Apr 30, 2011

New makeup line for African American skin launched

Cosmetic company JAFRA Color has recently announced the launch of a makeup line that features a wide variety of highly pigmented eyeshadows, lipsticks and blushes for darker skin as well as concealers and a vitamin-infused mascara.

Inspired by world-renown makeup artists Sergio Lopez-Rivera and Aliesh Pierce, the line will be available in countries around the globe to help women of color look and feel their best.

"Feeling good on the outside is incredibly empowering," said Janice Jackson, senior VP and chief marketing officer at JAFRA Cosmetics International. "We made a conscientious effort to create a line that offers women a vast array of gorgeous shades that enable them to satisfy their beauty needs with confidence."

Powder cosmetics like eyeshadow and blush are triple-milled for even, rich application. Lipsticks contain vitamins C and E in addition to rich pigmentation, to promote smooth, soft lips while adding vibrant color. JAFRA's mascara contains vitamins B5 and E to nourish the eyelashes while a patented cotton extract helps them retain a curl.

Additionally, the new line will include 11 new shades of nail polish. 

Apr 29, 2011

Pomegranate shown to have anti-inflammatory effects

In a year-long study of more than 100 dialysis patients, researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology discovered that drinking pomegranate juice effectively helped the participants to reduce markers of inflammation in the body as well as lower levels of harmful free radicals.

Additionally, these patients experienced fewer instances of infection when compared to a control group.

Studies like this one have made pomegranate products very popular in recent years, as they have time and again been shown to have significant health benefits.

An article on reports that pomegranate extract and the oil from the fruit's seeds are becoming popular ingredients in skin care products.

In additon to being high in omega-5 conjugated linoleic acid, pomegranates have been shown to improve the effectiveness of SPF.

"I am not one of those dermatologists that jumps on every bandwagon. I certainly don't advocate for consumers to spend their savings on potentially unproven claims, but there is something to say about the wealth of goodies found in the seed oil and the fruit extract of the pomegranate," said Los Angeles dermatologist Vicki Rapaport, quoted by the source.  

Cosmetics that will help you feel beautiful inside and out

Many women feel guilty when indulging in the purchase of a new eyeshadow or a pricey tube of lipstick. Some companies are making the splurge more justifiable for consumers by donating a portion of their proceeds to charity.

The New York Times reports that makeup artist Laura Geller recently came out with a limited edition kit called Bring on the Bronze to benefit the Nancy Davis Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis. It includes a copper-toned makeup bag filled with a makeup primer, body bronzer, an eyeshadow duo, eyeliner and a lip gloss for $55, with 20 percent of the cost going toward the charity. suggests purchasing LUSH's Give PAWS soaps to support the Vancouver Humane Society. Featuring red paw prints, the soaps have an earthy fragrance of sandalwood, bergamot and neroli oils. The full $5.95 cost goes toward helping animals at the shelter.

Additionally, the lifestyle website recommends the entire PeaceKeeper Cause-Metics line, which is set up to benefit women living in poverty. All profits from the sale of these products goes toward advocacy and human rights groups.  

Apr 28, 2011

Four components of healthy ethnic skin

On, Dr. Susan Taylor reports that African American, Latina and Asian women should keep in mind four basic components for healthy, glowing brown skin: knowledge, self-examination, protection and nurturing.

Taylor says that women with ethnic skin should know about the conditions that tend to affect them. For instance, Futcher's lines are the marks that appear to divide lighter skin on the underside of the arm from the darker skin that is typically exposed. Women with darker complexions should also be aware of things like mid-line hypopigmentation, palmar crease hyperpigmentation and pigmented nail streaks, among others.

Self-examination may help an individual avoid skin cancer. Make a point to inspect your skin from head to toe once a month, and note any irregular looking moles or lesions.

Protecting brown skin from the sun may do more than prevent dark spots or uneven tone, since wearing SPF is also known to help prevent cancers like melanoma as well as wrinkles.

Finally, ethnic women should remember to nurture themselves with skin care for black women, which can address the unique issues facing people with complexions ranging from honey to dark chocolate.  

Keeping skin problems in check during warm weather

The days of dry, chapped winter skin are done and over. However, balmy weather poses new issues for skin, including sunburn risk, humidity and runny makeup.

