Struggle Bus Naturals Post- WTF DO I DO NOW…

Ahem.

Hello my loves. It has been a while since I’ve made a struggle bus naturals post so here go.

My name is Shannon and I’ve been natural for years now and I struggle. I’ve been working on identifying my natural hair struggles and I’ve had a lil bit of a breakthrough.

  1. Problem number one. I have not updated my practices with my hair enough. I realized this when I tried to do a high bun and realized I haven’t done one in long enough that my prev methods were for shorter hair.
  2. Related to #1, I over trimmed again and my length is awkward.
  3. I fell off doing what works for me.

My hair is not in bad condition at all. Up under my wigs since forever, things are going well in there. I am a mostly juices and berries natural. I just am. I think I got a little caught up in the natural hair community again and that is not my jam.

I am a henna loving, handmade sheabutter using, oils and butters and herbs type natural. SO during the time where we need to be wearing masks I got me a whole ass new plan.

I am rebooting my routine and protective styling to fit what I LIKE doing with my hair, what my hair likes, and what suits my life.

The first thing I’m bringing back are henna glosses on the regular. I won’t be doing full henna treatments because our pipes are old but, a gloss goes all right.

I’m sticking with my hardcore LCO method. It is what my hair thrives on. I’ll do an updated post on individual treatments later.

I’m gonna keep doin my lil ugly Miss Celie braids.

New thing. I’ve purchased a few new headwraps. Since I am an essential worker and I ride mass transit I’ve been wearing masks out. I find it easiest to wear then around a headwrap bun.

I’m going to go back to studying more ayurveda and other herb type things. I love learning more about it and frankly I’ve done well using them.

Now, my goal is to get my hair back to full health with good ends. I’d like to repair or try to fix some of my stress hairloss. If i don’t..fine.

THEN next hurdle will be styling.

How y’all feelin babes?

And a foto of my hair as I was moisturizing and detangling yesterday.

20200422_180508

[image description: the author a brown skinned femme with naturally curly hair sectioned off, lookin tired.]

Y’all I was spent but I put my lil plaits in and got my hair fully detangled and moisturized.

Wig Review-Janet Collection Natural Me Human Hair Blend Lace Front Wig – Ann

OH babes. I am so in love right now. I snagged the Ann wig from the really lovely Janet collection Natural me line from Divatress.

First up, let’s talk about the store Divatress. Divatress has become one of my go to places on the net for hair. They have a HUGE selection of wigs at varying price points and styles. Easy navigation, their customer service is pretty ding dang good too. They offer some bomb coupon codes and have reward points. Just on my last purchase of this wig and a few other things, I saved about enough to cover my shipping cost.

NOW let us discuss Ann.

From the website:

Product Description
Deep Part Lace
100% Hand Tied Swiss Lace
Ear to Ear Soft Swiss Lace
Special Knotting on Back Nape
Natural Hairline & Natural Yaky Texture

She comes in standard colors, black, brown, a nice caramel ombre and a burgundy and, the silver foxiness you’re about to lay eyes on.

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[image of the author: Brown skinned NB femme wearing a cute silver fox bob wig and smiling a bit]

OKAY now I mean……….I’m feeling myself okay. I’m feeling some Big Silver Daddy Energy.

And yes. Going full steely grey without an ombre root is a thing it is a statement. I had wanted a whole ass different wig but she was sold out literally everywhere after a lot of glowing reviews so, I found Ann and I love her.

Right out of the box I love the texture of the hair. It feels like a thicker version of my natural blown out hair. Slightly crinkly, fluffy, soft. The cap construction is pretty usual, inside the part the combs are a bit too close to the front of the wig for my liking so I might move them. Without a wig slip

She is VERY big head friendly. I have an average sized head (I forgot to put my wig grip on this morning) and had to tighten her up quite a bit for a secure fit.

The lace is decent. It says “soft” lace but it is not extra soft if you get me. It isn’t as scratchy as I’ve found some brands the shade is a nice sheer shade.

Pros:

  • Soft and fluffy
  • Gorgeous color mix. They really nailed a luxurious silver fox colorway.
  • Inexepensive. Most places are selling this unit for between 25-35$ and she retails for 49$.
  • Doesn’t need a whole lot of work can be worn right out the box.
  • Just a really pretty wig.

Cons:

  • AH LAWD she sheddin. I am not sure about the other colors but, this one sheds like hell.
  • The cap may just be too dang big. Without a wig grip, if you have an average to small head security is gonna be an issue.

