What better way to kick off its return than an interview with the amazing Donette Lowe. Donette and I have only known one another for about a year an a half, but when we met I was captivated by her energy. What I love about her is her genuine authenticity and (even though she’s a shorty, ha!) she commands a room with her presence. She really makes you want to listen to what she has to say. Although we may be long distance homegirls at this point, we’ll be in each other’s lives for years to come. Whether she likes it or not, ha!
Here’s Face Time with Donette Lowe…
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Hey love! So, I know you but the people don’t–so tell us a little more about yourself. Who is Donette?
I feel like when we discuss who we are, we announce our birth charts, so Leo sun, Pisces rising, and Aries moon if that helps describe me at all, ha. I’m a regular degular schmegular young black girl from Kansas City, KS. I did the whole live out my dream, moved to NYC, worked in fashion (which is of course how we met) a few years back, and then moved back home to get closer to myself all over again so that’s pretty much me in 2019.
Now, tell us about what you do? How’s Cozy Girl Squad and consulting going? What should we be on the lookout for?
Ahhh! CGS is doing amazing! I’m so proud of my first creative baby because I truly took my time with it and it just grows on its own. The merch we have been releasing looks great and I’m looking forward to seeing where it takes us. Consulting is steady. I’m really working on combining all my interests into a personal brand, a creative for hire, rather than the agency approach I was taking last year. Stay on the lookout for more merch and content from CGS and the relaunch of my personal site, www.donettelowe.com.
I also have a new [creative] baby in the oven right now, all I can say is that queer black girls should be excited.
Alright, let’s get into this skincare–because every time you post a selfie I stan. What’s your current routine, morning and night?
Ahhh! Thank you! If you stan my selfies then I KNOW I’m doing it right. The first thing I can say is that I’m not perfect at the whole routine thing, case in point is that at nighttime I truly collapse. I’m not a makeup wearer so by the end of the night I don’t do much which is terrible! I’m trying to get better. But the day time? Oh, girl, it’s a process.
So, at the bare minimum, I cleanse, tone, moisturize, and then add an oil/serum on top to seal in the water-based moisturizer I just applied. How I maintain is that I do facial steams, exfoliation treatments, and clay masks to draw out excess oil and impurities. That’s where the glow comes in because that bare minimum won’t hold for long. When I add those things in, I insert the face steam after I cleanse and tone. From there, I do whichever mask I’m doing for the day, then moisturize and serum (if needed). Face steaming is so overlooked! It’s such a simple thing, it’s like holding your head over a pot of tea. You glow and your skin smooths out like butter. Overall, I really try to go with whatever my skin is telling me instead of drowning it in a routine.
My new secret weapon is HUM Nutrition supplements. I am a huge snacker so I wanted to start tackling my skin health from the inside too. I take Daily Cleanse and Red Carpet—and three weeks in, I’m glowing.
How would you describe your specific skin type?
Rude, haha. My skin is dry for starters, but also sensitive and reactive. So, although I need heavy moisture, I have to be really careful about how I add moisture, or my skin will break out. I also have to be careful with exfoliation. It’s absolutely necessary to my routine to prevent blackheads (which I get occasionally) and texture, but I also burn easily. It’s a tricky situation over here, friend.
When it comes to brands/product types, which do you lean more towards and why?
Since I am so sensitive, I stick to all-natural brands. I have no need and my skin has no tolerance for chemical ingredients. It just simply isn’t necessary for a product to work wonders. Part of my personal journey is that I love to support Black-owned all-natural brands, especially ones created by Black women. Almost every product in my routine is Black-owned and I’m so proud of that! Some of my absolute faves are Marla Rene Skincare and Inua. 54 Thrones is amazing too, her rhassoul clay mask is one of the only clays that don’t dry me out but still give me a deep clean.
Aside from your amazing face, I’m also obsessed with your hair. It’s honestly the reason I asked you to work with me–not your resume, ha! What made you decide to cut it all the way down and how do you maintain it?
