Finishing School Friday

Beauty tips. Fashion tips. Etiquette. Open forum.

*Audience Note* As usual, I’m mostly going to sit back and listen. Please feel free to talk among yourselves.

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33 Responses to “Finishing School Friday”

  1. halima says:

    The best thing for acne scars, acne damaged skin of orange peel texture and large pores. ‘skin needling’ (google it). the procedure stimulates collagen production to the area of scarring or damage and sagging etc.

    You can get it done professionally but if you are brave you can do it yourself. there are many types of ‘skin rollers’ on the market and range from a few dollars to almost 200 dollars but i have had much success with cheap and cheery.

    follow the instructions and use the right needle size for your skin problem. If doing it yourself use Emla to numb the area and please dont be aggressive with it or drag it across your skin.

    Your skin will be raw for a couple of days (so better do it when you dont have a heavy appearance schedule), but you will be amazed at how regenerated (with collagen), the area of treatment will be in a few days.

    • Melissa Q says:

      You can also use exfoliants to clear the skin of old scars. They are chemical peels contain Alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids. These products must be used once a week and it is necessary to moisturize heavily to prevent rawness. *Also be sure to start at smaller strengths and build up from there slowly and gently. The peels shouldn’t be left on longer than several minutes to prevent over-exfoliation.
      Skin naturally sheds billions of skin cells each day. When this natural shedding slows or stops due to sun damage, dry skin, oily skin, genetics, or different skin disorders, the results are unmistakable: dull, dry, or flaky skin; clogged pores; blemishes; white bumps; and uneven skin tone. Using an exfoliant steps in to help put everything in balance again. When you gently get rid of built-up skin cells you can undo clogged pores, stop breakouts, smooth out wrinkles, even make dry skin become a thing of the past!

  2. HR Professional says:

    Hi Ladies,

    I am going to repost this from last week because I used the school word foundations rather than undergarments. I believe this little tip is important because I see so many darker skinned women wearing the wrong color undergarments. As a matter of fact, I just say a woman recently wear a white blouse with a beige bra, blech.

    Quite a few posters have written on the merits of wearing the correct undergarments under clothes. I am going to take it a step further. The correct undergarments need to be the correct COLOR.

    As AA women, unless you have a lighter skin color, nude is NOT your color. Nude for us is beige. For undergarments that match closer to the typical AA woman’s skin tone, seek out the chocolate browns. It truly makes a difference. They don’t stand out under lighter colored clothing the way the beige undergarments do.

    As far as undergarments go, I am not as much a fan of Spanx as most people seem to be. I like the Flexees line from Maidenform. They fit me better, are not as heavy or as pricey. I can get them for a steal from TJ Maxx and Marshalls.

    Sorry, ladies for being unclear. Thanks, Khadija for allowing me to do this.

    • miss cosmic says:

      i noticed the misunderstanding last week 🙂

      and yes, this is so true. i fail to understand why a grown woman would wear a white/beige bra with a white blouse -it just looks unbelievably tacky. some people think if the bra is an expensive one then showing it off is ok. no. it’s not ok.
      ladies never have their underwear showing in public. ever.
      pin your bra-straps to your top if you’re wearing a sleeveless vest, continually tugging the straps up as they slide down your shoulders is so unladylike and low-class. the same applies for those clear plastic bra-straps -low class. there is no point at which the general public wants to see any part of your underwear.
      the same applies to low-riding jeans that reveal your undies. get jeans that fit properly or wear a belt.

      and ladies, please please avoid digging in the back of your mouth after eating. it looks gross. get up and go to the bathroom and you can poke around with half your hand in your mouth as much as you like.

      thanks again to all who share tips on here (i personally am grateful for the help i’ve received), and to Khadija for the forum.

      • Karen R. says:

        Thanks for mentioning “poking around in your mouth.” I was once at a dinner party hosted by an African American real estate broker. After dinner I was horrified when he passed around toothpicks!!! I was even more horrified when people started to use them. OMG!!!! Beyond disgusting.

