Seeing in Color: Foundation Match Like an Artist

Every day, millions of women around the world suffer from a condition known as Ghost Face Syndrome (GFS). Anyone, even celebrities, can suffer from this syndrome which is caused by mismatched foundation, unblended contour and/or lack of appropriate lighting during the makeup application process. As a beauty professional, every day I work to heal individuals of this syndrome. There is enough information and resources out there to help eradicate this epidemic one face at a time. Like any other illness, there is a sad pathology behind it. Most of the time, the victim is suffering due to lack of self awareness. He or she is not willing to see themselves as they really are, but instead choose to see themselves as another shade (usually lighter).

All jokes aside, I wanted to write this piece because I deal with many people who are so enamoured with the concept of lightness/whiteness, that they would rather walk around with an ashy face than perfectly matched foundation. On the other end of the spectrum, we have people who genuinely don’t understand the depth of color in their skin and get intimidated by the process of selecting makeup. To overcome these things, you must first understand the concept of color. As human beings, we are not simply one shade, we are composed of layers of colors which include undertones. For example, you may find that your under eye area or the middle of your face is a bit lighter than the rest of your face. There are so many charts on the internet with confusing ways to figure out your perfect undertones. I won’t clutter your life with those.

Instead, I’m going to show you some art. Meet Toyin Ojih Odutola; an African artist who is transforming the way people of color are seen in art. In her latest exhibition at the Whitney Museum she uses oil pastels, charcoal and graphite to give texture and nuance to strong faces with traditional African features. I stood in awe of her uses of light and attention to detail. I think that taking a look at Odutola’s work could help get a better understanding of what to look for in your own face just to simplify the color selection process. If you look closely at the skin tones of the portraits, you will see undertones of yellows, reds and neutrals.

This portrait of a husband (yellow undertones) and wife (neutral undertones). Imagine when the artist worked on the piece, that the first layer of paint for the husband was yellow while the first layer of the wife’s skin was brown. 
This is a close up shot of my favorite piece in the exhibition called The Wall of Ambassadors and featured this striking woman with red undertones. 

Now imagine that you were asked to paint a self portrait. Consider what color you would use as a base.

Are you rosey in the cheek area? Then it is likely you have pink undertones.

Do you have a deep earthy tone to your skin? Then you, my dear, have red undertones.

Do you find your skin is sallow and looks better under natural lighting? Then like me, you have yellow undertones.

Do you feel as if you don’t fit into any particular category and having a pretty reasonable, even skin tone? Welcome to the neutral club.

Figuring out your undertone is half the battle when it comes to finding the correct foundation. For brown and black skin tones, it is important to pick foundation lines that have a wider selection of brown tones. I’ve heard great things about Fenty, Black Opal and NARS when it comes to darker skin tone selections. For lighter shades, it is typically more important that the formulas look natural on the skin and not drying. This can mean going for more hydrating serum or liquid foundation formulas. A common mistake for lighter shades is choosing yellow undertones instead of pink or neutral so try to avoid that! Also, keep in mind that makeup formulas do oxidize on the skin and that may cause them to change color throughout the day. It is best to go in person, with a clean face and try out your prospective foundation to see how it will react with your skin.

 

What’s your favorite foundation brand? Why?

Advertisements

Glow Therapy: Candid Conversations With A Skin Specialist

So I’m having an event in NYC! Think of it as a TEDtalk for all things beauty and wellness related. I’ll be breaking down the functions of the skin, how you can get the most out of your seasonal skin care routines & much more. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask me any questions you might have about beauty (even professional questions). The best part is you will receive a free skin consultation from me as well! I hope to see all your beautiful faces there ❤ I’m so excited to meet you!

Here’s the link!

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/glow-therapy-candid-conversations-with-a-skin-specialist-tickets-42162783019

The Pu**y Peel

As you may or may not know, vaginal care is important to me. Why? Because myself and some of my favorite people have vaginas. They’re pretty awesome but having one is like having a part-time job you never applied for but keep just because you need to make ends meet. Between GYN appointments, waxing, shaving (yuck!), periods and child birthing… it’s like WTF?! When does it end? Not today.

I did some extra shit to my vagina earlier that was amazing and you need to hear about and/or experience! I got a chemical peel on my vag to help with ingrowns, exfoliation and brightening. I have tried a few different brands of peels on my face. All of them were busts. I did not like the tingling/burning sensations or the weeks of dehydrated skin that ensued. The reason I was willing to try again with my vagina was because my ingrowns have gotten worse due to the cold season and the fact that my waxing schedule has changed.

