The leading Jamaican newspaper, the Jamaica Gleaner (of which I have fond memories, my mum used to order her copy from the local newsagents every week… back in the day!) announced earlier this week that four of the island’s most well-known women have been selected to be L’Oréal ambassadors in Jamaica.
The four women include:
Former beauty queens Joan McDonald and Sara Lawrence.
Joan McDonald is widely known as the first Miss Jamaica World, having won the inaugural beauty pageant in 1978. She represented Jamaica at the Miss World contest in the United Kingdom.
She has also served her country as a cultural ambassador in Europe and in the United States of America.
McDonald has distinguished herself in public service by working with many community groups and non-governmental organisations. She has been a branch director at the Jamaica Red Cross and was a director and public-relations officer of the Lay Magistrates Association of Jamaica and a trained facilitator for Restorative and Community Justice Practices. She is still deeply involved in the beauty pageant that launched her career and has been a grooming consultant for Miss Jamaica World Pageants and Miss Festival Queen competition.
Sara Lawrence was the representative for Jamaica in the Miss World 2006 beauty
pageant. In March 2007, she relinquished the Miss Jamaica World title upon announcing her pregnancy, becoming the first winner in the Jamaican contest’s 23-year-history to do so. (Source: Wikipeadia)
Lawrence was born in Kingston, she went on to graduate from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia, where she majored in biology with an emphasis on pre-medicine.
After winning the Jamaican title in August 2006, Lawrence placed in the first six at the Miss World competition held in Warsaw, Poland, where she was also named Miss World Caribbean.
Upon relinquishing her crown in March 2007, Lawrence said in a statement that she had “taken a deeply personal decision to face up to my responsibilities as one who expects to become a mother later this year. I believe with all that is within me that it is my moral obligation to do what I believe to be ethically correct and follow what I believe in my heart to be right.”
Lawrence, however, received overwhelming support from the Jamaican public for her decision to have her baby. She received the backing of the Miss World Organisation and was allowed to retain both her crowns for the full duration of the reign. I am pleased that she is to be one of the faces of the new campaign…beauty isn’t perfect, we all have had challenges that we have had to overcome in life and we all deserve a second chance from time to time!
The other two women are economic consultant Paulette Mitchell and student Kacis Fennell. I couldn’t find out much information about these two women – but I am sure we will get to know them better as the campaigns unfold.
The announcement was made at a glittering event called ‘L’Oréal Live: Bringing Beauty to Life’ and was hosted by the Pioneer Manufacturing Distribution Company Limited (PMD) – the local distributor of both the L’Oréal and Garnier brand of products . (Source: The Jamaica Gleaner).
In presenting the concept behind the L’Oréal Ambassadors programme in Jamaica, director of PMD, Winston Barrett, said “PMD was seeking to emulate one of the most innovative programmes adopted by the international beauty-care manufacturer. The Jamaican L’Oréal ambassadors will be the faces of the brands both locally and in the rest of the Caribbean”. This marketing strategy, often dubbed ‘Glocalisation’ is a key tenant of the make up giant’s plans for future growth.
Glocalisation serves as a means of combining the idea of globalisation with that of local considerations. In a recent interview with Beauty Inc (part of wwd.com), the CEO of L’Oréal, Jean-Paul Agon, stated that this “new concept” essentially moves “beyond globalisation” and forms an essential part of the firm’s efforts to add 1bn people to its customer base.
“In order to conquer and loyalise these consumers around the world, the idea is to build from the brands that we have,” he said.
“The second step is to make sure that these brands, in every part of the world, have ranges of products that are completely specifically designed, formulated and adapted to the needs and demands of the local consumers. The L’Oréal Paris brand is the same brand in China that it is in the USA or in Europe, but the products are different.”
Agon also argued that such an approach could come to define the next ten years, when 2bn people globally will enter the middle class for the first time.
Agon is building upon the transformation the business underwent when former CEO Lindsay Owen-Jones was at the helm. He led the Parisian company for 20 years (and guess what..he is from Wales!!)
