Style

My Beauty Uniform: Afzaa Motiwala

Afzaa Motiwala Beauty Uniform

Afzaa Motiwala is a psychology student and beauty junkie living in Long Island, New York. She has amazing style and a love of brightly colored hijabs (she confesses to owning around 200 scarves!). Ahead, she talks about wearing eyeliner in elementary school, her grandmother’s hair secret and the body “flaw” she now embraces…

Afzaa Motiwala Beauty Uniform

Your makeup is beautiful! How did you learn to do it so well?
I’ve learned almost everything I know by watching Youtube videos and Instagram tutorials. Usually, I come across one random video, then it will lead me to another, and another. I’m always mesmerized. I love Kaushal Beauty, Kathleen Lights and Sabina Hannan. I also get fashion tips from Dina Tokio and Saimastyleslike. Their style is modest yet trendy, they have great hijab tutorials and they’re hilarious. I’ve also gotten life advice from beauty bloggers, too. I was going through a hard time recently and I came across a video from one of the first beauty YouTubers I followed, JLovesMac1, called “Advice: Be Your Own Best Friend.” Her words have really stuck with me.

Afzaa Motiwala Beauty Uniform

Do you wear makeup every day?
Yes. If I don’t, I feel weird, like something is missing. I think it would be fine not to, but I really love the ritual. I start with Smashbox Photo Finish Primer, then I apply Maybelline Fit Me foundation all over my face and concealer where I need it with a damp beauty blender, which makes it go on smoothly and evenly. To avoid under eye creases, I pull my skin down under my eye and blend before I set everything with NYX HD Finishing powder. Next, I use Smashbox Photo Op Eyeshadow Trio in Filter for my eyebrows and my eyeshadow — it works perfectly for both areas. I actually use two mascaras every day — the Too Faced Better Than Sex to add length, and L’Oreal Waterproof Voluminous to make them dark and full. I’ll curl my lashes before and after applying mascara. I know this is a lot for most people, but I swear it makes my lashes 10 times longer!

Afzaa Motiwala Beauty Uniform

How do you change it up for special occasions?
I have a newfound obsession with adding glitter to my eyelids. I get it from Bulk Glitter, which sells cosmetic grade metallic glitter that’s approved for the skin. There are so many different colors, and one bitty jar is only a dollar.

Do you have a signature scent?
Beautiful Love by Estée Lauder. I’m a sucker for a rich jasmine scent. Burning incense in my home is also a big deal — not only does the air get more pleasant, it also relaxes the mind and body. My mom brings back rose incense every time she visits India.

Afzaa Motiwala Beauty Uniform

What is the purpose behind the hijab?
Muslim women may choose to wear a headscarf for many reasons — for example, some believe that it’s required by God; others view it as a symbol of modesty. For me, wearing a hijab has given me an identity as a Muslim American. My hijab speaks for me before I do; it tells people about my morals, beliefs and values. It gives me a sense of self-confidence and strength. My mother and younger sister also wear the hijab, except when we’re at home or with all women or male family members.

How does wearing one affect your beauty routine?
Some people, who follow the religion very strictly, believe that wearing makeup while wearing the hijab contradicts the purpose behind it. I wear makeup because I love the way it looks and the artistic process. I believe I can still observe my faith without something as simple as makeup affecting my beliefs.

Afzaa Motiwala Beauty Uniform

When did you start wearing a hijab?
I decided to start wearing one for myself when I was 17, but I’ve worn one in school since seventh grade. I went to an Islamic school where we had to wear a hijab and an abaya. It was the same long navy blue dress for a strict six years. My dad ran an Indian dress shop in Queens, New York, and I grew up loving bright and colorful things — so wearing the same solid color was terrible for me. We were supposed to wear blue sweatpants underneath, too, but my friends and I would rebel and dress in our own outfits and quickly show each other when the teachers weren’t looking. I remember my first day of college: I wore a bright mustard-colored shirt with a floral hijab — I was ecstatic!

What do you love about your religion?
Islam spreads compassion. For example, the Prophet Muhammad said, “He is not a true believer who eats his fill while his neighbor is hungry.” It teaches me that the color of my skin or status does not make me better than anyone else; everyone is equal in Islam. Islam keeps my life balanced, and teaches me to carry myself with respect. I wouldn’t be who I am today without it.

