The Beauty Memo

Mali Thomas’s AM/PM routine

Known for her #DewyBrownGirls glowing skin, leading American makeup artist MALI THOMAS shares her beauty regime, her passion for meditation and her step-by-step guide to perfect dewy skin



As soon as I wake up…

…I check on our baby (he’s six months old), feed him and then put him back down for a nap. Then I have a herbal tea and meditate. I started meditating as a teenager and it’s a huge part of my routine, as it helps sort out my thoughts and calms any anxiety.

I love an early morning steam shower…

It really hydrates my dry skin, and hydration is the key to super-soft skin. I use iS Clinical Body Complex to mildly exfoliate, then Buttah by Dorian. Raw shea butter or coconut oil is also an essential for my body regime. I have a very simple routine for my face, as the skin does most of its work at night. I do a light cleanse with iS Clinical Cleansing Complex, followed by the Pro Heal Serum, and then the Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base and Eye Base.

My hair is very curly and dry…

…so I let the steam from the shower give it moisture – and I love to use natural oils like jojoba and coconut on my hair. I also use Charlotte Mensah Manketti Hair Oil – her products are incredible for my hair.

My makeup is simple…

…but I definitely wear it – and especially on Zoom calls. As my skin, like my hair, is so dry, I use the Bobbi Brown Vitamin Face Base, followed by Dr. Barbara Sturm Glow Drops on the high points of my face. These drops are incredible, and I blend them along the top of the forehead, bridge of the nose and cheekbones. I then use the Bobbi Brown Eye Base, followed by its Stick Foundation – it’s super-easy and can be blended on with fingers. Within the Bobbi Brown product line, there are some amazing colors for Black and Brown skin; the company was one of the first brands to emphasize inclusivity and, as its Global Artist in Residence, I'm looking to build on that.

I love Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz, L’Oréal Voluminous carbon black mascara and bronzer. I'm working to educate WOC on how to use a bronzer to add warmth and glow to the skin.

On a bad-face day…

…a face roller is the best. I can be puffy in the morning, so I use a rose-quartz face roller, which I usually keep in the refrigerator, alongside my Eye Base eye cream. Also, I can’t express enough how good a skin steamer is to really plump the skin and make it supple.

For jet lag…

…taking magnesium works for me and helps me dial down. Plus, meditation, a warm bath and a good book.

Ballet is my workout

It’s been a part of my life since I was a girl, and now I do my classes via Skype.

I love eating fish…

…especially salmon – it’s one of my preferred dishes, and it helps my skin look healthy and glowy.

The best advice I’ve been given…

…is that everyone should always wear sunblock, no matter their skin tone.


Evenings can be hectic

I have to carve out time for myself, so I love a bath with soothing salts. I’ll use the SK-II Facial Treatment Mask, which is incredibly hydrating, and listen to Joao Gilberto or Miles Davis. For my face, the Dr. Barbara Sturm Darker Skin Tones collection is a game changer. The Enzyme Cleanser is great for washing off the day – plus, I use her Hyaluronic Serum and the Rich Face Cream. I always use the Bobbi Brown Vitamin Rich Eye Base, as I like to sleep in it – it’s so hydrating and I can’t rave enough about how good it is!

Great makeup is all about the skin

When my skin is dewy and hydrated, all I need is a stick foundation, loads of mascara, a great brow and a nice lip color. That’s my pop – a great lip shade. And, when it comes to darker skin, you should focus on a blue-red lip color – it looks incredible. I’m famous for my dewy skin look, and the secret to it is that, after the Glow Drops, I do my contour under my foundation. It looks more subtle. Then I do any color-correcting under the eyes and buff the base over the top. And, finally, I like to use a cream blush immediately, while the foundation is still moist.

I sleep on a silk pillowcase…

…as cotton dries out my hair. I also use a silk bonnet, as it locks in moisture – this is something that’s passed down from our mothers and grandmothers, as afro hair tends to be quite dry.

My favorite aestheticians?

They are Eileen, at Tulura in New York, and Shalea Walker from Walker’s Apothecary. As two women of color, they changed my skin forever – and without them, I wouldn’t be a #DewyBrownGirl.

When I’m wired but tired…

…meditation and the Insight Timer app work wonders for me.

On my bedside table…

…I have healing crystals, Decoding Boys by Dr. Cara Natterson, my Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask and Byredo Bal d’Afrique Hand Cream.

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