Though Essence Festival is an event that allows you to interact with celebrities, brands, influencers, and tastemakers, the Black women that we serve are really at the core of the festival. Black beauty is celebrated on all fronts, from the bounce of our coils, to the curl of our lips, to the gaps in our teeth.

We found so many dynamic ladies with noteworthy hair and makeup at Beauty Carnival, we couldn’t resist catching up with a few of them about the beauty looks they were serving.

Danielle Mayfield, DC, 34, Makeup Artist/Hairstylist

Tell me about these lashes and this flawless application?

I bought the lashes from a vendor here at Essence Festival. I have on Black Opal foundation. I use Crayon Case for my contour, I use their crayon palette, and I have Presidential from the same brand on my lips.

Any reason why you wore blue lips today?

I just wanted to do something different and a little out of the box. I kept everything else so simple so I figured let me put a pop of color on my lips.

What beauty trends do you like to incorporate into your look?

My every day look is pretty much natural but when I go out I try to accentuate my eyes or do up my lips.

How many times have you been to Essence Festival?

This is my first time and I love it. There are so many things to do for Black people. It’s cool to bring my sister with me who’s learning a lot. She’s being enlightened and seeing so many things. I surprised her with tickets so she could see Supa Cent.

Isis Johnson, New Orleans, 25, Retail Worker

Give me the scoop on this wonderful hair!

I did my own color. I actually bleached it and it came out this two-tone shade. I was going to dye it red but this is way too cool for me to put a dye on top.

Did you pull this off for Essence Festival or is this you every day?

I just had a baby girl, and everyone said I couldn’t dye my hair while I was pregnant. It was black and driving me crazy because red is my signature color. As soon as I could, I tried to dye it back red.

What message would you want to pass on to your daughter about what it means to be a beautiful Black woman in this world?

Accept yourself. My hair’s always been natural but when I was growing up it wasn’t as accepted as it is now. So don’t let anybody tell you how you’re supposed to look, just love you. You’re going to be a baddie just like your mom and your grandma!

Since you’re from here, what tip would you give a first time attendee about keeping their makeup intact in this heat?

If you want to do liquid makeup stick to the bare minimum. Do just foundation, don’t do a concealer, keep it really light and really fresh because this humidity will take it all off. You don’t want to look like chocolate milk.

Bronwin Taylor, 39, New York, Freelance Artist

Is this special Festival hair?

No this is one of my every day looks.

How much time does it take to do this daily?

Not long. I don’t flatiron my hair every day because that’s not healthy. So I might do it twice a week and don’t use a lot of products, maybe some coconut oil. Then I pin curl it at night and I can sleep however I want. My hair cut takes like an hour in the barber’s chair.

This is really edgy and funky.

I really love mohawks especially because it comes from African culture. And then I was getting tired of cornrowing my sides and I wanted something really bold and artistic like myself so I just shaved the side and I put designs in it every chance I get.

Then you topped off the purple hair with purple lipstick?

It’s my favorite color!

Sylvia McFadden, 44, South Carolina, Shipping and Receiving Professional

Did you get this lovely hairdo specifically for Festival?

Every year I come to Festival and I get my hair in a wild style. Every year I try to do something different.

How many Essence Festivals have you done so far?

This is my third consecutive year coming to Essence Festival. I always look forward to it. I know we do a lot of hair and beauty stuff.

What’s your favorite part?

Definitely Beauty Carnival. I like to get new beauty products, new hair products, and I like to see the different demonstrations.

How long did your hairstyle take?

It took about three hours. My beautician Latrice West is pretty fast. I’ve been going to her for 13 years, since back when I lived in Atlanta. I’ve already posted pictures on Facebook. Everyone’s always amazed like ‘what’ll she come up with next?’

Karisha Loiseau, 34, New Orleans by way of Chicago, Corporate Sales Manager

Is this gorgeous hair just for Festival or is this an every day look for you?

It’s not an every day thing, but not just for ESSENCE either. It just depends on what mood I’m in. It took a lot of bobby pins and prayer!

What inspires you when you’re styling your hair?

I don’t know. I’m always an out of the box person. I recently had big hair too and then just shaved it all off. I go with the flow and when the mood hits I press play.

What’s this blue lip all about?

It’s two Kat Von D. lipsticks layered actually. I have one shade all over and then another just in the middle. My family always makes fun of me because my lipstick is completely different. I wear green, I wear blue.

What’s one thing you would tell ladies about having fun with their hair?

If you’re comfortable with yourself who cares what anybody else says? As long as you can look in the mirror and can say ‘I look good,’ do you and embrace it.

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