And, I’m back—with more to report in black-owned beauty land, which admittedly got a little overwhelming as I started the new week on Sunday—also known as “wash day,” but we’ll come back to that.
Instead, let’s start with Sunday’s shopping trip, which began at Sally Beauty in Chicago’s Loop. Refreshingly, when I asked about black-owned brands, I was directed to an entire section of options, despite the store’s small footprint. I happily picked up a few brands I hadn’t tried before, before skipping (okay, strolling) across the street to Target.
Once there, as is to be expected, I got caught up in the rapture of the bullseye, walking away with over $100 worth of black-owned haircare, because Target is really trying to woo us with that textured hair aisle, y’all. They have owner headshots up and everything, which can be slightly deceiving, since there’s a difference between black founded (e.g. Carol’s Daughter and Shea Moisture) and black-owned (Mielle Organics). I’m going to take a deeper dive into that discussion via tonight’s video diary because that line is increasingly blurry. But just to diversify my current selection of products, I stuck to more emerging brands.
That said, since I’m still awaiting skincare shipments, I did sneak over to Target’s personal care
section to cop some facial wipes from Shea Moisture, since body wash is no match for this makeup. I also picked up some of their Amla oil to sub in for my nightly rose oil routine, since this dry skin and the Chicago winter are nothing to play around with.
On that note, since there’s only so much mattifying makeup my skin can stand, I also checked out the makeup section, where I picked up an oldie but goodie: Iman Cosmetics’ Luxury Concealing Foundation ($16). As one who has hereditary dark circles, the promise of both evening my skin tone and diffusing the under-eye shadows was enticing enough to make me an instant convert.
Unfortunately, the lightest shade in stock at Target was Clay 1, which will match me perfectly when I finally get some sun on this face. That didn’t stop me from rocking it, though. I’m faking a tan until the order of Sand 3 arrives, because Iman’s formulation is stellar, and definitely cuts down on my need for a separate concealer for everyday wear. In fact, my only beef is that at 0.5 oz per bottle, I’ll need to rebuy sooner than I’d like. The size and plastic bottle make it perfect for travel, though.
Because I prefer lipstick to gloss, I also copped a couple of options from The Lip Bar ($12-$13 each)—which unfortunately ended up being risky business. The brand’s super-graphic packing is super-cool…until the label color on the bottom of the tube doesn’t match the product inside the shrink-wrapped seal (meaning you’re likely stuck with it).
This isn’t an issue with The Lip Bar’s glosses ($14), where the color is clearly visible through the tube. But when I picked up a color called “Conceited”($13) expecting the creamy deep coral on the label, I was understandably disappointed to find a burnished copper in the tube. Nowhere on the packaging or store display did it indicate that the color is a shimmer (I even returned to Target to double-check). Since the whole point of in-store placement is to attract new customers to your brand, one shouldn’t have to be an existing fan or consult a brand’s website in order to verify the shade they’re buying. This could likely be easily remedied by changing the in-store branding, but I was pretty miffed in the moment.
That said, I decided to go with it—and once I put that luxurious texture on my lips, decided I was just going to have to make copper work, because my lips had been parched. Seriously, I’m a convert (I’m actually wearing it in the Iman in the photo above, when both were just starting to work their magic on my freeze-dried features). If The Lip Bar gets that labeling thing sorted, it may be curtains for all others in my world. (Except you, Stunna Lip Paint—I think.)
I ended the day with my weekly hair wash, using only products from Alaffia’s new Repair & Restore line. When the brand sent me the line late last year, I played around with it a bit while awaiting an interview with the founders. But admittedly, brand loyalty kept me from going all the way at once—though I can attest that their Creme Hair Mask ($18.50) is the business. Well, I am glad I did, as I can say that my locks are definitely feeling the love.
A few things to note about this ethical, fair-trade, all-natural brand: It’s not going to give you the sudsy experience you might be accustomed to from shampoos. Most chemists (and even high school chemistry teachers) will assure you suds have nothing to do with cleaning, outside of creating the psychological impression that something’s happening. Nevertheless, I was momentarily concerned that my hair was going to end up a dried, matted mess midway through my wash with the Restore and Repair Conditioning Shampoo ($16).
That all changed when I applied the Créme Conditioner ($18.50), which gave me lovely slippage with my comb-through, and really left my color- and keratin-treated locks feeling replenished. Of course, following up with their keratin-infused Daily Moisturizing Creme ($15) didn’t hurt (for a lighter touch, try their Daily Moisturizing Lotion, $14). By the time I got to Alaffia’s Argan and Monoi Finishing Oil Mist ($9.50), I’d actually overdone it on the emollients. Two days later, it’s absorbed and feeling absolutely perfect. One caveat: as one might expect from a brand that sources so many natural ingredients, it has a distinctly herbal, almost medicinal scent. You’ll definitely smell clean and aromatic, but if you like smelling feminine or regularly wear perfume, it might clash.
What do I want to try now? Their deodorant—which may smell just as herbal, but I’m willing to take that risk. There’s only so far I’m willing to go in the all-natural realm, and five days into this challenge, my fallback plan is failing to keep me feeling fresh.
With all that running around on Days 1-3, I was pretty rundown by the start of work on Monday. In fact, I couldn’t even be bothered with makeup, and left my hair in a topknot most of day. But they say nighttime is the right time, so I decided to spend my night in with someone I love: Pat McGrath. As a longtime model and one-time makeup artist, I’ve been swooning over this woman’s genius for years—and now that genius is being rewarded with a billion dollar valuation of her eponymous line!
But despite the fact I’m all too familiar with her product line (like, obsessively so), like any celebrity crush, I got shy about approaching her. Enter Black Ass Beauty Month, when I can celebrate “Mother” by finally dipping into her makeup.
Since Pat McGrath Labs is neither cheap nor regular-degular, I decided to be modest with my first buy, investing in Mother’s nude trio of Mini MatteTrance lipsticks ($25) and her Mothership Subversive La Vie en Rose palette ($55). To be honest, makeup application isn’t exactly like riding a bike; your girl is a bit out of practice, and these are professional-grade products. But oh….was it worth bringing these out to play. Come through, pigment
Y’all, I’m in love, am officially too expensive for my taste, and about to return to my days of flexing full eye looks in the middle of the day. I need all of the Pat McGrath Labs palettes ($55-$125), ya heard? ALL OF THEM! ON MY FACE! (And yes, I used all the colors in this palette on my face last night.)
Speaking of which, I guess it’s time to get over it and put on some more makeup, huh? I have no occasion but a doctor’s appointment this afternoon, but I’m betting I can dazzle him.