Beauty Test: Model Mariama Diallo Tells Us Her West African Beauty Secrets

Welcome to Beauty Test, where we invite the freshest new faces to the Byrdie studio to test-drive the most buzzed-about beauty trends.

It's hard not to immediately press Mariama Diallo for all her beauty secrets. The Guinean-American model has the kind of poreless, naturally-airbrushed skin you want to peer at up close and hope is the result of some carefully-regimented curation of products—namely, so that you can purchase all of them immediately. Lucky for you, we did just that. Ahead, we talk skincare and self-esteem with the Rihanna-approved fresh face, who also happens to be a beauty buff after our own hearts (we suggest giving her a follow on Instagram for some major beauty inspo—and did we mention she's launching a skincare line?). From her West African beauty secret to her DIY skincare remedy, keep scrolling to get to know Mariama Diallo.

Mariama Diallo
Kris Lou

On Her Beauty Mantra:

"In one word, simple. My schedule can get crazy at times so a simple beauty routine works best for me. I make sure to always take off my makeup after shoots and wash, tone, and moisturize my face at least twice a day."

On Her Beauty Inspiration:

"I find beauty inspiration everywhere. I meet so many amazing women on the daily basis, therefore I am always learning something! I also love using Pinterest. I explore it for vintage beauty images and inspiration for eyeshadow looks."

On Her Skincare Regimen:

"When it comes to face wash, I love Boscia. Their Detoxifying Black Charcoal Cleanser is my go-to and leaves my skin feeling smooth and refreshed. For my toner, I use the Moroccan Rosewater Toner by Kahina. I then follow with Boscia's Sake Hydrating and Brightening Serum and finish with my Epicuren Discovery Moisturizer, which keeps my skin hydrated all day. 

On Her DIY Skincare Secret: 

"My mother taught me how to make this body butter that is to die for. It has ingredients like vitamin E, Shea butter and collagen and it smells amazing! I use it day and night and it has been my secret weapon against this winter air."

 Kris Lou

On Her Hair Saviors: 

"Honestly, I try to leave my hair alone when I am off. I did start using water-based products because I learned that it was better for natural hair and my hair has been loving it. I also keep my ends trimmed and try to do a deep condition treatment once a week. I use the Mizani 25 Miracle Milk Leave-In, as well as their Moisture Fusion Intense Moisturizing Mask to deep condition.

On Her Everyday Makeup Routine:

"I’ve learned that when it comes to make up, it’s all about prep. I make sure my face is moisturized and use my YSL Touche Éclat Blur Primer to make sure my skin is smooth and flawless. For foundation, I love the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation; it's lightweight and makes my skin look like butter. And I mix shades 11 with a little bit of 11.5 to get my perfect shade. I follow with my UOMA Beauty Concealer to brighten then set my makeup using Laura mercier Setting Powder.  

For eyeshadows and highlighters I love the ones from ColourPop cosmetics. They have so much range and I can create almost any look I want. For going out, I add a winged liner and lashes. I also love a brown liner paired with lip gloss."

On Her West African Beauty Secrets:

"I grew up using black soap and it has alway been a go-to . Because black soap can be drying, I make my own using different oils and ingredients, like Manuka honey, and top it with essential oils so that my whole bathroom smells like eucalyptus and lavender. I am actually working on a skincare line called Oshun Naturals that will include all of my skincare recipes, including soaps and body butters. It's set to launch in 2020!"

On Her Most Memorable On-Set Experience:

"My most memorable experience on set has to be working with Savage X Fenty by Rihanna. I knew all of the other models and the makeup team from previous jobs so I felt immediately at home. Being on that set and a part of such an inclusive movement was so empowering. I remember leaving work feeling like I could do anything I put my mind to.

On Diversity in the Fashion Industry:  

"It’s truly amazing to see all of the advancements made in terms of diversity in the industry. I go to set and I am not the only Black model—I see models in all shades and different sizes and it’s truly incredible. To me, the next step would be to include more diversity off-camera. It changes everything and it is essential because it brings fresh perspectives and new ideas that really reflects the world we live in."

mariama diallo
 Kris Lou

On What Beauty Means:

"Beauty to me is many things. It is acceptance and love, but also strength. It is the essence that we all have and comes from the inside. 

On Staying Grounded:

"I’ve learned early on to take time for myself whenever I feel like it is becoming too much. I believe mental health should always be a priority and I try to keep people around me that believe the same. I am so grateful to have a support system that believes in me, yet always make sure that I stay true to who I am. I have learned over time the importance of self love and prioritizing my mental health."

On Finding Self-Love:

"My biggest self-esteem tip would be to become aware of your thoughts. We can often be our own worst critics and being aware and changing the narrative of what we say to ourselves is the first step. I tell my younger sisters to wake up everyday, look in the mirror, and name five things you love about yourself. Even if you don’t believe it at first, you eventually find small things you love and it becomes your reality."


Photographer: Kris Lou
Makeup: Melissa Hurkman

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