  3. Vanessa F. says:

    Jojoba oil for the skin and the hair is also very beneficial. Over the last month, I’ve been experimenting with introducing more natural products in my beauty regimen. The use of jojoba oil is one thing that I have used with fantastic results. I use the oil as a makeup remover and as during a steam facial. Its working because I have noticed my skin is looking smoother and more vibrant. A family member dropped by this week seeing me sans makeup and remarked how pretty my skin looks.

    I like using it for my hair as well because you do not have to use a ton of it for moisture. I straighten my hair and it still has ‘movement’ even with the use of the oil.

  4. CeeGeeR says:

    When it comes to looking very polished and flawless, I have discovered that this look takes routine maintenance. Regular trips to the gym, hair salon. Getting regular facials is serious as well, because it removes old cells and rejuvenates skin, giving it a youthful glow. I haven’t had a professional massage since last summer, but they are awesome.

    Some women may not be able to fit regular salon visits in their budget but you can still look very good by getting books and learning how to care for your specific hair type. I rock two styles rotating them. A feathered Bob or micro braids. I know some don’t care for braids, but I love them with soft tips. They can look very feminine and quite sexy too. It really depends on the lady.

    I believe treating yourself and really taking very good care of yourself gives you value, you feel it and others see it.

  5. Melissa Q says:

    Also, I happened upon a useful link. I will give a link to what the author wrote here.

    1. Mastering the Masters Art of Being Non-threatening, feminine, and unassuming:

    “Switch to clothes that are basic (and more than likely cheaper than luxury brands) and/or traditionally feminine. Remember and think “girl next door pretty” and words like “Delicate” over “beautiful black woman” or “strong black woman”. If you dress TOO nice, or too fashion-forward you will pay the unfortunate price of being assumed to be materialistic, standoffish and threatening. It’s not fair, but a reality.

    Go through your closet and switch any bag or clothing with visible designer labels or designer “prints” (like burberry plaid or that nine west print). Replace many dark colors with the occasional floral prints, cardigans in a soft color and fabric, neutrals such as cream and pastels over colors like red or black, long flowy skirts or pencil skirts instead of pants. Chiffon material and silk in cream, and pastel colors, etc.,

    I am a firm believer in SOME makeup, personally. As an artist my face was often my pallet and I’ve become more subtle with it over the years (it never had anything to do with impressing men). Never let a sales consultant scare you away with her inability to make-up dark skin and makes you look like “fright fest” with purple shadow and magenta colored rouge and lipstick. MOST women acknowledge that they use SOME makeup. Anyone who has an issue with black women wearing makeup is often one of these catty racists or easily threatened women, or one who knows that telling black women to keep it “natural” without effort to be pretty will assure black women are alone and “othered”, while they chase every “made up” non black woman possible. Black women are STILL being told the things “are not for them” are the ones that will often help with their assimilation and desirability.”

    There’s more to the article, but I think she gives a good advice to help appear more approachable.

    • Dea says:

      THANK YOU SO MUCH!! This blog is amazing.

      • Melissa says:

        RE: SPF Foundation & SPF

        The “ashy look” that comes from SPF foundation is primarily caused by the ingredient titanium oxide. It’s used in many SPFs and it reflects light away from the skin, hence that washed out, dull, white cloudy look appears on the skin. Therefore, if you are going to be taking photographs or will be in heavy lightening, it’s best not to use an SPF or skin cream with titanium oxide in it. There’s a bit of controversy with this chemical and it’s thought to be a carcinogen (if inhaled or penetrated in high doses). Though, many makeup and skincare products still use it in their products since it’s a very effective SPF. I know it’s convenient to wear makeup with a built in SPF, but you can simply apply your SPF lotion under your foundation or makeup.

        In general, black women already have SPF built into their skin from melanin. It ranges from SPF 13-15 depending on how dark your skin is. I remember Dr. Oz mentioning this on Oprah a few years ago saying it could be as high as SPF 30, in a joking manner. In any case, I recommend you wear a little SPF on your skin if you will be in the sun for a long period of time since dark skin does burn- it’s just not as visible initially. Personally, I only wear it if I’m directly in the sun for more than 25 minutes and I don’t put too much of it on the rest of my skin since you need the sun to penetrate your skin to produce vitamin D. Also, if you’re looking for a healthy, all natural SPF, Soleo Organics has a really good natural SPF line. I’ve gone natural with all of my skin and makeup products and recommend transitioning yourself off of certain cosmetics and beauty products that have a lot of harsh chemicals in them, since that stuff just isn’t good for the skin. Many of you ladies have already mentioned some great simple, home based recipes in your posts so you can use that as a guide. Also, there are lots of websites that have tips and products for organic skin products. I recommend you take a look at the book “No More Dirty Looks”.

