A Black British Beauty Blogger

Monday, 30 April 2012

London Mayoral Elections

Operation Black Vote 'Black Britain Decides' event
As a politics junkie and a Londoner, this Thursday marks the end of the recent Mayor campaigning in London and a return to the normal Punch and Judy action of the Prime Ministers Question Time *sad face*.  I’m a strong believer in excising my right to vote and am proud to say that I have never missed a major election since turning 18 years old. 

At the beginning of this month my Bessie and I made the journey north of the river to Kilburn to attend Operation Black Vote’s (OBV) Mayoral hustings at their ‘Black Britain Decides’ event and  spent the evening listening to the main candidates discuss their key policies as they appealed for our votes. Overall the evening was a success for me as it allowed me to be confident in my selections and it warmed my cockles to see so many like minded members of my community come out to send a message to the mayoral candidates that the ‘Black Vote’ is substantial. 

Apathy is something I come across a lot when discussing politics and it always saddens me, as a pragmatic optimist (no this isn’t a juxtaposition of terms) I strongly believe that whatever your political leanings it is important to go out and make your vote count.

There is a saying that a journey starts with one step; I strongly believe that change begins with my vote!

I look forward to waking up on Friday to see the results. :)

NYX Megashine Lipgloss

Smokey Look, Tea Rose, African Queen, Natural, Sponge Cake
NYX Megashine Lipgloss (Front)
Sticky, glumpy, tacky, yuck, yuck, lipgloss and me have a love-hate relationship, sometimes I like it other times I do without it.

But, despite the above

I LOVE these Megashine Lipglosses from NYX.  Yes, there is a smell but it doesn't bother me (grape/ mint).

The colour selection is excellent in this line and the finishes allow for the glosses to be worn alone or over lipstick.

Smokey Look, Tea Rose, African Queen, Natural, Sponge Cake

The doe foot applicator isn't to fiddly but I do find that I have to work the glosses on my lips if its a light colour.

Smokey Look, Tea Rose, African Queen, Natural, Sponge Cake
NYX Megashine Lipgloss (Back)

A decent lipgloss is hard to find and I adore this range, the US price is fair and I have already ordered more.

Have you tried this gloss, if so what are your colours of choice?

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Sally Hansen Natural Butter Lip Shine

Fresh, Berry, Lush
I recently posted about my purchases from Poundland and should have included these lipglosses. 

They are from the Sally Hansen's Natural line. I like these glosses as they are lightweight and non sticky in texture, so get two thumbs up from me. 

Fresh is a semi nude / peach colour 

Berry is a raspberry colour

Lush is a light baby pink colour. 

All can be worn sheer or over a gloss

My overall opinion is that these glosses are a welcome addition to my collection. I despise the glunky feel that some glosses can create and live in fear of the dreaded white line that I have experienced with some products. 

Fresh, Berry, Lush

My lips welcomed the glossess and didn't react to the glosses in the way that they have previously. With some glosess I have to make sure that I place lashings of Blitex before applying, this was not the case with the Natural Lip Butters and after removal my lips weren't overly dry.

The only negative I have is that I didn't come across any other colours to purchase in this range. I will be keeping my eyes out for more in this range.

Have you come across this range?

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Iman Cosmetics - Morley's in Brixton

Snap shot of Morely's Iman Cosmetics Counter

At the beginning of this month I took my regular trip to Brixton to get my hair done, I had arrived obscenely earlier for my appointment and as per my usual routine popped into Morley's for a quick look see. 

Over the last few weeks I have noticed that the MAC counter had been empty of late and the Iman counter had been getting some serious attention by the black folk. I had some time to spare and so began playing around with the foundations and the lovely assistant offered to match my foundation. Now to set the scene, I had just come off the bus looking like a goon (thug) with my black hoody and blacked out clothing rocking my Poundland bag of supplies for the three hour hairdresser stint I was in for: drink / book/ sandwich :) and she STILL offered to match me, I nearly died of shock but quickly recovered to make use of her offer. 
I was left impressed by the professionalism of this makeup artist who, despite being on her own, managed to match me and complete purchases for several customers. The fact that she managed to act with aplomb whilst dealing with a rude, vicious woman who came over to express her dissatisfaction that there wasn't anyone serving on the non-Iman counter, left me in awe. I had to applaud her because I could not believe this woman’s audacity. 

