Should beauty products for black consumers be just for black consumers?

In a big win for diversity, there has been a growing awareness of Black Beauty founders and their brands in recent years. This is a t-shapeIn part, he longs to increase the opportunities to mass-produce their products and market and sell their brands on sites like Amazon or in stores like Target. As a result, more and more consumers now have access to these products – and they’re not all black.

This raises a conundrum as to when the products would be sold, making them more accessible to everyone – including black consumers, many of the products were made for.

According to the McKinsey Institute for Black Economic Mobility Black representation in the beauty industry reportAnd Beauty products from black brands make up less than 7% of what’s on shelves and only command 2.4% of revenue in the general beauty market even though 11.1% of beauty spending comes from black shoppers.

Many black consumers would like products created to meet their needs to be exclusive to their community – but is that always the founder’s vision? What do the founders of Black Beauty want?

said Brianna Arps, former beauty editor and founder Modo fragrance. “The whole ‘I couldn’t find X, so I created it’ story is arguably the most inspiring albeit common denominator in every black founder’s journey.”

When the Black Beauty brand starts to be in demand, the founder needs to expand, which could change the way the brand is marketed and who can now buy it. We spoke with owners of black cosmetics brands to find out how they feel about who uses their products, and how the whole process works.

Black consumers can find themselves frustrated.

When Mielle Organics’ Rosemary Mint Oil ran out after a pass Viral video of a white TikTok influencer promoting the productAnd Devoted fans of the hair care line attributed the product’s unavailability to White consumers who use the product. According to McKinsey, 73% of respondents shared that black beauty products often run out, and 54% stated that they are difficult to find when they are in stock.

“We can’t get anything!” It was a sentiment popularized online by many black women wanting to hold on to this product being created just for them. The product sold out, which may or may not be because white women discovered the product. Supply may be limited by Procter & Gamble’s acquisition of Mielle Organics, which was announced a few weeks later. Many black women wanted the brand to be society’s best kept secret. Unfortunately, this is not always the vision of the black founder.

Arps thinks it’s something to talk about more. “We are disproportionately tasked with maintaining the authenticity of being widely accessible without calling it a sell-out. It’s a difficult dynamic because I never want to offend my diary.” “I also don’t want to compromise on growth nor the opportunity to expand to become a major player in the market.”

The complex relationship between the founders of black cosmetics and consumers is nothing new. For years, black Americans have had feelings of inferiority, including our appearance. “The world does not consider woven hair care to be beautiful or even beautiful. There are laws in the United States that prohibit people from wearing their natural hair.” Adwa Beauty Founder Julian Addo.

Images of style and beauty had limited representation, and services that could address our skin, hair, and care needs weren’t readily available in-store. The women in our families have created the personal care products we need out of our kitchen sinks. This is why historically black founders are so admired Annie Malone and Madame CJ Walker They became heroes and important historical figures because they and their ilk initiated the consumer experience of black beauty.

The late Fred Luster Sr. is one of the pioneers in black hair care. In 1957 he founded the former barber shop Luster Products, which has maintained its status as a lion-owned and family-run business. Luster’s Pink Hair Conditioning Lotion is a nostalgia for many black women, and the products have been a staple in black households. The company now has about 200 employees and manufactures products for men and women. Rhisa Luster Mack, Fred’s granddaughter, is Senior Brand Manager for Luster Products and the company is involved in manufacturing products and conducting research and development, quality control and testing in-house.

“A lot of these new brands rely on third-party companies that aren’t like us to help bring these products to life,” she explained. “And we’ve never had investors to help us survive or grow.”

Luster Products’ growth without investors is impressive, but most beauty founders today find it difficult to add investors or even change product formulas to size. This can create challenges in the relationship with black consumers as they discover that the founders have other plans, goals, and ideas for their business.

Illustration: HuffPost; Photos: Devin McGhee / Ryan Stokes / adwoa beauty

From left: Beauty brand founders Devin McGhee, Brianna Arps, and Julian Addo.

Being made by a brand established on black grounds is not meant to be used only by black people.

Not all Black cosmetics founders want to limit their products to consumption by black consumers. Even if that was their goal in the beginning, some of them adopt their products that everyone uses and works towards.

Luster-Mac is part of the next generation of leaders who will keep the family business intact. She and her siblings and cousins ​​provide a voice and a vision of what it’s like. Some future opportunities relate to product offerings. “We started connecting with the African American community,” she said, “but one thing I don’t think people realized is that we’re also a multicultural, evolving family.” Her family now consists of black, Asian and Hispanic individuals with different hair textures. Despite a person’s sweat, textured hair needs products that moisturize and strengthen; This is the focus of Luster products.

“Our product is about hair,” said Luster-Mac. “We’re here to create and address your hair needs. We test our products on textured hair, and if the product works for you and you’re of other ethnicity, we’re glad it works for you.”

Addo’s goals for Adwoa Beauty are similar, with a diverse client base of women and men. “Our brand has a global focus. Adwoa Beauty is designed for all people with curly, coily, frizzy, or wavy hair, but we even have people with straight hair who enjoy our formulations.”

Other black founders create products because what’s on the market isn’t working for them and other people of color. “When Black Girl Sunscreen was created back in 2016, there were no sunscreens on the market that catered to people like me, who wanted to feel confident in their own skin while lying in the sun, and not leave a white cast,” said Shuntai Lundy, founder. sunscreen black girl.

Black Girl Sunscreen’s primary demographic was deep-skinned women, but since the product’s launch, the brand has been embraced by women, men, and children. “We are honored and absolutely love it when others discover Black Girl Sunscreen. To me, it means that despite the name, the product works, people feel confident using the product, and the conversation about sun safety is growing.”

Representation is what mattered most to the founders of Black Beauty.

There are many black founded brands in the fragrance and wellness space that need not target black consumers, but are still created by their diverse owners.

Devin McGee, CEO, Inc Libra debt, a beauty and wellness brand, doesn’t apologize for targeting black consumers, even when investors ask. “It’s not that the products we make only work for black people. They work for anyone with a body, but I’m building this for black people.” “I always say Afia is very skinny, feminine and white, and I’m one of the three, and it’s feminine. If it comes to mind, it’s always an afterthought. I said what I’m going to build is going to be black first.”

No matter who the Black Beauty founder’s target consumer is, there’s still a lot to be excited about when it comes to a brand being created and/or led by a Black person. Their presence opens doors and changes the playing field.

The success of founders like Melissa Butler, whose company The Lip Bar has just become a staple Biggest black makeup The brand at Target, helping bring more black-owned beauty products to store shelves.

Desiree Verdejo, Afro-Latino Founder hyperdermatosis Suffering from acne and dark spots, they started the company to address skincare woes that are unique to deep skin tones, but work for all skin types and types. “I aimed to create a brand that reflects the multiculturalism of the world around me, which means you get to see model from the Dominican Republic, content from our favorite Asian influencer, and the faces of the different black men and women who support our community daily,” she said.

In essence, the founders of black beauty want people who look like them to feel included, seen and heard by their products, even if the products could work for everyone.

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