Y'all, one of the things we insist here at Beauty Dummy is that beauty lovers are all DIFFERENT. Our goal has always been to connect with others in our community who are just as passionate about looking good, feeling good and staying posi as we are, without just recycling the same old Skinny Pretty Rich Girl narrative. That's why at least once a month we feature someone we know who inspires us – be it an artist, writer, life coach...you name it – and chat with them about beauty and beyond.
This week we talked with comedian, writer and beauty blogger Anjali Desai about having fun, loving yourself, and cleaning your f*ckin sponges.
A “Holiday” Look for all your boozy work parties @esteelauder Estee Edit Beam Team @toofaced Peach Perfect Foundation @colourpopcosmetics concealers @marcbeauty Contour Duo @physiciansformula butter bronzer @bhcosmetics carli bybel deluxe palette @thebalm_cosmetics cabana boy blush @wetnwildbeauty liquid felt eyeliner @lorealmakeup lash paradise mascara @lipstickqueen liquid lipstick in Dear John
Beauty Dummy: You've said before makeup has been your thing since high school. What first got you into beauty and what inspired you to start making videos?
Anjali Desai: I really remember when I would have a sick day from school, and my mom was at work, I would get into her makeup. She didn’t have a ton, but I’d just sit on the floor of her closet, and put crap all over my face, and try wipe it off with Kleenex and start again. I was found out, and was subsequently forbade makeup which only made me want it more. And when I hit high school, the restrictions were lifted and… it was different. I still loved makeup but it became this necessary thing for me. When you’re diverse and you’re not skinny and glamorous and mysterious on your own, you reach for something that makes you feel better and powerful and in control. So I would take chances with my makeup, even more than I do now. I’d wear a thick cat eye but with shocking metallic purple liquid liner, or really bold lipstick, or bright turquoise all over my eyes. And it was a different way of showing off my confidence, which was inside, waiting to come out.
With my videos, I started... because I could. I have a background in comedy and performance, and a real knack for knowing beauty not just for my face, but for yours too. I really thought “Why wouldn’t someone watch me?” Plus, a big thing too with makeup bloggers now -- it’s always “snatched” with falsies and extensions and lip fillers. I’m still a normal woman with a day job and I find great joy in looking my best, and still feeling like myself. You shouldn’t do makeup because you have to, you should do it because you WANT to. I want to teach you if you want to.
BD: If you could give your younger self beauty advice, what would it be?
AD: Your skin will look better… not a lot better, but better. Also, don’t brush your curly hair dry unless you want poop colored cotton candy coming out of your scalp. And these pretty girls that surround you, the ones that seem like everything is easy for them because they’re pretty? You have no idea what’s going on in their lives. You only know what’s going on in yours and that’s what you should focus on.
BD: How do you feel about the "industry" as a whole and what do you want to see change?
AD: There’s a lot of opposing forces right now. You have the folks that want everything to stay the same, and those who want radical change. It’s a little Trump v. Bernie for beauty. But the fact that this conversation about inclusion, about intersectionality, about holistic and healthy practices of beauty is on people’s radar is incredible. It wasn’t that way even 10 years ago. There is so much work still to do, especially when it comes to higher end, luxury beauty that basically act like POC don’t exist. Another thing that’s really exciting is that we have successful indie brands that make money. Brands that take off entirely online and they don’t have typical everyday products -- they’re weird and different and change how we think to use makeup. I also think there is a much greater emphasis in skincare, wellness and education in beauty now. We don’t just put on makeup just to do it, we do it because we want to and it feels good to take care of ourselves.
I would like to see a little less… trendiness? And constant influx of products? I mean, I just feel overwhelmed by the amount of things that come out each day from new brands and products. There’s almost too much competition, the same way that there’s too many TV shows. But that’s a personal problem, I’m honestly whining because there’s too much makeup to play with :p
BD: One of the things we love about your videos is how much they showcase your personality. How do you feel your comedy relates to your beauty obsession, if at all?
AD: They don’t necessarily feed each other but I would say the person I am as a writer and comedian is also who I am with makeup. When it comes to beauty, I never want to prove myself to anyone, or do something because it’s cool at the expense of me not feeling like myself. And I could say the exact same thing with my work and persona as a writer and performer. I think everyone should walk out of their house in the morning, no matter how much makeup they have on, feeling like themselves and good about who that is. And when I send in a script, have a read, go on stage, that’s how I want to feel -- like myself, and valuable for being myself. Also just as in comedy, in beauty and makeup and how you present yourself, don’t take yourself too seriously. These are things that are meant to bring YOU joy, so let them.
BD: We know there are tons of products you've tried that we haven't! What are 5 of your go-to's that we should use right now?
Roller Lash Mascara by Benefit -- Mascara is MY biggest beauty must, I feel weird when I don’t go out without it. My lashes need lengthening and curl but still some help in the volume department. I’m always thrilled by how Roller Lash looks and it takes AGES to dry out, unlike other mascaras that start to get tough in a month or two.
Real Techniques Sponge - I was always very anti sponge, but getting this one has saved my freakin life. It is super easy to use, cheap, and is very soft and squishy. Plus the flat “butt” of the sponge is awesome for patting out foundation, and the point is super pointy for your concealer needs.
Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap in Lavender - This is the hands down best soap to use for washing your brushes and sponges. It comes in so many different scents, but I always dig the lavender because it smells so clean. It’s pretty inexpensive, lasts a long time, and when I wash my sponge, there is NOT A SPOT LEFT ON IT. (also you better wash your sponge every day, ya nasty)
Wet N Wild Megaglo Highlighting Powders -- these highlighters are only $4.99 and come in so many universal flattering shades. They’re great for someone who wants to test out highlighting because you can build it up and it goes on super smoothly and not super glittery. I recommend the shades “Precious Petals” which is a rose gold, or “Golden Flower Crown” which is a pretty true gold.
Flower Beauty Flower Pots Powder Blush -- I have the shade Deep Peony but you can’t go wrong with any of their shades. They’re only available at Walmart, but honestly it’s worth it, order some stuff online for your house and treat yourself to an awesome blush. Plus Drew Barrymore is an angel and this is her makeup brand. I have not tried them, but their beauty sponge and BB cream are also supposed to be amazing.