I bought foundation…online!

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In case you don’t know already, I am a bite-sized portion of milk chocolate covered gold. I am not dark by any means (Don’t mistake this comment for self-hate, I just know that there are tons of beautiful shades darker than my own. So in the grand scheme, I’m in the middle of the range of all complexions). Despite that, I am pretty much the darkest shade you will find when walking into the drug store. And I’m dark enough where companies, on occasion, will forget that undertones exist. So buying new complexion products online or otherwise brings a lot of stress.

My shade is NW43, that’s what I knew and loved, but I had already committed to buying black, and my pot of MAC foundation was becoming real empty. Meaning my time was running out.

Side note: I found my products on a site called black-exchange.com. Unfortunately, they are no longer functioning as a website, but their Tumblr page is still up. You can search and scroll through to find a ton of black-owned companies. I was legit on this site every day amazed by all the businesses that were out there.

So boom, I find koyVoca Cosmetics; peep the shade range:

 

koyVoca Cosmetics / Via Instagram: @koyvocacosmetics

I’m not worried about if she’ll have my shade, but whether or not I will pick the right shade. So being the fly businesswoman she is, she offers samples of every shade, so you ain’t out here buying full sized products that don’t match yo neck. And she will shade match you via email, so here I go sending emails late at night, and I email her like I’m NW45 at MAC, what shade do you think best matches me? No problem, right, WRONG! She answered Alexandria and offers the sample options, I’m like nah I’m good, I’m just gonna order Alexandria. I pay for it, maybe a week goes by, order processed and sent in a timely fashion. Nice, clean packaging, ready to beat my face the next morning. I look in the mirror, but something feels off.

You already know the end, it’s too dark for me. I’m a little pissed off, and I’m blaming Courtney Coates, the owner, for the nonsense. (Real talk, it wasn’t even that bad, but once I saw the difference I couldn’t unsee it.) I start going back to emails trying to figure out how this could this happen, ready to send my famous disgruntled customer email…

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It was all my fault.

Attempt number 2! I got the right shade, Calabar, crisis averted.

With any new product, you have to figure out how it works for you, which brushes to use, which primer to apply, etc. Not all cream products are the same, just like not all primers and setting sprays are the same. After extensive trial and error, and Courtney answering all of my questions privately on Instagram, I resolved that that particular product wasn’t for me. She was even willing to send me another product for free because I didn’t have a pleasant experience. FYI: I didn’t take her up on the offer, but she’s serious about making sure every customer has an excellent experience with every product she creates!

Her About Face Powder Foundation though! This powder is a staple, I don’t imagine any other product ever taking its place. The quality is so high, it’s highly pigmented and long lasting.  Maybe I’ll dedicate a whole other post to this product because it has become that much of a staple.

What I’ve Used: KV Classic Cream-To-Powder Foundation, About Face Powder Foundation, KV Classic Cream Concealer, KV Classic Setting Powder, Ultra Powder, & Make Me Matte Powder

The Royal Jewels: About Face Powder Foundation

WishlistThe HiLife Highlighter

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koyVoca Cosmetics / Via Instagram: @koyvocacosmetics

Overall, koyVoca Cosmetics is amazing, and if you are looking for new makeup brands, especially black-owned, this is a great place to go. Also, I need to add that Courtney Coates launched this company last year and does almost everything by herself; it is unbelievable how much she has been able to achieve in a year’s time!

 

 

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Final Love Letter to MAC

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Dear MAC,

New School

The months that would become years were filled with sadness and anger. But I had to decide, what’s worse lookin’ sad or angry? Sad or angry? Or like being shamed for my blackness, shamed for my blackness. I’d rather be angry.

Anger pushed me to seek happiness in any form.

Homecoming

The dance is weeks away. My mother and I sifted through racks of dresses, shelves of shoes, piles of jewelry and handbags.

Then the day arrived, and we made a beeline to the MAC in Macy’s. Some of the artists were already becoming close friends, but now I finally had the opportunity to sit in one of those chairs.

Mind you, the only other cream or liquid that touched my face was the goop from the beauty supply store or vaseline.

