In October 2015, we were beyond excited to host the event Green Beauty for Brown Beauties. An interactive beauty evening for dark-skinned organic beauty fans, it was the first of its kind in London. Green beauty blogger Lynda D’Aboh of Wonderlusting and curly hair expert Michele Scott-Lynch, founder of natural haircare range Bouclème took over the CONTENT shop floor to host the soirée. The two shared their personal favourites for natural and organic makeup for black skin and darker skin tones as well as top natural haircare tips. Throughout the evening, guests nibbled on healthy vegan snacks from ChicP and sipped on fresh coconut water from MightyBee. The goal of the evening? Discover and get some hands on trying time with green make-up shades.
We collected some of the best organic beauty tips and findings from #Content4BrownBeauty event. Get them below.
“The CONTENT store is a nurturing haven in this hectic, fast-paced city,” Michele said of the event. “It showcases the best in natural and organic beauty products, sourced from small independent and ethical brands. The staff are approachable and knowledgeable, and they provide natural and effective solutions for every beauty problem. People often talk about hair being dead. But anything that grows, I consider to be alive!”
Michele read a passage from Malcolm X’s biography, where he describes having his first ‘conk’. A hair straightening treatment, conks were popular for African-American men throughout the 1920s to the 1960s. Malcolm X described them as painfully burning his flesh and his first really big step towards self-degradation. “It really resonated with me,” Michele said. “Beauty is about embracing who you are. Fighting what you’re naturally given is only going to make you unhappy.”
TIPS FOR CURLY HAIR
Michele shared her top recommendations for caring for natural hair and how to navigate the world of organic haircare.
Keep hair moisturised
Curly hair and Afro hair tend to naturally be drier than other hair types. They also need a lot of moisture. Swap from shampoo, which strips the hair with detergents, to a conditioning cleanser. The surfactants gently cleanse and leave hair hydrated. I wash my hair every three to four days using the Bouclème Curl Cleanser. The focus is on cleansing the scalp. Massage the cleanser vigorously throughout the scalp to help lift off dirt and old skin cells. Use a gentle low foaming natural shampoo if you start to see build up. Also use the Bouclème Curl Cream to nourish and moisturise hair.
Leave in your conditioner
Don’t rinse it out. A natural conditioner helps hydrate medium to thick textured hair and to define curls. For added moisture, you can try mix the Bouclème Curl Conditioner and Curl Cream together and rake it in your hair.
Use oils or butters
I always apply a layer of hair oil on top of my conditioner to lock in moisture, and then I add gel. I often use neat conditioner and mix it with oil and butter. This is especially good when transitioning season and dry hair.
How to avoid hair breakage
Afro and curly hair is fragile and needs to be treated gently. Section hair when detangling, cleansing and conditioning hair. Section your hair in 2, 4 or 6 areas, depending on thickness. Also, use a bamboo and cotton mix towel instead of a terry towel. The latter tends to mess up the curl pattern and ruffle the hair cuticle. A curl towel will absorb excess water without removing all the moisture you’ve put in.
Protein Levels Upkeep
If you colour your hair or it’s chemically processed, I find it helpful to do a protein treatment to strengthen them and increase porosity. Do this every 2 to 3 months and follow with a deep conditioning treatment to balance out protein levels and soften hair. Although there are all sorts of tests online on how to assess porosity of your hair, none are fail proof. If your hair dries quickly or loses moisture quickly, it could be a sign that it’s more porous.
You are what you eat
Make sure you eat a balanced diet for hair to be healthy and strong. (Editor’s note: You can read more about the topic of eating for healthy hair here.)
How to stop hair shrinkage
Finding hair length shrinking during washes is normal. Hair length for curls can shrink up to 70% when drying! It’s a good sign, demonstrating hair is really healthy. To elongate hair, apply your conditioner from roots to tip, smoothing in a downward motion. Two strand twists are great for stretching curls. Add duck bill clips at the end to help weigh hair down.
Lynda D’Aboh is a London based blogger who founded Wonderlusting, where she regularly shares her green beauty musings with her followers. She is a regular fixture on the natural beauty scene and talked us through the favourite contents of her green make-up kit.
“I was thrilled to be co-hosting this event at CONTENT, one of my favourite beautiques,” said Lynda. “I feel passionately that everyone, whether they look like Nicole Kidman or Lupita Nyong’o, should have green beauty options available. CONTENT is the only shop in the UK you can walk into and find natural and organic makeup options for all skin tones.”
TOP ORGANIC MAKEUP FOR BLACK SKIN
“On the make-up side, it’s a challenge to use organic make-up because of the lack of colours available. CONTENT is the only place in the UK where I can walk in and find options for dark skin! I still find that a lot of green beauty brands use a lot of pink undertone. Same goes for light or dark skin tones. They have come a long way but seem to be behind everyone else because of challenges like taking out silicones, which add so much texture. I think that trying to find green substitutes to silicones is a challenge. It’s a combination of resources and technology. Hopefully in the future there will be more options.”
Kjaer Weis Cream Foundation in Delicate is exactly my colour! Working well for oily and normal skin, it has a velvety finish. ILIA Beauty liquid foundation, the Vivid Foundation, is very creamy so works well on dry skin in the winter. Coverage is buildable. I love the Vapour Atmosphere Luminous Foundation. The textures feel so silky, whipped and lovely. In the summer, I get gold undertones so look at Vapour Luminous foundation if you have quite sallow skin. I use the shade 150 in the stick formula. It’s easy to go too much with it so you need to go very slow. Warm it up in your hands first and then apply to your face.
Kjaer Weis blushers are fantastic as they don’t just sit on the skin. The Cream Blush in Lovely lifts the skin and looks really fresh! Joyful and Happy also work. I use RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek almost every single day! I use them on cheeks especially. Smile is my absolute favourite. Vapour Aura Stain Multi Use Blush in Lure is just as good both on cheeks and lips! ILIA Beauty Sway is a lovely bronze multi-use product for darker skin tones.
NATURAL EYE PRODUCTS
Kjaer Weis Eye Shadow in Charmed is one of my favourites. It’s really well formulated! ILIA Beauty Eye Liner in Havana Affair is the soft eye pencil which I will be reaching for regularly. It’s good for party season with the gold on black twist. If you prefer liquid eye liner, try Jane Iredale Liquid Eyeliner which comes in black and brown. I also like the ILIA Eyeshadow sticks! I like to use the gunmetal shade You Spin Me Around for an easy, quick effortless smokey eye. I like to use Take on Me, a nice coppery-red colour, both on eyes and lips.
The pigments in the Kjaer Weis Lip Tint are great for a really flattering nude on darker skin tones! I also like to use Sensuous Plum and Passionate on my face as a blush. I love the formula of the Vapour Organic Beauty Siren Lipsticks. They are naturally silky and hydrating. 413 Torrid and 420 Bold are my go-to shades. For a matte lip, Absolution Organic Lipsticks. They are lush! ILIA Beauty are known for their fantastic lip products. I love their lip glosses. The Butterfly and I is my nude colour in the summer. Love Buzz is a great pink and Gipsy a rich cognac colour for autumn and winter. For organic lipsticks, my nude of choice is Nobody’s Baby. Ink Pot is my all time favourite colour – a purple berry colour. Last but not least, RMS Beauty Lip Shine in Royal gives a nice purple pop of colour to lips with a glossy finish.
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