It’s no secret that I just got back from Cuba — if you follow me on Instagram I’m sure you’re tired of my posts from the trip. The whole reason I went in the first place was for my best friend Brittany Miller’s birthday and for the second installment of “Face Time” I had to highlight her. When we’re not talking about our favorite TV shows, the men in our lives, politics and pop culture–we’re completely consumed with discussions on beauty. If there’s anyone else more beauty-savvy in my circle, it’s definitely her. Get to know more about Brittany and her routine below!
1. Oh hey girl! Everyone knows that you and I went with some friends to Cuba for your birthday, but you also just got back from Europe! Tell us about your trip.
Europe was amazing! I spent a weekend in London, a week in Lake Como and ended with a weekend in Milan. It was my first time in all 3 cities so I was really excited going into it. Lake Como is beautiful and dreamy beyond words. No pictures will ever do it justice, honestly. It’s definitely wedding or honeymoon worthy, if you’re balling like that. It was 100% different from our reasonably chill Cuba trip as I was with 150 crazy co-workers from around the globe–who have mostly never met and were looking to PARTY, and that we did haha.
2. What is it that you do exactly? And for the good people reading this, where do you work?
I work at Fashion GPS. It’s a fashion technology company. We work with brands and agencies to basically make their lives better in terms of their daily PR and marketing activities, so things like event planning, sample tracking and influencer marketing. We sort of do it all! I do account management and sales so working with current and new clients to expand our business and relationships. We recently merged with another company, hence our big global company meeting in Italy last week, which was so that everyone could meet and sort of match names to faces.
3. We’ve known each other for so long and basically moved to New York together after college. Before moving here you used to have a relaxer with this really cute short cut. I kind of know why, but can you tell us a little bit about why you decided to go natural — I think it was 5 years ago?
I got my last perm 2 weeks before graduation [from Howard] in 2011, so yeah it’s been about 6 years which is crazy to me. I never thought I would ever stop getting relaxers. I got my first one in 5th grade I think, because my hair was just so thick and my mom was sick of me coming home every day with my press sweated out, which I can’t blame her for! But to be honest, when I moved to New York I initially stopped getting perms because I was too poor to continue getting them— haha! But along with that I felt like my hair was getting super thin and just not looking its best. I had NO idea what I was doing. Most of my close friends at the time had relaxers, so there was a big, big learning curve for me in terms of day to day maintenance and learning styles.
4. You know I’m transitioning now, so give me some insight on how your natural hair journey has been. Any tips for those of us that are new to the game?
My biggest tip would be to remember when taking advice and getting tips from friends and blogs, is that your hair is not 100% like anyone else’s. When I was transitioning I would go online and find a picture of a girl who seemed to have similar hair as mine and try to follow her regimen exactly, which was so ridiculous since my hair was obviously changing so much from not getting relaxed anymore. Even today, although I have no relaxer left in my hair, there isn’t anyone whose every step will work for my hair. Just be patient! There’s gonna be some bomb twist outs and some twist outs that look like you got caught in a tornado (haha), so definitely learn some emergency hair styles. My hair was too short for a ponytail or bun when I was transitioning so I relied on protective styles like braids and twists to get me through, which I still do. Either way at the end of the day, it’s just hair and I think every girl that decides to go natural will learn some great skills and won’t regret it in the long run.
5. Talk to us about your approach to beauty.
I’m definitely a minimalist when it comes to beauty. I’m not necessarily a “less is more person,” but I like natural looking makeup as opposed to glam squad looks. I like trying new products, but I’ve noticed recently they are all some variation of the same thing, haha. During the week I don’t really want to look like a Kardashian at work so I’ll keep it pretty simple and maybe try out some new things during the weekends. Regardless, people should pick the look they’re going for and just own it. I think you can definitely tell otherwise if not.
