“Hi! I’m Tomi Talabi (@TomiandRizzy) and I’m a co-founder of The Black Beauty Club and a Senior Communications Executive at Pinterest. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have reached a point in my career where I can combine my passions and try able to make a difference. Less than 2 years ago I co-founded The Black Beauty Club, a black voice-centric community built on cultural experiences. We create space for enthusiasts, critics, founders and consumers to to discuss with each other, to learn and to build bridges.
During my time as Bobbi Brown’s Director of Global Communications and Influencer Relations, I had several revelations that impacted me personally and professionally. I’d spoken to many beauty influencers for insights into the influencer economy, but these conversations unexpectedly revealed a cultural perspective on beauty that had more to do with ritual, values, and community than with products. I connected to these experiences, more specifically to the “why” or “when” we do what we do in beauty, and this began to ground my connection to a beauty experience. For example, all over the world we have fed our eyes with cabbage; In Nigeria and Ghana you can see little boys and girls heavily lined to protect their eyes from the sun. If you talk to anyone in Afghanistan, they share a similar ritual about cabbage. I found it very fascinating to hear similar cultural stories from other parts of the world. I started to realize that I wasn’t a product girl and neither are a lot of people.
My appreciation for beauty comes from everyone around me. I spent my first 10 years in Lagos during the country’s booming economic heyday. Nigerian women were financially empowered and it showed in their looks and fashion choices. Everything was bold, golden and maximalist. Even at a young age, I don’t know why, but while I was never interested in wearing red lipstick, I just loved watching my mom, her cousins and their friends go glam. I was also very influenced by the men in my life and their grooming aesthetic from fades to fros and even their adoption of British trends like slitting eyebrows. I also grew up watching old Bollywood movies, older than me, with different ideals of beauty. Old Bollywood loved voluptuous women, there were also many beauty adornments like bangles, anklets and nose rings, which were very similar to the Muslim women of northern Nigeria. I really love cultural connections.
My skincare routine needs to be as stress-free as possible.
At night before bed I wash my face with Klur Gentle Matter Cleanser, it’s gentle, effective and moisturizing so it doesn’t dry out my face. When I wear makeup I use Allies of Skin Molecular Skin Amino Hydrating Cleanser, it contains moringa oil and gently removes sunscreen and makeup without damaging the skin. I use Epi.Logic Even Balance Toner to keep my face supple and hydrated. I love Vintner’s Daughter and use both the Treatment Essence and the Active Serum, they instantly brighten and soothe my skin, but the real results don’t show until the next morning. I top up with Klur Immersion Serum for moisture and follow with Le Prunier Plum Oil to lock in moisture. When I’m feeling dehydrated or need extra hydration, I add Epara Night Balm to seal in hydration. This is my version of slugging. The real results can be seen the next day, which is why my morning routine is light.
In the morning I wash my face with water unless I have a morning run, then I use Klur Gentle Matter again. I spritz my face with the best Rosen Rose Water Face Dew facial mist, apply some Epara Moisturizing Face Cream and SuperGoop Daily Dose Sunscreen for a full glow. Easy!
My makeup routine is very busy. Bobbi Brown Skin Long Wear WeightLess Foundation is one of the best, even Jackie Aina said the world slept on it and I agree. I mix the SLWWFoundation with Saie Glow Super Gel and rub it into my palms and then rub my palms over my face. If needed I use a brush to blend properly. Then I dust my face with Danessa Myrick’s Beauty Evolution Powder in Invisible 01 to keep it from bleeding and hold everything. This was a recommendation from phenomenal makeup and body painting artist Mikela Wariebi. She painted Beyonce, so that’s all I need. My favorite blush is Lys Beauty Satin Matte Cream Blush, it’s dewy and looks amazing on almost all skin tones. I get my brow tinted for $20 at Lenox in Harlem because I don’t feel like doing it every day and it looks amazing. Since I have very sensitive eyes, I usually use Kulfi Beauty Kajal Eyeliner. These eyeliners are very soft, easy to use and my favorite color is Rain Check, which I sometimes use as an eyeshadow as well. I wasn’t blessed with long lashes, so I alternate between Pat McGrath Fetish Eyes and Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara. Always apply Ami Cole Lip Oil to the lip, then fill in with Rosen Rose Water Face Dew.
My personal care routine is probably my favorite. I shower at least twice a day with my sponge and Redoux Botanical Bar, it’s such an important part of my routine. Getting clean is an important part of self-care, it’s a luxury that’s very easy and often taken for granted. After the shower, I rub Klur’s Element of Comfort Body Oil in the bath to lock in moisture. I then apply Eucerin’s Advanced Repair Body Cream because I’m afraid of getting ashy in life. In the summer I will switch to something lighter like Eucerin Original. I am obsessed with SKN/MUSE Devine Oil, it smells amazing and I rub it all over my chest and arms before putting on my clothes or pajamas. People stop me about Devine Oil.
I’ve been going to the same hair braider for 20 years and if she goes to Africa for 3 months without informing me I’ll get a buzz cut. My hair will almost always be in braids or cornrows. That’s how I grew up and that’s how my mother and her mother grew up. When it wasn’t in braids and cornrows, they had a short afro. I won’t feel bad about not being able to commit to washing up and going, or being too lazy to braid or twist my hair every night. I started making my own scented hair oils for my son and I and I’ve just started playing around with making shampoo as well. I use my own essential oil blend and Sunday 2 Sunday Edge Flourish Serum daily these days. I wash and condition my hair with LivSo products which are fantastic.
At this stage in my life, I relax and sustain myself by running. I started running at the onset of the pandemic at the suggestion of my therapist. As a mom, entrepreneur, and tech executive, multitasking is the order of the day, and thanks to working from home, home doesn’t always feel like a safe place. The morning run is a great escape, it’s excellent for mental and physical well-being. I feel great physically and my skin looks great. My head is clear because I’ve thought things through, I’ve also said them out loud. When I’m done with my 3 miles, I’m ready for anything because I’ve already mastered the most difficult thing. I actually feel liberated.
At night I try to take my sleep hygiene and routine seriously. At 8:30 p.m. I start to relax. I’ve been known to shower every night before going to bed. I don’t sleep without showering, it’s an African children’s habit. I do my 5th prayer of the day. Finish my evening skincare routine and try to get 7-8 hours of sleep. Sleep is part of my self and skin care routine. Once or twice a week I finish everything early and go to bed at 8 p.m.”