March 30, 2011

HAIR TALK: Microbraids

Amber Young Hofstra Graduation Class of 2010
Amber at her college graduation, May 2010.
My friend Amber Young loves to get Micro Braids. I've always wanted to try said hair style, but I swore off braided weaves since the age of 15. And unlike me, she's had a good experience with this type of hair. She swears by it!

NAME: Amber Young

OCCUPATION: Special Events Coordinator and Recruitment Specialist

CURRENT HAIR STYLE: Micro Braids (human hair)

"I've been braiding my hair on and off since I was 5 years old. I had my hair braided all four years of college and I still rock it in the "professional" world. It really works for my lifestyle. I get my hair braided by my mom's friend in Delaware. She has a salon in her house and she is AMAZING. I style my hair this way because it's just quick and easy to take care of! I just run my hands through it, spray some water and sheen on it and tada! When I perm my hair or have it out, I tend to flat iron it WAY too much. The last time I lost A LOT of hair, which was no fun because unlike other ethnicities, it takes our hair a super long time to grow back."

What do you think about Micro Braids?

March 29, 2011

Facing My Lipstick Fears with Clinique's Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm

clinique chubby stick in chunky cherry
Clinique's Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm in Chunky Cherry
dara adeeyo wearing clinique chubby stick in chunky cherry
Me being silly

OK. Not really. I still detest lipstick, but I'm giving colored-lips a try. I'm a sucker for lipstains because the color usually doesn't transfer onto the lid of my drinking cup. Revlon's Just Bitten Lipstain is my go-to weapon of choice because it has a balm stick on the opposite end. It's perfect for a girl on the go like me. I am makeup-illiterate (aka why I started this bloggy, blog), so anything that's as easy as 1-2-3 is my best friend.

I recently discovered the wonders of Clinique's Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm. It combines the color of lipstick with the versatility of lip balm. The color doesn't rub-off that easily, but it does wear off like any lip balm. The best part is the stains left on my drinking cup are bearable and don't make me gag. My current favorite color is Chunky Cherry, simply because of its name.

March 28, 2011

I got new tattoos... on my nails!

nails with skull & glossbones from opi, nail tattoos from bigRuby and sprinkle of twinkle from Nicole by opi

I first painted my nails with Skull & Glossbones from OPI. I then used an array of Star Designs nail tattoos from bigRuby, coated my nails with Sprinkle of Twinkle from Nicole by OPI, and to ensure quick drying and a smooth sheen, I slabbed on a coat of Super Dry Top Coat from bigRuby. The Super Dry Top Coat (a MUST buy) is my new secret to keeping all my manicures long lasting, even though, I change my nails every 3-4 days.

Dark Berry Beauty Secrets: Eileen Dautruche of

Eileen Dautruche of
Ms. Eileen and I go way back to being blogging buddies during my days as Secretista. She's been a beauty blogger for years and has even interned at LancĂ´me! Eileen's got a love affair with her Clarisonic that is endearing. With a flawless face and an eye for great lipstick choices, read on to find out how this blogging beauty keeps herself so divine!

Adventures in Skin-Colored Nails: Glittered Tips

skin-colored nails on black girls

I've really fallen in love with the brown (Suzi Loves Cowboys by OPI) nail polish. I gave myself glittery tips, which is Simmer and Shimmer by OPI.

You like?

March 25, 2011

Revlon CustomEyes Mascara - A Plastic Mascara Brush I Can Dig!

Revlon Custom Eyes Mascara
Since so many of you did not seem to agree with my Say NO To Plastic Mascara Brushes! post, I decided to give a mascara with a plastic brush another try.

Many of you like CoverGirl, but I got my hands on Revlon Custom Eyes Mascara and lashed out! I can now say that not ALL plastic mascara brushes are bad. My eyelashes definitely look longer and more defined.

However, I'm still into my Maybelline New York Lash Stiletto Voluptuous Mascara. Va-va-va-voom!

