Blk Grl Summer Skincare Tips

Hi Lovelies! Have you ever found yourself combing through the skincare aisle of your local CVS or Walgreens store, unsure of where to start? Maybe you’ve even bought a couple of things only to find your skin breaking out or getting even dryer from these over the counter products.
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This post will cover the most common ingredients to avoid when looking for gentle and effective cleansers, moisturizers, and toners that are perfect for humid, sticky, summertime.

From there we will also look at light-wearing summer foundations/BB creams with SPF that are gentle on the skin.

Extra Dry/ Dry Combination Skin

I have some of the most sensitive and dry skin around – I know there must be others out there like me, there must be!

In fact I’m sensitive to the most common ingredients used to alleviate dry skin. These products might not break you out with acne or hives like they have to me, but if you’ve tried a cream or face mask only to discover redness, irritation or dry patches, you might be having a reaction to key ingredients like:

  • Glycerin  (A suspect any time a bottle is labeled “Super Hydrating” or “Extreme Moisture”
  • Aloe Vera
  • Silicone/Silicates
  • Mineral Oil
  • Nutty additives (Almond oil, macadamia oil, sunflower seed oil, etc.)
  • Wheat Germ (Gluten)
  • Acne treatments like benzoyl peroxide / salicylic acid
  • Chemical filter sunscreens with active ingredients like: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate.

There are products on the market that don’t have any of the ingredients listed above, but you’ll have to read every package to confirm. (Sephora clerks only know so much…)

So now that we know what to avoid, what the heck will work on our skin?

Gentle Cleansers

The Avene brand is a good place to start. Based is France with a focus on pure spring water as the active ingredient in most of its products. Avene has helped me restore my skin from months of mistakes in the sun and other allergic reactions.

Dove, Sensitive Skin Bar

Avene, Micellar Lotion Cleanser and Make-up Remover

Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm is a satisfying way to rinse makeup off without drying out my skin.

*Remember to gently pat your skin dry with a clean cloth, and don’t use steaming hot water that expands pores.*

Spring water misting throughout the day helps keep skin hydrated and refreshes your makeup. Of course any brand of spring water works, I often carry bottled spring water in a little mist bottle. 

Toner

Clinique’s most gentle toners (1) and (2) are great for T-zone areas in the height of a sweaty, humid summer. Used twice a day with a cotton pad, it will expoliate those shiny areas without drying out the skin.

Clinque 3 Step Toners

Avene, Cleanance MAT. Mattifying Toner (Will bring down shine if you plan to apply make up after moisturizing.)

*Dry skin responds better to liquid based exfoliating blends rather than using face scrubs or brushes that irritate the skin and expand dry patches.*

Moisturizing and SPF Sun Protection

Black girls listen up, protecting your skin from the sun daily can reduce uneven discoloration and dark patches. Learn why mineral filter sunscreens are more gentle.

It’s true, most sunscreens leave a white chalky cast of product on darker skin (caused by its SPF active ingredient, Titanium Dioxide). One way around that is by combining your sunscreen with a smooth moisturizer like Clinique’s Moisture Surge Gel.

Clinique, Dramatically Different™ Hydrating Jelly

Neutrogena Sensitive Skin, Oil-Free Moisturizer

Light, open moisture for the body: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Vaseline Intensive Care Body Lotion, Avocado, Jojoba Oil

BB Creams and Foundations w/ SPF

Summer is dewy makeup season, no point in caking on a bunch of product that will melt off on the subway.

Our fav BB creams this season not only match our caramel complexion, but also feature the safest mineral based sunscreen ingredients. (Seriously if you find yourself breaking out after 1 day in the sun, you’re using the wrong kind of sunscreen.)

Start with a Primer in the T-Zone to help secure the B.B. cream throughout a long day. We use a Cover FX one since majority of our cosmetics come from that brand.

bareMinerals COMPLEXION RESCUE™ Tinted Moisturizer, SPF 30 

Clinique, Super City Block™ BB Liquid Compac SPF 50: Goes to the office with me for after 5pm touch ups as I skip further downtown for evening events in Manhattan.

