The Brown List: Staff Picks for January 2018

January Brown List

Happy belated new year, BGM readers! Two thousand and seventeen was an exciting and record-breaking year for us. For the past 10 years, we’ve given you our best, from news stories, interviews to makeup tutorials. So, here’s to another 10 years of staff recommendations made only for you.

1. Match Stix Trio by Fenty Beauty


[Match Stix Trio in Deep 400 by Fenty Beauty/Harvey Nichols]

Ever since our queen, Riri, released her coveted makeup line, our staffers have been obsessed with her inclusive foundation shade range and poppin’ highlighters. One of our favorites is the Match Stix Trio, which is a bundle of a highlight shade and a contour shade. The set also includes a highlighter stick. According to BG Priya, “this product is the perfect contour method for fast, daily application! It looks amazing on any brown girl’s skin.” This bundle is a steal and can be especially helpful if you have a hard time with highlighting and contouring. There are four different shade options to accommodate even the deepest and darkest skin tones. Get yours from the official Fenty Beauty website or Sephora!

2. Book of the Month: “The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships and Other Adventures” by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy

The Ethical Slut

[“The Ethical Slut” Book Cover/Amazon]

Don’t judge a book by its title! BG Sheena is raving about “The Ethical Slut.” “This book is awesome because it de-stigmatizes relationships that aren’t ‘heteronormative.’ This is a must-read for anyone wanting to challenge traditional norms in relationships. The book talks a lot about communication for relationships with lovers, family, and friends. It’s not the best resource for communication in relationships out there, but is an important read for the other concepts mentioned above.” If you need a good guide to navigating the world out of the traditional guy-girl relationship, then grab a copy of “The Ethical Slut” from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

3. Rasika (Washington D.C., United States)

rasika[Food from the scene/Rasika Restaurant]

If you’re in the D.C. area, you’ve got to stop by the famed Rasika restaurant. BG Saumya is a big fan. “It’s a convenient eating spot because there are two locations in D.C. Rasika offers a combination of traditional Indian dishes as well as innovative fusion dishes—both are excellent. The cocktails (if you’re over 21) are creative and have desi names (i.e. Sheela). I would definitely recommend the grouper Goan curry!”

4. Nail Polish of the Month: Gel Couture by Essie

Essie Nail Polish

[Gel Couture in Spellbound by Essie/POPSUGAR]

Who doesn’t want perfect gel nails? But sometimes, shelling out hundreds of dollars a month for tip-top nails isn’t always an option. BG Subrina has just the solution for you! “I recently started using Essie’s Gel Couture and I am in love! It has the same great Essie color and lasts just as long as a gel manicure from the salon. I would suggest investing in the Essie Gel Couture Top Coat and then have fun buying colors individually. The nail polish doesn’t look as good without that particular top coat. Essie sometimes gives the top coat as a set with the standard red shades, so keep your eyes peeled for Gel Couture bundles! Some of my colors are Take Me to Thread, Lace Me Up and Model Clicks (which is the closest shade to my all-time favorite shade, Wicked).

5. Show of the Month: “Rick and Morty”

rick and morky

[“Rick and Morty” Season One Poster/Wikipedia]

Slip into a new show this year! BG Karthyani prefers to tune into “Rick and Morty” every week. “The best-animated TV show to ever come out of Adult Swim, hands down. There’s a reason this show is so popular, and it’s hard to stop watching once you start. But beware though, you’ll soon start having cravings for McDonald’s Szechuan sauce!” Watch “Rick and Morty” online on Adult Swim’s website or Hulu. Also, click here to find out when the show airs in your area.

6. DIY Hair Mask for Winter Hair

[Hair Flipping Like a Boss/Giphy]

Winter hair got you down? Try BG Subrina’s DIY hair mask! “Following the advice of beauty guru, Farah Dhukai, I have been doing a hair mask consisting of peppermint oil and pumpkin seed oil to help grow my hair. So far, I’ve seen a huge difference! I’ve done this mask weekly for about two months and my hair has grown over 3-4 inches. Also, my hair feels super healthy and looks super shiny!” Mix 3-4 drops of pumpkin oil with 1-2 drops of peppermint oil. You may feel a slight tingly sensation on your scalp; that’s totally normal. Use it as often and watch your hair grow! You can find pumpkin oil and peppermint oil at a local supermarket or health food store. There are also numerous places to get them online. Click here to get pumpkin oil and click here to get peppermint oil.

