Monday, March 24, 2008

Beauty Q & A: Afrobella

As women of Color we often are left wondering where we can turn to get the real 411 on products that are specifically for us. Ladies, look no further than Created by Patrice Yursik, is now one of the top blogs about hair and beauty products for women of Color on the Net. Ms. Yursik was kind enough to take some time between posting tips and working for the Miami New Times to be the first to sit down for Belle-Noir Magazine's Beauty Q&A.

The Lovely Patrice Yursik aka Afrobella

Thank you for taking time to talk with Belle-Noir Magazine. Before we find out more about your site, I'd like to know some more about you. Who is Afrobella?
Afrobella: I’m the creator of Afrobella, and my actual name is Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik. My readers call me Bella. An Afrobella is a woman who is all about being positive, vibrant, informed, intelligent, and proud to be beautiful on her own terms.

What was the catalyst behind your creating
Afrobella: Quite simply, I couldn’t find the kind of reading material I was looking for. I’m a magazine junkie, and I noticed a void in the representation of women like me. The articles didn’t connect with me because they weren’t being written with me in mind. I also couldn’t find a blog that combined my interests – makeup, hair, music, culture, fashion, randomness. I was addicted to celebrity blogs and a lot of them can be really negative and judgmental. I wanted to create a space that was positive, smart, and encouraging; and celebrated the kind of women that don’t get celebrated often enough.

If you had to give the cosmetics industry a letter grade on the number of quality products in the market for women of Color, what would it be overall?
Afrobella: Right now, I’d give the industry a B+ -- so close to an A -. The industry has come a long, long way from the days when Flori Roberts and Fashion Fair. So many more cosmetics companies produce niche lines for women of color, L’Oreal’s HIP comes immediately to mind. Even for ladies who shop at the drugstore, there’s HIP, there’s Milani, there’s Black Opal… all great brands that are super affordable. And as for high end brands, practically every one has come out with some special side line targeted to women of color, or now pride themselves on having a wider range of concealers. And lucky me, I am constantly getting contacted by unique boutique businesses owned by women of color, for women of color. I’ve discovered some great niche brands recently, like Valana and b.l.a.c, and Big Girl Cosmetics. Quality is improving, and there’s a lot to choose from. The industry will earn an A from me when I start seeing more models of color in the advertising.

If we peeked into your purse right now, what must-have items would be there and why?
Afrobella: Oh Lordy. I roll with a little zip-up makeup bag everywhere. I recently pared it down, at one time I had a bigger purse with at least 15 lip glosses on me at all times. Now I have like five – my Softlips vanilla, the Rimmel Light Beam gloss, HIP lip gloss in tempting, Valana Minerals sparkie lips in velvet pomegranate, and whatever matches my outfit for the day. Today I took Shu Uemura lip gloss in a dark purple. Besides that, I have a Cover Girl Queen Collection powder foundation compact, Boscia blotting linens, and a mini perfume. These days, it’s a teeny bottle of Ysatis. Mama Bella would be proud!

There are more and more women of color who are sporting natural hair styles today. For someone who is looking to go natural, what steps would you recommend? Any specific products?
Afrobella: Product recommendations? Oh, definitely. The shampoo that changed everything for my natural hair was DevaCurl No Poo. It’s supremely gentle, and DevaCurl One Condition made my hair feel softer than anything I’d tried before. An awesome cheap conditioner is Trader Joe’s moisturize. Love that. An expensive but excellent conditioner is Miss Jessie’s Rapid Recovery. For drugstore brands overall, Crème of Nature is my favorite right now. They’ve got an affordable organic line and a great leave in conditioner.
In terms of advice for bellas who are considering going natural, I advise them to shampoo less, do conditioner washes instead. Comb their hair when it’s soaking with conditioner in the shower, and always comb from the bottom up. Forget your obsession with hair length; focus more on having strong, healthy, happy hair. Look at it as an adventure in discovering the hair you were born to have. Some natural hair grows in thick spirals, some doesn’t. Some grows straight, some grows kinky, some parts of your hair might be coarse while the rest is smooth. I find it fascinating. If you have short hair, don’t be afraid to accentuate your look with loose and comfortable headbands, or big fabulous earrings and dramatic makeup. Own your fro. That’s the best advice I can give!

Going natural is a real commitment to improving the health of your hair, so it’s important to get to know your texture and take the time to figure out what kind of styling products your hair will respond to. Some afrobellas love oil based products like Lisa’s Hair Elixir by Carol’s Daughter. Some prefer a creamy moisturizer, like Miss Jessie’s Curly Buttercreme, or Curls Milkshake. I’d say do as much research as you can before you start buying up products, because it can get expensive.

Finish this line: "I never leave the house without ________________."
Afrobella: My purse, which weighs like eight pounds and contains my entire life, including all the aforementioned makeup. Is that cheating?
Where do you hope to see in five years?
Afrobella: Oh boy! I have so many ideas. So, so many. I think Afrobella’s just going places. I’ve done five appearances on NPR so far, and I’m starting to feel comfortable with doing audio interviews. Now I’m considering doing podcasts, and eventually video when I feel ready for the world. So I can see Afrobella becoming even more multimedia, and I can see some pretty cool stuff coming down the line. The sky’s the limit, and I’ve got a real vision. Watch and see!
Be sure to check out every day for the latest beauty tips and more. Also, check out Pretty in the City, her blog at the Miami New Times featuring reviews on Miami beauty hot spots.


nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Thanks for doing this interview.

Afrobella is one of my favorite blogs. I originally found it when I was trying to find info on products for my natural. It's so much more than just a beauty blog. I love how she covers politics, pop culture, and fashion.

Anonymous said...

yay Bella cute interview.

I'll be checking out Belle Noire now too.

Anonymous said...

Its very nice and interesting blog. I have enjoyed reading it. Thanks for the sharing.