*Everyone wants you to apply these with your hands but brushes or beauty sponges provide better control.

*Costs: Don’t buy a big bottle of anything before getting a smaller trail version first. You don’t want a $35 bottle of toner sitting around you can’t use.

Bonus Tip: Need a beat face for a special event? You can add a deep translucent setting powder to this routine and a setting spray (or spring water) to secure the look on those hot summer nights.
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Pre-Order Our Summer Zine

Ahh, it’s crazy y’all. We tried a new printer this time and we are so pleased with the bright colors and glossy pics.

Only did a short run of 30 copies for now but we’ll probably print more for live events as the season kicks off. Keeping our prices under $10 for the youth so head over to Etsy to see the deets on this fun and fresh #blkgrlswurld zine 😘

NYC Feminist Zine Fest @ Barnard 3/7/18

Catch us tabling at the next NYC Feminist Zine Fest this March 😀
We’ll have new merch, zines, coloring books and stickers. (Gonna hide our own wallet to keep us from buying all the other cool things women have been making this season, lol.) I’m gonna go broke for sure!
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Saturday, March 7, 2015
12 – 6 PM
James Room, 4th Floor Barnard Hall
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“The Feminist Zine Fest showcases the work of artists and zine makers of all genders who identify on the feminist spectrum, and whose politics are reflected in their work. For the second consecutive year, Barnard proudly hosts the zine fest, welcoming approximately 40 zine-makers eager to share their work. Home of the renowned Barnard Zine Library, the College is the ideal site to feature some of the boldest, most original and creative examples of micropublishing. The event is coordinated by Barnard’s zine librarian Jenna Freedman, Jordan Alam ’13, and other zine makers, including Feminist Zine Fest cofounder Elvis Bakaitis, author and artist of the Homos in Herstory minicomics series. Free tables are available to zine-makers interested in exhibiting their work” https://feministzinefestnyc.wordpress.com/

Photo Apr 05, 8 07 47 PM

#blkgrlswurld, Risograph prints, 2017

BlkGrl Book Tour Recap

I’ve been a zinester since 2014, toting my lil hand made books around to DIY events. We table and vend with fellow artists, often feeling like Lucy with her Psychiatric Help Stand, sharing with any who will listen the content of our books with passion and understanding. Some folks really don’t understand it, while some really do. It’s a great space to share what you truly love, because somebody out there, even if its only 2-3 people, cares just as much about talking avocados as you do.

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Events on the tour:
Paper Jazz Fest, Brooklyn NYC
Betty Zine Fest, Newark NJ
Boston Art Book Fair, Boston MA
Not Just A Boys Club Fest, Teaneck NJ
Punx of Color 4, Brooklyn NYC

The BlkGrl book tour was my first attempt at following a dedicated schedule of events in locations outside of Manhattan, to help spread the #Blkgrlswurld message as far outside of NYC as possible. Black girls love metal and punk rock too! It challenged me to create a traveling system to affordably leave the city and arrive at any venue with a pop up shop out of a single bag I could carry on my own. (This is NYC, I don’t have a car ok?) Traveling on buses, trains and taxis to these other places tested my dedication to the project. Was I willing to get up at 6am for my zines? Here are some things I learned about being on the road with our lil books.

Punx of Color are everywhere.

Here at #Blkgrlswurld we aren’t always a certain an event or venue we attend is appropriate for our project. When tabling events like the Boston Art Book Fair, this became a critical question. Our $3 coloring books standing next to $75 high quality art catalogs? Likely a sign that our intended audience wont be strolling through this event. But they did anyway. There was not much diversity at that fair, but when a few Black youth did stop by we had great conversations about music and a few sales. Never underestimate who will take interest in your work.

Some people will never understand us, and that’s ok.

We stepped into new spaces and venues – that means local audiences are new to our work and what we’re about. Metal is not a widely understood musical form, so that alone was confusing to some along with the layer of being femme and Black. *Shrugs* All of these adventures help me determine what events to do next year.

Taking a stand empowers those around you.

Our focus has always been on young folks between ages 17-25 with little pocket money, that are curious about new music. Especially if they identify as outsiders, geeks or weirdos. That will always be the community we represent and sharing with these kids a safe space to express themselves can save lives.

