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Yes, You Definitely Need These Liquid Lipsticks!

July 16, 2020

I had a liquid lipstick swatching party just so you can see how it looks on full lips! 

Kilali Cosmetics

New brand Kilali Cosmetics has the most pigmented and long-lasting lipstick I've ever worn and I have worn a lot. It's no secret that I love new cosmetics but one secret I haven't shared is that I have become obsessed with liquid lipsticks. 


The reason that I love them is because #1 I suck at applying lipstick. #2 They don't make me spend extra money on lip liners and #3 They are not messy. Its what I need in my life. 

The long-lasting formula allows me to keep the perfect looking pout until I eat something greasy which happened the day I did a wear test. The lipstick didn't come off all the way. Instead, it looked like I was sipping out of a straw and that is was wear the lipstick came off. 











Now the lipsticks dry very quickly so be sure that you use the wand to first line your lips then fill in the rest kind of quick. It's a precise type of application but a little practice makes (almost) perfect. 



















I did a wear test with these lipsticks for 7 hours on my lips. The day before I did a wear test on my wrists for 8 hours. They held up to water, soap, body spray, perfume, and lotion. They were not budging at all. 





To remove this lipstick was trial and error as well. When I tried just a makeup wipe it didn't come off but when I rubbed some pure alcohol on my lips, it came off effortlessly. 
All in all these liquid lipsticks are so gorgeous and well worth a dive in your bank account. Make sure you give this brand a follow on their Twitter , Facebook, and Instagram and tell them I sent you.


Ayele & Co. Saving Complexions and Putting a Haul Ass To Breakouts

July 13, 2020

Ayele & Co. is single-handedly changing the way that I see and feel about skincare products. 

There are so many brands that are creating products that are both targeted to Black and Brown individuals. Some of these brands are owned by people of color, others are by people who love to formulate products for people of color like Urban Skin Rx. However, before I stumbled upon Urban Skin Rx, I grew an obsession with Ayele and Co. 


Ayele and Co. (pronounced EYE-YELL) is a skincare company that I stumbled upon on Instagram in my ever-growing search for #blackownedbeautybrands on Instagram and Twitter. Once I found this brand almost a year and a half ago I couldn't help but tune in and create a mental wishlist. #1 on my list was the Sunflower Sweets Serum, Sunflower Sweets Mask, and one more item. I didn't know which one I wanted at the time but when I loaded up my shopping cart I choose the Hydro Boost Serum.

#1
Sunflower Sweets Serum
$17

I choose this serum (and the mask) specifically for its ability to even out skin tone. Granted everyone has uneven skin tone but it is those eyesores aka blemishes that irritate the hell out of me. It's like I have to yell at my skin and tell it that 'the pimple is gone so just go away blemish'! It doesn't seem to listen which is why I recruited some help. This serum contains Vitamin E Oil, Tea Tree Oil, and Jojoba Seed Oil. All of these oils combined together help with breakouts, calms down inflammation, and unclogs pores. I am all for this.

When I first got the serum, I tried to use it according to the instructions on the website was to apply it after applying a moisturizer and before sunscreen. That didn't work because my skin was too oily. I then tried to apply it after I washed my face at night but I felt all the air pollutants attaching to my skin so I scratched that option as well. Then I watched a YouTuber who said that sunflower oils can be used as an oil cleanser so I tried that and it worked! Whew! I almost gave up but I love cleansing my face 3 times a week with this oil.


This site uses affiliate links. If you make a purchase I will receive a small percentage to buy more products to share with you. Thank you:-)

#2 
Sunflower Sweets Mask
$24


This mask pairs well with the Sunflower Sweet Serum according to the brand. With ingredients such as Vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects the sun from UV damage, squalane that helps fight the signs of aging, Cranberry which acts as an exfoliant and boosts collagen production, Blueberry that is packed with vitamins and more goodies to help your skin heal and look beautiful.

