June 25: World Vitiligo Day

It’s V-Day, and I don’t mean Valentine’s. June 25 is set aside to create awareness about vitiligo and the social stigma associated with it around the world. As part of a campaign, we are petitioning to have June 25 officially recognized by the United Nations as part of a healthcare and education initiative for those with vitiligo and the community, and be observed as World Vitiligo Day.

Today is the perfect day to revive a post, particularly I Am Not My Skin Color, where I wrote about my own skin discoloration. Please read, share and sign the petition for recognition and support of vitiligo awareness.

Vitiligo Awareness - Model Me Girl - World Vitiligo Day - June 25

 

 

Beauty in the City

Ready, set, sparkle and shine! I have more beauty goodies to send your way. Beauty in the City features essential makeup brushes and berry/wine colors for a dramatic look. The smoky face palette by M·A·C and Motives lip kit are perfect for travel. Enjoy!

Beauty in the City

In the Set:

1. Dior Addict It-Lash Mascara • $26.00
2. Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Hi-Shine Nail Lacquer • $18.00
3. M·A·C ‘Keepsakes – Smoky’ Face Palette (Limited Edition) • $49.50
4. Trish McEvoy Lash Enhancing Liquid Liner Pen • $48.00
5. SARAHPOTEMPA Tools “Power” Paddle Brush, 9.7/10″ 1 ea • $25.00
6. 18Pcs Horse Hair Professional Cosmetic Brush Set • $19.19
7. Motives Essential Lip Kit $35.00

Argan Oil for Health & Beauty

Argan oil is used in two mediums; cooking and cosmetics. It’s a wonderful oil for the face, skin and hair. It’s rich in vitamin E and contains carotene. Vitamin E has antioxidant properties, which works to prevent damage to the body’s cells and protect against diseases. Carotene is what gives carrots and sweet potatoes their orange color. Argan oil is extracted from the kernals of the argan tree found in Morocco. With claims to moisturize, soothe and nourish, it’s no wonder more and more cosmetics contain argan oil.

ARGAN Oil {health & beauty products}

Argan oil goodies in this beauty set:

JOSIE MARAN Argan Black Oil Mascara

MOROCCANOIL Body Souffle

JOSIE MARAN 100% Pure Argan Oil Light

ORGANIX Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo

ORGANIX Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil Conditioner

AVON Advance Techniques 360 Nourish Moroccan Argan Oil Leave-In Treatment

JOHN MASTERS ORGANICS 100% Argan Oil

THE BODY SHOP Wild Argan Oil Solid Oil Lips  

THE BODY SHOP Wild Argan Oil Body Scrub

JOSIE MARAN Argan Infinity Lip and Cheek Creamy Oil Duo

Get the London Look with Rimmel

Who said you have to spend a lot on makeup to get the London look?! Here’s some makeup inspiration featuring Rimmel.

Get the London Look with Rimmel

Carrot Facial Mask

Carrots are packed with vitamins your body needs. Not only are carrots good for you, they are good on you! This carrot mask can help restore vibrancy to your complexion. A word of caution: use carrot masks in moderation. We don’t want you to turn orange!

Carrot Facial Mask
Sources:
http://www.thefitindian.com/10-natural-face-packs-for-all-skin-types/
http://hudabeauty.com/2011/07/24/vitamin-hb-skin-repair-facial/
http://realfoodforlife.com/carrot-face-mask/

Fresh You: Spring/Summer Essentials

Makeup, if used, is to complement and not compete with your features. It can be a challenge to find the perfect foundation. While no foundation is truly the be-all and end-all of makeup, CK One is one of my favorites, and is the inspiration for this beauty set. It applies smoothly and holds up well, even in hot/humid conditions. From the EcoTools brushes to NYX concealer, these are beauty supplies I have in my “Fresh You Essentials Kit.” What’s in yours?

Enjoy a fresh you…from the inside out!

{Fresh You} Spring/Summer Essentials

World Vitiligo Awareness Day: I Am Not My Skin Color

How important is skin color to you? Or should I say, how important is the absence of skin color to you?

logo_vitiligo1Supporters are petitioning the UN that June 25 be recognized as World Vitiligo Day. We are building awareness about vitiligo and the psychological and social consequences that can erupt as barriers in a person’s life, as well as to raise funds for education and research.

The stigma of vitiligo is real. It often takes the form of a master status, or primary characteristic that shapes a person’s social identity. This influences a person’s perception of him/herself. In many parts of the world, people who have skin depigmentation are discriminated against or socially isolated. There are uninformed individuals who see vitiligo or skin depigmentation and confuse it with leprosy, or as something contagious.

Simply put, vitiligo is a skin condition that occurs when the melanocytes stop producing melanin, which are responsible for giving color to the skin. The result is loss of skin color, or depigmentation. This can happen due to a variety of reasons, from autoimmune deficiencies, to skin trauma from a sunburn or reaction to chemicals.

