“There’s a Dupe for That!”- Affordable Options for Expensive Cosmetic Brands.

There’s A Dupe for That!” 

written by Wil Strayhorn

            As a professional makeup artist, I know better than most that makeup is extremely expensive and since most items are things you need to buy on a regular or continual basis, why not save when you have a chance?  Now please don’t misinterpret that I am saying “cheaper” always means “as good as” however, many times the product itself is only priced well above cost due to the associated brand name.  “Why would you want to spend $40 on one piece of makeup if you could spend just $5 on something that works just as well AND looks closely, if not exactly the same in result?  After all, who doesn’t love a good bargain right?

Today I’m sharing just a couple of my favorite makeup dupes (duplicates) as well as the items that I feel you need to sacrifice and invest on.

Before we can get to the areas where you can “cut corners” let me first advise you on where I feel your hard-earned money is better spend.  Tools, Tools and More Tools!  Whether you are a “brush girl” or a “sponge girl”, investing in quality tools for application of your products will make ALL the difference.  Quality brushes, sponges, puffs, etc.. can literally make the difference in you ending up looking like a stunning “Super Model” or Silly “Super Mess.”  You can find these brushes and tools however at your local beauty supply or drug store.  Another investment piece that I suggest sparing no expense on is in your foundation, this product provides you with your base to which everything else builds upon and just as with building a house, if the foundation is weak or not properly laid, disaster awaits.  Lastly, I suggest that you invest in quality skin care products that will help protect and nourish your own skin and in turn, make your cosmetics look more radiant and smooth in finished result.

Now, on to the information that I know you really want to hear about. I have several thousands of dollars’ worth of makeup in my kits combined, many are high end name brand, some are not.  Trial and error will better direct you in determining what products you may be able to substitute a dupe for and which are better purchased in its original brand.

As we anxiously look forward to the Spring/Summer months to start to roll in, my all-time favorite blush is NARS Blush in “Orgasm” it is a MUST for my summer brides and clients who want a nice glowy touch of color.  I love the peachy, pink tones and subtle gold shimmery effect.  The perfect dupe for NARS Orgasm Blush is Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso.The colors are ridiculously similar, but I will say that the NARS blush does last a bit longer on the cheek. For the ridiculous price cut, I think you can deal with a little late afternoon reapplication. Nars Blush $28 vs, Milani $7.50. 

The current makeup trend is all about healthy looking, luminous skin and one way to achieve this is by using a blush/bronzer combination and my fave is Blush/Bronzer combo is by NARS in the Orgasm/Laguna duo, for which you can dupe with St. Lucia from e.l.f cosmetics saving you a whopping $42 vs. $3.  With Rihanna’s hugely successful debut of her cosmetic line FENTY BEAUTY last year, her products have been flying off the shelves.  He signature is her warm, sultry glow. I have found that Face Studio Master Strobing Stick Illuminating Highlighter by Maybelline, Face Studio Master Chrome Metallic Highlighter (100 Molten Gold) by Maybelline, NYX Bright Idea Illuminating Stick are great dupes for Fenty’s line of highlighters.  Fenty’s Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer is priced at $18 in department stores however I get a very close finish using Revlon’s Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in “Rosy Future” priced at $5.89 in your local drug store.

They say, “The Eyes Have It!” and one of the hottest, most versatile eyeshadow palettes that I have ever used is filled with beautiful browns, golds and other neutral hues, the Urban Decay NAKED Palette however, at $54, you can definitely substitute this gem with a very similar product by Maybelline called the NUDES palette for a steal at just $10.

I am a eyeliner junkie and have tried most of the major brands on the market however, my favorite is MAC Cosmetics fluidline gel eyeliner. I love it for its silky, soft finish, but in my opinion, I think you can find great gel eyeliners at the drugstore.  MAC Cosmetics Fluidline $16 and an amazing dupe is the Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Eyeliner $9.99 and to dupe the fabulous brow finish created by using Anastasia brow pencils, try NYX Micro Brow Pencil.

Whether you’re interested in just trying duped products, or finding affordable options to some of your luxury cosmetics it’s important to know that expensive does not always mean better so the next time you are tempted to splurge on a high end brand, just remember, there’s probably a dupe for that!          

How To Have Healthy, Vibrant, Beautiful Hair!

By Wil Strayhorn

male stylist silo

As a hairstylist of over twenty years, I am constantly bombarded with the plaguing question that long-tress seeking clients want answered: “How can I grow my hair out!?!!?”

Ever answer is different and very unique to each client, I always stress to the client that regardless of whether you have hair that reaches below your buttocks or whether your hair just barely grazes the top of your ear, the number one priority should be to have HEALTHY HAIR.  It has been my experience and I am certain that most beauty professionals will agree, healthy hair grows fastest.  Even with this understanding, the frustration comes in the wait. The question becomes, how long does hair take to grow?”, the answer is, hair grows approximately one half of an inch per month.  This may not seem like much of a stride, but here are my five suggestions to expedite your journey.


Check the Brush & Drain!


