Titi Branch of Miss Jessie's Confirmed Dead

Monday, December 15, 2014

Miss Jessie's co-founder Titi Branch (left) with her sister and co-founder Miko Branch.

Multiple news sources are confirming the death of Miss Jessie's co-founder Titi Branch.  Ms. Branch, who is credited with creating Ms. Jessie's flagship product, Curly Pudding, was 45.  

When I first went natural, back in college, Miss Jessie's Curly Pudding was the first product I ever used.  I was loyal to the brand and would browse their gorgeous before and after photos and stock up during their annual Thanksgiving"Buy One, Get One" sales (back then it was "Buy One, Get One Free")

What I loved about the brand the most, was that it worked.  The women who owned the company had thick, tightly packed hair like mine, and their products worked miracles- providing definition and shine that I had no idea I could expect.  I would grow to move onto other products and brands as the market expanded, I would always eventually return to Miss Jessie's at some point (I have two new containers of the Curly Pudding in my bathroom now).

Titi and Miss Jessie's were at the beginning of the mainstream natural hair trend.  You can get natural hair products in Walgreens, Target and Wal-Mart (and perhaps one day, in their Latin American and European equivalents) because of them. 

Though a cause of death has yet to be confirmed by a reputable source, our condolences are with the Branch and Miss Jessie's families.

See more at Washington Post and Clutch.   

#MM Model Monday: David Agbodji

Sunday, August 17, 2014


"Guys, meet David."
"Hi, David."

The Review: Bite Beauty Whipped Cherry Lip Scrup

Though what I should be doing is just making a good scrub from the salt and sugar in my kitchen, I was tempted to try the Bite Beauty Whipped Cherry Scrub Available on Sephora.

Though the ingredients are all natural, the scent is appealing, and formula is surprisingly moisturizing, there wasn't enough grit in the formula to really give my lips the scrub it needed to remove some of the dead skin off of my lips or even a lot of caked lip gloss.

Love, as a lip treatment, but wouldn't go as far as to recommend it for a scrub.

Fall Faces: French Editor and Jazz-Age Beauty

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

It's practically September. Vacation is done and its back to school- the hustle and bustle of meetings, deadlines, work trips and work parties return. And for those of us who won't be doing the new school year shopping trip, a new look- a hairstyle or makeup look is just the thing to get you into the groove.

Two looks to consider for the fall?

First, the French editor (or for some of us still stuck there, the 90's), no-makeup look. Channel your inner Emmanuelle Alt or fresh-faced Gwyneth Paltrow and say good-bye to the super sculpted reality show celebrity face you have been giving. Fall, as you can see in the new Balmain ads (and Marc Jacobs ads and Balenciaga runway ads and...) is all about the clean face- as it should be! Besides the pendulum swinging from the extreme of super-waxed and redrawn eyebrows and hyper-contouring in the style of Emeli Sandé to the more natural side of things, its time for you to wipe off all the heavy bronzer and oil and let your tan fade. What better way to show up to work than fresh faced and ready to go? A natural, clean face - think matte coverage and concealer, thick mascara and just a hint of blush goes a long way.

2014 Fall looks from Balenciaga 
Another look? Well if you makeup is something you absolutely must do dear, take a page from the Jazz-age as some other fashion houses have (see Givenchy) and do the bold lip- especially if you're like me and recently did a big chop. Focus the attention on your face and think dark lips and Salma Hayek's Frida (I'll let you decide on the eyebrows).

Either way, pick a look or alternate between the two and psych yourself up. It's time for Fall.

I Tried the Victoria Beckham Skincare Regimen- And It Works

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Photo Source

I read about the Victoria Beckham's regimen a few months ago. The daily routine of exfoliate-cleanse-and moisturize sounded simple enough, and I was ready to try. Why?

