The Copywriter Who Has Sensitive Hair

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The #ITGTopShelfie interview series focuses on the beauty routines of Into The Gloss' lovely, accomplished, and loyal community of readers. Submit your own on Instagram—post your Top Shelfie (tag us @intothegloss!) and include the hashtag #ITGTopShelfie for a chance to be featured on ITG.

"Hellooo! My name is Simone (@simoneaziga)! I live and work in Toronto. I work as a copywriter in e-commerce, and I’m also a multi-media artist on the side. I’ve always been interested in the cultural significance of beauty throughout history and through the women in my life. I have a Master’s degree in Fashion and my thesis explored expressions of black identity as seen through the lens of style and adornment. Grace Jones is the ultimate inspiration for me. She’s both otherworldly and down-to-earth. Unapologetic since day one of her career. I think more often than not, black people—especially black women—can feel at odds with how society sees us. Beauty presents an opportunity to take ownership and pride in my blackness—I never want someone else to define that for me.

Self-care and wellness are super trendy right now. That said, I do feel I’m at my best when my body is moving. Weightlifting has been a game changer. Over the past year, I’ve challenged myself to get stronger and [figure out] what works for my body. Spending an hour at the gym allows me to shut my brain off and focus on what’s immediately in front of me. There’s a great sense of calm and control in that. I like to make my gym time count for something and leave with a sense of accomplishment. Outside of that, I have to have a good playlist going. Music is key to setting the tone for my day.

If I’m feeling particularly organized in the morning, I start my makeup routine with a good face mask. Lately, I’ve been into Glossier’s Mega Greens Galaxy Mask because it gives my skin a velvety feel. My skin is oily and the cleansing combo I keep coming back to is Bioderma’s Sébium H20 Micellar Water and La Roche Posay’s Effaclar Gel Cleanser. I’m oddly picky about the cotton pads so I splurge on Shiseido's Facial Cotton to use with the micellar water. Trust me when I say you can feel the difference. I’ve been using La Roche Posay’s Anthelios 60 Ultra-Light Sunscreen Fluid for years as both a moisturizer and primer. I dab the Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado on my eyes day and night. I get lazy by the end of the day so I just slather on some jojoba oil before bed.

With makeup, my goal is always to look like I drink a lot of water and do yoga every day at 5 am. I use shade Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear Liquid Foundation in 555 Suede C, not only because it’s almost exactly my skin tone in a bottle but also because I respect brands that consistently work to cater to an array of skintones. Then I go in with NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Dark Coffee and set with my OG MAC Blot Pressed Powder in Deep Dark. If I want a dewy look, I’ll set with the Photo Finish Primer Water by Smashbox or Mario Badescu’s Facial Spray.

I’ve been obsessed with Fenty Beauty since its launch. As a black woman, it’s refreshing not to feel like an afterthought or limited to a tiny selection of shades. Rihanna just gets it, you know? I don’t naturally gravitate to yellow golds with highlighters but I love the glittery finish of Trophy Wife on the high points of my cheekbones. The Gloss Bomb Univeral Lip Luminizer gives just a hint of sparkle and colour, making it easy just to throw on and go. MAC's Matte Lipstick in Diva was the first expensive lipstick I bought and the first red lipstick I felt truly comfortable in wearing. So often women with darker skintones feel that they can’t pull off a red lip but Diva is a deep brick red that’s complimentary to my cooler undertones. I always recommend MAC’s Powder Blush in Raizin for the same reason—it’s a soft brick-y red, not bright clown red. I spent so long searching for my perfect nude lipstick and the combo that works is MAC’s Satin Lipstick in Del Rio and MAC’s Lip Pencil in Chestnut at the very outer edge of my lips. When I want colour with a bit of sophistication I go for deep aubergines like NARS Audacious Lipstick in Liv or Fenty Beauty's Mattemoiselle Plush Matte Lipstick in Griselda.

On the rest of my body, I have extremely dry skin and sensitive skin (hello lifelong eczema) so I regularly douse myself with as many oils I can get away with. When I’m feeling extra, I'll whip up a blend of coconut oil, shea butter and jojoba oil to layer on top of a heavy body butter like The Body Shop’s Cocoa Butter Body Butter.

My hair is sensitive in that it’s kinky, dry, and likes to be left alone. Right now I’m deep into a protective routine which means wearing a protective hairstyle for six or so weeks, letting my natural hair out for a couple weeks and then putting in a new protective hairstyle. Lately, I’ve been wearing my hair in thick Marley twists (twisted hair extensions) piled on top of my head, but when my hair is out in its natural 4c state, I start wash day with a 30-minute pre-poo using aloe vera leaf I buy from the local market in my neighborhood. I slice it up into small pieces and rub it into my hair, along with castor and rosemary oil to stimulate my scalp. I co-wash using Camille Rose’s Moroccan Pear Conditioning Custard and deep condition with Eden Bodyworks’ Jojoba Monoi Deep Conditioner. My hair just drinks up Qhemet Biologics Amla and Olive Heavy Cream because it’s so intensely moisturizing. I love that it’s infused with organic Ayurvedic extracts like Amla and Brahmi. I finish up by sealing up my ends with a shea butter and castor oil mix."

—as told to ITG