DOMINIQUE BAKER, 30-SOMETHING, PROJECT MANAGER, FEDERAL PUBLIC SERVICE/BLOGGER
ON STARTING STYLE DOMINATION
“I started Style Domination in January of 2015. My frequently travelling-for-work-husband suggested that I start a blog as a way to follow my adventures and really, to goof off online. I’m amazed and flattered at how quickly it has turned into a “go-to” resource for diverse women looking for approachable, relatable fashion and beauty. For example, I get countless emails asking about what lipstick I wear. When I tell people it’s MAC Whirl, the Kylie Jenner favourite, they are stunned. Black women sometimes assume they couldn’t possibly wear it, but seeing it on me emboldens them to go buy it. I’m proud that I’m encouraging women, and even a few men, to experiment. I’ll write about anything on my blog – a beauty review, or perhaps why it’s worth it to sell a vital organ to afford a Chanel bag. People say I’m funny, but I don’t know. I have a weird sense of humour that generally gets me in trouble. As long as I’m having fun and people are laughing, I’m good. I mean, it’s only a fashion blog after all.
ON HER BEAUTY INSPIRATIONS
I draw most of my beauty inspiration from old Hollywood glamour. I swoon at the sight of scarlet lips and black winged eyeliner à la Dita Von Teese. I look at old pictures of Elizabeth Taylor, Olivia de Havilland, and Dorothy Dandridge and wish women still embraced their looks. YouTube gurus like Jackie Aina, Tanya Burr, and Glow Mama also inspire me. I love Kim Kardashian’s signature look of pairing dramatic eyes with nude lips as well as the no-makeup makeup look elevated with golden tones – think Beyoncé.
ON HER BEAUTY PRIORITIES
Thanks to my mama, I was blessed with good skin but I’ve also had to work hard to keep it that way. As a former certified esthetician, I know that the quality of one’s skin is a barometer of health. Above everything else, skincare is my number one beauty priority and glowing, dewy, even skin is my jam. I’m also a sucker for a head full of healthy, shiny hair. It makes me so happy! I wouldn’t consider myself a hair junkie, though. I have been using the same set of products for years, which my hair loves. While I do try out a lot of new hair products, I usually end up defaulting to my tried and true favourites. Right now, I’m all about growing out my hair while keeping it healthy, shiny and soft.
TOP 6 BEAUTY PRODUCTS
Diptyque’s Baume Genereux is rich, thick, creamy, and does a great job at moisturizing even the driest of hands. It’s so luxurious to simply put this on and its almond scent smells totally amazing. I wouldn’t say it absorbs quickly, but I love that about it. I find quick-absorbing moisturizers leave your hands as dry as when you started. I use this product about once or twice a day. It’s of great quality but at $48 I’ll only use a pea-sized drop. Thankfully, a little goes a long way and one container will last me about two to three months. Despite its painful price tag, I will definitely be picking it up from Nordstrom again once I run out.
Recently, I have been using the black version of YSL’s Vinyl Couture Mascara on the regular. It’s amazing. I was introduced to this product after winning a set of five of them from an Instagram giveaway by one of my favourite Instagrammers, @jodiblk_. When I found out I won, I screamed! I’ll use the blue mascara every now and then if I have a special occasion to go to or if I’m wearing all black or some blue. It’s a nice little pop of colour. I apply it to the tips of my top lashes so that people only see a fleeting glimpse of blue when I blink. I love how this mascara masterfully separates my lashes and makes them look a mile long. When you pull out the brush, it’s loaded with mascara. I thought it would be clumpy and heavy, but isn’t at all. The formula is gel-like which ends up leaving my lashes soft and flexible.
I love the classic scent of Penhaligon’s Violetta Perfume. Violet has always been one of my favourite scents. My grandmother used to wear it and this perfume reminds me of her each time I smell it. It’s soft and feminine which is perfect for me since I’m a sucker for singular note florals. I would describe this perfume as light, airy, and fresh-scented thanks to the traces of geranium in it, with a nice musk finish. It truly smells like a beautiful spring day. Sadly, this perfume has been discontinued, so I use it very sparingly. I tend to use it more in the spring and summer as it is such a light fragrance, but I’ll pull it out in the fall and winter every now and then too. I 100% love that no one else wears this perfume. I have yet to meet someone who even knows what ‘Penhaligon’s’ is! Even though this scent is no longer available for purchase, Penhaligon’s perfumes can be bought online or in boutiques in the UK. Some specialty perfume stores in North America carry the line too.
I use By Terry’s Baume De Rose as a lip balm and cuticle moisturizer. It’s quite thick, so it’s great for the latter. This product definitely helps me with chapped lips the most. My office is situated in what seems like an Arctic wind tunnel during the winter months, so this has become my go-to lip balm in winter. On top of its effectiveness, it has a pale pinky opalescence to it that is flattering on all skin tones and smells wonderful too. In using this product, a little definitely goes a long way. I apply it liberally to my lips as you normally would for lip balms. I actually wish it came in a stick format as I’m a bit of a germaphobe that prefers lip products you don’t have to stick your fingers into. For my cuticles, I try to remember to apply a little bit of product to each fingertip before bed. To me, it’s worth the price I pay for it because I get a great two-in-one product. I have had this same pot for over a year. I know that’s gross, but I love it. It’s also quite hard to get my hands on this stuff; it is notoriously always sold out. You can order it online from Saks or in-store at Saks in Toronto. You can also order it from the amazing Space NK Apothecary site.
Schwarzkopf’s Rescue Repair is hands-down the best deep conditioner I have ever used. I discovered it out of sheer luck! Schwarzkopf had discontinued my former favourite deep conditioner and a sales person at Chatters Salon in Ottawa recommended this one to me. I am so glad she did. I treat my hair with this product once a week. I start off by washing my hair thoroughly with shampoo and then “towel-drying” it with one of my husband’s old t-shirts. I like using old t-shirts as they are gentler on hair in comparison to cotton towels. I have a bit of a mane, so I apply a full handful of the product to my hair focusing on the ends. I let it sit for about an hour while I putter around the house and then rinse it out. This treatment makes my hair super soft, really shiny and tangle-free. I have relaxed hair and when I started using this product religiously, it stopped breakage in its tracks and I saw a huge improvement in my hair’s quality. I’ve gained a lot of length using this deep conditioner.
Burberry’s Kisses Sheer Lipstick in Nude #221 is my favorite. I wear it almost daily. It’s a great nude colour for dark skin tones – not pink at all, a true beigey-brown. It’s a sheer lipstick, so it doesn’t have the lasting power of a matte, yet I don’t feel like I need to reapply it a lot. As it is pretty much the same shade as my skin if not a tad lighter, I will use my go-to MAC lip liners in Chestnut or Cork with it for some definition, so that I don’t look lipless. This lipstick is also quite hydrating. I’ll actually use it every now and then when I can’t find my lip balm. I have a feeling I will be blasting through this stick very quickly as I love the colour so much. I anticipate it lasting me at least two or three months. This lipstick is definitely worth the price. It’s hard for me to find good nude lipsticks, nonetheless one super moisturizing, so when I find one, I’ll pay whatever I have to or just buy the entire stock. It’s happened!”
– as told to the GRR