Last month, we were beyond excited to host the event ‘Green Beauty for Brown Beauties’ – an interactive beauty evening for dark-skinned beauties who love natural beauty and the first of its kind in London. To co-host the soiree and take over the shop floor, we called on green beauty blogger Lynda D'Aboh of Wonderlusting and curly hair expert Michele Scott-Lynch, founder of natural haircare range Boucleme. The two shared their personal green make-up and haircare tips throughout the evening, while guests nibbled on healthy vegan snacks from ChicP and sipped on fresh coconut water from MightyBee, while trying on new green make-up shades.
For those of you who couldn’t make it down to our #Content4BrownBeauty event, we’ve collected some of the best organic beauty tips and findings from the night. Get them below.
Michele Scott-Lynch, founded natural haircare range for curly hair Boucleme in 2014. It’s a 3 step natural haircare system especially formulated for curls. For more tips from Michele on how to use the range check out Boucleme’s ‘Hair Masterclass: The Anatomy of the Curl’
Michele said of the event: "The Content store is a nurturing haven in this hectic, fast-paced city. It showcases the best in natural and organic beauty products, sourced from small independent and ethical brands. The staff are approachable and knowledgeable, and they provide natural and effective solutions for every beauty problem. People often talk about hair being dead, but anything that grows I consider to be alive!”
- On accepting what nature gives you - Michele read a passage from Malcom X’s biography, where he describes having his first ‘conk’- a hair straightening treatment, which was popular among African-American men from the 1920s to the 1960s – which he describes as painfully burning his flesh and his first really big step towards self-degradation. She said: “It really resonated with me. Beauty is about embracing who you are, fighting what you’re naturally given is only going to make you unhappy.”
- On her lightbulb moment for creating Boucleme - For my birthday I went to a salon in New York and it was the best hair experience of my lifetime! I find it amazing that there were no hair dressers that catered to curly hair or understand curly hair, in a diverse city like London. So I came back and that’s how the range was created!
- Keep hair moisturised - Curly and Afro hair tends to naturally be drier than other hair types and needs a lot of moisture. Swap from a shampoo, which strips the hair as full of detergents, to conditioning cleansers. The surfactants gently cleanse and leave hair hydrated. I wash my hair every three to four days, using the Boucleme Curl Cleanser. The focus is on cleansing the scalp so massage the cleanser vigorously throughout the scalp to help lift off dirt and old skin cells. Use a gentle low foaming shampoo if you’re starting to see a build up. Also use the new Boucleme Curl Cream (coming in the new year to Content!) to nourish and moisturises hair.
- Leave in your conditioner: Don’t rinse it out, as it helps to hydrate medium to thick textured hair and to define curls. For added moisture, you can try mix the Boucleme Curl Conditioner and Curl Cream together and rake it in your hair.
- Use Oils or butters - I always apply a layer of oil on top of my conditioner to lock in moisture, and then I add gel. I often use neat conditioner and mix it with oil and butter - especially good when transitioning season and hair gets drier.
- How to avoid breakage: Afro and curly hair is fragile and needs to be treated gently, section hair when detangling, cleansing and conditioning hair – section your hair in 2, 4 or 6 areas, depending on thickness. Also, use a bamboo and cotton mix towel over a terry towel which tends to mess up the curl pattern and ruffle the hair cuticle. This will absorb excess water without removing all the moisture you’ve put in.
- Upkeep protein levels: If you colour your hair or it’s chemically processed, I find it helpful to do a protein treatment to strengthen them and increase porosity. Do this every 2 to 3 months and follow with a deep conditioning treatment to balance out protein levels and soften hair. Although there are all sorts of tests online on how to assess porosity of your hair none of which are fail proof – if hair dries quickly or loses moisture quickly it could be a sign that it’s more porous.
- You are what you eat. Make sure you eat a balanced diet for hair to be healthy and strong. (Editor’s note – you can read more about the topic of eating for healthy hair here. )
- Shrinkage: Finding hair length shrinking during washes is normal as hair length for curls can shrink up to 70% when drying! It’s a good sign as demonstrates that hair is really healthy. To elongate hair, apply your conditioner from roots to tip smoothing in a downward motion. Two strand twists are great for stretching curls add duck bill clips at the end to help weigh hair down.
Lynda D'Aboh, Green beauty blogger of Wonderlusting
Lynda is a London based blogger who founded Wonderlusting, where she regularly shares her green beauty musings with her followers. She is a regular fixture on the natural beauty scene and talked us through the favourite contents of her green make-up kit.