A few moments after I applied the mask I could feel it working its way from the surface of the skin to the next layer. The slight tingle from the glycolic acid ensured me that it was indeed eating away the bacteria and leftover products my usual cleanser did not remove. After about 10 minutes (and 10 selfies later) the tingling stopped so I took that as if the product has done its duty. I then rinsed my face with cool water and massage the mask off. The brand suggests that you massage the product off since it has natural fibers. The natural fibers allow this mask to work as an exfoliant.  Once I air dried my face, my skin was left smooth and clean. Whoa! Talk about a complete skin refresher.

#3 
Hydra Boost Serum
$...


The next product that I am loving is this Hydra Boost Serum. This serum is no longer listed on their website, but I still want to share with you how much I love it. Containing the key ingredients of Kale, Hyaluronic Acid, Cucumber and Seaweed, this creamy gel-like combination will soak into your skin to definitely give it a boost of hydration.

Similar to how I conducted a trial and error with the Sunflower Sweets Serum, I had to learn when to apply this and what not to combine with it. Because this serum works like water but with more beneficial ingredients I learned that after oil cleansing my face, I could not apply this serum because although I oil cleansed, the oil was still working it's magic. However, after using the Sunflower Sweets Mask and my favorite Black Soap cleanser, I learned that I can then apply this serum afterward and proceed with my normal skincare routine.


All of their products are thoughtfully created to help everyone with skincare issues. What I love most about the brand is that they do not promise to be "melanin experts" or "skincare experts" instead they pride themselves on being "a skincare brand that caters to everyone". In the words of Ayele & Co., "When it comes to the skin, ignorance isn't actually bliss. Understanding your skin is super important; it isn't a one-size-fits-all situation".

Introducing BAABS Beauty and OMG! Their "I'm Sprung Collection" Has Me Sprung!

July 02, 2020

You all, the obsession that I always have an continue to have is introducing you all to "NEW TO ME" beauty brands. BAABS Beauty of course is another one and you already guessed. This brand is Female-Owned, Black-Owned, and not just a makeup company but an actual beauty bar! I've always wanted to go to one of those, so I'll be making a trip. 


When it comes to makeup, one can never have enough and I think it is safe to say that Necia Boston, the owner of BAABS Beauty located in Greenville, North Carolina, can agree. Like Necia, falling into this industry was not coincidental - it was simply following our passion. Her professional beauty credentials include makeup artistry, esthetics, and educator. However, choosing to actually launch a brand in this competitive industry happened when she developed allergies to literally EVERYTHING ranging from food, topical body care products, and makeup. Knowing that she was not alone, she sought out alternative and the solution was Bless and Anointed Beauty Services aka BAABS Beauty

necia boston of baabs beauty, baabs beauty, black owned beauty brand


Before becoming a business owner, Necia worked as a Program Manager, LOVAAS/ABA Specialist where she provided in-home therapy for families whose children were on the Autism spectrum and also managed and trained after school and daycare providers to effectively work with and teach children with behavioral challenges. Whew! I really think that Necia Boston was on her way to becoming a saint which is what we definitely need and admire nowadays. 

