Monday, August 21, 2006

Q & A Monday

Hiii girls!
So, I experienced a fabulous flash of glamour last week. Me and Adam went to the premiere of Trust the Man, a romantic comedy starring Julianne Moore, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Eva Mendes (my literary agent’s hubbie is the producer!). The movie was super-cute—but for me, it was really all about the celeb-watching. Which is very tacky of me to say, because when New Yorkers are in the presence of A-list celebs, we’re supposed to pretend they’re invisible. So, as I hustled through the crowd, I overdid the air-kissing and omigod-how-ARE-you thing, trying to overcompensate for the fact that I was straight-up gawking at Julianne and Eva. They were so glamorous, primping and posing before the paparazzi, and sweetly answering the reporters’ questions. They never broke their “gracious movie star” character, not even once. Not even when some fourth-rate journalist asked Eva if cutting her hair into a pert bob had changed her sex life (okay, she didn’t answer, but she didn’t smack him, either).

It reminded me of the time I was assaulted by the Tooth Fairy when I worked at Glamour. Beauty editors are frequently subjected to “desk-sides”…which is when a beauty company presents a new product to you at your desk. If the brand is particularly enthusiastic about the product, they’ll get cute and bring along props, like a caricature artist (imagine being subjected to a portrait at 8:30am, pre-coffee), or in the case of Crest White Strips, a real-live tooth fairy. The tooth fairy was, in reality, a buck-toothed actress dressed like Tinkerbelle and wielding a molar-capped magic wand. And, like Julianne and Eva, she NEVER BROKE CHARACTER. I kept needling her, asking, “so, how much are they paying you?” Or, “how did Vogue react to your little act…not well, I’m thinking?” And no matter what I asked, she’d always respond, “Now, now, that’s not the way to earn a quarter under your pillow, young lady.” Ha!

In tribute to the masterful way these ladies stayed cool in the face of questioning, check out my answers to some of your juiciest beauty questions (i know, I'm really reaching...but I REALLY wanted to tell the tooth fairy story)!! If I didn’t get to you this week, stay tuned…and check the comments, too, because you never know when your SYB sisters will drop some of their own expert advice!!

I love you guys. You know I’ll always be here to provide your beauty fix. I’m your pusher, baby.


QUESTION: "Who makes the best top coat? I have recently taken to wearing a deep red nail polish and I want the color to last all week without chipping." --Johnica
ANSWER: I have forever and always been addicted to ESSIE 3-WAY GLAZE ($7), because it, quite literally, does everything. It's an all-in-one base coat, nail stregthener, and top coat. So, you swipe it on before and after your polish, and it leaves you with a chip-free, so-glossy-it-looks-wet finish for, like, a week and a half. Or more. There's a reason most of the high-end nail salons work the hell out of this stuff.

QUESTION: "What's a good leave-in conditioner? I find that most of them are counter productive. As soon as my hairdresser puts that crap on my hair it's weighed down." --Kafi
ANSWER: Ohh honey, I SO have the leave-in conditioner to end all leave-in conditioners. That is, if you're willing to part with some cash (c'mon, it's worth it...we're talking about YOUR HAIR). Many of you have been asking me about the new Ojon haircare line, and girls, you should believe the hype. Ojon products are blended with palm nut oil, which the Central American Tawira Indians have been using in their hair for centuries ("Tawira" actually means "people of beautiful hair" in their language). The fabulous thing about palm nut oil is that, while its incredibly nourishing, it doesn't weigh hair down. It's all about the standout item--the RESTORATIVE HAIR TREATMENT ($55), which is a pre-shampoo treatment (and is actually less heavy on your hair then leave-in conditioner). It comes in solid form, containing 100% pure nut oil. You scoop out a chunk with the provided comb, warm it between your hands until it becomes oil, and then apply throughout dry hair. Leave on for fifteen minutes, then shampoo and condition as usual. Your hair will never look healthier.
***Broke? Try OUIDAD BALANCING RINSE ($14.30), a super-light, oil-free detangling conditioner that manages to make hair so silky without gross buildup. Smells yummy, too.