She said of the event: "I was thrilled to be co-hosting this event at Content, one of my favourite beautiques. I feel passionately that everyone, whether they look like Nicole Kidman or Lupita Nyong'o, should have green beauty options available. Content is the only shop in the UK you can walk in to and find natural and organic makeup options for all skin tones.
Lynda’s top green make-up picks
- On using organic make-up: On the make-up side it's a challenge to use organic make-up, because of the lack of colours available. Content is the only place in the UK where I can walk in and find options for dark skin! I still find that a lot of green beauty brands use a lot of pink undertones- same goes for light or dark skin tones. They have come a long way but seem to be behind everyone else because of challenges like taking out silicones, which add so much texture. I think that trying to find green substitutes to silicones is a challenge- it's a combination of resources and technology. Hopefully in the future there will be more options.
“My top tip for foundation is always try before you buy! Never, ever buy foundation, always get a sample first. You can order colour-matching samples from Content via our sample service. These are my favourites.”
- Kjaer Weis Cream Foundation just launched a foundation called Delicate which is exactly my colour! Only in the past year new shades have come up. Hopefully more brands will recognise that there is a big market potential for them to be tapped into. It works well for oily and normal skin. It has a velvety, saying finish - delicate foundation. Delicate is my exact match!
- ILIA Beauty also launched a brand new liquid foundation called Vivid Foundation. The texture of it is very creamy, so works well on dry skin in the winter. Coverage is build-able.
- Vapour Atmosphere Luminous Foundation: I love this! The textures feel so silky and whipped and lovely. In the summer I get gold undertones, so I look at Vapour Luminous foundation if you have quite sallow skin. I use the 150 in stick. It's easy to go too much with that, so you need to go very slow. Don't go too heavy. Warm it up in your hands first and then apply to your face.
- W3LL People have a powdered mineral foundation called Altruist Mineral Foundation which contains aloe vera in the formula, which is clever as it’s not too powdery.
- Kjaer Weis Cream Blush in ‘Lovely’ is a colour that lifts the skin. It looks really fresh! 'Joyful' and 'Happy' also work. Her blushers are fantastic as they don't just sit on the skin.
- rms beauty Lip2Cheek: I use this almost every single day! I use them on cheek especially. Smile is my absolute favourites.
- Vapour Aura Stain Multi Use Blush in Lure is just as good both on cheeks and lips!
- ILIA Beauty Sway Illuminate and Bronze is a lovely bronze multi-use product for darker skin tones.
NATURAL EYE PRODUCTS
- Kjaer Weis Eye Shadow in ‘Charmed’ is one of my favourites. It’s really well formulated!
- ILIA Beauty Pure Eye Liner in Havana Affair is the soft eye pencil which I will be reaching for regularly, as it's good for party season with the gold on black twist. If you prefer liquid eye liner, try Jane Iredale Liquid Eyeliners which comes in black and brown.
- ILIA Beauty Silken Eye Shadow in You Spin Me Around - I like these ILIA sticks! I like to use the gunmetal shade ‘You Spin Me Around’ as easy to do a quick effortless smokey eye. I like to use ‘Take on Me’ both on eyes and actually use lips as it’s a nice, coppery-red colour.
- Kjaer Weis Lip Tint in Sensuous Plum and Passionate: The pigments in these are great for a really flattering nude on darker skin tones! I also like to use Passionate on my face as a blush.
- Studio 78 Paris Let’s Get Married Lipsticks: Their lipsticks are great! They’re like liquid paint so ideal if you like a bolder lip with more coverage. No 6 Velvet Wedding is my shade of choice.
- Vapour Organic Beauty Siren Lipstick in 413 ‘Torrid’ and 420 ‘Bold’: I love the formula of their lipsticks, as they’re naturally silky and hydrating. These are my go-to shades.
- Absolution Organic Lipsticks: They are lush for a matte lip!
- ILIA Beauty are known for their fantastic lip products. I love their lip glosses The Butterfly and I which is my nude in the summer, Love Buzz which is a great pink and Gipsy Lip Gloss is a nice, rich cognac colour for Autumn and Winter. For lipsticks, my nude of choice is ‘Nobody’s Baby’. ‘Ink Pot’ is my all time favourite colour – a purple berry colour.
- rms beauty Lip Shine in Royal gives a nice, purple pop of colour to lips with a glossy finish.