March 23, 2011

Nails: Skin-Colored Nails & Glitter!

skin-colored nails on black girl
Suzi Loves Cowboys from OPI & Bring on The Tinsel from Nicole by OPI

The brown nail polish has really grown on me. Not all that sold on my design of choice, but I'm too lazy to redo my nails... for the next couple days. I'll probably change it up on Friday. I find serenity in painting my nails.

March 22, 2011

Nails: Exploring Hues of Brown Nail Polish

brown nails
Chocolate Crave by Estee Lauder; Chocolate Oasis by SpaRitual;
Suzi Loves Cowboys by OPI

Skin-color nail polish is quite a chic look. I wanted to give it a go with the few bottle of brown-ish nail lacquers in my posession. Really, I was just wondering if a chocolate girl like me can rock a chocolate-colored nail. I've decided that my favorite is my index finger, which is the Suzi Loves Cowboys by OPI.

Which one do you like?

Freeman's Chocolate & Strawberry Facial Clay Mask on a Chocolate Girl aka Me!

Freeman's Chocolate & Strawberry Facial Clay Mask
Two nights ago I couldn't fall asleep. Bored and watching a repeat of Sex and The City The Movie on USA Network, I decided to give one of my new masks a try. My face was overdue for a facial.

The mask I applied was Freeman's Feeling Beautiful Chocolate & Strawberry Facial Clay Mask and boy was I pleased! Not only did the mask smell delicious (seriously, I wanted to lick my face), but it detoxified my pores as promised, minimized their size and left my skin feeling smooth. The next day my skin looked less oily, giving me an extra boost of confidence and adding a skip to my step--despite the fact I only got 3 hours of sleep.

My skin type is dry to oily, yet sensitive. I've got oily skin in the T-Zone and cheek area, but I also have dry skin around my nose (read: weird). Like I said in this previous post, I highly recommend Freeman's Feeling Beautiful line of masks. I'm dying to try the Mint & Lemon Facial Clay Mask next!

March 21, 2011

Dark Berry Beauty Secrets: Chelsea Rae Simmons of

chelsea rae simmons
I'm curious about how other black women make themselves so divine. I'll be reaching out to acquaintances to get the scoop on their beauty secrets in a new series called Dark Berry Beauty Secrets.

I first reached out to a close buddy of mine and fellow blogger/classmate Chelsea Rae Simmons. We all have those friends that seem to be gorgeous every single day. It's really unfair how beautiful Chelsea is, so let's find out her secrets!

Ask A Hair Dresser: How Often Should I Get A Perm?


I've been relaxing (perming) my hair for as long as I can remember. Anyone who also gets their hair relaxed knows that you shouldn't do it too often. It should only be when you get the proper amount of new growth. I've heard of people perming their hair every TWO WEEKS and that's just bizarre and dangerous! For me, relaxing my hair every 3 months or until I can't run a comb through my roots is around the time I go and see my hair dresser Ron.

I asked Ron what he thought, and this is what he had to say:
The conventional wisdom is 6-8 week. Personally, I prefer to evaluate each individual based on their growth rate.

March 17, 2011

Nails: THIRD Manicure This Week - Clearly, I Can't Have Long Nails


If you're keeping up, this is my THIRD manicure this week. I discovered that having slightly long nails + constant typing = quickly chipped nail polish. I like my nails super short anyway.

I recently posted to Tumblr that I'm over cracked/shatter nail polish, calling it overexposed. As one of my friends put it, it's very underwhelming. I use it when I am too lazy to get creative with my nails. Hence, the picture above. I actually think all white nails & the tiny touch of glitter without the middle fingers having Black Shatter on them would have been divine, but I felt like I was missing something. I need to learn to stop slabbing on too much nail polish because less is more. Lesson learned.