Not only was I matched, a through explanation of the brand, it's products and demonstrations of how I should apply each item was given. 

I am now a fan!!!!!!!!!

I sit firmly within the Earth range due to my colouring: 
Earth 5 in the Cream to Powder
Earth Medium in the Cover Cream
Earth Dark Powder
There was a equisite array of blushes and I will definitely 

My thanks to Beverly, the Iman makeup artist who served me in Morely's. I had to write a letter to the store to express my appreciation of her excellent customer service. If anyone from Iman Cosmetics reads this I would suggest that you recognise this young woman as she knows her stuff and is making you money at that counter.

 For those of you not familiar with the area Brixton is situated in the South of London and considered to be one  of the areas populated by  many West Indian who immigrated in the early 20th Century, unfortunately this area used to have a strong black population but this is increasingly under threat as the area is halfway through it's regeneration (read gentrification / eradication of black population) and the local residents are increasingly being priced out of the area. *jumps off of political soapbox*

Morelys is an old department store, popular with the older heads' (south London slang term for older black generations, lol)' but with the clever placement of a few key brands such as Iman has seen a revival in popularity among younger customers. 

Friday, 27 April 2012

Sally Hansen Natural Beauty Inspired by Carmindy Lipsticks

Last week I went into Poundland for supplies (decent makeup sponges anyone) and stumbled across these lipsticks. Recognising the brand name of Sally Hansen I thought I'd give 'em a whirl and purchased six lipsticks.

Now I don't know who Carmindy is but these lipsticks from Sally Hansen are the business, so kudos to her.

Since opening the packet I haven't looked back!

Unfortunately, due to the nature of Poundland the colour choice was limited. Most of the colours I picked up fell in the pink / plum / red family.

Brown, Plum Rose, Rose Bloom, Garnet, Pink Blossom
Sally Hansen Natural Beauty Inspired by Carmindy Lipsticks
 The colours:
Berry Wine, Rosy Brown, Plum Rose, Rose Bloom, Garnet, Pink Blossom
Sally Hansen Natural Beauty Inspired by Carmindy Lipsticks swatches

Garnet is a nicccce sophisticated blue red.
Rosy Brown is a brown based pink that has fast become my nude colour of choice and have worn it out several times since.
Pink Blossom was a tab bright and so I had to use a lot of brown liner to make it wearable. 
Rose Bloom nice rich pink colour
Plum Rose is a deeper blue based pink
Berry Wine is a deep pink colour 

All of the colours are wearable with liners etc but the selling point for me is the moisture and longevity of the lipsticks. 

I wore Garnet to church as a stain (tired to be respectful in church with red lipsticks) and it didn't move, once.  
Berry Wine, Rosy Brown, Plum Rose, Rose Bloom, Garnet, Pink Blossom 
The packaging isnt anything to write home about but who cares, it's what is inside that counts.


For my UK ladies I would strongly recommend that you pick up a few tubes if your lucky enough to come across one.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Blush Baby - NYX Blushes

Before La Femme I was a big fan of NYX's blushes. NYX was the first US brand that I formed an obsession over; I used to watch countless YouTube videos and stalk out reviews before finally placing an order via ebay.

When my order arrived, some six day later, I could hardly contain myself; skipping all the way to the Sorting Office with my red card out, ready to claim my prize. 

Again I used ColouredBeautiful/ AfricanExport for help in selecting colours and their recommendations were spot on! Thank you ladies xxx
 The Colours:

Coca: Red brown colour is my go-to blush.

Desert Rose: Lovely deep pink blush, looks super on deeper woc.

Cinnamon: Nice yellow / orange colour, I have to confess that I don't reach for this blush as much as I do another similar colour I have in a NYX kit I randomly stumbled across in my Local TK Maxx. That said, it is a good colour for woc to have and but I tend to have to build it up. Glad I purchased it though.
Copper, Coca, Pinched, Desert Rose, Cinnamon
NYX Blushes

Copper: When I first tried this blush I was like, it is a golden shimmery mess but now I find myself making peace with it and using the golden colour to highlight the tops of my cheeks and eyebrows.

