British Beauty – Going for Gold

Olympic fever is certainly hotting up!

As mentioned in my previous blog  I am really excited about the year ahead – and the impending Olympic Games is a major reason for this!

I was selected to be an official Games Maker in December last year, which absolutely made my day!!  I truly believe that the Games will have a lasting legacy on London and on the nation and I am humbled to have been given a chance to be involved.

My first training session is in February….will let you know how it goes!!

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In November last year the global FMCG company Proctor and Gamble (P&G), owners of  brands such as Olay, Pantene, Ariel, Pampers,  Max Factor and Gillette, announced that it will be supporting 11  British athletes leading up to and during the London 2012 Games and these athletes will act as ambassadors  for the company.

P&G's Olympic Ambassadors

The selection includes the incredibly talented female athletes Jeanette Kwakye, Keri-Anne Payne, Victoria Pendleton, Paula Radcliffe, Jessica Ennis  and Jenna Randall.

Yesterday, Pantene, Olay and Max Factor announced partnerships with cyclist Victoria Pendleton, pentathlon champion Jessica Ennis and swimmer Keri-Anne Payne respectively.

Victoria Pendleton, Keri-Anne Payne and Jessica Ennis MBE

All 3 athletes are worthy role models and are indeed beautiful women.  I was particularly thrilled to see that Jessica Ennis (MBE) will be the face of Olay.

Ennis is of a mixed heritage background, the offspring of a Jamaican father and English mother.  In a week where race relations in Britain is again front page news – with the conviction and sentencing of  two of the murderers of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence dominating the headlines-  I hope that Ennis’ partnership with Olay will serve to remind the nation that unity and cohesion can be and is a hallmark of our society and that we should not let the negative incidences overshadow this important fact.

However….I do have to admit that I was a little disappointed to see that 100m sprinter Jeanette Kwyake  was not a part of the beauty ambassador group – after all Black women wash their hair, moisturise their skin and wear mascara too!

Jeanette Kwakye - Going for Gold

In fact, according to the market research agency Mintel,  British women of ethnic origin spend up to 7 times more on cosmetics and toiletries that her Caucasian counterpart.  A report published by the agency in 2009, stated that the market for Black or Asian beauty products in the UK remains a niche one, valued at £70m, or just 2% of the total market for women’s haircare, skincare and makeup, well below their percentage of the population. This is blamed partly on the fact that there is a “lack of commitment by mainstream companies to ethnic beauty needs”.

The report also identified that a lack of advertising spend and use of models that represent this market was a source of frustration for women of colour .  In my eyes P&G missed a perfect opportunity to demonstrate that it is in touch with the needs of its consumers and to lead the way in showcasing the beauty of the multicultural Britain that we all reside in.

What are your thoughts?  Let me know!

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Beautiful Black Britain

Happy New Year!!

I am so excited about the year ahead.  There will be no other place to be than in London this year! So you will see that I have updated my blog name to BeautyPulseLONDON.  I will be bringing you more beauty and fashion news and views from this incredible city in 2012.

As we look ahead to all that 2012 will unveil, I thought that it would be apt to first take a look back.  As 2011 drew to a close, I felt immensely proud to be a Black woman in Britain – our beauty, intellect and talents really shone for all to see.

Here are some of my highlights:

Jourdan Dunn – RELOADED

Jourdan Dunn for YSL Beauté

At just 21, West London born supermodel Jourdan Dunn had a stellar 2011.  She was the face of the YSL  Touche Éclat campaign that launched the iconic product in 2 new shades – suitable for darker skin tones.

Dunn and Delevinge

Her relationship with British superbrand Burberry continued to blossom.  She featured in both the S/S and A/W campaigns and also was the face of the 2011 Burberry Beauty campaign (alongside Cara Delevinge).  I love this tutorial that can be found on the Burberry YouTube channel showcasing how Jourdan’s nude look can be recreated.  Can I just say I *heart* the powder brush!!

