Some of today’s most prominent fashion designers are black, but businesses owned by black people are very rarely stocked and promoted by larger, globally popular companies. There continues to be inequalities in the racial makeup of business owners stocked in the world’s largest stores, such as Target and Sephora. Change is most definitely needed.
We must all make an effort to support and empower businesses owned by black people. Living in a post-pandemic world provides opportunities to start again from the bottom when it comes to tackling inequalities and issues with diversity of all kinds, and this applies to the fashion, beauty and haircare industry. The consequences of lacking diversity in fashion and beauty retailers are that younger generations lack easily accessible role models and young black people may not be able to relate to many of the products stocked on our shelves. There must be more efforts to uplift and support the black community and give business owned by black entrepreneurs the attention that they deserve.
One brand that set an example for the rest of the makeup industry is Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty. Its extensive shade range for all products was revolutionary, especially as most brands only add darker shades after the initial launch, as if they are an afterthought, or only include a small proportion compared to the availability of lighter products. I’d really recommend their lipglosses and pro filter foundation.
Their products have a reasonable price-tag, which make them even more accessible for students
If you prefer a more affordable brand, Black Opal Beauty is perfect. It exclusively stocks shades for dark skin tones for both men and women and is owned by Desiree Rogers and Cheryl Mayberry McKissack. Their foundation sticks have received great reviews from the black beauty community on YouTube.
Juvia’s Place, a black-owned indie makeup brand, stocks a range of products but have particularly popular eyeshadow palettes and foundation formulas which aim to be inclusive and tailored for black people. However, the company was ‘cancelled’ online for shouting out Jeffree Star in one of their Instagram posts after he reviewed their first-ever foundation designed for black people in mind. This post has now been deleted, but the brand is still facing an intense backlash. Some customers refuse to use the brand since Jeffree has made racist comments in the past. Before all of this, I bought their Masquerade palette from Beauty Bay and I was extremely impressed with the formula and would have recommended it, if the brand had managed the situation with Jeffree better.
A hair brand owned by black people, which is often considered the original market leader, is Luster’s Pink. Their products have a reasonable price-tag, which make them even more accessible for students. A hallmark for the brand is their moisturising masques and cleansing conditioners – aimed initially at an exclusively black customer range. Still, many others are raving about the benefits of their nourishing products on all hair types.
Change is needed and we must use our voices to support those who need it the most
If you’re into natural hair care and wish to get similar results, Design Essentials could be for you. It is more on the premium end of the scale and aims to get salon results at home – so, if you feel like treating yourself, this brand could be perfect.
Since the pandemic, larger brands have openly claimed to support communities by closing stores and making masks, but many did not provide these conditions for front-line garment workers. Some were not even paid. Said billion-dollar brands, such as Topshop, Fashion Nova and Primark, posted generic and non-descriptive Black Lives Matter posts and made donations but have not agreed to pay up to support black and minority workers.
This is unacceptable. I encourage you to join me, and many others online, to boycott these companies, and instead support black-owned business, such as the ones I have mentioned. Change is needed and we must use our voices to support those who need it the most in these uncertain times. You may even find your new favourite hair and beauty product.