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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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

NYC Women’s March & Other Nearby Events

I cannot wait to march this Saturday, Jan. 21st in NYC to stand up against the most dangerous political leadership of my generation.

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There are dozens of events going down around NYC to come together in resistance and to at least let these powers know that the people will be watching them very closely, and pushing back on the things that directly hurt our communities. Below are a few events we’ve heard about:

  • Women’s March NYC, Jan. 21st Saturday. People will be meeting at staggered times throughout the day so as not to exceed capacity.
    • From 11am-4pm we will march from Dag Hammarskjold Plaza to Trump Tower on 5th Ave. More info
  • Thursday, Jan. 19th. A protest outside Trump International Hotel in Columbus Circle planned by Michael Moore, Mark Ruffalo, and Alec Baldwin is scheduled for 6 p.m. the night before the inauguration. More info
  • Also on Thursday, Jan. 19th will be an anti-fascism concert at Symphony Space on the upper west side, 96th and Broadway. Tix $30
    • An extraordinary evening of artistic passion, urgent commitment, hosted by five time Grammy winner Arturo O’Farrill, this live streamed concert takes place the night before the scheduled inauguration.
  • On Friday, Jan. 20 a march will take place at Foley Square at 5pm. NYC Stand Against Trump Rally and March. More Info
  • Other artists and cultural institutions are also coming together for a Jan. 20 Art Strike. They feature an online schedule of anti-inauguration activities in NYC taking place at institutions like the New School, Whitney Museum of American Art and CUNY.

Let’s join together and work together to create opportunities for everyone to have a voice and improve their lives.

penny-proud

 

Bringing In The Asexual New Year

Dec. 31, 2016

I’m outside the Harlem Target store loading up my new kitchen appliances when suddenly a little old lady approaches me. With a smile across her face she exclaims,  “Ah! Bringing in the new year with a fresh start eh?”

I shrug bashfully, “Sure, sure.”

She nods knowingly, “I gave up new year resolutions ages ago, but a friend of mine, she’s a bit older than me, she told me a good one to try is having less sex. Hehehe.”

I nod and smile, “Indeed.”

Sometimes it’s bewildering even to me that I’m in my late twenties and still identifying as the same asexual I’ve always been since age 5. Back when I first learned of frogs that could reproduce without mating with an opposite sex. “That’s me,” I’d tell my parents, “I stand on my own. I’m asexual.” I’ve always struggled to understand why people strive to pair up or find each other sexually attractive. Why would anyone need to be so…close?

Of course they passed it off as silliness but by the time I was in the 5th grade the pressure was real to claim at least one boy attractive; to recognize the innate game of cat and mouse between the genders. My parents didn’t care if it was someone I knew, a celebrity or a damn cartoon character, I could feel them searching for “normal development” behavior and that there would be social consequences for not fitting in. Was I mentally falling behind my peers? Gay? Emotionally immature?  I caught on quickly that I needed to start acting ‘normal’ and began lying about boys on TV I thought were “Cute” or “Crush-worthy.” The look of approval from them when I did this made my stomach churn.

Stereotypes of Black women in the United States are hyper-sexualized to a caricature level. As a brainy femme teenager the expectation that I would fail in life was everywhere, from the Black community in my home to my white peers at our rural suburban high school. There are countless moments where my brown skin felt like a magnet for sexual advances. “Black girls are fast, Black girls are trouble, Black girls are easy and their bodies develop too early. They’re boy crazy and obsessed with babies.” –Total bullshit I still hear from my elders today.

I understood some of the discrimination I was getting at school surrounded by whites who’d only ever seen black people on the BET cable network booty popping (a channel they were proud to sneak a peek at when their parents weren’t home). But what hurt my feelings more was how often my relatives spoke of good clean girls vs. nasty fast girls – lecturing my parents on how to keep my sister and I in check of our hormones.

