This past May, I had the celebrity encounter of a lifetime; following a wee article I had written about Iman coming to Miami to promote her makeup line (specifically her new Second to None Stick Foundation), I was invited to dinner at the Setai with the one-named beauty icon.

I can’t begin to tell you how nervous and excited I was to meet Iman. This was far from a one-on-one dinner, many of Miami’s media movers and shakers were there. But I got to sit almost across from the Somalian beauty and chatted with her at length throughout the evening. Woo hoo!

She was just as glamorous and worldly as you might imagine. She was debating whether or not to attend “Naomi’s party in Dubai” (you know, the one Dallas Austin remembers all too well), and dished about David’s upcoming film and music projects.

I also totally hit it off with Iman’s longtime makeup artist, the fabulous Byron Barnes. He was a real hoot, and spoke honestly and warmly about the veritable who’s who of black celebs he’s done makeup for. (Byron, if you by chance ever read this, I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to interview you for Afrobella! Holla!)

At the end of the evening, she gifted all of us with a signed copy of her book, The Beauty of Color, and a gift bag of I-Iman cosmetics. I was super-duper excited, because I had wanted to try her products for ages. And I got to take them home and try them for free! Yay! I’ve been using them for months now, and I’ll review them for you here.

And as a special treat, at the end of this post I’ll share with you one of the worst photos I’ve ever taken.

(My already drunken and um, excessively luminous appearance was terribly magnified by the fact that I’m sitting next to one of the world’s most beautiful women of all time.)

My I-Iman gift bag included several lip glosses. Luxury Lip Shimmer in Decadent is a beautiful bronzy brown that adds delicious gloss to my lips. I will admit that I don’t care for the applicator (one of those little sponge-on-the-end-of-a-plastic-stick dealies), and the gloss wears off quickly. But the product itself is smooth and pretty. I like it enough that I actually carry it around in my purse every day. Right next to my lip shine in Jazzy. Jazzy is a sparkling copper shade. Byron described it as being “like a shot of diamonds!” when he applied it to my hand during the makeup presentation. It’s just as glorious and high-quality as any expensive cosmetics counter brand, except Iman’s stuff costs $10 while Lancome’s Juicy Tubes cost $16.50 a pop and deliver significantly less pigment. I definitely plan on buying more of these, specifically in the Fabulous and Hypnotic shades. A girl can’t ever have too many options, I say.

I also was gifted with the Luxury Lip Shimmer in Flamboyant, but unlike Gwen Stefani and Christina Aguilera, I’m not so much on the bright red lipstick train. It’s a light, not opaque red, so I don’t feel like a total clownface when I wear it. But I tend to gravitate towards dark berries and coppers for daily wear.

I also managed to procure a bottle of the Time Control Liquid Assents Gentle Foaming Cleanser. I use it almost every night. It strips away the oil without drying out my skin, and leaves me feeling fresh and ready for bed. I switch between many different face washes depending on my mood, but I always come back to this one. I can definitely see where Iman took pains to formulate cosmetic products for women of color, because this face wash works perfectly for me.

The Second to None Stick Foundation is a smooth and effective product. If I have a bad breakout or hyperpigmentation, I use it. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m not a big foundation fan. The fact that Iman’s products come in so many unusual shades is encouraging, so if you’re a dark skinned bella, check them out.

During my interview with her, Iman continually raved about her UnderCover Agent Oil Control Lotion. They promised to send me a bottle, but that never happened. I will definitely make a trip to Walgreens to buy this, because a) Iman said so, and b) I’m constantly on the lookout for anything mattifying.

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I didn’t plan on doing another Ask Afrobella so soon, but BaldBeauty asked a pertinent question to the post:

Afrobella, I am a darked-skinned (about the shade of your website background) young lady. I don’t wear make-up often but I’m looking for somthing like a bronzer to make my face glow. Any recommendations?

P.S. I really enjoy reading your blog!

Thanks, BaldBeauty! I really enjoy writing it, and getting feedback from readers like you. I have to admit, I’m not a bronzer user. I own one from The Body Shop, but never really liked how it looked on me. But I must say, I-Iman offers two different kinds that seem to cater specifically to women of color. Here’s the tips from The Beauty of Color.

“1. First, make sure your face is clean, dry, and matte. Bronzer will stick to oily or damp areas and streak, making your face look dirty.

2. Women with skin of color always need to apply blush before bronzer. Why? Well, since we’re already brown, most bronzers wouldn’t show up on us. But if it’s blended over a rosy blush, it’ll not only be visible, but the rosy-bronze combination gives an impossibly sexy, slightly sunburned look.

* I can testify that Iman certainly appeared to be wearing bronzer when we met. She definitely looked “impossibly sexy,” so I guess it’s working for her.

3. Want a dewy look? Dab a sheer gel bronzer over gel blush, or blend a bronze highlighting stick along your cheekbones.

4. When going for a sun-kissed look, apply bronzer with a big, fluffy brush, and concentrate on the areas where the sun naturally hits your face – cheekbones, bridge of nose, and forehead.

5. Use a light hand. If you’re light-skinned, overdosing on bronzer is a mistake of George Hamilton proportions.”

For dark skin, she recommends true bronze with gold shimmer. Hope that helps.

And for all of you who have hung in there this long, here’s the photo of shame.

What can I say? The waiters filled up our wine glasses before I even realized they’d emptied, and I didn’t think to blot my face (or stop speaking. What a weird, weird expression that is) before the photo had been taken. Notice how my hair appears o be consuming the side of Iman’s face like some kind of hungry octopus. But whatever, I met a legend, and Byron Barnes complimented me on my eye makeup! Absolutely no regrets after a magnificent night out with Iman.

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