Iman Creates Beautiful Make-up For Chocolate Bella’s

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As a woman of color who’s complexion is a deep chocolate, I have had my share of disappointments with make-up. If you can’t find foundations, concealers, blushes, eye shadows, bronzers, lipsticks, etc. that flatter you skin shade and tone, no … Continue reading

Lipstick: Don’t Leave Home Without It.

Feel beautiful inside and out wearing your favorite lipstick color. Photo Naphtalia Ruth 2012


Lip tints, lip dyes or lipsticks are products that young females plead with their moms to use starting as young as age 12 and that older women continue using up to age 90 (even if they put it on crooked). Lipstick had to be invented, had to come into existence, because anything with so much impact on a female’s life was just waiting to be discovered. From ancient times until now, lip color has undergone various stages. Once there were only a few colors, but now more hues and tints than ever before are distributed for every skin color.

The brand that my daughters and I regularly use is IMAN’s Moisturizing Lipstick. It is not just a lipstick, but lip color that is especially formulated for women of color. Iman’s lip color doesn’t only make the claim that it smoothes and moisturizes lips, it actually does. Like my daughters and I, most women have a favorite brand and/or color and, of course, many women apply only lip-gloss, preferring only the faintest hint of color, still they are applying what is essentially lipstick. So where did it all start?

Fun Facts about Your Favorite Makeup – Lipstick!

According to records, the use of lip color began in Mesopotamia approximately 5000 thousand years ago. However, because human vanity is as old as humankind, lip dyes (or its equivalent) were most likely in use long before recorded history. Although it wasn’t called lipstick (a term that came into use around 1884 where the name debuted in Paris), lip tints and dyes were definitely in use.

Exactly which substances were used to achieve tinted lips is uncertain, but it’s supposed that pigments, dyes and ground sand, were most likely in play. What is more certain is that this singular makeup was initially reserved for royalty (queens, princesses, baronesses, countesses). However, Egyptian female royalty weren’t the only ones who wore makeup in ancient times; male royalty wore it, too! That is because makeup in general, and lipstick in particular, doesn’t just make a person feel beautiful; it adds to their overall stature and dignity while also conveying an aura of mystery.  When outsiders look at the individual, they see someone who cares for their appearance and that is always a beautiful thing. Aside from that, when females wear lipstick they receive an immediate feeling of positive self-regard.

Just think, a woman can slip on the most expensive suit of finely woven fabrics, slip her feet into a pair of well-crafted designer heels and carry an expensive luxury handbag that makes other women turn “green with envy”, but until she glides that stick of color across her lips, she’s not fully dressed and she knows it. That is why at the risk of being late for work; women will race around the house searching for a misplaced tube.

Woman applying cosmetics to her lips.

Woman applying cosmetics to her lips. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Common Lipstick Ingredients

The modern woman has the privilege of enhancing her features and bringing her face to life with beautiful lip colors in various shades that are too numerous to count, most lipsticks have these common ingredients:

• Oils (coco butter, lanolin, olive oil, castor oil)
• Wax (paraffin, beeswax)
Emollients (aloe, E Vitamins)

These ingredients moisturize and soften the lips. They are also deemed safe for most women. However, for those with sensitive skin, hypoallergenic lipsticks are now available in an array of colors. Therefore, whether you are partial to “Iman’s Moisturizing Lip Color” or another brand, you don’t have to worry. If you are allergic to some of the common ingredients in regular brands, simply purchase one of the hypoallergenic brands.

There is some controversy about the period when lipstick in it’s present form (encased in a cylinder tube, that when turned, swivels upward until the lipstick appears over the top of the tube’s edge) was invented. The earliest claim is 1915 and the latest is 1940. What is more certain is that when it was created, movies stars popularized it in the 20s and 30s; therefore, it was in use at least by the 1920s and before 1940. So in all likelihood, it was invented around or after 1915. Whenever it was invented, women now carry at least one tube in their handbag or purse when they leave home.

Lipstick and lipgloss

Lipstick and lip gloss (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Finally, we live in a world where lipstick is the norm and thus taken for granted. We get up in the morning, reach for a cylinder of red, burgundy, or even black (a color that was also worn by royalty) without a second thought. We even refuse to wear full makeup, but won’t hesitate to apply a luxurious lipstick or tinted lip-gloss before even going to the grocery store. It makes us feel and look beautiful and that, my friend, puts a smile on any females’ ruby red lips.

