Tag Archives: makeup

Happy 2016!

I know I’ve been a bit of a stranger recently. I always have these incentives to blog regularly, but something always comes up.

Anyways, let me start by wishing you all a happy 2016. May this New Year be the year where your goals are reached and your dreams come to pass.

2015 was a great year for me. Though mostly the exciting stuff happened in the first 9 months of the year. After the NEA in September where I didn’t won my category, but still had a great time and learned a lot, and till new-years-eve, I was just in Norway working on the business side of my music career and my Forever Living business.

But at the start of this year, I went back to Nigeria again and being back was lovely. I’ve done what I think is my best project yet. A song featuring Chidinma, a very sought after female singer in the Nigerian music industry for those who’re not too familiar with afrobeat and produced by DJ Coublon, producer of the year. The video was shot by my team member and friend Hg2films. The song will soon be released and I just can’t wait to share it with you!

What I think made this project so good, was both the fact that I now have a lot more experience and better self-esteem and, in the case of the video, I had my own personal stylist, who is practically like my sister. She didn’t dress me up in anything until I understood what kind of look and style it was and she kept a very sharp eye on the make-up artists, so I got the look I wanted. And so I felt I looked better and had more control.

Having the right team around you is extremely important for everyone. But for me as a blind artist, it’s especially important because I need to have that extra level of trust. My opinions on how something looks only goes as far as what I can feel myself and that isn’t always enough in an industry where appearance is so important.

I am back in Norway now, dealing with the cold harsh winter. But though I’m known for hating snow and the cold, I’m feeling really positive right now. Spring isn’t that far away and with spring comes my birthday. And I’ll soon be travelling again for shows and promos.

I also need to work on my other business this year. And I need to focus on recruiting which I’m terrified of. But I believe in having many things going at the same time and if I want to succeed, I need to step out of my comfort zone. Easier said than done though. But I’m ready for the challenge. Hey, it’s nearly spring! The Lioness is rising!

My biggest Challenge as a white artist in Nigeria is…

When I give interviews in Nigeria, I often get asked if I face any challenges being a white artist. I reply that I have been received with open arms and hearts and that people don’t seem to see my colour. And I stand by that. However, after a really silly disagreement with a makeup artist, I realize that I do face one minor, but nonetheless annoying challenge being a white artist in a black music industry.

It’s got to do with makeup. A very common phrase among my friends back in Norway and the UK is
“You did look amazing in that photo shoot/video. But can’t they give you a better foundation? You look paler than normal.”

Though a minor thing, I do find it frustrating when I learn that more often than not, I have been given a lighter skin tone than I give myself when I apply my own makeup.

I have come to understand that the makeup artists, who style me, don’t do this out of malice. More than anything, it has to do with unfamiliarity with skin colour. Unless you are a real pro with lots of experience making up different people, choosing foundation and powder for someone who has a different skin colour to yourself is a challenge. That goes both ways. I think it’s hard for a white person to find a perfectly matching foundation for a black person and vise versa.

We all have skin overtones and undertones. And the two don’t always match. The overtones in your skin is what people can see with the naked eye, while the undertones may not really reveal itself until we’re talking about cosmetics.

A black person can have dark overtones, but light undertones, while a white person can have fair overtones and dark undertones. Two people with the same looking skin may need completely different makeup because of the undertones.

I have a friend who, at a glance looks as if she has the same skin colour and makeup needs as me. So, we went out to buy makeup one day, and she gave me the same bronzer she used. Only I used up mine in six weeks whereas hers lasted a year. It wasn’t a cheap bronzer and I was frustrated at the crazy amount I had to dump on my face for it to even show. So we pondered over this for a while until she came to the conclusion that I needed to go two shades darker as well as a slightly different colour. Her undertones are blue. Mine are yellowy brown.

So I went and got a quite brown bronzer which is still going strong after almost daily use for a year and nine months. And it looks natural on me.

But it was this brown bronzer that got me discussing with a Nigerian makeup artist.