-White Light from SpaRitual
-Glitter in The Air from Deborah Lippmann
-Black Shatter from OPI

March 16, 2011

Dealing With It: Stretch Marks

mederma stretch mark therapy advanced cream formula
Stretch marks are gross to look at. I've got unsightly ones on my college-acquired "love handles" and I am determined to get rid of them. I'm hoping that the combination of rigorous exercise and Mederma Stretch Marks Therapy Advanced Cream Formula will do the trick. If not, oh well. It's not like I bare my midriff ever.

For black women, stretch marks come in different colors. From seemingly white, to a lighter shade of our skin tone, to a darker (almost Sharpie black) shade of our skin color. Stretch Marks can appear on the skin for numerous reasons, but it's a result of the skin stretching to a point of where the elasticity is lost.

I'll be giving Mederma Stretch Marks Therapy Advanced Cream Formula a try for the next couple months and will be sure to give you all an update!

March 15, 2011

Nails: No Topcoat = A New Manicure 2 Days Later...


So... on Sunday I painted my nails with a touch of Irish inspiration. Well, silly me thought that my Only Gold For Me Topcoat from Sephora by Opi would suffice as protection to yield chipping. The very next day, a strip of polish on my left index finger came off. Actually, it peeled off. I could PEEL my nail polish off. I then remembered that I didn't use my Top Coat Pro from Rimmel London. My thumb with the clover leaf was the last to chip, er, peel. That's because I put my topcoat on it because of the leaf I drew. Nonetheless, lesson learned; I must ALWAYS wear a topcoat.

I gave myself a new manicure that is part Irish, part African inspired. The glittery tips have a tint of orange in them, so I've got the Irish flag somewhat on my nails. But for some reason, I think of Africa when I look down at my hands.

1. Yes I Can by SpaRitual
2. Extra-Va-Vaganza by OPI
3. White nail art brush from Nail Art by Diamond Cosmetics
3. Top Coat Pro from Rimmel London

Beauty Confession: I Don't Know How To Cornrow Braids

Cornrow pig tails & bubble hair ties @ age 6.
Growing up there was one thing about hair I wish I knew how to do: Cornrow

I sometimes feel like I am left out of a secret black hair society because I do not have this very skill. My mother always promised she'd teach me, but she and I never found the time. I doubt I'll ever learn how to cornrow, and I'm OK with that. Figuring out how to put rollers in my hair took me a couple years to get right, so learning how to properly create conrow braids will be a feat. I can pick up any skill quickly, but teach me how to style hair a certain way and my mind goes blank.

Do you know how to cornrow braids? If so, how did you learn?!

March 14, 2011

Say NO To Plastic Mascara Brushes!

Loreals Telescopic Explosion Mascara
Last month, my friend Chelsea told me that she wasn't a fan of mascaras with plastic brushes. I didn't think anything of it because at the time I had never used a mascara that had plastic bristles, so I nodded in inquisitive agreement.

And as usual, I am in accord with Chelsea's beauty choices. Plastic mascara brushes are a MUST AVOID. I got my hands on Loreal's Telescopic Explosion Mascara and I couldn't be more disappointed. I expected length and beautiful eyelashes. I was hoping it would live up to my Maybelline New York Lash Stiletto Voluptuous Mascara that I wholeheartedly love.

The problem with Loreal's Telescopic Explosion Mascara is that it's got this tiny round plastic brush that leaves you baffled as to how you should lather on the product to your eyelashes. I also noticed that my lashes clumped together. I'm sure that with a lot of time, you may be able to get your lashes to have the volume you want. But let's be honest, who has that time? A girl on the go like me loves a mascara (and any beauty product) that can get me gorgeous in as little time as possible.

March 13, 2011

Nails: I've Got A Lucky Green Thumb!


Sort of. I'm missing a clover leaf. Oh well! St. Patrick's Day is this week! I've been taking an Irish Steps & Studies class and I've grown a strong interest in Irish culture, so I decided to keep my nails somewhat Irish themed. I found the thin nail art brush hard to use to make the clover (took me 2 tries). Going forward, I'll only be using it to make French tips and stripes.

