The Fall Of Modest Fashion Influencers

The year 2020 will be known as the year of many changes. We have grown through a pandemic and now we are going through a series of murders and instances where it has become painfully obvious that our black brothers and sisters need solidarity. But another shift in 2020 will be the fall of modest fashion influencers. And I am not sorry about that one bit.

I think many of you remember when I was blogging about modest skirts, cute hijabs, and Follow Friday’s. I felt it was an amazing way to get fashion inspiration and share a way to bring Muslims into lifestyle conversations. But shortly after Protection Edge in Gaza, I realized that my fluffy frothy blog posts just weren’t right. I didn’t want to blog anymore.

In the meantime, Muslim and modest fashion influencers were on the rise and heading to NYFW and nabbing amazing contracts with big companies to create products or hawk products. We even got our own museum exhibit (that I helped give feedback on called Contemporary Muslim Fashion at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco.) I was excited, but wary at how quickly companies wanted to make money off of modest fashion without really giving back to the community.

Then came the flock of Muslim fashion influencers who took off their hijabs. Starting with Hijablog and Winnie Detwa and ending with Dina Tokio and Ascia AKF, these influencers amassed large Muslim followings, profited off these followers, and then took off their hijabs. That is between them and God. But it seems telling that the very fashion influencers who posted daily selfies and photos of only themselves day after day decided to remove yet one more reminder of faith in their lives.

The very idea of being an influencer in terms of self-centric content is antithetical to Islam. Islam teaches us to be humble and to be a slave of God. Yet, being an influencer means you are cool and live a life that others covet and will follow. I don’t mean to say that all influencers are like this. But the influencers who share ONLY about their lifestyle, their bodies and their wealth are not only harming themselves, they are harming all of us.

This year, we saw this is painfully clear. While modest influencers should have stepped up and shown solidarity with our black brothers and sisters, we have seen them blissfully unaware and posting their pastel outfits of the day and complaining about being locked up at home instead of being able to travel on their luxury vacations to create content for us to consume. It all reeked of privilege and we are all guilty for following it.

Withloveleena’s Leena Snoubar took it a step further when she not only did NOT show solidarity and posted a tone deaf pregnancy outfit shortly after George Floyd’s death by Minneapolis police, she started to SILENCE black voices on her Instagram account (which I refuse to link back to) including black stylist HakeemahCMB who then had to share an Instagram Story replete with screenshots. What broke my heart is how she is expecting a child and yet couldn’t understand that a grown man crying for his mom in his last moments deserved some attention on her account.

Muslim modest influencers have taken the stance that if you don’t agree with them 100% then you are being “negative” and only ask for “good vibes only” from their followers. However they fail to realize that history was almost always made with dissent. Not censorship.

On top of Muslim influencers in fashion silencing black voices we have the final nail on the coffin. More tone deaf content that is created to monetize off of Muslims.

Amena Khan, who I have followed and blogged about for ten years has not only ignored the Black Lives Matters movement except for a small black tile on grid, she has drowned out black voices by shifting the conversation to HER. She made an announcement in the middle of a watershed moment of the Black Lives Matters movement to take off her hijab. Just to be clear: all of these ladies are free to do that. My only issue is how she announced it NOW. When we should only be talking about Black Lives Matters. It’s the antithesis of being an ally. Not only that, she announced it with a video aimed at monetizing views. Disgusting.

So I am here to say that YOU hold the power here. Unfollow people who are not helping you grow as a person. Don’t let them damage your self-esteem, your worth, and let you forget about the social issues that matter. They may have built their influence, but what’s an influencer without followers? Break the wheel. Even if it means you stop following me too.

Hijab Trend: Hijab With Hair Clips

Salaam my lovelies! As we get ready to get deep into Ramadan, I wanted to cue you in on a hijab trend that you may want to try as you head off to festive iftars. It’s embellished hair clips with your hijab. It can be a pearl clip, or crystals, but it will be sure to sparkle all night long. Make sure to pair it with a blush tone for maximum luminosity!

If you ask me, it all started with Marwa Atik from Vela Scarves rocking some pearl embellished bobby pins at the opening of Contemporary Muslim Fashions exhibit at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco. I remember Maria Alia and her both looking radiant as usual that night mA.