    • shesthedifferencemaker says:

      I just found the ‘Black Femininity’ blog this past week and I can’t stop reading it! Great dialogue in the comment section of that post as well!!

    • ak says:

      ‘If you dress TOO nice, or too fashion-forward you will pay the unfortunate price of being assumed to be materialistic, standoffish and threatening. It’s not fair, but a reality.’

      Maybe this is true in a small town, or small town USA (I’m only guessing at this even though I lived in the US for 18 years) but in a big city, and especially London, this can’t hold true. There are people in NYC and London doing their own thing with their fashion sense and personal style and some of the things they’re doing are straight from the pages of Vogue, some of it’s vintage, sometimes it’s a mixture of both, or of some certain era yada, yada, yada but most of the women and men are at least doing something with their look.

      Trust me when I say a girl would feel more out of place in London and in other large cities if she didn’t do something with her look, or if she hasn’t updated it in forever, that it might be a good idea for her to do so…

      And also for the past few years, strong makeup or strongly colored makeup has made a comeback and this time around it’s very do-able for any lady today. The key to keeping bold colors on the face modern is to focus on the one feature at the time usually. Such as very smokey eyes but very low-key, ‘barely there’ cheeks and lips, bold lips but bare eyes, or strong cheeks but ‘barely there’ eyes and lips. A guideline like that can be good for the daytime especially.

      But strong eyes and strong lips have made a comeback also which is something that usually feels better reserved for the evening. I’ve seen it work well but usually with certain color schemes, or certain touches. A black retro ‘cat eye’ liner flick on the eyes with red lips, or smokey eyes but using only dark shimmery brown eye shadow to make them, and red lips.

      • Melissa Q says:

        I live in a big city also, and I do observe the ‘statement’ pieces that the women wear, and it helps to differentiate from the crowd. I agree with you, but I think most of her advice would be perfect for those situations when you want to seem ‘unassuming’, ‘neutral’, and ‘safe’.

        E.g. – For my first week of work or any time I am heading out to meet someone new, I tone my fashion forwardness down so I can get a ‘feel’ of whom I’m meeting. But when everything is established it’s full steam ahead, baby! I bust all the bright colors out of my closet.

  6. Melissa says:

    I wanted to touch on a few things related to BWs health that I think are really important; I know many of you are very health conscious. For those of you looking to improve your overall health and lifestyle, I recommend that you look into naturopathic treatments and preventative/therapeutic measures for a number of reasons. Naturopathic guru, Dr. Adamo has done some great research on therapeutic treatments based on blood type groups that have been proven to be the cause of so many common diseases in the West, especially among BW- health disease, diabetes, stroke and high blood pressure. Blood type diets are proven links in disease proliferation. Eastern medicine has used blood type links in oriental/traditional medicine and research for years; they even use it for personality traits, social class distinctions, hiring practices etc. This has even gone mainstream now with Dr. Oz and Suzanne Somers advising healthy natural alternatives to medical treatments. A lot of natural medical treatments do a lot more to help mitigate symptoms and prevent disease than traditional drugs. Naturopathy is rooted in Eastern medicine, which has been around a LOT longer than western medicine. That’s one of the advantages Asia has over the West. Western medicine is now catching on to this and they are turning this into a lucrative market; the industry has now become a billion dollar industry in the US, mainly aimed at those with high disposable incomes. Naturopathy has somewhat evolved into the whole organic, natural, healthy lifestyle and personalized medicine market. Personalized medicine is the future of health care in this country! Just, google the term and you will see the research and profit margins of the industry.

