My Beauty Uniform: LaTonya Yvette

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)

  1. Tania says...

    Loved this so much “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.” I used to be a size 6/8 till I had my son, and suffered from severe PPD. I gained 30 pounds from the medication and was just kinda bummed about it and refusing to by bigger clothes. I finally accepted that I am now a size 12, and I do — feel so much better now that I’ve treated myself and bought a few new things in my new size. Thank you.

  2. She’s so cute! My two strand twist doesn’t look at such ugh her hair is perfect ! I swear by witch hazel too! I have very bad skin allergies so I don’t put a lot of things on my face I am broke out now because of an episode dude to stress and weather change, eating less. I don’t wear much make up. Maybe eye liner very rare but always lipstick nSo I know where she is coming from. Ah what a loving family and I’m so glad I can relate to her beauty methods. Thank you so much for featuring her! And oh the electric orange lipstick I wear though I’m a bit darker. I get rave reviews.

  3. Wow! She is so beautiful and cute, cute. Another refreshing article and a face not usually seen in ‘regular’ magazines.

  4. Katherine says...

    She is so ridiculously beautiful inside and out! I love her!

  5. As a homeschool Mom I like to see how other moms live daily on a micro level.
    Thanks for sharing LaTonya, she is absolutely beautiful.

  6. I can’t believe I’ve just cried reading the beauty uniform column! Beautiful words, beautiful person!

  7. Wow, incredible woman. So beautiful, so real. Reminds me of what what I loved about living in Brooklyn now that I’m on the west coast.

  8. I really enjoyed this interview, just wonderful

  9. She’s so beautiful and I’m so happy to have had this introduction. I will be following her blog from this point forward.
    Texas Jak

  10. LaTonya is one of my faves! This article was great…and I second everything she said about coconut oil and witch hazel.

  11. Wow. Her face is perfect. What a lovely woman.

  12. I am in awe of people like LaTonya that have such effortless style. She looks amazing in every picture with all the different looks.

  13. Love her personality

  14. I’m speechless! She is absolutely stunning, and in an unconventional way.

    I usually find that to be a backhanded compliment of sorts, like “she’s pretty, in a weird way, but still pretty!” But for her, her beauty seems to radiate…from within? all around her? I don’t even know what draws me to her so, but I can say it’s not necessarily her “looks” specifically….and that’s why I say unconventional.

    I’m rambling LOL. I just mean to say, her energy is contagious and I feel like her spirit could be felt through the screen :) Absolutely my favorite beauty uniform so far! What a lucky husband & family <3

  15. The beauty uniforms are my favorite! I love getting to read each woman’s beauty routine and their definition of beauty… and these women really do glow from the inside out! Looking forward to following LaTonya now on Instagram thanks to this post! <3

  16. This was my favorite “My beauty uniform” ever since you began doing this series. This girl is so cool, inside and out! Seriously my favorite by far.

  17. I love this woman. So beautiful through and through :)

  18. She is super gorgeous, and she seems like someone I would really really want to have as a friend. What a great post.

  19. That was lovely. :) Thanks for sharing.

  20. Omg I am in love with her. Her and her husband are so cute and hearing her talk about him made me teary. And her style is so sick!

  21. Love this beautiful woman – follow her on Instagram and am always so inspired by her philosophy!

  22. Best beauty uniform piece ever..She is beautiful,great advice.>>)

  23. Wow, this is my favorite beauty uniform yet! I love her candor and philosophy on beauty. Thanks for sharing with us, LaTonya!

  24. Best one yet. Thank you for sharing.

  25. LaTonya is beautiful and fabulous! I adore her IG. I just love that she shared the “secret” about the sandalwood scent. I hate when people try to keep a mass market item a secret. Sandalwood for all! Thanks, LaTonya!

  26. LaTonya has such great style! How does one do it with 2 adorable little ones?! I love following her Instagram, too. Thank you for featuring her, Joanna!

  27. LaTonya is gorgeous and has such a great style philosophy! LOVE her focus on inner beauty and being a good person!

  28. I love her philosophy – and her beauty radiates. One of my favorite “uniform” posts.

  29. What a great interview, she is beautiful!

  30. I just love these beauty posts. They’re such a lovely approach to ask “what makes you feel beautiful” rather than “what’s in your bag?” I want to read about confident women, not just the ones that buy out Sephora. Thanks for providing this, Joanna.

  31. She is gorgeous.

    I love that she uses Maybelline, sometimes I feel embarrassed because most girls I know are always splurging on high end cosmetics and I feel like because I don’t use those brands I don’t look as nice. LaTonya you rock!

  32. Wow! She is gorgeous and amazing. Love this quote: ‘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.”
    Thanks for sharing!

  33. I just adore these posts. They are my favorite! Thank you for doing them.

  34. My favorite beauty uniform yet! She is gorgeous and I loved her advice!!

  35. I’m fairly certain that the fuchsia lipstick she’s wearing is Rebel by MAC. It looks fantastic on her, and thanks for the great post! :)

  36. Yay! I just discovered her Instagram last week through ergo baby and was like, hellooooo who is this woman?! She has amazing style and is gorgeous. And her babies! Loved reading this. I need to try witch hazel
    and coconut oil now.

