YouTube Star Jackie Aina on Why Beauty Diversity Matters
YouTube guru, bride-to-be and cover star of The Knot Magazine Summer 2020, Jackie Aina is as passionate about inclusivity as she is about beauty in general. She gave us the scoop on why diversity matters, how to find the best beauty professional for you and how she's coping with the COVID-19 pandemic while planning a wedding. (Psst, you can read the full issue online here.)
Q: How has COVD-19 affected your own wedding? What's your takeaway from this experience?
Our dream was to have a destination wedding in Nigeria, but given the current climate and travel restrictions we decided to pivot and focus on creating beautiful, Nigerian and Ghanaian ceremonies where our families reside. We're staying positive and embracing the additional at-home time by saving our money, finding more wedding inspiration, and actively planning out creative concepts for our big day.
Q: Do you have any advice for couples whose weddings have been impacted by COVID-19?
My recommendation for couples who are experiencing similar challenges is to try and stay positive. You will have your dream wedding with loved ones even if it may take some time. If you're planning a destination wedding, find ways to bring the elements from that location to your wedding at a local location. In the end, the place settings won't matter and the seating chart might look different but one fact remains the same: You're celebrating love as you marry your best friend and partner. Take the pressure off of yourselves and focus on your successful future together!
Q: Any DIY self care tips for couples doing pre-wedding beauty prep at home?
Recently I've also been doing something everyday before I shower called dry brushing, it's a DIY way to drain the lymph nodes in your body. I particularly like dry brushing because it makes my skin feel extremely soft, and it's an inexpensive way to exfoliate the skin better than your body scrubs ever could.
Q: How would you like to see beauty standards in the wedding industry change?
There seems to be a lack of diversity in how weddings are portrayed in the media. Even though I don't know a ton about the industry, I do know from the magazines I've read and even the Instagram pages I follow that I always think, 'Where are the black people? Where are the different cultures?' Weddings are a part of every culture and I think that's the beauty of them; they're an opportunity to celebrate your beliefs and background. I would like to see more diverse faces and stories represented.
Q: What should to-be-weds look for when choosing hair and makeup pros for their day?
If you're interested in hiring an artist, pay close attention to their portfolio. Look for videos that show them doing hair or makeup, because that's a surefire way of making sure their work is legit and in line with your vision for your day. If you're a person of color, looking for diversity in their portfolio is important because even as it pertains to your bridal party, you don't want to hire someone who can't work with a variety of complexions or hair textures. And finally, having a trial is a must. You don't want to find out how your hair and makeup is going to look the day of your wedding. Schedule it a few months before your day—you could even use your engagement photos as a test run.
Q: Any tips for finding the right foundation shade for your skin tone?
I always say match your foundation to the center of your chest, because you want the color of your face to match your body. While it used to be standard to test foundation against your neck, the issue with that is sometimes your neck is lighter or darker than the rest of your body. A lot of us actually tend to be tanner around the perimeter of the face and sometimes around the mouth, so the chest pulls it all together. And, you can always highlight and contour accordingly. For example, if someone's face looks noticeably darker than their chest, they can contour. If it's noticeably lighter, they can highlight.
Q: Is there a beauty trend you can't get enough of right now?
This isn't just a bridal beauty trend, but I'm loving soft glam. It's inspired by '90s makeup and is all about neutral tones (think: tan, taupe and mauve) that match your complexion. For someone with my skin tone, that might mean browns and plums, while someone who's a little bit lighter might look better in tan and taupe. It's just a really beautiful, full face of makeup that feels glam but it's not too harsh or dramatic—it's like highlighting and contouring the entire face including the eye and lip instead of just your face.
Q: Is there a beauty trend you'd like to see less of?
Over-the-top lip fillers. Also, excessively tanning yourself to the point where you end up looking like a different race. Keep it cute and bronzed—but don't overdo it!
Q: What's your take on opting for bold or super trendy hair and makeup on your wedding day?
If your overall style is inconsistent, and one day you want to wear neon lips and the next day you're into bright pink hair, I don't think you're going to look back on your wedding photos and regret wearing bold or trendy makeup on your day. Ultimately, whatever reflects your style and whatever makes you feel the most beautiful is what you should go with. If you want to wear a black wedding gown, then wear a black wedding gown. If you want neon lashes, then wear neon lashes. I think you should go with what truly makes you feel the most confident.
Q: What's your must-have beauty product for your own wedding?
I'll definitely bring my lip color with me because that's always the first thing that fades. I'll probably also have lash glue on hand just to be on the safe side.
This issue, we're bringing the entire magazine straight to you at home, so you can get even more insight into the bridal beauty industry, essential wedding and planning advice, inspiration from real couples and more. Read the full issue cover to cover online here: The Knot Magazine Summer 2020.