As women of color we’re always trying the latest regimens and beauty tricks to hide or eliminate our skin’s perfect imperfections. So we turn to our favorite Youtube beauty channels or one of many Makeup Guru’s beauty book when what we’re truly in search of can be inside our kitchen cabinets.

According to Toi Wagner, Black Opal Cosmetics Official Social Media Makeup Correspondent, “I have found that you really don’t need expensive creams and costly powder potions for a great skincare regimen,” says Toi. “Most of the power packing, vitamin drenched products are in your kitchen!”

Toi, the Chicago native makeup maven who now resides in the Metro area of Detroit has been beating mugs for about five years and being relatively a ‘fresh face on the scene’ as a MUA has given her more drive and ambition to continue making a difference one face at a time. Toi shares with Row A Seat 1 all things beauty from affordable at-home regimens to which products she recommends for dry, oily and combination skin, and ladies trust me you don’t want to miss out on hearing these secrets … Have a seat, the show is about to start!

Row A Seat 1: WOW, what a big change from the music industry to the world of beauty. Why?

Toi Wagner: Well truthfully, the love of music has been apart of me since I was 3 years old so it hasn’t left me completely. It is still my comfort and always will be. The decision to be a mom didn’t meet the demand (in my head) of a full on eat, sleep, breathe Recording Artist and that was my focus for a large part of my young life into adult hood. Fortunately for me, being a mom prioritized my perspectives and that is where I wanted to put all my time and energy.

Row A Seat 1: What beauty advice can you give to women of color?

Toi: I would definitely have to start by saying getting to know and love your own skin. Sure, we all want flawless skin, but the truth is it’s very rare to be an adult with such a gift. Unless you’re a newborn or a child that sleeps constantly IT WILL PROBABLY NEVER HAPPEN and that’s okay. Getting to know the skin you’re in eliminates false hope and allows you to celebrate all your unique and perfect imperfections.

Row A Seat 1: Often times I hear women discussing the many breakouts from wearing makeup daily, what do you think could be causing these issues?

Toi: The key to great skin is great skin care. Your face needs a smooth and even foundation in order for the makeup to enhance. Cleansing and moisturizing the skin all the way down to cleaning and sanitizing your makeup tools can play a definite factor on how the skin can react. Remember, your skin is only as good as you treat it.

Row A Seat 1: What are some great, but affordable skin regimes for dry, oily and combination skin?

Toi: I have found that you don’t really need expensive creams and costly powder potions for a great skincare regimen. Most of the power packing, vitamin drenched products are in your kitchen! Lemon Juice is a natural skin toner and brightener which are wonderfully known to combat oily skin. To eliminate the appearance of shine for longer lasting makeup try a thing layer of Milk of Magnesia Saline Laxative as a facial primer prior to foundation application. It serves as a matte barrier between your skin and the makeup it’s just like priming your walls before you paint. For dry skin: a night time facial cocktail of lemon juice and Extra Virgin Coconut Oil after a good cleansing can add light and breathable moisture to the skin. I totally live by these regimens as with anything, consistency is KEY!

Row A Seat 1: What common beauty mistakes do women of color make?

Toi: A common mistake made by women of color is thinking just because a shade worn by another woman will automatically work for you. For example, you may see a lady at the grocery store with this awesome nude lip, so you walk up to her and ask her what color she’s wearing and she cheerfully tells you. You run top speed to the local beauty supply or cosmetic counter for the same shade only to find that up against your skin tone it looks different, and not in a good way either.

We have to find the right shade for ourselves. That may consist of spending some time doing a little research and swatching different shades, but makeup is all relative so customizing your own PERSONAL vibe and style is what makes you, you!

Row A Seat 1: Name your favorite products in your makeup kit.

Toi: My absolute favorite product in my makeup kit is one of my staple foundation brushes. It’s the E.L.F. cosmetics flat top powder brush. It’s soft, yet dense enough to distribute cream, mineral and even liquid foundation beautifully for a natural airbrushed finish. I have 5 of them =) Next, I would have to say my makeup finishing spray. Most people go to certain high-end sprays to finish off and set their makeup by adding a dewy finish to that sometimes “powdery” look makeup tends to leave behind such as MAC’s Fix Plus or Urban Decay’s All-Nighter Setting Spray. I don’t reach for any of those. I simply use Thayer’s Rosewater Witch Hazel. It’s an alcohol-free toner with an Aloe Vera formula packed with Vitamin E, leaf juice and flower (rose) water! I put it in a misting bottle and just spray away! It’s natural, gentle and moisturizes the skin giving off that same “dewy” appearance as the higher end sprays. At $8 a bottle at the local pharmacy or drug store, it doesn’t hurt to try it or even make the switch!

Row A Seat 1: What staple items should every woman keep in her bag?

Toi: A woman should always have a mirror, a good natural lip color and some type of eyebrow grooming/enhancing tool or kit like a powder, pencil, tweezers or brow razor. Very important because the brows frame the face and can tell a person a great deal about one’s grooming skills.

Row A Seat 1: When I’m doing makeup I feel… 

Toi: When I’m doing makeup I feel like I’m a world renowned artist and the face is my canvas. With each stroke I am creating a masterpiece and making that beautiful bare canvas even more beautiful than before.

Row A Seat 1: As a MUA, what are some goals you’re trying to accomplish to become better as a business woman and artist?

Toi: As a MUA, I want to transform! I want the inner ideal to become a reality, naturally, enhancing the beauty one face at a time because we work hard, we raise children and we make the home. So giving a little glam is definitely something that can give a person a sense of beauty, and joy that may not always be attainable on a day-to-day.

As a business woman, I want to expand my brand, even teach the average woman how to achieve that SHOWROOM GLAM look without that SHOWROOM GLAM price.

Every woman deserves to look and feel as awesome as they are and if I can help with that, then that’s what I’ll do. I wasn’t always the confident, forthcoming woman I am today. I struggled and still often times have my doubts with image and self-acceptance.

Being comfortable in my own skin gave me the confidence and will to accept me; flaws and all. Makeup would have just been a cover up had I not stopped caring about what the world’s perception of beauty and what being “fly” actually is. Thank goodness I found this out on my own, that was the beginning of my makeup artistry. I want to plant some really deep, inspirational and loving roots into my craft and let every woman know makeup isn’t the source of beauty but the enhancement of it.

If you’d like to book Toi for your next photo shoot, wedding or holiday event, please email her at gotblushxoxo@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow Toi on IG: _honeychile and Facebook: Toi Wagner.