• Fashion Bomb Exclusive: Sam Fine on the State of Black Beauty, Beauty Mistakes Women of Color Make, and Makeup Products You Need in Your Arsenal

    Happy Monday, Bombers!
    Jihan here with a beauty report.
    Friday, I stopped by the Fashion Fair stand at Macy’s Brooklyn Mall to ask celebrity makeup artist and creative makeup director of Fashion Fair Sam Fine a few questions about the changing (or rather, unchanging) space black women occupy in relation to the beauty industry.

    Sam Fine and me, sans makeup

    Mr Fine was in high spirits, insightful and charming– with a face beat for the gods, naturally. I arrived sporting my usual makeup-free face (oops!), but the gracious Mr. Fine still agreed to share his thoughts and of course, a few makeup tips:

    Fashion Bomb: So, how has the beauty industry changed for women of color since you started working in it?

    Sam Fine: “You know, I started makeup in ’98, and I have to say that I’ve seen a lot of things come and go during that time.  I can’t say that it’s changed greatly. I think more companies attempt to reach out to women of color, but it’s just like when you look at fashion. When you talk about it that way, it’s a great comparison. In many ways we have become a novelty. It’s ‘We’re gonna pay attention to them this month,’ or ‘We’re gonna hire a  top model,’ or ‘We’re going to do one thing with the hope of attracting this vast audience.’ I think that’s why for me, being with Fashion Fair, it’s so much more than another job, because it’s a company that for nearly 40 years has dedicated themselves to black women. When you have other companies that haven’t truly dedicated themselves to satisfying the needs of black women, you get just a sampling, you get a trend, you get one product. How can I expect anyone to be the master at something if they’ve only just begun, and have only attempted to do that in such a small time? So, to answer your question more directly, when I think about how things have changed, I think we’ve seen a lot of cosmetic companies and shades come and go, but the one thing that has been consistent is the inconsistency.”

    What is the biggest beauty mistake women of color make all the time?

    “I think the biggest beauty mistake is really not wearing makeup.”


    “… As I look at my interviewer, bare faced! It’s okay! I know you know how! [ed. note: I do, I promise!] I think the biggest beauty mistake is not understanding how to enhance your beauty. And I think a lot of WOC are scared that makeup is going to make [them] look fake, “It’s not gonna look like me, they’re not going to have my color.” I think that they just tend to step away from the category when a brand like Fashion Fair, is releasing a liquid foundation in July to add to the range of colors. Nineteen shades! There will be 17 shades in liquid! And if you look at that, that’s not a range that’s broken up for general market vs. African Americans. So you really are getting a wealth of coverage options and colors. I think the biggest mistake is not participating in the game at all.

    Sometimes you don’t have time! I’ll be rushing around like a madwoman trying to get my day started, and then later, I’ll have an event to go to, take pictures, and oops! No makeup!

     I work with a range of beauty, so I am never an advocate for one look, I think makeup is a personality. So some women want to wear six-inch heels, some women want to wear flats, and that can be equally as dressy. But the point that I’m making is more about just knowing how to use a pressed power, learning how to use lip gloss, learning how to use mascara. Things that just naturally enhance your beauty.

    On that note, what are 5 things every woman should have in their makeup bag?

    It’s a lifelong process of getting to these five pieces. I just named a few.  Pressed powder, mascara, and lip gloss, because I think those things aren’t intimidating, once you get past the shade of powder, I think that becomes easy to apply. But if I had to go two steps further, I always start out with some kind of a coverage product. A concealer, or a foundation that you can use as a concealer. Underneath the eyes is the thinnest area of skin, so you really want to make sure that any redness or discoloration can be covered.  Also powder. Powder’s going to set the foundation or the concealer so it can stay on longer. I always say powder is to foundation what topcoat is to nail polish. It really holds it in place and keeps it from rubbing off and settling in fine lines.


    You heard the man, ladies! It’s all about coverage! What do you think? Do you feel black women don’t participate in beauty as much as they should? Are you an avid makeup wearer, or do you generally stay bare faced?


    ~ Jihan

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