Now, hair accessories with hijab has caught on with the stylish Instagram influencer set.

Here is some inspiration to help you along.

The OG Marwa Atik rocking the trend in Sept. 2018

@sincerelymaryam wearing a playful pearl clip with her hijab

@withloveleena with a pearl barrette

@withloveleena rocking a pearl barrette with her hijab.

10 Haircare Tips for Hijabis

As a hijabi, it can be a challenge to care for your hair. I know I sometimes used to forget to brush my hair at all for days when I first started wearing hijab! It is easy to get lazy about haircare maintenance because it stays covered for most of the day,  but showing your hair a little TLC will go a long way. With these easy haircare tips for hijabis, your hair will be happy, healthy and naturally beautiful in sha Allah.

Nourish Your Hair With a Supplement

Hijabis may start to notice thinning hair after major milestones like having a baby. Hormones that makes your hair lush and beautiful during pregnancy start to wane and all of that extra hair falls out! If you do suffer from hair loss, the best way to fight against it is to take an extra supplement. Taking a biotin/collagen supplement will not only promote new hair growth, it will also make the hair already on your scalp shiny and strong too. I highly recommend Biotin Beauty Bursts because it tastes like candy, so it is easy to remember to take. The one caveat is that it makes your hair grow EVERYWHERE so expect to use hair removal more often on other parts of your body.

Tie Up Your Hair Carefully

I can’t tell you how many hijabis have told me about headaches they get from wearing hijab. I sometimes suffer from these headaches too. Often, the culprit of these headaches is tying your hair too tight before you put your hijab on. And it isn’t just about headaches. If you tie your hair too tightly on a regular basis, you start to suffer from traction alopecia. This is hair loss​ from pulling your hair too tightly. As a long time hijabi (I’ve been wearing hijab for 23 years!), I was definitely guilty of this and I noticed my hair part was getting wider and wider. Finally, I had to stop pulling my hair into a high bun and start pulling it into a looser lower bun. It truly helped. Pull your hair back carefully ladies!

Change Your Hair Part

If you keep the same hair part over the years, it will start to get wider because your hair and scalp are getting pulled in the same direction over and over again. I personally suffer from a cowlick, so my hair naturally wants to part the same way. But with a little persistence, you can change your part. I did this by switching my part right out of the shower and using a gentle hair molding paste.

Massage Your Scalp

Massaging your scalp helps stimulate the roots and also oil production. I have naturally frizzy hair, so I add a few drops of olive oil with rose essential oil on the pads of my fingers, massage my scalp, and then brush it all out. This tip will leave you with incredibly shiny and healthy hair. It is a nice way to start unwinding for bed since it relieves any tension your scalp may be holding. I love scalp massages so much, I even bought this scalp massager to help really get a great massage.

Brush Your Hair Regularly

If you really want to have nice hair, ask yourself: “Do I brush my hair longer than a minute?” The answer is most likely no. I am not saying brush your hair a 100 strokes or more like Marcia Brady, but brushing your hair is one of the easiest ways to get healthier hair. Brushing removes dirt and debris from your hair. It also improves blood circulation to your scalp. Lastly, it encourages your scalp to release the right amount of oil (sebum) to keep give your hair a nice sheen. It also distributes that oil throughout the hair versus having all of that oil clog up your scalp at the roots.

Dry Your Hair Carefully

This tip is one that most of us are guilty of. We just yank our wet hair into a bun and go versus taking the time to towel dry, air dry, or blow dry. Don’t wring water out of your hair. Take an absorbent towel and massage the water out and then twist into a turban while you get ready. It allows your hair to dry quickly. Also, take the time to blow-dry​ your hair every once in a while to smooth the shaft. While heat styling can damage your hair, blowdrying your hair every once in a while actually improves texture. Just be sure to use a heat styling protective product.

Do a Weekly Hair Mask

Why save #selfcaresunday just for sheet masks? Take a time during the week to indulge your hair in a weekly mask. Since my hair is frizzy, I tend to gravitate towards hair masks that are very rich in natural moisturizers like shea butter. If you have oily hair, there are purifying masks too! One piece of advice: Don’t go too heavy, since it can cause scalp breakouts and leave it on long enough. If you don’t leave it on long enough, the mask won’t sink into your hair and you won’t get the results that you want.