She not only painted my face but also talked me through what she was doing so I could recreate a look for myself. I left with my first little black bag.

College

MAC is the only product that touched my face. Anybody who knew me would ask me what foundation or lipstick I was wearing, and my answer always remained the same, “MAC.” To which they responded, of course.

There was nothing else in my makeup universe. I was a complete snob and brand loyal.

It wasn’t until my junior year did I begin exploring other territories.

Adulting

The same news headline scrolls down my timeline:

X Company makes a racist ad. Employee of Y Company makes a racist comment to an employee. Black customers at Z Company experience discrimination.

I grew numb to these stories; I expected them.

My dollar, my black dollar turned over multiple times in communities that did not share the richness of my melanin. I keep funding the people and systems that sought/seek to degrade and eliminate my past, present, and future.  I come back over and over again to companies who prove to me time and time again that they do not care about how they represent me, nor do they care to take the proper steps to change.

Why should I expect them to change, if I don’t make a change? What do they owe me?

So I write this as my final love letter to you, MAC and other white-owned companies.

I have worshipped and raised you on pedestals long enough.

Our abilities to build generational wealth have been torn away from us on numerous occasions. I cling on to the hope that this is the start of something permanent; something that cannot be destroyed and I will pile and build on that foundation.

Dear Black-owned companies,

This is my first love letter to you. There is a movement of black wealth development, our talents and gifts can be owned by us and now can touch people across the globe. I ask any business that I give my money to, promise me that you will reinvest in your business, reinvest in your dreams, reinvest in your family, but most importantly reinvest in your community. We cannot make the mistakes of leaving our neighborhoods in the same condition in which we went, give our people the knowledge and tools to build, show the real power of recycling our dollar.

As a customer, I promise to not expect perfection, slander you publicly, burden you with unfair expectations, and I promise to shine a light on you for every good experience.

Maybe you will see me again MAC, but for now, I bid you a final ado.

Sincerely,

Black.Angry.Beautiful

 

 

*I do not own the rights to the photo featured*

86th Annual Academy Award Recap

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The Oscars were last night and of course the red carpet was filled with glitz and glamour.

Stars of the Night:

Best Dressed Man: Michael B. Jordan

I was going to compile a list of men, but then I came to the conclusion that there was only one guy who came out on top. Michael B. Jordan accessorized his Givenchy tux with stars and gold plates, what could be better!

Best Couple: willjadaoscars2014

While many are saying Bragelina stole the show, Will and Jada are the winners in my book. Will and Jada took interesting and successful risks. Will with his suede loafers and deconstructed ascot match the effortless flow of Jada’s peach gown.

Best Baby Bump: Kerry-Washington-Oscars-2014

Kerry Washington won the show amongst pregnant women and has proven that you can be sexy, even with a little bun in the oven.

Understated Nail Art

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I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted any pics of my nails, so I decided to make my next post a mani one.

This week I made the “blood drip” effect: 

Though I love nail art, I think it can quickly become overwhelming and distracting from whatever I’m wearing. Let’s be honest, I don’t have a team of people catering to my stylish needs everyday. To balance my love of nail art and my personal life, I’ve opted for an artsy finger and an accent finger.

I not only get the satisfaction of fun nail designs, but I also have an opportunity to skip all the frustrations that may come with creating these little masterpieces. Some designs are time consuming, especially since many layers have to be completely dry before you start the next. This also gives me the opportunity to perfect these skills on both my dominant and non-dominant hands without having an entire manicure ruined.

Not So Dreary Grey

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I’m not the biggest fan of grey, but I decided to mix it up with a few different shades and a splash of color for my outfit today.

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I love mixing shades, especially to colors that are typically seen as flat, like grey. It adds so much depth to a potentially boring outfit.

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Vince Camuto Wide-Calf Boots: BedinaLF Scuba Skater Skirt: similar, similar; Gap Body Long Sleeve Shirt: similar

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Simple makeup was a must. Mascara, thin eyeliner, and somewhat bold lips. MAC Grey Friday (this was an online exclusive for Black Friday 2013, so this is sold out unfortunately): similar

Blooper! The winter wind surprised me:DSC00212

Photo Credit: Dominique Steele