7. Podcast of the Month: “Savage Lovecast” by Dan Savage

savage lovecast

[‘Savage Lovecast Poster/Acast]

We all hate our winter commutes to the office. Make it a little less terrible by listening to a unique and informative podcast. BG Sheena recommends “Savage Lovecast” by prolific commentator Dan Savage. “He rants about politics (with mostly liberal-leaning opinions) and answers audience questions about sex. The podcast is kink, polyamory, and LGBTQIA friendly. Dan Savage is a gay man in a 20-year marriage. He’s been out of the closet for 11 years and has a lot of open, insightful opinions on different types of relationships. It’s a super refreshing take on relationships and sex.” You can listen to Savage’s podcast for free on the “Savage Lovecast” website, iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

8. Skincare Regimen Hackskincare

[Skincare is key/Flickr]

If you’re like most of us on the staff, you’re probably struggling with winter skin right now. Though brown skin is beautiful, it is definitely hard to keep up the glow in January. BG Priya is a beauty editor who gives amazing advice on skincare. She frequently imparts her wisdom on BGM’s Instagram takeovers. Recently, another staffer, BG Liz started using Priya’s skincare regimen hack and her skin is better than ever.

“I started doing over the weekend and I already see such a dramatic and positive change in my skin. From what Priya taught us through her IG takeovers, I use the products in a specific order. First, there are makeup wipes (Aveeno Ultra-Calming Sensitive Skin Makeup Removing Wipes). Then, you do a gentle clay mask cleanser (Freeman 4-in-1 Apple Cider Vinegar Foaming Clay Mask) while you’re in the shower. After your shower, gently apply micellar water (Garnier SkinActive For All Skin Types Micellar Cleansing Water) all over your face with a cotton pad. Follow up with an astringent toner (Neutrogena Alcohol-Free Toner). Next, apply a thin layer of hyaluronic acid (try this one from Cosmedica Skincare). For the finishing touch, smooth on some Bio Oil to lock in your skin’s natural moisture.”

9. Protect & Detangle by Beauty Protector

Protect & Detangle by Beauty Protector

[Protect & Detangle by Beauty Protector/Birchbox]

If you have thick desi hair, styling it can be a pain. BG Saumya uses Protect & Detangle by Beauty Protector to keep her locks in check. “This is a leave-in conditioner that doubles as a detangler. It saves me every time I wash my thick hair. Shortly after washing, I liberally spray it Protect & Detangle all over my hair and then brush everything down with the Wet Brush. Styling my hair is completely painless and I don’t have to tug at it for an hour. As a bonus, the spray smells amazing.” Click here to get your own bottle of Protect & Detangle and you can also get a Wet Brush by clicking here.

10. Movie of the Month: “I, Tonya”


[“I, Tonya” Movie Poster/IMDb]

The BGM staff love a good ice skating flick during the drudge winter month of January. BG Marina suggests grabbing a ticket to your local viewing of “I, Tonya.” The movie is a reenactment of interviews by disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding and the people around her. She was implicated in an attack on fellow ice skater Nancy Kerrigan right before the 1994 Winter Olympics. Though Harding would plea her innocence multiple times, she was eventually stripped of her titles and was banned from ever skating again. “This movie is a whole lot; ‘I, Tonya’ is almost camp. It will take your breath away in its drama and dark humor. Be warned though, the movie graphically depicts the abuse Harding faced when she was younger. To be honest, I kind of felt bad for her.” But make your own decision. Click here to find a viewing of “I, Tonya” near you.

By Marina Ali

Marina Ali is a medical student, writer, poet, and blue lipstick enthusiast. She is the poetry editor for Brown Girl … Read more ›

Ankush Bahuguna: “My Favorite Makeup Hack is to Underpaint”

If I DM my friends a bunch of videos on any given day, one of them is almost always an Ankush Bahuguna reel. When I first stumbled upon his content, I saw him as an actor and a comedian, lifting our mood up during the lockdown one video at a time. However, his day-to-day content is more than just that — Bahuguna is changing the landscape of the beauty industry by making (and holding) space for men who aspire to be makeup artists and who have a passion for all things beauty.

[Read Related: The Art of Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes]


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A post shared by Ankush Bahuguna (@ankushbahuguna)

Content creator, makeup enthusiast, actor: Which title do you resonate with the most? And, why?

A creator is the word I’d resonate with the most — that’s what got me here — creating comedy, creating beauty content. Even as an actor, I’m very collaborative. I tend to weave nuances around a character and make it my own. I believe, no matter what you do, your work should be unique to you and that can only happen when you build it up yourself.