It may take some tweaking of your skin care routine, but a fresh, healthy looking complexion is easy to achieve, even when it seems that Mother Nature is against us.

A sunscreen that contains SPF of at least 15 is essential when the sun begins to beat down. Choose a product that contains botanical ingredients to keep the skin healthy, and look for varieties that are oil-free.

Many women worry about shine during the warm months due to sweat and higher oil production. Take a look at the ingredients in the skin care products you're currently using. Do they list oil high in the list? If so, you may want to consider opting for a less greasy moisturizer, or skipping it altogether if you are prone to oily skin.

Anyone who's ever strutted around all day with confidence only to look in the mirror later and find massive mascara smudges under their eyes knows that all mascara is not created equal. An article in the Charlotte Observer suggest that women choose waterproof varieties or new products that form tubes around the lashes, like Blinc or The Balm Two-Timer, both available at Sephora.

Finally, products that contain antioxidant-rich ingredients may help to calm inflammation and reduce environmental stress, according to  

People with dark spots should seek alternatives to hydroquinone

While the health risks of using hydroquinone are well-documented and the chemical has been banned in Japan, Europe and Australia, it is still legal and somewhat prevalent in skin products for ethnic skin in the U.S.

In 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed an unsuccessful ban of hydroquinone and admitted to its potentially carcinogenic effects. It also reported that there were roughly 200 products available that contained the chemical at the time of the proposal.

The FDA claims that the chemical has been associated with yellow growths on the skin, discolored spots and a condition known as ochronosis.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that hydroquinone is used to develop photography and X-ray films and is also an additive for industrial monomers. The federal agency reports that it is a skin irritant in humans and has been shown to contribute to tumor growth in mice.

Despite this, the EPA has not yet classified hydroquinone as a carcinogen and reports that no information is available on the cancer-causing properties of the chemical in humans.

However, warns that the product is one of the most harmful substances that can be put on the skin. In addition to its possible carcinogenic effects, the chemical bleaches the skin, stripping away naturally protective melanin and making its user more susceptible to skin cancer.

The Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database classifies hydroquinone as a carcinogen, an immunotoxicant as well as a developmental and reproductive toxicant.  

Apr 27, 2011

Taking care of ethnic skin as it ages

Women and men with dark skin have the advantage of looking younger as they age when compared to their light-skinned counterparts, due to higher levels of protective melanin.

However, skin issues do arise and they may be different than what Caucasians experience, so it's important to know what to expect in older age and how skin problems can be addressed. Dr. Susan Taylor shares some of her tips on

A change in skin texture may be the first thing that an African American woman notices as she gets older. This is caused by skin cells clumping together, and may be remedied by exfoliating the area or using products for black skin.

Black women and those with dark complexions may also experience dermatosis papulosa nigra, which are groups of small, benign growths on the skin. They can be brown or black and look similar to moles. The growths are not harmful, and can be removed fairly easily by dermatologists.

Skin discoloration - whether it be darker or lighter - is also common in ethnic women as they age. Dark spots can often be treated with fade cream for black skin, but women should look for brands that do not contain the harmful bleaching agent hydroquinone. There are currently no treatments for individuals with light spots.

Finally, all skin types experience sagging with age. To prevent this, be sure to keep hydrated, wear sunscreen and use a moisturizer that is appropriate for your skin type.  

Natural remedies for dark spots

Many African American women experience patches of darkened skin on their face, which may be a source of embarrassment or grief. In the past, products containing the possibly carcinogenic hydroquinone flooded store shelves and targeted women with dark skin.

We are now aware of the harmful, irritating effects of the chemical, and while it still exists, safer alternatives are available - and some may even be in your kitchen cupboard. reports that papayas are packed with natural enzymes that may exfoliate the skin while they inhibit melanin-producing cells to help prevent hyperpigmentation. The source recommends massaging green papaya pulp into the skin as a daily treatment.

Aloe vera gel has long been used as a natural healing remedy for wounds and burns. The site suggests that leaving a mask of the moisturizing substance on the face for 45 minutes twice daily may help to fade dark spots.

Dr. Susan Taylor recommends products for black skin that contain soy, which may help to even out skin tone. Additionally, soy-derived products can help to hydrate the skin without adding excess oils.

