Friday, January 27, 2006

Not-so-foxy brown

Hey ladies,
Ohhh my hair. As many of you will remember, I ruined my hair a couple months ago during a dangerously impulsive, breaka-breaka-dawn hair-coloring session. I’ve been writing about beauty for SEVEN years, I should’ve known better, but really…is it fair to hold a person accountable for mistakes made at 3am? If it were, would darling Lindsay Lohan have a career? Anyway. For those of you not familiar with my nightmare, here’s the jist:, I fell asleep with dye in my hair after painting on highlights from a box. Yep, I had orange streaks vivid enough to have made a late-eighties era Pepa roar with envy (imagine if I were also rocking an asymmetric mushroom ‘do and gold dookie chains). Immediately I went to the salon and got a dark allover rinse, which hides everything until a couple weeks later when it starts to fade...and the horrible 'lights begin creeping out. Argh! Oh girls, I can’t think of anything else! Not even the brilliant reality trifecta of Dancing With the Stars, Project Runway and American Idol (I only enjoy the audition process—once the actual competition starts, with its show-tunes and limp-wristed Motown medleys, I fall asleep) can take my mind off the tragedy that is my hair. My obsession has translated into a full-blown haircare obsession. I’ve thrown out all my old shampoos, conditioners and styling stuff, and replaced them with FABULOUS haircolor-preserving products that help tone down my brassy streaks and enrich and illuminate my darker rinse. Not only are these products perfect for midnight-dyers like myself, they’re just the thing to brighten up highlighted or color-treated hair that’s turned brassy or dull (um, assuming most of you fall somewhere in the brunette category). So pay attention and sassy-up your shade, hot stuff.


PS: I want to thank Shoelover for voting me the best-dressed blogger on her site. My head is swelling as a write! And let’s here it for Mystie, who was all over the Jan/Feb ACCIDENTAL DIVA trivia question…the designer’s name was Sam C. (you almost had it Cousin Kuka, besos & abrazos to you, too!).

1.) SHAMPOO: Frederic Fekkai Brilliant Brown Shampoo:
Love, love, love! This super-light, super-detangling shampoo is blended with coffee and henna to bring out warm, golden-brown tones in natural or color-treated brunettes. I love it because it helps extend the life of the brown rinse that’s covering my sad streaks!

2.) CONDITIONER: Aveda Color Enhancing Conditioner in Black Malva:
Not only is the most luscious, moisturizing conditioner I’ve used in ages, it tones down my orange situation with black tea extracts—a lovely little ingredient that helps intensify dark shades and balance out brassiness.

3.) LEAVE-IN: Redken Color Extend Total Recharge:
A total must for anyone with highlights or allover color! To help prevent your dye job from fading (a problem that’s only too prevalent during these harsh winter months), massage this protein-rich treatment into wet hair after conditioning, and don’t rinse. I’m really into the fruity scent, too.

4.) STRAIGHTENING BALM: John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Simply Sleek Straightening Balm:
If I could get naked and roll around with this multi-tasking shine balm, I would. Whether you’re enhancing your dye job or simply adding oomph to natural brown hair, a dab of this glossy balm seems to do everything short of your taxes: It smoothes split ends; infuses dull brown hair with a glistening, multi-toned shine; and when applied before flatironing, helps achieve a flawlessly smooth finish. I don’t know, I think this stuff could EASILY replace Dubya in the Oval Office.

5.) SEMI-PERMANENT SHINE: Clairol Natural Instincts Shine Happy Clear Shine Treatment:

Every colorist I’ve ever interviewed has stressed the importance of shine to color-treated hair. It’s simple—the shinier your hair, the more vibrant and healthy the color looks. You used to have to go in the salon to get a shine infusion, but now we have the luxury of Clairol’s genius at-home “Shine Happy” treatment! You just work it to your hair like shampoo, wait ten minutes, and rinse for brilliant glossiness that lasts up to FOUR WEEKS! If your hair’s color-treated, apply it three or four weeks after dyeing. If you’re au naturel, go for it once a month.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

NEWFLASH: Enter to win Jan/Feb's Stila Product of the Month!!

Hey Girls,
What's shakin, bacon? You'll be pleased to know that I FINALLY picked a new SYB Stila Product of the Month (scroll down on the right)! And its all yours, little lady, if you're the first to answer this little bit of ACCIDENTAL DIVA trivia. Good luck and if work is boring you to pieces, feel free to giggle at my updated picture page. Love ya, mean it!

