The Best of Black Beauty: #BuyBlack Holiday Shopping Guide 2014

Hey Folks!

I did not participate in any Black Friday sales. I was a part of a growing movement of those individuals who chose to boycott such a day so close to the Mike Brown verdict. Actually, I haven't really purchased many Christmas items period. That being said, I've began to make a conscious effort to "buy black", particularly when it comes to my beauty and clothing options. I've been going on Etsy looking at small boutiques and designers. I've  also transitioned that same thought into the beauty products I buy.

I know that many a sista is a MAC or NARS junkie. That's all well and good..but did you know that there were some GREAT and affordable cosmetics and skin companies that are for us? and BY us?

Here are some great things I love on the cosmetics, skin care and hair care front that I def think can be translated into gifts and are my absolute personal favorites!!

Fashion Fair

I know..when you think the name you are probably transported back to your grandma's (Or in my case..Mama's)  vanity with her Pink plastic cases and that waxy smelling lipstick. But things have certainly changed. The OLDEST , wholly-owned cosmetics company for black women since 1973, Fashion Fair has revamped and really updated their products. Started by Eunice Johnson (wife and co-founder of Ebony Magazine), she really saw a need for products for women of color. Soon after, she was a fashion and cosmetics giant. Totally well over $200 million in sales a year domestically and globally, Fashion Fair is amazing! They even partnered a few years ago with makeup artist Sam Fine for a special collection. If you missed out on that, too bad but I do have a review (and some things are available on Ebay). I recently went back and rekindled my love affair with them. Check out some of my personal favs that are available now!

Fashion Fair Illuminating Powder :If you love highlighters then this is for you. You don't have to spend $$$ (Think Becca or HourGlass) or rush out to get limited editions (i.e. Bobbi Brown Bronze Glow). These powders are amazing, finely milled and give you awesome glow. They literally have 4 shades which are perfect dupes for the higher end ones.  My personal fav: METAL (an exact dupe for BB Bronze Glow).

Fashion Fair Fast Finish Stick: These are perfect, glide on smooth and are easy to apply. One thin layer is all you need. I actually use the color TEAK (the darkest color) for contouring around my cheeks and forhead. Much cheaper and more colors than Bobbi Brown sticks!

Fashion Fair Lipsticks (ANY SHADE really): I love them all to be honest. I have had Grapesicle and Blushing Bronze in the past. But I am hung up totally on POSH-a rich brown-red nude that is so creamy, smooth and seamless. If you are looking for a rich, creamy lipstick, then this is the brand. They do not have many (maybe 3) matte shades to my knowledge but who cares! Sometimes you need richness and it will help keep your lips moisturized especially in winter

Shea Moisture

Mr RICHELIEU Dennis started his company in 1991 and a line of body and hair products to honor his grandmother and her recipes for skin care. He has now expanded into the cosmetics line infused with rich Shea Butter.          And WOW...are some of the items amazing! For now, the cosmetics are exclusively sold at Target and on their website. They are entirely worth it! My current Favs are....

SheaMoisture Illuminating Powder (Mandaly Dusk):  Listen. I can go on and on about these powders. These are the best thing since sliced bread. If you can't swing the price of the Fashion Fair then these are a nice alternative. These give me a "MAC SKinFinish" feel but they are great for contouring. I used Mandaly Dusk for contouring and it makes me cheekbones POP!

SheaMoisture Color Corrective System (Various Shades): I do not have time or money to pop down $50 for a MAC concealer pallette when SheaMoisture has several shades. I use Medium Dark and Deep for correcting and concealing. It is professional level concealer. I also like their regular concealer  (which is just as good as a NARS or MAC) but the color corrective system is the winner hands down! You get 3 colors in one wheel.

SheaMoisture Silicone-Free Primer: It is smooth as silk on the skin and creates the perfect surface for foundations. It does have shea, vitamins A and E,  and may make you a bit dewy. But I can sacrifice that feeling for smooth, pore-less skin. (You are gonna set the foundation anyway, right?)  It does minimize pores bit (nor a lot but a bit)

SheaMoisture Wet/Dry Powder: My color is Madidi Mocha and it just SINKS into my skin. I have used it both wet and dry and I personally prefer it wet. It is like the best, smoothest foundation I have had in a very long time. This is usually my "everyday" foundation that I wear to work . My only real beef w/ SheaMoisture is that I do not have a "color chart" to tell me what colors are compared to say a MAC or NARS etc. That would make it easier to pick out a color in the store since there are no testers. Nevertheless, I say pick two colors (they have at least 12 which is a LOT of a drug store brand) and try them out. One can be for contour or setting if push comes to shove! I also like to use a flattop Kabuki brush with it along w/ ELF Makeup Mist and Set (I know..not a "black" product but it is cheap! LOL). There is no talc so you will  not get ashy and no parabens.    