Afzaa Motiwala Beauty Uniform

As a Muslim woman, how do you feel about the current political climate?
As a Muslim female who wears a hijab, I have to be very careful. I’m always looking over my shoulder when I’m walking, and I listen to my music with just one headphone in. I have experienced people looking at me strangely, flipping me off or saying things under their breath. I try to disregard it, but it still shocks me. Since the election, I know a lot of people have experienced it more, but I’ve also seen people stand up for themselves and the rights of others. Through the protests and rallies, people of different races and religions are coming together. I feel hopeful. Just yesterday in class, a non-Muslim girl took me to one side and said, “I just want to let you know that you’re not alone; we’re here for you, and if you want anyone to talk to one, I’m here.” She was a complete stranger!

When did you first gets interested in beauty?
When I was growing up, every day before elementary school, my mother would apply kajal eyeliner to my eyes. This is a traditional Indian practice to protect from the “evil eye.” I got sent to the principal’s office numerous times because of it, and teachers would send home letters saying that I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup to school, but my mom continued to do it. I think this — along with seeing Indian films with actresses who wore heavy eyeliner and makeup — sparked my interest in beauty.

What else did the women in your family teach you about beauty?
Whenever we visited India, I was always amazed at my Nani’s glowing skin and gorgeous hair. She would sit me down and brush my hair, then rub a few drops of coconut oil through my hair and braid it before I fell asleep. I would rinse it out in the morning. Not only was it a great bonding session, it taught me the importance of taking care of my hair and using natural ingredients. I still do it once every two weeks. It leaves my hair feeling soft and smelling delicious.

Afzaa Motiwala Beauty Uniform

What else do you do to style and care for your hair?
Since you can’t see it under the hijab, I’ll tell you that I have long, thick, wavy hair. I use Head & Shoulders 2 in 1 Smooth & Silky every three to four days, then rinse with cold water to keep it shiny. I’ll straighten it if there’s a special occasion where my hair would be seen, like an all-girls party, and I make sure to use Tresemme Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray to avoid any damage.

Afzaa Motiwala Beauty Uniform

Do you have any beauty guilty pleasures?
I love going to the drugstore for new nail polish. If I come across a color I don’t have, it’s something I must get! Some of my favorite are Demure Vixen by Essie, Vamplified Miracle Gel by Sally Hansen, and Teddy Brown by Milani.

Do you have a “game-changing” beauty product?
Tea tree oil. It was my best friend when I had major breakouts in high school! After many failed attempts with acne-reducing products, my dad ordered me a bottle of tree tea oil from eBay, and it worked miracles. If I ever get a pimple now, I just dab a bit on and it’s gone.

Afzaa Motiwala Beauty Uniform

Is there any thing you you were insecure about growing up that you’ve learned to love?
If I had a dollar for every time someone told me I had a big forehead, I would be rich. I was always teased about it. I constantly covered it with bangs or pushed down my hijab so that my forehead was hidden. Most of my pictures are angled or cropped in a way that my forehead is almost out of sight. But I have grown to accept it and see it as something that makes me different. If you can’t change it, embrace it, right?

What’s the most drastic thing you’ve ever done with your overall look?
Most of my life, I’ve had very brown hair that goes down below my waist — same with my mom and grandmother. In high school, before I wore my hijab all the time, I wanted to be different, so I chopped it into a bob and dyed it black with box dye from CVS. I loved it; my mom did not! Recently, I also got a nose piercing, which brings out a new type of attitude that I love.

Afzaa Motiwala Beauty Uniform

Do you have any rituals that help you feel great?
Whenever I feel down or just need a boost, I love to apply henna. It relaxes my mind. Growing up, before weddings or Eid (the Islamic holiday), the ladies in my family would get together, and I’d apply henna on their hands. It started as a hobby, but my friends and family encouraged me to start my own business. I use henna from India that I mix with lemon juice and a few drops of tree tea oil. I love doing it, but it’s rough work — it can take up to eight hours! My clients are usually brides and their families. There’s a funny saying that the darker the henna comes out on the bride’s hand, the deeper the love her husband will have.

Thank you so much, Afzaa!

P.S. More women share their beauty uniforms, including Joanna’s mom and a professional ballerina.

