11 Affordable Coffee Table Books That Celebrate Black Beauty

Being natural is a gift, and in this book, author Michael July explore the progression of natural hair into mainstream culture and media.

article by Alexis Webb via essence.com

These are the perfect conversation starters for your house guests. 

What happens when you combine your love for literature with an interest for beauty and hair? Well, tons of fun and interesting home décor that can inspire your daily routine!

Coffee table reads don’t always have to be mundane. They can often also offer some lighthearted relief, much needed pick-me-up or an education while chatting with friends and family over the latest “tea.”

Vintage Black Glamour

To see full article, go to: Beauty and Hair Coffee Table Books | Essence.com

Desiree Verdejo Opens Vivrant Beauty in Harlem to Offer Black Women Quality and Options They Deserve

Desiree Verdejo, Owner of Vivrant Beauty. (ISLAND BOI PHOTOGRAPHY)

It was only a year ago that Desiree Verdejo resolved to quit her job as a corporate lawyer and pursue her lifelong dream of opening a beauty retail store. That’s quite a leap –but she took it, and today Verdejo is the owner of one of New York City’s hottest new shops, Vivrant Beauty.

The bright and airy space, which is helping to pioneer Harlem’s big beauty boom, is just a few blocks away from Harlem’s bustling 125th Street and right off the main drag of Fredrick Douglas Boulevard. And while all are welcome, the thoughtfully curated hair, skincare and makeup products have women of color in mind.

Verdejo, who was born and raised in Harlem, was frustrated by the lack of selection and the quality of products offered to black women at the average drug stores and beauty supply stores in the area.

To that end, there are no less than 40 different beauty brands lining the shelves and Vivrant Beauty’s e-commerce website, including the usual suspects like Mario Badescu Skin CareDavines, and Butter London, as well as lesser-known lines likeYouth To The PeopleBriogeo, and Stiks Cosmetiks.

“That was the goal,” Verdejo told The Huffington Post. “To have a mix of products that really matched the neighborhood that we’re in — which is super diverse.”

But the 33-year-old says she’s particularly proud of the fact that half of the companies sold at the shop are black owned.

“I don’t think black women are always thought of when it comes to luxury goods — and I think we’re also making products beautifully,” Verdejo said. “So anytime I come across [black beauty brands] I definitely want to consider them and try them. And if they’re done as well as others, then they’re a great fit for the shop.”

Verdejo isn’t alone in her mission to provide black women with a more elevated outlook on beauty. The e-commerce website DooBop.com, which was launched in 2014, has led the way in the movement and more brands are following.

While Vivrant Beauty’s e-commerce business is important to its bottom line, Verdejo wanted to open a brick and mortar location to give customers from near and far a true experience (many women frequently travel from New York’s outer boroughs and New Jersey), where they can touch, feel and learn about the unique products offered.

And if Verdejo’s sage advice, halo of natural curls and glowing brown skin are any indication of that experience and quality of goods she’s pushing, then we’re definitely on board.

We asked the beauty maven to give us a rundown of her favorite products from black-owned brands and why she loves them so much. Here’s the scoop…

1.  Briogeo “Don’t Despair, Repair!’ deep conditioning mask

Vivrant Beauty
“This is a holy-grail deep conditioner when it comes to kinky curls. It’s got rosehip oil and avocado oil and makes hair soft, detangled and shiny. Briogeo makes amazing conditioners for curly hair but this is hands-down the best.”
To buy: Briogeo “Don’t Despair, Repair!’ deep conditioning mask, $26.

2. Cleanse by Lauren Napier facial wipes

Vivrant Beauty
“These face cleansing wipes are must haves for my gym-loving customers and those with busy travel schedules. They’re individually-wrapped and made with premium hydrating ingredients like aloe and cucumber extracts — unlike your drug store wipes — that your skin will love.”
To buy: Cleanse by Lauren Napier facial wipes (box of 12), $18.

3.  Girl + Hair “Under Hair Care” Protective Restoring Balm

Vivrant Beauty
“A black doctor that wanted healthy hair under her hair weaves created this line- and it shows! It’s my go-to when rocking protective styles and my braids and weave loving customers have come back and thanked me for  introducing them to this line.”
To buy: Girl + Hair “Under Hair Care” Protective Restoring Balm, $20.

4.  Perfect Face dual foundation stick by Ashunta Sheriff

Vivrant Beauty
“This dual-ended foundation stick is the perfect item to throw in your purse. Created by celebrity makeup artist Ashunta Sheriff, it comes with a lighter and darker shade that makes concealing and contouring quick and easy.”
To buy: Perfect Face dual foundation stick by Ashunta Sheriff, $40.

5.  Ginger + Liz- “Zip Dry” drops

Vivrant Beauty
“Yes, G+ L has the trendiest, vegan nail polish colors but they also have quick dry formula that is absolutely the truth when it comes to a quick and shiny mani.”
To buy: Ginger + Liz- “Zip Dry” drops, $9.50.

6.  Earth’s Nectar “Honey Curls” gel

Vivrant Beauty
“Every curly and kinky girl wants curl definition or a bomb twist-out. No one wants hard hair or flakes. This product is the answer – I promise.”
To buy: Earth’s Nectar “Honey Curls” gel, $23.50.