Well, when people use the phrase "product graveyard," they are usually referring to the stack of hair care products underneath their sinks- the numerous leave-in conditioners, gels, glosses, pomades, and moisturizers that one must go through to eventually discover the "holy grail" product (only to have their hair texture change six months later and they have to start the process all over again-but I digress). However, the product graveyard term for me has moved on to refer to skincare.

I used to have perfect skin. Flawless. Didn't even need to wear makeup. But it was in the last few years that I started to notice the dullness, the acne, the redness, and the blemishes. This mediocre skin that I could not diagnose. Was it the pollution? Stress? Was I not using enough SPF?

I noticed that my skin did not seem to respond to medicated face washes or creams either- whether they were purchased from the drug store or Sephora. That expensive dark spot remover didn't seem to have any impact. And a change in environment, from a major city of over a million people to a "village" in comparison in Europe, did not do much to my complexion either. There went my pollution theory.

So by the time I'd read about Victoria Beckham's regimen, I had nothing to lose.

Guess what? It works.

The proof? Earlier this week my sister said to me, "Your skin looks good! You shouldn't use foundation." Boom.

There's no need to use her dermatologist's brand, Dr. Lancer, just follow the regimen using products you should already have in your cabinet. My first product selection included Fresh Soy Face Exfoliant and Nuxe Rêve de Miel Facial Cleansing and Make-Up Removing Gel (in an effort to use more natural products). But as I've continued the regimen, I've just made sure to keep the scrub and a simple cleanser and have added a toning step before the moisturizer- which is Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask (as recommended by Mindy Copeland).

My dark spots have faded, my acne has been significantly reduced and I need less and less makeup- just concealer under my eyes.

So the main point: Exfoliate + cleanse + (+ toner) + moisturize = your best skin.

Do it.

Models and Men on Monday - Sometimes You Need a Gimmick

Monday, June 23, 2014

We don't usually look forward to Mondays (Yes, Sister, we know that every day is a blessing!) so the Man Crush Mondays (#MCM) sometimes lift the spirits. However, we humbly add our own beauty inspiration via our own #ModelMondays to get you inspired for the week ahead. We kick it off with natural beauty and French model Anaïs Mali and actor William Levy, whose trailer for the upcoming film Addicted was just released (and that we have already watched a dozen times).

The Review: Eve Lom Rescue Mask

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Just as I was about to do a write-up of how wonderfully my new facial regimen was working, I hopped on a flight to the United States, leaving half of my products behind (it was only for a few days!) and my skin went haywire. Whatever the cause (bad circulation on the plane? stress from travel? the hard water at my destination?), the result was noticeably more oily skin, a splash of acne, and the return of the flaky, scaly skin around my hairline that I thought I'd combatted in the winter.

As soon as I returned, I reached for the Eve Lom Rescue Mask that I'd been waiting to try. If anything qualified as a "rescue" moment, this was it.

Here's what I thought:

Consistency and Smell:
That I am starting off with this says a lot. This mask had the consistency and smell of a chicken-salad sandwich- no exaggeration. The masque is thick, white and chunky. Also, don't expect any perfume-y or even medicinal scent. It was extremely unpleasant and I couldn't wait for the mask to dry.

The mask worked. I used it twice, once in the evening as soon as I arrived home and again the next day, applying a thick layer, leaving it on for about 20 minutes, then leaving rinsing with water and wiping with a towel. After the second application I went back to my normal regimen.

The mask was like a reset button with my pimples visibly smaller and my skin less oily. I slathered on my Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask along the hairline as an extra defense. So... it worked for me!

Bottom line:
The mask worked, but don't expect the at-home spa experience with the food-like smell and consistency. Considering the scent, I wouldn't definitely save this mask for emergencies only!

Eve Lom Rescue Mask, starts at $50

NYMag: Custom-Color Makeup Helps Stop Racism in Beauty

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Grace Choi is ready to stage a beauty revolution that will cut through all of "the bullsh**" in the beauty industry. She told a group of shocked and awed participants as much last month, when she presented Mink, her 3-D printer for makeup (which she casually calls a "thingy-maker") at TechCrunch Disrupt, explaining "the beauty industry makes a whole lot of money on a whole lot of bullsh**." Choi then demonstrated how her printer could replicate an exact shade of pink eyeshadow seen in a Michelle Phan beauty tutorial, without the manufacturing processes or research and development or marketing of a beauty conglomerate.