I encourage everyone to start a zine, a blog, a fan club. Every time an awkward Black girl who doesn’t feel like she belongs any damn where stumbles across an artwork or photograph of women who look just like her, I feel a little better. Let’s all strive to create content that represents who we are and make sure its accessible. As I sat at these events with my little table, I met a number of fans this way. Women who had been searching for something to relate to, and see themselves in. Some that found us had already collected our items at previous events or online – they continue to comeback because of community. We are out here, together at shows, festivals and record fairs.

I fucking love Metal.

From Boston to New Jersey we did our best to keep our schedule loose, giving us a chance to meet more people and explore the visited cities. But the true connection to all these stops became the metal music blasting out of my headphones. At one point I wondered, is this really what I’m about? Hells yeah! Leaping off a megabus in platform towering boots, chewing bubble gum in band tees and dark glasses while the music blasts on in my ears. My favorite albums energized me to keep going, to keep traveling and to keep celebrating this scene and the women who support it. We know we don blend it with the people around us and that’s ok. I know where to go to spend time with my peeps, hopefully our books help that happen too.

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#Blkgrlswurld featured in Tom Tom Magazine :D

Yassss! Tom Tom is a magazine for female drummers and musicians, and we’ve been featured in their 31st issue! It’s based in NYC and it does so much great work inspiring women musicians and kicking serious ass in the rock scene. We are so honored they took an interest in our Black Girls Dreaming Coloring Book and chose to feature a review of that work by writer, Lola Johnson. Thank you Tom Tom Mag 😀

You can order their latest issue Online HERE

Print versions are available across the nation in shops like Barnes and Nobel. Check out more of the funky femme talent they’ve been dishing at http://tomtommag.com/

Books and Conversations

 


Uncovering the Sci-fi Trope of Women Who Are ‘Born Sexy Yesterday’

Aw man, check out this project by Jonathan McIntosh of Pop Culture Detective, as he dives into a common trope of female characters who have the minds of children but the bodies of mature women.

Its certainly a repetitive trope I was exposed to early on as a tween reader of Manga like Chobits and Inuyasha. As we push for more gender equality and diversity in cinematic roles, we still need to be critical of the roles allowed screentime. The Bechdel Test comes to mind…take a look!

“The Bechdel Test, sometimes called the Mo Movie Measure or Bechdel Rule is a simple test which names the following three criteria: (1) it has to have at least two women in it, who (2) who talk to each other, about (3) something besides a man. The test was popularized by Alison Bechdel‘s comic Dykes to Watch Out For, in a 1985 strip called The Rule.”

Music, Zines & Riso Machines

Phew! We spent the 1st four months of this year printing and editing new work and now we’re ready to share it with you \m/ this is the 1st year my sibs and I have Really dug deeply into the purpose of the zine and what inspires us to keep it going. Up until this season, we’d usually only focus on the project 2-3 times a year for a few weeks, collecting drawings and writings from our sketchbooks and building something collaborative.  In January we heard about a Zine making/small press course at the School of Visual Arts and jumped in with both feet!

So What is a Risograph?

Well, you could term it one of those things that’s so mundane, its cool again. Risograph is a brand of digital duplicators manufactured from Japan since the 1980s. Intended for high volume office printing like Xerox machine were, they have mainly been marketed to law firms and city offices where 1000s of text heavy pages are printed daily.

Printmakers and designers have warmed up to these machines due to their archival ink quality and soft textures that can occur from the rice paper master (A fine stencil the ink passes through) the machine creates to duplicate files. With soy based inks and rice paper stencils, its quite the toxic free endeavor in comparison to the intense chemicals, varnishes and alcohols many of us have been managing in traditional printmaking processes.

The average riso machine usually only holds 2 ink colors at a time, so 4 color printing requires registering your prints and switching out ink tanks. At times its hard to imagine business folk in suits actually get this manual in an office but thats still its main function. LOL!