I have had the opportunity to try the beautiful products offered by the brand from the "I'm Sprung Collection", which consisted of colorful and glossy lip colors, perfectly cut and beautifully crafted faux lashes and the most gorgeous eyeshadow palette that doesn't sting my the skin on my eyes. You all will love them, but first, I want you all to get to know Necia Boston a little more. Comments are always welcome.
    baabs beauty, black owned beauty brand, makeup, hypoallergetic beauty
  1. What was the first product you sold for your brand? Lip gloss in the old school squeeze tube. 
  2. Where are your products sold currently? Are they available inside of beauty bars or online markets such as Essence and/or Amazon? Currently, only sold at our retail location and website
  3. What tips do you have for beauty professionals on selling your products to their customers to use at home? We stand firm in actually teaching our BAABS Beauties how to use the products they are interested in prior to purchase. So we plan to make sure all stockists are well versed in product knowledge to pass along to their customers. 
  4. What 3 key ingredients do your products contain that have been found to treat skincare issues while enhancing their outer beauty? While our line is not 100% natural-based, we do focus on eliminating unnecessary ingredients that often cause irritation or allergic reactions. Vitamin E (helps with the appearance of skin), Vanillin Extract (aids in moisture retention), and limited preservatives (a lot of people have micro sensitivities to these ingredients) 
  5. What major retailers would you like your beauty products to be sold? We had a stay at the "Market by Macy's", however, we are not sure if a big brand retailer is the next move.  
  6. What magazine(s) would you love to see your products featured in? My true favorites: Essence and O! Magazine
  7. Name a handful of well known, POC celebrities you would like to see endorsing your brand. Tika Sumpter, Viola Davis, Quinta Brunson, Timea Gaines, and Yara Shahidi
  8. Does your company help the community you're located in? We participate in donations, community service, and outreach. Our Annual "Meet a Princess Party" is centered on brown girls seeing and meeting brown beauty titleholders. This event also focuses on self-esteem building consists of the Black girls who range from 4-13 yrs. This event is a free event for participants where we offer food and activities. 
  9. How did you use your time as a small business owner during the "stay at home" order? We have 6 projects finalized with 21 new products in production. We have been able to see the needs of our customers. 
  10. What advice do you have for new brands that are ready to throw in the towel? If this is what you love, fight for it. Reinvent yourself or your business and keep pushing.
  11. To what do you contribute your success? Ultimately GOD. But his grace has given me perseverance through the lows and the team behind me that includes; family, friends, clients, and supporters.   
  12. What is next for BAABS Beauty? We are looking to expand into high-end boutiques and salons that service Black women and women of color. We hope to continue to meet the needs of easy but flawless beauty for our supporters.  
baabs beauty, black owned beauty brand, makeup, hypoallergetic beautyAs a business owner, she wears many hats; creative director, product creation, human resources, accounting, customer service, social media, shipping, marketing, and etc. The list goes on considering she is also a business of 2 - herself and another Black employee. Talk about #PullUpOrShutUp in full effect for BAABS BeautyTraditional advertising specifically word of mouth is how this brand is gaining notoriety. I, SL Thomas am increasing the word of mouth by telling you, the products are pretty darn amazing. Just look at this Instagram video HERE and the picture below showcasing a look I did with her "I'm Sprung Collection". 

Necia knows that women believe other women's experiences about her products which aligns perfectly with BAABS Beauty's focus, to help women simplify their makeup routine through safe and hypoallergenic cosmetics. 

As much as I want you to purchase from this brand, it's up to you in the end. That being said, I want to share with you a quote that Necia Boston lives by, 


"Stay ready, so you don't have to get ready. This applies to having a makeup routine, for any occasion, ready to load, as well as in life.  Stay ready to enjoy the moments, so you don't miss them trying to figure it all out."

30 POC Makeup and Lipstick Brands You Want Products From

June 25, 2020

There is an unlimited amount of makeup products sold inside stores, but I bet you haven't tried these.

black owned makeup brands, kilali cosmetics, lipstick

Everyone has their go-to products but when I tell you that you are missing out, then honey you are definitely missing out on these goodies. I should also share with you that there are so many independently-owned brands that are just not available in stores however once they land in your mailbox, you will be thanking me. Here is a round-up of 30 products (also found on my POC Twitter list) from independently owned beauty brands. FYI Brands, I would love to collaborate with you! 


I.A.N. Cosmetics 1

We all have our favorite lip glosses and lipsticks, but what are you doing about stopping the bleeding of your fave products until your lips? Umm... I will wait. Nothing probably so do yourself a favor and grab a few lip liners from this new brand. I mean who doesn't want their lipstick to look perfect!


Savage Goddess Cosmetics 

When I tell you that I love pink and copper-colored eyeshadow colors, I am not telling you a lie. So when I stumbled upon this new brand and saw their "Savage Palette" my jaw dropped. It not only dropped because of the colors but because the names of the colors actually symbolized me a little bit. I mean they are called "Naked, Lil Crazy, Pop Up, Busted and Hit list". Now tell me that doesn't define some of us at the age of "21" which is also an eyeshadow color.