I highly recommend this particular wig for folks who don’t want to mess with baby hairs or securing a unit with glue or whatever. If you don’t have wig customization skills, she is real cute right out of the box. If you are an older person who wants to try out going grey, do it. Or if you are in fact Old AF and just want to be a silver fox, do it.

Overall I am totally in love with Ann and might try out another wig in the line.

10/10 would buy again.

Femme Files- Playing with my make up

Let’s talk beauty today my loves.

One of the things I’ve learned about myself is that my love of make up is something that fulfills some very specific needs. It lets me play, when I was a baby potato I loved playing dress up and doing a full face of make up. I could spend literal hours carefully trying to replicate make up looks from magazines. I have lots of good memories of this.

One of them was when my Mom was a hair model for a small salon. On select days, she’d pack me up and we’d go to the salon and she’d get her hair done and do a shoot. There was a make up artist who after seeing me gently looking in his kit, set me up at a station and I successfully duplicated a shiny red lip/smokey eye combo. I loved him, I never made a mess. It was magic to me then and is magic to me now.

Once I got over hating make up for a while in my 20s because I couldn’t afford Mac and drug stores usually carried only beige and dark beige I started playing again. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Lately I’ve been deep diving my stash for funsies.

First let me show you some old tries from years ago.

This one is from 2008ish? It was my first try at emulating a youtube tutorial. It was done by Leesha from xSparkagex (whom I still follow because she’s delightful):

hulkeye

[image description: close up of a brown eye. There is green and yellow eyeshadow on the upper lid, purple lining the lower]

Back then I was often too shy to post my make up experiments more publicly. I was in a make up lovers community on Livejournal that was so empowering and people were often so kind.

I didn’t wear a lot of color for a couple of years and I don’t know why. Lately I’ve been ALL about playing with stuff like mixing finishes, loud lips.

Let’s have a looksy.

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[image description: the author. Brown skinned femme wearing a long straight dark wig, smokey eye and sparkly red lipgloss]

This look was to go with my new wig. I have been into really undone brows (I almost shaved them off…let’s not talk about it) and here is my technique for a messy grungy smokey eye. You need something dark or black as a base. For this look I used a Sigma Black eyeshadow base that they don’t sell anymore. I also have this set from LA girl and it is the BUSINESS. It works better for me than the UD primer potion and most expensive shadow primers I’ve tried. So use the primer to rough in the shape you like then pack on black or dark eyeshadow and blend until you like it. I used the glittery black from this Maybelline The Rock Nudes Palette. For an inexpensive palette, I’m pretty into this one. Some of the shades you have to work with but overall, it is a great little thing for those dark colors. There are shimmer and matte finishes. I’m into it. The lipgloss was from the Wet N Wild Halloween collection and is super glittery in meatspace.

Don’t sleep on Wet N Wild, it is not the crap of my 90s teenagerhood. They are cruelty free and a LOT of their new stuff is the bomb y’all.

Next lewk.

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[image description: brown skinned femme wearing their hair in two plaits, black cat eye liner, matte black lipstick and smiling]

Technically this was my Halloween costume. Being an Old Goth means all I had to do was dip in my closet and voila, insta Wednesday Addams. Generally speaking, this is a go to I’m tired and still wanna be cute look. I have literally been doing the same cat eye for probably 20 years. Some days the wing is real big, sometimes not. I like to play with variations on a cat eye. I’ll do the upper wing in one color and the lower in another.

Some of my favorite combos include:

Black on top, messy burgundy on the bottom. I LOVE doing black on top with a metallic green on the bottom.

If you don’t have nine million liners for color pro tip.

For a neat line, do your primer or base color then use a firm small brush like this to pat on the color. Don’t swipe, pack. You can even use the edge of a sponge applicator to pat pat pat in the color. An angled brush like this one is pretty easy to use.

For a messier/grungy application, use a fluffier brush. For my eyes, I will start with the precision application and go in with a pointy blender brush like this one to blur out that shadow. Pro tip about brushes. You don’t have to use expensive brushes to do your make up. My go to daily use brushes are all from E.L.F.

My favorite foundation brush is this one from ELF. It’s their ultimate blending brush and it just works so well. I think I paid like six bucks for it. I have a 25$ one that is like it but I just don’t use it as much. It doesn’t perform as well. I have a TON of their eyeshadow brushes, the white ones. I love them.

