April 28, 2011

BEAUTY SECRETS REVEALED: @SierraSimone, Freelance Stylist

Sierra Simone
Three years ago, Sierra Simone and I interned together in the fashion closet at Seventeen magazine. WOW. Has it really been that long?! From the first day I met Sierra, I was impressed by her style and beauty! Now she's a freelance stylist and infecting stars with her impeccable taste. Sierra knows how to perfectly blend hair extensions with her real hair. Seriously, look at the photo to your left. Doesn't that look like her real hair?! Read on to find out how this brown beauty stays so divine.

April 27, 2011

The Pore Minimizing Dream Team

Dickinson's Original Witch Hazel Pore Perfecting Toner, Olay Pore Minimizing Cleanser + Scrub, Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Correcting Serum, Boscia Luminizing Black Mask

"Your face looks airbrushed!" a friend said to me last night. I was taken aback. With no makeup on, visible acne scars and a slightly shiny forehead thanks to the day's humidity, I thought I looked like a shiny leopard.

The truth is, I have seen an improvement in my skin. Within the past month, I have become obsessed with minimizing my pores. This is because tinier pores mean less acne breakouts (aka a happy Dara). I dared to do something I never do. I began layering facial topicals and even changed the cleanser I use at night. The result? An almost poreless face!

Instead of using my Benzoyl Peroxide Creamy Wash at night, I use this cleanser and scrub. I would use it in the morning as well, but I'm opposed to excessive exfoliation. I've learned that too much use of a scrub makes my skin immune to its great benefits. I mean, how much dead skin can you really rub off? Keep rubbing and you'll be scrapping off your fresh skin!

This is the first Clinique skincare product I have ever used! I remember in high school a childhood friend of mine was a huge fan of their facial products because she had acne prone skin. I decided to give this serum a try because I love that it is allergy tested, therefore, I know I will not breakout. I use this twice a day. It is the first thing I apply after my dermatologist prescribed day lotion and night cream. I make sure that majority of the serum goes over my key pore problem areas.

Taking a break from my miracle-in-a-bottle Skin Tight, I knew this toner would do wonders. I've seen the greatness that is witch hazel, thanks to a certain best friend of mine in high school who showed up to cheerleading practice covered in golf ball sized hickies. The lovely Pharmacist at CVS recommended she use Witch Hazel. The next day, her love bites (HAHA) were practically gone. The toner smells like a bad bottle of white wine, but seems to be balancing out my skin's complexion. I only use it at night because I never have enough time to swab some on my face in the morning. And like exfoliation, I think too much use of a toner is well, too much.

Boscia Luminizing Black Mask
You are all familiar with this mask. I will admit I have only used it once since I got it. But, it is part of my visible pore vanishing dream team.

What are you using to minimize your pores?

April 26, 2011

NAILS: Lady Bugs

Whenever I look or think about Lady Bugs, I flash back to when I was 8 years old.

I was playing outside with my neighbor, screaming my head off with laughter, when a Lady Bug flew into my mouth. My cackle quickly turned into a frightened gasp. Bug-eyed, I spit the Lady Bug out because a.) it tasted bitter and b.) THERE WAS A BUG IN MY MOUTH! Bent over, I was dry heaving and hoping I would get the taste of the bitter black-dotted bug out of my mouth. YUCK! I will forever look at that moment as the days Lady Bugs and I became enemies.

Looks like I won because now they are on my nails.

April 25, 2011

So, I used Anastasia The Pro Wax Kit on my eyebrows...

Anastasia pro wax kit
Anastasia The Pro Wax Kit
Two week ago I got my hands on the Anastasia The Pro Wax Kit. As a lover of grooming my eyebrows, I was eager to try the waxing kit. I soon discovered why waxing should be left to the professionals. The kit worked. In fact, it worked very well and was painless. However, the waxing solution is messy and too much of a hassle. The wax was stringy and pulling it out of the jar with the stick took longer than I expected. Therefore, I will continue to go to my favorite Asian ladies to get my brows done.

April 24, 2011

NAILS: Spring is almost here!

SpaRitual Enlightened Soul and POP hot pink nail lacquer
SpaRitual Enlightened Soul | POP's hot pink nail lacquer
Sally Hansen Nail Art pens in Hot Pink and White

A little messy, but I'm just too excited to put these puppies up. I was inspired by the spring-like weather today! Spring is in the air... sort of. I usually wouldn't be excited because Spring means allergies for me, but I already took my allergy pills. Spring also means graduation is near. WA-HOO!

UPDATE: I ended up not really liking these, so I made lady bug nails. Photos coming soon!