I remember reading about Owen-Jones in Time Magazine back in 2004 (yes, I have been on this beauty thing for a LONG time…), where he was named as one of the 100 most influential people on the face of the planet. He was being recognised for his ambition and success in creating a truly global beauty business that set out to meet the needs of women from across the globe. L’Oréal purchased the hair care brands Soft-Sheen and Carson in 1998 and 2000 respectively and merged the two brands to create the Soft-Sheen-Carson division we know today (brands such as Dark & Lovely belong to the division…but you all knew that right!!)
In 2003 the L’Oréal Institute for Ethnic Hair & Skin Research, a R&D research laboratory that was dedicated to understanding more about Black, Asian and Hispanic hair and skin was also unveiled ….although it now seems like the facility is no longer functioning…I scoured the L’Oreal website for more information…but to no avail. 😦
Despite this, I am really excited that these beautiful Jamaican women will be joining L’Oréal’s diverse global spokespersons such as veterans Beyoncé, Frieda Pinto, Kerry Washington and the latest women of colour to join the roster, Ethiopian born model Liya Kebede.
I will most definitely be keeping my eye out for the initial campaigns!
A few posts ago I was enthusing about the newest foundation launches with shades for dark skin!
I will reviewing some of these new offerings over the course of the next few weeks, letting you know my thoughts based upon 3 criteria:
- Colour Match – is it detectable?
- Coverage and Wear – how does it perform during the day?
- Marketing Support – many woman of colour bemoan the fact that they are underrepresented in the marketing and advertising of beauty products, and as a result conclude that these products are ‘not for them’. I will assess the marketing support for each product to see how well each brand represents the markets that they are targeting.
I am a loyal MAC Studio Fix user and I have been wearing shade NW45 for years. It is a good match for me…just so you know what I am benchmarking the trial foundations against.
…Teint Idole Utra 24H by Lancôme
As I mentioned in my previous post, Skin Deep, Lancôme offered customers a 7 day trial of their newest foundation. From the adverts in the press I suspected that I would be shade 13 (Sienne)…and what do you know…I was right!
Interestingly, it was back in 2005 that Lancôme identified a need to extend its foundation colour palette. Employees of the USA laboratories noticed they were not all able to find the right shade among those available on the market. Too red, not dark enough, overly ash, not vibrant enough, too orangey…
Thus L’Oreal (the parent company Lancôme belongs to) created what was dubbed the “Women of Color” association, and these women decided to blend a shade range perfectly tailored to their specific needs with shades for every skin tone.
Lancôme soon committed to support “Women of Color” with the launch of an international study. Using colorimetric measurements, 15,000 complexion colour points were observed on around 1,000 women. This international study gave rise to the shades unveiled in the Teint Idole Ultra 24H range!
The new shades suitable for a darker skin tone include:
Shades 10 (Praline), 11 (Muscade), 12 (Ambre), 13 (Sienne), 14 (Brownie) range from sandy to more intense tones and these shades been developed for every mixed-race, South-American, Afro-American, Indian-American, Antillean or North-African complexion. Shade 15 (Acajou), the darkest shade is designed for ebony-toned skin.
So that was the science…but what do I think??
Although Lancôme professes to have a shade for all, with only 6 shades for women with a darker skin tone, I am not 100% convinced.
Sienne is a rich toffee colour with deep yellow undertones.
It did blend well to match my skin tone…however upon application to my face (with my fabulous BECCA foundation brush), it was slightly to dark…but I know that shade 12 would be to light, so unfortunately it was a mismatch for me.
Colour Match Score: 6/10
Coverage and Wear
The foundation provided a medium coverage, and was easy to apply. If you do have any imperfections that require extra coverage (as I do!) you may need to use a concealer too. The foundation has a subtle floral fragrance, which was surprising – but it was pleasant to inhale the fragrance as I applied the makeup.
It dries to give a velvety matte finish. My skin tends to get shiny throughout the day, thus I was concerned that the liquid formulation would begin to slide, but I found that it wore well although I did need a little powder to take down the shine. All in all I was very impressed!
