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!

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Back to Basics

I was recently contacted by the fabulous  Kay Montano (Creative Director of MyFace cosmetics and Chanel Make Up ambassador) via Twitter…yes little old me!

Kay wanted to know about the choice of foundations for darker skin tones here in the UK.  As I reflected upon her question I really was gladdened by the fact that the choice HAS got better over the years…

….I remember my first foray into the world of make up as a young and exuberant 14 year old – I bounded to the local chemist with my pocket money in hand to purchase a concealer.   Imagine my UTTER disappointment when I found  not a single brand suitable for my chocolate skin tone!

I soon realised I had to save a bit more pocket money to fulfill my desires.  I discovered  the department store brand Fashion Fair at my local Debenhams!  That marble pink compact (yes it was pink back in the day!) was my pride and joy…but the option to experience other brands were few and far between…times have REALLY changed.

Now there are a plethora of brands to chose from.  The beauty landscape has changed beyond recognition.  It may be still a challenge to get your hands on some of these brands ..especially if you live outside of London –  however most are only a click away.

The usual suspects – MAC and Bobbi Brown have a loyal – almost cult like following – but there are other brands that one can consider when choosing a foundation to suit your  beautiful black skin.

Illamasqua

Now I just had to commence my list with a British brand! Illamasqua is the brainchild of the founder of the ubiquitous GHDs and boasts an abundance of shades and textures of foundations.

Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation

The latest range to join the line up is the Skin Base foundation which is inspired by the cult Asian market Beauty Balm creams (also called BB creams for short!)

The BB phenomenon has traversed from the East and has exploded in the West! A number of  brands have recently launched BB creams – including  Garnier and Clinique – yet Illamasqua  is the only brand to have launched a ‘BB-esque’ product suitable for darker skins.  Skin Base comes in 18 skin loving shades – 6 of which are suitable for Black and Asian skin tones.

 Try before you buy at the flagship Illamasqua store, Beak Street, London, Selfridges Oxford Street, London,  The Manchester Trafford Centre, The Birmingham Bullring, Fenwick Newcastle, Debenhams Glasgow, Belfast and Cardiff or shop  online at www.illamasqua.com

BECCA

Australian brand BECCA is like a treasure waiting to be unearthed.    With 34 concealer colours and 34 (yes 34!) foundation shades there is sure to be a colour to match your skin tone perfectly.

The brande is loved by stars such as yummy mummy Beyoncè , supermodel Alex Wek and the ever so lovely Kelly Rowland (are you loving the X-Factor as much as I am??).

BECCA Stick foundation

I became acquainted with the brand when it was retailed in Space NK (alas, this is no longer the case.),  and I love the philosophy behind the brand – to enable ‘ ALL women, regardless of age or ethnicity, to achieve a natural looking, flawless complexion’.

Visit the sumptuous Becca Boudoir at 91A Pelham Road London  or shop online at www.beccacosmetics.com

black Up

I first came across this Parisian brand in 2006 but unfortunately I was put off by the name – it reminded too much of the infamous Minstrel shows of 19th century America!

However I have recently grown to love  the brand, mostly due to the exquisite, aspirational  imagery.

black UP SS11 campaign

black Up SS11 campaign

Available at Debenhams, the range consists of highly pigmented colour cosmetics, as well as a comprehensive foundation collection.

NARS

I am totally besotted with the brand! The sexy packaging, potent colours and evocative product names (the best selling item in the range is called..err…Orgasm!) make it a pleasure to use.  Created by make up maestro,  François Nars  in 1997, the line up included a shade of foundation called Jamaica.  The story goes that this product was conceived for the supermodel Naomi Campbell, who is a close friend and muse for the artisan.  The family of shades suitable for darker skin tones has grown to include globally inspired colours such as Benares, Khartoum and Trinidad, to name a few.

NARS concealer campaign AW11

Also, the NARS Concealer used to be available in only four shades but the line has recently been expanded to included 10 different shades to accommodate a variety of skin tones.

NARS is available at Space NK, leading department stores nationwide and at www.narscosmetics.co.uk

News Flash!! 

I have heard the  one of the chicest makeup brand of all  – Chanel –  will be launching Perfection Lumiere, its newest line of foundation, this September – and it’s something to talk about! The line, will offer the widest range of shades for Chanel yet – a whopping 23 shades to suit all ethnicities. Ooh la la!

image via WWD

Perfection Lumiere by Chanel

The face of the campaign is the beautiful Trinidadian born model Alyssah Ali, who is of Indian and Spanish origin

Christine Dagousset, executive vice president of fragrance and beauty for Chanel in the U.S. told Women’s Wear Daily, “This foundation was designed to be universal. Chanel’s creative director for makeup, Peter Philips, counts perfect skin among the most important features a woman can have and, since joining the brand in January 2008, had made it his goal to create a ‘perfect’ foundation: one that adjusts to the skin needs of every ethnicity and stays in place with a flawless finish.”  The company’s current leading foundation line Pro Lumiere offers only 6 shades.  The new launch will premier in the U.S …hopefully Chanel will bring the range to the UK and Europe too!!

image via WWD

Alyssah Ali for Chanel AW11

This is SO exciting, as for too long many of the leading designer makeup brands have been inaccessible to women of colour.  In my eyes this launch will mark a sea change in the beauty industry.   I will certainly do a review on this product!

Until then, a bientôt!