Spring Means Brown Girls Get Glowing…Makeup, Skincare, Color Tips and More


Spring is all about embracing color. It’s all around you–the flowers and trees…all bursting with it. As a chocolate girl, I was once afraid to wear bright colors, because I was told that they would bring too contrast to my mocha skin. After years of embracing–and then rejecting those notions, I’m at a point in my life that I want to celebrate color and celebrate my skin. It’s amazing how wearing vibrant colors help you stand out from the crowd–in a good way. I get stopped more often wearing orange or teal than I do wearing blue jeans and a brown shirt. But if you’re gonna go bright, your skin should glow. Here’s how to make both work.

What to Wear: Embrace the Rainbow

All of you have probably seen a color wheel before. Here’s how it can help you pick complementary colors for both your wardrobe and makeup choices. Pick any color, and then run your finger across to the exact opposite of the color and you’ll find it’s complement. It’s the colors that tend to “pop” together. For example, red and green compliment, blues and yellows, purple and yellows go together. Colors to the right and to the left of any color are called “analogous” that go well, but don’t contrast. 



Take a look at my outfit below. I’m wearing a white dress with bright orange trim, coral lipstick, a yellow bracelet and yellow nail polish, and lime green earrings and yellow flip flops. Now take another look at the color wheel. See how it all works together?



Color repetition lends a balance that the natural eye desires. If you’re wearing an accent color, try to repeat it one way or another. It’s easily done with makeup, nail polish, earrings, shoes, jewelry or a purse.

Ways to get that POP of color with cosmetics


I’m wearing Mineral Fusion nail polish in a gorgeous golden yellow that goes beautifully with my yellow undertones. It’s good quality that resists chipping and is formaldehyde, toulene, camphor and dibutyl phthalate free. (pssst all BB&W readers get 20% off their entire online purchase at with the coupon code THRIVE20.)

On your lips, if you dare…Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics

You just gotta love this 100% vegan company that never shies away from boom-pow color. This colors are super pigmented and a small tube could last until next spring. I’ve known about OCC’s matte lip tars, but they’ve recently expanded the line to include a metallic finish and a gloss finish. The gloss finish is intriguing, because a complaint I often hear about OCC is that, while the pigments are great, the formula is somewhat drying. The gloss formula contains castor, peppermint and hemp oil–all very hydrating for the lips. Try this if you dare. After all, orange is the new black.



Oh! Oh! And this true fuchsia in metallic…sigh…


Get the “Glow”

It’s one thing to wear colors that pop to draw attention to the contrast in your skin tone, but understand that all that boldness is going to draw attention to the quality of your skin. You want it to look smooth and glow, don’t you?



This goes without saying, but good skin begins on the inside. Reduce or eliminate processed foods, eat more greens (grow your food!) and drink lots of water. Another important secret to glowing brown skin is mechanical and chemical exfoliation, which speeds up the removal of dead skin to reveal the new, smooth skin underneath. Exfoliation is also the key to reducing black heads and white heads on the face and body.

Top Picks for Mechanical Exfoliation


LaLicious Moisturizing Body Scrub is being sold at a bunch of spa throughout California, but I believe you can get it cheaper online.


I use this scrub in the steam room at the spa about once or twice a month. You need not drop the $$ to go there…just turn your shower up as hot as it will go to create steam and open the pores. Direct the water away from you as you apply the scrub. If you really want a deep exfoliation, you can also get an exfoliating towel to use as you rinse.

Eminence Mimosa Champagne Sugar Scrub


Eminence is another go-to spa favorite, because most of the products are all organic, hand made, and smell delicious. I have several Eminence products and use and love them all. My only complaint is that for the price, they could be a bit more generous with the product. The champagne sugar scrub is for normal to dry skin and promised to help reduce inflammation and hyper pigmentation. If I were you, I’d use this scrub on site-specific problem areas, like elbows, upper arms, knees, feet and hands. That way it lasts longer.

Chemical Exfoliating Lotions

Here’s a trick to double the impact of your exfoliating: use a mechanical exfoliator first before or in the shower, to slough off all the dead skin and get an immediate smooth appearance. Then follow up with an exfoliating lotion and sunscreen.

Paula’s Choice Resist Weightless Body Treatment & Retinol Skin-Smoothing Body Treatment







Paula’s Choice is consistent with their low-frills packaging but highly effective products. Paula Begoun, author of Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Mewas a life-saver for me when I was struggling with addle acne. It’s how I learned how salicylic acid is THE magic ingredient to fight acne both on the face and body, and this lotion contains it. So if you have issues with back acne, this might be a good option. She’s a harsh critic of the industry that often full of promises but lacking on delivery. Her product line uses only ingredients clinically proven to be effective.



Amlactin does a similar job of exfoliating dead skin and speed up the renewal process, except this product uses lactic acid, which is made from milk. I use Amlactin pretty regularly, but my only complaint is that it has a slight chemical smell that’s a bit off-putting but quickly dissipates.

IS Clinical Body Complex


I absolutely love Innovative Skin Care, the makers of Is Clinical Body Complex. I’ve used their products for years, and hand’s down they have one of the best facial sunscreens on the market. The Body Complex contains natural acids, Retinol, Vitamin B5 and antioxidants. The product is effective, but I tend to run through it quickly if I’m not careful. I resist use of this to about once a week.

Protect, Protect, Protect!!


Using chemical exfoliants can make your skin photo-sensitive, meaning it can react to UV rays, which can cause hypermigmentation and splotchiness. The best, non-greasy, light-but-effective sunscreen that won’t stain your clothes is by far COOLA Sport Continuous Sunscreen Spray. Also a product often found in Southern California spas for La Quinta to Santa Barbara and for good reason. It’s 97% organic and contains antioxidants and comes in two scents–pina colada and citrus mimosa. It also comes unscented, but there’s no fun in that. I spray this sunscreen on EVERY DAY before I go out into my garden. My only complaint is that I have to buy so much of it because everyone in the family uses and loves it.


If you’re wearing a swimsuit and there’s little risk of getting your clothes greasy, my pool-side favorite sunscreen is Carol’s Daughter Gelee de Soleil Browning Oil With SPF 15. It’s ultra moisturizing after getting out of the pool and gives your skin a deep, sexy glow while still providing you with some sun protection. Here’s a secret: I’m usually wearing this oil when I take any photos that reveal a lot of skin. Yep. It’s that good. Just greasy, so be careful.

After all that, you can walk into the sunset while turning the heads of everyone around!

Rose garden


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