QUESTION: Has anybody tried the Biore Blackhead Line? --Anonymous
ANSWER: Funny you should ask, Annie Mouse (you don't wanna tell me your name, I'll give you a name). An hour ago, I slapped an ULTRA-DEEP CLEANSING PORE STRIP ($6.38 for 8 strips) on Adam's nose. There's something so disturbingly satisfying about ripping off that strip and seeing all the oil and dirt and weird hairy gunk that comes out of your blackheads (wanna know how? The strips are treated with tea tree oil, menthol and witch hazel, which clear out pores like nobody's business). So, hell yeah Biore's Blackhead line works! But my favorite product is the BIORE SELF-HEATING MASK ($6.98)!! Spread it on wet skin, and the mask instantly heats up, which opens pores and allows the ingredients to fully penetrate, getting rid of blackhead-causing dirt, oil, and dead skin cells. When the mask turns blue, it's done. Brilliant.

QUESTION: "As a black woman with thin lips, I'm always being told by men that they like fuller lips. What can give me fuller lips without going for injections? Please help!" --Unknown diva
ANSWER: Sugar, I'm a black woman with sorta thin lips, too. And that's why I always keep about six vials of DUWOP VENOM FLASH ($17) in my special "beauty emergency" drawer. You've probably heard of the cult-favorite Lip Venom, the tingly lip-plumping gloss that's spiked with a spicy cocktail of essential oils--ie, cinnamon, ginger and pepper--to activate the blood flow to your lips, giving them a rosy, just-bitten flush and a puffy, slightly swollen pout. Warning: this stuff is addictive. Especially since the Duwop geniuses stepped up their game with the new Venom Flash, which contains a shot of gold shimmer. Stunning layered over lipstick.

QUESTION: "Do you have a suggestion for a coral lipstick that would suit a dark beauty like me?" --Tiffany A.
ANSWER: Do I? Honey, you need to own STILA LIP GLAZE IN SPICED GINGER ($20)--it's a fabulously juicy, gold-flecked pinky-coral shade that sooo sultry layered over—yep, you guessed it—MAC Lip Pencil in Chestnut. That's the key to rocking a light shade like coral on dark skin...always make it richer with a brown lip pencil. Send me a picture with your new lips!!

Monday, August 14, 2006


QUICK FYI: For months, I've been on the hunt for some very sexy, skin-tight, super-skinny black jeans but they're always soo stomach-churningly overpriced that I could just ish on Flava Flav's floor (was that the most degrading, most-setting-The-Movement-back moment you've ever seen? This woman's great-grandmother probably languished in the back of someobdy's bus for decades, fantasizing about the day America would see us as actual human beings...and that idiot gets on TV and behaves like an uncivilized animal. Not to get all political, but have you EVER?). Well, last week I found some on Urban Outfitters' website...the BDG 5-Pocket Skinny Jean in Black, and they're only $49!! Despite fearing that they must be made out of aluminum foil or something to be that cheap...I ordered them. I just got them today, and I'm so feeling my sexy I can't get out of the mirror. They're that PERFECT skinny fit, you know, totally butt-lifting and thigh-slimming and sooo delicious all scrunched up over flats. I'm showstoppin', I'm show-show-stopPIN!! Seriously, you need to buy them now. And I know it's tricky ordering jeans online, but these are very true to size. I ordered my usual size, a 27, and they were exactly just right. Kate Moss is so scared of me.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

My Eye Game is Soo Tight!!

Hey Hey Hey,
Okay, so before I begin raving about Lola’s gorgeous wedding and all the delicious beauty moments that popped up during the weekend’s festivities, allow me to first give you a huge, messy, wet, embarrassing, too-much-tongue kiss. Why? Because, were it not for your unflagging support and chatty word-of-mouthiness, Allure magazine—aka, the Beauty Bible—would not have included SHAKE YOUR BEAUTY in their roundup of the country’s top beauty blogs (if you haven’t seen the “Beauty Junkies” article, go pick up the August issue while it’s still on stands!). Seriously, I have no one to thank for this unreasonably exciting honor but you, sweet you. And welcome to all the new readers who found their way to my little lipgloss support group through the article! Repeat after me: At SHAKE YOUR BEAUTY I am safe. Here, no one will judge my late-night brow-tweezing habit.

And now, onto the biznazz. This weekend was gorgeous! One of my oldest and dearest friends in the world, the very chic New York Times culture reporter, Miss Lola Ogunnaike (well, now she’s Mrs. Lola Solebo…don’t you just love the alliteration of all those L’s and O’s?), had just about the most perfect wedding. It took place in our hometown, Washington DC, and the ceremony and reception was just so full of love, so touching, and so RIGHT. You know when two people are so perfect for each other that they start to look alike? Yeah, well, that’s Lola and Deen. Oh, and she was such a stunning bride! Have you ever, with the big, wide, Twiggy-eyes and the pouty, nude lip? If you live in DC, please holler at her makeup artist, Liz, the manager of the MAC store in Pentagon City mall (and while I’m on the subject of DC beauty, if you’re ever needing the shiniest, bounciest hair, look no further than DC’s premier black hairstylist, Bogard at Bo26 Hair Studio —the man should have his hands BRONZED, I tell you).

