LaTonya Yvette is a Brooklyn-based stylist, blogger and mother of two. We’re huge admirers of her Instagram and were thrilled when she agreed to share her beauty uniform. Here is her sweet morning ritual, top-secret perfume and the lipstick that looks great on everyone…

What’s your daily beauty routine?
I have vitiligo (a condition that causes the loss of pigment from areas of the skin). The spots used to be on my face. I was diagnosed as a kid, and the doctor made me eat a more balanced diet. I wear hats and try to keep out of the sun, and a less stressful environment is key. I decorate my home with plants to make it feel like an oasis.

When I was a child I was told that my vitiligo would get better over time, and thankfully it did. But if I have long periods of stress or no sleep, or bad eating habits, a spot will appear. It’s all about my overall well-being. I’m super picky about what I use on my face. I use MAC’s Mineralize Moisture Foundation with SPF 15 (shade NC45). I love that it has SPF, so it makes my skin look good and protects it at the same time.

What do you love about your look, whether or not it’s something “classically” beautiful?
Hmm, I think I love the vitiligo that’s still left in various spots on my hands, knees and elbows. There was a time in my life where I didn’t feel pretty at all because of it, and I wished it away. I’m so thankful for how far it’s come. But also it has humbled me. It’s so cliché to say, but it taught me that beauty isn’t just what you see. You’ve got to actually feel beautiful from the inside.


Do you play around with makeup?
My husband (like most husbands) thinks I don’t need makeup, but I do. I use NARS concealer for the bags under my eyes. Otherwise I love drugstore brands for eye makeup; I like to keep it easy and inexpensive. If I do a cat eye, I’ll wear a natural lip or just a dab of Electric Orange by Maybelline. If I skip the cat eye, I’ll choose a full, bright lip. I’m in love with MAC Rebel. I’ve read that it looks great on pretty much anyone!


Do you have any favorite beauty splurges?
I get a gel manicure about every two weeks, along with a regular pedicure. It’s my “thing.” Gel manicures don’t come off. As far as colors, I absolutely love a neon orange on my fingers. It’s an instant pop of happy.


What’s your bedtime routine?
After having my son seven months ago, I fell in love with Witch Hazel. I swear by it! Every night, I wipe my makeup off with a few dabs of it. It does the job, plus it’s so good for inflammation, marks or scars. I moisturize my face with raw coconut oil right after. I love raw coconut oil! After a shower, and a good oil rub, I honestly feel at my best. It’s so good for skin and makes me feel fresh-faced. I also use Wool Wax on my feet every day. My mother-in-law told me about it, and I’ve been in love ever since. It moisturizes my feet without leaving them oily.


Where do you stand on bath vs. shower?
I’m forced to be a shower girl because we don’t have a bathtub in our apartment. But any chance I get to take a bath on a vacation, I milk it. If I had a tub, guaranteed it would be an every night thing. I love the way it settles you down after a long, stressful day. Next apartment, mama is gettin’ a tub!


How do you style and care for your hair?
About every few weeks I do a two-strand twist out. The two-strand twist is the curlier fro I wear. When the two-strand twist is a few weeks old, I usually comb my hair, then twist it in a few large twists. Then I’ll take out the twists and pick it, to create a straight and big fro.


Do you have a signature scent?
A while back, I started noticing a particular scent on people around the city, and I fell for it every time. I would always ask the wearer what they were wearing, but no one ever said exactly what it was. Just, “sandalwood,” they would say. I didn’t get why it was such a secret. Finally I met one girl, who is now a good friend, and she told me what it was! The secret is out…it’s Le Labo Santal 33! It’s masculine and sexy. It smells divine.


As a stylist, what’s your advice when it comes to buying and wearing clothes that feel great?
Whenever I’m styling someone who recently had a baby, or is dealing with extra weight like myself, I always say shop for you right now. Get rid of your maternity pants, don’t try to fit back into your skinnies if they don’t fit. Treat yourself and go shopping for the size you are. You will feel SO much more confident.


What did the women in your family teach you about beauty?
My mom was a single mother who worked a lot. I spent almost every morning in the bathroom, watching as she applied her makeup. We would talk, and she was and is the most beautiful person to me. I learned how to apply makeup from her, just by watching. It was just our little mommy-and-daughter time. I remember how beautiful I thought she was, even early in the morning. Her pillow always smelled faintly like her perfume, and her eyes were a little smeared with mascara. I loved it.

What’s your morning routine these days?
Recently I’ve started going to bed early and waking up way before the kids. I shower, have my coffee, read and just have quiet time. Sadly, I’ve found it really hard to read a book from start to finish since having kids. (It’s actually one of my goals for 2015.) I try to read a few New York Times articles in the morning. It’s really hard to get peace and quiet with two kids, working, and general mama stuff, so that hour in the morning is everything to me. I do it everyday because I feel like I owe it to myself, that small window of quiet. It really sets a standard for my day.

When’s a time in your life when you felt really beautiful?
I think when Peter and I first started dating, I was confident overall but still insecure in some areas. Falling in love with him, and having him just see past everything, made me feel so beautiful. He still acts as if I am some amazing human, even when I feel at my worst.

When it comes to beauty, what do you want your children to learn as they grow older?
I want my daughter and son to understand that it doesn’t matter how many times someone tells you you’re beautiful or good-looking, you have to believe it. And I really believe that being a good person comes first. No one likes a cute kid with a nasty attitude. Be well mannered, humble and loving—and then you’re a beautiful person.

Last but certainly not least: do you have an overall beauty philosophy?
All the outside stuff is just stuff. Wear whatever makes you feel fantastic. But remember you’ve got to still be the same person when all that is taken off. Work on the inner beauty first.

Thank you so much, LaTonya! We love you.

P.S. Lovely women share their beauty uniforms and the perfect top knot.

(Photos courtesy of LaTonya Yvette. Interview by Caroline Donofrio)