April 20, 2011

Get High Hair with New Growth

dara adeeyo hair

Forget teasing, just use your new growth to get extra volume! That's what I do. For those who don't know, new growth is new hair that grows from the scalp. It's usually coarse.

It's been a while since I had my hair relaxed. I'd say it's been about 8 weeks, and I won't be getting my hair permed until either the end of the month or the beginning of May.

Aside from being too busy at school to escape home for the weekend to see my hair dresser, I like having my new growth mixed in with my relaxed hair. My longer hair made it easy to hide my nappy roots. When I styled my hair in a bouffant everyday, I looked like I spent hours teasing and building up the perfect poof!

You see, next to smooth skin, having big hair is a beauty-must for me. Something about high hair is authoritative and I love it! I haven't quite figured out how to style my short tresses with the new growth, so I just comb it back into a somewhat sleek (usually messy) and voluminous do.

How do you deal with your new growth?

P.S. I'm on Spring Break (MY LAST SPRING BREAK AS A COLLEGE STUDENT!!), so posts may or may not be on a regular schedule this week.

April 18, 2011

Nude-Colored Nails on Dark Skin

Estee Lauder Michael Kors Very Hollywood nail lacquer and CND Perfectly Bare
Estee Lauder Michael Kors Very Hollywood nail lacquer topped with CND Effects Perfectly Bare

I'm actually really in love with this. More than I thought I would. It's weird for me to not have any "nail art." But, I can dig it! Do you like?

April 15, 2011

Black Women & Body Image - Is There An Issue?

Raven Symone lost 35 plus pounds
Raven Symone's new svelte figure.
While driving to work last month, I heard on the radio that survey results showed black women have seemingly no body image issues in comparison to women of other races. HA! I don't believe that. Just because it seems like the majority of women who are dealing with eating disorders are not black, it doesn't mean black women aren't worried about their body image.

In the black community, curvaceous women are more accepted and the definition of "fat" does not equal a woman who is slightly "thick." However, body image issues in any community rectify themselves in different forms.

I can't speak for all black woman as I think body image is a universal issue and one can only know personally where they stand. I know that for me growing up, the "perfect body" equated someone who had a great athletic figure because all my life I've been an athlete. But then again, what exactly is the best-looking athletic figure?

As long as you're healthy and happy, who cares what you look like? Oh, that's right. The whole world cares. Raven Symone lost a lot of weight and she reportedly said, "I thought I looked fabulous before and nobody else did, SO whatever." I think she's right. It is whatever. Weight loss and gain shouldn't be a main topic of conversation, but I get why it is because I think you can always tell where a person is in their life with their weight. That aside, I'm just glad to see Raven happy and stress-free as she claims.

Anyway, I just think that as a society, there is less pressure on black women to be miss stick-thin. But internally, we care. We care to look a certain way, whether it's to have the perfect coke-bottle shape or the largest rump. What are your thoughts on body image and black women? Is there an issue?

April 14, 2011

Ditching Dove for Shea Moisture

Shea Moisture's Coconut & Hibiscus Shea Butter Wash w/ Songyi Mushroom
Shea Moisture's Coconut & Hibiscus Shea Butter Wash w/ Songyi Mushroom

I've been using Dove for as long as I can remember. It's the only body wash I use, but I recently decided to open up my body to what else is out there.

I snagged Shea Moisture's Coconut & Hibiscus Shea Butter Wash w/ Songyi Mushroom and I'm in love! The body wash leaves my skin feeling silky smooth long after it's been wash; and, we all know about my obsession with smooth skin.

The wash has a tangy coconut scent to it that's delightful. I like coconut, but sometimes it can smell too sweet for my liking, so Shea Moisture manages to get the smell just right.

I'm also fascinated by the story behind Shea Moisture. The company is the result of the grand children of Sofi Tucker, who was a widowed mother of four by the age of 19. Sofi started gathering Shea Nuts for sale at the village market in Bonthe, Sierra Leone in 1912. She sold her Shea Butter, Black Soap, and other homemade hair and skin preparation to villagers, missionaries and tourists all over the countryside.

This is definitely one organic skincare line to keep your eyes on, folks!

April 13, 2011

NAILS: Roll The Dice!

nails for scarlett
Nails inspired by the bracelet of my deceased best friend.

This is the first time I did my nails based off of something. I usually just begin painting and the ideas pop in my head. This one's for you Scardizzle. I know you probably would have loved them. RIP

BLACK: Razzle Dazzler from Nicole by OPI
RED: Redy To Runaway Love? from Nicole by OPI
WHITE: White Light from SpaRitual

Do you use any Black Opal products?

