“My name is Nayamka Roberts-Smith (AKA Nai or @LABeautyologist). My family is Jamaican, and I was born and raised in very cold upstate New York where my mom was a cosmetologist. That helped plant the seeds for my career—she always let me play with her supplies, and by high school I was mixing custom nail colors for my friends for prom. Now I’m a licensed esthetician and owner of The Golden Rx Skin Studio in Beverly Hills, where I offer services from facials to vajacials to waxing. When I’m not seeing clients I share skincare knowledge on YouTube. Skincare is usually thought of as a luxury, and the whole industry can be pretty inaccessible, so I feel really honored to be able to break down those boundaries. Knowledge is power, and knowing how to care for your body is so empowering. I want people to see that even if you don’t feel represented in media and culture, you’re worth loving, as is—and I think beauty can do that.
I think people are always surprised that my skincare routine isn’t super extensive. Facial tools are fun, but they’re very unnecessary. And masks can be a treat when I want to play and feel glamorous, but they’re definitely not an important part of my routine. The one mask I will always keep around is Farmacy’s Honey Potion, because honey is such a powerful ingredient for treating irritation. My end goal is results, so I like products that work—I am definitely not a product junkie. I always have a lot of products because I want to stay on top of trends and be able to offer well-developed opinions and recommendations to clients and followers.
I want people to see that even if you don’t feel represented in media and culture, you’re worth loving, as is—and I think beauty can do that.
When I’m wearing makeup, Farmacy Green Clean cleansing balm is the first step and it literally removes everything. Otherwise I do a double cleanse with Dermalogica Precleanse and Special Cleansing Gel in the morning and night. I have maybe three drops of that left, and when I’m out I’ll go back to the iS Clinical Cleansing Complex. It’s a slightly more active cleanser with vitamin A, vitamin C, and salicylic acid, so I usually use it when I’m traveling to minimize breakouts. Every single person should be cleansing with the #60SecondRule every morning and night.
I just ran out of my all-time favorite toner, Eminence Stone Crop Hydrating Mist, so I’ve been using the Fresh Black Tea Kombucha Essence instead. Both are extremely hydrating. Cells that produce melanin respond dramatically to inflammation, so I really stress the importance of calming skincare that brings lots of water to the skin. I take two or three days to just focus on hydration. Then, I exfoliate two times a week with Dermalogica’s Microfoliant, or the Superfoliant when I’m traveling—climate changes really stress out my skin. Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting Liquid 2% BHA and Farmacy’s Honeymoon Glow serum are my go-tos for breakouts. Chemical exfoliation makes a major difference with pore size, congestion, oil production and texture. Because acne can also be triggered by dehydrated skin, I also like to use Eminence’s Licorice Root Booster or Farmacy’s Very Cherry serum. They help with brightening hyperpigmentation, too. I moisturize with PCA Skin’s Clearskin morning and night, which I like because it has one of my favorite multitasking ingredients, niacinamide. At night I’ll seal it all with a thin layer of CeraVe Healing Ointment, and during the day I protect my investment with Glossier Invisible Shield or Elta MD Clear SPF 46.
With makeup, I like to play up my best features: my round, doe-y eyes, diamond-shaped face, deep brown skin tone, round nose, and defined, pouty lips. My face isn’t where I display my creativity, so you probably won’t see me in dramatic eyeshadow or lipsticks. I actually hate lipstick—I’m a MAC Chestnut liner with gloss or balm kind of girl. My only exception is MAC Ruby Woo, and even then I only wear it two or three times a year. I don’t like too much coverage on my skin, and Nars Sheer Glow foundation gives me the most perfect dewy skin finish. Word on the street is that Fenty Beauty’s Hydrating Foundation gives her a run for her money, so I want to try that next. My brows are the only thing I really like to fake. They’re kind of sparse, and the combination of Glossier Brow Flick with Boy Brow gets me the full, youthful, barely trying brows I love.
I really stress the importance of calming skincare that brings lots of water to the skin.
Learning about the right products for my natural hair has been major for me. I used to use cheaper products, but now that my hair is color treated I don’t play around. I use Olaplex No. 3 before I shampoo about two times a month, which helps repair the bonds in my hair. Then I shampoo with Devacurl’s No-Poo shampoo, which is a life saver for anyone with a dry scalp, and chase with either Olaplex No. 5 or the Devacurl conditioner. For wash and go’s Devacurl Super Hold gel is the best, but I’m not too fancy for good ol’ Ecostyler.
Unwinding is hard for me, because in my job I feel like I always have to be on. One thing I’ve really gotten to lately is cooking. Spending time chopping, and tasting, and layering flavors feels so therapeutic. A long, hot pre-bedtime shower is another simple thing that has been amazing for my mental health. I’ve been using Nécessaire’s line in Sandalwood in and out of the shower, which really turns up the luxury. By the time I’ve exfoliated, cleansed, body serum’ed and lotioned from head to toe, I’m ready to conk out.”
—as told to ITG
Photos via the author