Use a Silk Pillowcase

Before you laugh this off as being too high maintenance, just know that using a silk pillowcase prevents hair breakage and doesn’t rough up your hair cuticle as much as a regular pillowcase. Hair cuticles are like tiny scales on your hair shaft. When they lie down smoothly, then you have shinier hair. So, sleeping on a silk pillowcase will give you smoother hair. I highly recommend investing in a silk pillowcase. The bonus is that it will crease your skin less too.

Trim Your Hair Regularly

This sounds a bit counterintuitive, but if you trim your hair more frequently, it will help you grow out your hair. Regular trims prevents split ends which in turn weaken and damage your hair. So even if you want long luscious locks, make sure to keep regular appointments to cut that hair!

Embrace Your Natural Color and Hair Texture

The less you process your hair, the healthier it will be. If you have dark brown hair naturally, and you want to become a blond, chances are that you will need process your hair extensively. If you have curly hair, and you keep relaxing it or blowdrying it, it will eventually get damaged over time. Embrace your hair. I am at the point where I am not ready to give up coloring my gray roots, but I have stopped processing my hair to point where it gets damaged too much. Love the hair you were given and it will love you back.

Free Ramadan Printables Round Up

Now that Ramadan is near, it is time to start preparing ourselves mentally and spiritually for Ramadan. I like to prep by adding one more page of Quran daily and also fasting the week prior on Monday and Wednesday (which is the Sunnah of the Prophet PBUH). I should really just fast every week, but I am working on that (I love food more than I should).

Well another thing I do is create a welcoming home for the kids by decorating for Ramadan. It gives us a tradition that the kids look forward to and makes them appreciate what Ramadan is even if they can’t fast yet since they are so young.

A few years ago, I bought a blank banner from Target and spelled RAMADAN KAREEM with peel off sticker letters. However, that turned into a crazy project with an active toddler! So I try to have the decorations ready to place in the home and let the kids pick where they go. Perhaps as they get older, we can get into making decorations together. Path of least resistance, am I right?

One way I decorate on a budget for Ramadan is to actually print free Ramadan printables. Rather than have you all spend your time scouring for the perfect Ramadan printables, I have done the work for you and you can spend that extra time polishing up on your extra ibadah (you’re welcome, please pray for meeeee).

Here are my top picks so that you can decorate your home for Ramadan like a rockstar (or like a Muslim Lauren Conrad Pinterest princess):

Sweet Fajr

Sweet Fajr is a great site for Muslim printables if you are really into that floral, Pinterest bunting style banner stuff. Here is are THREE great free Ramadan Printables that are very girly and floral. 

Sakina’s Design

This Ramadan banner is for the mommy crowd who loves things in primary colors. Kids will love it since it looks so playful! Sakina’s Design has moved to a different website, so their older banners are no longer available.

A Little Pixel

This Ramadan banner is more crescent moon themed and perfect for anyone who wants that authentic Ramadan decor feel.

Modern Eid

Let’s say you are not into even printing out a DIY Ramadan banner. There is hope for us tired mamas. You can just buy a Ramadan banner from Modern Eid. They have a variety of fun Ramadan decor such as hipster gold foil, marbleized balloons and more!

In My Studio

Okay, I cheated here, but this website is amazing for free Eid printables! This graphic pink and black banner for Eid is just too cute. This is a great site for anyone who is looking for Eid printables that are stylish and timeless. She even has a cute Ramadan countdown calendar that you can print now.

What free printables do you love to use for Ramadan? Let me know in the comments below. I really hope my round up helps you get ready for Ramadan!


Why I Won’t Stop Wearing Hijab

Woman wearing Aab chiffon hijab

Woman wearing Aab chiffon hijab

The world has been rocked by so many sad events that has shook the Muslim community at large. Namely, the Paris attack and now San Bernandino has many Muslims worried about violent backlash. I can see why when we have presidential candidates like Trump calling for a registered database of Muslims that is reminiscent of how Hitler maintained Jewish identifiers for the Jewish community during Nazi Germany. I want to let you know that you are not alone if you are scared. I am scared with you.