Anyway, being a bridesmaid, I had two very important jobs. First, I had the near-orgasmic pleasure of doing the bridesmaid’s makeup! We were wearing the loveliest, mint-green, Grecian-inspired gowns—and, surprise, I had JUST the pallette to match. And it’s funny…the five of us ranged in skincolor from golden-tan to the deepest mahogany brown, and I swear to Kevin Aucoin, the lip, cheek, and eye colors I used worked on all of us. Want proof? Check me out, above, and then look at her sister, Harper’s Bazaar intern Nikki, (she’s so living The Hills), left. We’re wearing the exact same green eyeshadow, orange blush, and sheer bronzey lip, and we’re BOTH adorable! My second job calls for a bit of explanation. I have no breasts, and the bust of my strapless dress was quite, um, full. So there was a lot of space in there for Big Day necessities, like Lola’s lip gloss (it was MAC TINTED LIP GLASS IN SPITE over MAC Lip Pencil in Chestnut), blotting papers (see below), and AROMAFLORIA HEADACHE RELIEF INHALATION BEADS, a tiny pouch of lavender-scented beads that I constantly, frantically sniffed to ward off a champagne migraine. I got a lot of strange looks, as I spent much of the night whipping beauty products out of my breasts for Lola’s photo-ops, but it was nice feeling useful.

And now, I feel it’s only right that I fill you in on the exact products I used to make such wildly different-complected ladies all look so effin fab (I also included lower-priced alternatives, too). I know you’re like, but mint-green eyeshadow? When would I wear that? Believe me, we all decided the shimmery shadow was so flattering, that we’d rock it with just about anything (as Lola remarked, “your eye game is sooo tight!”). And it’s got tons of gold in it, so it’s more of a sexy, sheer metallic wash than Kermit-ish. I’ve decided to name the look Mojito Mama, for the obvious green associations, and because it feels appropriately sweet and tropical and sultry. Read, learn, and enjoy. And I heart you to death.



1.) PAUL & JO GODDESS OF SPRING FACECOLOR POWDER IN VERT DE SENTEUR ($18, far left): Like I said, this gold-infused, shimmery pale green shadow is so delicately gorgeous, so fairy-like ethereal that I’ve been unable NOT to wear it since the wedding on Saturday. I don’t know, something about the color just really wakes up brown skin. With you finger, blend it on just the lid, from your lashes to the crease—and follow up with a pale gold highlighter on the browbone. Finally, line the top lid with a skinny black pencil, and add two coats of blackest black mascara.

2.) NARS POWDER CHEEK BLUSHER IN EXHIBIT A ($25): Have I mentioned this before? If I have, it’s for good reason. When my friend, the genius makeup artist Sam Fine, whipped out this Crayola-electric orange-colored blush at my author photo shoot, I immediately worried that he’d lost his mind. But he was like, “Trust me bitch! The brighter the orange, the more natural the flush on brown skin.” Sounds crazy, but it’s true. Really, really true. Just dip a big, fluffy brush into the powder, smile, and swirl over the apples of your cheeks. It’s SHOCKING how radiant your skin becomes.

3.) COVER GIRL QUEEN COLLECTION LIP GLOSS IN COPPER BLISS ($5.49) layered over PHILOSOPHY THE SUPERNATURAL LIP PENCIL IN CREATION ($12.50): With an eye this striking, you’ve gotta go for a neutral lip, and this combo is genius! The Cover Girl gloss is a light, almost-translucent golden-bronze that makes for the perfect nude lip when slicked over a deeper liner, like this nutmeg-y one from Philosophy. I was worried that the gloss would be too pale for the darker skin tones, but alas, it was divine. It’s all in how much pencil you lay down—it deepens the color. The best part? The gloss has this decadent, pound cake-ish smell that’ll set your world on fire.

SHISEIDO PURENESS OIL-BLOTTING PAPERS ($15.50): Ohhh girls, this is one of those makeup-artist-bag staples I’m so fond of gushing over. Remember when blotting papers were covered in that gross, chalky powder? Shiseido’s sexy little tissues are treated with some magical ingredient that sops up all the oil without destroying your makeup or leaving an ashy film of powder! And the portable package fit ever-so-perfectly in my boobs.