This is the second of an in-depth three-part series on how I used beauty to heal myself and why I started The Lipstick Therapist. I figure if I am going to give myself this title, I ought to be transparent and back it up with my own story. Enjoy!
In senior high, I would religiously watch Oprah, most times with my mom because she worked from home. On one episode, she and supermodel Iman discussed the release of her upcoming book The Beauty of Color. Within its pages, she promised to give women of color no-nonsense solutions to skincare and makeup while showcasing the beauty of women of all shades. As its pages flashed across the screen, I knew I had to have that book. After asking my mom several (possibly a hundred) times, I got my hands on it-and it quite literally changed my life.
The Beauty of Color introduced me to the concept of skin care according to type, how to rock a smokey eye, and how brown skin did not have to just stick to nude and berry-colored makeup to look pretty. As my makeup collection grew, I would practice look after look from its pages, mastering everything from Old Hollywood Glam to New Wave Punk and everything in between. With the tips in this book, my skin stopped breaking out and I became quite good at makeup application.
A couple of years later, Chris Rock’s Good Hair was released, a humorous documentary that detailed the complicated relationship Black women have with their hair. I watched it during my freshman year in college, and once I saw the scene where the main chemical in a relaxer was capable of eating through a soda can, I vowed to never let a relaxer touch my scalp again. I had tried going natural in high school with less-than-stellar results, but the budding natural hair community and growing availability of hair care products for kinky-coily made this transition smoother-and permanent. With that being said, doing the “big chop” meant that for the time being, my face had no hair to frame it, and the marks on my forehead caused by acne scarring no longer had bangs to hide it. Therefore I was faced with the task of finally healing it. With tons of experimentation, I found a skincare routine that started to even my tone and I became well-versed in matching tinted moisturizer to cover the rest. Even so, I had a LOT of work to do, and a snap decision to attend beauty school after college proved to be the game-changer I needed.
After getting my bachelor’s degree (and a particularly bad breakup), I decided to pursue an esthetician’s license. In addition to genuine interest in the beauty industry, I also thought that the answers to my skincare woes could be found through my education. This proved to be the case thanks to another one of my angels, Ms. Stacey. Through careful instruction and practice with a little hands-on help, Ms. Stacey helped heal my skin to near perfection. She also taught me far more about applying makeup on myself and others than I could have ever gathered from a book. Most importantly, her mentorship and encouragement to hone my skills as a professional gave me the push I needed to ultimately pursue a career in the beauty space, which in turn inspired me to start this platform.
So, where am I on my journey now? I’ll tell you tomorrow.