SheaMoisture Wet/Dry Eyeshadows AND Blush Pans (Various Colors) AND the Create Your Palette: I could go on and on listing the ones i love but you cannot go wrong with any of the colors. The other cool thing is they provide a magnetic tin that you can purchase separately to basically build your own palette. They come in two sizes . As for the fav color is Annecy Maroon. And as far as Eyeshadows...Ceclilia and Taylor win hands down!


Supermodel Iman knows a thing or two about beauty. But after years of being in the industry, she was entirely frustrated with having to still "bring her own foundation" to shoots. She started IMAN cosmetics way back in 1994. IMAN along with Fashion Fair, were all we had for a while in the market. She brought style and luxury to the market. I am loyal and tried and true IMAN fan. I bought it as one of the first makeup products I owned way back when she was only sold at JC Penney. She isnow  available at most major retailers, Ulta, and online on her website and at Here are some things I totally adore:
Iman BB Creme: It was the first BB on the market for black women. And it has yet to fail me. I wear it mostly in the summer when I want sheer to medium coverage. Sometimes I may also wear it UNDER foundation as primer of sorts.

Iman Luxury Pressed Powder: It is the pressed powder that I keep going back to over and over. I haven't stopped wearing it since I was 16 years old. I am in the color Clay Medium-Dakr (In winter) and Earth Medium (In Summer). It is in my purse right now and is an easy, sleek and finely milled powder perfect for touch ups. I know some folks don't like pressed powder but...we all need one!

Iman Luxury Blushing Powder (My fav...SABLE): I love pretty much ALL of Iman's blushing powders but the ones I keep coming back to are Sunlit Copper (a soft, coppery orange color) and Sable (a rich brown color). I often will use sable as a soft brown contour.

Iman Luxury Lipstick (Shown in personal fav). IMAN has some of the best and creamiest lipsticks around. I've had several shades (my favs are Wild Thing, Jaguar, and IMAN Red). but Taboo is by far my favorite. IT is a rich, electric purple shade. It is most def a satin finish and paired with a very dark liner (think MAC Nightmoth) it is perfection for winter/fall makeup

Iman Lip Shimmer in Blushing Nude: This is one nude color that will look great on every skin tone from very fair to dark-medium. Pair it with a chocolately liner for a more sultry look that can transition from day to night

BlackUp Cosmetics
Started in Paris in 1999 by an Afro-French makeup artist, BlackUp is very much a well respected, high end luxury brand for Women of Color. YEs, the price is on the steep side but I am more than willing to pay for high end products that cater TO us and are for US! It is the #1 makeup brand for women in color across Europe. Here are some of my favs

Countoring Stick:  If you are clueless about how to contour/highlight then BlackUp has made it easy for you with this double ended contour stick. It comes in 5 shades to suit various skin tones and it is SUPER easy to use! It is creamy and glides on so effortlessly!

CC Cream: CC stands of "color correcting" and their creams are among the most talked about among beauty bloggers of color becuase it is the first of its kind to target " excess sebum, uneven skintone, unbalanced skin, lack of radiance, dark spots, more or less pigmented areas…" This stuff is absolutely amazing!

Blush: So rich, So smooth and in so many colors!! It is paraben and talc free so you won't have an "ashy" look when you apply them to your cheeks. WARNING: they are highly pigmented so a little goes a LONG way!

Black Opal
A tried and true brand you can get at practically any drugstore in America, Black Opal started in 1994 by a chemist and dermatologist (both black women) who wanted to bring affordable cosmetics to women of color. Initially, it was a skin care line famous for its fade gel for hyperpigmentation and then they branched into foundations.  There are so many things I LOVE from Black Opal but here are some tried and true products:

Flawless Perfecting Concealer: It is so super eays to use and comes in a lot of colors. It doesn't get all over the place because the lipstick consistancy really allows it to stay where you put it!
 I love it for dark circles under the eyes (and sometimes I will use this AND SheaMoisture together)

True Color Stick Foundation with SPF 15: Not only does this have skin perfect SPF but the easy and blendability of the product will definitely surprise you because it's so relatively inexpensive! It is pretty heavy and full coverage so if you do not like this...I would suggest SheaMoisture's wet/dry foundation instead because it is buildable.

Polish and Company

Polish & Co. was created by nail expert and cosmetologist Theresa Williamson in 2011. It is non-toxic and comes in a variety of colors.

MY fav color???

Trying my Patience ($12): It is a creamy pinky-beige color perfect for the office and everyday wear. 

Shea Moisture

Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow and Restore Shampoo: It is sold at Ulta and CVS for now (and online at but this shampoo is the truth! It is the best clarifying shampoo I have ever purchased.

African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo: I have terrible, itchy psoriasis on my scalp and this has been the ONLY shampoo to help me with my scalp. I usually use this in conjunction with the JPCO clarifying shampoo on super dirty hair days. But it is so awesome for controlling dandruff and washes out so easily.

Manuka Honey and Mafura Oil  Intensive Hydration Shampoo: With locs, I do not use conditioner  usually (it will get into locs and sometimes unravel them). But I could not resist getting this shampoo. If my hair is unusually dry, I will use it and it really makes my hair so soft and it SMELLS amazing! It's great for loose hair too!