Bella & Co 

If you are a collector of bright and bold eyeshadow colors, then allow me to introduce you to this "Up 'N Smoke" palette. It has a combination of colors that are both neutral and bold. If you have brown eyes then the blue in this palette will make the gold sparkles in your eyes pop. Don't believe me? Cool. I barely do at times but as someone who has brown eyes, you should. I mean how else would I know this!


That Girl Cosmetics 

A UK brand that gives the bright and bold impression of being "That Girl". I really love how the packaging of their lipgloss looks in these see-through tubes. With this pretty pink and shimmer color called "Do You", you most definitely will 'do you Boo'.


V. Laceworld 

Introducing "The MAYA Palette" and I think this may be the perfect travel palette for someone who has either really brown skin or fair skin. There are so many neutral colors in this palette and then that bold purple color and last role of dark colors that can easily change a daytime outfit for an in prompt-to evening date. I think this will be the best palette to try for newcomers to makeup or girl and guys who stay on the go.


Nova Magic 

Glitter, glitter, and more glitter! This brand offers so many confetti-like, chunky glitters that can be used for almost anything. Of course, they can be used on the face so I love it. Every once in a while when my eyes are not irritating the crap out of me because of my allergies, I like to do a glittery eyeshadow look using bigger glitter flakes like these. Come see HERE


Midas Cosmetics 

Now we all know that Latinas and Blacks are close when it comes to lineage so when I stumbled across this brand that also shares the work of Latinos, Afro-Latinos, Blacks and etc. I was so tuned in. This brand has a full collection of eyeshadows, blushes, highlighters, and of course, lashes! However this "Smokey Glow Highlighter Duo" when have you saying 'Slayyy and Yasss". Place an order and tell them I sent you!


Sabreen Cosmetics 

If you are a stickler for pretty packaging then you will love these by this lip gloss brand. The tube of it is gold, the letter is black and the want is perfect to line your lips, fill them with color and go. I don't know how long your lip color will last but with a tube this pretty, I doubt that you would even care.


UOMA Beauty 

UOMA Beauty launched last year and introduced us to another Black-owned brand that got our foundation shades correct in the first launch. I for one love their foundation because it matches perfectly to my skintone. This brand also has the most amazing names for its products especially the eyebrow tool called "Brow-Fro". It is a volumizing gel that lifts and fills the brows. Yassssss huney!


Bestie Gang Collection 10 

A makeup brand that literally symbolizes how we girls call our best friends, "bestie". This brand is new to the scene within the past couple of years. Offering makeup collections that are 100% vegan and cruelty-free and environmentally friendly. Priding themselves on offering products that are beeswax, lanolin (oil from sheep wool), whey, and carmine (the juice from an actual beetle) free as well not testing on animals, we can all agree that Best Gang Collection will keep PETA and vegans super happy!


Bossy Beauty 11

I think it was Rihanna who said that guys are stupid so just put on some lipstick and go. Well, I think the brand Bossy Beauty took that to heart and launched a cosmetic brand that consists of only 5 empowering liquid lipstick colors. These colors are all named to inspire and uplift women who are making BOSS MOVES! Choose from color: "Courage, Hustle, Bravery, Faith, and Wisdom". I mean it is the "Power Essentials" collection and this is all we need:-)


Radiance Reign Cosmetics 12 

Not all women and make like a cake and bake so if you want to make a statement, why not radiate and reign supreme with one of their gorgeous colors. In most luxurious packaging you will be able to see the beautiful formulation of liquid lipstick colors. The lipstick tube is gorgeous. The bottom half is see-through so you know what color you are receiving and the top half has a gold  Choose colors from a bright purple and pink to a nude brown or rusty red color. Whichever you choose, your lips will be happy.


