We caught up with beauty journalist, director and producer Ateh Jewel to talk makeup must-haves, her shopping habits and her thoughts regarding diversity on the high street

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When it comes to diversity UK beauty and lifestyle blogger and beauty journalist Ateh Jewel has spent close to two decades championing it ; June 2020 saw Ateh appointed onto The British Beauty Council Advisory Board with plans to make positive strides in the industry when it comes to making inclusivity a priority.

With over 16 years experience writing for some of the biggest magazines (Vogue, Sunday Times Style and Stylist to name but a few), she’s also the founder of the award-winning Jewel Tones Beauty , an all-encompassing beauty and lifestyle hub for those with deeper skin tones and textured hair. Borne out of a desire to help inspire and empower those who felt overlooked by the beauty industry and mainstream media in the past, her hope is that her twin daughters never feel the same sense of exclusion she felt as a beauty mad teen. With tried and tested tips, interviews and news on the newest launches, her blog shines a light on the encouraging direction that the industry is heading in.

An expert in all things makeup, haircare and skincare, we caught up with Ateh to ask her about the products she can’t live without, her favourite places to shop and which brands truly deliver.

Q: How would you describe your approach towards beauty?

A: I’m not into hysterical beauty where you can’t leave the house without a full face of slap. I think makeup with the explosion of colours and the beautiful sensorial experience of textures and essential oils in skincare and body care are all about play, expressing yourself and connecting with your spirit.

Q: Where are your favourite places to shop for beauty?

A: I enjoy shopping in Neal’s Yard Remedies . It’s like a modern apothecary and I love the smell of essential oils and balms - it’s my fun space and playtime. Space NK  is also really important to me. I first discovered it on Brook Street in 1994 and can remember it’s where I first discovered Nars and bought my first product from them - Viva Las Vegas, a rose gold nude lip colour. It felt like home and a place I belonged and had this curated space of amazing brands all under one roof. It still feels like home when I pop into a branch. I also love Cult BeautyFeelunique , Harvey Nichols , Fenwick , Selfridges  and Liberty  for my beauty fixes. I go in-store for a play and order online.

Q: What do you look for when you shop for beauty products?

A: Quality, quality and quality! Like food, I want to know where the ingredients are from. How they will make my spirit feel and how they react on my skin. Will they be fun to use in every sense from packaging to texture and scent? I love beauty products, they make me very happy.

Q: Which brands are leading the way for inclusivity?

A: I think the launch of Fenty Beauty at Harvey Nichols  was a major game-changer. Superdrug's Shades of Beauty campaign was a good effort too, stocking and encourages major beauty brands such as L’Oreal and Revlon to share their darkest shades on the high street. Also, online websites such as Feelunique  and Cult Beauty  are catering to textured hair and darker skin tones in an aspirational way, which I love.

Q: Where do you feel there’s greater room for improvement?

AJ: I think it’s so exciting that finally there are colours for darker skin tones, the next step is to refine and think about the quality of ingredients and availability of different finishes - so satin, dewy and not just matte. Also when it comes to powders, concealers and blushes, I think more can be done. I also think colour profiling is so important so there aren’t so many jumps between shades, as often there’s a Beyoncé shade and a Grace Jones shade and some random orange ones in between which don’t suit anyone.

Q: If you had £500 to spend at a makeup counter or on a brand, where would you put your money?

A: Hmmm...I think you need to shop smart and on things that last. I would invest in good quality facial oils and cleansers like Votary Neroli and Myrrh Facial Oil , £65, and Aurelia Miracle Cream Cleanser , £42; and on great body care as whatever touches your skin should be the best you can afford.

I love This Works Deep Sleep Shower Gel , £18, and Aromatherapy Associates Bath Oils , £49, as a little goes a long way.

I’m obsessed with lip balms and always have a few on the go like the By Terry Baume De Rose Nutri-Couleur Lip Balm in Bloom Berry , £36

I love Bobbi Brown as their makeup looks great on darker skin tones. I like their Crushed Oil-Infused Gloss  in Slow Jam, £19, which is a yummy pinky berry. I’m also super loyal to YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils in High Density Black,  £28. I also love MAC eyeshadows and lots of Nars blushes and eyeshadows.

If you’re asking for just one brand to invest my £500 in, then it would be Bobbi Brown as they have great makeup, skincare and body care. I trust them and the pigments are deep and rich and more my natural style.

Q: Have you ever had your makeup done at a makeup counter and what did you think of it?

A: I’ve had my makeup done a few times and makeup artists can get overexcited with darker skin as it’s so much fun to apply lots of colour on. However, the best makeup for me is when people are restrained and create a natural me as I’m forever chasing my easy breezy 19-year-old beauty look when I didn’t have to try very hard at all. Mac’s Terry Barber is amazing as well as Daniel Sandler and many others have created stunning looks but less is more for me.

Q: Where do you get your hair done?

AJ: I love Aveda’s Lifestyle concept store  in Covent Garden and see Subrina Kidd when she’s there, The Collective in Marylebone , Charlotte Mensah  and if you’re up north in Manchester, Paulette Blake is one of the best cutters and nurturers of relaxed and natural hair I know.

Q: What are your top beauty picks and why?

AJ: Good skin starts with great cleansing, it’s the bedrock of everything as your makeup won’t look good unless you have good skin. I like Dermalogica’s Special Cleansing Gel , £133 in the morning and then double cleanse with Votary Cleansing Oil , £45, followed by Aurelia’s Miracle Cream Cleanser , £42, in the evening.

A great foundation is a game-changer; I’m loving my own! I’m launching a radiant, dewy foundation for darker skin tones full of skincare benefits like vitamin C, hyaluronic acid in a silicone-free base. Check out my Instagram on @atehjewel  for more details.

When it comes to curls and coils, a moisturising conditioner is everything. I love Trepadora  shampoos, treatments and conditioners. The Hibiscus Pink Cleansing Clay-Wash , from £13.50 for 100ml, helps calm and soothe my dry, sensitive scalp.

A slick of lip gloss just makes the world a better place and to perk up my mood, I love Fenty Beauty’s Gloss Bomb , £17. It has a mild vanilla taste which is comforting and yummy and it’s a perfect nude caramel shimmer.

Blush is the secret to glowing skin but so many women skip it, which is madness. I hoard blushes and love MAC Powder Blush in Fever , £19.50. I also use it as an eyeshadow, which gives the eyes a glow and pop.

Follow Ateh on  Twitter  and  Instagram .