Hurrah for the Jewel Tones Beauty website!
Meet our (occasional) new contributor, Ateh Jewel. A longstanding friend and a much-respected colleague, we are delighted to be showcasing some of Ateh's insights within Beauty Bible. Ever since we first started promoting our books, 20 years ago, we've been disappointed at the 'multi-cultural' beauty offerings out there. It's certainly better: we gave up counting the number of Asian or West Indian women who'd come to us in places like Superdrug and Boots back then, when we were doing book signings, and say: 'Can you recommend a foundation/concealer/blusher for my skintone...?' And we'd have to shake our heads. Thanks to the likes of Bobbi Brown and Clinique, in particular, there are some fab offerings out there. We don't pretend to have all the first-hand answers ourselves to these challenges - but we certainly know a woman who does...
Ateh - whose family is West African - has grown up facing the challenges of being under-catered for by the beauty industry. A truly beautiful soul (with two gorgeous twin girls who she's determined won't grow up with 'none or negative reflections of who they are'), Ateh just launched Jewel Tones Beauty. 'I saw there was a massive need for an editorial space talking to women like me who love our glossy magazines and beauty websites but are fed up with having our haircare concerns, skincare needs and make-up looks consigned to a tagged-on paragraph or a few lines at the end of a beauty feature.'
So, to kick off, we asked Ateh for her top product picks...
'I love colour cosmetics. The pop of a new lipgloss or a dusting of a highly pigmented eyeshadow is beyond exciting to me. I love the transformative power, creativity and playfulness you get from make up. Picking just two products is painful but I would have to say I can’t live without….'
1. Nars The Multiple in South Beach/£29 at www.narscosmetics.co.uk. This highlighting stick is amazing on darker skin tones; it’s less obvious than a yellow gold - the rose gold sheen is like liquid light on the skin. I use it to highlight cheekbones, just under the eyebrow, down the nose and cupid’s bow and chin. If I have 2 minutes to put my make up on before picking up my twins from nursery, I can also use the stick as a super natural eyeshadow or lipgloss. It’s a make up one stop shop.
2. MAC Powder Blush in Fever/£18 at www.maccosmetics.co.uk. Blush is one of these stealth make up products that not enough women with deeper skin tones wears. I hear a lot of 'black girls don’t blush'. It’s ridiculous: a great blush wakes the skin up, pulls your look together and gives you a healthy glow that makes you look like you have a spotlight on your face. I couldn't live without a great blush and I love this shade that Mr. MAC, Terry Barber introduced me to himself!
I have dehydrated combination skin. Like a lot of women with deeper skin tones, lines and wrinkles aren't my first concern when it comes to ageing, as the old adage is true, "black don’t crack”. The extra oils in darker skin can act as a preservative! For me a loss of radiance, spots and pigmentation are my main concerns in my late 30s. When it comes to skincare I can’t live without...'
1.Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm/£39.50 for 105 g at www.johnlewis.com. I think 99.9% of most skincare concerns can be managed by great cleansing. I love this balm, which I use every night as it actually makes me look forward to taking my make up off. It’s not a chore but my few minutes that I can take a deep breath and give myself a little facial massage, after my 4 year twins have gone to bed. The rose and mimosa smell delicious and the buttery textures melts away grime, impurities and every last bit of make up.
2. Dermalogica Overnight Clearing Gel/£41.75 at www.dermalogica.co.uk,. Like many women with darker skin tones I live in fear of spots. A flare up from using a new product that doesn't agree with my skin to hormonal changes around my menstrual cycle can lead to pigmentation and even scarring that can take months and even years to fade. As a result, if I get a spot I dab on a blob of this wonder product, the gel is laced with decongesting and anti-inflammatory salicylic acid and after a few nights the spot is gone with no pigmentation.
'Anyone with textured hair will tell you looking after it can feel like a full time job. Since going natural I have learnt less is more and to go with the flow in terms of what my tightly coiled hair needs which is moisture, moisture and a little more moisture.'
1. Aveda Damage Remedy Restructuring Conditioner/£24.50 for 200 ml at www.aveda.co.uk. I use the entire Damage Remedy range the shampoo and treatment as well as this amazing conditioner on my natural hair. Before I started using it I thought it wouldn't be rich enough for me. I was blown away and pleasantly surprised to find how healthy, soft and nourished my hair is. The conditioner is packed full of quinoa for its hair strengthening protein and smells like I’m in a spa, which is divine. I wash my hair once a week but co-wash my hair every few days with this conditioner to keep my hair feeling cashmere soft and my curl pattern revitalised.
2. Tiana Extra Virgin Coconut Oil/£22.49 for 750 ml at www.hollandandbarrett.com. Coconut oil is nature’s gift to us. It really is the most potent and powerful oil with its nourishing, hydrating, anti- inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. I use this incredible organic and cold pressed oil, which is so pure you can cook with it, on my hair and body. I’ve used this coconut oil on my twin daughters since they were babies, it’s such a soothing all rounder.