Coverage and Wear score: 8/10
Lancôme has backed the launch of Teint Idole 24H with a heavyweight campaign which has been highly visible in store, outdoor, online and in the press.
Lancôme’s global HQ has done a fantastic job in communicating that this range is indeed for all women…and I was commenting to a friend just last week (yes…I am always talking about beauty!!), that I believe that this is the first major Lancôme campaign that DOES NOT feature a Caucasian woman!! It is fronted by Tunisian beauty, Hanaa Ben Abdesslem and the stunning Arenis Sosa.
A fabulous campaign!
Marketing Support score: 10/10
So there you have it! All in all, if you can find your colour match, I would highly recommend this foundation!
I found out today (via Twitter of course!) that the product line created by iconic American makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin (who passed away 10 years ago), has been launched in the UK for the first time and is now available at the mecca of premium beauty that is Space NK. This was heartening news because I have had a deep admiration for Aucoin and his handiwork – which is nothing short of spectacular – for a number of years, after purchasing his bestselling book, Face Forward. Even at first glance, the cover demonstrates Aucoin’s approach to beauty as he morphs a black and white woman into one incredible portrait. I was awed by his sheer talent; there is no denying that this man has a gift. His ability to transform was simply breathtaking and page after page of the book pays homage to the artisan that he was. From the onset of his career he has been a champion of beauty for all women, all ages, all races and at the age of 32, Aucoin launched a revolutionary line of makeup whilst he was the Creative Director at Revlon. It was 1993. The New Nakeds (later renamed The Nakeds) was a groundbreaking line that was a strong counterpoint to cosmetics available at the time. The editor of Allure magazine says of the line: “It may not seem like it now, but it was a powerful moment. Before, there were makeup lines for white women and others for black women. But he worked to design makeup for all skin tones. The idea was to empower a woman by revealing her natural beauty, and not to cover her up with layers of product.” Kevyn went on to create his own line in 2001. He worked with many leading black female celebrities including Tina Turner, Janet Jackson, Grace Jones, Naomi Campbell, Mary J Blige and the late Whitney Houston
Here are some images of his creations.
Kevyn Aucoin 1962 – 2002
2012 is a big year for the Caribbean; both Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago celebrate 50 years of independence, the fastest man on the face of the planet – a proud Jamaican – is set to take centre stage at the London Olympics and the crème de la crème of the Caribbean Fashion and Creative industries showed at London Fashion Week for the very first time – as part of the British Fashion Council’s inaugural International Fashion Showcase.
The event was established to mark the Olympics and ‘honour the Olympic values of international respect, excellence, equality and friendship’. The Caribbean Collections debuted at the start of LFW on the 17th and 18th of February and is supported by the Caribbean Export Development Agency, the Caribbean Fashion Industry Association and JAMPRO – Jamaica Promotions Corporation.
I was ecstatic when I heard about the showcase, as a proud Briton of Jamaican heritage, it was marvellous to hear that a side of the Caribbean – the creative, industrious side, which is so often overlooked by the mainstream media – would be showcased for all to see.
Caribbean fashion is a well established industry, with Caribbean Fashion Week celebrating its 11th anniversary last year. The industry leaders are now looking to export markets for the next phase of growth.
The Chairman of the Caribbean Fashion Industry Association, Kingsley Cooper states that “..the exhibition is really about showing the fashion industry that we have design talent to compete in a global arena. The contribution which the islands can make to fashion has gone under the world’s fashion radar for too long. We are delighted to be a part of London Fashion Week and as organisers of Caribbean Fashion week, we see this as a big step for Caribbean fashion, as we continue to develop our industry and position our designers to take their place on the world stage – our time is now”.
I visited the showcase on the Friday, which was hosted in the Charing Cross Hotel and was awed by the extensive range of designs, styles and themes that were on display.
The exhibition featured designers handpicked from fifteen islands across the Caribbean and creations inspired by the cultural melting pot that the Caribbean represents – African, Spanish, French and British influences were evident in the pieces on display.
