Beauty & Tech
In more Beauty Boss News: I was recently invited for a complementary wash and style courtesy of Verizon Wireless. This sounded suspicious to my mom who’s nearing 70, but for my generation and younger, beauty and technology go hand in hand. (Think Doobop, my recently launched Beauty e-commerce site) These days, I’m surrounded by gadgets and product, geeks and enthusiasts, beauty and technology.
On an ordinarily balmy June day I popped into Salon Bohemia in Park Slope, Brooklyn for a simple wash and blow dry. I was expecting an average experience. but nothing out of the ordinary. When I sat in Kiki’s chair I knew I was in great hands. She never even flinched when I pulled out all my annoying moves. First, I always bring my own product. That day I was trying the amazing line, Purely Perfect. Three genius items: a detergent-free shampoo with Aloe and oils that naturally grab dirt. A turbo-charged leave in packed with anti-oxidants and a heat protector that resists humidity. I like the simplicity of the line, so I bring it with me everywhere. Kiki just smiled when I gave her my arsenal.
Next I gave her the script: “Darling Kiki, my hair is fragile, thin and it doesn’t need much heat. A solid blow-dry and a light flat iron will do. I like it straight, parted in the middle and slightly bumped at the ends. My curls revert easily, but no, I don’t wish to have a keratin treatment.” Kiki smiled again.
Then something really cute happened. Verizon gave me an iPad mini to pull up hairstyle references while sitting in my chair. That was smart – so of course I pulled up pictures of myself on Instagram (I figured I was the best reference for what I wanted to look like.)
Doing some research with Kiki
New Yorkers are smart; they actually told me I could keep my mini and use it for my family road trip to Niagara Falls. I took a slew of beautiful pictures throughout Canada. And now in total gratitude, I’m writing this post to say, “Thanks Verizon for reminding me how much I love New Yorkers, beauty and technology!”
‘brown beauty’ is in – for now
Beauty is emotion. It’s about what’s going on deep inside of us: who we are and who we want desperately to become. We’re never simply buying a lipstick, we’re buying a feeling. And a hairstyle is actually a hair-story about rituals and traditions. But the language around beauty isn’t quite as sophisticated. It’s actually painfully confusing and awkward. No one get’s it right these days. My girlfriends, those chat groups, especially the clunky corporations – we’re all stumbling over our words. Perhaps because beauty and race are so closely connected, it all gets very touchy.
The words we choose to describe beauty are both delicate and deliberate. For example, I love the term ‘Brown Beauty” and use it frequently, but to others, it’s a horrid subcategory and outdated. Use the wrong word around the wrong person, and all of a sudden you’ll find yourself in the middle of a situation. Words matter. And when beauty means so much to so many, who wants to put their foot in their mouth? Not me.
I’ve decided to make it my personal mission to rewrite some of the most silly words- like ‘ethnic beauty’ and ‘ethnic aisle’.
What’s ethnic anyway? Does my brown skin make me more racial than Gwyneth Paltrow? I’m absolutely sure she comes from some sort of heritage as well. Don’t we all? And who chooses these words anyway? A supermarket creates an ethnic aisle and now I’m ethnic? Are we really defining ourselves based on an industry’s need to shelf product categorically and measure sales statistically?
Let’s debunk the myth that hair and skin are ethnic. Beauty has been segmenting people for too long. Black women in the ethnic aisle, white women in the general market aisle, Latinas vacillating between the two, and Asians …well, are they supposed to shop only in China Town. We see how ridiculous this becomes.
I’m Black American, but what does that mean for my fine, thin, curly hair? I use a French brand Leonore Greyl, a general market brand Rahua, a sure-thing-brand Shea Moisture and my very own niche brand Georgia by Jodie Patterson. I definitely can’t find all of that in the ethnic aisle, where only a handful of brands have existed since the 70’s. No innovation. No price differentiation. It reeks of neglect.
Beauty should be shared, cross culturally and globally. Product and tips flow from woman to woman, regardless of where the trend originates. We can find inspiration from others and make what use to be someone else’s, our own. Nora is Swiss and Vietnamese yet sites RiRi as her beauty icon and EriKa is from The Bahamas and looks to Victoria Beckham for posh, beauty ideas. Watch their videos and others of really cool women on my other, other site, Doobop.
Shop, think, live globally!
Young ladies, here’s a fantastic peek into your future. Meet Desiree Rogers
Desiree Rogers is the CEO of Johnson Publishing Co. – owner of Fashion Fair Cosmetics. She’s a bonafide Bawse. It makes total sense that I asked for a lunch meeting with Mrs. Rogers. I wanted to hear directly from her, what her next steps would be. As the former Social Secretary to the White House, Ms. Rogers is known for thinking out of the box and making bold moves. I’m drawn to that.
Fashion Fair is a classic. Plain and simple, FF is our Chanel. It will forever be on a pedestal. But, is it sexy and spontaneous? Does it feel fresh? Can it seduce you, grab your attention and hold it? Desiree Rogers believes so.
While I sat with Ms. Rogers over coffee, I was reminded that in life, we must evaluate our positioning and then make a power move. And so I ask myself, “Where do I stand? As an older woman, what is my position?
As we get older, our beauty is more about our feelings than our features. And we start to use product as our tool. Think Oprah and Faye Dunaway, Halle Berry, Phylicia Rashad, Desiree Rogers. These women are some of the most beautiful babes we know, because they’re confident. They’re sexy because they own it. Even if they weren’t mega stars, you’d stop and notice them first in a crowd.
If truth be told, there are things that are happening to my old(er)body and my aging physical beauty that I really don’t prefer. Follicles are failing, skin is shifting and fat has taken strange detours. The beautiful flip side to getting older is there are things that happen to our confidence and our drive that give our beauty the most powerful boost.
