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Hey! My name is Kadeeja Best (@thebestofk), but my close friends call me Kat, or Kad. Right now I’m based out of Chicago and I LOVE it! I’m from Los Angeles originally. I am a classical cellist, so work for me is all about the music. I perform as a soloist with ensembles and orchestras, record for CDs and television, as well as create and record my own music videos. I also teach private lessons. One of the best parts of being a musician is that I get to spend most of my life around beautiful music, and I’m lucky enough to get to share that with the world and my community.

Interestingly enough, my line of work has been notorious for being extremely limiting in how you represent yourself on stage. Oftentimes, women are put into a box and told if we don’t look or dress a certain way, the general consumers of classical music won’t want to support you. So I’ve taken it upon myself to try and challenge that standard. I started experimenting with makeup from a young age. Maybe 11 or 12? I wasn’t actually allowed to wear makeup out until I was 16—I have one of those strict moms. But I would sneak things like eyeliner and lipstick after I left the house.

I am very much inspired by art and the design world. Particularly minimalism. There is something about the clean simplicity that is so bold to me. I am the type of person who, once I find something that works and I love, I stick to it and rarely deviate from it. With that being said, I have a few holy grail items I swear by. The first is The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil Face Wash. I have very sensitive skin, and I have tried just about every gentle face wash out there, but this one has really helped save my skin. It’s gentle, but it also helps keep my skin clear.

The one skincare product that has literally given my skin a glow up is my Curology night cream. My skin freaked out after moving to Chicago from LA—I was breaking out more than I had in my entire life. I tried everything under the sun to help my skin, but nothing seemed to work. Then, I saw Aimee Song from Song of Style talk about Curology and how much it helped her and her team, so I gave it a shot. I was desperate. I wasn’t expecting it to work, since everything else I had tried didn’t. But after about a month on it, my skin was glowing. I couldn’t believe it. It really helped make me comfortable in my skin again. Like, literally, becauses some of those pimples HURT. Glossier’s Lash Slick is also in my top favorites. I have very finicky lashes, and every other mascara gave me those dreadful spider lashes. Lash Slick kind of makes me look like I have lash extensions without breaking the bank.

My hair is naturally curly, but I prefer to wear it straight, so after washing and conditioning, I usually just blow dry and touch up with a straightener. Something I think everyone should know is that if you rinse your hair with cold water it makes it super shiny! For my skin, I usually just wash, exfoliate with my Vanity Planet Spin Brush, and then moisturize. My daily moisturizer is the Shea Moisture Raw Shea Chamomile & Argan Oil Baby Lotion. I find that baby lotion is the most gentle and effective.

Once every few days I’ll do a clay mask or a sheet mask to really pamper my skin. My favorite clay masks are the Shea Moisture African Black Soap Clarifying Mud Mask and the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay. Both are really affordable and work great for blemish control. Nails are usually bare, unless I have an event! As a cellist, it’s hard keeping my nails painted because when I practice, they chip almost instantly. So I like to do gel nails when I can.

My makeup is usually concealer, finishing powder, blush, mascara, a little highlighter, brows, and a nice lippie. I use Nars concealer in Medium 2 Ginger and Glossier Wowder in Light/Medium. My current favorite blush is Glossier Cloud Paint in Storm, and I use Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer in Ebony with Glossier Boy Brow. My favorite lip is constantly fluctuating, but right now, I’m loving the Ish Beauty Lip Palette.”

—as told to ITG

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