This was a very unprofessional girl to start with. She knew she was going to work with a white girl, but had seemingly made no preparations for it, so asked if I had bronzer. I am getting used to this situation, so luckily I had brought it with me. I also wanted to make sure I got the right colour skin this time. However, she thought it was way too dark and complained that I didn’t have anything lighter., to which I replied that if my daily bronzer was too dark for her, I found it strange and that I wouldn’t use anything lighter.

I think the reason for this misunderstanding was her unfamiliarity with me as much as her preconceived idea of what white skin is. I know I was the first white person she ever made up, so perhaps she had ideas of white powders and pink colours. She’s not the first and she won’t be the last.

Likewise, the average white person has preconceptions of what black skin is and thus what makeup black people should wear.

But it’s not all bad news. As I said previously, true professionals have no issues with colour. I have had two amazing black stylists. And one of them hadn’t even met me before making me up. And they got it right. The fact that one was Canadian African and one African American may have helped since they were used to seeing and working with a greater variety of skin colours.

It’s not as if the Nigerian ones got it all wrong though. Lipstick, eye shadows etc. is not that colour bound. And if I don’t get light strawberry pink on my face, I usually look okay. It’s just the foundation that tends to go wrong.

Funnily enough, once when they did get it right, someone in Nigeria commented on one of the music blogs and said they hoped I wasn’t trying for a coloured gimmick. A la Rachel Doleza.l Hilarious!

Solution: When in doubt, ask. I may not be the makeup stylist. But I know my skin enough to know what works as the base. And with that, I hope for no more foundation and bronzer mishaps again.

And as long as that’s my greatest challenge as a white artist in Nigeria, I really can’t complain. Because my fans, you are lovely and I love you!

Take charge of, Your makeup

This is the final post in my miniseries on taking charge of your looks. And today we’re talking about makeup.

Makeup is so much more than just a visual thing, although it took me quite a few years to realize that. So for many years, I didn’t really care about makeup, because what was the point really. Except for a short spell in my early teens when I really wanted to blend in and heaped blue eye shadow and way too brown foundation on. They completed the tobacco jeans and buffalo shoes look. And I wore it because it made me into an average late 90s teen.

It was when I changed my clothes and hair that I stopped wearing makeup. Well, not completely. I tinted my eye lashes black every eight weeks, because somehow I understood that it made me look more beautiful, though how, I didn’t quite get. And I wore lipstick or lipgloss. But that was it.

I recently had a conversation with my secretary about makeup and I remember asking if makeup really had changed a lot since the 90s and early 2000s, because I remember makeup back then consisting mainly of powders. This was another reason I found makeup to be unnecessary. I have little or no control over powders and I didn’t feel confident doing it by myself.

Apart from the very basic, including eye shadow, which I realized existed as creams, my makeup was very minimal up until only a couple of years ago. Said secretary, who by the way said that yes, makeup had changed a lot in the past few years, introduced me to a whole set of new products I knew little or nothing about.

First up was CC cream and foundations that actually matched different skin colours. Whereas before I thought the whole point of foundation was for your face to be five shades darker than the rest of your body, I now understood that the purpose was to even out the colour of your face as well as possibly give you a natural glow. That slight tanned look, if you so wished.

She also introduced me to various cream make-ups. It wasn’t as if I didn’t know of their existence, at all, but finally I was explained why makeup made a difference and the point of wearing it. Not only that, but I did learn to work with powders, eye liners and mascara. Things I previously stayed well away from.

Now that I understand makeup to mainly be a tool for bringing out your original beauty, I find it a lot more fun and useful and wearing it makes me feel good about myself. I still prefer working with creams to powders, so I opt for cream eye shadows, blushers and so on. They are easier to apply with your hands and I like that since it gives me more control.
I still get my lashes tinted, but I’m no longer scared of mascara. My daily routine usually consists of foundation or CC cream which gives me a slightly tan look, brown eye liner, blusher, mascara and lipstick or lipgloss. My party routine involves a lot more. I have in fact shot a video where I apply makeup. And I’m planning on posting it here as soon as it’s up on YouTube.