To my ladies: There are many things that can make an older woman feel pitiful, hair loss and sagging skin are the nicest of the bunch. But we can be pitiful or we can be powerful. We can’t be both. Find what makes you powerful and then make your move. Will all the older ladies, please stand up!
(read the full article – and all about Desire’s make up on DOOBOP – my other-other site)
Ashely Barnes, VP of Do, GeorgiaNY
Occupation: Partner, Georgia NY. I handle sales, marketing, growth and whatever else needs doing.
Passion: Promoting holistic ideas about beauty. I’m really proud to work for a brand that is interested in the whole person and provides natural products to enhance the beauty experience.
Daily beauty routine: Routine, ha! Every day is different for me. It depends on the day’s agenda, my mood, the weather, how much sleep I got the night before, etc. I almost always manage to wash my face and moisturize but the products I use are always changing. Right now I’m using an Aveeno face wash and following with Georgia Luxury Face Oil. If I take a shower I use Neutrogena’s Skin Clearing Body Wash or Scrub or a moisturizing white Dove bar soap and follow up with pure almond oil all over while my skin is still damp. If I put make-up on during the week it’s almost always just a little concealer, a swipe of blush and maybe mascara. If I’m feeling spicy I’ll do a bold lip. I almost never wear color on my eyes but every once in a while I’ll try my hand at winged liquid eyeliner.
Hair routine: I am all over the place. But one rule I stick to is: I shampoo only once a week and I never use sulfates. I love our Rosemary Shampoo by Georgia! If I want to control my curls I use a leave in conditioner (Kinky Curly is a favorite) while my hair is still very wet, and then apply a styling product like Jane Carter Curl Defining Cream or Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie. If I want spirals I’ll do a two-strand twist, usually overnight. But most days I just try to make sure it’s moisturized and let it be. I’m happy with a big, frizzy silhouette. Recently I’ve been spraying it with olive oil before I leave the house to protect it from the cold, harsh, NY winter.
What beauty means to me: For me, beauty is living a life that leaves you so fulfilled and happy that the world can see it on your face, hear it in your voice and feel it in your presence.
Beauty Note: Be interesting, then pretty.
Always stay curious enough to expose yourself to lots of opportunities.
This has been my motto for as long as I can remember. Competitive gymnast, world traveler, circus acrobat, book editor, pet shop salesperson, night-club co-owner, fashion publicist, pond swimmer, beauty entrepreneur, tech start up co-founder, loyal friend, mother of 5, devoted ‘first-lady’…these are just some of my experiences. I stay open to the world as best as I can and I say YES more times than I say NO.
As many of you know, I recently took the plunge and partnered up. Benjamin Bernet and I launched DOOBOP, the first beauty entailer with a particular edit for women of color. Carefully edited and cherry-picked products from all over the world, personalized on-line consultations, exclusive content, killer service – all brought directly to you from the two of us. We’ve labored and argued, laughed and dreamed, lost sleep from adrenaline and lost track of days due to endless to-do lists. On Nov 20th, 2013, DOOBOP was born. We jumped into the fast lane of tech-start ups, and got the attention of industry vets like First Growth (arguably one of the most influential tech accelerator groups), Iman (she gave us the exclusive on her new product launch – even before Target) and Oprah (she found delight in one of our lotions). But more than anything else, we said YES to countless opportunities and ran with all our might in the direction those opportunities took us. As Sam Fine once said to me, “in order to do something that people notice, it takes a lot of amazing shit to happen behind the scenes.”
All the passion I’ve put into my beauty line GEORGIA by Jodie Patterson, the training I went through with the Big Apple Circus, the countless hours I spent with my ex-boss Zac Posen, the creative energy I fostered helping to launch Joe’s Pub, every bit of thought and love I pour into my family – all that, helped me launch DOOBOP. For me, work is life. I work on things that matter to me so that I can do them all day, all the time and never grow tired. Swimming in my pond is as important as writing a post for my blog as is discovering new product for the site. Some say I’m obsessive, and running ‘marathons’ on a daily basis. True. But this is what women do.
As our Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder, I’d love for you to join me on this very creative and beautiful ‘next experience’. DOOBOP – a unique voice in beauty.
Run the streets…literally
Latham, the magician
Occupation: Wellness Practitioner, Author, Founder of Mama Glow
Passion: Helping women achieve optimal wellbeing through pregnancy and claiming their power within
Work Philosophy and Strategy: Do what moves you. I really listen to the whispers within to guide me in making decisions. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.
Biggest Mistake: I don’t believe in mistakes. God orders my steps so even when something is out of balance or goes wrong, I can embrace it as a lesson because everything I’ve done up until now has made me who I am.
A Treasured Success: Giving birth to my son, Fulano.
One thing no one really knows that is a credit to my success: Being a single parent thrust me into action-hustle mode as a provider. That Mama Lion role permeates my work as well.
Daily beauty routine: I rise up for the day and I think a good thought- and then plop down on the floor to stretch and meditate for a few before I wake up my son. I think that time for myself where I move my body brings blood flow to my skin and makes my face glow. I care for my face with Tata Harper skin care- rejuvenating cleanser, floral toner, and serum. I also use argan oil by Khahina beauty when it’s especially dry or cold outside.
Hair routine: Wash with Royal Rinse, and twist with cold pressed coconut oil
What does beauty mean to me: Embracing every aspect of who I am- walking in confidence, grace, and abundant radiance.
My Beauty Mantra: We each have a certain magic within us that no one else possesses. Own it! Let it shine through you and light up your path and all who come into your orbit.