Fortunately for me, one of my very best esthetician friends referred me to Baire in Hell’s Kitchen. They use PCA chemical peels, which have been around for over 20 years. PCA is a science based brand complete with pH balanced products for every day and professional use. They are very education oriented. I love the company philosophy mainly because they offer so many options in peels that otherwise can be very harsh and intimidating.

My appointment was with a lovely woman named Marina. She was pleasant and gentle. We chatted about our shared reservations regarding other brands of peels and direct acids. Because I am completely comfortable busting it open on medical tables, my service was quick and easy (about 25 minutes). Although I did not experience any discomfort, burning or stinging, it is a possibility with others. Luckily for me, Marina was nice enough to check in and make sure I was okay.

So far, my bikini area feels smoother and softer. My ingrowns are a bit more apparent and I am trying my best to not pick them out just yet. The bikini peel service is priced at $75 and recommended to do every 4-6 weeks. I will most likely be doing 6 sessions so that I will see desired results. I want my skin to be completely recovered from all those years of shaving!

I’ll keep you posted 🙂

SAY NO! Protect Your Glow

If you’ve followed me for a while, you are absolutely aware that my approach to skin care (and overall wellness) is being gentle with the skin. This means not doing anything that would disrupt the acid mantle of my skin. The acid mantle is the outermost layer of the skin that protects it from any bacterias and potential invaders. Moral of the mantle is, it keeps the dirties out. Being that it is so important to skin health, I want to do everything within my power to keep it intact. So here’s a list of things to avoid that could disrupt and/or destroy your acid mantle.

  • Drying Alcohols– drying alcohols wear away at the acid mantle and make the skin vulnerable to infection and overproduction of oil
  • Peel-off masks– masks that dry hard and peel from the face not only hurt like hell to take off but they can make the pores appear larger
  • Nair– it falls under the category of chemical depilatory which means which means it is highly alkaline (unlike the natural state of the skin) so… NOPE!
  • Shaving– call it dermaplaning or whatever you want… it is shaving. Those little vellus hairs (yes, they have a name) are the equivalent of a wire fence for your acid mantle
  • Microneedling- poking holes in my face with needles? Blood? Need I saw more?
  • Mineral Oil– check all your products and if they have mineral oil in them, burn them. Or just throw them in the garbage. Although it softens the skin, it does clog the pores and increase water loss in the skin. Water loss speeds up aging
  • Face Scrubs– anything with granules on the skin that is meant to exfoliate usually does not. Instead, it scratches at the acid mantle and makes the skin raw. Step away from the St.Ives ladies!
  • Lemon Instagram hobbyists will lead you to believe that lemon juice on the face is a great lightener and exfoliator. It is actually too acidic for the face.
  • Vaseline– Its derived from petroleum… like the stuff we put in cars. Also, uses paraffin wax which is bad for your skin in the exact same way as mineral oil. It is also horrible for the environment
  • Facial Brushes Similar to face scrubs, they can wear away at the acid mantle. Aside from that, they hold bacteria and makeup.

The Abnormal Beauty Story

I have been keeping a secret. For the past three months, I have been a brand ambassador for a company called Deciem (also known as The Abnormal Beauty Company). You might’ve heard of the brand by way of The Ordinary which is now carried at retailers like Sephora and Ricky’s. The company is an umbrella brand, which means it owns and formulates multiple brands. As of now, there are more than 100 products under the Deciem umbrella. This means it took me a lot of research and trying out to know for sure if I loved the brand. Since it is against my personal code of ethics to promote some shit I don’t use or love, I kept my new role under wraps.

But now, I am here and ready to share with you!

Deciem offers lines for hair, skin and body but for the purpose of simplicity, we are just going to focus on the skin care lines for now. There’s The Ordinary, Hylamide and NIOD (pronounced KNEE-odd).

The Ordinary: This line is so simple that it’s complicated for most people. It’s where you go to figure out what kind of ingredients your skin likes. Also, it helps you to get real about your skin concerns and goals. It has everything from exfoliating acids, retinoids, vitamin C, cold-pressed organic oils and other molecules for various concerns. The best part about the line is, all of the products are priced under $15. The only thing that I am not fond of about the line is that it does not have a cleanser.

Some of my fav products from The Ordinary include EUK 134, Azelaic Acid, Marula Oil.