7.  Oui Shave “Charlotte” set with razor and Neroli shave oil

Vivrant Beauty
“You’ll buy this luxe gilded shave kit that replaces your shave cream with an organic shave oil. And then you’ll buy one for a friend because a purple plastic razor just won’t make sense to you anymore.”
To buy: Oui Shave “Charlotte” set with razor and Neroli shave oil, $48.
article by Julee Wilson via huffingtonpost.com

“Pretty” Docuseries by Antonia Opiah Explores What Beauty Means To Black Women Around The World (VIDEO)

There a lot of different ideas about what it means to be beautiful, and one new docuseries is hoping to explore every facet of it.

Pretty is something that is hard to define, but you know it when you see it. Depending on where you’re from that could look a lot different. Adding race to the equation brings in a whole new group of variables. As such, Antonia Opiah decied that it might be interesting to take a look at what beauty means to Black women around the world in her new webseries, Pretty.

According to Shadow and Act, the series debuted back in January. That means there are a bunch of episodes to get caught up on if you’re just finding out about it.

(photo via un-ruly.com)

(photo via un-ruly.com)

In Pretty, Antonia asks Black women from London, Paris and Milan what beauty and the concept of what is beautiful means to them. From the promo above, you get a taste of the fact that being pretty is more than just a certain set of physical attributes, it’s about what each woman brings to it. Some even share how their perception of beauty has changed over the course of their lives.

She doesn’t just speak to one type of Black woman, either. Antonia sat down with Brown girls of all complexions and backgrounds to show just how broad this subject can be. Pretty goes further beyond the surface as it also explores their thoughts on fashion, self-esteem and feminism among other things. Ultimately it all results in a tapestry of all the ways Black women are beautiful even when living in areas where European ideals are the norm.

If you’re tired of binge-watching Netflix, this docuseries is definitely an interesting break from the norm that will give you lots to ponder.  Go to YouTube or un-ruly.com to see the entire web series.

article by Sonya Eskridge via hellobeautiful.com

Pretty Period: New Website Highlights The Beauty Of Dark Skinned Women

pretty period feat

Source: Tumblr/Photos By Ann Marie Blake

One of the very valid criticisms women had for Bill Duke’s film Dark Girls, was the fact that it seemed to focus almost exclusively on the ways in which being a dark complected woman or girl was such a hardship. While the film touched on a very necessary conversation, it didn’t tell the full story. There was very little celebration of the beauty of dark skinned women.

Professor, scholar and producer, Dr. Yaba Blay, is working to fill in the gaps with a new website called “Pretty Period.” You’ve heard people offer up the backhanded compliment “pretty for a dark skinned girl”? Well Blay with the help of photographer Ann Marie Blake want you to know these dark skinned women are pretty period. She hopes the site will “visually demonstrate the sheer abundance of dark-skinned beauty. We are indeed everywhere. We stand as the rule, not the exception.”

On the About page for the site, Blay said,

“As an academic, I could have simply written about it (which I did) or discussed it in my classrooms (which I do), but after doing this work for what feels like my entire life, I’m at a point where I would much rather create than to critique.

Enter ‘Pretty. Period,’ a (soon to be) transmedia project created as a visual missive in reaction to the oh-so-popular, yet oh-so-offensive “compliment” – “You’re pretty for a dark-skinned girl.” Our collective response is, “No, we’re pretty. PERIOD.”

Showcasing girls and women of brown-to-dark complexions in the truth of their beauty, ‘Pretty. Period’ emerges as a visual tribute to brown skin,  a visional testament to Black beauty, and a vision board for healing – both ours and yours.”

The site, which is broken off into several sections, includes information about the creators and collaborators, photos submitted by women who identify as brown or dark complected and official project photographs.

There is also a section called “Journal” where you’ll find very few critical pieces. Blay says this is because while there is much to say on the topic of dark skinned beauty, she wants to focus on the period part of the site’s name. There’s no need for an explanation or defense of the beauty of these women. It just is.

Check out some of the pictures here on the following pages and then be sure to head over and explore the beauty of the Pretty Period site and even submit your own photos if you’re so inclined.

See more at: http://madamenoire.com/327492/pretty-period-new-website-highlights-beauty-dark-skinned-women/#sthash.HcLtciWc.dpuf

People Magazine’s ‘Most Beautiful’ Issue: Kerry Washington, Gabrielle Union, Halle Berry and Kelly Rowland Featured

Halle Berry, Gabrielle Union, Kelly Rowland, and Kerry Washington
Halle Berry, Gabrielle Union, Kelly Rowland, and Kerry Washington are featured in the 2013 People magazine ‘Most Beautiful’ issue. (Photos: Getty Images)

People magazine released details on its annual “Most Beautiful” issue, which featured Beyonce on the cover last year. This year, the ever-esteemed title goes to actress and mother of two, Gwyneth Paltrow.

The issue also features such beauties as Kerry Washington, Kelly Rowland, Halle Berry and Gabrielle Union. Halle, Kerry and Kelly win the distinction of being on the list of the 10 most beautiful people in the world according to People magazinein the eighth, second and seventh spot respectively.  It’s Kelly Rowland’s first time appearing in the issue, and Halle Berry once napped the top spot with a cover. 

Read the rest of this story on Clutch Magazine.