    Europeans have been ahead of the curve with this for years, and have been actively perusing personalized medical research. And, they are NOT apologizing for doing this type of research even though some of it is ethically controversial and borderline race medicine. Though, it works for them- their admixture is lower and their gene pool is more isolated and easier to trace than Americans. Also, it’s easier to study ethnic groups in Europe which is a little more difficult to do in the US. However, affluent communities in this country have ALWAYS invested in medical research for diseases that affect their community. Just look at the Jewish lobby on breast and ovarian cancer, or the New England, academic cancer lobby or the Mormon/Amish research on genetic diseases on the West coast. Asia is also getting in on this too. Other groups are not waiting for large numbers of their population to die off from disease before they change their diet/environment and invest in medical research and treatments that deal with their communities’ needs. This is something AA and Blacks around the world need to fully understand. There is no magical drug or treatment that can save you. Scientists and researchers are not studying diseases that do not have a big profit margin or do not have any benefit to their community. Until more Blacks rise economically or are more visible in the health industry this will not change. Specifically, until more BW rise economically diseases that disproportionally affect BW and black children (uterine fibroids, sickle cell, allergies, eczema, breast cancer, asthma etc) will not get ANY attention from the scientific community. Therefore, natural, alternative therapies are a good way for AA to bridge this gap. Though, the flip side of all of this is, diseases that disproportionally affect BW- fibroid tumours, sickle cell, allergies, asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, eczema, ulcers, stroke, breast cancer, heart disease, HIV- are primarily caused by diet, environment and stress- are all things that WE CAN CONTROL without a ton of research or drugs! Therefore, natural, healthy alternatives and lifestyle changes can do MORE to improve the health of the overall health of BW than expensive drugs and treatments.

    On another note, I urge all AA to go to the doctor with their female relatives or friends. Bedside manner for many physicians has gone by the waist side, but they are more likely to invest more time and interest in patients who have an astute relative or friend with them. I’ve seen this first hand in many hospitals. Also, it’s a great support tool for many BW who are nervous or intimidated about doctor visits.

    • This is great info. I will check out Dr. Adamo’s site. By the way, I love watching Dr. Oz-he definitely encourages natural remedies for health problems, along with lifestyle changes to prevent health issues.

      I went to a naturopathic specialist a week ago, who recommended several supplements to me. I’ve been taking the supplements and already feel the difference. I can’t wait to see how much better I feel months down the line.

      • Melissa says:

        That’s great, I hope this treatment works for you! Naturopaths are invaluable; they’re now being accepted into mainstream medicine.

  7. Sisterlocgirl says:

    I would recommend reading The China Study. This is a very eye opening report looking at the connection between diet and disease. I must say that this book provided enough well documented information to make me do a complete 180 degree change in my dietary choices. Given the current state of our disease management system ( healthcare in America ) it would behoove all serious Sojourners to obtain information that will allow us to make informed decisions regarding our dietary choices. The book may be a bit technical in describing the process that led up to the actual study but this information may help you to avoid the Western diseases that have become so prevalent in our community. Well worth the read. If one can’t purchase the book it warrants a rental from the library.

    • Duchy says:

      Thanks for mentioning this book. I too have read ‘The China Study’ and I highly recommend it for every health conscious woman reading this blog. I also highy recommend that we all pay very close attention to what we put in our bodies and the effect it might have on us. Just because we have eaten something all our lives does not mean we cannot start reacting badly to it. I use myself as an example: I started to notice milk did not sit very well with me but because I had been using it for a long time, it didn’t click. That is,until I started to get actual pains in my stomach just minutes after ingesting it that I registered that it might not be very good for me=lactose intolerant. I looked it up and founnd that I wasn’t alone and that about 85% of black people do not have the enzyme needed to digest milk too and the effects of ingesting it leads to bloating and other digestive upsets.

      There are books from other medical doctors that detail the devastating effects that our current method of eating has on our health and wellbeing such as Dr. J. McDougall (, to mention just one.
      It is up to us to investigate and pay attention to our diet and it’s impact on our health because no-one else will. There are people making billions off of our ill health and they are not about to steer us away from their corner.

  8. Belle Bijou says:

    Good evening ladies!

    Thank you all for all the wonderful tips and advice! I really like the tips that involve the use of various oils to either removes makeup, or moisturize the skin and hair.