But quite the opposite was happening in our home. Our hormones were quite fine. I was a tomboy that didn’t talk about crushes, never asked about dating, and knew my helicopter parents were worried I was gay. (To this day they don’t believe asexuality exists. Everyone loves sex!)

Up until grad school it would bother me sometimes that my lack of interest in connecting with others in a romantic way hadn’t changed. I’d never so much as kissed another person but also didn’t want to do those things and had a hard time relating why anyone would want to. My fun was music, writing, art-making, conversation.  I saw the sexual currency people exchanged and consistently felt isolated from that market.(i.e. flirting through a job interview, the benefit of combined household income, professional approval…)

But the simple truth for many asexuals is, we’re solid in who we are. There isn’t a feeling of something missing, if sex never came up in our lives we’d never notice. It’s why I’m so surprised when people discuss their fear of being alone. Is it that scary taking care of yourself? Fighting your own battles?

I have friends, family and community just like you. I stand on my own and I’m cool with that, I’m building a life around that and enjoy what I do. I try to keep my mind open to having a platonic partner one day but honestly…I’m indifferent.

So you may be wondering why asexuals are coming out more and more, with some flowing into LGBTQA activism.

  1. We are “other” and therefore subject to many of the same discriminations and violence. Especially young people of color. When a homophobic family member suspects your sexuality is anything other than hetero, they rarely wait around to hear you explain asexuality. And because our society is that sex obsessed it’s not likely they would believe you. To them it’s just another gay person trying to hide in plain sight.
  2. People grow. Some of us reach asexuality later in life or fall somewhere else on the Spectrum. Maybe we already have children or have identified as gay most of our lives and now feel differently about our attraction to others. That doesn’t necessarily mean we stop having romantic relationships or stop identifying as queer.
  3. It’s only one part of ourselves. Queer, trans and non-binary folk can also be asexual. Some peoples feelings around attraction shift over time and it’s all about learning and understanding yourself better.
  4. We are not against sexuality in any way and support everyone’s journey. Granted I don’t like media propagating sex as a life or death need, but I love seeing my friends freely expressing themselves and loving who they love. You do you! It’s all about  everyone living their truth  without the threat of violence or discrimination from opportunity.

I believe anyone who supports shifting this cis-gender patriarchal system should join forces and build a stronger inter-sectional community of love and respect. Especially in 2017. This is a moment where the powers-that-be will strive to divide us and create doubt within our movements. It is critical that we support each other.

~ C.L

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P.S > *USA Womens March Jan, 21 2017

#blacklivesmatter #feministkilljjoy #qwoc #equality #asexual #pride #lgbtqa

 

 

 

Words of the Week

A lot has happened in the U.S.A over the last 7 days. Below are some glossary terms that may help us to navigate the sea of bias news articles flooding our media feeds.

Dem·a·gogue

ˈdeməˌɡäɡ/
noun
noun: demagogue; plural noun: demagogues
    1. a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.

      synonyms: rabble-rouser, agitator, political agitator, soapbox orator, firebrand, fomenter, provocateur

 

Echo Chamber (In media or Social Media)

A metaphorical description of a situation in which information, ideas, or beliefs are amplified or reinforced by transmission and repetition inside an “enclosed” system, where different or competing views are censored, disallowed, or otherwise underrepresented. The term is by analogy with an acoustic echo chamber, where sounds reverberate.

NPR Article: “The Reason Your Feed Became an Echo Chamber…”

Normalization

refers to social processes through which ideas and actions come to be seen as ‘normal‘ and become taken-for-granted or ‘natural’ in everyday life.

Article: “The Dangerous Fantasy Behind Trump’s Normalization”

 

Trickle-down Economics

Also referred to as “trickle-down theory“, is a populist political term used to characterize economic policies as favoring the wealthy or privileged. There is no “trickle down” economics as defined by economists; the term is almost exclusively used by critics of policies with other established names.[3] It is usually associated with criticism of laissez-faire capitalism in general and more specifically supply-side economics (for example, Reaganomics)