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With a decade of experience covering beauty for magazines like Elle and Lucky, Tia Williams knows a thing or two about hair and makeup products. Now the Virginia native pens novels and her addictive blog, Shake Your Beauty. Updated about three times a week, Williams delivers the 411 on what’s hot and what’s not in an authoritative yet personable way.
Phyto Phytolisse Finishing Serum ($30, sephora.com): Just a drop of this brilliant shine serum over my ends gives my hair a healthy-looking, glossy sheen. It also somehow makes my split ends look less, well, “split-ty.”
Swissco Wet Comb ($2.99, drugstore.com): When my hair is wet, it’s impossible! This wide-tooth comb is the only thing that can get the tangles out of my thick, long hair.
Philosophy Hope in a Bottle ($38, philosophy.com): Super-gentle and oil-free, this luscious moisturizer hydrates my oily-ish skin without making it shiny or greasy. I use it morning and night, after cleansing.
Kiss My Face After Sun Soother with Jewelweed and Yucca ($5.60, drugstore.com): I slather this aloe-blended gel lotion all over after a day at the beach or by the pool. It’s fragrance-free and practically all natural…perfect for sensitive skin.
Chanel Glossimer in Giggle ($27, saksfifthavenue.com): The perfect beachy nude! And the texture is rich and luscious without being sticky—it lasts for hours.
Black Opal Flawless Perfecting Concealer in Honey ($5.50, treasuredlocks.com): Love the price, love the coverage, love the staying power. I don’t leave home without it!
This southern belle who now resides in our nation’s capital shares her love for all things beauty and travel related in her blog, All About the Pretty. Stylish women regularly turn to Julia Coney for her well-researched posts on everything from eye shadow to day spas. Coney generally posts 3-4 times a week.
Ojon Restorative Hair Treatment: ($55, sephora.com) gives my dry, dull, colored hair some love. I actually like to sleep in it for better conditioning. I use it twice a month and afterward my hair literally feels like silk.
Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Mask: ($7, drugstore.com) can be used as a hair treatment as well. I warm it up and then apply for a truly deep conditioning. I’ve also applied it to my hair at the beach so the water doesn’t have a chance to destroy it.
Chanel Sublimage Essential Regenerating Cream: ($375, neimanmarcus.com) is my “I cannot believe I am paying this much face cream” face cream. My face drinks this up and I believe it has changed my skin’s texture for the better. As much as I try to not buy it, it keeps pulling me back.
Olay Complete All Day Moisture Lotion ($11, drugstore.com) knocks my socks off. I love this light moisturizer with SPF that soothes my skin and makes it feel supple.
Lancome Definicils Mascara: ($24.50, lancome-usa.com) is a product I keep going back to. For me it’s a luxury I cannot live without.
CoverGirl LashBlast ($8, covergirl.com) is a mascara you keep buying once you give it a try. I have one in my yoga bag, travel beauty bag and I keep one at work. It’s that good.
A self-proclaimed “reformed tomboy” hailing from the island of Trinidad, Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik is the founder of the uber-popular Afrobella blog. Focusing on products that other natural haired women can appreciate, this beauty junkie also regularly conducts engaging interviews with other stylish movers and shakers like herself.
Miss Jessie’s Rapid Recovery Treatment ($48, missjessies.com) Miss Jessie’s is a great brand for natural hair in general — it’s dedicated to bringing out your curl pattern and their products are super moisturizing. Natural hair is constantly thirsty and always needs moisture. It’s super thick, very nourishing, and makes my hair soft as antique silk.
Queen Helene Cholesterol Conditioning Cream: ($3.50, walgreens.com) This was good enough for my mama and it’s good enough for me. It’s a never fail standby deep conditioning treatment. Sometimes I double my hair’s pleasure with some organic virgin coconut oil, which sounds expensive but will only cost you about $10 at Whole Foods. And it’s a multi-use product so you can pamper your hair and body with it, then use it for cooking. Score!
ME Bath Shower Sherbert ($28, mebath.com) is a dense, glycerin-based sugar scrub that smells so delicious you just want to devour it. I love a decadent sugar body scrub and this is a big ol’ tub of yum.
When I’m feeling extra extra low budget, I make my own sugar scrub. What could be cheaper? Coarse brown sugar or turbinado sugar works best, add some honey (because it’s a humectant) and add coconut and olive oils. All pantry ingredients, so this is basically free.99!
Bobbi Brown Long-Wearing Gel Eyeliner ($21, bobbibrowncosmetics.com) I suck with liquid liner, and pencils often are smudgy and waxy. Eyeshadow primer + gel eyeliner = instant all-day win. This eyeliner in steel is a gorgeous glinty silver and forest is their new fall color, a deep moss green flecked with gold. So pretty.
Sonia Kashuk Gel Eyeliner ($6, target.com) is just grand! The bent eyeliner brush rivals just about any other I’ve used. It is perfection especially if you can’t afford the department store brands.
Erin Bailey decided to create Scandalous Beauty while aimlessly looking for makeup tutorials for nights out with the girls. Four years later, she pens blog posts 3-4 times a week and also creates easy-to-follow makeup guides and tutorials on YouTube.
Aveda Damage Remedy Intensive Restructuring Treatment ($26, aveda.com) is a must-have for everyone who uses heat, chemicals or color in their hair. This combination of proteins and oils not only mends the surface of the hair, but the internal structure as well.
When I apply my favorite super creamy conditioner to my hair, I love to add extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil to the bottle for added moisture, deep conditioning or detangling.
Lush Ocean Salt ($33, lushusa.com) has been a staple in my bathroom for years. It’s the perfect face and body scrub. A mix of sea salt, lime, and other natural ingredients will give your skin the glow of a lifetime. Be advised, this may smell like a fresh margarita, but don’t drink it!
Oyin Handmade Whipped Pudding ($6, oyinhandmade.com): saturates the body in long lasting moisture. Word around town is that people with eczema swear by this product. Plus, with the shea butter base and aloe gel, this stuff works equally as great on all hair types.
Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet+ Foundation ($34, sephora.com) is a makeup must have. The formula feels lighter than air, plus it lasts all day. While matte finishes are an asset for those of us with oily skin, nothing is more classic than a natural shine.
L’Oreal H.I.P. Eyeshadow Duos ($8, lorealparisusa.com) are packed with enough pigment to rival any department store shadows. Brazen is my go to duo, try the dark brown to frame your crease or fill in your eyebrows. The matte pink even doubles as a gorgeous blush!
Stay tuned for Part II of our roundup of the Best Black Beauty Bloggers.
Additional reporting by: Margaret Francois
The Internet is overflowing with folks claiming to have expert advice on everything from parenting to politics. So, finding a trusted online source to rely on for top-notch beauty tips is no easy feat. ESSENCE.com found four sisters with informative blogs who have made it their duty to provide the world with the best beauty know-how around. Now, they’re revealing to ESSENCE.com their all-time favorite splurge and save items.
Compiled by: Bridgette Bartlett