I also love the Real Techniques brushes you can find in the drug store. My FAVORITE thing they make is this silicone eyeliner brush. Y’all. This shit right here was a game changer for me and my liner. It was weird to get used to but since there are no bristles, you can get some amazing fine control.

The thing about make up to me is that, it’s not permanent. It is for some of us, how we brace ourselves to deal with the world. Yes sometimes I do stuff that is questionable with my looks and it’s fine. I can take it off or I can rock with it.

Lately, I’ve been trying to learn how to do that neon liner look that was all the rage for a minute. I have yet to master it. I’m also trying to teach myself to put lashes on STILL and shit is hard af.

IF you wanna follow my make up shenanigans follow me on insta for mostly make up, food, random shit. Next time we’re here, I’m gonna talk about skin care I’m lusting after.

 

Goth Thoughts- Anime villain Edition

Hello my loves.

Let’s talk lewks. Lately a large part of my aesthetic is looking like a King Queerdo Chubby Anime Villain.

Let’s talk about when you find a pair of awesome boots and ways to style it. Our theme today is chunky anime villain.

The boots (I am obsessed with these and yes I know they are likely a Puma Fenty knockoff but I ain’t got Fenty cash. Also all links are in fact amazon affiliate links, Auntie needs coins).

boot

[image description: black round toe thich high boots. They lace up the front with a few straps around the legs]

I dunno about y’all but, I so rarely get to buy really great shoes I tend to think about styling first before purchase. I’ve had my eye on these beauties since someone linked them to me. I just love them. The round toe, the straps. Everything.

So let’s talk styling em.

For winter/fall I’m looking at layers. First layer, leggings.

Let’s look at some of my personal choices.

These Spanx moto faux leather leggings are expensive as fuck but I LOVE the moto detail.

motolegging

[image description: a thin white person in white sneakers, black fake leather leggings with motorcycle themed details]

I mean, the boot goes over the knee and on my big fat ham would highlight that moto detail beautifully. I am a HUGE fan of faux leather leggings. Even with a smooth leather OTK boot for that full leather leg look. If moto isn’t your steez, have a look at these, these and these. The last pair are plus size up to a 24, unlike other leggings faux leather leggings sizing is a bit more difficult to fudge so if you are larger than a 24 on the bottom, you might want to find some that at least go to a 26 for a comfy fit. Pro tip for keeping faux leather leggings nicer for longer. Instead of hand washing or putting in the machine, hand clean any smelly parts and lay flat to dry.

If you aren’t ready for faux leather full leg. Try out some cute leggings detailing. I LOVE the bit of skin on these lattice work leggings. The ripped legging can be great, these you can wear a solid color pair of tights underneath or fishnets and have that pop detail and it is super cute. These faux leather inset leggings are great. I love the shape of the faux leather on them. Very understated sexy.

For a slightly more visually stimulating villainy look, I love the idea of these jacquard look leggings. Or go with a great print for less villainy. I’m a HUGE fan of Viv collection leggings, they are super soft and come in a very good variety of sizes and the prints y’all…the prints are awesome.

Other bottoms options.

I love a plain midi skirt over some tall boots and tights. I’ve had TONS of this style and they are super comfy. Best thing is as far as sizing goes, you can easily put your belly into one and wear it even if it is “too small”. The knit stretches, you could even wear it under your belly. Wheelie babes or babes who don’t like to or can’t wear binding waistbands, buy a shitload of these. I highly recommend this style of skirt and you can find them in lengths from mini to maxi.

I’m also a big fan of a big tall boot and a skater skirt. I love them and at this point you can get them in plain colors like this, mermaid prints like this (I have one in black and it is my fave skirt). For a slightly longer length, I mean y’all. Look at these right here. And always ALWAYS check the descriptions for sizing. Pro tip, if you are shopping from Asian sellers on Amazon, go for an elastic waist over a zipper. Dark floral? Yes please. There is something really great to me about funking up a very ladylike print with some edgy or clunky boots/shoes.

Now lets talk base layer tops. I wear a lot of tanks. I am not a fan of a fancy top and I do like to layer. Ones like these, and these. I’m starting to like ones with a little fancy detail like this strappy cami. I think the ones with the strappy front details are great for folks with boobs who want to show some skin but not be all like, titties all the way out. It is a good mid point.

I’m also a HUGE lover of a nice fitted tee. I prefer V necks and like the plain tanks, you can literally buy these anywhere in most sizes for good prices. Target, walmart, Old Navy (they make some of my favorites).