Pinched:  Similar thoughts to Copper, shimmery mess, but has come in useful as an alternative peach / pink colour highlight.

These blushes last for a good eight hours on my cheeks and the colour pay-off is very good. I am glad I made the purchase and am hoping to try the cream blushes soon.

If you have any suggestions for other colours in the powder or cream blush, drop me a line below.


Wednesday, 25 April 2012

La Femme Blush

sienna, golden sunset, framboseia, bordeaux, magenta, Cinnabar

There is a LOT of hype surrounding these blushes on the Internet and I first stumbled across them via Youtube  - thanks Colouredbeautiful / DestineyGodly / AfricanExport.

La Femme is a professional makeup brand popular in the US for the quality and price of it's products, in particular, blushes. With a MAC (powder) blush costing anything from £17.50 ($28.10 USD), having a product that is on sale for  $2.50 (£1.55) online (price varying if in an individual pan or refill) certainly pique my interest.

sienna, golden sunset, framboseia, bordeaux, magenta, Cinnabar

La Femme is not a brand readily available in the UK and having decided that I wanted to try these blushes I was disappointed that there was an absence of swatches online, particularly on Black  (women of colour / African - Caribbean) skin. Eventually I deiced to act on the suggestions that the aforementioned makeup gurus on YT and placed on order for six via MakeupMania. I opted for the individual pans as I dislike bulky and cumbersome makeup palettes (I am not a professional and so do not want to carry around twelve blushes when on holiday).

 I managed to get my hands on the majority of the colours I wanted with the exception of Russett and Orange. 

sienna, golden sunset, framboseia, bordeaux, magenta, Cinnabar
sienna, golden sunset, framboseia, bordeaux, magenta, Cinnabar
La Femme Blushes Swatches (natural light)
Sienna:  This redidy brown blus is a must fave for women of colour. If I can't decided what blush to wear, then I know I will look good with this on. Recently I have opted to wear this on with NYX's Cocca for added colour depth and it is amazing.
Magenta: Lovely vibrant blue pink (similar to Sleek's Santorini for those of us in the UK)
Cinnabar: Lovely golden colour, I tend to wear this in the summer months.
Golden Sunset: Rich coral red colour, again an excellent summer colour on woc.
Bordeaux: Now this purple/ plum colour looks very blah in the pot and in swatches online but Ebony, of ColouredBeauitful, waxed lyrical to the point that I took a risk and I am glad I did as it is gorrrrrroeous on! You can see from the swatch that there is a lot of shimmer / glitter but on my cheeks this absorbs into my skin and takes my look up by several notches
Framoseia: Almost neon in it's brightness pink with shots of glitter, definite staple for my deeper skinned ladies.
sienna, golden sunset, framboseia, bordeaux, magenta, Cinnabar
La Femme Swatches (Flash)
The products lived up to their hype, extremely pigmented, long lasting and excellent finishes. You only require a small amount- seriously; what ever you normally use halve it, then halve it again as it you will not need all of that product and then tap off the excess. The blushes have a tendency to appear powdery and may bleed into other colours if in a pan without a suitable cover. However, the pigmentation means that you can use them on the lips and eyes to. 

The only negative I have about the product is that there was a absence of  UK companies that sold the brand but this has changed since I last purchased my blushes 18 months ago.

I will definitely be repurchasing La Femme Blushes and would like some suggestions on which colours I should get.

What do you think of these blushes?

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Money, Money Money.........Money!

Image taken from switchedonset.com
Last week Friday marked the beginning of the new financial year and for those of us in the UK, the introduction of the incumbent government’s ‘austerity’ plans for our economy – changes that will radically affect our way of life.  I had planned to blog about these changes but this evening came across a recent video from one of my favourite YouTuber, Shirley of Meek n’ Mild(Blog) / Shirleybeniang (YouTube)  called  “...my finances & My top 5 Budgeting Tips” and thought that it was a sign. 