(Photos courtesy of Afzaa Motiwala. Interview by Megan Cahn.)

  1. scarlett says...

    You should try to get the girls at Zapata Ranch @kateloveshorses and/or @owlfaceowlface on IG for beauty uniforms! I’d love to see what fellow hard-working outdoorsy women use on the day-to-day!

  2. Beautiful ♡

  3. Robin says...

    A long time reader of A Cup of Jo – but never a commenter. But today, after reading this post I’m compelled to say -thank you. Thank you for giving a glimpse into the life and thoughts of such a beautiful woman – inside and out .

  4. Maryam says...

    I’m a Muslim reader of CoJ for the last 6-7 years and this post just made me tear up. I never come to this site expecting myself to be reflected back here. That is just the reality for someone who is not “mainstream.” It caught me off guard to see her and I was surprised at my reaction, how much it meant to me. Thank you for featuring a beautiful Muslim woman and treating her like a full human being.

  5. Jen says...

    Simply gorgeous. Thank you so much for celebrating diversity!

  6. Lo says...

    I think this post is wonderful, as all of your Beauty Uniform posts are. They are tied 1st as my favourite posts of yours (along with Motherhood around the World). I’m sad that the comments seem to have become a place where people are thanking you for ‘including diversity’ in this series.

    Has it not always been diverse? I have just gone through the B.U archive and noticed a minimum of 20 entries of women who are NOT white. Part of the reason I love this series is BECAUSE of its diverseness. Diversity does not mean 1 white, 1 asian, 1 black, 1 muslim in equal parts to make it ok…it shouldn’t need to be as cut and dry as that, surely?!

    I appreciate this series because I can see tiny parts of myself in each woman, and I also find parts of them I want to include in my own life. So my thank you is because of how these posts open my eyes to loving every inch of me, helping me to embracing the wrinkles and achieving the end goal of being a bad ass b**ch!

    • Reem says...

      here here!

  7. It was so nice and refreshing to read that. I love how diverse our world is and I miss this diversity now that I live in a rural, homogenous environment. Afzaa is a beautiful woman, inside and out, and I would totally want to hang out with her on an all-girls party.

  8. Reem says...

    I’m a Sudanese Muslim American, and I’ve been reading your blog since before you started dating Alex (!). It’s on my bookmark bar, and the only blog I still visit regularly after the demise of Google Reader (RIP). I don’t think it’s fair to expect you to represent every single demographic, but I will admit that I was feeling less like coming here recently. It just felt too far removed from my reality. I’m scared and sick every day because of what’s happening, and everything else seems false in comparison. You’re always so good about reflecting a mood about what’s happening in the world without letting it interrupt your core content, and I guess I wondered why this didn’t trigger that. Anyway, thank you for this. It reminds me why I love everything on Cup of Jo, and the voices of everyone who is featured.

  9. Kelly says...

    I loved reading this! Thanks for sharing Afzaa! You are a beautiful person.

  10. Zahra says...

    Echoing others to say major kudos for giving the platform to an amazing Muslim woman! So impressed with her and your blog. This is so needed given the climate of our country right now.

  11. I have a big forehead too… But my boyfriend always plants a bunch of kisses on it and makes a silly comment about how glad he is that I have a big target for more kisses. Now that we’re dating long distance it’s something I actually miss, and when I comment about my “five head” we both can’t stop laughing. I think he’s actually making me like it.

  12. Beth says...

    Such a beautiful woman and such a delight to read, especially at this difficult time in our world. I love the gentle questions and open answers. A real sense of the woman!

  13. Hi Joanna. I dont know why but reading this post brought tears to my eyes as I am a muslim too, and the compassion you have for minorities and your way of asking questions and bringing out the best in others, is so so comforting and special.
    I love you since many years now, and tonight i am so grateful too.
    I shouldnt be this emtional, but i had to say this.

  14. Amanda says...

    I agree with so many of the others – this was a nice switch up. Diversity is divine. Thanks for sharing. Love these Beauty Uniform posts!

  15. Jamie says...

    Afzaa is absolutely STUNNING! Gorgeous and thoughtful while being wonderfully practical and unashamed of her love of beauty and her family. Thank you for featuring her, please include more PoC!