The Stigma Is Real

While I have not experienced the extensive stigmatization as those in India with vitiligo and other parts of the world do, I understand that any pronounced skin depigmentation, such as vitiligo, marks you as different. To many, the idea of something or someone being different evokes fear or confusion.

The skin depigmentation I have is on my lower legs, feet and right arm. The contrast between the white patches and “normal” colored skin on people who are brown or dark is more prominent than on people who are light or white. I know the glances, the stares. But it was seeing another woman with brown skin—an educator, like myself—who proudly wore the depigmentation of her skin as a badge of honor. I didn’t see her shrink or appear overly self-conscious. I was inspired, and because of her witness, I no longer felt threatened by the stares…by the glances. I know it was God who used this woman in my life.

Understanding how someone developed vitiligo or any skin depigmentation is important. It’s the first step. But knowing how to live with it is a daily effort, and is the most important part. With close friends and family, it’s easy to live with. But when you face the world and looks of strangers, it’s not so easy.

The medical field positions that while vitiligo poses no significant threat to the body, other than limiting the skin’s protection from the sun, the huge impact skin depigmentation has on a person is with the mind and emotions. I do not believe the medical field is discounting physical medical needs; but the psychosocial needs far outweigh those.

 My Source of Strength

In 2 Corinthians 12:8-9, Paul said,

“For this thing I sought the Lord thrice [three times], that it might depart from me. (9) And he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest on me.”

How you see things, or your perception, is key. I prayed and asked God to help me better understand His grace. Goodness, did He answer me!

How I See Me

God used my skin and the depigmentation to teach me that He and His grace are enough. My skin didn’t need to change. I needed to change my mind—how I saw things. How I saw myself. I have no control over the minds of others and how they see my skin. But with Christ, I could change my perception and overcome the barriers placed before me. Even the ones I erected.

World_Vitiligo_Day-Im-Not-My-Skin-Color-ModelMeGirlI began to see my skin depigmentation as powerful—not something to make me pitiful. It gave me a testimony and the ability to identify with others. It moved self out of the way so that the power of Christ could rest upon me.

If people see that I can still give God the glory, it’s worth it. If one person’s glance or stare stirs up a conversation, or if I remain silent and be read as a living epistle, the light of Jesus will shine through me and I stand as His witness. It’s all worth it. If someone is inspired to not be ashamed of how they look or who they are—it’s all worth it. If this depigmentation keeps me humble—it is more than worth it.

What am I saying? It’s worth the cost…the price.

Learning To…

Having the depigmentation compelled me to love the skin I am in more than ever. As such, I began to love others more, and care about the everyday experiences that shape a person’s identity—including being stigmatized and ostracized. I began to care about how to undo the effects of the hurt and build healthy perceptions.

I am learning to model. To model how to yield, and show God is able to change a person and the relationships they have—from the inside out. Even how you relate to yourself and society.

When I hear and read about the dark skin/light skin debates within the black community, my heart breaks. I think about women in India who are forced to flee their homes and abandon their marriages because in-laws found out the wives have vitiligo. The meaning of skin color takes on a new definition, and you see another layer of ignorance and need for education and reconciliation. This make me care even more about how we can protect our minds and hearts, and learn to not identify ourselves based on circumstances—past or present.

But how do I say this to the girl who feels like her life is not worth living all because of the condition and color of her skin? Wait. Not because of the condition and color of her skin, but because of how people react to it, and how she sees herself through their eyes?

It Is Well

If my skin color becomes uniformed again, God is great. If it doesn’t, God is still great. I am not my skin color. My skin is just the shell, the covering, that God decided to drape over me. My skin color is symbolic of God’s creativity. It is what it is, and I operate in the realm of reality.

As it is with shells, it is what is beneath that is the most important element. God is more concerned with my heart, my mind…my soul. So He is with yours.

Support

After being inspired by a woman with vitiligo, I asked myself how I could pass on that inspiration. The answer? By using one of the most powerful tools in my possession—my voice. I could also wear purple on June 25—the vitiligo awareness color—in support of increasing health awareness and education in the global community, and in support of those who live with skin depigmentation. I could also sign a petition in support of a World Vitiligo Day.

Will you join me? We are petitioning the UN for worldwide recognition of World Vitiligo Day. Be inspired and support those who, like me, are proclaiming: I am not my skin color.

VR Foundation

http://vrfoundation.org

Sign the petition.

 

 

Naturally Professional & Changing Cultural Symbols

I spent this evening as a panelist with a very knowledgeable and fine group. Tonight’s event was hosted by the University of Memphis’ National Association of Black Journalists. We discussed being “naturally professional” — the stereotypes of natural hair in the corporate world.

Are there stereotypes associated with natural hair in the professional work environment? Yes. Some people view natural hair as untidy, or that it reflects rebellion and personality/attitude issues.