September Rose 13 

Their slogan is "Live In Color" and their palettes are definitely as it says. This brand has very vibrant and bold colors in their large palettes. Competitively priced, each palette comes with a minimum of 16 colors. They honestly remind me of colors you'd see in a crayon box but not the basic box, the more advanced colors that say, "let's explore our creativity". I love it! Do yourself a favor and grab a palette now and be sure to check out their highlighters and tools!


Lucid Beauty 14 

This brand has 2 things that a low-key glam girl or guy loves; lipgloss and lashes. When your skin is poppin, your lashes and lips must say, "BIH Please. I'm freaken fabulous!" Choose from their sparkling lipgloss colors that have a little bit of tint but definitely transparent. Now although, I wasn't going to mention the lashes, let's say, I am eyeing a few to add to my collection and you should too!


Atomic Makeup 15 

How much makeup does one person need from one brand? ALL OF IT! That is literally what I think when I look at the lipsticks and the "Disco Jelly". "Disco Jelly" is a loose, glitter that you can pack on the lids or either put on as a highlighter. I mean hey, we are all artists, so you can actually put this wherever your artistic heart desires!


Playing In Makeup By Yolonda 16 

If you have not seen this Jamaican brand on Instagram then you are missing out on all the vibrant cut creases done by makeup enthusiasts. This brand almost reminds me of the vibrant colors by Juvia's Place except the owner isn't trending because of bickering nor is the brand known for only showing fair skin individuals using their products. Love that! Give this brand a few of your coins by purchasing all of the Jamrock eyeshadow palettes and tell them I sent you:-)


Fixate Cosmetics 17 

I have an obsession with eyebrow pencils and makeup brushes, so when I stumbled across Fixate Cosmetics' Instagram page, my eyes started bulging. Bulging because I definitely want as many eyebrow tools that I can get my hands on. The precision point of the tool allows for precision application where you would create small, hair-like strokes to mimic natural brow growth. As far as the brushes go, they are pretty darn cute. Just go take a look at them. Adorable:-)


Propa Beauty 18 

Name another nude lipstick brand that came through with a vengeance. Literally, this brand launched and within a matter of months, they were sold out! It's like WOW! Their packaging and their nude lipstick colors remind me of a flesh-toned flag with pouts of every shade of brown beauties. Yes, girl yassss! When they restock, make sure you get you a tube! I know I want one or two, three, and four but until I make a purchase, let me know how amazing they feel on your lips so I can live vicariously through you!


Range Beauty 19 

In 2018 I was on a mission to find foundation colors created by Minorities with pigment in their skin and Range Beauty was one of them! Their range of foundation is impeccable. Their formula is made with acne and eczema in mind. And their slogan, "Clean Beauty For The Forgotten Shades," perfection. Talk about pointing out the obvious in the beauty industry. This brand also has primers, talc-free smoothing powder, multi-use highlighters, and body glow.
Whew! I bet you those big brand companies who ignored melanin filled communities who spend billions on top of billions every year on their beauty products, are biting themselves. Oh well. Thank you, Range Beauty:-)


Prime Beauty 20 

Prime Beauty made is mark by introducing the world to bronzers for darker skin complexions. I mean, dark skin beauties want to contour and bronze too!!! This indie brand has been featured in many magazines and publications such as Essence, Glamour, Pop Sugar, Hello Giggles probably doesn't need an introduction. But did you also know that this Black-owned beauty brand has the most gorgeous loose highlighters, liquid lipsticks, and one very colorful and pigmented eyeshadows palette? I'm sure you didn't but now you do so you must go fill up your shopping cart and at least buy 2 things.


Kalili Cosmetics 21 

Say hello to the New New 2020 African brand Kilali Cosmetics. This brand was launched so the makeup dolls of the world will not have to worry about touching up their makeup but more specifically their lipstick while on the go or simply want to look good snapping pictures for IG. Okay so yes, I definitely want to rave about the products but I want you all to see the beautiful shades of brown that the creator Tope has featured on her brand's website. I love this! Now I am a red lipstick kind of gal so the color Fiercefor my lip stain will be my first choice! Kiss Kiss Doll!

