“I like natural beauty, and touch – I’m into the way things feel.” Maryam Moma is taking natural to a new level. The Tanzanian-Nigerian model came to the United States to study architecture, but while modelling she started formulating skin products with pure unrefined shea butter and herbs. Before long, she had launched Yamerra Skincare, and has just opened her first mini boutique at 12 Lions Studio in New York’s NoHo district.
For Maryam, beauty starts from the inside. “As the weather gets warmer, I’m getting really into juicing. Lots of juicing. If it fits in the juicer, it’s going in.” (She shares her juice recipes and sustainable living tips on her blog.) She is also a fan of DIY natural beauty: “I’ll use fresh limes to disinfect my makeup brushes, or soak cotton balls in milk to depuff my eyes after a late night.”
Beauty is a family affair: Maryam’s sister is a salon owner with her own line of skincare and makeup in Nigeria. “And my Mom is an architect, but she loves to look beautiful. She does everything: the henna, the Kajal, she looks gorgeous!”
And Maryam loves her Kajal – the traditional Pakistani-made tube of herbal eyeliner her Mom brings from Nigeria. “It was my first piece of makeup, this ritual, I started wearing it when I was 14. My Mom, my sister, we all have this one makeup thing in common – even if everything else is different, even if I go to Duane Reade for other things. I’ll never give it up!”
But as a model, there is always makeup to consider. “My everyday look I can do in five minutes: eyeliner, mascara, bronzer, and a Vitamin E stick. I don’t like chapped lips! And all my makeup fits into this one bag, so I can take the whole thing when I travel. I also do heavier looks – a smoky eye and bright red lips for a fashion party. And I love how a bright pink or orange look on my skin. By day I might blend them with a nude lipgloss, but at night I let the color pop.”
“I like my eyebrows pretty thick, and I’m picky about the shape. I don’t like “Draculess” eyebrows – when they’re too pointy and angular. I used to travel back to Philly, where they waxed them while I was in architecture school, because I was so scared someone new would do them wrong. But now I found this lady Sue who’s really good, near my house.”
And then there’s the hair: Maryam’s prodigious mane of natural curls. “I shampoo it once a month, and I rinse and condition it every four days. I get an itchy, flaky scalp, so I use the Lemon Fire Bliss Lemongrass hair and body butter – I formulated it with herbs and essential oils that are antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. That helps calm my scalp.”
Maryam works to incorporate sustainability into her life in general, as well. “Today I’m wearing a dress made of recycled polyester from Skunkfunk, who are also committed to environmental sustainability. I take it as far as I can.”
Hashmi Kajal black eyeliner.
Selara Velvet Veil.
Revlon Super Lustrous Creme Lipstick in Fuchsia Fusion.