The Little Things

This post inspired by my hesitant forays into the Twitterverse. Or to be more accurate: #BlackTwitter.


It is the little things that drive you nuts. The minor annoyances that add up and weigh you down and lead you to make accurate if painful conclusions about where you stand in society.

Buying makeup should just be one of those things you do while you are out and about running errands, grocery shopping, getting gas etc. Well for many women of color it becomes a journey all by itself.

Black Beauty

Used to be the Walgreens nearest my house had the Cover Girl face powder in the shade that matches my skin. Well they stopped carrying it after awhile and I had to go farther afield to the one waaaaaay over there. Then CG stopped carrying that line in stores entirely for some reason – I didn’t even want to guess.

So I resorted to an internet search and found someone selling 5 compacts of what I needed at a huge discount so I sent off for those. I’m set for a little while until I get down to my last compact and then I’ll be on the search again.

None of this takes into account what I went through to even find the powder that matches my skin tone in the first place. A journey I’ll probably have to take again if I can’t find anyone selling what I need. I lucked out on that. I took everything they had left. So we’ll see.


I remember in high school – when I didn’t wear any makeup except 80’s style black eyeliner and cherry lip gloss – during the many times I performed in plays and dance recitals, I had to mix my own stage makeup foundation.

The offerings they had were plentiful in the white girl skin shades, and the only Black girl shade was a tin of what could easily pass for black shoe polish. I kid you not. So I had to mix and match and then hide the result so no-one would use it as face shading – which kept happening, hence the need for subterfuge.


Funny thing happened second year in college. I started wearing foundation and powder – for some reason, I really dunno – and of course I couldn’t find anything that matched my skin tone. A friend suggested Mary Kay and this nice Southern lady showed up, took one look at me and whipped out matching products Just Like That! Never judge a book by its bouffant, I tells ya!

Since then, I usually make do with Almay, Cover Girl, and a few other brands that tend to stock the darker shades in easy access places like Walgreens and grocery stores. Maybe I’ll just have to budget for shipping and handling fees and buy my ish exclusively from the web. Le SIGH.


Finding pick combs for my afro used to be a chore. Now wide toothed combs and picks are “in” or whatever for white girl hairstyles, so they can be found all over the place.

Don’t Believe The Hype. About how expensive it is to maintain natural hair. Seriously, the key is to understand that all you need is a little time and care and simple products. Many you can make yourself in the kitchen. I might do a whole post about it sometime. I’ve been loving the adventure with my own hair, so why not?

But in a nutshell, all you need to do is make sure you wash your hair regularly, doesn’t have to be every day, but 3-5x/week at least. Always, always moisturize! You can spritz daily with just water in a spray bottle. Your hair will thank you! Avoid waxes unless you are dreading out, they can lead to scalp build up which prevents growth. Wrap your hair at night. Like you aren’t already lol!

Shop around! You can find leave in-conditioners, light oils, and shampoos without alcohol for very low prices. Look at the ingredients of anything before purchase. If you can’t pronounce half the stuff on there, move on! Some things might say “natural” on the main label, but are filled with chemicals in the ingredients list. Stay away from mineral oil.

Walk bare-headed in the rain. Enjoy the freedom of your natural hair!

Just how hard it is sometimes: Natural Hair Care Act Passes In Oregon. Seriously. Read that article. It’s 2013 y’all. SMH.

In a win for fairness and common sense, the state of Oregon will no longer subject people who practice African-style hair braiding (and other forms of natural hair care) to a bizarrely burdensome licensing process that’s more lengthy than what’s required for someone to fight fires or give lifesaving medical care in ambulances.

Don’t forget about your skin: SoapMuffin. Natural soaps and more :)


Finding jeans that fit your butt.

Flesh colored band-aids.

Pink tights for brown ballerinas.

Walking and driving while Black.

Passing a newsstand and the only Black faces you see on the covers of magazines are Oprah and on sports or music publications.

That look when you show up to the job interview. Name on resume and voice on phone considered “white”. Surprise!

Being told how articulate you are.

Having to always represent the monolithic Black People.