  16. Dila says...

    Woots. Finally some diversity! More PoC please. Thanks for this.

  17. Emily says...

    Thank you for this

  18. Shannon says...

    Great beauty uniform! Love seeing a Muslim woman on here. I also love how much she loves makeup. Beautiful person.

  19. Seraphim says...

    Thank you so much for posting this. What a beautiful woman.

  20. Faza Mahirah says...

    I’m a Muslim woman from Singapore and have always loved reading your “my beauty uniform” posts. Today, I was floored and incredibly touched that you have chosen to feature a Muslim woman in hijab! Thank you thank you thank you for being so inclusive and accepting, especially in this anti-Muslim climate we live it. Thank you.

  21. I am following and enjoying your blog for years already, but this is the first time I so want to say: “Thank you!!” This post is not only meaningful and inspiring, but also stunningly beautiful.

  22. Rose says...

    Beautiful lady! And I echo the appreciation for featuring someone who loves make up! I do too!!
    Curling lashes before and after mascara is genius and I can’t believe I never thought of it before!! Without sounding too much like a mascara ad, my lashes are super-charged!

  23. Daynna says...

    Thank you SO MUCH for featuring a Muslim woman and asking sensitive and appropriate questions about her hijab and religion. It is so hugely important that we embrace people of color these days but especially Muslims. Even good people can be wrongly frightened of Muslims but things like this absolutely help!

    Plus, she’s a lovely woman who has amazing features that she highlights to perfection with her expert makeup skills! She seems calm but mischievous and like someone I’d love being friends with.

  24. THIS. YES. Keep up the diversity!

  25. Kathryn says...

    Love this – such a beautiful, interesting and strong woman to inspire us all!

  26. Vicki says...

    This is amazing! Afzaa you are gorgeous and thank you for sharing with us, like the girl who you did not know in your class, I want to say you are not alone, we are here for you! Clearly you are a make-up pro – I love your eyes!
    I would love to hear where you shop, love your style.

  27. Bianca says...

    This has been my favourite Beauty Uniform post to date! What a beautiful woman. I love her confident and intelligent philosophy on beauty and make up. I’m going to buy some tea tree oil ASAP!

  28. She is honestly so gorgeous! I loved reading <3 it's important to connect not only through our similarities, but really appreciate each other's differences as well.

    How does one inquire about a beauty uniform post? I'd love to be a part :)

    India

  29. I love that these beauty uniforms reveal how us women are so similar! We have our own rituals, insecurities, things we pick up from our mama/mama figures. We humans are more alike than we are different. Thanks for sharing this great series. :)

  30. Jehanara says...

    May I suggest also featuring an American Muslim who does not wear a hijab. I would love it if ordinary Americans could glimpse albeit briefly into the lives (and clothes) of Muslim American who does not “look” so obviously a Muslim. Also keep up the excellent work.

    • shanze says...

      Well- i do wear a hijab but I love the tom boyish/natural style thats commonly portrayed on CoJ, which is sooo hard to pull off with a hijab. If we were going to have another hijabi, i’d love someone with that sort of style b/c i never know if i’ve actually been able to pull it off!
      I don’t love makeup but its nice to read about someone who is girly and knows her stuff.Diversity in how women approach make up is also good to read about. I think that they have done a muslim woman who doesn’t wear hijab. . She was super stylish, something to do with Clare V, if i recall or was that a week of outfits?

  31. Thank you SO MUCH for your diversity in posting these articles. I love it and I respect Cup of Jo for taking a stand (in so many different, wonderful ways) during this charged time for our country. It’s so important that we continue to be exposed to and learn about the many different, beautiful ways to live life and be an American (and world!) citizen.

  32. Daniela says...

    I’m so curious how you pick the women featured in these posts – are they all people someone on the team knows?

  33. Em says...

    Thank you, thank you for representing so many different types of women in these posts. I learn something new with every single one. I love the quote about Islam and compassion. Something we sure could use a lot more of these days…

  34. Arielle says...

    Thank you so, SO much for posting this! What a lovely person. It is so important now, more than ever, that we all embrace one another and celebrate our uniqueness.

    “Beauty Uniform” is one of my favorite components of your blog. This profile was especially needed right now!

    Many thanks!

