Hey, it’s Mia Banks — an on-air personality and beauty expert. Growing up, I fell in love with beauty by watching my mom apply her Fashion Fair and FloriRoberts makeup each morning before dropping me off for school. On occasion, I played in her makeup. It was during these developmental years that I learned the power of makeup. Beauty flows from within but is enhanced with your hands. However, my passion did not become evident until years later.
My Journey Into Beauty
Fast forward to 2010, I was introduced to a new level of Black Girl Magic as I trekked the campus of Howard University as a graduate student. I quickly realized that most students at HBCUs come to slay the day, which became my mantra. As a small-town millennial from Arkansas, I was determined to level up more than my Bachelor’s Degree. Quickly enamored with the fast-paced lifestyle, east coast fashions, and diverse culture of the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia), I solicited a classmate, who was a MAC freelance artist, for a quick one-on-one makeup lesson.
I was hooked again and never looked back. YouTube makeup tutorials became my form of leisure, and commitment to excellence led me to positions with Sephora and MAC Cosmetics, where I was a certified makeup and freelance artist for a combined 8 years helping thousands of women master their everyday makeup and skincare needs. It was during these pivotal years at the beauty counter when I realized makeup, and beauty in general, was my passion, and I was called to help Black and Brown women look and feel their best.
Challenges Black Women Face in the Beauty Industry
Did you know that 80 percent of Black women STILL face challenges when searching for their ideal foundation match for their complexion? That’s according to a 2020 article from Global News. And that’s absurd in this post-Fenty Beauty 40+ foundation-era, but it is a reality for so many women of color.
I am in that 80 percentile because I can’t always find a color that matches my neutral undertone. My personal struggle and continuous encounter with other women who share my pain led me to want to perfect complexion matching and make it more of a seamless process.
Often women, I’m still referring to this 80th percentile, have to set aside hours to go to the makeup counter for countless swatches and applications to ultimately settle for a foundation that looks just okay. That’s not cool, and I’m not talking complexion undertones.
I became dedicated to making sure every woman of color I encountered at my counter left with the best option for her complexion. With this, I learned all I could about the brands’ foundations, complexion undertones, and overtones, how the product wears, and who it serves best. I wanted all of my clients to feel seen and not slathered in a deep red or casket-ready complexion shade because of her darker complexion. Also, I prided myself on eyeballing her skin and being able to find her best match with three foundations or less.
My Recommendations to Practicing Makeup
Through my years as a beauty retailer and service provider, I’m still perfecting my craft. If you follow me on social media, you’ll quickly see content created to help Black women and girls elevate their everyday makeup to best suit their needs. Whether it is her wedding day, the first day of high school, or a night out with the girls, I’m her go-to, virtual beauty expert.
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in beauty but lack confidence, I’d recommend trying this:
- Use social media to search and follow beauty content creators to see if they work at a beauty counter. Then DM them to ask questions about their journey into the beauty space. You’ll be surprised at how many “creators” are ready and willing to help. I’m a proponent of people learning the business at the counter.
- Stay the course. I said it at the beginning of the article: It takes lots of practice to become comfortable AND confident with your work as a makeup artist. Start doing makeup on yourself regularly. Then master 2-3 looks that you can replicate on your close friends and relatives.
- When buying new products, save yourself time and money by going to the drug store. Do NOT start big in the luxury counters and department stores. If you can “beat” a face with drug store products, you are on your way!
As an on-air talent and beauty expert, I have coined myself a beauty personality as I merge my experience in media and makeup.
I truly believe the saying, “When you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good you become great!” I hope my content inspires beauty lovers to try new things and pursue their passions with confidence.