The "superfruit" pomegranate has been showing up in a plethora of products lately because of its antioxidant properties. Taylor says the fruit can help to restore balance and calm inflammation.  

Apr 25, 2011

Eat your way to healthy skin

Good-looking skin has a lot to do with genetics, lifestyle and the skin care products an individual uses. However, what you eat can affect more than your waistline - it can also give you a brighter, more even complexion.

On the Huffington Post's Health blog, Marcelle Pick, OB-GYN, said that eating a diet rich in vitamins and antioxidants can help keep blemishes at bay and also brighten skin.

Whole foods like citrus fruits, berries, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish and herbs all contain the nutrients necessary for a healthy glow. Additionally, those seeking a more youthful look should look for food and supplements containing vitamins C and E, beta carotene, coenzyme Q-10, alpha-lipoic acid, dimethylaminoethanol, carotenoids and flavinoids, Pick suggested.

WebMD reports that low-fat dairy products can promote healthy skin since they are rich in vitamin A, and yogurt contains probiotics that may also help an individual glow.

Green tea contains polyphenols that may help prevent skin cancer, the source reports. The drink also has anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe redness.

Last, but certainly not least, those wanting better skin should be sure to drink plenty of water to keep hydrated and flush harmful toxins from the body.  

Apr 23, 2011

Hyperpigmentation may be easily treated

Patches or spots of dark skin known as hyperpigmentation can lead to an uneven skin tone and embarrassment, but they do not usually indicate more serious conditions and are often easily treated with liberal use of sunscreen and fade cream for black skin.

Causes of hyperpigmentation include inflammation, reactions to certain medications and excessive sun exposure. Additionally, hormonal changes - like those experienced during pregnancy - can lead to a condition known as melasma, which manifests itself as patches of darker skin.

Those who experience dark spots may want to consider avoiding the sun and using skin products for black women to even out skin tone.

While hyperpigmentation is not usually the sign of illness, it's important to consult your doctor or dermatologist if discoloration becomes a major concern, if the patches are persistent and unexplained, or if it appears that the spots are actually lesions that change shape or color, since this may be a sign of skin cancer.

By contrast, hypopigmentation occurs when the patches appear to be lighter than the rest of the skin. Causes and treatments are similar to those of hyperpigmentation.  

Apr 22, 2011

Cosmetic tips for dark-skinned beauties

Today, women with ethnic skin tones have many options when it comes to cosmetics, so it may be time to re-visit the rules for choosing products for African American skin.

Makeup expert Byron Barnes, of Iman Cosmetics, told Ladies' Home Journal that while it was once thought that darker skin has red undertones and therefore women should choose foundation with the same hues, many women with deep complexions actually have yellow or golden undertones. Foundation should only be used if an individual has uneven skin or dark spots to conceal, and powder varieties may work best, Barnes said.

Old school beliefs that those with dark skin need brightly colored blush are also outdated, according to the expert. Instead of oranges and fuchsias, African American women may want to opt for more natural-looking blush or bronzer.

For a fresh look, Barnes also recommended trying forest green or navy blue eyeliner accompanied by glossy lips.

Younger African American women may want to take advice from TeenVogue experts. In an article, their sources said shimmery, golden earth tones usually flatter ethnic skin. Instead of matte, opaque lipstick, the magazine suggested trying sheer lip tones in coral, caramel and berry hues.  

Treating acne scars on African American skin

Pimples and blemishes are bad enough when newly formed, but they have the added unfortunate effect of leaving behind scars that can last even longer than the original bout of acne.

To make matters even worse, risks of certain types of scars are five to 15 times higher in African Americans, and people of Asian descent are at a 3- to 5-fold increased chance of scarring from acne and blemishes, according to Individuals with ethnic skin are also more likely to experience post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, the source reported.

The good news is that these scars and conditions are treatable.

For raised scars, a dermatologist may recommend microdermabrasion, laser resurfacing, chemical peels or other in-office treatments. Severe, recurring hypertrophic scars may require topical or injected steroids administered by a healthcare professional.

Individuals with scars that are mere discolorations may have an easier time helping the dark spots fade. recommends regular use of over-the-counter products for African American skin that can help to even out discolored areas.

Since excess sun can worsen scars, individuals should always wear sunscreen, especially when spending time outdoors.  