  37. Sobbing, what a beautiful and inspiring post!

  38. She is radiant! Thank you for sharing. xo

  39. Way to go Cup of Jo for featuring this awesome Woman of Color. The lifestyle blog world is SO dominated by white women, it’s awesome to see this change — even a tiny bit.

  40. Inspiring!! So beautiful.

  41. I think this is my favorite beauty uniform to date. Thank you for sharing!

  42. She is beautiful -inside and out. So stunning. And her children… SO so beautiful. I may have a crush on this family now!

  43. Z says...

    Thank you – she is beautiful and inspiring and I’ll be following her blog. Also, where is the pen and ink brooklyn bridge print from? Again thanks!

  44. She’s gorgeous and has a great attitude. I totally want to try Wool Wax now, too.

  45. This is truly a beautiful person and an inspiration. Her good heart is sending such wonderful positive vibrations into the world.

  46. To me, this was the most honest, relatable “beauty uniforms” yet. She’s gorgeous and so down to earth. Thank you so much for this series!

  47. Gorgeous! Is there any way to ask her what the very bright pink lipstick she is wearing is?

  48. Her sweaters are perfect! I’d like to know where the cream cardigan and orangey-red pullover are from!

  49. Whoa, this was a good one. She is absolutely stunning. I agree with Rosie: that photo of her with the fuchsia lips…wowza. Fierce and empowering. What a beauty! Also, I’m buying witch hazel immediately.

  50. I always love your interview series- the motherhood around the world and the beauty uniform series have been some of my favorites! I think I enjoy them so much because I love hearing people’s stories. And you- Joanna (and Caroline!)- are lovely story-tellers. Thanks for sharing.

  51. Beauty Uniform articles are my favorite! You always pick women that show beauty in a realistic, wonderful, relatable and healthy light. It’s refreshing and really inspiring.

  52. Completely a favorite from this series – I love this lady!

  53. I adore this series, and this is a favorite. What a beautiful woman, with such an inspiring outlook. I loved what she said about dressing for who you are at that time… Something I struggled with after having my first child and something I will hopefully handle better after our second arrives.

    And, I agree with a previous commenter: 2015 IS a great year to be a woman! Such positive energy and change in sisterhood!

  54. I love her look. And I think I might love her, too!

    (What is that pinkish lipstick she is wearing in the photo below the Rebel photo?)

  55. Love the coconut oil for your face trick. Her skin looks divine.

  56. These beauty uniforms always end up costing me money ;)

    Wool Wax: ordered! Thanks for the tip and the lovely article.

  57. Hooray for LaTonya! Such a radiant beauty, inside and out. I love how confident and happy she always looks. xx

  58. Where can I find those black-and-white spectators?

  59. Thank you so much for introducing us to an amazing mama and stylish lady!

  60. Can I amend this quote? “No one likes a cute HUMAN [not just kid] with a nasty attitude. Be well mannered, humble and loving—and then you’re a beautiful person.” I wish that I would think to strive for a new level of kindness as often as I think to search for a new lipstick color. Thanks for featuring such a thoughtful, gorgeous woman!

  61. Talk about a beautiful woman.

  62. What a cool lady! Great post!

  63. Wow! What a gorgeous woman! Love her look! That photo with the bright fuchsia lips is so beautiful. I so wish I could pull that off! Thank you for introducing us to her! She is great!

  64. Wow! She is just stunning. I love her style and sense of self.

  65. I lurve her, thanks for featuring her in the series.

  66. I love her!! Thanks for sharing! Xx

  67. I think this was my favorite one! What a beautiful woman!

  68. I love these features so much. We use Le Labo Sandal 26 home fragrance in the studio I work in and it always makes me so happy to walk into work. It smells so wonderful!

  69. Yeah, how wonderful to see a woman of color featured – she’s just beautiful and inspiring.

  70. I loved this.

  71. Love love love. A true beauty, inside and out.

  72. What a beautiful woman, inside and out. This is my favourite “My beauty uniform” ever!

  73. Wow- beautiful inside and out! What a lovely person:)

  74. I absolutely adore LaTonya! That photo of her with the bright pink lip where she’s really eyeballing the lens is my favourite. Such a beautiful woman. And I love how she describes watching her Mum do her make up, too!

  75. Yes, one of my favorites yet! What a gorgeous & lovely lady.

  76. WE LOVE LATONYA HERE AT A LITTLE BUNDLE :) // @alittlebundle – Instagram

  77. LaTonya is just stunning. I love the photo with her daughter on the steps! More of this, please.

  78. Thank you guys for featuring real women like lovely LaTonya! When I read posts like this it reminds me how this band of women working on inner beauty are so inspiring! 2015, is a good year to be a woman!

  79. Beautiful article! I think this one is one of my favorite ‘beauty uniforms’ yet!

  80. Hooray! I have been following LaTonya’s blog for a couple of years now. Such a fan — she is so beautiful and it is a joy to see her love for her family. Thanks for featuring her!