How did “Wing it with Ankush” come about?

Till three years ago, I used to work for a media house that had a whole team of stylists and MUAs working on every shoot. So when the world went into lockdown, I realized I would have to don all those hats myself. I used to [regularly] shoot videos with my mother and she didn’t know anything about makeup either. So I had to try my hand at it — I would do her makeup and we’d shoot videos together. Soon I realized how much I enjoyed learning a new skill from scratch. I used to paint as a kid, so makeup just somehow made sense. It felt like even though I had a whole lot to learn, it came naturally to me. I decided I would journal these experiments [on] a ‘secret’ page called Wing it With Ankush so that I can look back at it five years from now and see what I was up to [during] lockdown. I didn’t tell anyone about it. But people eventually discovered it and there was no looking back!

One word for gender stereotypes?

One word: Ingrained. It’s so deeply ingrained in us that we find it hard to just accept people the way they are.


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A post shared by Ankush Bahuguna (@ankushbahuguna)

How is (or isn’t) India evolving in terms of stereotypes?

We are definitely evolving. It’s a slow process but there’s hope. There’s a long way to go and for starters, I wish people could give non-cis people as much respect, appreciation, and credit, as they give to cis people like me, especially in the beauty space.

Must-have makeup products for men?

Makeup ‘must-haves’ are very subjective across all genders. Some people can’t do without a full face of makeup, while others could care less. I feel nothing is a must-have. [D]on’t wear makeup because you feel you need to, wear it only if it makes you feel good. My must-haves would be a color corrector, concealer, and powder.

Favorite makeup hack ever:

My favorite makeup hack is to underpaint. Apply bronzer and blush before your foundation. It’s so much more natural looking.

Let’s talk about your career in entertainment. What does comedy mean to you?

Comedy is a defense mechanism for me. It’s also self-expression, to be honest. That’s how I go about my day — finding humor in mundane things. Comedy is how I see life.

Beauty Influencer Of The Year Male (Popular Choice) — Ankush Bahuguna! Congratulations! You left your audience with these words in your Instagram post: “There’s always been too much self-doubt and too little self-worth.” How does one overcome that feeling of self-doubt?

As someone who has grown up constantly feeling inadequate, it’s difficult for me to not give in to self-doubt, literally every day. But I guess the idea is to be as kind and forgiving to yourself as you are to others. If you’ve come this far, you must’ve done something right. Right?


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A post shared by Ankush Bahuguna (@ankushbahuguna)

Absolutely right!

We can’t deny that Ankush Bahuguna is going out of his way to put a smile on our faces with his day-to-day content — reels, photos, Insta stories, and more! All while paving a new path for himself and, like we mentioned before, holding space for those who aspire to be them one day. Ankush continues to push the envelope one makeup tutorial at a time, showing the modern world that it’s time to take men in makeup seriously because they’re here to stay!

The featured image is courtesy of Dream N Hustle Media.

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By Shezda Afrin

Shezda Afrin is an aspiring physician from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At the age of four, it was quite normal of her … Read more ›

South Asian Creators Claim Their Space at the Cannes Film Festival

Ever since we can recall, the Cannes Film Festival has been a merger of movies and glamour. On one side, there are hand-picked films — ready to premiere and make their mark in the world of entertainment — and on the other, audiences and paparazzi alike are served epic moments in fashion.

The festival, aimed to preview upcoming films from all over the world, invites a wide variety of guests that span the film fraternity, of course, but more recently, has opened its doors to many digital content creators, including renowned South Asian creatives.

With a more vast guest list comes a more recent debate: Cannes is a film festival and not a fashion showcase. Kickstarting the debate this year was none other than ace Bollywood director, Nandita Das, who in an Instagram post shared:

Sometimes people seem to forget that it is a festival of films and not of clothes!

In short, Das wants Cannes’ narrative to continue to focus on films.

[Read Related: Cannes Film Festival 2022: Red Carpet Representation at its Finest]

But of course, there’s been a paradigm shift in the guest list over the last few years; this shift has allowed talents from various industries — including lifestyle content creators, entrepreneurs, etc., who showcase their work in fashion and beauty like fine masterstrokes — to walk the carpet and represent their craft, making space for others in their industry.

Influential names like Dolly Singh, Kaushal, Diipa Buller-Khosla, and Shivani Bafna — all of whom made a raging impact on the red carpet this year — weigh in on the significance of representing South Asian artists/influencers on the red carpet, and how they feel they’ve been part of this paradigm shift at Cannes Film Festival.