 

There was much to discuss and learn. From a sociological and cultural perspective, hair is symbolic. It carries a meaning, whether you like the meaning or not. Can we redefine symbols and change their meanings? Certainly. However, most people are resistant to change, especially when it comes to changing their minds, which rests on their values, beliefs, and ideas.

Beauty Culture

Realistically speaking, it is 2013 and we must confront the issue of what messages our chosen hairstyles and natural textures send to society. Most importantly, we must confront what those messages mean to us on an individual basis. Change happens one person at a time. Only you can choose to change your own mind, and how you see yourself and society. This includes ideas about beauty.

Isn’t that the real issue with conversations about hair ? Ideas about beauty? These are values or standards imposed upon us that we choose to internalize or not. Our society has sold to us its standard of beauty. As a culture, we bought it. That price tag was pretty hefty.

The perspective that I shared tonight was that whether you are natural, have relaxed hair, wear a wig, weave, or whatever; at the end of the day you must love you. If you can only love yourself based on the texture or style of your hair, we need to fix something. When you peel back all the layers, all the superficial stuff, do you love who you are? Do you accept yourself?

I honestly hate “natural” hair being solely applied to people of color, as though other races don’t have natural hair. I also hate the term “ethnic” hair, hair care, and hair styles being applied to people of color. We are not the only ones who have an ethnicity. Everyone has an ethnicity. A shared culture or nationality equals ethnicity.

The Movement

In keeping with the theme, there are many reasons why a person joins the “natural hair movement”. Whatever the reason, I sincerely hope it is a personal choice to open your perspective and just be who you are, and not a cover-up for the symptom of self-esteem issues, whose root has not been dealt with. Yes, someone with natural hair, just like someone with relaxed hair, can STILL have self-esteem issues that are not connected to hair, but to something much deeper.

However, if your personal choice to wear your hair natural boosts your confidence and feelings of self-worth — good for you! Still, be sure that you are you, not matter what you have or what you look like. True beauty radiates from a pure heart.

“Just Say No” to Self-Righteousness

I caution natural ladies to not think of themselves in a self-righteous manner, as though embracing natural hair means you love yourself and God more than a woman who chooses to wear relaxed tresses. Having natural hair does not mean you will avoid damage, split ends, and the like.

I equally caution ladies with relaxed hair to not think of themselves in a self-righteous manner, as though having relaxed hair makes them more polished and sophisticated. Straight hair is not more beautiful than other textures.

The Big Question(s)

Are we truly “not” our hair? We say that: I am not my hair. But do we mean it? Is this conversation just an extension of racism and colorism within our own culture and society in general?

The question of the evening was: Is natural hair professional? Yes. Just like any type and texture of hair, no matter what color you are, your hair is expected to be groomed, especially in the corporate world. If it’s groomed, it’s professional: kinky, curly, wavy, straight, and everything in between. The issue is that mainstream society has not caught on to this realization that your hair texture is not a reflection of your skills, efficiency, intellect and productivity. Through promotion, education and creativity, we can plant this thought: All hair textures —regardless of race and ethnicity— are beautiful.

j-modelmg

 

 

 

How to Prep Your Face

Please enjoy this short and sweet video on how to prep your face.

Combat Dry Winter Lips

Combat Dry Winter Lips

 

Most, if not all of us, have been plagued with dry, cracked lips. If you’ve ever wondered why we experience this more in the winter time, it’s because the cold, winter air dries out the thin layer of oil on our lips. I don’t about you but, but I have been guilty of doing a major dry lip no-no—licking my lips. While we think licking our lips will alleviate the dryness, our saliva evaporates and makes the problem worse.

Causes

  • Lack of lip moisture due to low indoor humidity
  • Dry, cold winter air
  • Sun exposure
  • Smoking
  • Licking, picking, scrubbing or biting lips
  • Cold sores
  • Allergic reaction or irritation from toothpastes or mouthwash

Symptoms

Dry, peeling, burning, red, swollen, sensitive/tender, bleeding or cracked skin on lips. Excessive licking can also cause a dry, irritated ring to develop around the lips.

Prevention & Remedies

Drink adequate amounts of water.

Use lip balm or ointment, preferably with at least SPF 15. Depending on the severity, you may need a medicated lip balm.

Key ingredients include: petroleum jelly; lanolin; natural oils, like squalene, castor oil, jojoba oil, Vitamin E, cocoa butter or shea butter; glycerin and honey.

A creamy lip therapy will most likely be water based and provide needed moisture. Just like with your hair, think of oils as sealers—something to seal IN the moisture and provide a barrier from the environment and irritants.

Let’s recap and do your lips a favor!

  1. Drink water
  2. Moisturize & seal your lips with lip balm throughout the day. Don’t wait until you’re on your way out the door. Indoor air can dry out your lips, too.