If you’re looking to start wearing makeup or advance your routine. Find out what works for you. Creams or powders. Ask for makeup lessons of guidance from a friend or in stores where they often do them for free. The hardest bit if you can’t see at all is to identify the right colours. And I am a lot less experimental with new colours and ideas when it comes to makeup than when it comes to clothes. But don’t be afraid of doing so when you know your colour scheme and what look you wanna go for. Perhaps ask a sighted person you know and trust the first time you try to pull off something.

Another important point is not to despair if you’ve been out buying makeup alone, the sales assistant has told you how amazing it looks on you and then, when you get home, someone tells you it’s ok, but little out of colour. This happens to me a lot, especially when it comes to foundations, because some people think I look fair skinned and gives me a fair foundation which either is invisible, or pales me. Despite looking fair, my undertone is quite dark, so I have to go for medium to dark foundations. (Dark in a white skin context. That is.) This happens to sighted people too. Makeup is tricky for everyone who isn’t a total pro of course. So have fun with it and enjoy experimenting.

Lastly, I just need to point out that though blindies get praised up and down for finding the way to their local shop, getting degrees etc., they don’t get praised enough for laying the perfect eye liner. Trust me. It’s harder than crossing a busy street. LOL

Trust yourself

When you’re a professional singer, you find that you’ve managed to land a couple of other bi-jobs as well.

The two most important jobs I have when I’m out there representing is talk good and look good.

Talking has never really been an issue for me. I’m a trained journalist after all. And I also have a big mouth. My dad has said many times that if I’m out of career options, I’d probably get rich selling sand in Sahara.

Looking good is harder. Not looking good as in keeping fit, clean, smell good and make sure you wear the kind of clothes and makeup that best brings out your natural beauty.

Finding those clothes and that makeup however is a little bit harder when you can’t see, but you learn.

Now, I can easily feel what kind of clothes I can wear, and what makes me look cheap, fat or like a blind person who has no clue what she’s put on.

With makeup too, I’m starting to get a pretty good idea. I know that although my skin overtone is fair, my undertone is brown. So pink makeup doesn’t make sense while cold reds and browns do.

The difficult part comes when I’m going out to select those clothes and makeup. Most blind chicks will tell you that they have one main trusted person or maybe two or three, who they can buy clothes and makeup with. That trusted person will make sure the colours are right and that they complement you rather than nonplement you.

There’s nothing wrong in shopping alone. However, unless the sales person knows you well, she or he can get things wrong even if they don’t mean too. I can’t count the number of sales people who have tried to sell me pink blushers!

For this reason, I also hate working with new makeup artists. But that’s a topic for another post.

The danger of having one trusted person is that they will, to a certain extent dictate how you look. Within your own style of course.

That in turn leads you to question anything you buy with a slightly less trusted person. And in my case, I’ve found that if my main trusted person don’t like what I bought, I tend to let it hang in my wardrobe for a couple of years before I give it to charity.

I’m not the only blind chick who does this. And I’ve had conversations where either I or a friend is completely down because “that dress was amazing but so and so said the colour is wrong”.

A question that also goes through a blind chick’s mind at that time is: Who is lying? Your main trusted person, or the one you bought the dress with?

It’s of course not that black and white. Because people have different tastes and different opinions on everything.

After a particularly upsetting episode where my before main trusted person said something about a clothing item I really liked, I decided that although it’s good to have one, two or three trusted people, they should never be allowed to dictate what you wear.

If somebody has told me I look good in something, and that is someone I trust, even if it’s not my number one go to for clothes shopping, I will wear it if I like it.

And. I’ve also learned that it’s cool to change your style even if you can’t see.

A couple of years ago, singlets and cardigans took up a huge space in my wardrobe. You’d be hard pressed to find me dressed like that now. And you know what? It was me who changed my style because I felt like a change. Not someone else.

Take charge of your looks today. Have your trusted person(s) but ultimately go with your gut instinct and use them as a guide only.