My background isn’t in cosmetics, I just have a fascination with the products and with the industry. So I always need to turn to my fellow beauty writers and bloggers to make sure I’m saying the right thing. Whenever I’m researching a product, I turn to Makeup Alley, but when it comes to getting advice from a fellow afrobella, there aren’t as many options.

I plan on taking some time to introduce you bellas to some of the best black beauty bloggers out there. I’m starting with Lianne Farbes, AKA The Makeup Girl. She has been very welcoming to me in terms of being a newbie on the beauty blog scene, and besides being a total sweetheart, she’s a consumate professional and gorgeous to boot!

When Lianne does a post on her blog, she knows whereof she speaks.

She’s been in the makeup industry for over 18 years, as a professional artist, editorial model, and employee of big companies like Lancome and Clarins. She also worked as a custom blender for Perscriptives.

From that insider perspective, she’s been able to watch the slow evolution of the cosmetics industry, in terms of how they deal with beauty of different shades.

There has been a more conscious effort by most companies to make certain that a truer range of shades are available to the woman of color. I was just speaking to Julia of All About the Pretty about this the other day, because I was saying that most of the shades by the majority of companies are OFF… (ie: too red or peach). Her point was that at least companies like Maybelline are trying instead of doing nothing. And I have to agree with her on that. Major companies like Bare Minerals don’t even make shades for women any darker than I am and believe me honey, In most people’s opinions I am YELLOW!

Recently, both Lianne and I were interviewed by Shannon of A Girl’s Gotta Spa! about our perspective on makeup for women of color.

Lianne said that she noticed that “drugstore lines have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.” Like myself, Lianne has a dream that one day, affordable, quality makeup will be made to reflect all shades of beautiful. “My ambitions are that we develop a line of true color foundations to reflect the melting pot that America has become. Not only are we dealing with women of color having trouble finding the right match but now we live in a society where the average girl looks like Jessica Alba because she is bi-racial, or tri-racial. Now more than ever, we need to pay attention to that and understand that with those different ethnicities the need to stay on top of a different range of shades will be paramount.

She’s so right! Coming from Trinidad, that kind of intermixing is nothing new to me. My own family background consists of various interminglings of African, European, and Amerindian. Our islands are a true melting pot, and if I showed y’all some of the photos of my girlfriends growing up, it’s almost impossible to tell *exactly* what race some of them are. Cosmetics companies need to quit thinking in extreme tints and tones, and recognize the shades in between as well.

But Lianne promises that a solution is forthcoming: “I am in the process of developing a line along those lines…so look out for it!” I can’t wait to see what she’s working on!

Lianne’s blog began in April, as a way to drive traffic to her Website. Lianne’s site is all about the amazing bridal and events makeup she does, so if you have someplace extra special to go this holiday season and you live in the DC area, holla at Lianne!

She had multiple and meaningful reasons to start her blog, and she’s got great advice for you up-and-coming bloggers. “I was inspired by tthe fact that while I enjoyed reading the many beauty blogs out there, I noticed that there weren’t any well known blogs that were written by a woman of color. It has grown into something else and completely taken on a life of it’s own!! I would suggest for someone new to really pay attention to the development of the blog. Come up with a little gimmick that is inherently unique and stick to it. Also SPELL CHECK! There is nothing worse than having your work syndicated all over the internet with typos. Just make sure that you treat it like everyone is going to read it, make sure you watch your language and keep it classy.

That’s a line I toe very carefully. I want Afrobella to be read by adults, teens, and if moms want to share my site with their kids that makes me proud. I love some of the rougher language on other sites, but I decided to not go that route because my whole family reads this every day. So I’m with Lianne on this one. Stay classy, bellas!

As a makeup artist, Lianne notices women of color making some common beauty mistakes. In answering my question, she also answered a question MANY readers have asked me: “The most common mistake most women of color make is still the color of the foundation. Always test colors on your jawline or on the back of your wrist (which almost always matches your face more closely than the back of your hand), Also like Bobbi Brown says, “Every woman over the age of 30 needs to use a concealer…” no truer statement. Doing that alone can really take a few years off. My favorite thing for darker women is the unabashed use of color! Brighter more vibrant colors look so beautiful on darker shades of chocolate! As far as your skin, take care of it! Make sure you are washing your face nightly with something gentle (Cetaphil is good)and using a light moisturizer.” Advice from a pro, you gotta love that.

And finally, I HAD to ask Lianne what her favorite products are. So she gave me a little list, which I plan to shop for as soon as I can… “Some of my favorite products are the Makeup Forever camouflage palette No. 4, MAC studio stick foundation, Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Brownie. Any color of MAC lipglass (seriously any color will do!)” Well, I love MAC lipglass, but I’ve never tried any Bobbi Brown products before. Lianne hasn’t put me wrong yet, so I’ll have to give them a try.

Lianne was also kind enough to answer some of YOUR Ask Afrobella questions, so look for a new Ask Afrobella over the weekend! Check out her websites, you’ll be happy you did.

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Coffy says:
November 17, 2006, 2:27 pm
great post, so many of these cosmetic companies are losing customers because they are unwilling to embrace every shade of beauty. you would think just for the financial incentive they would embrace the idea that the brown population is growing. oh yeah, i live for my Bobbi Brown foundation.
kia says:
November 17, 2006, 2:44 pm
wow! great post! so excited to see her on your blog! she's blowing up every where! she'll be featured in essence, cosmo or glamour before we know it. watch out!
themakeupgirl says:
November 17, 2006, 3:39 pm
Bella thank you so much for interviewing me! You had so many really good qustions! If you ever need anything just name it ;-)
The Glamour Bee says:
November 17, 2006, 3:50 pm
Great stuff. Yours and Lianne's blogs are two of the best out there!
Regina says:
November 18, 2006, 11:51 am
I very much enjoyed reading this post. It's always been difficult for me, just like with other sistahs, to find a good, high quality foundation and I finally stumbled upon BECCA. Unfortunately there has been a severe breakdown in their retail distribution and I can never get my color! I'm glad that Iman is out there and hope that Lianne's products are successful. Years ago, Gazelle International was introduced (the entire line and corporation were run by a sistah!) but she didn't survive the harsh cosmetics industry. Historically, we had Fashion Fair and Flori Roberts (I'm showing my age now) but even these companies didn't quite get their formulas and pallets right, and we need more choices in high end, department store brands. I think all sistahs really want is a quality line that gives good coverage, has a variety of colors, and is affordable. So good luck and if ever you need participants for focus groups, give me a hollar!!! I love Afrobella!!! Yours is a very classy blog. says:
January 1, 2014, 8:02 pm
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