12 articles
Meet My New SYB Team!

Meet My New SYB Team!

Hi ladies! So, I’m realizing that I can’t do SYB all by myself. I have an adorably demanding daughter and an unadorably demanding career (juggling freelance writing/editing for several outlets is like being an on-call doc, but with Carpal Tunnel and no paycheck). I wish I could post something fun and original every day — because I’ve loved you guys so intensely for almost a decade and adore doing it — but no mas puedo, y’all. And it kills me!

Thusly, I’ve just added three fabulous young writers to the Shake Your Beauty team! These women are too good. Funny, devotedly passionate about beauty, and whip-smart. Pop culture cuties with a serious yen for fragrance, makeup, hair, and skincare. And here they are…

LaToya Lewis


Meet Latoya Lewis! She’s a New Yorker born and bred, and though she studied both boys and criminal justice at Johnson & Wales — beauty is her thing. She’s worked for Nordstrom’s for six years, written for Refinery 29, and lives with her BF (who she calls @TheMister). She also has a plant named Miracle. Because she’s shocked it’s still alive. Latoya’s also mid-transition, so round of applause for that struggle.

Arielle Weinberg

This is Arielle Weinberg! She founded the gorgeously written beauty blog, The Scents of Self (her tagline is “The Nerdy Perfume Blog,” but I can attest that she’s nerdy in the sexiest way).  Obvs, she’s a devout fragrance junkie — and hopes to use her Natural Sciences degree from Johns Hopkins to develop perfumes one day. Smarty. Arielle lives in Manhattan, where she attempts to “live a meaningful life despite the fact that MAC Viva Glam Cyndi is discontinued.”

Anieka Wilson

And this is Anieka Wilson, a Queens-bred, recent graduation of Hostra University. While she majored in Public Relations (and was a boss about it, interning at 95.5, NYC’s Top 40 station), she totally fell in love with beauty. Once a “crazy-haired, anti-earring” chick — her words, not mine, you guys — she quickly became the go-to advisor amongst Hoftstra’s hair-and-makeup obsessed ladies. After killing it in the NAACP Legal Funds communications department, Anieka’s now starting a freelance makeup business!

Give it up for my new SYB Babes. You will love them. I feel so lucky.



Shake Your Blondie! My Curl/Color Cocktail

Shake Your Blondie! My Curl/Color Cocktail

Tia Williams Blonde

Beach, please.

Heyyy. So, I just got back from Jamaica, and I IG-bombed several photos of me and my girlfriends frolicking on the beach. My email was instantly flooded with questions about my blondissima hair…and my curl cocktail! Yep, as you might have noticed, I went almost totally blonde during my SYB hiatus over the past year. I wrote all about it on xoJane (“I Went Black Girl Blonde and I’m Never, Ever Going Back.” Catchy headline, smh). But in a nutshell, I did it because I always felt blonde on the inside. Like, my chestnutty, meh, dark brown locks belonged on another broad altogether. My golden undertones always seemed to demand sunny streaks…and also, I am given to blonde-ish moments (like the time in seventh grade I stood in front of my class and gave a report on a South African visionary named Howie Mandella. Too soon?). But I knew I couldn’t do it until I was root-to-tip natural, so on the same day I got my last transition trim at Hair Rules Salon, I booked full-on blonde highlights. Aimee, my Color Whisperer, gave me multi-dimensional, seemingly randomly streaks of amber, honey, and ombre’d ends…and ladies? It felt so, so right. Like, the color was SPIRITUALLY FULFILLING.

Tia Williams Blonde

Two days after I first dipped my toes in the blonde waters. My bangs were so short!