I have worn hijab ( head scarf) for a very long time (I am talking since 1994!). Back then, I was told by very well meaning people not to wear it since it was right on the heels of the World Trade Center bombing and I could be the target of hateful people. While I have encountered hateful people in my life, I will say that I have never once regretted my decision to wear hijab (head scarf). I have been discriminated against in school, for jobs and in other matters. Why would I do that to myself? Because I believe in it.

When 9/11 happened, I still wore my hijab. I still remember the angry red faced man who screamed at me to go back home in the Lowes parking lot in Buffalo shortly after that. However, I never lost my resolve to wear hijab because it had slowly became a part of who I am. I had worn it for so long, it had become a part of me. I still believe in it.

However, it seems times are changing and things are the worse than they have ever been. Islamophobic campaigns by Pamela Geller and other hate think tanks are succeeding.

I don’t know if it is because I have kids now, but I am aware that my wearing hijab doesn’t just affect me, it affects my family. If I am with my kids and wearing hijab, I am putting my kids at risk. This thought frightens me more than anything. For the first time in my adult life, I considered taking my hijab off. Yes, I know to fear God over God’s creation, but you are also supposed to keep yourself safe first and foremost.

But when I even thought about taking off my hijab, I just could not bring myself to. It would mean that Islamophobes succeeded in terrorizing me. It would mean that they had succeeding in changing my behavior based on their hate. I am not advocating that you parade around in a face veil in the rough part of town, but I refuse to take my hijab off. Will I wear a hat over hijab while I drive? Perhaps. Will I be careful and carry mace? Yes. But for now, these haters can’t take my hijab off. But they can’t change what I believe in and hijab in something I believe in.



Hijabi Beauty: The Lowdown on Baking Makeup

Baking Makeup

It may look silly, but baking your makeup leaves you with a flawless and creaseless makeup look. Photo of Heidi Hamoud

Like most Southeast Asian girls, I have been blessed with panda undereye circles that always get worse with less sleep. As a mom of TWO kids under the age of 5, it is safe to say that I never get enough sleep. So the panda eyes are in effect on a regular basis. And no, I don’t look as cute as panda does with them. When people say “wow you look tired!” we all know that they mean you look like crap. And no one intentionally wants to look bad. So I have come to rely on makeup to get me looking like a human again. Perhaps one day I can venture out bare faced (when the kids finally sleep the night…which is looking like it could be when they reach college). In the meantime, I will try my best to fake looking rested with makeup.

While we may have gotten the concept of contour (creating a chiseled look with dark matte powder) and strobing (using luminescent creams or powders to highlight) down, there is yet a new makeup trend to try. It is called “baking” and unlike contouring (which looks crazy and is hard to do for me), this makeup trend works. Baking your makeup is when you use layers of powder set by the warmth of your skin to create a creaseless, flawless finish to your skin.

I was skeptical at first. Wouldn’t that just make me look like I was doused in flour? But, after trying it, I can say that no one said I looked “tired” and I was asked by a few people if the baby was “sleeping” through the night. Noooooooo I wish! But clearly baking fooled people into thinking I was getting a good night’s rest. So if you want to look rested, here are my steps to baking your makeup:

Hydrate Your Skin:
This may sound counterintuitive, but your skin should always be clean and moisturized before you bake your makeup. I really recommend Neutrogena Hydroboost Cream. It just drenches your skin in moisture.

Use a Primer
I use a primer because I am too busy to reapply my makeup (ha who has the time?). I use a pea sized amount. I use the Smashbox Primer, but a drugstore dupe is the NYX Primer.

Add Concealer
I don’t actually wear foundation. If you do wear foundation, put that on and then add concealer. I basically just put a thin layer of concealer that has been thinned out with argan oil to create a diffused lovely coverage of my panda eyes. I use Maybelline Master Concealer.

Add Another Layer of Concealer
Go back and add another layer. This is when I add a layer of Kevyn Aucoin Sensuous Skin Enhancer (which is like spackle). Make sure to pat this layer on so it doesn’t smudge the previous layers!

Dust on Translucent Powder
THIS is where the magic happens. PACK on a lot of translucent powder on the concealer. I use MAC Prep and Prime Finishing Powder.

