The #ITGTopShelfie interview series focuses on the beauty routines of the lovable, consummate, and loyal Into The Gloss reading community. Submit your own on Instagram – post your top shelfie (tag us with @intothegloss!) And add the hashtag #ITGTopShelfie so you can be featured on ITG. “
“Hi! I’m Anima (@ anima.agyeman). I was born in Virginia, grew up in New Jersey, and grew up in New York State, but I never claim that I’m from anywhere other than Ghana. That’s where my parents are from, and strangely this is the place that feels most comfortable. In Africa, my skin tone is the norm, but I’m certainly darker than the average black woman in America. Colorism was a common theme during my childhood and I had a lot of self-esteem issues The only women I saw with really dark skin, aside from my family members, were always hypersexualized on social media. When I went to college I was pre-med because my parents always wanted one of their kids to be a doctor But I just hated medicine! Looking back, I think that immigrant parents just get scared. They want you to take on those traditional roles where it is there is always a demand and you always have a job but as long as you are safe and have the better life that they came here to give you, they are happy.
I told my parents that I didn’t want to go to medical school in my junior year, and by that point I was so advanced in college that I didn’t really know what to do next. But suddenly these other possibilities popped up – I posted this picture of myself at a friend’s birthday dinner and it went viral. Then the producer at Wendy Williams reported on a segment of natural hair in my DMs on Instagram – it failed, but another natural hair brand got me modeling for a hair show. I started making my own YouTube videos and that’s how it started. Actually, it’s completely crazy. After graduating from college I modeled for a friend’s brand and that photo ended up on Teen Vogue. I think Glossier saw me there and when I really started modeling professionally.
Women who look like me have a very different experience in the modeling world. First of all, you have the whole hair problem. If you run five campaigns a week and meet five hairdressers who over-manipulate your hair because they don’t know what to do with it, you will have significant damage by the sixth day. The problem is, hairdressers don’t learn about black hair, and that translates downwards. Before going to the set, I ask in advance what the hairdresser wants to do because I don’t want to go there and I have a whole problem. I don’t know any white women who carry hair products and tools on set, and I don’t know any fair-skinned or white models who bring their own foundation in case the makeup artist doesn’t suit their complexion. Sometimes I fear that if I speak out there will be a backlash, but I also know that if I don’t speak out and another black girl is following me, I won’t do her justice.
One day while I was having dinner, my mother got up from the table to go to the bathroom and came back bald. “I’m tired of getting perms!” was all she said It triggered something in me – why did I get perms? I found straight hair better, easier, more manageable, more socially digestible … I had adapted to it for so long that I hadn’t even guessed it. After that, I learned how to take care of my hair by watching my mom and YouTube. I love Naptural85, Hannah Mussette, Bubs Bee and Chizi Duru. At least once a month I cut my hair using a process called dusting. Glossier is one of the few brands I’ve worked with that has spawned a barber who knew about black hair and actually taught me something. But in general, every time I work with a hairdresser, they tell me to keep doing what I am doing. I think I know what works best for me.
I wash my hair once or twice a month with black soap from Ghana. I pack it in a bottle with some essential oils, some moisturizing oils like jojoba, castor, argan, sweet almond if I have, and then some energizing oils like rosemary and maybe a little tea tree. Then I add hot water and let that sit for two hours. After the shampoo, I go straight to deep conditioning with Shea Moistures Manuka Honey Mask or the Black Castor Oil Mask. These two are amazing especially if your hair has been colored. Untangling takes about three hours. Then I sit under a hood dryer for an hour, rinse it and style. I have low porosity hair and heavy products don’t really penetrate, so I like to use a leave-in spray. I usually use the Shea Moistures Manuka honey and yogurt line, but if my hair feels dry I use a heavier butter from Carol’s daughter. I finish with Northshea’s shea butter. This brand is amazing and their shea butter is fair traded and really fresh.
I always have skin color, stretch concealer, and wowder in my bag. These are my favorites because they make me look like I’m not wearing makeup. When I go out I usually use my Lancôme Teint Idole made from 560 suede, the same shade Lupita wears, and a bare lip with lipstick. I usually use an eyeliner because they’re darker than regular lipsticks, but the new Teyana Taylor MAC lipsticks are great for dark skin. Then I add some Nars Climax Extreme Mascara and that’s it. Me and makeup … I don’t know. I never wanted to rely on makeup as a crutch where I would take it off and feel ugly. Now I’m less against it, but it’s hard to find things that I love. I love clean beauty, but you go to Credo and Brands offer five shades and the darkest is like orange. Even outside of clean beauty colors, they’re hard to find. A beauty brand I used to work for tested products on me in the office, and once my coworker said, “Well, black women don’t really buy makeup.” What? Huh? Look at the statistics! I think what she was saying was that a lot of dark skinned women don’t need makeup because their skin is looking so good, but I still think that’s a cop. Make the shadows and see if nobody buys them – then we can have this conversation.
What I love more than makeup is skin care. In the morning I start with Holifrog’s Tashmoo cleaner. It’s my favorite cleanser because it’s great for sensitive skin. I don’t need any other tool to really clean my skin and I don’t feel dry. Then I go in with The Ordinary’s Glycolic Toner – I used Glossier Solution before but ran out of it. I like to wait 30 to 45 minutes and then wet my face before applying my other serums because I think this will help keep my skin calm. Next, I apply hyaluronic acid and niacinamide and sometimes I just go straight to sunscreen. The niacinamide makes my skin look really shiny, and after I add SPF, I look like a diamond. My favorite is the Sonrei Sea – it’s so good! And it doesn’t leave a white sheen.
At night I start with the Glow Recipe Papaya Cleansing Balm and then clean twice with Tashmoo. Then I go in with the peptides which are buffet from The Ordinary and after that I use their gran active retinoid emulsion. I use Tula’s Beauty Sleep on top and in the morning I look like a baby. Oh, I forgot to say: I use fresh aloe vera on my face every other day. One day I was on set and my skin was so, so bad. I had done an L’Oréal hair dye campaign shortly before and the purple dye got on my cheeks and totally inflamed my skin. I was so embarrassed. I put a piece of aloe vera on my face, taped it on and when I woke up the inflammation was gone. Bruh. I think I’ll start eating it. “
– as ITG said
Photos about the author