Continue reading at New York. 

Celebrity Beauty Secrets: Isabel Toledo's lip, Carly Cushnie's curl enhancer, and more.

Monday, June 9, 2014

One of the most influential women in fashion, Isabel Toledo, is known for her signature red lip, as well as for styling First Lady Michelle Obama. According to the New York Times, her red lipstick is courtesy of Chanel.

Photo source

Chanel Rouge Allure Intense Long-Wear Lip Colour in 99 Pirate

And speaking of Michelle Obama, her glowing skin is credited to facials from Citrine Salon and Spa in Maryland, specifically by Esthetician Joelle Lee. 

Citrine Salon and Spa

Notice that wonderful orange-y blush in all of Naomi's photos? It's due to NARS' Taj Mahal blush (a Prime favorite), which was created specifically for her.

Photo source
NARS' Taj Mahal Blush
Carly Cushnie, of Cushnie et Ochs, is known not only for her work as part of a style duo that has styled everyone from Alicia Keys to Karlie Kloss, but also her edgy cut.  Cushnie uses Moroccanoil Intense Curl Cream to Style her tresses.
Photo source

Moroccanoil Intense Curl Cream

Current it-girl and soloist for the American Ballet Theatre, Misty Copeland has been riding a wave recent press. In addition to her talent (even though she was a late bloomer, starting ballet at the age of 13), Misty has earned kudos for her frank discussion of body issues within ballet and for being the first African-American soloist at ABT. Copeland moisturizes at night with Clinique's Moisture Surge Overnight Mask.
Photo source

Clinique's Moisture Surge Overnight Mask
To enhance gorgeous day-to-night smoky eye, designer Rachel Roy uses Estée Lauder Turbolash mascara.
Photo source

Estée Lauder Turbo Lash Mascara
Jada Pinkett Smith credits her Carol's Daughter Lisa's Hair Elixir with helping retain her hair length at its longest.

Photo source

Carol's Daughter Lisa's Hair Elixir Restoring Hair Oil

We Follow: TheCutLife Instagram page

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thecutlife's Instagram page has become that page that we turn to for daily inspiration for ourselves and our amies (you'll notice numerous users tagging their Instagram friends to point out their favorite styles). Thecutlife scours the internet for frequent photo uploads of women with fabulous cuts and/or color. And while the occasional celeb "makes the cut", many of the postings are of "real women" and their hair. 

How to Prime for the Summer

"If you paint your walls, what do you do first? Prime them. Why? Because the paint needs something to stick to so it isn't see-through and you won't need as many coats."
- Whitney Welch, makeup artist for Smashbox on Refinery 29.

Sunday Snack: Little Luxuries | Floral Arrangement Class by Little Flower School, Brooklyn

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Credit: The Little Flower School blog

New York Times features a mini- floral arrangement class from the Little Flower School of Brooklyn. What better way to add beauty and a little luxury to your home?

It's Time to Hunt for Glasses...

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The third grade is when I got my first pair of prescription glasses. At the time it was a dreaded event. During elementary school, glasses are the kiss of death, destined to mark you as socially awkward and only the beginning of the slow decline of your eyesight. However, as an adult, eyeglasses move from representing social awkwardness to (if you do it right) sophistication, intelligence, and actual style.

My French Brands

Sunday, May 11, 2014

by Jaime Moody

Now that I have been in Europe for 8 months and have started to run out of my American brand stockpile, I have been turning to local brands for my beauty routine.

This post was originally titled "My European Brands," but the inspection of all my labels led to the discovery that all my products were French! No wonder French pharmacies are usually included in the vacation itineraries of Americans! Make note of these brands for your next shopping trip.