  35. Loving this post! Thank you so much for doing it! Today, more than ever, her voice needed to be heard. On a completely random note, I love that she does henna! I would never have the talent, but I love getting henna done because it’s so beautiful.

    xo, Sofia
    http://www.thecozie.co

  36. She is such a beautiful woman inside and out! Thank you for being so committed to celebrating diversity.
    And yes, her makeup is FLAWLESS. Teach me?? Haha.
    http://www.wonderlandsam.com

  37. Elizabeth says...

    Afzaa, you are a treasure. Cup of Jo, you rock. Thank you for being you.

  38. Lauren says...

    Love this series and all the women are so inspiring. I definitely bought some glitter for myself this morning. Happy Friday!

  39. I love the range of women you show in these posts! I think it would be awesome if you did one on a woman with a rougher or more hands on job (farmer, firefighter, welder, anything!) that required a uniform or clothes that are much more about function than form, and then contrasted that to what she wore outside of work.

    • Daniela says...

      That’s so funny – I work as a dispatcher and wear the same uniform as our EMTs/paramedics, and just the other day I took a photo of me in my uniform and then one of me in my regular clothes and makeup done. It’s definitely a big difference!

    • Daniela – Maybe they could feature you!! I work as an educator on a farm so I’m usually in a t-shirt and jeans, plus whatever else I need to deal with the weather. But the rest of the time in the summer I’m in a floral sundress!

    • Daniela says...

      Being featured on Cup of Jo would be a dream come true!

      How cool to work on a farm! I definitely think those of us who wear a uniform or work “tougher” jobs so to speak feel like we want to get dolled up when not working, I know I do :)

  40. Katie says...

    She’s beautiful! I love those long floral dresses. I’m a jeans and work boots kind of girl, but there’s a side of me that loves something so modest and feminine.

  41. Em says...

    She is gorgeous inside and out, I love this post!

  42. Megan says...

    Afzaa is one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen! I love the hijabs she chooses, and her clothes and makeup are fantastic. I think it takes special courage to wear/do something that marks you as a target (in this case, wearing a hijab in an increasingly Islamaphobic world).

    • I totally agree. Well said! And brava Afzaa!

  43. Lisa says...

    I loved this one! Thanks for continuing the great posts.

  44. julie says...

    Thank you for this — I really loved watching these hijab tutorials on YouTube — I feel like for people who don’t know many Muslims in day to day life this would be a wonderful introduction, seeing women arrange their hijabs with humor and joy just like every other talented young YouTuber with some skills to share.

  45. Olga says...

    What a beautiful woman!

  46. Kathy Tegtmeyer says...

    Absolutely gorgeous style!

  47. KC says...

    Thank you to Afzaa for sharing her tips and for COJ continuing to expand the women included in this series. Great work!

  48. emily says...

    Can we get an update on her dresses and the black boots in the second to last pic? her taste is impeccable!

    • Megan Cahn says...

      Hi Emily, her aunt made her dresses. I can ask about the boots. xo

    • Melissa says...

      I was also going to ask about her dresses. Beautiful!

  49. Jess says...

    Gorgeous woman, amazing post series, fantastic blog in general. Thanks for featuring so many different women from different cultures. It really makes this blog something special.

  50. Joanna says...

    Love. This.

    Thanks, CoJ.

  51. Ruth says...

    Beautiful inside and out! Thank you for always being such an inclusive and thoughtful resources. We are all women and it’s things like this that show us our common bonds.

  52. Beth says...

    Thanks for including such a beautiful young woman.

  53. jody marie says...

    demure vixen is my favorite polish too! can’t wait to try your other favorites too! thanks for sharing! xx

  54. Caroline says...

    A beauty inside and out.

  55. Connie says...

    Hi Afzaa,

    Just wanted to pass along a comment from my four year old son who happened to walk by while I was reading this..

    “Oh wow! She looks so great!”

    He’s not one to mention these things so it was pretty cute and so are you.

    • Megan Cahn says...

      I love this, Connie!

  56. Bets says...

    I always use Two Faced Better than Sex mascara but its just not in the budget right now. I went out and bought the L’oreal that was suggested, fingers crossed its a new great budget buy!

  57. What a beauty! Thank you, Afzaa!

  58. Jennifer says...

    She’s just so pretty!

    Great post- and I love that many of her beauty items come from the drugstore.