Haitian born Phelicia Dell, creator of VèVè Collections was showcasing her line of handcrafted bags, inspired by the distinctive style of her home nation.
Dell was once a struggling artisan, who began to build her empire by giving away samples of her work for free. This foresight and sacrifice paid off, for in 2008, she had the opportunity to enter Diane von Furstenberg’s ‘Global Handbag Design Competition’. The DVF competition solicited designs from women artisans in Haiti, Guatemala, Nigeria and Cambodia. Phelicia won the competition and in 2009, Diane von Furstenberg featured her winning handbags online and in DVF stores around the globe, to mark International Women’s Day.
Sandra Kennedy’s (Jamaica), Beach Collection represents the definitive resort lifestyle. Hand crafted in 100% West Indian Sea Island Cotton – the rarest, silkiest and strongest cotton in the world – the Montego Bay based designer pays homage to her mother for her career in fashion and design. Her mother began working in fashion here in the UK for none other than Marks and Spencer. She then returned to Jamaica and passed on her love for sewing to her daughter.
Kennedy is inspired by her home in every sense and the indigenous and unique hand crafted detail is incorporated into her collection.
Sandra Kennedy Collection, Half Moon PO Box 2450, Rose Hall, Montego Bay, Jamaica WI
I also caught up with Kevin Ayoung-Julien (Tobago) of kaj Designs and Arlene Martin (Jamaica) of drennaLUNA.
Kevin launched his brand in 2005, as a boutique operation producing custom-made, one-of-a-kind pieces.
In 2009 he debuted his inaugural resort collection, Shore Culture. Ribbons of ombrè and tie-dyed chiffons, silk rayons, satins and organza are constructed to flatter the female form and highlight her sensual silhouette.
A self-taught designer, Kevin is not defined by convention and likes to be guided by his
intuition and a creative openness. I found this to be evident in his creations and I too am also a big believer in following your heart as you pursue your endeavours. His partnership with Liza Miller (General Manager of kaj Designs), a leading marketing consultant and publicist in the Caribbean, has created a powerful collaborative force combining the creative and the strategic, which will undoubtedly set the company up for future success.
Arlene Martin of drennaLUNA debuted her recent collection – The Collection 1975 which is a breath of nostalgia of the fun, funk and fashion frenzy that was the 1970s , and would not look out of place in a swanky bar or classy cocktail party right here in London.
Arlene has had a passion for design and sewing from as far back as she can remember, and she warmly recounted to me the memory of being given her first sewing machine at the age of 12 years old. With skills that have largely been self- taught, she actively took up the craft as a hobby in her late teens and over the years, her eye for detail mushroomed into something extraordinary.
Although passionate about fashion she was encouraged by her father to continue with her academic studies and she is now a MBA graduate and a practicing business consultant who has worked on varied national and international projects, proving that one’s creativity does not have to be stifled as one develops a more traditional career path and that following your dreams should always remains a priority.
She describes her design aesthetic as ‘simple yet sophisticated’ and the drenna LUNA woman as ‘confident and bold’ – who wouldn’t want to fit that description!!
Caribbean Fashion Week 2012 will be held between the 7th and the 11th of June, in Kingston Jamaica and the Caribbean Collections are set to return to London for the SS13 London Fashion Week in September – so with a few gold medals in the bag (hopefully!) – there is a lot to look forward to and to celebrate from the beautiful islands of the Caribbean!
I am always in eager anticipation of the InStyle Best Beauty Buys supplement. Now in its 12th year it has served as a bible to beauty enthusiasts like myself!
The winning products are selected by the great and the good of the British and international hair and beauty industries, including eyebrow queen Vaishaly Patel, fragrance king Roja Dove, makeup mavens Mary Greenwell and Ruby Hammer and hair connoisseurs Philip Kinglsey and Daniel Hersheson.
Many of the winning products have stood the test of time and have made multiple appearences on the hallowed pages of the supplement – yet every year there are a number of new products and brands to tantilise and excite!
This year I thought that I would give my opinion on the winning products that I think are the best buys for dark skin.
