This post is the second in a series about Beauty Uniforms. The idea is to sit down with women and ask them about their beauty philosophies and routines. This series is inspired and influenced by Joanna Goddard’s Beauty Uniform series, which can be found on her blog, Cup of Jo. (The questions with a star behind them are questions taken directly from her series. All other questions are my own.) The first post in this series can be found here.
This morning I sat down with my best friend, Sydney, at our favorite coffee shop in Louisville. The conversation was filled with laughter, donuts, and pauses for coffee sipping. Lattes and donuts are great treats, but having a conversation with Sydney was the best treat of all. Keep reading for Sydney’s beauty philosophy, middle school fashion regrets, and how she came to love her beautiful natural curls.
How do you define “beauty”?
I think that I define beauty two different ways. One being how physically attractive a person is, and the other being how beautiful the person is on the inside. I don’t want to give a cliché answer, but that’s all I have for you. They aren’t mutually exclusive. Let me go get a napkin for my donut. You can put that in my answer, too.
What is your daily beauty routine?*
I wake up and do the normal things. Brush my teeth, put in contacts. Sometimes wash my face. I always wear deodorant, so I guess that’s beautiful. About 70% of the time I wear makeup, and my hair is different every day. Does that answer your question or do you want more? I guess I forgot to tell you that I put on clothes. Because I do wear clothes.
How do you style and care for your hair?
My hair requires a lot of conditioning because without that it gets really frizzy and takes a lot of the curl out. Every time I shower, I condition my hair, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I wash it. I wash it once a week, if that. When I get out of the shower I always put in leave-in conditioner. When I’m styling my hair to be worn down, I use the same leave in conditioner and curl enhancer. If I wear my hair in a bun I normally straighten the fuzzy flyaways around my face and then pull it up in a topknot. Lots of bobbypins. Lots. I also wear my hair in braids a lot, and I style those in many different ways.
I hate straightening my hair. The process of straightening is a really long explanation, but here we go. I normally straighten my hair when its clean (so I wash it the day before, or that day). I brush out the curls then straighten it with a flat iron like anyone else would. That process goes on for at least an hour and a half. Every morning I touch it up, so I go back over all of my hair with the flat iron. It typically looks better once its a little bit dirty. Styling it this way lasts between a week and a week and a half. This is the only way I can get big, full curls that I will put in with the flat iron. They are a lot different than my natural ringlet curls. Also hairspray is my best friend. *sad, slightly dirty look from Avery* After Avery. And Jesus. Jesus, Avery, hairspray.
What products work best for your specific hair texture and styling needs?
I use Shea moisture products for leave-in conditioner and curl enhancer. It is great for bi-racial hair.
Do you have a skincare routine?
No. Honest answer, no. I’ll tell you what I do, but there is hardly consistency to it. In a perfect world, I would wake up and wash my face with an exfoliator scrub. That hardly ever happens. But when I shower at night, I wash my face and take off my makeup. Thats it!
What do you love about your look, whether or not it’s something classically beautiful?*
I like that I can look different every day. Whether that’s styling my hair differently or wearing a totally different style of clothes (hip, preppy, athletic), I like to try and pull off all styles. I like that I’m not constrained to just either/or, but always both/and. Also my freckles. They’re a natural accessory that is with me at all times.
Is there anything about how you look that you haven’t always liked or loved?
My hair. I cheered for eight years (from third grade to sophomore year of high school) and from the beginning was straightening my hair for competitions. Long, stick straight hair became my standard. All through middle school and high school, if my hair wasn’t straightened, it wasn’t down. My natural hair was a nuisance, and nothing that I ever liked. A lot of my friends are white, and always had the really long stick straight hair. That was always something that I envied. Even when it was straight, it never grew as long as theirs. Wearing my hair naturally now, I have an incredible sense of freedom, and I actually like it a lot more than straightening my hair. (Avery: Me too). *laughs*As do a lot of people.
Favorite nail polish color?
It doesn’t have a name because it doesn’t exist. It is the perfect wine color that is a combination of a deep burgundy red and purple undertones. So ideally, deep red wine. But I haven’t found that color yet.
Do you have any regrettable trends you’ve tried?
Layering of long sleeve shirts under t-shirts. That was all of 7th grade. And also tiny bows in my hair. And the tiny hair bump. What? I’m sure there are a lot of things I can look back and think “No.” Flare jeans. (Avery: the green bean school picture?) Ugh. We just don’t even have to talk about that… (Avery: Actually, we do.)
(This is the green bean school picture. We don’t know what possessed her to wear all lime green accessories for 7th grade picture day, but it seemed like a great decision at the time. I had a matching ensemble in bright blue, and fortunately there is no photographic evidence.)
When are times in your life that you’ve felt the most beautiful?
Summer. Normally because I don’t wear makeup a lot and my hair is always down cause I’m either swimming or doing something outside. There’s not a pressure to be done-up and my skin is really healthy because of the sun.
Tell me about your go-to wardrobe staples. (The things that make you feel the most comfortable and beautiful)
I love dresses. All dresses. They’re so simple because they’re a complete outfit in one article of clothing. My favorite outfit I own is a super simple sundress my mom got me from TJMaxx that I’ve easily worn 50 times. Summer dresses can be worn in any season with tights and a cardigan. Also, lipstick. It takes an average outfit and instantly amps it up. I love the pop of color lipstick adds to any average outfit. A few things that are an absolute must in my closet are black and white striped anything and the color charcoal gray. Simplicity is easy to dress up and I dig that.
Do you have any tattoos or piercings?
Yes! I have 9 piercings (5 in my left ear, 3 in the right ear, and a nose ring) and two tattoos (one on each foot). I was never a rebellious kid and still to this day am not a rebellious adult, but my piercings and tattoos are my one thing that are just slightly out of my “character.” On my right foot I have a simple cross that is simply a reminder of what I literally stand for. Get it? Stand…because my foot. Ok, anyways. On my left foot I have a robin. It’s for my family friend Robin Shartzer who passed from pancreatic cancer last year. It’s more than a commemoration though. Robin is a reminder that each day we’re given is a gift. Her cancer came out of nowhere. One day she was celebrating the new year with family and friends and the next thing we know she’s diagnosed with stage four cancer. Matthew 6:34 is one that I always come back to with this tattoo. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Our days are not promised to us and I’ve wasted way too many of mine worrying about dumb stuff instead of serving the Kingdom. I plan on getting more tattoos when the time is right and my bank account allows me to do so.
Lastly, do you have an overall beauty philosophy?*
Be comfortable. There are so many times when I think the outfit I’m wearing or how I fix my hair is cute, but I’m uncomfortable. When I’m not comfortable with what I’m wearing it makes all the difference in the world. All I think about is when I can get out of what I’m wearing, instead of embracing my own style and feeling confident.
Thanks for your insight, Syd! I have loved having the privilege of watching Sydney become comfortable and confident in her natural beauty. When you look at Sydney, you see a strikingly beautiful woman. But when you interact with her, you also see a strikingly beautiful heart. Her personality is full and joyful and she brings light to everyone she meets. Being with Sydney is like taking out your topknot at the end of a long day. (“Ahh. That’s better.” All the ladies know that joy, amen?) Sydney’s confident and gracious presence gives others permission to be themselves. You like who you are when you’re around Sydney, because she loves big and without conditions. I’m so thankful that she is my friend.
Sydney’s natural beauty philosophy is both refreshing and freeing. Do you have a beauty philosophy? I’d love to hear from you, too.
Thanks for reading!