©September 2012

How to Choose the Right Foundation

Erica Wearing Iman Foundation

My name is Erica and I have spent about 23 years wearing foundation. I learned from my ancestors, who didn’t have foundations formulated for darker complexions, that too light a foundation makes you look unnatural. I am always determined to get the right shade. My 17 year old daughter, has some discoloration from teenage acne. We wanted to get her a non-irritating foundation with medium to full coverage.The week prior I purchased an Iman Luxury Moisturizing Lipstick in Black Brandy. I always try a lipstick in a new line I am thinking about using. If I like it I’ll try something else in the line. The pigment was rich, just like a woman of deep skin tone would want, and it felt luxurious and moist on my lips. So I suggested we shop for a foundation from the Iman Cosmetics Line.

We went to the local beauty super store yesterday. You probably have one in your town or city. They have aisles and aisles of products and a makeup lady who is just itching to give you a makeover. While picking out the color of foundation a sales lady suggested that we let the makeup artist color match my daughter, Ankobia. We were looking at cream-to-powder/earth-6, when the makeup artist whisks up beside us, startles me, and says very loudly, “Oh no. That is way too dark for her, you should try cream-to-powder/earth-2.”
Ankobia didn’t want  the makeup tested directly on her face because her skin is very sensitive and the makeup lady was using the tester that was on the display in the aisle. The makeup lady didn’t seem too happy about that, she wanted to put it all over her face, however, we wouldn’t budge on that issue. The makeup lady tried earth-2 on Ankobia’s neck up to the jawline. It looked like a light stripe had been painted on her neck. She tried another color, same problem. I asked her to try the earth-6. She was reluctant and said she knew it would be too dark but she would do it since I wanted her to. It looked like nothing had been applied, it was a perfect match on her neck and on the skin at jawline. The makeup lady seemed upset that the color matched, and said, “Well, keep in mind that the skin on her cheeks is lighter than the skin on her neck and around the sides of her face.”
Ankobia Wearing Iman Foundation
Now I knew earth-6 was a good match because it looked NATURAL. I also knew the skin on Ankobia’s cheeks takes up less space on her face than the skin on her forehead, jaws, chin, and neck combined. I explained to the makeup lady that she should keep in mind, that if we match for her cheeks then the other parts of her face and neck will be too light.

I noticed the lady had discoloration from acne as well. She had very fair, oily skin. Her foundation didn’t diffuse the dark spots at all, it accentuated the hyperpigmentation because her skin was so shinythe blemishes were highlighted. It looked like she was using a liquid foundation, which doesn’t work well on oily skin, after a while, it can look like it’s melting off. Hence, we were purchasing a cream to powder foundation for Ankobia, who also suffers from oily skin. While looking at the makeup lady, I couldn’t ignore how her makeup looked. The whole scene was preposterous. I thanked her for her time, and we exited stage left.

I explained to Ankobia that she should never take beauty advice from a woman that doesn’t know how to look her best. I reflected on how arrogant the makeup lady was. She clearly knew nothing about her own skin and yet she spoke like an absolute authority to women about their skin. Now I have a different perspective on why so many women with darker complexions look ghostly. The local beauty superstores have untrained, overly confident makeup ladies on staff steering them in the wrong direction. Beware!

Naphtalia Looking Beautiful

What we did: Purchased the Earth-6 Creme-to-Powder Foundation, Perfect Mascara in Black, and Perfect Eyebrow Pencil in Blackest Brown from IMAN’s collection. When we returned home, we tried the foundation and it was flawless on Ankobia. I have the same skin coloring, and I use it, as well. It worked perfectly over my moisturizer and primer by other manufacturers, too. There was no caking and when the day ended I still liked how the foundation looked. The mascara  didn’t clump. The eyebrow pencil went on nicely. The brush helped keep it natural looking and the color was very flattering on both our complexions.

Iman produces high-quality products, at affordable prices. Ankobia will try Iman’s Hyperpigmented Skincare Line. I will try the Dry/Mature Skincare Line.  My, 15 year old daughter, Naphtalia, will try the Normal/Combination Skincare Line. Thank you IMAN for creating a product line that I look forward to exploring with my daughters.
At Chocolate Bella we are committed to supplying honest advice and valuable resources to women of color who deserve to have their unique beauty and fashion needs addressed.  We look forward to sharing our unique perspectives on beauty with you.
Erica Ruth
©July 2012

Disclaimer: We are not representatives of Iman. We do not have an agreement to sell her products. We are mother and daughters who do not like the challenges we have finding products and advice that work for us. We are sharing the products that we have used and enjoyed in this blog. We will also point you to any educational resources that have offered us valuable advice. Iman happens to fit both categories. If you click on the links in the article you will end up at Iman’s site, which I repeat, we receive no compensation from Iman.