Black Opal's Advanced Dual Complex Fade Gel Sensitive Skin Formula
Black Opal's Advanced Dual Complex Fade Gel Sensitive Skin Formula
I'm always looking for the best way to fade my acne marks and when I stumbled upon Black Opal's Advanced Dual Complex Fade Gel Sensitive Skin Formula, I wanted to investigate this product more. I've never used any facial products that were specifically generated for women of color. I'm not sure why I'm so skeptical about any product that's geared towards my skin tone. I can't really explain myself. If anything, I should gravitate towards these products because the makers understand a little more the way my skin is formulated.

It's like, would you rather go to a black hair stylist or a white hair stylist if you're a black woman? It's not saying that a white hair dresser doesn't know how to do your hair, it's just that a black hair stylist probably understands how to take care of your hair more because they've had substantial experience with black hair--whatever that is actually considered because I think black hair comes in multiple different textures.

Anyway, Black Opal's Advanced Dual Complex Fade Gel Sensitive Skin Formula contains no Hydroquinone. It has this new element called Bio-Affinity Skin Complex™, which is Black Opal's "proprietary formula recommended for sensitive skins (which I have). It combines a proven lightening ingredient derived from lipoamino acids, a natural substance found in the skin, with their rich blend of natural ingredients to brighten and soothe your overall complexion."

Since I'm opposed to using Hydroquinone, this fade gel sounds kind of tantalizing. However, I'm currently on a scar fading regimen of Mederma Scar Cream plus SPF 30, which I started on March 20, 2011.

So, do you use Black Opal or any other skin products geared towards women of color?

Why Black Skin Ages Better

Aretha Franklin in May 2011 Elle Magazine
Aretha Franklin, age 69, in Elle May 2011
The saying goes, "black don't crack" and this obviously refers to the fact that black women seemingly age better.

I often thought this was true because I look at my mother and aunts who are all well over the age of 40 and their skin has the appearance of a young 20-something. While there are many reasons skin ages faster, the most damning one is sun exposure. Hence, the importance of sunscreen--aside from the fact it protects you from skin cancer. A study done in the UK discovered that "very dark, black skin has a natural SPF of about 13 and filters twice as much UV radiation as white skin." So since dark skin has a natural SPF, black skin ages slower.

Needless to say, this doesn't mean we black women should not wear sunscreen (duh!). You need a sunscreen with at least an SPF of 15 to protect you from the sun's UV rays. Skin cancer is the easiest cancer to catch and prevent. It's also one of the leading cancers in the world, so you need to take precaution at all costs!

I'll be the first to admit that I've gone through life and dozens of outdoor cheerleading practices without sunscreen because I thought, "I don't need any. I'm black and I won't burn, just get darker." But, I've turned a new leaf. I invested in Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Daily Facial Lotion that has a SPF of 15. I dab it on over my regular dermatologist-prescribed daily facial lotion because now I'm taking my skincare serious. I want to not only protect my skin from the sun, but be proof in my forties that black don't crack.

April 12, 2011


boscia luminizing black mask
Boscia's Luminizing Black Mask
I've got a problem. My pores are becoming extremely visible and I'm sick of it!

After reading reviews on Boscia's Luminizing Black Mask, I decided to give it a try. I'm so pumped. I LOVE masks! The mask is supposed to boost skin clarity and radiance, and remove dirt and impurities while refining the look of pores. And, it's apparently perfect for all skin types!

What really attracted me to this product, aside from the chance of minimizing my pores, is that it contains two ingredients I adore; Witch Hazel and Rosemary Leaf Extract. I'm a sucker for Witch Hazel, which is why I love to use Skin Tight as a toner (Witch Hazel is its key ingredient). I also love a product that has some type of element in it from plants. Plants are a great natural source for anything and Rosemary Leaf Extract is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that helps firm and reduce the appearance of large pores

Bye, bye giant pores!

Do you use a pore minimizer? What do you use?

I Heated My Rock-Hard Body Butter

nubian heritage body butter
Heated Nubian Heritage body butter being mixed w/ a knife.

Thanks to a tip from a dear friend, I placed my rock-hard body butter from Nubian Heritage on my heater. It quickly broke apart and the shea oil came to the surface. I used a plastic knife to chop it up and mix it. It should stay soft and creamy now, right? Not! 30 minutes later, the body butter was back to its hard texture. However, this time it looks like frozen cottage cheese and is easier for me to grab and slab all over my body. I think that the place-body-butter-jar-on-heater experiment was a success!

Someone suggested I use my hair dryer to heat up the jar. I think that might be more efficient once my heat gets turned off. It's just that once heated, the oil sits at the top and needs to be mixed back into the body butter.