Check out the ever wise Shirley and her approach to her finances.

I am a regular viewer of YouTube and avid readers of blogs; over the last eighteen months I have noticed an increasing trend for people to post ‘hauls’ and without throwing any shade, I am often astounded at the sheer volume of items particular people purchase.  Now I do not claim to know the financial affairs of anyone (and nor do I wish to),  but a quick check this evening and I have found at least three different vlogger(s) /blogger(s) over the last month who have posted goods I calculated at totalling well over £220 each on items. Now I’m sure these ladies can afford these goods but Shirley’s video got me thinking about a particular phenomena I keep coming across, 'I see it, therefore I want it’ or for those of us born pre 1990, ‘keeping up with the Joneses’.

We are constantly bombarded by adverting on different platforms of TV and magazines, we are now entering a world where our searches are logged and adverts on the internet (Google plus, Facebook) / Supermarket (Tesco’s club card, Boots Advantage card) are tailored to our perceived preferences. No longer content with selling us products; companies now sell us ideas of how our lifestyle should be, creating particular brands and associated tribes. Whilst I could blog all day on the psychology behind this and this disturbing, emerging phenomenon, I accept that for today’s consumer being able to ‘live within one’s means’ is no easy feat and so have complied a few points below that I hope will help.

My Story:

When I was a university I got a great big overdraft and developed a habit for all things DKNY / Jimmy Choo  (they were  the brands of the moment). My room in halls became known as the yellow room as it was always covered with the distinctive yellow Selfridges bags as Oxford ST was a hop skip and a flash of my Oyster card away. I never had cash on me and swiped my cards (yes cards – plural) so hard that I had to order replacements every six months. I battered them – hard! So please understand me when I write that living within one’s means for many is not easy. It’s not. I should also confess at this point that I came from a household where my parents didn’t mess with credit and as a working-class first generation child, I should have known better. I strongly feel I got caught up in the hype of being an ‘adult’ away from home and lost myself to the world of shopping, raving and flossing. Things got so bad that in my final year of uni I used to go ‘shopping’ back home, raiding my mother’s fridge and cupboards for food with my Waitrose plastic bags to keep up appearances. So please take what I have written as advice from a friend, not someone looking down on anyone as I am not that way inclined (and apologises if you feel that I am). I merely wish to save someone else from the mess I got myself in.

Some tips:
That dreaded B word............. (Budgeting)
Budgeting isn’t hard. If you think about it, we all budget on some level – ultimately, when it’s gone, it’s gone. What I am referring to is setting an amount and sticking to it.

1.       Know how much you have coming in (Income)
Know what date each payment hits your account and where from, just in case things go wrong).

2.       Know how much is going out (Expenditure / debtors)
The amount; the day it leaves your account and the name of the organisation it goes to. As I said in my comment on Shirley’s video, in the UK everyone’s primary concern is their rent / mortgage and Council Tax. I cannot stress enough that what ever happens these two bills MUST be paid before all others. I cannot sleep until I have paid my rent and don’t F*** with the Council. Non payment of council tax can (and often does) can land you before a magistrate who in turn can issue you with a County Court Judgement (CCJ), prison stay and with a criminal record– it’s taken that seriously. The Council will often send in bailiffs and trust me, having a grown person come through your front door /  window  (they are legally allowed to enter through any open point) to take away your  TV or tow away your car can never look good to the neighbours.  

All other bills should be listed next; using your last three bank statements should help you see who takes money and when monies are deposited into your account.

3.       Set an amount
A weekly budget is often the easiest. Find out how much your net (the amount that is physically paid into your account after tax and other deductions) each month and add it up so that is appears weekly.  I tend to follow the Citizen’s advice Bureau (CAB) method as it was the first method I actually understood.

Monthly amounts (Salary / Benefits) X 12 (the mount of months in a year) then divide this by the 52 weeks of the year.

If I wrote it as a formula it would look like this:

                         (Net Monthly amount X 12)
                    ----------------------------------------- = weekly budget amount
                            52 (No. of weeks in a year)

Once you have this you can then divide it further by seven to find out how much you have each day.  Don’t worry if you’re not a maths wiz, a simple search on the internet will reveal a range of sites that have free software that will help you.  If this doesn’t work for you, don’t worry, the most important (initial) outcome is you find out the total of what comes in and what goes out.