What was the name of the fashion designer who thought Jay was Method Man?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

An insomniac writer talks to beauty-philes

Happy New Year Pretty Ladies,
I TURNED IT IN, I TURNED IT IN! Oh girls, I haven't been this relieved since Master P's ecstatically stonefaced quick-step routine finally came to a close. You all keep asking me when the book is coming out, and I think either Fall 2006 or Spring 2007. I know, I know, it seems like FOREVAH, but it usually takes about a year to publish a book. At least it'll give me enough time to think of a title (my editor didn't seem to enjoy my initial suggestion: HOPE THIS FIRST DRAFT ISN'T A HOT MESS). Oh, how I've missed my girls--woops, and Todd, my one straight male reader. So much so, that I've decided to devote an entire post to you! First, I've come up with a nifty little list of Shake Your Beauty New Year's Resolutions (and I better not catch any of you breaking them). Second, I've decided to forego my usual product roundup in favor of addressing a handful of the more memorable reader questions/comments (I always enjoy your pleas for beauty guidance, but since I was floundering in deadline hell, I had zero time to answer them). It's a veritable advice extravaganza!

But first, repeat after me:
In 2006, I will...
* NOT hang on to long hair for the sake of it being long. If your hair's down to your butt, but the last five inches are a split, busted mess, CUT IT.
* NOT trace my top lashes with a skinny line of pearly white eye pencil. Unless you're auditioning for a BET Uncut video.
* Pray that Tyra Banks loses those cotton-candy-fluffy, fuschia-tinted weaves. Loved her hustle in '05, though (Top Model, the talk show, Top Models visiting the talk show every other episode...).
* NOT attempt to administer my own Brazilian wax.
* Stop wasting my money on toners. They feel all tingly-good, but don't actually do a damn thing for oily, acne-prone skin. If you really want results, invest in a nightime acne lotion with 2% salicylic acid. .
* Do that thing the eight-year-old version of myself always dreamed I'd do when I grew up. Which means, in my case, that I better stop effing around and concentrate on becoming the brown Jackie Collins.
* Stop wasting my time daydreaming about being a gay cowboy.
* NOT think I can get away with no makeup. Instead, go for a no-makeup LOOK: concealer blended on eyes and on blemishes, bronzer-as-blush, blackest black mascara, and gloss.
* Stop being proud of being his "main girl." If you're not THE girl, drop him.

And now, an insomniac writer talks to beauty-philes (which reminds me of the book my mom thrust in my hands when I hit puberty, a threateningly humorless pamphlet entitled, A DOCTOR TALKS TO 9-12 YEAR OLDS).

Dear Mystique, Sunshine, Allie Gutman, LaToya and Alexandria Gill,
So you all wanna be beauty editors, huh? First of all, it's important to know that no matter your age, your number of post-graduate degrees, or your smoky eye-proficiency, the only way in is by accepting an entry-level, beauty assistant. Here are a few ways to get there: First, try applying to one of the fabulous post-graduate summer publishing courses--both NYU and Columbia have fabulous ones (I went to NYU's the summer after I graduated from UVA). The location is great if you don't already live in Manhattan, as you'll be able to look for housing and get settled in the city before you find a job. The classes are taught by bonafide professionals in the magazine industry, so you can easily get your hustle on over the three months. And because of the networking opportunities and the job fairs, you're practically guaranteed an editorial assistant position at a magazine by the end of the summer. Secondly, find yourself a magazine internship! Check on invaluable websites like or for internship opportunites...they also list job openings as soon as they are available. Remember: The important thing is getting your foot in the door, so even if there aren't any beauty positions open, don't hesitate to go for any entry-level positon that opens up (fashion, features, entertainment, etc.). Once you're in, you can always transfer to the beauty department when a position opens up. Good luck Cutie Pies, and hopefully I'll see you at the next over-the-top, stiltwalkers-and-fireeaters lipgloss launch party!

Dear PR@TheGarnierCircle,
How exciting your job is, working at a celebrity giftbagging company! So, you want to know what products most appeal to black women? Am I safe in assuming we're talking about the likes of Halle, Jada, Beyonce, Joy B., and Al Reynolds (sorry, that last one was just mean-spirited, wasn't it?)? In any event, here are some brands that cater to the beauty whims of not only black babes, but also Latina, East Indian, Asian, and Native American chicks:
1.) IMAN COSMETICS: As you know, my Fairy Supermodel's line is probably the last word in cosmetics for brown beauties. My favorite thing is the bronzers, which work just as well on the apples of the cheeks as blush.
2.) REAL COSMETICS: Founded by Lubna Khalid, a gorgeous Palestenian-American social activist and ex-model, this line is a must if you can never find anything to match your skin. Real Cosmetics is totally revolutionary in that its the first collection to recognize that "warm" and "cool" aren't the only skin undertones that exist--instead, they formulate makeup (foundation, powders, lipstick, blush, etc.) to flatter olive, golden, red-gold, or red-brown tones. Brilliant.
3.) PRESCRIPTIVES CUSTOM BLEND LIP GLOSS: Prescriptives has long been worshipped for their custom-blend foundations and powders, but now they've come out with a personalized lip gloss--FABULOUS for brown girls with two-toned lips (like me) who have serious issues finding the right gloss. Now, at most every counter, the Prescriptives geniuses can whip up your very own lip gloss based on your favorite color, finish, coverage level, and flavor.
4.) COVER GIRL QUEEN COLLECTION: U.N.I.T.Y...that's unity! Brand-new from Cover Girl is a line of sixty new powder, lipstick, gloss, eyeshadow quads and eye pencil shades for all women with brown skin...developed by Queen Latifah, herself.
5.) PANTENE RELAXED & NATURAL: We've always loved Pantene anyway--they're super-moisturizing shampoos and conditioners leave our naturally dry hair feeling ridiculously soft--but their line of shampoos, conditioners, wrap & set lotions, styling creams, and more formulated for both relaxed and natural hair takes it to a whole other level. It's funny, when I got the invite for their launch party two years ago, I thought it was for some new yoga center or know, "relaxed" and "natural?" Perhaps you had to be there.

