This Black-Owned Brand Has the Perfect Nude for Brown-Skin Girls—No Lip Liner Required!

Products were gifted for review consideration, but of course, all opinions are my own.

Like so many of you, I’m spending more time on camera than ever. These days, I’m trying to find a balance between trying to look like my usual self but not doing too much. A bold red lip doesn’t quite hit the same when you’re always in the house!

Propa Beauty may be a new kid on the block—they launched in April of this year, right in the thick of the pandemic!—but has already found its way onto the lips of girls like me. This Black-owned beauty brand is starting with a collection of 12 creamy lipsticks, and you can find a nude that perfectly fits your skin tone and mood. 

All 12 shades available at Propa Beauty

I am a real groupie for a deep, dark, chocolate brown lipstick—always have been. When I uncapped the shade, “Driven,” baby! I knew I had found a winner. 

Lips are “Driven,” courtesy of Propa Beauty

The PowerPouts Luminous Satin Lipstick collection lives up to its name: the lipsticks slide against my lips and leave a shining coat of color behind. A smooth, nourishing lipstick kinda feels like a bit of a luxury these days, definitely more so than the matte lipsticks I tended to favor pre-COVID. 

In a world with few pleasures, Propa Beauty‘s new lipsticks have become one of mine. Will you be picking up any of these shades? 

You can shop Propa Beauty and take a look at more swatches here.

Propa Beauty PowerPout in “Driven”
All 12 shades available at Propa Beauty
All 12 shades available at Propa Beauty
All 12 shades available at Propa Beauty

I’m Getting Married! …Sometime.

What can I say—the title pretty much says it all! I’m getting married! My fiancé, Brian, proposed to me after he took me to see Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre at New York City Center back in January. I totally knew it was coming; I accidentally peeped the ring in his top drawer earlier in the day. With my usual inability to control my reactions or keep a secret, I immediately yelped, began laughing uncontrollably, and immediately confessed my crime. Post-show, we had the most beautiful meal at Danny Meyer’s 2 Michelin-star restaurant, The Modern and it was everything I could have imagined. We were SO ready to start our lives together.

But that was before.

It still feels surreal to say this, but   the world has fundamentally changed  since we got engaged. We’re deep in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic while living right in the middle of the epicenter.

Brian is a high school teacher, so “hello, home school!” I changed jobs—I accepted an offer for a directorship at a PR firm before quarantine began, and found myself tumbling headfirst into a whole new job via Zoom almost a month into it. I’m incredibly grateful that we both still have jobs and are healthy, even as we’re surrounded by so much savagely unnecessary loss and death.

The November wedding that we had planned sits in limbo—not officially canceled yet, but no one really believing that it will happen as we planned. How can we even think of celebrating our happy day (in Mexico!) when we cannot even confidently leave our house? How can I plan a celebration when I see so many planning funerals?

It’s been quite the pre-marital test, that’s for sure. I’ve decided that I’ll keep Brian, as I’m pretty sure that he is one of the only people in the entire universe that I can imagine tolerating being trapped in a one-bedroom apartment 24/7 with. I can’t wait to spend my forever with him and make it official. Sometime in the future. Hopefully, sometime soon.

The face of a girl who just got engaged. Before Corona. What a time.

Around Here: My Colorful Brooklyn Home

Living Room, wide view
Light filters into the room through two domed 5 ft windows.

It’s Sunday morning in Brooklyn and the light pouring into the living room paints the walls with streaks of sun. This is life around my way these days. It’s been about three and a half years since I moved back to New York and a short five months since my boyfriend Brian and I moved into this cozy apartment in the neighborhood of Bushwick and turned it into our vibrant, but infinitely peaceful, Brooklyn home.

Moving in together required a lot of downsizing—well, for me at least. I had been living in a fairly large two-bedroom/two-bathroom apartment in Sunset Park (a neighborhood in southern Brooklyn) and my digs comfortably fit all of my big, sturdy Virginia-sized furniture. I had two different roommates during my time in Sunset Park. Both came with a minimal amount of furniture so I was generally left to my own devices when it came to decorating the common areas.