Check the drain after each shower for the amount of hair. The typical person loses from 50 to 200 hairs a day (out of 80,000 to 120,000 hairs on the head). It is typical to have hair strands in your comb or on your brush after styling, however, if the amount increases you should see a Dermatologist. It is quite normal to have a very small clump of hair left on the drain after shampooing. Take heed if the amount starts increasing, see your doctor because It could mean your scalp has an infection, hereditary baldness is beginning to set in, or in rarer circumstances, you may have a nutritional deficiency.




This is an area where I gain most resistance from my clients, getting regular hair trims. Getting a regular “trim”, to encourage growth, is not your hair stylist’s way to get “scissor happy” on you.  It is vital that you clean up your ends every six to eight weeks to get rid of split ends. If split ends are left, they can travel up the hair shaft leading to thin, straggly, unattractive strands and frayed ends. Although it may feel like you’re taking a step backward towards your ultimate healthy hair goal, getting regular trims serve you better in the long run because your hair will be longer and stronger.


“Watch Your Mouth!”


Surprisingly enough, what you place in your mouth affects just about every element of your body and YES that does include your hair. Make sure your regular diet contains foods with rich vitamins and minerals that can help with growing your hair healthy and strong. Folic acid (usually found in soybeans and wheat) can help with hair thinning, Vitamin C (usually found in citrus fruits) can help with keratin production, Vitamin A (usually found in spinach) helps keep the scalp healthy. Lastly, Vitamin B (usually found in red meat) can help prevent hair loss.

Make sure to also talk to your dermatologist about a good daily vitamin or supplement with the vitamins above in combination with biotin and zinc.  **Hint hint, I ALWAYS recommend biotin tablets, gummies or pills as part of my client’s daily regimen. (found at Walmart, Walgreens or your local pharmacy)


“Give It A Rest!”


The very instruments and tools that were created to make your lives easier can also damage your hair when they’re misused or overused. That daily flip, bump or curl with your trusty curling iron, flat iron or wand can slowly but surely fry your fragile ends. Even a one-time application with scorching heat can permanently kill your hair, so take it easy. Try gentler methods for providing curl and volume to your “crown and glory” such as wrapping your hair at night or investing in and using satin-covered rollers. Don’t get me wrong ladies, the occasional pass with a heat styling tool should be safe, but always use a quality heat protectant as a barrier between a hot iron and your hair.



“Be Proactive, Not Reactive!”


Think of deep conditioners and hair treatments as facials for your hair – something you should do to maintain beauty and look your best.   The same goes for your hair.  Why wait until you have damage to utilize these very valuable products to ward off any potential issues concerning your beautiful locks?

I recommend that my clients get a deep conditioner or hair treatment at minimum of once per month. This process will allow the hair to replenish some of the nutrients lost to styling and environmental damage.  Hair conditioners and treatments help mend damaged hair and can be used regularly as a preventative measure against further damage.


Incorporating these tips into your hair care regimen will undoubtedly get you to your goal of healthy, vibrant, beautiful hair in less time than you think.

Happy growing!

“Oh NO She Didn’t!”


We’ve all seen her, maybe when you were walking through the mall minding your OWN business, not coming to stare at folk or judge anybody BUT out pops “Ms.Thang!” and the oncoming section of folk in the mall part like Moses & The Red Sea as she inches her way through the crowd of  her suspecting “Haters” (as she refers to them) she struggles to maintain her equilibrium attempting to balance herself on those 5 inch heels that she foolishly CHOSE to wear while shopping in a 3 story mall. You “Gasp!” in utter disbelief wondering to yourself if this woman has a good mind, good mirror or even a good friend for that matter that would allow her to suffer public humiliation as she has. It makes you wanna yell “Oh No She Didn’t!”

There have been times in all of our lives when we ‘ve gone through stages where we could look back and say, “Oh No I Didn’t!” I for sure have had my share of faux pas. There have been times when I would mentally accuse my dry cleaners of SHRINKING MY CLOTHES as the reason they no longer fit. There have been times when I would go to the mall and see an outfit on a manikin and my evil friend in my head (the one who ALWAYS means me no good) would tell me “You KNOW you have to get that!”. And of course, I did. I’d rush home, try it on and realize that I am NOT built or shaped like the manikin in the window! Mistakes we have all made or sometimes, still make. Here’s a little advice to help:

I Believe Clothing Should:

Fit and enhance your body shape

Be made with premium fabrics

Be in colors that complement you

Move with your body

Feel comfortable

Getting dressed is a whole lot easier when you know what pieces work best for your shape. It’s so fun to try all the super-trendy fashions out there, but it’s easy to end up wearing the totally wrong thing for you. Body shape is all about proportion, and fashion is all about dressing those proportions to look their very best on YOU, not your favorite entertainer or the model in the fashion magazine.

When you think about body types, don’t focus on height and weight… focus on shape. A slim woman can have the same body shape as a curvy woman, just as a short woman can have the same body shape as her taller bff.

Each of us is unique and our bodies are, too!

Nevertheless, our body shapes are generally narrowed down to five general categories: pear, inverted triangle, rectangle, apple, and hourglass. You might fall into one category, or you might be a blend of two or more categories.


