Salaams and Salutations Beautiful Ones,
It is my great pleasure to conduct my first interview as a beauty editor with Amina of Coup de Coeur! Coup de Coeur is a multi-lingual beauty blog that has just celebrated its first anniversary! Amina was gracious enough to take time away from her busy schedule of teaching and procuring the most coveted handmade products to talk to me! I had such a blast talking to Amina! I felt as if I was talking to an old dear friend (I have nicknamed her Pusher go to her blog and you'll see why)! So cozy up and enjoy beauties!
HijabiApprentice of Beautiful Ummah:
Have you always been into beauty products (hair, skincare, makeup)? If so, did you have any childhood inspirations?
Amina of Coup de Coeur:
I haven't always been into beauty products as I was a tomboy for the longest time (until college to be honest). As a child, all we used was Vaseline for the body, Dax or Blue Magic for hair. I started wearing make-up at 21. Same thing with skincare, I learned about it when I went to college and I started caring about bath and body products when I discovered Carol's Daughter products.
I have always been intrigued by perfumes and scents though. My grandmother owned a small store where she sold spices and that's how I developed my nose, having a preference for warm oriental notes. At age 13, I received my first eau de cologne Bien etre and started getting obsessed with perfumes. It didn't help that my mother also had a huge collection and so many coffrets.
HA: Now that I know you are a "nose" may I ask what your top 3 fave perfumes?
Babydoll by Yves Saint Laurent
Amor by Kenzo
Lei / Elle by Armani
HA: I recall reading a post on your fab blog Coup de Coeur where you said your exposure to "extreme" beauty looks kind of made you make up shy. Can you elaborate?
Definitely! Growing up, the makeup application I saw was always over the top and not flattering in my humble opinion: wearing baby powder over a foundation (yes ma'am), wearing black eye liner as a lipliner, wearing a blood red lipstick, too much eye kohl, light pink eyeshadow, silver lipstick or one that is too gold, plucking all the eyebrow and drawing a harsh line. All these practices made me shy away from make up because I started believing the words of my uncle" le maquillage est la beaute des laides" i.e "make up is a way for ugly people to be beautiful".
My first appointment to a MAC make over in 2002 was forced. I have to say that the MUA listened to me and showed me that make up can be subtle, flattering and no one should be walking with black eyeliner used as a lip liner. Sadly it is a trend that some of my friends in Senegal still do.
HA: How have your beauty preferences evolved over the years?
That's a great question! For a long time, I used to rely a lot on magazines to tell me what I should buy or sometimes I'll ask friends. Discovering Carol's Daughter products made me change my preferences. I knew you could use shea butter on your hair but it has never occurred to me that you could create a line of products with shea butter and others oils.
Plus when I lived in Ghana and Senegal, I rarely used shea butter because products from outside were more valued. I remember when ORS hair mayonnaise came out in Dakar; it was THE treatment to do at every salon. Same thing with Motions products!
The very same year I discovered Carol's Daughter, I went to Zimbabwe for the first time and discovered a boutique "Indigo Tree" where everything was made from scratch using only butters, essential oils, oils with little to none preservatives. My favorite one was cocoa butter and lavender lotion. I could spend hours in that boutique and at the end of the summer, I came back with a suitcase full of their products. My mother thought I lost my mind. Same thing when another boutique Fleurette opened for business. The salesperson even asked me whether I was a massage therapist and was shocked when I told her it's for my personal usage.
Going natural also brought another perspective. As I was dealing with dry, brittle hair, I read an article about 10 ingredients/ chemicals to avoid and all the products that I was using had at least 7 or 8 of them. That's when I decided to only switch to handmade, organic products whether it's for my hair, face and body.
Today I am committed to it and support mostly black owned businesses.
HA: Do you have a favorite makeup artist? If so what about him/her inspires you?
Not really but I do have favorite beauty bloggers. Three of my favorite are Seymone from Reflections of Beauty, Jen of Her Juvenescent Elixir and Erin from Makeup Fiend. One thing that I have learned from both of them is that women of color can wear color. I mostly wore browns, golds and since I've been watching their FOTDS and watching Erin's tutorials, I am proud to say that I also experiment more with color especially greens and purples.
HA: I was reading Victoria Beckham's book That Extra Half an Inch and she mentioned that everyone has a beauty crutch and that her's was lip liner. I have 2 crutches bold eye makeup and my bff bronzer! What about you? Any makeup crutches?
Amina: Mine is blushes and a bronze eyeliner (like MAC Teddy).
HA: What is your definition of beauty?
That's a great question because it is recently that I realized that I have to define my own standards of beauty. I've always struggled with self-esteem and always kept comparing myself to other women, beating myself up because I wasn't skinny enough, didn't have long hair, etc...
Today I can say and I am learning that each person is unique and special because we are the creation of God. Beauty for me goes along with a person's soul and her relationship to Mother Nature. I wish I had a definition but right now it is still an ongoing process for me to define it.
HA: When do you feel most beautiful?
That's also a great and tough question because once again, I always thought that we see our own beauty through the lenses of someone else: family, friends, and loved ones. I don't feel most beautiful when I am all made up, dressed up ready to go out on outing. For me it is deeper than that and it has to come from within. I usually feel most beautiful when I am reflecting, writing or praying.
I've also felt very beautiful when I let someone go beyond the walls I built around my heart and let my guard down.
HA: You seem to be a talented mixtress, masha Allah! Will your goodies ever be available to the beauty world?
Aaw..thank you! That's my dream!! I am trying to find what makes me unique, what will make my products stand out because they are so many talented mixtresses out there who work so hard. I do believe that there's a place for everyone and I really pray that Inch'allah I can have the honor to present my own line of bath and body products one day. I know for sure that it will include cocoa butter, lavender and vanilla because these are my three favorite products for bath and body.
HA: What is your go to look?
Depending on how many minutes I have and how much sleep I got, I'll either go au naturale or wear mascara, concealer and a blush that can double as a lip gloss such as Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge or Stila convertible color. (HA: Amina has me lemming the BB Rouge desperately!)
HA: I know this one will be hard but what are your top 5 fave products?
Such a tough question for a product junkie ..
-Sweet almond oil: great for hair, face, body
-Karen's Body Beautiful hair milk
-MAC eyeshadow in Mulch
-Bobbi Brown Pot rouge in Raspberry
-Yves Saint Laurent Baby Doll perfume
HA: Any beauty tips, hints, secrets you want to share with us here at Beautiful Ummah?
They'll seem so cliché because that's the one everyone repeats. These are the following beauty tips I am trying to follow:
-Get enough sleep
-Laugh every day
-Don't sweat the small stuff
and most importantly, learn how to let go!
I am a very anxious person so this is huge for me because the more I sweat about the small stuff or don't let go, I am insomniac, and....gasp hello dark circles
HA: I am also an anxiety ridden insomniac lol so I'll try to take some of your suggestions to heart!
Thank you so much for having me!!
It was such an honor!
HA: Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us Amina!! Cheek smooches!