Hey Lakeisha! Where are you from?
The Bronx, but my family is Jamaican
So how did you get into skincare?
I'm a makeup artist. I've been doing makeup since high school but have been freelancing for the last few years. I went to school to get my esthetician license so that I didn't feel that I was missing any opportunities. Skincare is so important for makeup. If you want to have flawless makeup, then you need to be exfoliating and hydrating your skin.
I was introduced to skincare by my mom. She takes care of herself and is always prepping before she heads out. She also always wears sunglasses. If she doesn't have them she doesn't know what to do with herself. I went to high school and college for fashion design. So it was always a thing for me. I used to cut up t-shirts to make gowns and bikinis and crop tops for my Barbies. Since we had no social media, I would collect magazines and read books to learn how to do makeup. Style.com was great for me growing up. I used to watch fashion shows online.
Where do you get most of your skincare and makeup info now?
I do a lot of my own research because I feel like right now, everything is based on what is trendy. Information is everywhere and people have access to people in all industries. Before you read it in a magazine, now you can go to that makeup artist's or dermatologist's Instagram account and it's all there. There is an influx of stuff on YouTube. People have their own beauty gurus so it's important to separate yourself from it and to learn on your own.
It seems that skincare really came into the mainstream this last year as a type of self-care.
Totally. It is the year of the "yes, let's do it," but people aren't doing the research of where things come from. This industry takes things from other cultures and makes them their own and acts like it's so new. Like Gua Sha and jade rollers, these are things that people have used as medicine in China for forever and we just pretend it's new. We need to educate ourselves and respect where these items come from.
Any general advice based on what you've seen with clients?
A lot of our clients are beauty junkies. They have their own "it girl" that they follow and they use whatever they're using. It is great because people are having these conversations and learning but you have to be careful because all skin is different and you can't just take what someone else does. Also even with all of this, no one wears sunscreen! Wear sunscreen! I do love that Glossier made invisible sunscreen. Murad has had an invisible sunscreen for a while. It really is all about marketing. Too many people only wear sunscreen when on vacation. You're doing everything else but you're not doing literally the most basic thing?! In fact, some of the products that we use make us sun-sensitive, so it's even more important.
It can be hard to find a good sunscreen sometimes. Unsun and Black Girl Sunscreen make great sunscreens for darker skin. One time I was on vacation and put on a Neutrogena sunscreen and my sweat was white. I was like 21 and I didn't know that I couldn't just use anything I found. My friends all made fun of me. I think there's always room for improvement but at least we're going in the right direction to make sure everyone has access.
Oh also, you don't always have to use a gel cleanser. Sometimes it can dry out your skin. Listen to your skin. We need moisture and hydration. Exfoliate once a week. Pay attention to what you put into your body. A lot of the time it reflects on the skin. My favorite exfoliant is the Vital C Masque from Image because it has great enzymes like pineapple and papaya. I love the Ageless Total Resurfacing Mask from Image which is like a mini peel because it contains Alpha Hydroxy Acids that exfoliate but there are also the microbeads in it the help with sloughing off any excess dead skin. Alchimie Forever is good too, strong though, so definitely be careful if you're sensitive.
If you wear makeup every day, what should you keep in mind for your skincare?
Wash your brushes. You have to wash your brushes. You can learn the correct way to do it, here. If you wear makeup every single day and if you're acne prone, then you should be doing that once a week. If you don't suffer from breakups or congestion, then you can get away with every other week. Compact sponges should be cleaned after each use or replaced every month. You need to buy that cleanser for your beauty blender that they offer. Everyone says beauty blenders are expensive but if you buy the cleanser, then you can keep using the same one for longer.
How would you describe the style of your work?
Connected, relaxing but effective, and straight to the point – no fluff. Your skin is an organ. It is a living and breathing thing. I can only do but so much on the surface from what I see, but you have to look at your lifestyle and see what you can adjust to take things to the next level. It's as simple as that.
What are three things that you like that don't have to do with skin?
- I love to cook. I learned how to cook from a very young age. I'm a savory person. Oh man, Boulevard Bistro in Harlem. Go to this place. The whole menu is good. They did my wedding. They're amazing. It's little more refined southern comfort food. Weekends you better make a reservation because it's small and in a brownstone. But all the food is made from scratch, from the honey butter to the biscuits.
- I obviously love fashion. I think that Zara always does amazing stuff. I love ASOS. I love how they're inclusive. They have some fly pieces.
- I'm still a diehard for Grey's Anatomy. It's crazy. It's a wild show but I love it.