Another strong  partnership that Jourdan has forged is with the cult British  fashion and culture magazine i-D…I will say no more about this image – as a picture speaks a thousand words!

Stunning!

Jourdan proved that she is more than a pretty face last year, she was very vocal about the way young black people were being portrayed as the main perpetrators of the summer riots that revenged many of the nation’s major cities.  In an article in the London newspaper The Evening Standard, Dunn stated that she was “annoyed by claims that all the rioters were young and black, adding: “Not all young people are criminals”.

I am looking forward to seeing and hearing more from Miss Dunn in 2012 as she continues to do a stellar job representing British Black women in a positive light.

Positive Hair Day

Sarah Naomi Lee (Image: Plenty Productions)

I was having a lazy morning in late November,  listening to Women’s Hour on  my favourite radio station, BBC Radio 4 and my ears pricked up when a lady of mixed  heritage discussed the ‘issues’ that British Black and Mixed- Raced women face when dealing with their hair!  Her name was Sarah Naomi Lee and she is a playwright, former BBC producer and Creative Director of Plenty Productions – a community interest  company that facilitates high quality, collaborative, community-based arts and media projects.

Sarah recounted her experience of growing up in Brigton and coming to terms with her own cultural identity which was expressed in many ways, including in the way she wore her hair.  She went on to found the Postive Hair Day workshops  – a fantastic project  based in Brighton which uses hair as a focus for building a greater understanding of  Black and mixed heritage people’s identity and culture.  The project runs free workshops and activities including  a regular Hair Care workshop where free  advice and tips are offered on how to care for Black and mixed heritage hair.  She was on the radio program to promote her latest venture – Snakes and Ladders.  Snakes and Ladders is a bold and powerful comic drama about race, identity and the testing of family loyalties and waspartly inspired by stories and memories collected form the  Positive Hair Day project.

The work was showcased in November of  last year – and unfortunately I couldn’t make the the performance …so I delighted to find a couple of videos of the play on YouTube.

Got It Covered

Black women graced the covers of numerous UK glossies last year. Leading the pack was none other than Miss Rowland – who featured on the covers of Cosmopolitan, Stylist, Health & Fitness and Marie Claire to name but a few.   Kelly’s make-up for many of these shoots and her X-Factor appearances was the handy work of  the talented British  MUA, Pauline Briscoe.

Celebrity MUA - Pauline Briscoe

 

Recreate Kelly’s celebrity looks with tips from Pauline featured on the glamourmagazine.co.uk website.

 

 

 

 

 

Stylist also featured supermodel Alex Wek on the cover of the special London Fashion Week edition of the magazine….

Incredible! (Image: blog.fabmagazineonline.com)

…and even John Lewis (yes – John Lewis – the epitome of middle England) featured the stunning black model Aba (of Zone Models) on the cover of the Christmas issue of their consumer magazine Edition.

Fabulous.

Never knowingly under sold or fashionably upstaged!


What’s the Alternative?

On Sunday evening I attended the 28th annual Alternative Hair Show at the grandiose Royal Albert Hall in London.

This spectacular extravaganza attracts stylists from the four corners of the world – all eager to experience the very best in avant-garde styling.

Tony Rizzo - founder of Alternative Hair

Following the death of his son from a rare form of leukaemia, Tony Rizzo, the  event’s founder (who is described as one of the most influential hairdressers in the world),  launched the show in 1983, to help raise funds for research into this debilitating disease.   At the time, leukaemia was still a poorly understood illness that affected both children and adults, often with tragic consequences.

From humble beginnings, the Alternative Hair Show has grown into a prestigious hairdressing event, hosting leading teams and inspirational hair artists from all over the globe.

To date the  Alternative Hair Show has raised over £8 million and is a key supporter of the charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, the only UK charity solely dedicated to research into blood cancers, including leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

The show was a sensory explosion! The lighting,  choreography and styling were AMAZING!!

