can case our bodies to cry out for more water. It is the culprit of many common ailments such as headaches but also affects the condition of your skin. Stay hydrated and looking radiant by drinking 8-10 eight ounce glasses of water per day, or 4 of your standard water bottles.
  2. The twice a day routine of washing your face and neck can not only get expensive when using brand name cleansers and toners, but also can seem time consuming which may make you want to skip it. Cut time at the sink short by eliminating one of the “washes” with water and switch up your routine. You can find Witch Hazel in the first aid isle of almost every grocery or drug store and most women have cotton balls at home. Use a few cotton balls, rounds, or squares and a dab of Witch Hazel to clean off your makeup at night before bed. It is a faster way to clean skin and leaves you feeling refreshed.
  3. Another before bed routine that I’ve found works wonders is to put a bit of petroleum jelly on my eyelashes before bed. If you tend to rub your eyes in your sleep, like I do this eliminates lash breakage and the inevitable but accidental pulling out of lashes. You’ll notice that your lashes are fuller and longer because you are not damaging them at night. (This also is good for dryness or under eye circles that occur from allergies at night.)
  4. If your lips tend to be chapped or dry in the summer months, and easy way to get them feeling soft and plump is to brush them gently with your toothbrush in the morning when you brush your teeth. This works best with a soft or medium toothbrush. The effect is smoother and rosier lips that look great with a bit of gloss or sunblock chap stick.
  5. When your hair is unruly and you’ve got flyaways, try this tip for a quick fix. When you put lotion on your hands after washing, smooth your hair with the excess lotion or run your hands over the tips to bond strands. Not too much, of course, or you’ll end up with greasy looking hair.
  6. Tan skin, (from a spray of course) does not need as much makeup, so why not take advantage of the color by using less foundation. Apply your foundation sparingly in the summer, as a fresh look wins over a fully made up face when the temperature rises. Try using it only on the T-zone and under your eyes, keeping more in the bottle for when the weather cools off.
  7. Bothered by a heat induced pimple? Don’t dare squeeze it; sunscreen and sweat will only exacerbate the problem if the skin is broken. Ice the little bugger instead to reduce redness and swelling. Store bought products are great, but for a girl on a budget you can’t beat a little frozen water.
  8. Although high end moisturizers and creams are meant to do wonders, many of them do nothing more than your regular lotion. Try to stick with a fragrance, dye, and oil free moisturizer that is as simple as possible. I like Cetaphil, which is dermatologist recommended and comes in store brand (generic) as well. It can be used all over, even on your face, which saves a bundle.
  9. Eating healthy, balanced meals can greatly affect your skin tone, the plumpness in your cheeks, and how your skin feels to the touch. I know many of us diet to fit into our bikinis comfortably, but eliminating all fats from your meals causes sunken cheeks and dull skin. Be sure to fit healthy fats like fish and avocado into your diets to be sure your skin looks great while still minding your waist.
  10. Don’t smoke! There is no excuse that has not been said and now that we are in 2018, no one thinks smoking is cool. It sucks the life out of your body and face, creates wrinkles, and causes teeth yellowing. The physical damages to your appearance alone are reason enough to nix this bad habit.

Don’t Forget!

One bonus tip for the busy woman who is trying to do it all: Get enough sleep. The number varies from woman to woman, but on average a woman need 7-8 hours to get the beneficial effects of sleep. By ensuring you have at least 7 hours of (hopefully) uninterrupted sleep, you will wake up looking bright eyed and under eye circles will be minimized. Therefore, less makeup will be needed in the morning.

Read More: Cover FX Primer, CLEARPREP FX: Get Acne Free Skin with An Acne Treatment Face Primer.

Whether you are working with a shoestring budget or just like to keep things simple, the tips above are good to keep in mind. As the saying goes, sometimes less is more, as is the case of many of these beauty tips; your wallet and your cupboards will thank you for it.