So, I just wanted to quickly give you some blonde advice. Do not do it if you have a relaxer. Just don’t. If you do it and your shit falls out, know that I warned you. Two chemical processes layered on top of each other is a recipe for Michael Bay-type disaster. There’s bleach involved in the creation of this color — which is incredibly, incredibly damaging. As it is, I’m natural and my dry struggle is real. I condition constantly and almost never shampoo (too harsh, and pointless. Co-washing works. I shampoo, like, three times a month just to make sure I’m avoiding product buildup. I haven’t shampooed Lina Bobina’s hair since 2010). And now, as requested, here is my curl/color product cocktail:


Every third day, I wash with Hair Rules Curly Quench Ultra Rich Conditioner. It’s really one of the only deep conditioners I’ve found that doesn’t leave curl-crushing buildup. It’s lighweight, but majorly moisturizing, and my hair feels squeaky-clean after I rinse. Basically, this is my shampoo and conditioner. It does everything but apply my concealer.

John Frieda Refreshing Colour GlossGolden hair can get brassy and/or fade between appointments — especially when you’re laying out in 95 degree temps. John Frieda Colour Refreshing Gloss enhances your shade like crazy (I use the Warm Blondes shade). All you have to do is saturate it from roots to ends after conditioning, leave on for three minutes, and then rinse. I do this treatment once a week, and it keeps my color super-vibrant, glossy, and sexy.

As I Am CocoShea SprayAnd here it is, the only styling product I use when I rock my curls. THE ONLY. Anything more and I look like a member of Full Force. As I Am CocoShea Spray is a moisturizing blend of Coconut Oil and Shea Butter that makes my curls look lush and shiny — plus, it protects hair against damaging UV rays (still a factor, in the winter) and other environmental weirdness. And it literally smells like cake. I’ve actually had people sniff me, wondering where the scent was coming from. I wish I could say that this bothered me.

There you have it! My entire hair product cocktail. And if you also feel like you’re supposed to be a different color, I urge you to experiment…healthfully. Or, fuck it, just get a weave.




New Growth! New Cut!

New Growth! New Cut!

Yay! It’s wet, hence the slight jheri curl-ish vibe.

GIRLS! LOOK AT MY NEW GROWTH!! I have so much now, that I felt like I needed to cut just a little bit more off my lob, aka “Gloria.” Why have six inches of relaxer on the ends? So two days ago, I ran to Hair Rules for some transitioning healing — and Dickey the Great lopped off my locks into this bob! I now only have two inches of relaxer left on the ends…and absolutely NONE underneath!! I was doing the wop all over the salon.

While I was being shorn and sultrified, Dickey gave me so brilliant transitioning advice. Obvs, I had to share with you:

  • “Unless you have straight, wavy, or relaxed hair, roller sets are terrible. Think about it, you have heat blasting on your hair for an hour. It’s so drying, and it does a number on your curl pattern. Plus, with thinning edges like yours, all it does it add tension in the area, causing it to shed even more.”
  • “If you want a straight style, use a blowdryer with a comb attachment. It straightens and dries without yanking or pulling, unlike the round-brush-plus-blowdryer thing. Then quickly follow up with a flatiron — just to smooth, not to straighten. Don’t let it linger!”
  • “Heat protectant sprays are a fraud. Spritz on flexible hold hairspray before flatironing, it works even better. And hairspray’s great for blocking humidity and preventing frizz.”
  • “Sulfate shampoos are the worst. The heavy soaps strip out all your natural oils, which causes all sorts of problems for transitioning hair. Would you wash your face with Irish Spring bar soap? No. Try suds-free, sulfate-free shampoos like Hair Rules Daily Cleansing Cream No Suds Shampoo. It won’t remove your oils, so you won’t have to overcompensate with heavy conditioners and stylers that weigh down hair.”

Dickey is fab. If you live in NYC and want in on his genius, hit for deals on services at Hair Rules — promotion ends on Tuesday! Oh, and naturalista SYB Babes…hook me up with some tried-and-true tips and tricks!! And ideas for what I should call my new hair, now that Gloria has passed. #wehardlynewye

xoxo, Tia

As chic as my new hair is, I’m still a tad traumatized that I’ve gone so short, though. Especially in the back, omigod — my hair hasn’t been this teeny since I was growing out my Meg Ryan shag, circa ’98. Eeek. Miss my long sitch, but it’s just hair. It grows. ** right? **