6. What is your skincare routine?
Well I’m kind of lazy but also want maximum results so any product that can do a lot of things at once, I love. I have really oily skin so if I see the word “mattify” I am 100% willing to try it. In the morning I am SUPER lazy and want to get literally everything over as soon as possible, so I just use Micellar Water to wash my face. I love using it because it’s less harsh than regular water and I get gross satisfaction from seeing any dirt from my face come off on a cotton round, haha. I love both Simple and Garnier brands so I usually just buy whatever’s cheapest at the time. After that I use my moisturizer. I’m liking Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream right now when my skin is a bit drier, but I’ll most likely switch to Clinque Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel during the summer when my skin is in full grease mode, haha. Beyond those two things I will use some eye cream most days of the week. I really like Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream or I recently bought Clinque’s Pep-Start Eye cream which I’m enjoying as well. I love makeup and wear it just about every day, but there is literally no better feeling than taking it off too at night. So when I come home I immediately use makeup remover wipes. To be honest, every single brand I’ve used does me well so I don’t have a “favorite.” It’s usually either a pack from Simple, Neutrogena or Shea Mositure, who makes these African black soap wipes I really like. If I had a “heavy” makeup day (haha) I’ll most likely use some Micellar Water after a makeup wipe just to make sure I got everything off. Every single night I try to use my Clarisonic and wash my face with African black soap — which I’m obsessed with. It’s literally the one thing outside of blotting sheets that I think actually make a real difference with my oily face, and it’s cheap! After that, about every other day I will use my toner by Pixi by Petra followed by my moisturizer. I usually try to do a face mask twice a week but it usually only happens once — again, I’m lazy. I use a few different masks depending on how my skin is acting that week, but if I had to choose one it would be Origin’s Active Charcoal Mask. My skin literally looks and feels 80% times better once I take it off, and it definitely helps tone down the oil on my face. It’s amazing.
7. What do you consider to be your biggest beauty fail?
I grew up with these beautiful but embarrassingly thick eyebrows. Like they would put Drake to shame. I HATED THEM. After years of begging, my mom finally let me get them waxed sophomore year of high school and oh my gosh if I could go back in time I’d be like girl, you will be begging for those brows back when you hit your mid 20’s. Well atleast 75% of them back, haha they were pretty bad! I’ve been through some rough periods this past year trying to grow them back, but when I think about the fact that I started ahead of the curve, I get so angry!
8. Tell us a little about some of the products you brought with you to Cuba.
Sure! So if I could only use two products for the rest of my life they would be mascara and a red lip. I am 100% against buying expensive mascara because you can find so many drug store brands that are legit. This Butterfly Sculpt Mascara from L’Oréal is my favorite at the moment. My eyelashes are pretty long naturally but I like that it adds some thickness and doesn’t take 3 hours to take off at night. My red lipstick is the color Beso from Stila, which you actually introduced me to, so thank you! I love that it’s so vibrant and that you go through literally an entire day without having to re-apply, so a tube lasts forever. I’ve already told you all about my Micellar Water and Origins Charcoal Mask, which are my daily / weekly staples. I also brought along Face Gloss from MILK which is a new product for me. I’m liking a glossy lid right now but I’ve also used it as a highlighter on my cheeks and lipgloss. The consistency isn’t super sticky and just shiny enough without making me feel 13 again, so I really like it.
My lips have been SO dry this past winter and after trying every single thing I read about Bite’s Agave Lip Mask. It’s a little pricier than I want to pay for a lip moisturizer but it is amazing and single handidly saved my lips this winter. Also, one tube has lasted me about 5 months so it feels worth it, money wise. I cannot recommend it more. Lastly, I brought a highlighter from Black | Up. I definitely wear this just about everyday. The color is warm and creamy and I like that the line is targeted towards women of color–that’s a major plus for me when purchasing too.
9. What are some of your favorite brands–for hair, makeup, the whole nine?
For skincare I definitely love Origin’s. They have a really nice range of products, make a lot of products for oily skin and are reasonably priced, so that’s always amazing. SheaMoisture is really the best, there’s a reason you see it everywhere! I love both their Jamaican Black Castor Oil and Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil collections equally. And they are definitely underrated in terms of skin care! I also love the brand As I Am for hair products as well. For makeup if I had to pick one brand, it would definitely be NARS. I can’t live without their creamy concealer, I use it every single day. Faithfully. Their lip colors and blushes are always on point too.
10. What are some must-have beauty products for the summer? What will you not make it without?
If blotting sheets did not exist, I probably wouldn’t leave the house in the summer. Ok that’s kind of dramatic, but you get the point! They are heaven sent and I never go without them in my purse. Beyond that, I love Dove deodorant spray because it lasts ALL day and leaves no residue. I can seriously come home at night and still smell it on me. Finally, a good waterproof eyeliner is essential so you don’t sweat your makeup look away in the subway.
- Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream ($26)
- Clinque Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel ($27)
- Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream ($30)
- Clinque’s Pep-Start Eye Cream ($27)
- Origin’s Active Charcoal Mask ($26
- Shea Moisture African Black Soap ($6)
- L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Sculpt Mascara ($9)
- Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Beso ($24)
- MILK Makeup Face Gloss ($20)
- Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask ($26)