Diarrha N’Diaye is a first-generation Senegalese-American brand founder and CEO based in Harlem, New York. N’Diaye has worked in marketing, communications and social media for brands such as Rebecca Minkoff, VIBE Magazine, and L’Oreal Paris. Her career lead her to Glossier, where she worked in product development and innovation. This inspired her to start her own company: Ami Colé, a “better-for-you” beauty brand made to celebrate melanin-rich skin. N’Diaye is committed to redefining society’s misinformed perception of Black Beauty. This interview was told to Sara Tan and has been edited for length and clarity.
For as long as I can remember, Sundays were always my wash days. When I was younger my mom would carve out time in her busy schedule to rebraid my hair, grease my scalp, and get me hair-ready for the week. She was a hair braider so truthfully it was the last thing she wanted to do at home. Looking back I so appreciate those Sundays.
This Sunday, I’m taking out my protective style (flat twists that I’ve been wearing in the house) and pre-pooing my hair with Prose’s Custom Pre-Shampoo Hair Mask. I have 4C Low porosity hair so, like my skin, I am always looking for ways to hydrate, lock in moisture, and protect my hair. The Prose Conditioner works like magic even when my hair is dry and brittle from the twists. I’ll leave it in for about one hour while I fix up some light breakfast and play my Sade. I am usually an Afrobeats girl, but on Sundays we wind down with Sade, Erykah Badu, and old school Youssou N’Dour.
Before I jump in the shower, I section my hair into fours then work my wash into my hair. Today I am using BREAD Beauty Supply’s Gentle Milky Hair Cleanser. It’s super gentle on my hair and since I don’t have too much build-up, it’s the perfect wash treatment. I wash by the section and quickly follow it up with a conditioner; today I am using the 4C Conditioner. It’s simply a game-changer. After my wash and conditioner, I apply the Headquarters Nourishing Scalp Treatment. My scalp can get pretty flaky so this final boost helps regulate. I seal the deal with Mielle’s Leave-In Conditioner and blow out my hair with the famous Revlon One-Step Blow Dryer Brush. As a final boost of shine, I use my Melanin Haircare Oil, a brilliant multi-purpose product that has my favourite oil: grapeseed oil.
After a long hair day, skin care is key. Tonight, I wash my face for 60 seconds with Klur’s Gentle Matter Cleanser. I follow up with their Supreme Seed Delicate Purification Mask. I leave it on for 15 minutes and then wash it off with lukewarm water. Next, I pat on my classic SkinCeuticals Retexturing Activator. I quickly follow up with my Whind Face Oil. It’s super lightweight oil, nutrient-dense, and super nourishing.
I am a night owl so my days start quite late. I wish it was the opposite. By 9 a.m. or 10 a.m., I wake up and the first thing I do is thank god. Then, I head to the bathroom to rinse my face with cold water. I follow up with a micellar water like Bioderma. I then pat on my Caudalie Vinoperfect essence before applying my Skinceuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 face cream. It’s a pretty dense skin cream but has all the things my skin needs: ceramides, natural cholesterol, and fatty acids. Right when it melts into my skin I apply my SPF. My go-to these days is Paula’s Choice Youth Fluid SPF 30.
After my skincare is applied, I jump into my favourite part these days: my Zoom-ready makeup routine. I apply my Ami Colé Skin-Enhancing Tint in shade Rich 2. I use a brush to apply it only because I always get makeup everywhere when I use my fingers. Next, I work on my brows. I use the Benefit Brow Pencil in Shade 5; it’s dark but not stark. I apply light strokes to help frame my face. I then apply a little dew using the Ami Colé Light-Catching Highlighter in a tapping motion from the end of my eyebrows to the apple of my cheeks. I use a makeup complexion sample to brighten areas of the face. I am always trying new samples and product innovations for the brand so I keep it right on my counter to try new looks daily. I finish my look with mascara (today I am using Pat McGrath’s Fetish Lash), Merit’s Flush Balm in Raspberry Beret and, of course, Ami Colé Lip Treatment Oil.
