Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Courtesy of Naeemah LaFond, Retailers
On the Beauty Group, a Facebook community co-founded by the Cut and the Strategist, people chat all day long about the products they love — the ones so good they’ll make you hit that little “auto-refill” box at checkout. Below, we asked one of our favorite beauty pros to share her own selections.
After nearly two decades as a hairstylist, Naeemah LaFond’s looks have appeared on Yara Shahidi and Whitney Peak, as well as on the runways of Christopher John Rogers and Sandy Liang. LaFond — who has also served as Amika’s global artistic director for the past six years — recentlyteamed up with Pinterest to develop the app’s “hair pattern,” a tool that allows users to refine their hair searches by six different hair patterns: protective, coily, curly, wavy, straight, and shaved/bald.
The message behind “hair pattern” is an important one. Before, “if you searched ‘beautiful hair’ on Pinterest, the immediate results that you would get would be images of white women, probably with blonde, straight hair — and that’s just the internet in general — but that should not be the standard of beauty,” LaFond says. “You should feel seen whether you have curly, coily, or loc’d hair.” When you search “beautiful hair” now, you’re offered multiple hair types, and you can narrow down the pins even further.
It was also important to use the right terminology — and that’s where the “queen of statement hair” came in. She explains, “I wanted to make sure that we weren’t just randomly taking terms out of the sky, that we are thinking about why we are using a certain word, how we’re describing it, and that it’s all coming from a place of love and respect.” She knows it’s just one step in a larger conversation about inclusivity, but ultimately hopes everyone feels represented.
Below, some of the beauty products that LaFond uses to the very last drop, including the eyeliner that doesn’t budge, the blush that she always wears on Zooms, and the hyaluronic acid serum that’s changed the texture of her skin.
“For my foundation, I usually buy two or three shades because there are certain areas, like my nose and under eyes, that are so much lighter than the rest of my face. Especially depending on what I’m wearing, just to make sure that I look alive, I like to play with a few different colors.
My mom was a Fashion Fair lover. When I was growing up, she worked at Bloomingdale’s. I would meet her at work and go to the Fashion Fair counter where she would get her makeup, and the Crème to Powder Foundation was always her favorite. I just like the idea of passing that on.”
“I’m super oily in my T-zone — it’s like an oil factory. I’ve heard that it’s a great thing to be oily, but I don’t want a sunscreen that is going to add more of that on my face so the fact that this one is matte helps even things out while still giving me some glow. Also, with this sunscreen, the white cast is not there. It’s nice to find one that blends right into your skin and you don’t have to worry about your face sticking out like a sore thumb.”
“This texture spray helps me keep my signature hairstyle, which is just kind of big and fluffy. I think oftentimes when brands create products for people with curly hair, everyone assumes that we need to have perfectly textured, perfectly coiled hair, but I love to embrace the frizz and the texture. It has the Amika signature scent, which is kind of citrus-y.”
“Using blush is something new for me. Before the pandemic, I used to love a matte face with really no color on it. But then I started doing these Zoom calls, and I was like, ‘Oh gosh, I’m like a ghost,’ so I started using blush. This was the first one I used and I’ve been using it ever since. It gives a nice color and glow. It really makes me look awake. Plus: It’s a Black-owned beauty brand.”
“I’ve been using this brush for a very long time, and I’ve tried other brushes but always come back to it. Ergonomically, it feels good in my hand and it has a nice weight to it. I never know who’s gonna sit in my chair from Monday through Friday; it’s all kinds of women with all hair types, and this brush works on the straightest, finest hair to the coiliest hair. I can say I’ve never broken one, but I’ve probably lost one — if I don’t have one with me it’s because I’ve probably misplaced it.”
“I wash my hair probably every two weeks or so, and in between, I’m always spraying something in it or putting some oil in it. By the time the two weeks come to a close, I really need to cleanse my hair and start with a fresh clean palate — I always tell people, especially if you do any protective styles, by the time you take the braids out, you have some buildup, and before you do anything, you need to remove it. This cleansing oil is a lifesaver. My hair is always squeaky clean at the end but not dry.”
“This eyeliner is by the legend, the icon Pat McGrath. Big hair and winged liner is my look, so I have pretty much tried all eyeliners to see if one is going to last longer than the other and how black it is, and this one is truly the best. The point is so fine so I can get a nice, sharp line, and the color is so pigmented. It lasts throughout a whole day on set; I could be sweating, it could be any kind of element outside, and that liner is not moving.”
“These extensions are definitely my go-to for creating big hair. This is a brand that specializes in coily hair textures so they have from the tightest coil to a looser curl. The best part? The hair doesn’t get tangled.”
“This is something that I’ve recently discovered, and I’m obsessed. I have a Kiehl’s hand cream, and it feels super moisturizing so I was like, ‘Let me try a Kiehl’s face product,’ which I had never done before. The name of this serum sounded amazing, and I just fell up on it. It’s smoothed out my skin so much — just within a week I started to see a difference.”
“If I’m doing a sleek ponytail on someone, or if I want to do some braids and make sure they stay in place, this is going to do the trick. The hair won’t be moving anytime soon.”
“I’m Haitian, and I grew up using Haitian black castor oil. It’s used for so many things, but I love putting it on my eyebrows and my edges. It keeps everything growing and healthy and lush. This brand is really good quality, otherwise you’re probably getting castor oil from a random store that doesn’t even have a label on it so you don’t know exactly what you’re using.”