People touching your hair without permission. And no, you can’t touch my hair, thank you for asking.

Chronically un/under – employed.

Constantly being told that the racism you experience is a figment of your imagination. If they don’t experience it, it must not exist.

Having awesome parents will not stop a Black person male or female from getting shot in the street like a dog.

Living in a country that wants you gone, dead, erased, out of sight out of mind.


House In the World
I’m looking for a house
In the world
Where the white shadows
Will not fall.
There is no such house,
Dark brothers,
No such house
At all.
Langston Hughes

About Awake BW

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7 Responses to The Little Things

  1. bernasvibe says:

    Yay! Love this …So many people I’m sure don’t realize how hard it can be for US to find products for US..A task that is simple for others; can be frustrating for us..I do NOT use foundation on my face..I have oily skin(which is GREAT for keeping youthful appearance..I used to hate it due to break outs but I learned to love IT) and foundation blocks my pores & suffocates my skin..So I only use tiny drops of spot concealer/a little natural powder/a little natural blush/natural eyeshadow. I don’t use any or all of the above every day..And alot of time I go bare face with only lipstick on..My fave makeup is lipstick! The soap I use on my face is a black bar soap..its by prescription..and is GREAT for our Black skin..When I run out I also buy over the counter black bar soap. I don’t use harsh lotions or moisture on my skin…Good old fashioned Johnsons & Johnsons baby lotion is what I put on my face along with dabs of Oil of Olay moisture..When I got to the point of sticking to the basics for skin care; I spent alot less and my skin looks better. Sometimes less is better..And for my entire life my Daddy said Black women do NOT need make up! So that helped me to finally step out and use less..

    • Awake BW says:

      Yup! I still don’t know why I was wearing all that foundation barely in my 20’s. It is never a good thing, specially as you get older. Thank goodness I came to my senses. I’m down to a light dusting of pressed powder to keep the shine down, eyeliner and lipstick.

      Makeup Tip: The older you get and/or look the less makeup you should wear. Trust and believe yaint hiding ish, and it makes you look older. If you care about such things. I’ve found that I don’t much. But the main thing is that like Berna said, it blocks your pores and is all sorts of unkind to your skin. Skin, like hair needs lotsa moisture, so you can never go wrong there.

      Nother Tip: You are what you eat. A change in the kinds of food you eat can do wonders for hair, skin, teeth and nails. Drink lots and lots of WATER. Google Time! You can find out what sorts of (nummy!) comestibles help make you look naturally amazing!

      • bernasvibe says:

        Oooooo I agree! I know when I eat fried foods or even chocolate(which I loveeeee) that I’m going to pay for IT..Or rather my body will in some way..Literally it will be written all over my face..Lol, lollll. Anyone out there with oily skin knows that “breakouts” aren’t just for teens..But you are so so right @ WATER..Funny thing is my Daddy has said that since we were children..Drink water, water, water..He always said one’s body has SO much water in it; that we have to keep it replenished/hydrated just for our bodies to function properly..And what I found out as I’ve aged? My Daddy is almost ALWAYS right..My Mom is one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen(inside and out) and on a regular basis? She wears no make-up at all…Her skin is flawless

  2. Very insightful! This is so true and so real for most black women. It’s so hard to find things to physically match what we need. If it’s not foundation, it’s lipstick, or hair products and tools! It can be very frustrating to say the least. The natural movement is a prime example of how we have had to adhere to the constraints of society. I love being natural and it’s the best decision that I could have made. I am as well, one of the women who people are surprised to see is articulate and “white” sounding over the phone, and are surprised when they learn my real name, which is LeQuita. I am not my name, nor my hair. I am me and I hope that society and the world can start to treat us as an equal entity in importance and as human beings just like everyone else.

    • Awake BW says:

      Your last sentence rings out loud and clear. That too is my hope and my wish. I see people wondering what all the fuss is about. They don’t understand the frustration and heartbreak to just simply be considered a fellow human being. When you are not, your very being cries out for that simple, basic recognition.

  3. Jenny Cecilia says:

    great one.

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