There are countless Black-owned beauty brands that deserve to be celebrated and uplifted every day, but thanks to initiatives like Black Pound Day (which takes place on the first Saturday of every month and encourages consumers to spend with Black businesses), many are getting the extra traction they’re due.
These are the facts: Black people are less likely to have access to capital to fund their businesses. And despite many black-owned brands being disproportionately affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, this is sadly a long-standing problem.
But, without the Black community, the beauty industry would not exist as we know it today. Many of beauty’s most-booked treatments and biggest cult trends (hair extensions, nail art and acrylic nails, to name only a few) are steeped in black culture and have been a staple of Black beauty for decades.
And that’s not all: @brownbeautytalk recently reported that Black women spend around £6 on hair and beauty for every £1 that white women spend. If we love the beauty industry, why wouldn’t we show support for the businesses founded in the Black community that play a huge part in keeping it afloat?
There are many ways you can become a better white ally – from understanding white privilege to using books, podcasts and documentaries to educate yourself on anti-racism. But in addition to all of these incredibly important actions, purchasing from Black-owned beauty brands, is a key way to support a community that is so often marginalised.
Ahead of Black Friday, some incredible Black-owned brands will be participating in pre-Christmas sales. Look Fantastic are offering 20% off all of its palettes, which include some headliners from the likes of Beauty Bakerie and Uoma.
Boots is offering deals on some incredible brands such as Fenty. Online retailer, Cult Beauty, is yet to reveal specifics, but it carries phwoar brands like Danessa Myricks, Briogeo, Dizziak, and department store Selfridges (which counts Pat McGrath, Ori Lifestyle and Elephant & Bamboo among its brands) is keeping tight-lipped for now, too. Then there’s independent retailers offering a range of options across their sites.
The importance of investing in Black-owned beauty businesses is clear, even from a purely financial perspective. In order to create equity within different communities, we must build leverage within them. Hence why Black businesses need to be supported in order to grow the community as a whole.
Purchases made from outside of Black communities can have a major impact on potential growth and help level the playing field. Liha Okunniwa, founder of Liha Beauty, wrote on Instagram: “My dad has had a business in the UK since 1958 and I grew up above shops. He is a visionary and a design genius but the world will not know that because like every other black person during that time, he was fighting on a daily basis just to be seen and recognised as a human being and a man. He didn’t get to build his Nike.”
Aurora James, founder of fashion label Brother Vellies, supported this in a statement on Instagram. She explained that Black-owned businesses are the most vulnerable and have historically received the least amount of economic support. She urged major retailers like Sephora and Whole Foods to buy at least 15% of their products from black-owned businesses. “I am not saying this is easy. I’m saying this is necessary,” she said.
Tokenism won’t fly and consumers are looking for brands to put their money where their mouth is. Brands are being held accountable for keeping up with their pledge to allyship.
In fact, luxury retailer giant Selfridges recently partnered with Untapped Creatives – founded in 2020 by Funmi Scott with the assistance of Jennifer Leslie – which is a platform representing Black-owned British luxury lifestyle brands that connects, represents and negotiates on their behalf, aiming to create a bridge between the premium consumer and retail, where Black brands are underrepresented and difficult to find.
Scott says: “With Untapped Creatives, we want to highlight the abundance of creativity within the Black community and find a viable and long-lasting economic solution to help Black businesses reach that next level.” Through the partnership, Selfridges will display British Black-owned brands in prominent positions in Selfridges’ London flagship on Oxford Street, and they will also be available to shop on the website selfridges.com.
To bring Black-owned beauty brands to the forefront of your mind, we’ve compiled an edit of 39 companies that deserve to be championed. Showing your support is not a one-time thing. These beauty brands cover all bases – from hair to makeup and skincare.
They’re also all female-owned as well as being Black-owned, and many put sustainable beauty at the forefront of their brand ethos. A purchase (or a follow and share, if you can’t invest due to current financial uncertainty), will not only mean you support the black community, but support female entrepreneurs and businesses working to champion sustainability. There’s everything to gain and nothing to lose.