My name is Syreeta Martin, freelance journalist and creator SincerelySyreeta.com, a blog dedicated to motivating others to Empathize, Empower, and Evolve!
Beauty has always been something that starts internally for me; that probably has a lot to do with my mom and the way that she raised my sister and I. We were taught that while it’s important to be aware of the power of your physical appearance, it’s what’s inside that really matters. My mom is a woman whose powerful presence has always been reflected in her physical appearance. I remember being 8 or 9 years old and playing with her heels and furs, anything that I could get my hands on that she’d let me touch. I’d always watch her strutting effortlessly around in her heels and think, “I want to be that kind of woman.” She owned every inch of ground she walked on.
Beauty for me is a matter of balance. I’m definitely a woman that takes pride in my appearance, however, I also have my days where I simply don’t give a damn.
I’m so confident on the inside; I can walk around in sweatpants, a hoodie and sneakers and still feel beautiful. But part of it is just that I’m also lazy [laughs].
It was a process to get to this point, though. When I was younger, I had really low self-esteem; I never saw what anyone else seemed to see. It took years of me looking in the mirror (both physically and spiritually) and having to recognize and appreciate my own beauty.
In my opinion, one of the coolest things about entrepreneurship is that I don’t have to get “dressed”. It’s interesting because I’ve read entrepreneurial focused articles that insist we should get up as if we were going to a job. And I see the value in that kind of mindset; however, most days, quite honestly, I’ve been productive as hell and touched lives from my computer or smartphone, simply by being me—regardless of what I look like. I usually just do my face regimen and may apply some Blistex.
Let’s be real: it’s a good day if I even have clothes on!
Hair has always been an interesting thing for me. From 13 to 17, I worked in a hair salon in Delaware. While there I learned a lot about hair care and that there was a difference between a hairdresser and a hair stylist.
With hair care, I learned that less is more. You don’t necessarily need to add a lot of product to your hair; you just have to care more about your hair’s health than anything else. That’s not to say that I’ve never damaged my hair since then, however, I know the journey that’s necessary to achieving my hair’s healthy state. So my hair care regimen has been very simple.
I follow up with the Bronner Brothers moisturizing wrapping lotion (I’ve been using this for over a decade), apply a non-alcohol based heat protectant, and usually just blow-dry it. From there I add some Argan oil and, if flat ironing or curling, apply Pink Glosser beforehand (it adds one hell of a shine).
When people learn that I still relax my hair they’re like, “Oh my gosh. Why do you do that?” For, me, it’s a matter of convenience. My hair is thick…I mean super thick; and I love it! But my tendinitis does not…especially after washing and styling my two daughter’s hair (ages 7 and 11), which has not been relaxed and is thick as well (though they have two different textures).
One thing I can say about my time working at a salon is that I was educated on how to properly apply a relaxer. This isn’t always the case, especially within the Black community.
For a long time, we would apply relaxers from the roots to the ends. This is a big no-no. When applying a relaxer, you should only apply it to the new growth.
In the summer, you can catch me in head full of individuals (“protective styles” is what they’ve coined it as now) because I’m a mermaid.
When it comes to makeup, I’ve become a bit of a MAC girl. Unless it’s my eyeliner. I’ll use other products, like Wet ‘N’ Wild and Black Opal for that.
Recently I was running low on MAC’s bronzing powder, Bronze. I didn’t have time to get to MAC, and I happened to be gifted with a foundation powder from Black Up Paris; I was a happy camper to say the least.
Now when it comes to mascara, I swear by MAC’s Haute & Naughty Too Black Lash. Seriously, I’ve recommended countless times and every time I’ve been thanked for the stellar referral. This mascara changed my life.
When it comes to lipstick, there are a few of MAC’s that I keep in heavy rotation such as, Brave, Blankety, Ruby Woo, Punk Couture, Men Love Mystery, Media, and the lipglass, PRRR. Once I was at Sephora and I came across their Rouge lipstick and fellin love. I have a red liquid lipstick by Hourglass is my signature red; I’m friggin’ obsessed with it.
Though I love these brands, my reality is: as a mother and owner of a budding business, I don’t have much time or money to spend on beauty so efficiency and quality are important.
I probably didn’t feel empowered as a Brown woman until about 24. I think that was just a pivotal time for me as far as self-discovery, especially as an entrepreneur and mother. I knew a lot of my daughter’s conceptions of beauty were going to start with me and how I viewed myself. This understanding was something that really empowered me to build my self-esteem.
Around that time I started dropping a lot of weight as I learned how to better manage my stress and become more present in life. I was doing my own thing and trail blazing in my own right, and just coming into my own on a whole new level. The only damn I gave was whether I was living my truth and owning my voice. Because that’s what was most important for my daughter’s to see and for me to experience like never before.
That was such a special moment. That’s when I really started to own being the Beautifully Brown woman I am.
And got damn it…I love this woman, flaws and all.
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