“As the firstborn in an African household, you are either a doctor, a lawyer or a pharmacist. [Your parents] sacrifice so much that you get to a place where you have opportunities not to let you risk, so I went to nursing school. I got in and did my first semester at the clinic, and that’s when I thought it wouldn’t work for me. [Laughs] I wrote a letter to my dad – it was very dramatic. And then I left school.
On my 25th birthday, I promised myself that if nothing changed that year, I would return to school. In October, I started my beauty channel on YouTube and it grew sharply. My first video was about time management [laughs]. But then it was just beauty. [The Darkest Shade series] it’s really what triggered it. My [YouTube] it will always be about promoting representation, promoting beauty inclusion in the alleys of the drugstore and within the cosmetics industry as a whole. When I first started, I was very nervous. I remember one particular video that I didn’t want to publish. It was about aligning my face with my body, because my face and chest are very tinted. I was so scared to stand there like that. It took some motivation from someone very close to me to say, ‘Well, your sisters would really enjoy and appreciate something like that. You would appreciate something like that when you were younger. ”And like [my audience] grew, I found more sisters and more stories. It seemed to me more than just my small community, rather this will change the world. Now I have a bunch of sisters looking up at me and I won’t let them.
Right now, I’m working with CVS as their beauty consultant to find new brands that could be in stock at the store. The reason I love drugstore [beauty] so much because you don’t have to wait. When I run out, I can just go inside and get what I need. I also do a lot of in-house consulting and the like. In fact, I just launched a Masterclass on hair, skincare and makeup with a variety of amazing black artists. That project was big for me. And then there’s one last thing on my bucket list – I hope it’s announced very soon.
Much of my skin is genetic, but I have to maintain it. I have to hydrate it and make sure I do the peeling because it really confuses. I like the Hydro Boost line from Neutrogeny – it has one of my favorites, a hydrogel mask. I also use Hydro Boost Cleanser and it is really light. It foams but is still soft and does not dry out. Plus, it smells really good. I have several different oil cleaners. In the morning I use Biossance Squalane Oil Cleanser and in the evening I use Go Awf Naturel Cleansing Oil by Uoma by Sharon C. I think it’s comfortable [to have two oil cleansers] because I shower in one bathroom and end the night in another bathroom. As a moisturizer, I used Biossance Squalane moisturizer for the night. To be confused, I really love Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair for hydrating fine lines. He is at the highest level. Before you wake up at all, when you put it on, he’ll just do his job. And I used Dose of Colors multi-purpose strengthening oil. It’s really thick, but it’s leaking. It’s the perfect topper for your moisturizer.
I clean twice again in the morning. There’s an aesthetic that everyone goes to, Guidance to Glow, so I use some of her serums in the morning. There is a stem cell serum, Ultimate Growth Factor Serum, which is a rejuvenating night serum. Then he has a peptide and hyaluronic acid serum, Copper Complex Peptide Serum, which I use in the morning. After the serum, Tula has this 24-7 Power Swipe Stick for your eyes, which is so comfortable. I don’t have to fumble and try to get there, it’s just a movement. I have allergies, so my eyes really itch a lot. In addition, I have swelling and the caffeine in it helps reduce swelling. [Sunscreen] of course it depends on mineral or chemical samples. The mineral sunscreen that I sometimes use is from Biossance, but I only use it when I put on make-up, because it has a slightly purple shade. If I’m not made up like today, I’ll get a sunscreen for Black Girl. That’s very good.
[If I had to do a face with my holy grail products]my base would be L’Oréal True Match in C12. I use a concealer that matches my skin, and then one that is just a little lighter to brighten. I like Estée Lauder Double Wear Concealer in Very deep. Urban Decay has a really nice concealer, which I like, the Stay Naked concealer, and it’s really dark. Fenty Beauty has a new eye balm, which is not really a complete concealer, which I also like. This is for “no makeup” days. At first, when I started, I couldn’t find anything that matched my skin, so I would adjust my base to my chest. Now that I have so many different products that match my face, I adjust my base to my face and use concealers and powders to balance everything.
The MAC Conceal and Correct Pro Face Palette has a really good outline. Sometimes brands just don’t go deep enough in general. Manipulating their range of shades to make it seem to work for deeper skin tones [is also a problem]. I’ve seen brands come with a product and their darkest shade doesn’t necessarily match the most perfect [for dark skin]but they say, ‘Oh, just put it under your eyes and in the highlighter areas.’ But don’t try to force or manipulate a shade of the substrate that doesn’t match – it won’t help anyone.