April 11, 2011


Jessie Adore
Miss Jessie Adore has got sensational style. From her luscious locks to her sweet singing voice, what isn't there to love about Jessie? Here, she reveals how she keeps her hair so wondrous and her skin magnificent!

NAILS: CND Effects To The Rescue!!

Estee Lauder Pure Color Enchanted Garnet Nicole by OPI Not A Gold Bigger CND 24K Sparkle CND Red Sparkle
Estee Lauder Pure Color Enchanted Garnet | Nicole by OPI Not A Gold Bigger
CND Effects 24K Sparkle | CND Effects Red Sparkle

Red and gold happen to be two of my most favorite colors and when combined, I go into a tizzy!! I painted my nails Thursday night and the chipping hasn't commenced! Based on a suggestion from a former co-worker, after I complained about my nail polish chipping too quickly, I decided to give CND Effects a try. This special lacquer is supposed to keep your nail polish looking fresh for over 7 days, fortify your nails and accent your nail color. On my nails below, you can't really see the CND Effects 24k Sparkle, but the CND Effects Red Sparkle is visible and in full EFFECT!!

Estee Lauder Pure Color Enchanted Garnet Nicole by OPI Not A Gold Bigger CND 24K Sparkle CND Red Sparkle

April 6, 2011

Help! How do I apply my rock-hard body butter?

nubian heritage mango butter

Smooth skin is my number one beauty-must. It's one of the roots to good skincare. Skin that is as soft as a baby's bottom means that it is properly hydrated, elongating elasticity. My recent foot into the world of beauty editing has opened my eyes to multiple ways one can moisturize their skin. Between lotions, creams and now butters, I've got my hands full. I'm currently in love with my Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream (I use it every morning), but I'm also interested in body butters.

I was able to get my hands on Nubian Heritage's Mango Butter that's infused with shea oil and Vitamin C. My problem is that when I open the jar, the butter is rock solid! How am I suppose to use it? I was able to scrape some up by digging my nails into the top layer of the mango butter. I rubbed some one my hand. I noticed that the butter sat on my skin for a while, until it was fully absorbed. After it was absorbed, my skin felt super soft for quite some time. I love it!

According to this eHow video, body butter is just like lotion without the water. Normal lotions are 70 to 90 percent water. With body butter, you're getting all the oils with no preservatives and it doesn't wash off as easily as lotion or cream. Perfect use for hands if they are constantly in and out of water.

But anyway, I need help. I don't want to have to continue to pound my nail into the mango butter. Do I need to literally use a knife and spread my hands with the butter like I'm an English muffin? I hope not. Although, that would make for an interesting morning routine addition.

April 5, 2011

The Perfect Nude Lip: Clinique Chubby Stick in Fuller Fig

Herieth Paul at Phillip Lim
Model Herieth Paul's lips at Fall 2011 3.1 Phillip Lim
Since I'm trying out this whole new thing called lip-color, I'm currently searching for the perfect shade for a nude lip. It's nice to have choices for lip colors!

Anyway, I think I may have found the right nude lip color. Refinery 29 says you should always choose a color that matches your skin tone or is possibly darker. Taking their advice, I sought out the Clinque's Chubby Stick Lip Colour Balm in Fuller Fig. In case you didn't know, I'm currently obsessed with the Chubby Stick. What I love about Fuller Fig is that it's a beige pink, but when paired with my skin, it seems to have a cocoa-colored tint. No matter how many layers I put on, my lips look... nude :).

Have you found the perfect nude lip for black girls? Share! What do you use?

April 4, 2011

Dark Berry Beauty Secrets: Ria Michelle, Stylist & Owner of Filthy Magic

ria michelle
Ria Michelle

Stylish and an entrepreneur, Ria Michelle is a girl after my own heart. She is a stylist, fashion blogger and runs the successful shopping site Filthy Magic. She's got a wildflower look I adore and know I could never pull off. In this Dark Berry Beauty Secret post, Ria reveals how she got her purple hair and a few things she's learned from working with makeup artists on photo shoots.

Name: Ria Michelle

Nails: Green & Gold, Green & Gold!

nails by dara adeeyo
Slowly but surely my nail skills are improving

Green & Gold were the colors of both of the teams I cheered for in my 10 year stint as a cheerleader. Granted, this particular green is not similar to the green I wore while tumbling and cheering for my at-the-moment crush on the football team. But, it still brings back sweet memories of my days as a rah-rah chick!

Gargantuan Green Grape from OPI
Not a Gold Bigger from Nicole by OPI
Green glitter nail polish by Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure is on the Not a Gold Bigger (I can't find the name of the nail polish).
Black Kiss Nail Art Paint brush.
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