#BLM: Beauty lovers, put your money where your mouth is
by Amy Arfi
As America burns in protest, our attention has been drawn to ways we can recognise and actively break down not just overt racism in the form of police brutality, but ingrained, institutionalised racism that is chosen by many to only sometimes be seen, only sometimes be heard, but yet it is always felt. Where signing petitions and donating to funds are necessary short-term acts of activism, we must consider long term physical courses of action we can all make to ensure change.
A brilliant, well-articulated video from Paul Carrick Brunson has circulated on Instagram, explicitly listing five things we can all do to support the Black Lives Matter movement; one being to financially support and buy from black businesses. The idea of this being that it increases black employment and filters money into the black community. He very powerfully stated that in the US, for every dollar put into the Asian community, it will bounce around enriching other Asian people for an average of 28 days. In the black community, it lasts less than six hours before bouncing right out again. It’s plain and simple: endorsing and choosing to spend your money at black-owned businesses will have a bigger impact than you think. When you have shared every white privilege post and hashtag there is on social media, put your money where your mouth is and as Rihanna said, pull up.
On the flip side of this, your reasoning behind supporting these businesses should not only be because they’re owned by black people, but because more importantly, they are good brands. Nobody wants your pity pounds. Support them because their products are excellent and their service is outstanding and their ethics are admirable, like you would any other brand and then continue to do so.
So, let’s start with beauty - an industry which more often than not, lacks representation in all aspects, from influencer brand deals to shade ranges and a repeatedly biased definition of the term ‘nude’. Spend your coin and spend it wisely. Here are 10 black-owned beauty brands that you should buy from and five other brands that took no time acknowledging exactly how to support the BLM movement and consequently, are worth an honourable mention too.
Cashmere Nicole founded the brand in 2011 after overcoming a multitude of hurdles in her life including becoming a single mother at a young age, enduring college and nursing school and later undergoing a double mastectomy in a battle against breast cancer. Through this was the birth of Beauty Bakerie, accompanied by the brand motto ‘better, not bitter.’ This brand with a remarkable story is well known for its best-selling Flour Setting Powder, which adheres to its baking brand identity appreciated by those of us with a sweet-tooth.
51 foundation shades. If that isn’t inclusivity then I don’t know what is. This Nigerian born but LA and London founded brand by Sharon Chuter is created for all. ‘At UOMA we are an empowered tribe. Our race is human, our people are free, our language is colour. All are welcome to our beautiful tribe.’ Think culture meets freedom of colour and expression with its *stunning* collections endorsed by no other beauty guru heroes than Jackie Aina and Patrick Starrr.
This Nigerian cosmetic brand focuses on creating affordable high-quality, products in Africa with an international standard. Founder Stella Ndekile, a Lagos based Medical Laboratory Scientist and part-time makeup artist partnered with celebrity make-up artist Jane Ogu to create this brand of premium makeup accessible to all. Shipping around the world, you’d be missing out if you weren’t to check out its eyeshadow palettes. Did somebody say the word pigmentation?
When it comes to the removal of makeup, we are used to the wipes, micellar waters and face halos of the world, but have you heard of Lauran Napier Beauty’s Cleanse, Flaunt and La Rose cotton cloths? Not only do they claim to remove even the most stubborn and waterproof scraps of makeup, but simultaneously prep and hydrate your skin too, meaning they can be used for instant refreshment popped in your handbag. These premium unisex cloths have been featured in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar and could be a fitting luxury gift item for a loved one or a treat to yourself. Reseal them and reuse.
Extending to the more deluxe end of our price scale, Oui the People have designed the premium shaving experience for all. You cannot notice this brand without being drawn to its celebratory ethos and commitment to reconstructing language around shaving and beauty standards for women. Its razors are made for women, rather than a male-catered razor repackaged in pink. These steel, refillable and reusable razors make for a fabulous, eco-friendly alternative to the 2M plastic razors that end up in landfill every year.
British ex- magazine journalist Loretta De Free founded Dizziak London, a haircare brand made for everyone and every hair type. The brand’s afrofuturistic logo is one to look out for and especially worth checking out if you’re somebody whose hair is thirsty for moisture. Try its Hydration Wash and Deep Conditioner for yourself and join the aphrodizziak stan club.
A cosmetic line dedicated to amateur makeup users - genius. A fun and playful brand that simplifies and enables the sometimes complicated and overcrowded beauty industry with quirky products, at an affordable price point too. Recommended are its stunning palettes with shadows that will pop, and the highlighter concealer which comes in 30 shades from cool to deep tones, including colour correcting shades too. AND these are all packaged in multicoloured pen packaging, that is like no other.
When Rihanna decided she was entering the beauty industry, she made ground-breaking waves. Where it is a given that this incredible brand needs no introduction and has achieved mass success in its own right, it is important to remember why a brand like Fenty Beauty continues to do so well four years after its launch; innovative products and extensive shades with inclusive campaigns and a clear brand identity that caters to all.
Make room for an OG. When Vogue Editor Anna Wintour coins you as ‘the most influential makeup artist in the world’, it’s not surprising that for over two decades, Pat McGrath has shaped the global fashion and beauty industry and regularly directs runway makeup for all major fashion weeks. When she launched her own brand in 2016 the same integrity and passion was poured into her makeup, leading to no shock when Naomi Campbell became the new face of the brand this year.
Awarded the Essence Best In Black Beauty 2020 prize, Pear Nova is designed in Chicago, made in the US, cruelty free, vegan friendly and 5 free, which means no formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, camphor, toluene, and dibutyl Phthalate DBP - all things that like myself, you probably didn’t even realise were in nail polish. You can custom create your very own collection online too; a supernova in the nail industry for sure.
#BLM: 5 Honourable Mentions
Glossier is donating $500k across the Black Lives Matter, the NAACP Legal Defence and Educational Fund, The Equal Justice Initiative, The Marsha P. Johnson Institute and We The Protestors organisations. It is also donating another $500k in the form of grants to black-owned beauty businesses.
Founder of the brand Sunday Riley attended the same school as George Floyd and has chosen to donate $50,000 to the NAACP Legal Defence and Educational Fund.
During the month of June, Nails Inc will be donating 100% of its US profits to Black Lives Matter.
The brand stated on Instagram it will be donating to the NAACP, having conversations at work about race and white privilege and encouraging employees to have these at home too, and also educating itself on the work that needs to be done and supporting organisations that are fighting for equality.
In place of making a one-off donation, Herbivore Botanicals have stated it will be donating 100% of its profits from last weekend to Black Lives Matter, The Minnesota Freedom Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Click on all the above links to find out more information, be educated and learn how to donate.