  59. maria says...

    pretty and love the post!

  60. Annika says...

    What a lovely read and a lovely young lady. I wholeheartedly support this kind of diversity!

  61. Meredith says...

    Wow, Afzaa is so beautiful! I never realized that there were so many ways to wear a hijab. She does it so gracefully, and I love the outfits that she pairs them with (especially the floral print dress).
    Thank you for highlighting a kind of beauty that doesn’t get highlighted enough.

  62. Heather says...

    Afzaa, you’re lovely! It breaks my heart that you can’t feel safe in our country right now. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  63. Roma says...

    My favorite Beauty Uniform to date. Afzaa, you are stunning and I loved reading about you. To any other Muslim women reading – please know that we stand with you. #strongertogether

  64. Tawni says...

    Thank you so much for posting this beauty uniform. I think she is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen! I love meeting people that stick to their religion or beliefs even when things get difficult. Along with that, it is wonderful to see how beautiful and elegant modesty can be. I sometimes get discouraged because I can’t find much inspiration for modest dressing, as my beliefs encourage modesty as well. Sending love and support!

  65. Afzaa Motiwala says...

    Thank you so much Joanna and Megan for this amazing opportunity to share who I am and voice my beliefs. And to all the readers who took the time to read this article and post such uplifting comments. I am at a loss for words!!! <3 <3

    • Megan Cahn says...

      Thank you, Afzaa!

    • Karen says...

      Afzaa–you totally rule!

      We stand beside you and behind you, always! xo

    • Laura C. says...

      “My hijab speaks for me before I do; it tells people about my morals, beliefs and values. It gives me a sense of self-confidence and strength.”
      Afzaa, I’m a Catholic and that’s exactly the same I feel whe wearing my silver cross. Just change ‘hijab’ for ‘cross’ and it’s just the same. We are all the same. We are sisters!
      You are beautiful and, let me tell you, the only pity I feel for myself is that I can’t see you hair because I presume it must be gorgeous!
      Thank you Afzaa and CoJ for introducing such a girl like her!

  66. Jamie says...

    What a gorgeous woman inside and out! Loved this interview.

  67. Allison says...

    Wow, she is stunning! And I love the various ways she artfully wraps her hijab.

  68. Anna says...

    Lashes! And loved this uniform!

  69. Cat Mouton says...

    Great post, and lovely woman! Thanks Afzaa!

    Also would love to know where she found her floral dresses. Gorgeous!

    • Megan Cahn says...

      Her aunt made them!

  70. beth says...

    Love this post and love this blog…

    As a former Catholic school student, I couldn’t help but laugh and relate to the wonderful feeling of finally wearing what you want to in college!

  71. Katiek says...

    Thank you for sharing the beauty of all women.

  72. As a Muslim, hijab-wearing woman, I’d like to thank you for posting this beautiful woman during this challenging time in your country. I’d also love to see the other headscarf-wearing sisters from other faiths in this blogs, such as Catholic nuns, Hindu women and Christian Orthodox ladies, to show that headscarf is just a piece of cloth, there’s nothing political and dangerous about that, and beneath that piece of cloth, we are simply a woman, a mother, a sister, and a daughter. Thank you and warmest greetings to all CoJ team from the equator :)

    • molly says...

      What a beautiful comment! I love this series so much and genuinely believe that while each of us is unique, at the end of the day we are all the same. We all want to be loved and to love, we all want to have a fulfilling life and be healthy and happy. This series really helps people celebrate what makes them an individual, while at the same time, helps reminds us we have so much in common.

  73. Lindsay says...

    I love this! Thank you so much for sharing.

  74. Sam says...

    Such beautiful perspective and I love her taste in fabric and beauty!! Really fun post :)

  75. Hannah says...

    As a Muslim and devoted follower of your blog, thank you COJ!

  76. Phoebe says...

    She is so beautiful in every way!!!

  77. Astrid says...

    Love the diversity of this series. Great post, thanks for sharing with us!

  78. Mia says...

    Amazing article and insights, especially right now. Thanks CupofJo!

  79. What a lovely read. I enjoyed this, and learning about the different beauty culture

  80. Thank you for being a platform of inclusion, care and respect.

    I was surprised (happily surprised) to see an Islamic woman.