For the villainy look, the next thing I like are cardigans. Usually asymmetrical hem type. I LOVE this one. I like them long for that whole layered effect.  This type of longer pixie hem cardigan are fairly ubiquitous so you can find them in your size/color preferences pretty much all over the internet. Pro tip for busty people, to help keep your cardigan from just framing your boobs, wear a base layer with some texture to sort of help the cardi cling.

If you run warm or your base layer is long sleeve, there are sleeveless options that are great as well. The other thing is the sleeveless versions move between seasons really well depending on how you layer them.

Feeling extra fancy and dramatic? A poncho or cape can be magnificent. This one is expensive af but so pretty and probably feels super soft. Look at this cape, it has a hood and it is pretty awesome. For a lighter but still extra dramatic look, check out this here thingy. I mean COME ON. SO extra and so great.

I mean, life is hard. Be extra.

You can accessorive with jewelry or scarves. I’ve been experimenting with scarves a bit and you can pull in some dark mori influence there. Soften it up with some chiffon or lace. Butch it up with some tough accessories.

What else is on my fashion brain?

I want one of each of these dresses from Witch World Wide.  Velvet babydoll dresses bring back the FONDEST fashion memories for me.

So there you have it. Options for looking Villainous and awesome on a budget.

Next time we fashion, I think I’m going to talk some about ways to find stuff to fit your body and ways around bullshit sizing and tips on buying online.

Old Goth is Old. Complaints from the Black Goth Department.

If you are of the opinion that Goth is a phase, please go read this. I’ll wait.

Now, let’s talk about being an Old Black Goth.

In my early 20s during my pre-Internet life there were certain things about my Gothness I just accepted.

Things such as:

White people with their versions of dreadlocks.

Zero to a wee bit of representation in media.

Being exoticized.

Nazi Fetish, Nazi imagery, Nazi regalia is “just to be provocative”

These things are inside the subculture. Back in the day when I was a lil baby bat, these things vexed me a lot.

These days, yeah whatevs.

Except the representation. Goth has a reputation for being more open about bodies, etc. but, yeah not so much.

Even all these years later, if we’re looking for images of androgyny better be tall and thin or tiny and thin or just you know, pretty thin.

Lately I’ve been getting back into make up and again, I see these beautiful tutorials and nary a one says anything about making it work for skin other than white skin. Not. One.

Also, lately in the last few years as Goth and Witchy looks have turned mainstream, shops are NOT stocking all available sizes in brands that make above a size L. Dollskill is terrible for this. They stock Killstar brand clothing (which I am OBSESSED WITH) ahem. But none of the Xl/XXL sizes. And a lot of Killstar stuff is stretchy so more sizes can get their ham in it. So why?

It is 20 goddamn 17.

Can I tell you that in the late 90s, a lil fat booty Goth babe like yours truly could buy ALL sorts of brands of goth clothes?

And another complaint. Every single witchy, dark, magazine is so white. Except for like ONE article from a while back about a Black witch. It is kinda getting me down lately. I’m feeling very much like, yo um…where are your non white people? You know we exist right?

There are a number of dark oriented magazines I’ve been reading lately on the interwebs. From the purely aesthetic ones, to the sexy ones to the cultural ones to the ones talking spirituality, they all mainly

Let’s look at all the witchy goodness happening. Most of the imagery revolves around pretty white girls in instagram filtered photos with stiletto nails, lots of AHS inspired hats, lots of Baba Yaga, the triple goddess, etc. On a casual look, I can find eleventy million hot takes and essays about it but, while traditions, looks and what not differ there are not a lot of folks who don’t fit the common aesthetic.

Once upon a time, a few years ago now one of the glossy goth magazines got bold and talked inclusion and diversity. The article was kind of okay? As I recall they didn’t seem to have spoken to any Black Goths but linked to them which is a problem. After that, their look didn’t change. There weren’t Black goths featured, there weren’t hot fat folks in fancy digs, they did what a lot of other things that brand themselves as diverse do.

They did one thing and called it a win.

Right around that time I pitched, probably ten magazines op eds about those of us who aren’t pale willowy sorts. I never heard a word back from any. I wrote letters and emails.

Crickets.

For me personally, sometimes this shit is hard as fuck. I’m feeling that way now. Because my interests from a very young age have fallen outside of the little box that folks think Blackness is, sometimes I feel starved for community but leery of it as well. On one hand, I LOVE talking Alt shit. Makeup, clothes, music, but I also am very fully aware that the need may arise for me to gird my loins regarding my Blackness. I am fully aware that I will encounter microagressions, that I might have to yet again explain why it’s not cute to be a racist, etc.

