Shala Monroque’s Caribbean Beauty Tips


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Shala Monroque, after moving back to the St. Lucia, became a devotee of the sulfur baths.

Credit
Erin Baiano for The New York Times

The art-world and front-row favorite Shala Monroque, 36, is living life at a different pace since moving from New York to her native St. Lucia. A former art gallery saleswoman, Ms. Monroque is now working as an editor-at-large for Garage magazine, editing a coffee-table book of images of her favorite Caribbean islands and serving as the ambassador of the newly introduced online fashion retailer 151Luwolt. Below, learn how she balances island and city beauty.

Skin Care

I shower in the morning and evening. For the shower, especially since I moved back to St. Lucia, I love Dr. Bronner’s peppermint bath. It’s so hot here most of the time now, and this really cools you down. And I use bars of soap like Ivory.

For face wash, I’m using one by Aesop that I discovered at Barneys. I also got Kiehl’s Crème de Corps there. For face moisturizer, I like La Mer.

For night, I do the same thing. A few times a week, I do a scrub. I might do cocoa butter, or sometimes I use the St. Ives Apricot Scrub for my face. And since I live on a volcanic island, I go to the sulfur baths. You’re literally sitting in a crater, and there’s mud that you put all over your face and body. A lot of tourists come, and they just put it on and wash it off.

But there’s a trick that a Rasta told me. If you go during the day, you put the mud on and let it dry. Then, after it’s dried, you rub it gently so it kind of sands off and smooths your skin. It’s great for detoxing, and it’s good for acne as well. It also relaxes you, as it’s really hot water.

I also have a sulfur powder because, as grown as I am, I still get hormonal acne once a month. I got it in St. Lucia, but I think it’s from Guyana. It’s basically sulfur and alcohol, and you dab it on. It dries things up really quickly, and it’s pretty natural.

Makeup

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Chanel blush and Nicka K lipstick.

Credit
Erin Baiano for The New York Times

I’ve been wearing zero makeup during the day. It’s so hot, and I feel like I’m always touching my face. But at night, generally it’s lipstick, blush and some eyeliner and mascara. I just got this Nicka K lipstick at a local store. I like the color, Amethyst, but it feels really good on, too.

I have Chanel blush in Tweed Fuchsia and something sparkly from Armani that I use like a blush, and it brightens up your face. I got both of those at fashion shows. Sometimes you discover some really cool stuff.

The foundation and powder by Black Opal I just got. I hadn’t been wearing makeup at home, but then I went out with my cousin and she looked flawless. I was completely converted. Before that, I was wearing the Maybelline mousse foundation. I still swear by it.

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Foundation and powder by Black Opal.

Credit
Erin Baiano for The New York Times

Mascara, I’ve been using one from MAC that I really like. Eyeliner, I’m not picky. I use a mix of things. It takes a while to figure out what works for you.

Fragrance

Scent is a big thing for me. If I want to go back to another moment, sometimes I’ll put something on to remind me. Like Prada’s Amber perfume is one of my favorites. I stopped using it for a few years, but it reminds me of a certain time.

I’d say now my fragrance is Seven Veils by Byredo, though. A friend gave it to me for my birthday three to four years ago, and I’ve worn it ever since. I’ve reached the point that I can’t smell it anymore, so recently I went back and got Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille, which reminds me of Venice. I guess I wanted to cleanse my nasal palette so I can smell my Seven Veils again.

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Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille and Byredo Seven Veils perfumes.

Credit
Erin Baiano for The New York Times

Hair

I wash my hair only every few days. When I moved back, I cut it because chemical processing was really drying and thinning it out. Then I had an Afro but got bored with it, so now I’m growing it out again.

Because my hair was so dry, I’ve gone through many different kinds of shampoo and conditioner. Shea Moisture, which I got at Target and I’m using now, is really good. Otherwise, I try as much as possible not to blow dry or use heat.

I do relax it myself, though, because otherwise it’s too much trouble to deal with. If I’m not doing anything, I’ll just put it in two braids or two cornrows. If I go out, I’ll take them out and my hair will be wavy.

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Shea Moisture hair products.

Credit
Erin Baiano for The New York Times

Services

There’s this amazing guy, Julian, who comes to my house for massages. I’ve been doing a lot of physical stuff — gardening, and I’m building a little shack and making this rock pathway, all myself — and massage really helps.

I also swear by laser hair removal for the bikini area and any stray hairs in places you don’t want to talk about. I’ve been going to Romeo & Juliette on 57th Street for years.

Diet and Fitness

I don’t have a set workout. I’ve gotten back into shape just doing the gardening and landscaping. Hauling rocks is really something. I also started diving. Recently I got sea urchin from one of my dives. I didn’t realize how many sea urchins you have to get to fill a small bowl.

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Since I moved back to St. Lucia, my mother has been so excited, she keeps cooking and cooking. I was like, “Stop, you’re making me fat!” She does make an amazing stewed pork.

Also, one of the best things in St. Lucia is that the fishermen bring in fresh catch, like lobster. And near where I’m doing my landscaping, there’s a man who collects whelks. It’s wonderful to have access to all these exotic things. He’ll pass by, and I’ll buy a bag.



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