It was great to see the maestros of British hairdressing take to the stage, including  Anthony Mascalo (of the mighty Toni and Guy empire) and  Anne Veck – an award winning avant-garde stylist.  I was also enamoured by the creations of leading artistic teams from names that are synonymous with the British hairdressing industry – the likes of  Collinge, Sassoon and TIGI.

The turnout for the event was phenomenal – so many stylists came out in full force to support this worthy cause and to celebrate their chosen art – and it was certainly a pleasure to behold!


In the Mix

I am really looking forward to the 3-part BBC series Mixed Britannia, which will unveil the untold history of Britain’s mixed race community.

A mixed couple on their wedding day in the 1940's (Image: BBC)

Race relations have not always been rosy here in the UK – riotsmarches and even murder leave an indelible blemish on the history of the nation – but as a young, black woman, who was born and bred in the UK, I am proud to call myself British.  I am proud to be British because I know that fundamentally the core values of tolerance and acceptance are weaved into the very fabric of society and are upheld by the vast majority of citizens.

According to the BBC News website, the mixed-race (or multiracial) demographic is the fastest growing ethnic minority in the UK and the number of mixed-race people in Britain is expected to double between 2001 and 2020, when demographers predict it will reach 1.3 million people.

I thought that it would be fitting to pay tribute to some of the leading British women of mixed heritage, who are making an impact in our nation and around the world.

Jade Thompson for Revlon - The winner of Britain and Ireland's Next Top Model 2011

Thandie Newton - Cambridge educated, A-list actress

Zadie Smith - award winning novelist, essayist and Professor of Creative Writing at the University of New York

Oona Tamsyn King, Baroness of Bow and former Labour MP

Dame Kelly Holmes, DBE, MBE - Double Olympic Gold medallist

Dame Linda Penelope Dobbs, DBE, styled The Honourable Mrs Justice Dobbs - the first non-white person to be appointed to the senior judiciary of England and Wales, being appointed a high court judge in 2004

Leona Lewis - Hackney born, mega songstress

Mixed Britannia will begin tomorrow (6th October) on BBC 2 at 9pm.


Model Behaviour

16 year old Northampton beauty, Nyasha Matonhodze for Louis Vuitton (AW/11)

Is it me or has there been a surge of black models being used in major beauty and fashion campaigns and mainstream editorial?

Since the beginning of 2011 I have been ecstatic to see more and more brands feature black models – showcasing our beauty and diversity.

Here are a few of my favourite campaigns and editorial images.

British 'model of the moment' Jourdan Dunn for YSL Touch Éclat (SS11)

Laura Mercier Fall 2011 Collection

Recent beauty feature in UK Grazia

I’ve also recently discovered the fabulous website Beauty Is Diverse™   The site is dedicated to celebrating the diversity of women of all ethnicities.  Its extensive archive  dates back to March 2010 and catalogues hundreds of images from the worlds of fashion, beauty and celebrity – a true treasure trove of glamour and style!  Follow them on Twitter here – I certainly did!


I heart beauty

“For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it.  for every truth there is an ear somewhere to hear it. For every love there is a heart somewhere to receive it”.

Ivan Panin (Russian mathematician 1855-1942)


Hi!

Welcome to my inaugural post!  It has been a long time coming – but it is finally here!

You will get to know more about me as I blog about the wonderful world of beauty – an industry that is worth billions and employs millions worldwide.

I blog as a Black British woman who happens to live in one of the most fabulous cities on the face of this earth!

Any guesses??

I am staunchly proud to be British and I am a champion and advocate of British Beauty.  Look out for my monthly posts showcasing a British Brands that I love and I am sure that you will love too.

I am also extremely proud of my heritage – the beauty of the black woman is captivating, sensual and unique.  I will share my knowledge and experiences of purchasing and using beauty products that are suitable for our skin and hair type.

I heart beauty because…

… it has the power to transform

…. it is more than skin deep

… it makes me smile.

Beauty is my passion.