Miss Jessie's

As we mourn the death of Titi Branch, co-founder of Miss Jessie's (named after their grandmother), I cannot help to think about what an amazing line of products she and her sister Miko created. It truly is the "best damn hair product". I do have locs and a lot of their prodcuts are made for loose naturals but there is ONE thing hands down that I am obsessed with..

Leave In Condish: Yeah. A lot of Loc folks will tell you not to use leave-in conditioners but I do not follow rules and I do what I damn well please. ANd this stuff is just..amazing. It leaves my locs shiny and healthy looking without any product build up!

 Founder of the World Natural Hair Care Expo, Taliah Waajid is the  mother of Natural Hair (at least in the South she is). Her Atlanta salon has bosted a number of high profile clients. and  she is one of the first people to inspire me to start locs.  Shes been doing hair for 25 years and her products for hair launched in 1991, serving a market especially for Locs that had been sorely missed. I have so many favs so I have to narrow them down

Black Earth  Afrikan Healing Oyl: It is literally the only hair oil I have been using on my hair in the 11 plus years I have had locs. I've tried others but I keep coming back to the fresh scent of the essential oils. You can also use this on your body as well. But the vitamin E and sunflower oils do my locs right!

Tight Hold (For Twists and Locs): I have to be super careful with what I use on my locs. and for me, this product not only holds my very KINKY and soft 4C newgrowth but it does not flake. It does not "run" and it does not unravel if I use it on my hair. My locs will hold in between professional styling for quite a while.

Stimulating Herbal Cleanser: Before I discovered SheaMoisture, this was my pre-poo clarifying shampoo that I was totally faithful too. I am cheating on it a bit..but sometimes I just want to feel the "tingle" of the tea tree in this shampoo.It is minty and cooling and my scalp is always so thankful for it!


RX For Brown Skin
Developed by dermatologist Dr. Susan Taylor, this was one of the first of its kind catering to hyperpigmentation, acne and skin problems for those with high melanin amounts. I've only used one or two products. My fav...

Rapid Dark Spot and Tone Corrector: This stuff is amazing. Warning: if you are sensitive to any of the ingredients listed, do not use. Also please use an SPF moisturizer after because you may experience some skin burning. I did not. But it did help fade spots I had on my face, some of  which were several years old! SHe also offers full kits for those with more severe acne and hyperpigmentation issues.

Founded by a trio of black licensed esthiticians, this line really caters to the needs of black women and are various skin issues. I usually use the products for mature skin because mature usually means dry. ANd I want to do as much anti-aging work as possible. My fav product....
Creme Mask: It is really gentle, Super soothing and reminds me of an updated, grown up version of Ponds Cold Creme...but definitely better. 

Shea Moisture

Olive Oil and Green Tea Body Oil ANy of the body Oils:  Dear God. This is like sex in a bottle. I swear I feel like a goddess after I  oil myself with this. I do not use many notions because they do nothing But body oil really sinks into my skin and leaves me ashy-free.

ANY of the Body Scrubs: If you really wanna get that dead skin off, combine any of these fab body scrubs (My fav are the Raw Shea and Argan, Olive Oil and Green Tea and the Manuka Honey and Mafura Oil). I use a body glove and get in the shower and get to work. Be careful...this stuff is slippery.
Lavender and Wild Orchid  Joint and Muscle Relief Dead Sea Salt Soak: After a long hard day at work or a really intensive session at the gym, this truly does the trick. It will make your bath smell amazing and relax you right before bed. Again, it is kinda slippery so be careful getting in and out the tub.

Lip Exfoliator: Although this is part of its "cosmetics" line, this def falls under skin care. It is smooth, creamy and still has the microbeads infused with shea which allow all the dead skin to slough off. Organic Shea Butter moisturizes, while Avocado, Aloe Vera and Orange Peel Oils condition and hydrate for smoother, softer lips.  It has no dyes, paraben or lanolin!

Nubian Heritage

This is the original company of founder R. Dennis of SheaMoisture fame. And before he was a millionare with this conpany, he was helping his home village in Liberia, Ghana and other african cooperatives harvest Shea Butter for his soaps and other body products. I would just name everything but I have used far too many things from the line.
Here are a few things I LOVE!
Lemongrass and Tea Tree Soap: Who doesn;t wanna smell like lemonade after the shower?

African Black Soap: I have used this on my face for years since I discovered it. Black Soap does have a tendancy to be drying but this version is infused with so much oil that you will not feel that. BTW... Nubian Heritage has a full set of its soaps for sale. Perfect gift!

Honey and Black Seed Shea Butter: My body is left so silky and smooth after this. It also helps to get rid of any blemishes (and this helps me because dry spots often leave scaring).

I hope that this of some of my favs inspires you all to go out and #BuyBlack this holiday season. Lots of these companies (such as Shea Moisture and its off-shoot Nubian Heritage) have package deals perfect for gifting!

Have a happy and healthy holiday Season!!


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