Dorothy Dandridge’s Look, Part 1: Skin Care

Who wouldn’t want to look like her? She is gorgeous. She is so gorgeous that her beauty crossed color lines at a time in American history when NOTHING crossed color lines. Ms. Dandridge is one of my personal style role models. Here’s my take on products and techniques that will get you as close as we lesser mortals can come to Dorothy D, who is the prototype…the model…the icon of all that is retro WERK. The next several posts will walk you through the entire look. Links will take you to sites with pictures and/or the option to buy the product mentioned.**

1. Skin care. 

Oh, yeah. I will grant you that this picture might have been touched up. But, search for Ms. D on the internet, and you find endless pictures of flawless skin. So, get on board. I remove my makeup with coconut oil (it doesn’t burn your eyes). To cleanse, I use Cetaphil non-soap bar. The coconut oil + Cetaphil combination leaves my skin clean, but not stripped and and dried out. I’ve been through the gamut of skin care products: Mary Kay Timewise, St. Ives cleanser, Burt’s Bees facial soaps, Neutrogena, African Black Soap, Nubian Heritage Soaps, Clean and Clear, Oil of Olay….and so forth. The regimen that I follow now is the

If my skin is feeling a little rough, I exfoliate with just a smidge (like literally a smidge) of St. Ives Green Tea scrub. For sensitive skin folks, I recommend a dab on your fingertip. Apply this to your face in small circles with LIGHT pressure. At night, it’s important to replenish my skin. In the morning, I need to make sure that my skin is protected from my makeup. Twice a day, I tone with a bit of hyaluronic acid, followed by argan oil. Sometimes (hehe all the time), I get obsessed with wrinkles so I apply a half a smidge of Strivectin around my eyes and mouth. It’s also important to drink plenty of water throughout the day.

You like that lipstick Ms. D is WERKING, don’t you? Well, you must plan for that. Keep those kissers moisturized and exfoliated. Mary Kay makes a great lip exfoliator called Satin Lips. Body Blooms also makes an outstanding all-natural lip exfoliator. After you exfoliate, moisturize with something other than petroleum jelly. I’m not a scientist, but just take my word for it….vitamin E is so much better for your lips.

This isn’t really a skin care point, but Dorothy had the best eyebrows. A clean, strong eyebrow shape is key to a retro look. Wait, wait, hold up. Don’t go all Joan Crawford on me. I also recognize that not too long ago, long thin eyebrows were IT. Here’s my take. Let your eyebrows be what they are going to be. Chances are that the shape that best compliments your bone structure is something close to the shape you naturally have. FURTHERMORE, eyebrows are like taxes. Only a professional or you should do your eyebrows. And, you should only do your own eyebrows for three reasons: (1) You know what you’re doing; (2) You are willing to take the risk; (3) You are trying to save money. I like to get my eyebrows threaded once every two months, and then I do some strategic and well-planned plucking. In later posts, I’ll talk about the best eyebrow cosmetics, but for now put the tweezers down and let your eyebrows grow out for a little while. You might be surprised.

The picture below is of an early attempt of mine to go Dorothy. I recognize that there are more steps here than Ms. D herself probably went through, but you know…she was Dorothy!

**I have received no compensation for linking back to the products or sites.