    Vaseline is very good for removing makeup, and so is olive oil. Also, running freshly polished fingers under softly running cold water will speed up the drying process.

  9. CeeGeeR says:

    @Melissa, your post and recommendations on health were excellent and food for thought, thank you. And yes definitely exfoliants do work well for getting rid of marks like scars. I also tried in conjunction cocoa butter and a skin lightner on a very ugly scar on my hand. A plastic surgeon aquaintance said I was wasting my time. But I found that using those two products alternating them, and applying them several times a day worked like a charm. You can no longer see the terrible scar.

    And I am interested in reading that article from the link you gave. I also believe women should wear make-up to enhance their natural beauty. It does not have to be a lot of make-up either. Seeing well dresses ladies with freshly coiffed hair, but bare face, (blemishes noticeable etc.) is not a polished look. Some concealer or a light base coat is easy to apply, a bit of blush, mascara and lipstick makes a difference in the total presentation.

    @HR Professional, I never really considered chocolate brown undergarments instead of the beige. That’s a great tip, thank you.

    • Melissa Q says:

      Thank you CeeGeeR.

      Ah, another thing I forgot to add was about ‘statement’ clothing. Anything that is a statement item is something that is creative and demands attention when worn. Just be careful not to wear more than 1-2 statement pieces at a time because it will look two fashion forward/authoritarian and you can intimidate or at least make people very nervous. This was important for me to know, because I love those trendy & bright/strong/colorful statement pieces, but I didn’t want to send the wrong message as well.

      Adding basic or softer elements (shoes, accessories, hairstyles, etc.)calms the look down. Basically, tone the other items you have on down so that you won’t overpower the view. Remember ladies you want to seem more open & approachable.

    • ak says:


      Seeing well dresses ladies with freshly coiffed hair, but bare face, (blemishes noticeable etc.) is not a polished look. Some concealer or a light base coat is easy to apply, a bit of blush, mascara and lipstick makes a difference in the total presentation.

      That’s true CeeGeeR and it’s usually a black woman, up until only very recently, that would have a great outfit on, great hair, and great nails but a bare face sometimes without even any lipstick at all. And with blemishes it is a lot better to cover them up, and it brings your whole look together. You can use your skin care regimen under makeup most of the time, and this would be an even better barrier from the makeup on your skin actually.

  10. Please forgive if this has been posted in any of the previous Finishing School Fridays, but I wanted to bring up another point when it comes to makeup. Most women are reluctant to wear makeup because they are afraid that it will look like a mask or that color cosmetics will make them look clownish. Neither one of these is true!

    A good book to get started with learning makeup basics is Making Faces by Kevyn Aucoin. This man was a makeup genius and loved to make women of all shades look beautiful. Most of the colors used on WW can be tweaked to complement brown skin. His book Face Forward is also a good one to try, once you have some of the basics down.

    The main reason why I’m such a huge fan of his makeup books is because he had examples of period makeup, which is good for BW who want to recreate the softer, more feminine looks of the past. He has examples of makeup from the 20s up to the 90s and all of the looks can be modified to make it look current. Most of the makeup artists who do looks for BW tend to do strong makeup looks-which can be pretty, but not always feminine (Sam Fine is the exception: most of his looks are extremely feminine.)

  11. Truth P. says:

    Has anyone ever tried posture belts?


    I’m thinking about getting some of these. And they don’t seem expensive.Do they work?

    They also have the ones with the buzzer. I saw it on The Doctors

    Good posture is another good reason why some people need to lose weight.Jennifer Hudson looks so good since she started weight watchers.It look as if she stands up straighter and she looks more relaxed.

  12. mohogany says:

    I recently stumbled on this blog post talking about the root Vegetable Maca. A friend of mine recommended it to me for help with regulating my cycle without hormones.

    I did buy some and will start it on day one of my next cycle. Maybe this information can help other women who read here and have heavy and harsh periods? I read here a lot but am always afraid to comment… anyway here’s the link

  13. Coffy says:

    Listen to smart people talk. Whether it be in the form of lectures, audio books or podcasts, listening to intelligent conversation boosts your confidence and speaking abilities. There are a number of good podcasts to be found on iTunes, also checkout for full lectures.