During my season at the SVA Riso Lab, I printed on various weights of paper and sticker sheets. Overall I found the process of editioning with these machines really fast and efficient, but at the same time lacking the monotype flexibility I’m able to accomplish during a screenprinting session. I gotta admit I missed getting a little dirty in the shop, but that’s my printmaker side I guess. Working with these machines in a clean environment created a medicinal setting. Where’s the screen emulsion, litho stone sander and liquid screen filler?

In dedicating a good few months to developing the zine at the School of Visual Arts Riso Lab, projects were difficult at times, and we uncovered the best parts of zine making. The Music! Our zine will always be a way to share our excitement for heavy music, we live it and breathe it from the way we dress, to the things we read, write and of course stream on our stereos. We are proud punks of color who cant help but talk your ear off about the latest bands and albums and we hope our readers get as geeked about this stuff as we do. For as long we rock to this music and mosh out at shows, there will be  zine. *See you in the pit!*

Upcoming Events Featuring Our Books:

#SummoningtheArchive Print Fest @ NYU |  Saturday, May 13th from 2-5pm at 20 Cooper Square. Details

BABZ Fair ( Bushwick Art Book & Zine Fair) | Friday, June 2, 7–9PM: by invitation only
Saturday, June 3, 1–7PM: free & open to the public
Sunday, June 4, 1–7PM: free & open to the public

Where:
Knockdown Center
52-19 Flushing Ave
Queens, New York 11378

 

The Problem with Shea Moisture

Brands still have a lot to learn about engaging on social media.

Its been about 24 hours since Shea Moisture, owned by Sundial Brands, got dragged through Twitter and Facebook for their poorly executed ad promoting the use of their hair care products on mainstream glossy and eurocentric hair types.

My interest is to take a closer look at their strategy to clean up the mistake since yesterday. It already appears they have gone to media outlets more so than the online customer base for setting the record straight. (FastCo, WashingtonPost, Huffpost) While they did release a detailed apology and pull the ad on Monday, the initial slap in the face continues to reverberate across the Internet, hitting Tumblr, Youtube and Instagram in waves of reaction and counter reaction from white women who use these products.

How does a company survive this sort of crisis when their products are specifically promoted online by both paid and unpaid supporters passionate about the brand and would never have grown this much in the past 10 years if not for the online natural hair community recommending the product line to all of their friends and followers?

Authenticity is critical to surviving the social media universe. If brands ever come across as superficial, insincere or manipulating, followers will pick up on it and drop them. Now, authenticity doesn’t always equal Truth. Sometimes a community will circle around an attitude or ideal, even if the content posted lacks any true data or fact.


Shea Moisture found itself caught up in ethnic erasure towards going mainstream when their actual follower base is a dedicated niche focused on validating the act of wearing natural African hair as a finished and complete hairstyle. Black women’s hair remains as political as ever, with thousands of us struggling to prove to our employers, families and partners that the hair growing naturally out of our head can stand on its own without the hyper use of chemicals or dyes to force it into European beauty standards.

So what now?

If Shea Moisture wants to survive this, they need to put up or shut up. Acknowledge and promote the unpaid bloggers, YouTubers and Instagram naturalistas who have supported them over the years and authentically show that Black women are a customer base they truly appreciate and will continue to support as they grow and expand to other markets. (Less talking more images, vids, podcasts, roundtables)

They need to connect 2 messages, that 1# They support and always will support healthy African hair care and 2# This is a global movement for healthy hair care for all women to be accepted for their non-traditional hair.

This sort of messaging transition has to take place in steps, and it won’t help to use the same blond models out of a John Frieda commercial to support a multi-ethnic community. The core base will not accept further erasure when they already feel that consistently from most beauty brands (from make up to lingerie, most companies don’t sell nude colors inclusive to Black consumers).

This is a chance for them to prove they want to globally validate coily, curly hair and the voices of WOC who rock it as beautiful and legitimate. But will they stand by Black women in more than just words? Let’s see how the drama shakes out in the coming weeks – can they turn this around?

*P.S. Just in case here’s a list of 20 Black owned hair care lines you can choose to support*

*P.P.S. Can I just say AS I AM is Really expensive? I want to try it but..damn! $$$*

#blkgrlswurld