Wednesday, September 28, 2016

I Added Just The Yolk To My DIY Deep Conditioning Mix And Had The Softest Hair Ever

ismail Alminda | 5:31 PM

egg yolkI tend to use the same deep DIY conditioning mix for my hair every week which is usually some sort of mayonnaise mix with apple cider vinegar. I have been hearing a lot about protein sensitivity in the natural hair community but my hair seemed to flourish with a lot of protein, or so I […]

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Lesson Learned | My Ultra High Moisture Travel Bag Essentials

ismail Alminda | 12:11 PM
I've just returned from a short trip up north.  In my past life, I used to travel for work all the time.  But it's been a while and I realize that I've made a cardinal mistake.  The one concern always have whenever I leave the state is the drier air.  Where I live, humidity levels are near 100% for most of the year.  I never realize how good I have it until I venture elsewhere.

This past weekend, I really felt the struggle of trying to retain adequate moisture.  I take full blame for not fully preparing.  Not only was I dealing with lower outdoor humidity, but also the dry air of the hotel room.  Honestly, I believe the stuffy hotel room is mostly to blame.

With another trip up north planned in November, I'm taking a completely different approach.  Instead of packing the basic essentials, I'm bringing the high moisture heavy hitters.

As I plan for the upcoming trip, the first item that came to mind were my Korean skin masks.  Intense moisture is the cornerstone of the Korean beauty regimen which is why I relied on them so heavily last winter.   I'll also make sure to bring the Pumpkin sleeping pack and Collagen full pack.  Both are ultra hydrating on the skin without creating build up.  Although they're designed to be used on the face, I love the way they feel on the hands, feet and wherever skin feels the most dry.

The next dry skin banisher that I reached for was "The Universal Hair & Skin Moisturizer" aka squalane.  This stuff is magic in a bottle. You all know that I'm a huge advocate of going to bed greasy.  I've worn various oils overnight and squalane, by far, is my all time favorite. It's non-greasy but seems to give the same skin benefits as using a heavy oil.  Each time I applied it before bed, squalane gave me the best morning skin imaginable.

Also coming with along is one of my favorite finds, Missha's Facial Essence Mist.  It's been rightfully referred to as "glowing skin in a bottle."  I desperately needed a finishing mist to give my skin a bit of a natural glow and I deeply regretted not having it with me on this trip.  I remember applying my normal moisturizer only to be let down by how ineffective it was.  I needed a finishing product to seal that moisture in.  Missha's Mist was the missing piece.

And, just to be safe, I bringing in the big guns.  This means that I'll pack a couple ultra-hydrating sheet masks.  Lastly, if necessary, I'm considering traveling with one of my 2 mini humidifiers.  They're small enough to fit in my purse and have done a great job of increasing moisture levels in small spaces.

I feel better now after compiling this all star line up of hydrating skin products. Never again will I be forced to suffer at the hands of dry winter air. This is only Phase I of my "mega moisture protocol."  Phase II consists of a clear game plan to avoid dry brittle hair.  More to come on that in a follow up post.


Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Wearing Weave As A Protective Style

ismail Alminda | 9:13 AM

weaveWhen you think of a protective style, you think of braids, buns, twists, ponytails, and even wigs–but you rarely think of weaves as a first option. It’s unfortunate that weaves are often overlooked because having them in for 1 to 2 months can bring you a ton of healthy hair growth.  However, like every other […]

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

[Try This] The Pro Makeup Artist's Tip for Creating A Bomb Cat Eye

ismail Alminda | 7:49 AM
About a week ago, I was browsing through  online magazines and ran across some quick tips from professional makeup artists.   I quickly read through the various snippets of advice before landing on one that would ultimately change my life.

You may have noticed from recent articles that I'm in the process of perfecting my eye makeup look.  In my quest for knowledge, I've stumbled upon a tutorial on how to create the bold cat eye reminiscent of Beyonce herself.  Then we took things one step further by learning Charlotte Tilburry's  mascara application technique for the perfect winged eye.

Now comes the third cat eye tip that, for me, is the best one yet!

It's a simple, small change in technique that has made all the difference in the world.

Basically, the makeup artist suggested that we line our eyes AFTER applying mascara.

For all of my years, I've always lined my eyes first, then applied mascara.  The final look has always been a bit underwhelming.

But switching things up has changed everything.  When you apply liner to a naked eye (no mascara). You have this false impression that the amount of liner you've used is adequate.  When you finally do add the mascara, your liner isn't as obvious.  But, if you switch up the order of things, you get a preview of the final look.  From there, you apply liner and will be able to create the most amazing cat eye that you've ever rocked in your life.

It's a small, simple tweak in my routine that's made a world of difference.


Why I Stopped Detangling My Hair And How It Has Been So Far

ismail Alminda | 7:01 AM

@bornfreeformI know how crazy that title may sound, but let me explain. I have not detangled my hair in nearly a year (going on two years) and I have been natural for about 7 or 8 years now. Within those years, I have tried so many products, so many methods and even though many products […]

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Curl Love! Here Are 6 Great Unisex Products Perfect For You and Your Natural Bae

ismail Alminda | 3:55 PM

Generally, natural hair products are geared towards women. A lot of them have sweet and fruity scents, bright labels, and all types of pretty ladies dawning kinks and curls in their advertisements. Understandably, this could make natural men a little hesitant when purchasing products because they don’t seem to suit them or meet their needs. […]