Diipa Buller-Khosla

I believe that each step we take at events like Cannes sends a powerful message of diversity, cultural richness, and artistic excellence. Representation matters, and the presence of South Asian creators on the red carpet at Cannes helps broaden the narrative of beauty, talent, and creativity. It allows us to showcase our unique perspectives, narratives, and contributions, ultimately contributing to a more inclusive industry. By actively participating and making our presence felt, we help create more opportunities and spaces for South Asian creators, encouraging others to share their stories with the world.


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A post shared by Diipa Bu?ller-Khosla (@diipakhosla)


Since 2015, the first time I walked the red carpet, till this year I have always been invited by L’Oreal Paris, one of the main sponsors of the event. It has always been such an honor to be invited to the festival through the makeup brand that I have been using for almost two decades, and, before my social media career began. Personally, I feel a sense of acknowledgment from such a prestigious brand, and its head office teams that sponsor Cannes Film Festival, and value the work I have done and continue to do as a South Asian content creator within the beauty space. Makeup, hair, and beauty will always play a big role within the film industry and it’s something I have always created my content around which is why I am proud to attend.


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A post shared by Kaushal ? (@kaushal)

Dolly Singh

This is a proud moment not just for me but also [for] my peers and the entire content creator ecosystem given that we have reached such new global stages and presence. Of course, as you said, such film festivals, once considered as an exclusive hub for a congregation of the finest acting talents have, in the last few years, opened their arms to more people from the entertainment industry.

This is not just a sudden phenomenon with a burst of Indian creators at the festival this year but there is increased participation from non-film and non-South Asian celebrities across various spectrums from different sides of the world. Along with the many filmmakers, actors, producers, etc I also met some amazing influencers and entrepreneurs from other sides of the world. It’s amazing to represent India and celebrate and champion the advent of the digital ecosphere on such a prominent platform.

The confluence of actors and creators signified the amalgamation of traditional cinema and new-age digital influence, highlighting the transformative power of creative expression and how festivals like Cannes have become more forthcoming and progressive in their approach.

Cannes, like any other prominent festival, boasts of a red carpet that is synonymous with fashion and glitz, and I wanted to use this opportunity to represent all the amazing Indian fashion designers on the carpet besides, of course, attending the screenings. As someone who is just not an influencer but also an actress, I thoroughly enjoyed all the red-carpet screenings and meeting like-minded film talent from around the world at the event. At some point in the future, I would like to be attending Cannes for a film I’ve featured in.


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A post shared by Dolly Singh (@dollysingh)

Shivani Bafna

Creators are often placed into boxes of where they belong and the rooms they can be a part of. Being on the red carpet dismantles the ideology that there’s a cap on how far we, as creators and as a South Asian community, can go and what we can achieve.

The Cannes Film Festival has always been viewed as the epitome of a glamorous event — everyone who attends looks like they’re living their best lives. I used the platform to share an authentic message of what the experience felt like for me. To represent all of us who doubt our potential, experience imposter syndrome, and are nervous to find their place, yet continue to push through to achieve their dreams!

As the first Indian American influencer to walk at Cannes, I hope I can inspire young women to confidently ask, ‘Why not me?’


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A post shared by Shivani Bafna (@shivani_bafna)

There’s no doubt that the Cannes Film Festival is centered around films, and continues to be a unique space for the global film fraternity to bring their art and showcase their aptitude. But, creators like Bafna, Singh, Buller-Khosla, and Kaushal — a special shoutout to Raja Kumari for being instrumental in paving the way as well — have their own set of responsibilities to fulfill upon their invitation to the prestigious event. Their will to represent their South Asian identities, celebrate their industries, and continue to hold space for their peers makes their presence at Cannes more than just clothes.

All images in the featured photo are from the influencers’ Instagram feeds.

By Sandeep Panesar

Sandeep Panesar is an editor, and freelance writer, based out of Toronto. She enjoys everything from the holiday season to … Read more ›

17 Ayurvedic Beauty Brands on our Radar Right Now

Holistic beauty trends are more prevalent than ever — that makes ayurvedic beauty brands incredibly sought-after, as well. Do you find yourself asking what your beauty products are actually made of? A lot of us even resort to food products for a skincare routine such as honey for face wash.

The term “Ayurvedic Beauty” is getting more recognition outside the South Asian world as well.

Ayurvedic beauty is coined upon the term “Ayurveda,” which originated in Hindu culture as the basis of utilizing the five life forms — air, water, ether, fire, and earth — to heal the human body.