There are some communities around for Alt/Goth folks of color, but, personally there was a bit too much internalized white supremacy going on in those groups and nah son.

Like any other microcosm of society, the ones I like are going to replicate the sins of the macrocosm. That said, emotionally it just makes me sad and tired.

That’s where I am right now.

Sad and tired old Black Goth.

I’ll feel better, these things come and go.

Now that my life has shifted to a more daytime dwelling schedule. I might get my partner Uniballer dressed up and take him to a meet up or maybe get us out to the Goth club once in a while.

I will probably return to reading my dark magazines. I found some great fashion stuff to look at on Tumblr and I’ve been doing some more wardrobe rebuilding.

Hell, I might even start writing essays about this stuff and trying to Black up some Goth mags.

For right now, I feel better I got it off my chest.

Until next time my loves.

Coming soon I have some new beauty reviews and if the universe works with me, some face of the day photos and stuff. I will probably bring back the goth fantasist posts too.

 

 

 

Oh Such Woe.

Today we’re gonna talk about some of the more irritating to painful parts of being a POC who has an interest in anything Alt. We’ll say Alt as code for all things punk, Goth etc. Subculture, body mods. That kinda freaky stuff.

If you’ve been here a minute you know I’m almost 40 and my interests in Alt flavored fashion and whatnot extends back more than 20 years.

I do live with intersecting marginalizations but today I’m gonna focus on Blackness and how my Blackness intersects with how I experience any Alt community.

Lately I’ve been dabbling in some Alt flavored communities and blogs. I have to laugh a little bit. Though a lot of the crowd is younger, it is still almost just like it was when I was younger. I see a lot of appropriation without any thought whatsoever, that said there’s also been some conflation with things like body mods and funny colored hair being compared to Black folks losing jobs, being kicked out of school etc for wearing their natural hair.

I already had to bounce out of a couple of groups because I’m too tired to be the lone voice. I did it once, tried to explain how choices we make to change our appearance do not equal out to how the appearance of Black folks is policed everywhere. Yes, you may get some side eye if you’re a White person with a shitload of visible mods or with funny colored hair but, you probably won’t be consistently dehumanized, vilified and frankly abused by only slightly closeted racist if you try to do something about it. The two things are not alike.

I think I’d forgotten how much of this being in the Alt community I get exposed to. Casual racist shit (G*psy slurs etc) and the pushback in even asking someone to be thoughtful about calling a look tribal or whatever bullshit.Even the gentlest of p0rodding to be a little more cognizant of stuff causes such tantrums.

This is the shit that put me off of these communities before.

Whether it was an issue of watching blatantly joyfully racist people be tolerated and welcomed because they showed their tits to having to AGAIN talk about why yes Goths don’t have to be thin milk pale waifs, and yes Goths can have kinky curly hair, and YES fat people can be Goths and YES it’s okay that there are many expressions of Gothness and blablablabla.

Maybe I’m just an old cranky Goth but goddamn.

And I tell y’all, if I see ONE more damn time people talk about how open any Alt community is I’m going to pee on somebody’s shoes. That is just not true. There is a veneer of openness and diversity that is often not supported by the White folks in said cultures and communities really doing the work. By doing the work I mean can we not excuse any level of racism? Or can we not when there are folks who are other fuck with them when they say, hey can you not do/wear X thing it hurts me?

Nah son.

Any subculture is just a microcosm of the bigger culture and that needs to be acknowledged.

And while I’m talking, can I say how much Tim Burton fuckin hurt me? Burton has been an aesthetic influence on me forever. And yeah, you know what I KNEW he didn’t give a fuck about POC at all. I knew that. I’ve seen his movies. But, did he really have to say all that?

Fucking A yo. I mean, yeah I know that most of my ALT flavored faves don’t give a fuck about POC. I know that. I just, hearing it so explicitly and so sort of casually just breaks my heart. The complete erasure of my existence in everything I like is hard. It’s what put me off of reading/enjoying a lot of things and it’s not cool. I hate it. It hurts me.

I’m even kind of at the point (again) of stopping reading/following a bunch of Goth stuff I like because there’s just zero representation or even vague nods at there being other Goths than every thin White basic looking White girl in a corset. Like…it is 20 fuckin 16 can we not?

All this said, I will be making more Gothy/subculture posts cause why not?

Next up I’ll try to do a photo/step by step make up tutorial for my favorite Gothy easy look for brown skin. We’ll see how I do.