    Reading this post made me appreciate you and your work that much more. I’d love for Vogue to take a good hard lesson from you.

  81. Hilary says...

    This was such a lovely insight and some great girly tips ( for the eyelash coveting). The diversity is commendable (of course) but she’s warm and charming and a great addition to the series. Thanks for sharing Afzaa!

  82. Isa says...

    Thank you so much for posting such diversity and beauty on your blog, Joanna. I respect what you do and love reading every day!

  83. Meredith says...

    Lovely post. Thanks!

  84. Where did Afzaa purchase the blue floral dress in the 10th picture? It’s such a nice blend of flattering and modest!

  85. Leah says...

    I applause the diversity of the women you feature for the my beauty uniform series. Thank you!!!

  86. Liz says...

    Love love love those long dresses! Especially the blue, red, yellow and white flowers. Wouldn’t suit my body type but seeing them on her sure makes me wish I could rock those!

  87. Darby says...

    This reaffirms why you are one of my favourite blogs. Thank you for representing the diversity of beauty.

  88. Angela says...

    Best of the series yet!

  89. Lauren S. says...

    Loved this post! Thanks for bringing Muslim beauty and culture to the forefront.

  90. Justine says...

    “I have to be very careful. I’m always looking over my shoulder when I’m walking, and I listen to my music with just one headphone in. ” What a heartbreaking thing to read. Thanks for this article CoJ. And Afzaa, you are stunning.

  91. Rams says...

    I shouted YES!! when this popped up on my screen.

    CoJ, thanks for making a brown girl proud.

  92. When I was little and we lived in Malaysia for seven years I was always so mesmerized by the beautiful silks and batiks the Muslim women wore on their heads. Was always a beautiful site.

    But I kind of wonder at posts like this as I see this often at the moment, people making big statements of empathy, understanding and acceptance of other cultures and religions because its the trendy thing to do at the moment.

    I think it will be intersting to see if cup of joe continues to walk the walk or if this kind of thing will fade when the next cause of the moment blows up.

    • beth says...

      I understand your sentiment (that featuring a Muslim woman in this series could be construed as jumping on some sort of trendy political bandwagon), but my feeling as a long time reader of this blog is that the Cup of Jo team has been actively trying for at least a year now to represent a wide spectrum of women- women of different races, different sizes, different ages, etc- in myriad posts in direct response to readers’ requests. Part of why I love this blog is the true celebration of women around the world that is apparent in actual posts and reader comments alike!

    • Alex McKellar says...

      no, the culture of the blog is a diverse range of women – it’s not a new thing. Although I would hardly call it “trendy” at the moment.

    • Joey says...

      I often hear frustration from POC or long-time social justice advocates about folks (usu. white folks) suddenly jumping on the bandwagon. I understand the criticism targeted at Women’s marchers — “where were you during BLM?.” However, especially in these times, my view is that we need to find allies where we can and celebrate political awakening and activism even if it is late coming. People wake up and engage at different times and at their own pace. We should welcome them all, if it helps to inch the needle forward.

    • Cam says...

      I know what you mean Surabhi – some people feel the same way about how certain health issues get more attention than others, as per trends: we hear more about autism and depression right now than about arthritis and asthma, for example. Of course at least a part of what makes diseases ‘trendy’ is a sense that public perception of them ought to change: mental health sufferers, and people of the Muslim faith, are currently perhaps more misunderstood than Buddhist people and people with diabetes. Maybe not, I don’t know.

      It takes some out-of-the-box thinking to not ONLY follow trends, when reporting about social problems. About the headscarves, I’d like to read about a Christian woman wearing one, and about her beauty routine, too: women in many denominations wear them: Catholic, Orthodox, Anabaptist, and so on.

  93. Catie says...

    Hah, my Indian grandmother laughed herself silly when I tried to tell her about this great new hair trend, coconut oil, recently. If only I had listened to her when I was a kid! But no, I wanted only the colorful kids conditioner because the bottle was shaped like a fish.

    This was great. I am experiencing deep eyeliner envy. Also, thank you COJ for recognizing inner and outer beauty that is not just white and Christian. I see you making the effort to do better and I appreciate it.

