Monae Artistry

Smokey Eyes

Here are a few helpful tips for achieving the eyes you want. One of the most important steps to applying eye color is the use of an eye shadow base before applying the eye color. This will help you avoid eye shadow creasing, bring out the true color tone, and make the color last longer. An eye color base can be the same concealer you use to hide blemishes. Or it can be an actual eye shadow base primer such as Urban Decay’s Eye Shadow Primer Potion ($17, www.UrbanDecay.com). Generally when applying eye shadow you want to use three tones; a light, a medium, and a dark tone. Apply the medium tone all over the lid, the darker tone in the outside corner, and the lighter tone on the inside corner.

Once you apply your eye shadow color or colors, you want to make sure to blend, blend, and blend. The more you blend the better your makeup will look regardless of the number of colors used on the lid. You want to invest in good blending brush. Try Stila’s All Over Blend Brush ($24, http://www.stila.com)

Since eye liner is a staple in makeup, it’s all about how it’s applied. Long gone are the days of the cat eye (eye liner extended out past the lash line). Eye liner should be used to emphasize your natural shape of your eye, not to create a new shape. Full eye liner, used above and below the eyes, is in. Eye lines can be created with liquid liners, eye liner pencils, or eye shadows. If you are using shadow as your liner, apply the shadow with a firm angled brush, liner brush, or q-tip.

The days of thin, over tweezed brows are so 2008. Giving your brows a nice natural shape is always recommended, but avoid over tweezing and waxing. Make the most of your natural brows, keep them full and luscious. This gives a more youthful appearance. Many are able to tame their brows by simply applying clear mascara or a brow gel. For those of us who need to have our brows professionally shaped, I personally prefer threading. Threading appears to be the most precise way of shaping the brows. Unlike tweezing, which removes one hair at a time and can result in an uneven brow shape, threading removes an entire row of hair at one time and gives a precise shape.

In the spirit of appearing as natural as possible, try easing up on the mascara. Brown eyed girls should give natural black mascara a try. Your lashes will still stand out without the sometimes harsh look of jet black mascara. Fret not my beauties; I know we all love our dreamy lashes. Don’t forget to curl your lashes to give your eyes a wide open look. For those with strait lashes try a heated curler to get a glamorous curl in your lashes, try the Eyecurl II heated eyelash curler ($28, http://www.YabyCosmetics.com).

What’s Your Favorite Type of Eyeliner?
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Pin Curling hair before working out

Preserving Your Hairstyle

Post workout style

Look great after a sweat


A study conducted by the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, in Winston-Salem, N.C., suggested that 31% of the 103 African-American women surveyed admitted that they exercise less because it may harm their hairstyle, according to a study released in November, 2007. All of the women studied agreed that it is important to lead a healthy life, which includes exercise. Exercise is especially important in the African American community because we are more prone to diabetes, hypertension, and complications due to obesity, including heart disease. Though we face many health concerns that exercise will combat, African American women have a different deterrent from working out; their hair.

Many ethnic women wear their hair straightened whether it’s done chemically or thermally (with a hot tool such as a flat iron).  African American women are known to spend more money on their hair than women of any other ethnicity. This explains their apprehension to exercise and undoing their costly hair style. It is not uncommon for an African American woman to go to the salon and spend $100 on her hair service. After spending money on their hair service, many women feel that it would be a waste their money to “sweat out” their hair style at the gym.  Any woman who has naturally curly or coarse hair understands the difficulty of keeping their hair straightened, while working up a sweat.

Perspiration causes the hair to become wet and revert back to its naturally curly and/or coarse state. Sweat, which is comprised of water and salts (sodium and potassium), can make the hair appear dry and dull. In order for her to wear her hair in her preferred straightened hair style she would have to repeat the straightening process. That process generally includes shampooing, conditioning, roller setting or blow drying, and flat ironing the hair. This process can take hours. Contrary to popular belief, curly and coarse hair is fragile. The hair cannot be shampooed and thermally styled numerous times per week. Over shampooing the hair will cause it to become dry and break.

Here are a few tips for preserving your hair style through your workout. If you are going to the gym or for a run try these style savers. For straightened hair, try brushing your hair into a firm ponytail. Make sure to use an elastic holder covered in cloth and a holder without a metal clasp to avoid ripping your hair. Place a sweat band at your hairline, this not only helps to keep sweat out of your eyes, it will keep your edges in place. Once the hair is in a ponytail twist it and secure it with a hairpin. This will allow the hair to retain body and bounce in your post workout hair style.

If your hair has been curled with a hot curler or roller set, try a pin curls. This is done by taking large sections of the hair, combing each section into one large curl, twisting the curl down onto the scalp and securing the curl with a bobby pin or metal two prong metal clip. Six to ten large pin curls should suffice. After your hair has dried, finger style your hair into place. This preserves your curls and keeps the hair full of body and volume.

If you are taking part in water sports, wrap your hair around your head in a circular motion using metal duckbill clips to hold the hair in place if necessary. Cover your hair with a satin or silk scarf. Finally, cover the scarf with a latex or silicone swim cap.

There are many convenient hair options for African American women who workout including natural styles. A woman with natural hair does not have any chemicals, such as a relaxer or hair color, in her hair. Sisters who wear their hair in locs, natural curls, braids, twists, and other natural hairstyles are less likely to let their hair stand in the way of a good workout.

Many women question how often they should shampoo their hair to keep it healthy. I recommend shampooing your hair every seven to ten days depending on your hair texture and the amount of oil your hair produces. For example, if you have fine hair that falls flat or gets weighed down, shampoo your hair every five days with a volumizing shampoo and conditioner. If your hair is coarse and appears dry, shampoo it every 10 days with a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner.

So whether you wear your mane curly, straightened, or natural you can no longer use your hair as an excuse to avoid exercise. Your hair can be wrapped up, pinned up, or brushed back. In any event, your hair style can be preserved. Feel empowered and don’t let your hair stand in the way of improving your health, and your sexy!

Thanks for checking out my new blog. Please let me know what questions you’d like for me to answer. Thanks!

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