4.       Stick to it / Cash is King
Get your bank to set up a standing order to pay bills each week or month.  Contact companies to change direct debit dates to when you get paid or to spread payments throughout the month –what ever is easiest for you.  I know it’s easier said than done, but keep trying. If all else fails, take out cash and you will quickly slow down.

5.       Get YouTube / Bloggers to work for you
If I see a product I usually investigate it first before deciding to make a purchase. I will read reviews, check out videos and if possible, look in store before making a commitment. It has taken me a while to get to this point, but after much training, I am Zen. It helps that I’m not an avid follower of a particular beauty brand.

6.       Expensive isn’t always best
Trust me, as someone who was raised in a household on Marks & Spencer’s, Clark shoes and C&A (really showing my age today) it has taken me a while to come to the realisation that expensive isn’t always the best. In this age of Primark and Supermarket clothing I know that there is always a tribute (copy) out there. That said, there are some exceptions to this.

7.       Know your Level
 There are some things I choose to splurge on and other I couldn’t care less. I have eczema and so will not mess with my body lotions. When I first started out wearing make up I refused to spend over £30 on foundation as I knew I wouldn’t wear it that much; but as a black women, I was fully aware that the colour choice wasn’t really there.  I waited and saved up for my purchase and used every last drop of that bottle! When it comes to mascara’s I am proud to say that I have never spent more than £10 on one. Brands such as MaxFactor / Maybelline produce excellent ranges and I can change the tube each month without denting my account. (Check out Clumps of Mascara as Brittany’s blog really helped me).

That’s all for now.
I will no doubt add to my blog over the upcoming months but hopefully this has helped someone.

Check out the video see if you agree with Shirley’s approach. 

I would love to know what your experiences have been.

* Without going into too much detail my day job involves working with people who are often fairly removed from traditional financial intuitions / products in the UK. I should like to state that I am not blogging as a financial adviser and so will not and do not provide advice to anyone on the state of their financial affairs.  

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Revlon Colourburst - Rosy Nude

Revon Rosy Pink

This is a hero lipstick.

It is.

Reason: It suits everyone

This is the second lipstick purchased by me in the 'Two lip products for £9.99 / £10' in Superdrug's and Boots last month. This colour was something of a surprise to me, completely unexpected. Looked pleasent in the tube so swatched as an afterthought, but then.......pow! Oh my, the colour -the colour! At first I thought it was the trick of the store lights and so rushed outside to take a look in natural light, promptly running back to make a tube mine.

Revlon Rosy Nude swatch on my skin

The light pigmentation means that I can wear it as a subtle pink nude or build it up over concealer based lips to bring out its true colour.

I think it suits every skin tone and recomend it to all women of colour to try.

Well done Revlon!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Seche Vite Top Coat

I had to write an entry to this top coat as it has been tried an tested by me over the last three months - I am already on my second bottle!

Seche Vite with my kiss of approval

This product appeared on my radar after reading a number of reviews. Having run out to purchase OPI's Rapid Drops (and found it lacking) to say I was sceptical would be an understatement. 

However, in January I ran out of top coat and had gone in a mini spree in the nail store, seeing a bottle on the shelf I added it to my basket. At the checkout the sales assistant did everything he could to dissuade me from purchasing this top coat, but curious about the product I stood firm. 

 It took a week before I tried it and the verdict was- my nails were dry within one minute of application. I could not believe it. Since  overcoming my initial shock I have been making regular use of it, whacking on a different nail colour before running out of the door. 