[Read Related: The Budget-Friendly Beauty Guide you Need This Spring Season]

Ayurvedic beauty brands focus on using herbs and natural ingredients to create their skincare range and consumers around the world are attracted to these natural products.

Scroll down to see some Ayurvedic beauty brands founded by South Asians.

Soma Ayurvedic

Is your skin feeling a little dry this winter? Nourishing your skin with body oil will lend it the right amount of moisture — Soma Ayurvedic’s jasmine body oil can do that trick! Shop the oil, and their full line of products, here.


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A post shared by SOMA AYURVEDIC™ (@somaayurvedic)

Sama Tea

If you’re familiar with author and podcast Host, Jay Shetty, then you may have heard of his tea line, Sama Tea. Herbal teas provide many natural benefits. Has it been a stressful week? Try their lavender rose chamomile tea for some TLC. Check them out here.


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A post shared by Sama Tea (@samatea)

Sahajan Skincare

Know the Netflix show “Ginny & Georgia?” Loved the actress’ fresh-looking skin? Sahajan Skincare is behind that glow! They’re a must-try, featured in both Vogue and Elle India. See their full range of products here.


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A post shared by Sahajan (@sahajanskincare)

Shaz and Kiks

This unique company showcases its brand with an emphasis on ‘holistic.’ Whether it’s bad hair days or excessive shedding, not only do Shaz and Kiks provide the products to help but also break down the science behind the problem. Go on your very own shopping spree by clicking here!


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A post shared by SHAZ & KIKS (@shazandkiks)


Looking for accessible ayurvedic beauty products? Look no further! Ranavat is now in Sephora. With a beauty line that covers both hair and skin, there’s something here for everyone. See for yourself here.


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A post shared by RANAVAT (@ranavat)

UMM Skincare

UMM Skincare is known for its brown sugar body scrub, made with natural ingredients, and Bakuchi oil known to improve signs of aging and hyperpigmentation. Try it for yourself by shopping here!


Give your skin the best by adding ZAILA to your daily skincare routine! Click here and start shopping!


This brand is all plant-powered, and we’re here for it — you should be too! Check out their full range of products here.

Inde Wild

Are you looking for brown skin-friendly sunscreen filled with nutrients? Look no further. Inde Wild has its very own SPF 50, with natural substances such as liquorice extract and cica, and it’s a mineral SPF suitable for all skin types. See what the brand is all about and shop it here.


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A post shared by ind? wild (@indewild)

Mango People

I’m always in the market for brown girl-friendly lipsticks, and ones that are made of natural ingredients are a huge plus. Mango People does just this with their unique lipstick colors that suit all brown skin tones. Try them out here!

Kama Ayurveda

Need to swap out your shampoo for something better? Try Kama Ayurveda’s Ayurvedic Hair cleaner, infused with a variety of herbs and pulses with key ingredients like vetiver, tulsi, rose, moong beans, and shikakai. They have a variety of products to choose from so start with your hair and keep shopping for more here!


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Forest Essentials

According to Forest Essentials, night time is the best time for hydration. Check out their night cream, filled with nutrients to enrich your skin. You can shop their wide variety of products here.


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Koppen Ayurveda

A brand made for modern living, their essentials are all worth a shot! Start shopping here!


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A post shared by KÖPPEN Ayurveda (@itskoppen)


Looking for a new face mask to try? AAVRANI has a variety of face masks and explains in detail when you should apply the mask during the week depending on your skin type. Take a look here!


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Plant-based skincare, anyone? Delhicious has got everyone covered, so click here and fill your baskets!


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Pratima Skincare

Just getting into skincare and don’t know where to start? PRATIMA skincare has starter sets, with basics, that every woman can use such as vitamin C serum, essential oils, and collagen creams. Grab yours now by shopping here!


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Fable & Mane

Struggling with hair care recently? Fable & Mane includes various hair oils in their collection that help grow and nourish your hair. Not only that, they have a scalp detox line as well — definitely worth checking out. See their full range of products here.


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[Read Related: 10 Clean Beauty Products That’ll Have you Winning on Earth Day]

In a world that’s becoming more conscious of holistic living, embracing Ayurvedic beauty in your day-to-day is a step in the right direction, and these brands are here to help you get started.

By Hrishika Muthukrishnan

Raised in North Carolina, Hrishika Muthukrishnan spent 18 years thinking there wasn’t much to the suburbs before she discovered how … Read more ›