In the name of simplicity, she has some favorite techniques and color preferences, including a smoky eye, pink blush, and highlighter (Fenty's Killawatt Highlighter in the Afternoon Snack and Mo' Hunny duo is her fave). “I love a gold shimmer, so I put that on my lids, my brow bone, and in the corner of my eye — I love that little shimmery effect there," she says, continuing, "I have also become a lip gloss girl; I used to only like lipsticks. "I often think that some of the biggest beauty decisions come from asking, ’What am I going to do with my hair? ' And I've come to like it all. Other staples?
When she feels like she's reached capacity, she assesses whether she needs a break — and then, she takes one if she does. "I actually don't buy into the ways that we have to put off how our body is responding to different things, particularly within a work context," she says. "We're forced to kind of push our breaks off until a more ‘acceptable time,’ but if you are mentally or physically drained at any time, it's on you to figure out how to rest when necessary or take a breather, take a deep breath," she continues.
No matter how her aesthetic changes, she will always find power in the ability to feel beautiful. "I think that beauty is something that Black women, and especially Black trans women, have held close for a long time, even when other groups have tried to define it for us or even strip it from us.
Willis recalls watching her mother apply bright red rouge; a cloud of Estée Lauder perfume that followed her grandmother's every step; the way her older sister could seamlessly traverse the oversized and hyperfeminine fashion moments of the '90s. "Some of my first experiences with beauty were playing in my mother's makeup.
Communing with nature also helps ground her in her own body, and to remember what's necessary for her own healing; she's reminded to stay hydrated, nourished properly, and to get sunlight and air. "That's a big part of my self-care; my friends are always like, 'Here she goes with them damn plants again,'" she says.
So, it's a source of power; for a Black trans woman to feel beautiful is powerful," she says. "I always feel the most beautiful when other Black women see me — and when other Black trans women see me — compared to when anyone else does.
Black women and beauty were always around me, so in addition to that Southern kind of beauty school I came up in, it was also about what was happening in popular culture," she says.
Am I going to go for a ‘fro, am I going to put it up? " she says. "I often think that some of the biggest beauty decisions come from asking, ’What am I going to do with my hair? ' And I've come to like it all.
The patriarchy wants women and people of other genders to work themselves to the bone," she says. "If you don't take care of yourself, you will not be the best version of you to do that work.
As she's gotten older, she's also pulled in references as an activist. "There's a particular beauty history for Black activism.
I mean the whole nine yards, I mean, it was like, 'Kevyn Aucoin who? ' No, that's my mama," she recalls. "There's such an expansiveness to Black beauty.
"If you don't take care of yourself, you will not be the best version of you to do that work." https://t.co/JpyUw6ZKk3— Allure (@Allure_magazine) August 17, 2020
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