I rock my fro for my meetings today. I use a little Crown Affair oil to add more shine. I am obsessed with the smell of this oil and how lightweight it is. I can use it pretty much daily.
On Tuesdays, we have a lot of our internal meetings so I tend to repeat my easy Zoom makeup routine after my skin care. This morning, instead of micellar water, I use the gentle Fresh Soy Face Cleanser. I had a sweaty night before as my AC went out in the middle of the night. I used the Darphin Intral Toner for sensitive skin and followed it up with Pharell’s Humanrace Humidifying Face Cream. I bought this after Naked Beauty podcast host Brooke DeVard raved about it. I am still vetting if it’s worth it.
By now, my hair is begging for attention, so I use my Crown Affair oil and Garnier Styling Cream to braid my hair down into four cornrows. I pick one of my favourite wigs to wear on top of my braids to give my hair a break.
My Wednesdays are reserved for many of my external meetings with contract manufacturers. They are all over the world – Italy, China, New Jersey, Canada, Senegal, etc. So on these days, I put a little more effort into my makeup look.
After my morning skin-care routine, I apply Ami Colé Skin-Enhancing Tint, but this time I use four drops instead of two to add a bit more coverage. I use my sample products to brighten my skin and revisit my favourite L’Oreal Brow Stylist pencil to create a stronger face frame. I apply the Ilia Blush Multi-stick in Dusty Rose and then a pop of gold pigment in my tear ducts using my L’Oreal Infallible Paints Metallics in 402. I use IT Cosmetics Superhero Mascara for a va-va-voom eyelash look. I finish the look with Ami Colé Lip Treatment Oil and a little Ami Colé Light-Catching Highlighter on my décolletage since I am wearing an off-the-shoulder top.
At night, I double up on cleansing to make sure all my makeup is removed. I first use my micellar water to focus on my eye makeup. I like to use the Shiseido Cotton Squares because they are heaven in a cotton pad. I then use the Tatcha Camellia Cleansing Oil to break down my SPF, makeup, and grime. Last, I wash with Klur’s Gentle Matter Cleanser for 60 seconds. I skip my serum because I am sleeping with the ultimate potion tonight: Vintner’s Daughter Face Oil.
I start my mornings slow on Thursday to allow time for a pampering shower. I wake up, pray, start my coffee brew, and skip to the bathroom to dry brush from head to toe. I tie fresh eucalyptus leaves to my shower head so I can really focus on breathing. It’s such a small (and cheap) treat. I then use my Necessaire Body Wash in Eucalyptus and a dime size of the Body Scrub. I apply this on my “African Sponge” which is a common body net found in West Africa. It’s essentially an unraveled loofah that helps exfoliation and circulation.
Post-exfoliation, I use a Moroccan shower oil I discovered in the airport in Dakar, Senegal. It’s a post-bath oil that moisturises your skin in the shower. It’s a fragrant smell of oud and amber but leaves your skin unbelievably soft.
After the shower, I just pat dry and move on to my morning skin-care routine and morning Zoom-ready makeup.
Today I unbraid my hair and rock my afro. For the past few days, I have been rocking wigs to give my hair a rest from the fuss. I unbraid my hair with the Bread Macadamia Oil and let it be free. I use my Pattern hair clips to keep my hair out of my face.
This morning, I am washing my face with just cold water. I follow up with Hugh and Grace’s Face serum which is a beautiful blend of balancing oils. I apply my SPF before using just the Ami Colé Light-Catching Highlighter on the apples of my cheeks. I use my L’Oreal Stylist Pencil to frame my brows and brush on my Pat McGrath mascara. On Fridays, I like to keep it light.
You bet I slept in! I wake up late in the morning, pray, and try my best not to open my email. I turn on my morning brew and wash my face with the Fresh Soy Fresh Cleanser. I usually do my KORA Organics Turmeric Brightening & Exfoliating Mask, but my skin is behaving so I use the Wander Beauty Baggage Claim Under Eye masks and a little Topicals Like Butter on my cheeks.
I take it easy today and prep for a night-in with my girlfriends.
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