MTF Cosmetics 22 

If you are a sucker like I am for eyebrow products then MFT Cosmetics have these for you as well. Yes, they also have more products but just look at the selection of brow pencils that they have. I like these because they come in colors that are reflective of hair colors often seen on Black women. Choose from colors like Black, Dark Gray, Light Coffee, Light Brown, Dark Coffee, and Dark Brown. These brow tools have the wider product tips that go on a slant with makes it really easy for you to fill and go without the fuss.


TWOK London 23 

London based beauty company that is literally checking every box of beauty. Face Eyes Lashes Skincare Bundles, Shade matching ✓ 
This brand is literally coming for all of us. Now I remember when I said in 2018 I was looking for Black-owned brands that sell foundation? This is another one I found and why I think that they should be on your list to purchase from. Yes, you can choose more products if you like but here's what I suggest you purchase: foundation, micellar water, and lashes. It is really all you need.


Her Beauty Cosmetics 24 

All I have to say is BROWN BEAUTY HEAVEN! This UK brand (inspired by Afrida) offers so many types of foundation for brown beauties that if you are a makeup artist, you need to purchase them all. Like you can choose a cream foundation, dual powder foundation, and of course bronzers. Yassssss! UK brownies know what's good and their slogan, "You Define Your Beauty" is true to form. Oh and don't forget to get some of their liquid illuminators. Those are beyond beautiful!


Poshmetics Cosmetics 25 

I honestly believe that this brand is really giving us heaven for highlighters because they have got plenty. Choose from the colors of Bel Heir, Pearlcelain, and Queen of the Beam. Now although all of these highlighters say liquid, they are not but the appearance giving a liquid-like glow. Talk about being fancy with it. They also have an eyebrow pencil. Yes, I am throwing it out there again. 


Artist Couture 26 

Co-created by a Latino makeup artist MacDaddy, this brand gives you so much glow and fabulosity! The perfectly, but small package of goodies you can choose from this brand includes pressed highlighters, loose highlighters, sparkling lip glosses, and their new eyeshadow palettes. Now I got the chance to swatch a few of these in Sephora (before COVID) and was stunned by the gorgeous glow the loose highlighters give off. Now I am pressed highlighter type of gal, so trust me when I say, you want to give it a try!


Nine Three Beauty 27 

This Etsy brand is giving us a glow for our money. I for one love to glow all year round and this brand that specializes in handcrafted beauty will definitely help you. They do also offer lip products such as lip masks and lip treatments, but it's the beautiful illuminator colors and the intricate design that keep people buying from her! Choose from colors such as "Diamond in the Night, Glazed, and Bittersweet. Honestly just looking at "Glazed" will make anyone click to purchase this $10 soft pressed illuminator.


Nue Makeup 28 

Yes, you have your selection of brands who sell glitter but this brand is telling you to "Pop-off" in their "light-reflecting, multi-use glitters." I know that I would love to rock some glitters. It's just something about them on the lids of the eyes. They make everything so fun and inviting. Get you a tube in green for brown eyes, a tube in purple for dark brown skin, and a tube in a golden color for blue eyes. Oh, this brand also sells a selection of shimmering hydrating mists!


JD Glow Cosmetics 29 

I love, love, love this brand. I remember the first time I saw their swatches on Instagram and found out that they were Black-owned, I clicked to buy 2 highlighters immediately. Look at my YouTube video HERE using their products. Then I saw their Galaxy Collection shadows that are duochrome and triochrome. Shit! But, get this though! They have a makeup remover called, "Girl Bye!" Whew child! I know I want to get my hands on this because although I use coconut oil to take off my makeup, I want to try theirs.

C.A.K.E. Cosmetics UK 30  

In my London ancient, "this brand delivers the goods" because their awards say so! This is another brand that not too many foundation wearers know about because it is UK-based and Black-owned. Yes, dolls, there were many inclusive brands before Fenty launched 40 shades. Choose from the darkest of the dark to the lightest of the light foundation shades, and while you're at make sure that you pick up a bottle of their best-selling liquid highlighters in the color "Aphrodite".