-Eye of The Beholder from SpaRitual
-Only Gold For Me Topcoat from Sephora by Opi

-Yes I Can from SpaRitual
-White nail art brush from Nail Art by Diamond Cosmetics
-Only Gold For Me Topcoat from Sephora by Opi

March 9, 2011

Reader Asks: Looking for a great mask, help!

freemans cucumber maskA reader asks:
I'm looking for a great face mask. My skin is combination and can handle harsh treatments if needed. What do you suggest is best?
While I'm no dermatologist, so I can't offer expert advice, I can offer advice from experience. I happen to have sensitive skin, so products that I find harsh, you'll probably be able to handle. Finding the right mask will take trial and error. I just started using a mask, but prior I was all about facial peels. My ultimate favorite face peel was the Neutrogena Advanced Solutions Acne Mark Fading Peel, but that's been discontinued... I think? All I know is I can't find it anywhere and that drives me NUTS! But that's OK because I've moved on to Freeman's Feeling Beautiful Cucumber Facial Peel-Off Mask.

The cucumber mask goes on cool and leaves my face smooth and refreshed. Needless to say, this isn't Freeman's only mask. They have a couple more that can target what you want. You see, it all depends on what problem you want to tackle on your face. After 11 years of going to a dermatologist, the one thing I have learned is that you can't try and battle too many facial issues at the same time. And if you do, be prepared to go through a duration of blotchy-face-syndrome--ha, I made that up. But, you get what I mean.

So Nicole, I suggest you hit up your local drugstore and see which mask does what you want. But in my opinion, I think you should start with any one of Freeman's mask from their Feeling Beautiful line or make your own.

Got any beauty questions? Shoot me an email at:

March 8, 2011

Ask A Hair Dresser: Can Black Girls Use Dry Shampoo?

dry shampoo for black girls

While I was at Sephora on Friday (after I snagged my new goodies), the brand CLEAN caught my eye. I'm using their deodorant, which is available at the end of April 2011, and I absolutely love it. It's Aluminum Parabens free, absorbs well (read: sweats like a pig) and has a crisp cotton scent. Anyway, I saw CLEAN products sitting on the shelf at Sephora and had to see what was new with the brand. I spotted their dry shampoo. I turned to my friend who accompanied me and said, "Oh, look! I love this brand! Hm. I didn't know they carried dry shampoo."
"I want to try dry shampoo! E wants to try it also because she has curly hair..." she said.
I responded, "Well, is it OK for our hair texture?"
"I don't know. I was wondering that too..."
"I'll ask my hair dresser and get back to you."

I then emailed Ron (you guys remember Ron, right?) to see what he had to say about dry shampoo:
Dry Shampoo can be a real benefit in certain situations. If a person is ill and is unable to wash their hair or water is not advisable, because of injury or surgery. It can also be used as a treatment for excessively oily hair. Here is the tricky part, when dry hair is shampooed too often or has been chemically treated, harsh shampoo can make hair prone to further damage. Dry shampoo can be an alternative if a person decides they want to maintain the light airy feel of a current style. I suggest that people should consult a professional to determine if they are a candidate for dry shampoo .i.e texture, dry/oily, natural or chemically treated.

Well, there you have it! We CAN use dry shampoo dark berries! However, just check with your hair dresser and see if you can use dry shampoo. I'm going to try some soon--err, after I talk to Ron--and keep you guys posted... obviously.

Do you use dry shampoo?

March 6, 2011

Thumbs Up!


Friday I walked into Sephora to buy a new case of Bare Escentuals foundation. After I got my makeup, I walked over to the rack of Sephora by OPI nail polish to "see" what was there. Once I saw they were fully stocked with Havana Dreams, I pushed aside the girls that were blocking my view, grabbed a bottle (should have taken 2) and headed for the register. After a year of waiting, my nail dreams are finally fulfilled. I love this pastel blue color so much!