Dear Anonymous Oily Skin Sufferer,
Oh honey, you're not the only one looking for a good foundation for oily skin. I'm here to sing the praises of CLINIQUE CLARIFYING MAKEUP SKIN CLEAR FORMULA, an ultra-lightweight, oil-control foundation that gives oily skin a matte (but not dry) finish all day long. Promise.

Dear LuxeDiva,
When you hurt, I hurt! I hate that you've given up on getting glowy, radiant skin smack in the middle of winter after trying a steady stream of exfoliators and bronzers. Mama's here to make it all better--first, wash with a shower gel containing glycolic or alpha hydroxy acids (chemical exfoliants work better and more gently than scrubs). I'm obsessed with PETER THOMAS ROTH GLYCOLIC ACID 3% SHOWER & BODY CLEANSING GEL, which is spiked with both glycolic and alpha hydroxy acid, and leaves the roughest, ashiest skin baby's-butt-soft. Follow up with a liquid, NOT POWDER, body bronzer like TARTE MOISTURIZING DRY OIL SHIMMER not only gives pale cold-weather-skin a summery glow, but the dry oil leaves a fabulous, ungreasy sheen. Behold, skin glowy enough to make a Jessica Alba/J. Lo/Beyonce-sandwich wail with envy.

Dear Anonymous Nawlins Creole,
I'm so loving a fellow Creole chick with a beauty fetish! Wanna know what makeup works for a green-eyed, auburn-haired, light-skinned vixen like yourself? Don't you DARE listen to the beauty counter philistines steering you towards purple eyeshadow; you need to avoid cool, blue-based shades as if your life depended on it. With your coloring, you should quickly run towards warm, sunny colors--think pale shimmery peaches and golds for eyes, like POUT EYESHADOW DUO IN MISS OCTOBER, sheer orangey blush like NARS BLUSH IN EXHIBIT A (it seems harsh in the packaging, but trust...Crayola-orange blush brightens up every complexion, especially ones with yellow-undertones like yourself), and bronzey-red lip gloss like MAC LUSTREGLASS IN ORNAMENTAL.

Dear Tisha,
I'm quite flattered that you admire my blindingly white teeth in my wedding pics, but I have a confession. A month before the Big Day, I went to the illustrious Dr. Rosenthal (the genius responsible for most of Hollywood's chiclet-smiles) and bought myself a set of bridal-worthy porcelain veneers. Short of this extravagance, I'd suggest springing for the brilliantly priced, cult-favorite GO SMILE DAILY COMPACT. This sleek, silver compact comes with seven daily vials filled with an award-winning serum that promises to brighten your smile up to ten shades in a week. The best part? It doesn't weaken enamel or make your teeth sensitive, like some of those drugstore situations. And its the first over-the-counter whitening product that also lifts stains off of veneers, crowns or bonded teeth. All this, at only $28.

Folks, I hope my little bit of advice has set you off on the right foot in '06! Also, wanted you to know that, for the new year, I've decided to institue some changes around here. First, due to popular demand, I'll be updating my picture page in the next week...and I'll try to go easy on the petrosexual shots of my dog. Second, your computer-illiterate beauty shaker is investigating how to download pictures of the products she raves so wildly about. Won't that be nice? So stay tuned and stay beautiful!

Kiss Kiss Mwah Mwah,
Your Tia

Friday, January 13, 2006

I'm coming, I'm coming

Hey ladies,
That wasn't meant to sound naughty. I haven't gone anywhere, its just that my book is due on January 15th (two days...eek!). So I've been a little underground since the holidays. But I'll be back shaking my beauty next week...PLEASE stay tuned! I miss and love you guys....
Miss Tia