There are so many more POC/Minority/Black-owned cosmetic brands that I did not mention and quite frankly, I'd love to collaborate with but since my fingers are burning, I highlight suggest that you follow my Twitter list @iamslthomas that has more of them. Oh and don't forget to follow me on Instagram @thebeautiesincolor where I promote and collaborate with Minority-owned cosmetic brands created by both men and women.


Main image credit: Kilali Cosmetics
All photos include clickable links to the brand's website.

Curlfest! A Full On #BlackGirlMagic Experience

June 18, 2020

Flashback To Curlfest 2018 With Natural Hair Enthusiast Jasmine Lee

Flashback to Curlfest 2018

5 years ago (in 2013), the
Curly Girl Collective started the first annual CurlFest. In short, CurlFest is Essence Festival and Coachella all wrapped in one where you will get a multitude of unapologetic blackness, funky outfits, music, and food. Each year the event has been jam-packed with natural haired men and women from all over the world. These men and women arrive donning beautifully coiffed hair and outfits that celebrate their unique style and personality. And guess who got to go this year? ME! (And my family).


WELCOME TO NEW YORK CITY

On Saturday, July 21rst, 2018 I was in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York ready to be a part of the culture where all shades, shapes, and sizes celebrated their different textures of curls, coils, and locs. With excitement seeping through my bones during both the planning process and the entire plane ride to New York City, I realized that my travel companions and I totally neglected to put together a daily itinerary once we landed which means lessons were going to be learned. Granted it was the first time that I, my two sisters, our mom, niece, and younger sister’s best friend have ever been to New York. Out time there was limited, so I wanted to make sure that we (more like myself) got the FULL experience. Granted the whole purpose of traveling to the Big Apple was CurlFest but I wanted to see what "The Concrete Jungle" as made of. But that wasn’t going to be this weekend because the sights and sounds of the mecca of natural hair all inside CurlFest were calling my name. 


HISTORIC FLATBUSH AVENUE

I entered Prospect Park from Flatbush Avenue. Flatbush Avenue is a major avenue in the New York City Borough of Brooklyn. It runs from the Manhattan Bridge south-southeastward to Jamaica Bay, where it joins the Marine Parkway–Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge. This bridge connects Brooklyn to the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens. This street took us down a long road lined with trees leading to the actual festival was. For those that may stray from their group like I did, don’t worry. Although the park has lots of trails where someone could snatch you, you’ll be surrounded by at least 15-20 other people who are walking down the same path so you’re good. When I finally arrived to the festival, I had to take a moment to take it all in.

IN TOTAL AWE
There were so many people and so many colors - outfits and hairstyles in one centralized place. I immediately felt underdressed in my distressed mom jeans, white tank, and colorful African print headwrap, but that feeling went away once I took in all of the good aura.


Side Note
Now, prior to the event, we purchased the $30 silver package tickets that came with a tote full of goodies on the Curly Girl Collective website. Customers were advised that tickets were needed for entry. When I arrived at the park no one was collecting tickets nor monitoring the entrance. I walked around for about 10 or 15 minutes before asking someone. I was told in order to get the tote, I'd have to travel outside of the main event, past the line of food trucks to the lines in order to claim it.

LONG LINES DESPITE TICKETS
Long Lines For Food
This is one of the lines for the Silver tickets. Eventually, almost all of the lines were for the silver tickets as those were the ones that most people seemed to have. It took me about 30 minutes to get through this line, which of course sucked. Everyone in line with me shared that sentiment with many of them upset that they purchased a ticket in the first place since the part of the park where the event was held was not completely barricaded and you could come and go as you pleased.
Lesson #1
You don’t need a ticket to enter CurlFest. Or at least, you didn’t need one this year (in 2018). You really just paid for the bag and whatever came in it. I didn’t mind because I got a blanket, cup, and a cute tote, but it would have been nice if they made that a separate thing to commemorate your time.