Company's  patter:
Seche Vite™ dry fast top coat is widely acknowledged as the world's finest top coat. Specially formulated to penetrate through nail lacquer to the base coat forming a single solid coating over the nail plate for a much more durable finish. Guaranteed not to yellow while leaving nails silky, stronger and resistant to chipping and peeling.
  • Touch dry top coat within three minutes of application. 
  • Super shiny finish 
  • No longer need to carry a bottle of nail polish for fear of chips whilst out. 
  • Doesn't last past two days on my brittle nails. 
  • Price - I but direct from a supplier so this isn't a factor for me but a quick search on the web allowed me to see that once again, UK consumers are being rippled off on an overseas product.
Having purchased my second bottle I am a fan. I make sure to spend time on applying the colour let this air dry for around five minutes before putting on Seche Vite et voila, touch dry nails. I can understand why the sales associate wasn't impressed, there are better top coats on the market, but none as quick drying as Seche Vite.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Product throwback: Ruby & Mille Cheek Gloss

Happy Easter to you!

In the 'spirit' of resurrection this post shall feature a discontinued product by a brand it would be great to see back on shelves. 

Coral Cream gloss
Ruby & Millie Coral Cheek Gloss


Ruby & Mille was a British makeup brand created by Ruby Hammer & Millie Kendal, both renown figures within the cosmetics industry. I rediscovered this product after attempting to move some of  my stash into boxes I bought in IKEA two weeks ago. Unfortunately I have learnt that the brand has been discontinued but wanted to post about this cheek gloss as it was one of the first makeup purchases I ever made and since rediscovering, have fallen back in love with this cream gloss. 

This multifunctional product was designed primarily as a cream blush but it's pigmented texture allows it to be used on the lips too. I tend to use it as a cream blush by itself or to anchor other, weaker, cheek products. I have found it to last a good eight hours and loooove the colour pay-off. I have C5 in Coral. It looks superb on women of colour but I caution you to use with a light hand. 

Coral Cream Blush
Ruby & Millie Cheek Gloss C5 Coral Swatched

I was always a fan of the packaging of this brand. I have a green eyeshadow that slides out from the side and used to marvel at the sheer genius of the design - why other brands haven't copied this I do not know. 
Loving the case

The case encompasses everything I like in a well designed product; it's clear see-through case allows for the user to see how much is left and a simple sliding tab allows for easy access to the product. 

Have you rediscovered a product recently?

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Quick Swatch Series: LA Colours Lip Liner - Forever Red

LA Colours Forever Red
LA Colours Forever Red Lipliner
I'm a fan of the lipliners LA Colours. Sold at 99p in the UK, they are a cheap but effective alternative to other liners on the market. 

Forever Red has fast become a firm favourite of mine, I usually use it with my red lipsticks but recently have started to use it by itself as a stain and matt lip colour.

As usual, this shot has been taken without any makeup on.

Have you any favourite lipliners that are good enough to be worn alone?

Friday, 6 April 2012

Eyes are the window to your soul

A Cat Eye is my go to look of choice. I wish I could be as creative as others when it comes to my eye makeup but as I usually wear glasses the will to do so kinda disappears. However, catch me when I'm out with the girlies, rocking contacts - different story, I become the Queen of smoky / Arabic look. As such I love a good liner and have displayed three of the liners I have been using of late. 

Liquid Liners
Eye pens of choice
Primark - This liquid liner is the business. For a whooping £1 I get a liquid liner that produces an almost vinyl effect on my lids. Aside from the price, I love the way the liner stretches to form 'rubber waste like resin' allowing for easy removal and longevity. This is on constant repeat purchase for me however, I must provide the following caveat, the other liquid colours are not up to par so please, do not your hard earned £1. 

Barry M - This pen applicator allows for even a novice liquid linear to achieve brilliant results.  You can manipulate it so that a nice thick line is created a la Miss Winehouse (may she rest in peace). My only gripe it that the black colour isn't as dark as I like on my eyes. That said, it is used far frequently than other liners.

MUA - A brand that keeps being worthy of a mention on this blog as it keeps producing superb products for as little as a £1. The designers of this kohl deserve a round of applause as they have they have clearly taken time to think about this product. In each liner MUA has provided the user with a sharpener, affording the user to determining how sharp they want the pencil to be. The colour is deep and rich, great for a simple and dramatic look. I love the fact that it is multi functional: can be used wet with a little Fix + for a liquid effect, used as a base all over the lid, blended using fingers and a brush for smoking or use in my water / tight line without irritation.