Aurora James, the founder and creative director of Brother Vellies, a sustainable clothing and accessories line, puts a lot of thought into not just her fashion choices but also her daily beauty regimen.
I’m really adamant about getting seven hours of sleep every night. I think it affects everything. Also, I put 800 milliliters of water by my bed before I go to sleep. As soon as I get up, I chug the whole thing. The way I think about it, it’s almost like a plant that you water. We’re like flowers in that sense. We need water to reset and feel fresh.
I use Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser. I probably use that five times a week. On the other two days, if I haven’t gone too crazy with the makeup, I wash my face with water.
Then I go to Vintner’s Daughter. I keep it in the cabinet in the bathroom because I want to apply it when my face is still damp from the shower. Then I do body. In the summer, I use Tata Harper Revitalizing Body Oil. It’s so expensive, but I’m addicted to it. In the winter, I need something heavier, and I use Kiehl’s Body Butter.
I wash my hands, and then I put a moisturizer on top of the Vintner’s Daughter. I use the Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream that she makes specifically for darker skin tones. I think it’s a really interesting idea, but I haven’t really seen a visual difference because I was using the regular one before. Both creams work well for me.
If I really want to pamper myself, I put my Sturm Glow Drops on top. Luckily this comes in travel size. If I’m going to be outside, I use an SPF powder or stick from Supergoop!
The products I use are expensive, but my philosophy is do less of everything, but when you do do, make the choice that’s best for you. It’s not just about which cream, but also about how you value and take care of yourself. I also think about how my Vintner’s Daughter lasts me 2 1/2 months.
I try not to wear makeup every day. Firstly, I question, why am I choosing to wear makeup today? Do I choose to wear makeup because I want to, because I want to celebrate? Am I playing, or is it a moment of insecurity?
We’re so used to seeing people’s highlight reels on social media. It’s OK to show yourself naturally with imperfections. I don’t want to feel like I always have to look a certain way. Also, my mom never wore makeup, and I never had a makeup experience growing up. That said, I do love makeup. It can be fun to play.
I wear a blush from Sephora, and I wear a black eyeliner from Chanel. My favorite red lipstick is also from Chanel — Le Rouge Crayon de Couleur in Rouge. I do a mix of the Dior Backstage Airflash foundation in shade 401 with my Sturm cream, so it’s like a tinted moisturizer. There’s also a Dior mascara and Glossier Balm Dotcom in Coconut in my makeup bag.
I wear fragrance from time to time. I wear Byredo Bal D’Afrique and sometimes Gabrielle Chanel. I have an emotional attachment to Chanel. My mom was, like, a hippie for life, but my grandma was this very traditional woman who never wore jeans. She always wore Chanel No. 5, and Gabrielle Chanel sort of hits that nostalgia for me.
My natural hair is past my shoulders and curly, but the curl pattern is both curly and straight. It’s sort of weird. I get it blown out twice a week, and I usually have someone do it for me. Either I have someone come over, or I go to this Dominican hair salon called Sisters in downtown Brooklyn. They can blow out hair like no one’s business.
The truth is, I haven’t even been to any of the “top” salons in the city because so many hairdressers are intimidated by black hair. They haven’t been trained on it. It’s an industrywide problem. I’m DM’ed every day about my hair on Instagram and why we’re not talking about it more.
I use DevaCurl shampoo and conditioner. I started using it because my boyfriend had it. Before that, I just got something from L’Oréal at the drugstore. I tried Moroccanoil at one point, but it was too heavy for me. It’s been hard to find products.
A friend turned me on to Shamara Bondaroff. I’m super-obsessed with her facials. When I first went, I thought she was going to do extractions, but then she pulled out these electric-current things. Your face looks lifted afterward. I go to her once a month. The morning of the Met Gala I went to her. That’s commitment.
Diet and Fitness
I’ve had a nutritionist, Charles Passler, for four years now. It has made me more cognizant of what I’m putting in my body and how it affects my hair, skin, nails. I take a lot of fish oil. I don’t like to put labels on how I’m eating, but if you were going to categorize it, I’m pescatarian.
I have a love-hate relationship with fitness. I think it’s incredibly important, but it’s difficult to find the time. Also, no one talks about this, but as a woman of color, you have to think about your hair as you’re working out. If you’re blowing out your hair, and you don’t want to put chemicals in it every day, how does that affect your ability to work out?
I definitely go through phases, though. I’ll have a month when I wear my hair up and curly and work out all the time. Or I might just do weight training where I’m not sweating a lot and don’t need to wash my hair after.
I do make sure I walk 10,000 steps every day. Just finding ways to fit a little fitness in your everyday life is great.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.
Bee Shapiro © 2018 The New York Times