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Artist: Ashley Oubre

ismail Alminda | 1:05 PM

Tell us where you are from, the early years of your childhood and what influenced your direction towards the arts?
I’m from Washington DC (born and raised), so I grew up with the Smithsonian and Hirshhorn as hiding spots when playing hooky from school. I’ve always loved emotional and chaotic art; I think that’s how I formed a love affair with Picasso and from that, I began painting and trying to emulate him. When I realized that drawing in realism was my niche, I stuck with it.
Your first memory or interpretation of visual art
I wish I had a cooler story for this but honestly, coming of age when the internet was only used in classrooms or at home on a clunky computer through AOL, randomly finding images of art online really struck me. People were creating work I’d never seen in books at school or the museums, and I felt inspired by that.
Were your family and friends always supportive of your work?
Ha! I think I’ve always had a reputation for being inconsistent (and maybe a little bit lazy when I was younger), so family and friends were as supportive as they could be. I worked office jobs until 2014 when I signed with a gallery. I think from there, everyone said “okay, she’s serious”.
How many man hours do your pieces average and which piece took the longest to date?
The drawings vary in size, so it’s hard to say. My largest (and favorite) drawing — “Suffering and Transcendence” — took about a month off and on. It’s 4×7 feet! The smaller pieces take just a couple of days.


How long are your working intervals before you need a break?
I always need a break. I’ve got a bad habit of second guessing every brushstroke. More than that, carpal tunnel kicks in after an hour or so of shading, and when that happens I sit on the sofa and try to think of ways to improve the current piece or sketch for a new piece. I’m obsessed.
How do you determine what will be your next piece or any practices, rituals or a process that inspires the direction of future work?
I never know what the next piece should be! I guess it depends on what I’d like to say, what I’m feeling. Did I have a restless night? Okay, then let’s draw something to reflect that. Do my clothes not fit anymore and do I feel uncomfortable in my skin? Well, let’s take from that and try to create something. I’m not sure if I’m embracing faults and fears, but I am acknowledging them, and that honesty is relief. The work doesn’t necessarily have to be physical self portraits, but a nod to personal feelings I think we all share (shame, regret, longing, fatigue, etc). The ritual/process is hard to peg. As long as music and coffee are involved, I’m good to go.
What would you say to those who don’t have the positive reinforcement of family or friends when pursuing a passion?
I’d say please don’t be deterred by the ones who don’t “get it.” Live your life doing what you love and find your people – they’re waiting for you with open arms. It’s taken years to understand the importance of this and how to live by it.
If you could could spend the weekend with any artist (past or present) who would it be and why?
Marlene Dumas is the first person to come to mind. Her work haunts and thrills me. I’d love to have a drink with that brand of genius, sigh. If she’s unavailable, a weekend of painting, rambling (and a little crying) with Van Gogh would be a dream.
If you could only rework one of your pieces for the rest of your life or chose a subject you have yet to attempt, what piece or subject would it be?
I can only choose one? I’d love the chance to rework every piece. I’m rarely satisfied with any of my work and I constantly seek validation to caress (or build) my ego. I shouldn’t admit that, but it’s true. I’m genuinely appreciative and a little shocked when people regard the art. The kind words and compliments feel like personal approvals and I love that warmth. As for a new subject, I’d really love to explore mist, sea and hillsides. I know they’ve been done but ah, I think I’d really enjoy drawing non-figurative work. I get an unnerving feeling when thinking of it — and I love that.
Most humorous or strangest reaction/story regarding your work
“Why you always draw old naked people and jellyfish?”
Set the mood of your work space; do you listen to music, enjoy silence, turn off your phone etc…
I actually created a playlist on Spotify that sets the mood like nothing else. It’s modern classical, coffee shop jazz, ambient tunes and meditation music on loop for hours. It’s redundant but I need that white noise to concentrate. My phone is always lost, dead, dying, or broken so it’s not much of a distraction, thankfully.
Ideal playlist
Philip Glass, XXYYXX, Blossom Dearie, Nat King Cole, James Blake and a little Sade, please!
Sources of Inspiration
Conversations! I love them, even if I’m not a participant. Eavesdropping and people watching are the highlights of my day when I decide to leave my cave (I’m a homebody). Other than that, just thinking out loud and scrolling Instagram or Pinterest really help shape my ideas. I’ve been introduced to so many great artists this past year alone.
Biggest obstacle to date
Finding and maintaining balance. I’d love to be closer to old friends and make new ones, build a better relationship with myself and travel the world but trying to make it as a working artist, my shyness, insecurities, and an innate pattern of elusiveness sort of hinder those things. I’m genuinely struggling to navigate my life, and that’s why I draw the things I do.
What is the best piece of advice or life lesson you have learned?
I’m unsure about the best piece of advice but here’s one life lesson I’ve learned: No matter how interesting, gifted, attractive, etc some may regard you, there will always be people who treat you like an unremarkable loser, through and through – Ignore them. They are not your audience and therefore are incapable of appreciating you (or extensions of you). Fully accepting this has spared me quite a few crying spells.
Where can we find you (urls, social media handlers, etc)
Website * Instagram * Facebook * Blog
Anything else?
Thank you. Thank you to every artist, art enthusiast, friend and foe who have inspired, supported and discouraged me. Life has been interesting so far, and each experience with each person has given me something I value, even if that has been cruelty. The bad has forced reflection and the good has padded my heart.
Future projects
I’ll be showing at Art Wynwood in February, Paris Contemporary Drawing Fair in March, a solo exhibit with my gallery (Robert Fontaine Gallery) in May, and then Art Basel in Switzerland by June. Phew!

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