HylamideThis would be considered the next step up. The formulations are a little more advanced and target more signs of aging. Also, the serums are a lot lighter in texture compared to The Ordinary because they’ll penetrate the skin a lot better. This line has a face cleaner, face mists and uses targeted “boosters” for skin care concerns like sensitivity and congested pores.

Some of my fav products from Hylamide include the High Efficiency Face Cleaner, SuQ Anti-Age serum, Photography Foundation

NIODOkay so NIOD is probably the best thing to come into my life in 2017. Most advanced skincare technology I’ve ever used. The line focusing on preserving the skin health for as long as possible. This explains why it is absent of things like direct acids and retinoids. It is also very special because it not only supplements what your skin is missing but it also trains your skin (via these crazy delivery systems called precursors) to create more of whatever your skin is lacking. Naturally, it is the most expensive line, but not so expensive that you feel horrible about purchasing it. It ranges from $25-$90.

Honestly I love everything I’ve tried from NIOD. It has become a staple in my daily routine (both day and night). I use the Copper Amino Isolate Serum, Fractionated Eye Concentrate, Multi Molecular Hyaluronic Acid, Non-Acid Acid Precursor, Voicemail Masque, Flavanone Mud and Mastic Must.


I know that the website can be a bit overwhelming but if you are ever in need of product recommendations or have any questions, feel free to hit me up and ask!

Last Call for Alcohol!

In honor of the new year, let’s chat about alcohol. Not the kind that will have most of you tipsy come the stroke of midnight, but the kind that is found in our cosmetics. Any sensible esthetician or beauty professional would advise you to stay away from products that contain “bad alcohol”, but upon reading your product ingredients, you’ll see that many of them contain an alcohol of some kind. How do you know what to avoid? I made a chart (but we will get to that later).

Alcohols are part of a group of organic compounds. They can be at higher and lower molecular weights. Higher molecular weights mean they are heavier in texture and work to hydrate/protect the skin. In other words, we like high molecular weight alcohols! The lower molecular weight alcohols are the ones that are more watery in substance. They dry the skin out and can sometimes create chain reactions of damage in the skin.

Check the ingredients of your fav products to see if they contain any bad alcohols. Sometimes you may notice a small amount of low molecular alcohols in your retinol or vitamin C products. They are there to help disrupt the top layer of the skin to allow the vitamin A (retinol) and C to absorb into the skin more effectively. This means if the bad alcohol is (very) low on the ingredient list, it may not exactly be harmful to you. Just use the product sparingly!

Good Alcohols

(high molecular weight)

Bad Alcohols

(low molecular weight)

Caprylic

Cetearyl

Cetyl

Decyl

Isostearyl

Lauryl

Myristyl

Oleyl

Stearyl

Ethanol

Ethyl

Denatured alcohol

Methanol

Isopropyl

SDA

Benzyl

Happy New Year to you! Always remember to Glow Responsibly! 🙂

What the pHuck?

Everyone from doctors, dietitians and beauty professionals are mentioning the importance of pH levels. Usually, people just smile and nod as if they know what the hell is going on. So what exactly does it all mean? Let’s say you had a garden and you wanted to create the best possible conditions for said garden to thrive. You would probably provide top of the line water, air and sunlight. Maybe even talk to it a little bit because you read an article once that plants liked that kind of stuff. My point is, you would facilitate a proper place for growth to take place. Your hair, skin and insides are similar to your (metaphorical) garden in the sense that they all require proper environments in order to thrive. Part of your wellness mission is to achieve and maintain the proper pH for your body to thrive.

Let’s get technical for a sec… pH stands for Potential Hydrogen and describes the alkalinity or acidity of a product/substance. The pH scale goes from 1-14. The higher the number, the more alkaline the substance. Just in case I’m losing you, here’s a chart!

Image result

pH for hair: scalp should be 4.5-5.5 – to maintain this, your products should be a little on the acidic side (less than 7)

pH for skin: acid mantle should be 5-5.5 – to maintain this, your products should be a little on the acidic side (less than 7)

pH for body (internal): 7.5> – to maintain this, the foods in your diet should be as alkaline as possible (more than 7) *this includes a healthy vagina*

Usually, when shopping for any kind of beauty products, you can find the pH level listed on the website or can just research them online. pH level is especially important when it comes to shampoos and face cleansers because of the stripping of vital oils that may occur. When certain oils are removed, the pH of the skin is disrupted.

So stay balanced!

Water your gardens with the finest alkaline beverages

Keep your body clean

Stay away from bad products, bad foods and bad men! lol