“Hi! I’m Tomi Talabi (@TomiandRizzy) and I’m the co-founder of The Black Beauty Club and Senior Communications Executive at Pinterest. I have been very fortunate to have come to a point in my career where I can merge my passions and try to make some positive impact. Less than 2 years ago, I co-founded The Black Beauty Club, a community that centers the black voice and builds on cultural experiences. We are creating space for enthusiasts, critics, founders and consumers to have discourse, learn and to build bridges with each other.
During my time as Director of Global Communications and Influencer Relations at Bobbi Brown, I had several revelations that impacted me personally and professionally. I had been speaking with many beauty influencers to gain insight on the influencer economy, but these conversations unexpectedly unveiled a cultural view of beauty that had more to do with rituals, values, and community than with products. I connected with these experiences, more specifically the ‘why’ or ‘when’ we do what we do in beauty and this began to ground my connection to a beauty experience. For example, all over the world, we’ve lined our eyes with Kohl; in Nigeria and Ghana, you see little baby boys and girls heavily lined to protect their eyes from the sun. If you speak with someone in Afghanistan, they will share a similar ritual about Kohl. I found it very fascinating to hear similar cultural stories from other parts of the globe. I started to realize that I was not a product girl and actually a lot of people aren’t.
My appreciation for beauty has come from everyone around me. I spent my first 10 years in Lagos, during the country’s booming economic peak. Nigerian women were financially empowered and it showed in how they looked and their fashion choices. Everything was bold, gold and maximalist. Even at a young age, I don’t know why, but even though I was never interested in wearing red lipstick, I just loved seeing my mom, her cousins and her friends getting glammed. I was also very much influenced by the men in my life and their grooming aesthetics from fades to fros and even their adoption of British trends such as cutting slits into eyebrows. I also grew up on old Bollywood movies, older than me, with a different set of beauty standards. Old Bollywood loved voluptuous women, there were also lot of beauty adornments such as bangles, anklets and nose rings, which were very similar to Muslim women in the north of Nigeria. I honestly love cultural connections.
My skincare routine must maintain the vibe of least stressful.
At night before bed, I wash my face with Klur Gentle Matter Cleanser, it is gentle, effective and moisturizing so it doesn’t dry my face. If I have on makeup, I use Allies of Skin Molecular Skin Amino Hydrating Cleanser, it has moringa oil and gently removes spf and makeup without stripping the skin. I use Epi.Logic Even Balance Toner to keep my face supple and hydrated. I love Vintner’s Daughter and use both the Treatment Essence and the Active Serum, they instantly brighten and soothe my skin but the real results don’t even show up until the next morning. I top off with the Klur Immersion Serum for hydration and follow with Le Prunier Plum Oil to lock in moisture. If I am feeling dehydrated or need extra moisture, I will add Epara Night Balm to seal moisturization. This is my version of slugging. The real results are seen the next day which is why my morning routine is light.
In the morning, I wash my face with water unless I have a morning run then I use Klur Gentle matter again. I spritz my face with the best face mist Rosen Rose Water Face Dew, put on a bit of Moisturizing Face Cream by Epara and SuperGoop Daily Dose Sunscreen for a full on glow. Easy!
My makeup routine is very much on the go. Bobbi Brown Skin Long Wear WeightLess Foundation is one of the best, even Jackie Aina said the world slept on it, and I agree. I mix the SLWWFoundation with Saie Glow Super Gel and rub it in my palms and then rub my palms over my face. If necessary, I will use a brush to blend properly. Then, I dust my face with Danessa Myricks Beauty Evolution Powder in Invisible 01, so there is no transfer and everything stays put. This was a recommendation from the phenomenal makeup and body painting artist Mikela Wariebi. She painted Beyonce, so that is all the advice I need. My go-to blush is Lys Beauty Satin Matte Cream Blush, it’s dewy and looks great on almost all skin tones. I get my brows dyed on Lenox in Harlem for $20 because I can’t be bothered to do them daily and they look incredible. I have very sensitive eyes, so I usually default to Kulfi Beauty Kajal Eyeliner. These eyeliners are very soft, easy to use and my favorite shade is Rain Check, which I sometimes will also use as shadow. I wasn’t blessed with long lashes so I switch between Pat Mcgrath Fetish Eyes and Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara. Always Ami Cole Lip Oil on the lip and then I top up with Rosen Rose Water Face Dew.
My body care routine is probably my favorite. I have a shower at least twice a day with my sponge and Redoux Botanical Bar, this is such an important part of my routine. Getting clean is an important part of self care, it is a luxury that is very easily and often taken for granted. After the shower, while in the bathtub I rub down with Klur’s Element of Comfort Body Oil to lock in moisturization. After this, I apply Eucerin’s Advanced Repair Body Cream, because I am afraid of being ashy in life. In the summer, I will switch to something lighter like Eucerin Original. I am obsessed with SKN/MUSE Devine Oil, it smells amazing and I will rub it all over my chest and arms before putting on my clothes or pajamas. People stop me because of Devine Oil.
I have been going to the same hair braiding stylist for 20 years and when she goes to Africa for 3 months without informing me, I get a buzz cut. My hair will almost always be in braids or cornrows. This is how I was raised and this is how my mom and her mom were raised. When it wasn’t in braids and cornrows, they had a short afro. I am not going to feel bad that I can’t commit to ‘wash and go’ or that I am too lazy to braid or twist my hair every night. I started making my own scented hair oils for my son and I and I also just started playing around with making shampoo. These days, I have been using my own oil mix daily and Sunday 2 Sunday edge flourish serum. I wash and condition my hair with LivSo products which have been amazing.
At this stage in my life, I’m decompressing and self-maintaining by running. I started running at the start of the pandemic at the suggestion of my therapist. As a mom, an entrepreneur, and a tech executive, multitasking is the order of the day and thanks to working from home, the home doesn’t always feel like a safe space. The morning run is a great escape, it is excellent for mental and physical wellness. I feel great physically, and my skin looks great. My mind is clear becauseI have thought things through, I have also talked them out loud. By the time I’m done with my 3 miles, I am ready for anything because I have already cleared the most challenging thing. I actually feel liberated.
In the evening, I try to take my sleep hygiene and routine seriously. I start to wind down at 8:30pm. I am known for taking a shower every single night before I go to bed. I do not sleep without taking a shower, this is an African childhood habit. I make my 5th prayer of the day. Finish up my evening skincare and try to get 7-8hrs of sleep. Sleep is a part of my self and skincare routine. Once or twice a week, I will finish up everything early and go to bed at 8pm.”