Sometimes brands just don’t go deep enough in general. Manipulating their range of shades to make it seem to work for deeper skin tones [is also a problem].
I used translucent powder from Bare Minerals on my entire face. Danessa Myricks setting powders are also good. That concludes my underworld. Colorful Raine has a lot of beautiful cheeks. I love good red, but orange is one of my favorites for a natural, everyday look. NARS blushed exhibit is a really good, nice orange blush. I put it closer to the sleeping area and almost “ripped it out” and put the slightest bit of apples on my cheeks. I also use the bronze and contouring palette Midas Cosmetics x NeonMUA, which came out about a year ago. It’s one of my favorites. Colored Raine also came with some bronzers that I love, especially theirs Bronzer cocoa goddess. I didn’t really use highlighters much, but I’ll always live and die thanks to Dior’s Nude Luminizer [ed. note: discontinued].
I’ve been returning to the winged liner lately. I really like Inglot AMC Eyeliner Gel in 77. As for mascara, I loved one from Maybelline. And I like the Nyx Micro Brow Pencil on my eyebrows. At the beginning of my eyebrows, I turned the contour a bit, which is when you use a lighter powder or powder that matches the tone of your skin. To do this, I put concealer on my eyebrows using mini strokes and it looks like I have fluffy eyebrows.
My favorite lip combination now is of course my collaboration Dose of Colors, Nude Lip Set. Matte lipstick is really one of them. If I ever change from nude, I also have an orange set with them, which is basically an ode to coral lipstick, which actually looks flattering on deeper skin tones. I’m also a fan of red lipstick – I love blue-red. MAC has Ruby Woowhich I love and of course my next favorite red lipstick is the one I created with MAC. [ed. note: discontinued]
I go to the Daba Salon in LA to have braids braided and to wash my natural hair. [Amina’s] really cold and pigtails don’t hurt her, which is number one. And he does a really great job with my pigtails under his wigs. Sometimes I wear my natural hair, sometimes I don’t. I also use a lot of scalp oils. Mielle’s Rosemary Mint Scalp Oil is good. It’s really armor and it’s a great feeling when you massage it. Glamsquad also has these combs in the clip and they remain. I use them to hold my hair when I trim it and so on. I think I feel most like wearing the hairstyle I have right now. It took so long, 15 hours, but it was supposed to take two days.
I use Creme of Nature in the shower. Their shampoos and conditioners are among my favorites. The Pantene Gold Series is also really good. I didn’t think I’d like it, but it’s really nice. If I change my style more, I’ll probably wash my hair once a week, but it depends.
BODY + FITNESS
I go hiking around four days a week – it’s a really great way to start the morning. I also do Pilates two days a week and it’s really one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Thanks to them, it looks so easy and I seem to be dying in a corner.
I use a lot of different moisturizers on my body. Right now I’m using Tula, which just came out, Moisturize and Exfoliate. It has no acids in it, but it has these tiny spots. It’s really hard to find a brand where a lot of their products really work for you, and that’s Tula for me. I like something big for body soap – I don’t want it to happen in three seconds. I’m using Dove right now. I usually shower in the morning after exercise. At night, when I’m really cold, I take a bath. I love peeling in the bathtub. I also love Epsom salt because I exercise a lot and Homebody has really nice bath salts. The candles in the bathtub are nice – I will make it an experience with a pile of FORVR Mood candles.
FRAGRANCES + NAILS
I’m not very specific about everyday scents, but I’m very specific about exercise. I like something that will fight sweat, so I use a very fresh, clean scent. Light blue Dolce and Gabbana is so good and so strong. You see, I look crazy, but I don’t want you to look crazy to me. [Laughs]
I do my nails much more often than I should – every two weeks if they don’t break. The lady who makes them makes a lot of different gel varnishes. I was on a for a minute Coconuts over OPI kick. He is such a beautiful naked shade, especially against my skin tone. It’s a gel and a regular shade, so if you like ordinary varnish, you’ll find it too. I bite my nails – this is where I get rid of most of my worries, so if I had my nails done last week and I’ll rip them all off this week, I’ll have them done again. Or I’ll rip my shine off. It’s scary. I’ve tried acrylics in the past, but I’m not very interested in looks. The only thing I’ve tried lately is a little different, Impress push nails. It’s a gel press, but it’s applied in the same way as a gel, which is really great. “
– as the ITG said
Nyma Tang photographed Katie Thompson in LA.