Apr 20, 2011

Dark-skinned individuals may require more vitamin D

While chocolate- or caramel-hued skin may be gorgeous and enviable, it may also put African Americans and people of other ethnicities at risk for vitamin D deficiency.

Moreover, in a study that was conducted by the University of South Carolina, it was found that a low blood level of the vitamin was associated with aggressive breast cancer.

"We know that darker skin pigmentation acts somewhat as a block to producing vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, which is the primary source of vitamin D in most people," said lead author Susan Steck, Ph.D., M.P.H.

In a clinical trial of 107 women of varied races with breast cancer, it was found that African American women had, on average, about 30 percent lower levels of vitamin D than their Caucasian counterparts. Those who were most deficient in the nutrient were about eight times more likely to have a more aggressive form of breast cancer.

These findings do not suggest that African Americans should skip the sunscreen, but instead that they may want to incorporate a vitamin D supplement into their skin care and health regimen. 

Posing Beauty features beautiful, thought-provoking African American iconography

In Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present, author Deborah Willis compiles images of iconic black Americans like Josephine Baker and Michelle Obama, providing a photographic history of beauty, pride and power.

Featuring the work of more than 100 photographers, Willis presents a compilation of the vast array of beauty types in American culture - from the high school prom queen to modern pop stars.

The images she chose illustrate the different ethnic skin types, hair textures and figures that are included in the wide definition of what is beautiful.

In a New York Times review of the book, writer Jennifer Baszille said the collection subtly chronicles the struggles of and the progress made by African Americans.

"If a single thread unifies the images in this amazing collection, it is the subjects’ agency in the conception and presentation of their own beauty, which is itself a radical departure from the more familiar objectification of African-Americans in the nation’s collective visual memory," wrote Baszille.  

Apr 19, 2011

Eating fruits and vegetables may help brighten skin

They key to a glowing complexion may be as simple as eating more brightly-colored fruits and vegetables, according to researchers at The University of Nottingham.

The carotenoids found in carrots and tomatoes are antioxidants that do more than rid the body of harmful free radicals, since their pigments also help give all skin tones a healthy golden cast that has been shown to be preferable over color derived from sun tanning.

"We found that, given the choice between skin color caused by suntan and skin color caused by carotenoids, people preferred the carotenoid skin color. So, if you want a healthier and more attractive skin color, you are better off eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables than lying in the sun," said lead researcher Ian Stephen.

The authors of the study noted that while the difference in color may be more pronounced in lighter skin, African Americans, Latinas and Asians can all benefit from the positive effects of carotenoids.

In addition to eating a plant-rich diet, people of color may also want to consider seeking skin care products that are tailored to their needs. African American skin care is available for those looking for a more even tone.  

African American women feel positive about their beauty

ESSENCE magazine has completed the fifth installment of their Smart Beauty discussions, designed to gauge the trends and attitudes of ethnic women toward the beauty industry, and found that African American women are much more likely to feel good about the way they look when compared to the general population.

Results of an online survey revealed that 83 percent of black women reported positive feelings about their physical appearance, while only about 41 percent of the majority said the same.

"ESSENCE's Smart Beauty research confirms that beauty goes beyond how women look, it is also linked to how she feels," said the magazine's president Michelle Ebanks.

Additionally, the survey found that African American women are about 10 percent more likely to celebrate their beauty and 10 percent less likely to feel challenged by their looks.

There are few things that can make a woman feel more beautiful than a clear, even skin tone. Skin products for black women has come a long way, so African Americans have more options than ever when it comes to looking and feeling their best.  

Apr 14, 2011

Iman presents beauty guide for women of all ethnicities

Since the 1970s, supermodel Iman has been looked up to as one of the most beautiful women in the world because of her willowy limbs and rich, even and glowing skin tone.

Now, she's presenting her secrets and tips for all women in her book The Beauty of Color: The Ultimate Beauty Guide for Women of Color.

In the book, Iman gives her personal instructions on how to achieve the perfect base for beauty: healthy skin. She goes on to share her techniques for makeup application and choosing different products for ethnic skin.

The guide also serves as an inspiration for African American, Latina, Asian, Middle Eastern, Indian and Native American women all over the world.