The old place

I knew that things were going to be different with Brian because this man has OPINIONS. He also happened to own furniture and was not shy about expressing just how much he hated mine. (I mean, it wasn’t the most amazing stuff in the world and I didn’t buy it because I loved it, but damn. He didn’t have to be so cold, you know?) We moved in together a little sooner than planned: his roommate decided, with 30 days notice, that she was ending his lease. So instead of having a few months to find a place that we both liked, we had a few weeks. Fortunately for us, but mainly for him ’cause he was about to be homeless, it worked out.

Something New

Another view.
Another view.

As you can see, the new space is much smaller—and that’s what makes it so much better! Most of the decorative touches that give the room its personality were things that I already owned. It’s pretty cool to look back at photos of my old Brooklyn home and see things used in a totally different way, i.e. the mirror that was hanging over the couch has found new life as a leaning mirror between the windows.

A round glass coffee table helps preserve a sense of space and airiness in a smaller space.
Brian picked up this table for a steal. It fits perfectly into this little nook and since its seats are designed to snugly frame the tabl, we are able to keep it flush against the wall. It’s my number one small apartment win.

And of course, sine I began writing this post in March, we have replaced the couch and the main rug. But you may have to wait another half of a year to see that new set up…

The Met Gala and a Blog Reborn

I am back. Let me rise from the ashes on this most sacred of days. . It is a day of deep analysis and reflection where we gather together to reflect upon the previous night’s events— it is the day after the Met Gala.

Too much?

It is true that this morning, I woke up inspired. It has been a while since I’ve seen a fashion event and just breathed, “YES.” This year’s gala theme was “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” and the attendees played with religious wear, form and symbolism in a way that befitted one of the world’s most ornate and artistically productive religions. Though the Gala’s theme is not prescriptive, it is descriptive and laid the groundwork for my favorite looks of the night.

Embed from Getty Images

Hide Hyperpigmentation: The Brown Girl’s Guide

Raise your hand if you were blessed with perfect skin! No hands? Yeah, I thought so. Even those among us who have “pretty good skin” tend to have some things that they’d like to refine and polish. I, like so many other women of color, deal with a bit of hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation occurs when too much melanin, the very essence of #BlackGirlMagic, gathers in the skin. Hyperpigmentation occurs for any number of reasons– hormonal changes, heredity, acne, sun exposure– lots of things. When you have to hide hyperpigmentation, here are the steps you should take.

1. Skincare– Don’t you DARE skip the sunscreen!

The best way to combat hyperpigmentation is prevention, no doubt about that. Your skin is your largest organ and is regenerating all of the time. That, my friends, is good news. With careful– aka not aggressive– exfoliation, you can slough your way to new, fresh baby skin. All that fresh skin only stays that way if you protect it, though. Melanin, the pigment that caused those dark spots in the first place, is activated by sun exposure. So if you’re trying to hide hyperpigmentation and banish it for good, you best be dodging those UVA and UVB rays and slathering on the sunscreen.

2. Spot Treatment

You’re impatient, I get it. You want to hide that hyperpigmentation and you want to hide it NOW. But yes, you could go straight to the dermatologist and have them annihilate your face with a laser or you could exercise a bit of patience and try some topical solutions. When you’re looking to fix those dark spots, look for the “lightening” and “brightening” and occasionally, especially when you’re diving into the world of Korean beauty, “whitening”. I know, I know. Though those words can feel straight disrespectful to the beauty of your melanated skin, these are the keywords that will lead you to the products that will treat your hyperpigmentation issue.

3. Color Correction

While you may be taking care of your skin, practically rolling in serums and spot treatments and slathering yourself thoroughly in sunscreen, you might still desire an immediate solution to your hyperpigmentation problem. That solution? Color correction.

Color correction can be used to combat a variety of skin woes but when it comes to dark spots, think peach.  The deeper your skin, the deeper your peach corrector should be– on my tone, a nice orange (seriously, it’s ORANGE) corrector will do the trick.

There’s basically no better way to explain this magic, so I’ll show you instead!

 

Dark under-eye circles are my thing. I was born looking wan and tired.

hyperpigmentation_halfcorrected

I use the corrector under my eyes, primarily, and spot treat other areas. Notice how the orange corrector balances with my skin tone? This is the goal.

No one will catch me out here with crusty lips!

lipappeal_cute

Makeup done. Skin even. Hyperpigmentation conquered.

colorcorrection_makeup