Today’s edition of Growing Up Pretty features Bianca Atkinson, a Toronto-based SOULpreneur. She is the Co-founder of Hidden Mecca: an online boutique launching later this year, featuring collections that inspire and evoke joy. Visit her profile on Instagram at @hiddenmecca to learn more, or continue reading to learn about Bianca’s thoughts on beauty in social media … and how she takes care of her skin daily!

What did beauty mean to you growing up, and what or whom were your major influences?

Growing up beauty meant glamour. I grew up reading magazines and watching red carpet shows. My mother was a major influence for me. She was and is glamourous, reinvents her style often and walks boldly in her beauty choices.

What role does beauty play in your life at this moment? How has it changed over the years? What do you focus on to feel like your most beautiful self? (e.g. skincare, makeup, hair, mental well-being, physical well-being?

From the ages 11 to 23 I used hair relaxers to straighten my hair. At 23 I transitioned back to my natural hair and that transformed my thinking including how I viewed beauty and myself. I really learned to appreciate and love myself and all of my features. Beauty for me is holistic. It’s about being beautiful on the inside and allowing that to shine outwardly, loving me for me and taking care of myself. Outwardly I like to take the time to care for my skin, hair and nails so that they can be as healthy as possible.

What are your thoughts on beauty in social media and what do you wish for or hope to see as beauty evolves each year? (e.g. inspirational, aspirational, overdone, attainable, unattainable?)

I think social media gives a voice to people in a way that has never been done before. When I was younger the image of beauty was limited to what we saw on television or in magazines which was a very limited version of beauty that aligned with Eurocentric standards. So I love that there is a platform now for diversity but I still think there is a lot more work to be done when it comes to actual recognition and acceptance of variations in beauty. There’s also a challenge now of only the best or most perfect images of people’s lives being presented which can create unrealistic expectations for people. I hope beauty evolves to include more genuine diversity and realness.

Describe your journey with beauty as each birthday or decade passes.

The older I become the more I just want to be myself, take care of myself and be the best version of me.

Explain your current beauty routine, and please feel free to provide examples of looks you want to learn, procedures you want to try, or treatments you are curious about!)

My skincare routine changes depending on the climate and the season. I also struggle with acne and hyperpigmentation. My skincare routine now involves washing my face with a gentle cleanser and using products with tea tree oil for breakouts and Vitamin C for hyperpigmentation. In the winter I use products with Vitamin E for extra moisture. I exfoliate when I need to and use oils. I let my skin tell me what it needs, I listen and adjust accordingly. I like to use shea butter, coconut oil or baby oil on my body. I do all my haircare myself and I do my own manicures and pedicures. I rarely wear makeup but when I do some brands, I prefer are Fenty Beauty, Iman, Black Opal and Elf.

We’ve been in quarantine for so long! How has your routine for both skin and hair changed since you’ve been isolated and socially distancing? Are you taking the time to do more for your skincare? Less? Have you noticed any changes in your complexion or hair?

My routine has been the same but I recently incorporated a Jade Roller after being introduced by the Face Yoga Lab. I’m loving it.

In light of Zoom calls and virtual meetings, tell us your tips and tricks for looking presentable online? Are you still wearing makeup? Still doing your hair?

I only wear makeup when going out…sometimes, so it’s been my natural face for all my zoom calls. Haircare for black women with natural hair involves planning but I like to wash and style my hair once for the week and then I’m pretty much good to go after that.

Give us your fast five …

Beauty Muse :
Laila-Jean Washington (IG: NeffyFroFro)
Favourite Product :
Oils- Coconut, Grapeseed, Tea Tree
Your Splurge Item :
Best Beauty Skill :
Manicures and Pedicures on myself
Worst Beauty Skill :
Makeup application