I painted my thumb nails with Lady Sings The Blues by Deborah Lippmann and added Sprinkle of Twinkle from Nicole by OPI for a really noticeable thumbs up!

1. Havana Dreams from Sephora by OPI
2. Lady Sings The Blues by Deborah Lippmann
3. Sprinkle of Twinkle from Nicole by OPI

Rocking Red Lips-I Still Think Lipstick is Gross

Guerlain Rouge 23 Geisha Lipstick
Photo taken & edited by Brian Marquis

I tried. I really did. I was going to wear red lips for my senior portrait photos this weekend, but I of course got ready last minute and didn't have time to properly apply lipstick. I decided to give it a try afterwards and I'm sorry fellow Dark Berries, I can't. I just can't. Lipstick is disgusting to me. I like the way it looks in photos, but the way it feels and smells is absolutely horrid. Am I the only one who thinks this? Please tell me I'm not the only lipstick-phobe!

My hatred for lipstick is rooted with my mom. My mother loves lipstick. Growing up, I watched her put it on everyday. No matter where she was going--work, grocery store, church--she wore it every. Single. Day. Because she wore lipstick all the time, all the water bottles she drank were stained. I would often be forced to sip from her water bottle if we were out and I was thirsty. The sight of her berry-colored lipstick on the rim of the Poland Spring made me gag. And whenever I put on lipstick, that's all I think about. I want to dry heave just typing it.

Anyway, the reason I decided to give lipstick a try was because I got my hands on three Guerlain Rouge lipsticks and I really like the current trend of bold lips. Especially, red lip. I put on Guerlain Rouge 23 Geisha and used the Guerlain Rouge Cassis 23 Lip Pencil to smooth out my lip line (conveniently, a brush is located on the opposite side of the pencil!). After wearing it for a mere 15 minutes, I wanted to get it off my lips. I will say that my lips didn't dry out and flake. I mean, I only had it on for a short time... I'm sticking to lipstains.

On the plus side, I'll be giving away two Guerlain lipsticks very soon! They are Guerlain Rouge 20 Gina and Guerlain Rouge 22 Greta. Details to follow soon.

March 5, 2011

Motions Shine Enhancing Pomade

Motions Shine Enhancing Pomade

Before I started using Motions Shine Enhancing Pomade, my daily hair routine did not consist of putting anything in my hair. I woke up, removed my scarf, and combed my hair out. It wasn't always this way. I've tried multiple hair lotions and pomades in my life. I could never find one I liked, so I stopped using anything for the past couple years. I asked my trusty hair dresser Ron what I should use because I knew not moisturizing my locks everyday was detrimental. He's not one to recommend specific products, because he believes you should choose what suits you, but he allowed me to feel the texture of the cream he was rubbing in my hair so I would know what to look for.

I then stumbled upon Motions Shine Enhancing Pomade. It past the texture test and I have been using it for the past month. It's not the best for my scalp, hence why I use Sulfur 8. However, it does keep my hair shiny and hydrated. On a good day (I'm usually very lazy with my hair--bad habit I'm trying to break) it gives my hair that just brushed, messy look I love. The pomade is also very light and has that I-just-got-out-of-the-salon smell!

March 1, 2011

Best Kept Secret: Skin Tight

skin tight

About a year ago, I sat in my hairdresser Ron's chair ranting about my pimply skin. I was going through a limbo period of no prescribed acne topicals and a bad reaction to ProActive. Simply put, I was desperate to try anything that would help a sistah out! Ron grabbed a cotton ball, poured liquid on it and wiped my forehead down.

"It burns! What is that?!" I yelled.
Ron responded, "Skin Tight. Here's a bottle."

After trying it for about 2 months, I was hooked. My zits were zapped and my oily skin was matte. I use Skin Tight as a night toner. After I wash my face with the Benzoyl Peroxide, I use a cotton swab to wipe my face down and then apply my night cream Azelex.

You can find Skin Tight at your local Pathmark in the black hair care section or order it online from Amazon using these promo codes.
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