Best Under-Eye Concealer
Touche Elcat, YSL.
Now that the one of the most coveted premium beauty produts is available in 7 shades, it can be enjoyed by women of all (or most) skin tones.
Topping the poll once again, GHDs are great for smoothing out kinks in relaxed hair or your weave! Make sure you use a heat protecting product too! I LOVE Frizz Ease Thermal Serum – it is not too greasy and perfect for my hair extensions! GHD also make a flat iron for thicker hair, with wider plates. These work well with natural hair.
Best Lipgloss and Best Compact
Lipglass and Studio Fix by MAC
When I first moved to London some 12 years ago, I discovered the MAC counter in Selfridges and a long standing relationship was formed.
I am a gloss junkie! The glossier, the sticker, the better! I have tried umpteen brands – both mass and premium – and none really come close to the Lipglass collection …although Stila Lipglazes are a close second :-).
My top shades are ‘Wet, Wild, Wonderful’ and ‘Oh Baby’. Last year, MAC USA collaborated with several leading US beauty bloggers to create a limited edition collection of glosses. Afrobella (who is dubbed the ‘godmother’ of brown beauty blogging) created the most incredible purple Lipglass for women of colour called ‘All of My Purple Life’.
The shade was so popular that it sold out one week after the launch!! Unfortunately the collection was not launched internationally….
And what can I say about Studio Fix?? Studio Fix NW45... it been a part of my life for oh so long!! MAC dosen’t work for every woman of colour -so I am really pleased to see that more and more brands are launching products for dark skin – but Studio Fix has been a staple in my makeup bag…and will continue to be so!
Best for Pigmentation
Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Remover
For many people of colour , hyper pigmentation is a real challenge. The over production of menalin as a result of trauma to the skin leave dark marks and an uneven skintone that can be quite distressing. I did try this product when it first launched, but to be honest, I didn’t really give it a chance…products such as these really need time for you to see a result.
Even Better has won many awards and was even voted as the best ‘Prestige Hyperpigmentation Treatment’ by readers of the US African American women’s magazine, Essence.
Remember! SPF is critical when treating pigmentation – so use a moisturiser with additional sun and UVA protection!
Best Powder Blusher
Blush in Orgasm – NARS
This blusher is a cult beauty classic and it really does suit everyone. If you are more of a caramel skintone it will look deligtful on you.
Personally I think NARS have THE best blusher range in the industry! The shades that I own that are just sublime on my skin tone are Exhibit A , Angelica, Cactus Flower and Taj Mahal.
So there you have it! My round up of the Best Beauty Buys for Dark Skin!
Surprisingly (especially to those who know me) I was wide awake at 2 am this morning when the news broke that Whitney Houston had died at just 48 years old.
The Twittersphere was awash with tributes to an amazing singer and I was surprised and touched to see that unlike in the US, all the top UK Twitter trends related to the fallen star.
As I reminisced over her portfolio of songs; ‘One Moment In Time’, ‘Dance With Somebody’, ‘My Love is Your Love’. – and the most powerful of power ballads – her rendition of Dolly Parton’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ – a lump did rise in my throat as I thought about her tragic demise.
I, along with countless others in the UK had brought the single (on tape…oh yes…it was back in the day!!). The song reigned supreme and was number 1 in the UK official top 40 for 10 triumphant weeks, setting the record for the longest run at the top by a solo female artist in the history of the British singles chart. Houston’s single was also a massive international success, peaking at number one of the singles charts in almost all countries, selling 4,591,000 copies in the US. The single also hit pole position for ten weeks in Australia, five weeks in Austria, seven weeks for Belgium, eight weeks in France, six weeks in Germany, eight weeks in Ireland, two weeks in Italy, six weeks in Netherlands, 11 weeks in New Zealand, nine weeks in Norway, six weeks in Sweden and eight weeks in Switzerland (thanks Wikipedia!).
On the B-side of the single was this song.
Take a listen – it speaks for itself.
Irrespective of what happens in this life, we are loved.