Ester Dean has penned hits for everyone from Beyonce to Nicki Minaj and Rihanna, but this Grammy nominated songwriter isn’t a stranger to gorgeous makeup and low-maintenance skincare regimens. Here, the stylish record producer explains her beauty musts and no-no’s.
ESSENCE.com: Do you have any favorite beauty tips? What products are you into these days?
Ester Dean: I love Korean body scrubs, especially the milk baths in honey. It’s the most amazing thing in the world. I also love Dermalogica. They have a great facial cleanser for men. When I began using it, it started clearing up my skin and gaving me a squeaky clean feeling.
ESSENCE.com: So the secret to perfect skin is using men’s stuff?
Ester Dean: I believe so! You don’t have to believe me, but I’m thinking that’s the way to go!
ESSENCE.com: You recently switched from lotion to coconut oil, tell me a little about that.
Ester Dean: Sometimes with lotion you’re still ashy afterwards, and other times it’s too heavy and you just don’t feel like it’s working. But with coconut oil, you can dab it all over your body and it will keep you moisturized. My boyfriend told me to put it on my hair and face; men know exactly what to do!
ESSENCE.com: Normally men steal our products, so it’s interesting to hear you say the reverse.
Ester Dean: Well, you know, guys are getting beauty conscious. Their skin is so healthy because they’re doing the minimum.
ESSENCE.com: Let’s talk a little bit about your makeup tips.
Ester Dean: Contouring can change your life. I went on Instagram and I saw great contouring pictures and one day I did them, and I was like, ‘this works!’ It’s my new thing. Sometimes the best items are in local beauty supply stores—we don’t always have to spend lots of money.
ESSENCE.com: Would you say that drugstore finds are your best items?
Ester Dean: Black beauty salons and supply stores are your best spot. They have everything you need. Sally’s and CVS isn’t for us. Go to [stores that carry] everything about you.
ESSENCE.com: I hear you’re really embracing your natural curls these days, is this true?
Ester Dean: I recently cut my hair like Grace Jones and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I was paying $500 just for a wig and then another $500 for application. I figured I would keep that $500 in my pocket and tip the barber. I would say any lady who really wants to release herself from weaves and sew-ins is to go natural. I have a $20 haircut, I can get it done every two weeks and it’s freeing.
ESSENCE.com: Do you think you’ll stick with it?
Ester Dean: Yeah, my sister just cut all of her hair off too. So now the only person [in my family] who is still rocking the long weave is my mom. And she can have it! When you cut off your hair it’s liberating because you’re so used to making sure you don’t see a track and having to get it tightened up—it’s a headache. And, if you cut it off and you’re like ‘oh I shouldn’t have done that,’ put some weave in it.
ESSENCE.com: Any other beauty tips?
Ester Dean: Always [have] eyelashes. There’s a lady in Atlanta who does the best lashes in the world named Goddess Lashes. She is amazing. Also, it’s important to [feminize] your face when you big chop. For me, when I put lashes on, it changes everything. Keep your lashes and eyebrows on point and your face will always be fierce.
ESSENCE.com: Any skincare no-nos?
Ester Dean: Waxing hair off your face is a no-no. I think you should get laser treatment for facial hair. It really works! When you wax, it leaves bumps and breakouts. Don’t do it!