I knew it was the hair =)! As you know, I used to have a huge ‘fro. I went natural way back in 2009 before it was the norm for Black women. There weren’t a lot of product options and there definitely weren’t conferences, celebrations, and YouTubers galore talking about it, so it was really another step in self-identity work. After a while though, I really started to rely on it to establish my femininity and being pretty. Once I moved to New York, the stress, intern diet, and overall air just didn’t do my hair any justice. It was constantly dry and breaking off and I could never figure out how to style it right. So, I decided to cut it all the way off to eliminate all those feels I had attached to it and to make my life easier.
I go to the barber shop every 2-3 weeks, depending on how I am growing it at the time. Scalp health is the step that a lot of us miss when growing hair, but since my scalp is accessible right now, I do a lot of scalp cleansing and then adding moisture back in. I don’t skip deep conditioner just because it’s short, no matter how close to my scalp it is. I also co-wash mostly since I have to wash it so often!
I know you like to experiment with different hair colors, how do you maintain your hair’s health while doing so?
Yes, love a good wild color. Since I do it at home, there are a few steps I take to make sure I don’t scalp myself. For one, I use an ammonia free bleach and a sensitive scalp developer. My hair is thick and stubborn so to actually make it consistently blonde, I have to bleach it twice in a row. Since I have to put it through so much just to lift it, I try to only use products and colors with conditioning ingredients and then post-coloring, I deep condition and add in Haitian black castor oil from Kreyol Essence (another Black woman).
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Another part is just accepting that I’m damaging it for the look and not being attached. I cut it more often when it’s colored. I recently found a brand that is like a color depositing conditioner instead of a chemical coloring dye and I can’t wait to try that out.
On my blog, I like to cover self-care as a whole–so although I love beauty, mental health and wellness are really important to me. And I know they are to you as well. What are some ways in which you honor your mental health on a daily basis?
Your writing is so needed! I know I’ve told you that, but I’m so glad you’ve created this space.
I have anxiety and it’s triggered mostly by interpersonal and romantic interactions. On a daily basis, I take time to recharge. I tell people that I can’t talk, I put my phone on do not disturb, I take naps if I can. The best way to sum up my daily practice is setting boundaries and (still) actively working through the guilt that may arise when I do set them.
Work wise, I schedule every single interaction. I know that’s a freedom that comes with being freelance, but I try to encourage everyone to try it to the best of their abilities.
Lately, I have downloaded Headspace and try to meditate.
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ive been through so many thoughts this week, starting with that being a business owner is hard af, i stress eat hot cheetos, and in 2019 if you dont treat me how i feel i should be treated, youre canceled. i could have said something arrogant or a song lyric, but truly ive done the work and continue to do the work to be a solid human with a good heart. so i deserve. as soon as my stress catches up with that, ill be gucci 😂. ↠ also, almost burned off my face doing a facial. however, it worked out and this glow >. im considering starting to really share my obsession with skincare. what ya’ll think? ⚡️
What are some self-care rituals that pamper both your mind and your body?
This is the best part of using natural products! The herbs, the salts, and the aromatherapy do double the work even when you aren’t trying. For example, my fave face steam has rose in it which soothes the heart and mind as well as mint which wakes up my mind.
I’m also a big bather. Taking baths is essential for me. Epsom salt, sea salt, essential oils, herbs, etc. make me feel like my most beautiful self and all tote their own benefits on the physical side of things. I really make it into an elaborate thing and light candles (chakra ones from Blue Sage Eco Boutique, black woman owned) and listen to binaural beats.
I also have several crystal children that are all around my space and in my bra at all times!
Why is maintaining positive mental health so important to you?
So many reasons! I only have one mind. And it could be the Leo in me, but I definitely feel that I have a mission and destiny here and I can’t do what I was sent to do, break down those generational traumas, help my community, if I let my mind go bad from lack of care. I remember what it felt like to be the depths of my anxiety, the pain, the confusion, and the lack of functioning. I never want to revisit that place. I also want to make the most out of every day and that requires that my mental health is A1. In the end, all I have is myself. And I can’t stand being in my own head, what’s the point?
I think one of the aspects I really work on now is understanding that I manifest everything around me. If my mental health is in a negative place, my environment, circumstances, and the like will be also. It all starts inside and then radiates out.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Read the labels on your products and look up the ingredients on EWG.
Get into the all-natural movement if you haven’t already.