Taali M, Singer

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"My family is from Congo, Chad, and Gabon. I was born in Paris and I grew up between Africa and Paris mostly, and I went to university in London. Now I’m a singer in Paris. My music is mixed with many things: African music, electro, dance, and a little bit of reggae, as well. But it’s really pop, or “Afro pop” I call it, because it’s a mix. It’s fun, and it’s starting to become more popular in Paris. Right now, I play shows and events in Paris, but my music is just on my website; it’s not on iTunes yet. That’s coming.

Every night, I drink a lot of water and clean up my face with Bioderma Créaline, which is an amazing product because it cleanses my skin well and I don’t get any blemishes or anything like that. And I usually have pure shea butter in my bag—I get it from Burkina Faso [in Africa] —that I always put on my face and my skin and my hair. I use it everywhere, even on my lips. That’s my main product. And I make my own face scrubs with honey, raw brown sugar, and olive oil. That’s it.

Makeup-wise, I use a foundation from a French label called Black Up, in shade #4. It’s made for different ethnicities, and I love their foundation because they have so many different colors. My blush is Black Up, as well—the peach-orange color. For my eyes, I love using either a Chanel pencil or a black one from MAC, but I only do it on the outer corners. I’ve done it that way since high school because it seems like it makes my eyes bigger; I really like having big, deer eyes. Mascara helps, too—my favorite is the YSL Faux Cils Mascara.

For lipstick, I actually go for anything: Black Up, MAC…my favorite one is actually from Shu Uemura: Rouge Unlimited in Lavender Violet Mauve #MV275. It’s purple, but when you put it on your lips, it looks a bit reddish. I also love YSL Rouge Pur in #19 Fuchsia Pink. But the one I’m wearing now is called Vamp by Sleek Makeup.

My aunt is a professional hairdresser, and she told me about the hair brand I'm using now: Shea Moisture. I like the Moisture Retention Shampoo and Deep Treatment Mask, as a conditioner. To moisturize it a little more, sometimes I'll put olive oil and water in my hair at night, and leave it in for ten minutes. My aunt also tells me to do masks with palm oil, so I'll sometimes do that, or I’ll put garlic in—I make all different kinds of mixes. Yes! She told me that garlic is good for the hair—that it moisturizes it—so I do it! I’ve actually only done it once because the smell was too strong. [Laughs] You could also put ginger in it.

I tend to change my hairstyle a lot. I used to have my head shaved, and before that, I had a lot of hair, but a certain point I decided to change. I had alopecia and I started to lose my hair, so I had to find something to do. First, when I was in London, I had a Mohawk, but then I just shaved it off. I’ve done everything to my hair. The hairstyle I have now wasn’t actually supposed to be like this—I was growing dreadlocks and got sick of the maintenance.

With alopecia you just lose all of your hair—people were able to see through to my scalp. What happened was I was relaxing my hair and I went to a hairdresser that didn’t do it well, plus my scalp is really sensitive. I told her that I still had the product in after she rinsed it, and she was like, ‘Oh, it’s fine’. She rinsed my hair three times and I still had the product left, and after a week, I began to lose my hair. I went to the dermatologist and he told me that I had to stop putting chemicals on my hair and gave me treatments, but I couldn’t do anything and I had to hide it with wigs and scarfs. It was terrible, so depressing.

I’ll never go back to relaxing my hair; it was a big wakeup call for me. I actually prefer it natural now, too, because what I realized is that before, I used a lot of relaxers and extensions, and I couldn’t see myself in my real hair. As soon as I shaved it off, I couldn’t imagine putting anything else on my hair anymore; I felt ugly with fake hair. With this hairstyle, I feel like it’s really me and I prefer myself this way.”

—as told to ITG

Taali M photographed by Emily Weiss in New York City on April 22, 2013.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • http://twitter.com/MsDenbi Denisse

    She sounds really cool, I'm gonna have to check out her music. I also think women-of all ethnicities and colors-look best with more natural looks.

    Great post!

  • Tonia J

    Love this! She is beautiful and has amazing skin. I have never heard of the Black Up line but will definitely check it out. I used to have a relaxer as well and will never go back to chemicals, they are to harsh and dangerous. My hairdresser is in her 70's and has been putting a garlic treatment on my hair for years! It does wonders for my hair and moisturizers it as well. I put up with the smell temporarily because the benefits are so great! Thanks for a great post ITG!

    • http://becominglola.blogspot.com/ Letitia – The Fashion Editor

      Wow Tonia, never heard of this but that sounds interesting as never thought of garlic in the hair realm, just inner beauty. Will look this up!

  • http://samanthatennant.tumblr.com/ Samantha Tennant

    That Shea Moisture Mask is no joke! It makes your hair incredibly soft and smooth.

  • http://www.commonromance.com/ Couteau

    More new girls like her!

    Next up, Aluna Francis of AlunaGeorge.

    • kneelbeforetigers

      OMG yes!!! Aluma is the truth. Can't wait for their LP to get released here in the States!

  • Sombody from Somewhere
  • Tania

    She looks beautiful!

  • http://twitter.com/cecilysackey Cecily Sackey

    she seems so cool

    i love that she uses palm oil in her hair, my mom use to do this when i was little, maybe i'll try it again!

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/92835868@N06/ k8

    her website is awesome and so is her music.....thanks for the heads-up!! i hear about so many people that use just shea butter to moisturize &etc and they have such beautiful skin, i want to try but I'm scared ;;

  • Antoinette

    This was such a great read. Wonderful Post.

  • lena

    I love her and her honesty. She is absolutely, unbelievably fresh and gorgeous.

  • ikillplants

    Oh wow. As a lover of big deer eyes and fellow alopecia sufferer, I totally dig this girl. Thanks, ITG for featuring diverse faces and diverse beauty backgrounds!

  • CFH

    GREAT POST! Thanks

  • bridge

    "I really like having big, deer eyes"- fabulous! Her music is on point, too.

  • Binette

    Pure Shea butter from Africa is the best, nothing can beat that!
    http://www.lebazhaar.com

  • thesixthbeatle

    Great tip about doing eyeliner on the outer corners only. I tried it today and its fab.

  • Sylvie

    beautiful natural hair!

  • http://becominglola.blogspot.com/ Letitia – The Fashion Editor

    Read this post yesterday and still keep coming back to it. Love her routine/brands of choice. And of course, respect for ITG on multicultural features!

  • http://tricia-hall.blogspot.ca/ Tricia Hall

    love this post. i've never heard of black up; it's great to hear of new makeup products for women of colour.

  • leila

    another woman of color! so happy about realting to other faces on here!

  • http://twitter.com/Mayaalamode Maya Shaw

    Amazing! She is stunning!

  • Ayesha

    Lovely.

PRODUCTS MENTIONED

Cosme-De.com
Bioderma Créaline
Shea Moisture
Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo
Shea Moisture
Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque
shu uemura art of beauty
Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited Lipstick in Purple
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