Once you’ve determined your body shape, you can begin to consider which fashion trends to embrace and which to avoid. Spend some time in front of the mirror and do a fair and honest assessment of your body. Then put these fashion tips to work for you!

Rectangular: You want to call attention to your top to divert eyes from your straight-up-and-down proportions. A little padding in your shoulders will do wonders, as long as you don’t go overboard. If you have reasonably well-toned arms, go for sleeveless tops with a high neckline. Dresses that wrap or flow (meaning, they don’t cinch) through the waistline are another good choice. When you wear slacks, go with straight or gently-flared hems. If you’re slender, defining your waist with an artful belt can help, too.

Inverted Triangle: If you have broad shoulders or a particularly curvy bosom, you fall into this body shape category. First of all, if curves are your issue, spend some time picking out a bra that fits you, so that it doesn’t further exaggerate your silhouette. Tops and dresses that flow through the waist are also good for evening out your proportions. Flared pants and A-line skirts will create the illusion of bodily balance, too.

Hourglass: Even though you’re wonderfully symmetrical and you can pull off a wide variety of looks, you still need to pick clothes that at least subtly flatter your attributes. For example, stay away from baggy clothes that obscure your shape. Ditto for stiff fabrics and high necklines. You’ll look your best in tailored, fitted clothes with soft fabrics, low to medium necklines, and gently-flared slacks and skirts.

PEAR: The circumference of a bust is smaller than hip and has a small waist and full thighs. How to bring balance to the pear shape: Draw attention upward by wearing a wide neckline like a boat neck. An A-line dress will camouflage full hips and thighs and is great for all pear body types. The ultimate silhouette for a pear shape with a small to medium bust line is an A-line empire waist dress which, depending on the style, can add volume to the bust. The goal with the hem length has a balanced distance from the hip line to the hem; for petite frames, knee length is good and taller frames mid-calf–full length. Keep in mind that if a pear body type wears an A-line that is too short it can draw attention to the hip line.

Apple: To achieve a proportional body shape, apple shapes must concentrate on dressing in such a way that the waist will appear narrower giving the illusion of a defined waist. The problem areas for apple shapes are the torso and abdominal areas. The trick, therefore, is to draw attention to your best areas whiles drawing attention away from your problem areas. So, do not wear clothes with embellishments or details around the waist. And also avoid pleats or ruching on the front of your pants or dresses, this will only draw attention to your problem area, instead, wear normal to high rise pants with a flat front and a streamlined dress. This helps to reduce bulking around your midriff. The wrap-dress is your secret weapon!  Concentrate on wearing clothes with interesting shoulder and neckline details and add volume to your hips by wearing full skirts, prints, florals, etc. Avoid clingy fabrics and tight silhouettes unless you are wearing the right undergarment, (waist cincher). Your blouses and tops must end around the hips. Anything shorter and the attention will be on your midsection (issue area).

Personally, I think the number one WARDROBE ESSENTIAL for the apple shape woman must be A WAIST CINCHER. It tucks in everything and instantly takes inches and inches off your waist and tummy giving you a defined waist which makes it easier for you to wear different outfits without being overly conscious of your problem areas.

Wearing High Heels…The WRONG Way!

   Wearing high heels can make you stand so that your legs look slimmer, your stomach is flatter, and your femininity is unstoppable. It can also do wonders for attracting admirers from across the room or across the street when you have a confident stride, but walking in high heels is not a natural talent–it’s a learned skill, perfected by practice and discipline. Walking incorrectly in High Heeled shoes can have the opposite effect. it can make you look unrefined, sloppy and ingenuous not to mention the many health factors associated with incorrectly wearing high heels. Those perfect Louboutin pumps can create the perfect storm for permanent health problems. If you frequently wear high heels, you could possibly be setting yourself up for long-term issues. I read in a medical pamphlet that extended wear of high heels and continually bending your toes into an unnatural position can cause a range of ailments, from ingrown toenails to irreversible damage to leg tendons. High heels have also been linked to overworked or injured leg muscles, osteoarthritis of the knee, plantar fasciitis, and low back pain. Despite the potential hazards, stilettos may do wonders for your self-esteem and your love life.

Most women incorrectly shuffle their feet, placing their weight on the ball of the foot and throwing their bodies off-balance. I have seen for myself, from being around models, performers, beauty queens and all the like, the three keys to wearing very high heels successfully are:

— Standing up straight, as if you were pulling a string from the top of your head

— Keeping your abdominal muscles taut by sucking your belly button in toward your spine, which pulls your body weight back onto your heels

— Walking heel to toe with a slightly exaggerated hip sway, rather than mincing around on the ball of the foot.

Basically, it comes down to working your core – as Pilates, yoga and plank exercises do to limber and stretch your ankles, calves, and thighs, as well as strengthen your abdominal muscles to make it easier to maintain balance and posture while walking in high heels.

Whatever your body shape, whatever your style, there is a flattering way to “Flaunt your stuff!” Learn the rules so that you know exactly how you can break them and avoid being another fashion victim of “Oh No She Didn’t!”


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