Beauty Bar: A Chat with Mikki Taylor on Skincare and Makeup
Fashion and beauty books are common place. But, where’s the blueprint to help you pull off looks for every occasion and suggest ACTUAL beauty products? Enter Commander in Chic: Every Woman's Guide to Managing Her Style Like a First Lady ($26.99) by Mikki Taylor, former Beauty and Cover Director at Essence Magazine. Finally, a book after our own heart that teaches us to have style and class like Lady O. It’s filled with almost 200 pages of Mikki-isms and tidbits that even our grandmothers don’t know, so I had to sit down with her to get the scoop on all things beauty-related. Her reason for writing the book? “I wanted us to have a book that makes sense in our life,” she says. “Not a coffee book, but a book you live with and will guide you in your day to day.” Love it!
DEENA: What impresses you most about Michelle’s style?
MIKKI TAYLOR: Michelle is very clear about what works for her and is not trying to be anyone else but herself. She is a true role model. I’m amazed how she mixes [high and low] designers and I love that there isn’t a place in the world you will see her not working her own dress code. And, her ‘classics with a twist’ theme allows for experimentation, but is never off track.
D: Tell us what we can learn about makeup in Commander in Chic?
MT: Women tell me all the time “makeup is too confusing!” Well, in CIC I’ve given you the best picks. There’s no way I could write a book and not mention products. Women know that I know the best products and I’ve provided tips and actual brands that work best for our skin.
D:What types of makeup and skincare products do you keep on you at all times?
MT: Beauty is about having smooth skin and I love a foundation that has a skin-like finish. I also keep an array of nude lipstick—espically ones that allow me to put it on whether I have a mirror or not. A great long-wearing mascara is always great too. Working women can have days that last from 6am to 10pm; you need to have mascara that needs very little touch-up. Finally, you need a great set of tools. Honestly, you can wear makeup at any price point with a great set of tools.
D: In chapter 2 you state, “A chic sister is always modern and effortless in her appearance.” What’s the most effective way to look effortlessly georgeous?
MT: It’s all about mastering your own look. Sometimes cosmetics counters will give you a look and you’ll ask yourself, ‘How will I do this in my day to day’ or ‘who is this woman? This is not me’. You have to discern what’s for you. Anything that takes you out of your comfort zone and doesn’t have your DNA in it is your first indication that look isn’t for you. When your look is effortless, your make up is not the standout, YOU are. If your face is shouting make up, that’s not the message you want.
D: What are the top three common misconceptions on skincare? And what’s the truth we need to know about them?
MT: 1. African American’s tend to think we don’t need sun protection, but we do. Of all the women on the planet blacks are the primary ones trying to keep skin even and keep hyper pigmentations at bay. The truth is, you must use a moisturizer with sunscreen everyday.
2. Women have a tendency to shop labels. But I’ve told women for years that you really want to understand your skin and shop accordingly. Identify what your skin needs and your inner desires. Sometimes the performance of the popular brands may have nothing to do with what you need.
3. Everyone thinks that skin has to be squeaky clean. But, you don’t want to strip your skin completely of natural oils. You want to be clean, but don’t destroy your moisture balance with over-cleansing.
Thats all ladies. But, catch Mikki Taylor tonight at Hue-Man Bookstore 2319 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, New York, NY 10027 (between 124th and 125th Streets) at 6pm for a Q&A moderated by Bevy Smith.