Take a damp sponge and dip it back in the translucent powder. Dab it over the powdered area. Let it sit for at least 3 minutes. I typically leave it on while I do my eye makeup.

Dust Off Powder
Dust off the excess powder with a brush and voila! You should have rested, creaseless looking eyes!

Do any of you bake your makeup? What are your tips for this technique? Let me know in the comments below.

Hijabi Life Recipes: Halal Pasta Carbonara

20131230-220440.jpgAs a first generation American Muslim, it is easy to feel like you are in limbo. Your immigrant parents try to recreate life as they knew it “back home”, when in reality, the United States is home for you. Your parents may not understand why you yearn to try things like meatloaf, spaghetti, or macaroni and cheese. They yearn for things like kunefah, baklava, biryani, or any other special dish that they grew up with.

One thing I know my parents and inlaws will never understand is the Muslim American fascination with halal “bacon.” To be honest with you, I personally shunned pork so much that even the smell can make me feel sick!

However, my revert friend Sherry made no bones about how much she missed bacon once she became Muslim. She invited me over to try a “halal” BLT at her “halal” party replete with BLTs, s’mores, and Rice Krispies treats. Once I tried her BLT, I had to admit, it was delicious! After that experience with halal beef bacon, I started to think about how many recipes that called for bacon that I would love to try out.

The top of my list? A creamy, dreamy, halal pasta carbonara! With it’s cream, cheese, bacon, and pasta, it is a decadent dish that sticks to your ribs. Make it on days that you feel like a meal that warms your insides with comfort.

12 oz pasta (I prefer spaghetti..I used Shiratake Tofu Spaghetti because I don’t do well with carbs)
8 pieces Midamar’s Breakfast Beef (diced Small)
1/2 whole Medium Onion, Diced Small
2 cloves Garlic, Minced
3 whole Eggs
3/4 cups Finely Grated Parmesan Cheese
3/4 cups Heavy Cream
Salt & Plenty Of Black Pepper
1/2 cup Peas

1) Cook pasta according to package directions.

2) While the pasta is cooking, fry the bacon until just barely crisp.

3) Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. Pour off all of the bacon grease, but don’t clean the pan.

4) Return the pan to the stove over medium-low heat and throw in the onions and garlic. Cook until golden brown. Set aside.

5) In a bowl, mix together eggs, Parmesan, cream, and salt and pepper until smooth.

5) When the pasta is done, reserve a cup or two of the pasta water.

6) Drain the pasta and place it in a bowl.

7) While the pasta is still really hot, slowly drizzle in the egg mixture, stirring the pasta the whole time. The sauce will become thick and should coat the pasta. Splash in a little hot pasta water if you see the that the mixture is too thick.

8) Halfway through, add the peas, bacon, and sauteed onion/garlic.

9) Finish adding the sauce, stirring until it’s all combined.

10) Serve right away and enjoy!

Faith When Tragedy Strikes

There are so many thoughts that are running through my head right now. As a social media professional, I am blessed to learn things as they happen, but that is also a curse.

It means you are the first to learn when bad things happen. At first, you hope it’s a mistake. You then pray please let it be an accident. That it was a technical malfunction.

When you slowly realize it is not a mistake or accident, you then find yourself wishing and praying for it to NOT be a Muslim. Please, don’t be a Muslim.

Here is the thing. No matter who did it, people still got hurt in Boston today. We have to let people grieve over what happened at the Boston Marathon. This is NOT the time to get on a soapbox and start quoting casualties in other countries.

What we as Muslims should be doing is going out and being helpers. We even have an example in the Sunnah of the Prophet (saws). They are called the Ansar (helpers). They helped early Muslims who migrated to Medina. How did they help? They opened their homes, they offered jobs, they did what ever was necessary to help in order to promote brotherhood.

When I go to a masjid, I often see only one or two brothers or sisters helping with clean up after an event. Why is that? We should all be running to help because it is just one more way we can attain Allah’s (swt) mercy.

Where is that sense of being a helper in our Ummah? Let us be the first to open our homes, help clear up the debris, donate blood and help promote brotherhood with ALL our American brothers and sisters.

We have been far too insular for far too long. Let us rise up and be a collective part of this community. Let us embrace our heritage as helpers.