Liya Kebede by French Fashion Illustrator Cédric Rivrain

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Source: Style.com

"I love photography- however, sometimes it's a little too obvious...fashion illustration, it has poetry."

Read the talented artist's profile @ Style.com.

Beauty Beyond Convention

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Source: People Magazine

She woke up like this.
Owned it.

This is groundbreaking. 

Lupita Nyong'o is to this generation of young women and girls what Alek Wek was to hers. 
A woman who owns her beauty but also realizes that its bigger than herself. 
Congratulations to Lupita and here's to widening the spectrum of mainstream beauty.

And to those who don't understand it?
This quiz is for you.

"Run for your looks!"

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Serena Williams on Fitness Magazine's April Issue
Source: The Huffington Post

Researchers from McMaster University from Ontario have published research that suggests that exercise can have an anti-aging effect on  humans. According to the New York Times, the researchers found that "after age 40, the men and women who exercised frequently had markedly thinner, healthier stratum corneums and thicker dermis layers in their skin." In other words, the composition of the skin of those over the age of 40 who exercised regularly, had skin closer to those in the 20 to 30-something age range than those who did not. 

Though we'd like to know if this study accounted for differences in skin tone, either way, it's still a great reason to get exercising.

It's Festival Season.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Get Makeup Tips from the Experts that style Freida Pinto, Joy Bryant, and more.

Saturday, April 12, 2014


Tips from Jürgen Braun, Christian McCulloch and more share industry secrets on Elle.com.

90s Makeup and Model Integration with Cèline Fall 2014

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Source: La Modella  Mafia

Source: Style.com

Source: Style.com

Looks like Phoebe Philo took Bethann Hardison and the Diversity Coalition's words to heart! A few black models made it into her Cèline collection showings with 90's moody Fiona Apple-esque makeup in one look and clean, Calvin Klein, slight contouring in the other. We love.

Beauty News Beyond Convention: What We're Reading Now

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Credit: NY Times

The New York Times examines the makeup industry's progress in addressing the needs of women of darker skin tones and examines what else needs to be done.

“We joke sometimes, a new shade is born every day,” he added. “And it’s true, the world is getting smaller and smaller. People are moving everywhere. You’ll have an African-American marry someone from, say, Japan. Or somebody from Europe marries somebody from Korea. It’s not as pigeonholed as it used to be.”

"Guiding Light" -The Edit, Net-a-Porter.com

Net-a-Porter's Chanel Iman interview ranges from her romantic life to race and politics within the fashion industry.

On watching Lupita Nyong'o win her Best Supporting Actress Oscar: "All my friends and I were holding hands in front of the television, willing her to win... I really believe that having a black woman win an Oscar is going to help pave the way, not just in her industry, but in mine."

"Beyoncé's Makeup Artist: From Helmut Newton to Drunk In Love" -Into the Gloss

Into the Gloss scored an interview with Francesca Tolot (See Beyoncé's March 2013 Vogue issue), who has worked with Beyoncé for over 10 years.

"I just try to be available as much as I can. I’ve been around the world with her, I just go with the flow. Sometimes projects are scheduled ahead of time, and sometimes they happen overnight. So yes, I'm just ready to go whenever they call me, because I love being with her and working with her."

Raved: Tom Ford Lip Color

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Tom Ford Lip Color in Violet Fatale
Review by Serina Phoenix

While on a recent trip to Atlanta (a.k.a. my southern shopping mecca) I stopped by the Tom Ford counter at the Neiman Marcus in Lenox Square mall. Unfortunately, New Orleans does not have a Tom Ford counter so I wanted to experience everything firsthand. I originally went in to try the lip color in Deep Mink. I kept seeing it on the blogs with women of color and it looked great on everyone.  I tried it on and I REALLY liked it! It is a great nude for a brown girl (MAC NW45). But, I ended up being peer pressured (Thanks G and Elle) to step out of my comfort zone and purchase something with more color. I wound up getting Violet Fatale.

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