How to Get the Best in Black Beauty for $1

Today and tomorrow only, you can try the Essence BeautyBox, a beauty subscription service for black women, for just $1! Use the code FIRSTBOX to try the service, which usually costs $15 a month, for $1. My first unboxing of an Essence of BeautyBox won me over because every product, from the hair products to the beauty products, was wearable.

Essence BeautyBox June 2016 1c2

I had a chance to chat with Brandi Shipp, Vice President and General Manager at ESSENCE BeautyBox. I was so curious to know more about the inner workings of the subscription service that I’ve found so useful.

1. How do you decide which products to include?

The Beauty Editors at ESSENCE thoughtfully curate each month’s box, recognizing that great beauty products can come from anywhere. Each ESSENCE BeautyBox includes a mix of hair, cosmetic, skincare and fragrance products that span from tried-and-true favorites to brand new or indie products. What is most important is that each product has been vetted by the ESSENCE team who knows Black beauty better than anyone!

Essence Beauty Box June 2016 4c

2. How do you stay abreast of the latest beauty trends that are most relevant to women of color?

Our editors spend a great deal of time meeting with beauty companies and leaders in the industry to learn about what is new and innovative in the space. We also feature at least one product each month from an independent, African-American-owned brand. So, we are always on the lookout for entrepreneurs within the black community.

Essence Beauty Box June 2016 2c

3. What feedback from box subscribers has been most helpful to you?

Our subscribers give up lots of feedback, all of which we love! One of the most important pieces of feedback early on was that our women wanted the opportunity to be able to get products that are most relevant for their needs, for example, natural hair vs relaxed hair. So, we’ve started curating the boxes with different products that can work for different needs.

I especially enjoyed the June Essence BeautyBox, and I’ve already added a couple of the products to my beauty routine. I’ve been wearing the NYX Ombre Blush in “Feel the Heat” and will likely buy additional colors. I enjoyed experimenting with the Maybelline Vivid Matte Liquid Lip Color in possessed plum. It’s a beautiful dark hue with a surprisingly hydrating formula that’s not at all matte. I still have to try my samples of the Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture Silkening Conditioner and Silkening Blow Out Creme. I can’t wait.

Big thank you to the Essence BeautyBox team for providing my box free of charge for review purposes.

Fashion Director of SELF Magazine Talks Time, Affordability, and Photography With Economy of Style

I recently had the opportunity to interview Evyan Metzner, SELF magazine’s Fashion Director.  She has had over 20 years of experience in the fashion industry.  I think you will find her responses regarding time, affordability, and photography especially interesting.

Evyan Metzner, SELF‘s Fashion Director

December 2011, SELF cover.

1. How do the overall philosophies of SELF magazine (including health, fitness, and happiness) influence your role as its Fashion Director? 

My philosophy has always been to help people embrace fashion from a place of confidence and have fun with it. It is a way to express what you like or how you are feeling. As a lifestyle magazine, we always shoot our stories for SELF on location, not on a white wall in a studio, because people live life in places—not on a white wall.

November 2011 issue of SELF

2. Functionality and affordability are more important now than ever to women, how does your work as the Fashion Director at SELF try to address these issues? 

I always felt that fashion has two parts: to have function and to be fun. You have to have both, really. I feel it is always good to have some essentials and add pieces to that collection to make your style more fun and unique. Spending the money on good building pieces is a great way to go. They will fit better and last longer, and they don’t have to be boring.

November 2011 issue of SELF

3. Who do you perceive as your main audience and why are you interested in talking to them? 

Our main audience’s main issue is time…and not having enough of it. They love fashion, but they don’t have the time to spend hours shopping around to pick the best boot out of 100 flat boots…So my advice is to follow your first reaction when you see something in our magazine. Mark it, rip it out to remember what you loved.  If it’s not in your price range, head to your computer and look for something similar.

December 2011 issue of SELF

4. Are there aspects of your background that are not typically thought of as fashion or journalism that have influenced you going into this career? 

Yes. When I was in college, I worked as a production assistant in NYC for different commercial production companies. I did everything from drive talent to and from location, organizing casting polaroids, buying props, putting together production booklets, and researching photographs. What I learned is that it’s a puzzle. Putting the pieces together. It isn’t about just the day you are shooting or looking at clothes. And I love that part of our job. What makes a good editor is learning how to choose the right puzzle pieces and putting them together.

5. You’ve been in fashion for over 20 years, how have your experiences influenced the work you are doing now with SELF, especially given all the changes associated with blogs and social media? 

So many things have changed—the largest is, again, time. And, money. We have less time to do more, and less money to do it with. When I started, we had many days for scouting locations and shooting. But, now we fly in, scout around for a day, shoot, shoot, and leave. We have to cover photographs for 3 different formats (print, ipad, kindle fire) and we do video. We blog. We tweet. So much more information is being shared. It’s incredibly exciting.

6. Over the years, what have become a few of your key interests in fashion and why? 

I love photography. I love telling a story through pictures. I love fashion and showing how someone can really enjoy clothing as a way to express themselves. I still swoon over a beautiful pair of shoes, or an amazing dress. I love the evolution of fashion and photography.

Twilight start Nikki Reed, Dec 2011 issue of SELF