  94. Tania says...

    Wow, what a beautiful young woman!! It was particularly great to read about the wonderful relationship Afzaa has with her parents. So many people seem to think that hijab-wearing women are oppressed by their families, but the tenderness with which she talks about her parents indicates quite the opposite. The truth is, the traditions of Muslim families being so different from our own, it is often difficult to relate. Here, I see a confident, interesting, intelligent young woman from a loving family and it is really all anyone needs to care about. Thank you!
    P.S. And ah! those dresses!

  95. Anna says...

    This is wonderful!!!! LOVE!

  96. Kelly says...

    Absolutely beautiful post! Thank you for sharing your story Afzaa!

  97. Sarah says...

    What an incredibly beautiful human being, and what a great read!

  98. Stephanie says...

    As a long time reader ( I started when I was 21! eek) I am so ecstatic to see how beautifully this series has developed! It’s pieces like these that show just how similar we are and how vibrant our differences make us. Thank you for this it means so much in times like these.

  99. As a hijab wearing woman, was so nice to see Afzaa featured:)

    Beautiful!!

  100. Elizabeth says...

    Thank you, Afzaa – this was so beautiful to read, just like you!

  101. She is gorgeous! Thank you for sharing!!

  102. Frances says...

    Love seeing more women of colour on Cup of Jo – please continue this trend!!

  103. Andrea says...

    This posts makes me proud to be a Cup of Jo follower! So happy to see a Muslim woman represented, especially now.
    Afzaa is beautiful and has such great tips – I want to try double layering my mascara now :) and tea tree oil for breakouts!

  104. I love this! Thank you so much for sharing with us!

  105. E. says...

    Love this! <3

  106. Nadya says...

    Thank you for featuring this beautiful and vibrant person in your series. Your blog is amazing.

  107. Thank you for featuring this wonderful woman! Thank you for sharing diverse aspects of beauty and culture.

  108. She is gorgeous! Thank you so much for featuring her!

  109. Lacey says...

    What a beautiful post! Thanks for bringing diversity to the web in a beautiful and kind way Joanna! ❤❤

  110. Natasha says...

    What a breathtakingly beautiful woman.

  111. Maggie says...

    Yay Afzaa!! Thank you for sharing! Really great series COJ team – I’m loving it!

  112. Kia says...

    Love this!!!

  113. susan says...

    Loving Afzaa’s two floral dresses!

  114. Katherine says...

    Woah, she is SO glamorous!!!!! I am going to try that mascara tip the next time I have a date :)

    And her hijabs look real cool, especially that mustardy-coloured one!

  115. My favorite blog ever. I feel like I grow right alongside it. It might be an understatement to say your blog has opened my eyes to the many beautiful ways of being a woman. Thank you.

  116. Kate says...

    I just love this so much. I echo what everyone is said. Thank you for sharing your routine, Afzaa! You are stunning and I’m amazed at your skills! I love watching beauty vloggers, but anytime I attempt to actually recreate those skills, I fail pretty solidly.

  117. I says...

    Her dresses are amazing! Where does she get them?

  118. Maggie says...

    I love this feature. She seems like a lovely, warm and beautiful woman. Thank you COJ.

  119. Lindsay says...

    Thank you for being timely and inclusive and intersectional. I’ve had to unsubscribe from so many lifestyle blogs because I can’t deal with the vapidness and the privilege.

    Rock on, Jo!

    • Ines says...

      This!
      I totally agree. I love that CoJ takes a stand, without being negative or talking down all the things the authors don’t like or agree with. I love that instead, it’s a positive voice forward. I also agree that its disheartening to see so many other blogs not even mention the huge things going on in the world. Not here tho! :)

      Thanks CoJ! <3333333

    • Luna says...

      Yes! We are proud of the COJ team. Thank you

    • This.

      There are some blogs I used to enjoy that now seem way too trivial to me. I still read Cup of Jo and Reading My Tea Leaves because they’re not afraid to talk about important things mixed with lighter things, as well as nearly all the writer blogs I’ve always liked because writers at least in general don’t seem to shy away from politics and important issues, but can anyone recommend any other lifestyle blogs that have turned equally less trivial? Thanks!

  120. Meg says...

    Intuitive and insightful blogging, COJ team.

    • Ceciel says...

      I second this. Thank you for giving me a breather from the intensity of the world but also making me remember the beauty of it.