The Beauty Products Nigella Miller Uses to the Last Drop

Photo: Courtesy of Nigella Miller

Brooklyn-based hair artist and barber Nigella Miller has been working with celebrity clients, including Jhené Aiko, Joey Badass, and Lauryn Hill (whom she recently went on tour with), for 17 years. She has seen enormous success perfecting her craft, as well as an explosion of interest in her services at the Nigella Miller Hair Studio, which include box braids, artful cornrows, and silk presses. She’s also the founder of the sustainable hair-jewelry brand AFRA.

Hair was a hobby for Miller long before she got her formal education at the Aveda Institute in New York, to which she credits her success in the industry. Growing up, “I was the cool girl who did everyone’s hair,” she says. But she was more interested in a career in fashion: “I wanted to be a patternmaker, but things didn’t go as planned.” After not getting into the pattern program she applied for, she found herself in a business program instead. “I was extremely sad, and I ended up dropping out of college because I wasn’t happy,” she says. Her older cousin helped her sign up for cosmetology school.

“It still feels like it’s the beginning,” Miller says. “I love that feeling. I’m always wondering what’s next.” And with her hardworking, passionate spirit certainly comes the need for well-deserved R&R, which, for her, includes meditation and a nourishing skin-care routine. “Self-care brings peace to my life,” she says. “I’m able to show up as my best self.”


Here, Miller’s A.M. Routine

7 a.m. — I try to start my day with meditation for about 20 minutes before I get ready. I also usually do intermittent fasting in the morning, so I hardly eat breakfast unless it’s fruit. Then I jump into the shower and get ready to start my day.

8 a.m. — My skin-care routine is pretty simple because I’m usually pressed for time in the morning. I start with the Tatcha Rice Wash. Sometimes, I use a Clarisonic to get a deep-pore cleanse.

8:05 a.m. — I like to moisturize with a Tatcha Toner, and the Sunday Riley A+ High Dose Retinol Serum follows that. For moisturizer, I use black-seed oil. After that, I move on to the REN under-eye cream that brightens any dark circles. I love the creamy consistency because it’s hydrating.

8:10 a.m. — I follow with Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30. I’m obsessed with the matte version because it keeps my oily skin under control. If I need extra moisture, I lean toward a mango shea butter. It helps protect my skin from the harsh winters of New York.

8:15 a.m. — For makeup, I like to keep it light. Milk Makeup mascara, Dior blush, and Shiseido concealer.

8:25 a.m. — Black-seed oil and Moroccanoil are my go-to hair oils. I find my curls respond better to lighter products versus heavier ones. I follow up with a mousse from TGIN that’s one of my favorite hair products. It’s very light. I’m obsessed with the rosewater line and the honey line. It adds a lot of moisture to my hair, and it just does the job. For finishing touches, I’ll go back in with one of the oils to add a little bit of shine and seal in the moisture.


Miller’s P.M. Routine

9 p.m. — I repeat the same steps for my skin at night. I use the REN Evercalm Overnight Recovery Balm once a week instead of my SPF while I’m sleeping, which leaves me with glowy, gorgeous skin.

9:15 p.m. — My night routine for hair is very simple: I do nothing. I just use my silk pillowcases to protect my curls from tangling.


On finding confidence:

I think coming up in the 2000s and having to pay my dues in the beauty industry helped build me up as an artist. If not for that experience, I wouldn’t be able to move in certain rooms the way I do. Being a Black woman in an industry predominantly run by males wasn’t the easiest, but my work spoke for itself. That helped boost my confidence. I learned to follow my passion, and I moved with purpose.


On the beauty industry as a whole:

I hope more Black and brown creatives get more opportunities to hold space and higher positions.


On beauty trends:

I can’t stand the fake-freckles trend.


On ingredients:

Any alcohol products I try to stay away from because I have oily skin and my worst fear is drying my skin out. I like to stay hydrated. I’m trying to prevent fine lines at all costs. I gravitate toward organic products. I sometimes just stick to organic ingredients like my black-seed oil. I don’t need to buy anything with chemicals that will age me.


On the beauty services she swears by:

Facials are a must, especially Clear + Brilliant appointments. I love going to the spa. I’m obsessed with steam rooms and heated pools. I also swear by frequent trims; there’s nothing like having a consistent hair schedule.

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The Beauty Products Nigella Miller Uses to the Last Drop