“The world’s most unforgettable beauties are often women who fall outside of the narrow definition of trying to conform to a ”type.” These women make a journey into discovering who they are and embrace the very traits that set them apart. Their beauty is a glorious reflection of being comfortable in their own skin," Salma Hayek wrote in the foreword.

Iman told style blog that her favorite skin care tips are to take care of skin early on - even for women in their 20s without wrinkles - and to always wear sunscreen.  

Jennifer Lopez and Rihanna to be among performers at Billboard Awards

On May 22, the Billboard Awards will honor the artists who have made the biggest impact on popular music over the past year, and Jennifer Lopez and Rihanna will be performing to give audiences a peek at their newest singles, reports.

The ceremony will take place in Las Vegas, the perfect setting for the two queens of dance music.

Rihanna recently released a remix of her song S&M with Britney Spears, and Lopez has been taking time out of her busy schedule to work on a new album titled Love? It is also rumored that the Black Eyed Peas will perform.

Barbados-born Rihanna and Puerto Rican Lopez will surely be fine-tuning their voices and brushing up on dance moves, but, luckily, both ethnic beauties already have glowing, stage-ready skin.

To achieve the stars' even skin tones, beauty products for black skin or Latino skin may be useful since they are specially designed to meet the unique needs of women of color.  

Apr 13, 2011

African American skin has special needs

Ignore the myths that say all black skin is oily, or that people with dark skin tones don't need to wear sunscreen. Your skin is unique, and that means you need to find products and a routine that suits you. The following are some tips from Discovery Fit & Health to help you put on your best face.

Use gentle cleansers and wash your face as you see fit: once per day if it's dry or sensitive, or up to three times per day if you feel shiny. Avoid anything abrasive since harsh scrubbing can lead to irritation or breakouts.

While the naturally high levels of melatonin in ethnic skin do provide some protection from the sun, do not rely on your natural beauty to keep cancer at bay. In fact, skin cancer in African Americans tends to be especially aggressive, so begin each day by applying SPF 15 or 30, and remember to re-apply when spending time outdoors.

If you're considering cosmetic procedures like a facial peel, microdermabrasion or laser treatments, be sure to ask around and search online for professionals who specialize in African American skin care.

The best way to find suitable products for your skin is to try them out. Look for brands in all price ranges, since good things do sometimes come in inexpensive packages.  

Apr 12, 2011

Beyonce lends her dance moves to help the country get in shape

For years Beyonce has been inspiring young girls to emulate her energetic dance moves and superstar persona. Now, the pop star is teaming up with Michelle Obama to inspire kids to get in shape with the first lady's Let's Move! initiative, CNN has reported.
Beyonce is getting ready to release her Flash Workout video for the kids' health initiative, re-writing the lyrics to her single, "Get Me Bodied."

The singer and dancer hopes to "promote the benefits of healthy eating and exercise. But what we want to do is make it fun," she said in the video.

Perhaps eating a nutritious diet and getting plenty of cardiovascular exercise is what keeps Beyonce's gorgeous African American skin glowing.

Last year she told Elle magazine that she's a fan of bronzing gels and keeps her eye area wrinkle-free with Ray Ban shades.

The Flash Workout video will be presented at schools nationwide and is sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters, the American Association of School Administrators, the National Middle School Association and the National School Boards Association.

Apr 11, 2011

Tips for healthy skin

Looking good begins with a foundation: the skin. The Mayo Clinic offers some tips on how to keep skin healthy and looking vibrant.

Overexposure to the sun can lead to wrinkles, spots and dry skin, not to mention skin cancer, which has the potential to be deadly. The clinic recommends avoiding the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when its ultra-violet rays are the most potent. When planning to spend the day outdoors, wear protective clothing and sunscreen, even if you have darker ethnic skin.

The Mayo Clinic reports that smoking presents a whole catalog of problems for the skin including wrinkles as well as depletion of nutrients and elasticity.

Your skin is delicate, so be gentle to it. Avoid long, steamy showers or baths, use mild cleansers, pat - don't rub - skin dry. Find a moisturizer and shaving routine that works well for your skin type. If you're African American, seek special products for black skin, and likewise for other ethnicities.

Consuming a diet rich in vitamins, minerals and water will keep skin looking fresh and healthy. Also, stress may lead to breakouts and many other conditions, so try to manage your anxiety for a clear mind and complexion.