CELEBRITY CITING!
Once I finally got through the line, I ventured back into the main part of the festival. Shelah Marie and Ace Hood were supposed to be there, so I went to the main stage to make sure that I got a chance to see them. Turns out, they weren’t on the main stage and I completely missed them, but that was okay because I got to meet Khadeen!


Khadeen and Natural Hair Enthusiast Jasmine


If you don’t know who Khadeen (@khadeeniam) and Devale (@iamdevale) are, please report to Instagram ASAP. They’re a Brooklyn couple with a beautiful love story and an even more beautiful family that came from that love story. Plus, they’re super funny. Meeting Khadeen was a stroke of luck and it was all because I found a great spot by the stage where I could see anyone that was up there pretty well, but I was also right next to where the BET photo backdrop and the (I’m guessing) VIP area was. She was there as well as a number of other curly heads that I follow on social media. I snagged this pic of Broderick Hunter while standing there.

Broderick Hunter
EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE
There are a ton of different vendors. Many of the natural hair YouTubers that I follow were there and everyone was spread out. It doesn’t help that you get ZERO services while in the park. I honestly don’t remember whether or not it was stated exactly where Shelah and Ace were going to be, but I think that if the organizers were to put out a paper itinerary for next year or a digital one that you can screenshot, that would be helpful.

Lesson #2

Make sure you always know exactly where the people you want to see are going to be (if possible).



HBCU-LIKE EXPERIENCE
That is pretty much where I stayed my entire time there. The DJs were both on point and the crowd was bursting with energy. They went full-on HBCU at one moment with a band performance complete with majorettes and a swag surf. For a girl that went to a PWI and wanted badly to dance for Alabama State, it was EVERYTHING. The only thing that would have made it better would have been experiencing it with my friends (because I knew my family wasn’t coming in that crowd), so I’m excited to return with them next year.



FOOD TRUCKS EVERYWHERE
As I stated before, my time in New York, but specifically CurlFfest was short-lived. Once I finally got a hold of my younger sister, I made my way to the food trucks and spotted her and my her friend in line. Eventually,, my older sister, niece, and mom all met. They proclaimed that the food truck line was way too long considering they had been waiting in it for about an hour and still hadn’t made it to the front. So, everyone ended up ordering from the same line. They sat and ate, we walked through the crowd a bit to look at some of the vendors, and then we left. 
Lesson #3
Pray that it is better organized with food next time.
My older sister and niece.



INSIDER TIPS
First, the event is massive, so getting there early is a MUST. That is how you get in and out of line for both your purchased bag (if you buy one) and the different vendors for their free bags. Second, eat before you come. The food truck lines are a mile long. Third, bring water. It got cooler as the day went on, but at first, it was really hot and there is no place to buy water unless you have access to the Chill Zone (upper-level tickets) or you wait in a food truck line. Fourth, try to be with someone that has a hot spot because when I say there was no service, there was NOTHING. At such a big event, that can really interfere with your day if you get separated from someone. Fifth, be prepared to get stopped for photos. My sister got stopped multiples times and the professional photos look really nice. She was able to get them off of the photographer’s Instagram. Sixth, be ready to have fun and be bathed in #BlackGirlMagic.





INCREDIBLE EXPERIENCE
Overall, I believe that Curl Fest is an incredible event. It brings together people of all different colors and backgrounds and from all different places to celebrate the beauty of natural hair. All of the different shades of skin, textures of hair, and colorful outfits are a sight to see, and I cannot wait to return next year! I will be able to hit up the variety of vendors that were there, snap pics with my favorite YouTubers and get a chance to turn up in front of the stage with the rest of the crowd. If you haven’t already, be sure to follow the Curly Girl Collective on Instagram @curlygirlcollective and check out the #CurlFest2018 hashtag on both Twitter and Instagram to see pics of this year’s event. You can also keep up with information in preparation for next year’s event by visiting www.curlygirlcollective.com. You won’t want to miss it!
 
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