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The beauty industry, consisting of hair, makeup and skincare can be dated back to around 4,000 B.C. With the creation of social media platforms, especially Instagram and YouTube, that allow individuals to share content instantaneously across the world, the beauty industry has only continued to expand. From the introduction of new pallets and lipsticks by popular makeup brands to the development of new hairstyle trends and tricks by hair companies, the opportunities are endless. Today, the beauty industry is an estimated “$425 billion industry”, but despite its large growth there are still some areas that are heavily lacking in innovation and consideration (Avenue Five). Due to the industry being solely focused on European beauty standards, the options, advice, and guidance available for minority individuals were almost nonexistent. Foundation colors for people of color were impossible to find and advice on how to care for kinky and curly hair was scarce. However, there were a handful of black women that saw the problem within the beauty industry and decided to take it upon themselves to inform and educate others while utilizing their platform to make a change. In honor of Black History Month, here are three black beauty gurus that completely disrupted the beauty industry.
One black beauty guru that has grown in popularity over the past couple of years and aided in reshaping the societal standard of the beauty industry is the 32-year-old fashion, lifestyle, and beauty blogger Patricia Bright (Famous Birthdays). She resides in the United Kingdom and uses her social media platforms to share her love for beauty products, including skincare and makeup, and fashion as well as home and financial tips. Due to her being a dark-skinned woman, she talks often on her channel about how specific cosmetic companies lack foundations, concealers, and other common products for people of color. She is very direct in her opinion when it comes to analyzing and commenting on many companies’ failed attempts of creating makeup lines that were supposed to be inclusive and giving credit to those that correctly execute diversity. Across all of her social channels, Bright has 4+ million followers, but it took her many years of being passionate, committed, and consistent to build up the platform, support, and millions of followers that she has today. Throughout her career as an influencer, she has achieved many milestones such as being on the cover of Glamour magazine, writing a book about her everyday hustle, and producing makeup products that are inclusive for various races and ethnicities of women. Even though the makeup industry has evolved dramatically over the years, especially due to the outspokenness of influencers like Patricia Bright, many brands and companies still lack a variety of makeup for women of color. Want to see more about Patricia Bright? Check out Patricia’s Blog.
Another black beauty guru, similar to Patricia Bright in popularity, age, and content delivery, is Jackie Aina. Aina is a Nigerian-American YouTuber that focuses solely on beauty when it comes to her social platforms. The biggest difference between Bright and Aina is that Aina is heavily known for using her channel to “advocate for the visibility of people of color in the cosmetic industry” (Wikipedia). With a combination of 5+ million subscribers across her social channels and partnerships with various cosmetic companies such as Anastasia Beverly Hills, Sephora, and Too Faced, Jackie Aina is seen as the face of the beauty industry movement for people of color. She is a professionally trained makeup artist which helps her credibility when performing specific makeup looks and providing advice and guidance on her YouTube channel, and she has been active on social media for the past 11 years. Her passion to speak out against the lack of diversity in the beauty industry comes from her own experience when she was told that the “trends she wanted to try wouldn’t work for her complexion” (Entrepreneur). Aina’s boldness and courage to state the issues in the beauty industry for people of color have led her to collaborate and create a range of foundation for dark-skinned individuals in 2018 with Too Faced and an eyeshadow pallet with Anastasia Beverly Hills in 2019.
Even though this beauty guru does not have the following that the other two have, she still uses her platform to make an impact primarily in the hair sector of the beauty industry. 24-year-old Chizi Duru is a dark-skinned, natural hair YouTuber with an that has “garnered widespread popularity for her 4C natural hair tutorials” (Famous Birthdays). With around a total of 500,000 subscribers across all of her channels, Duru focuses her channel on providing content centered around the 4C hair type which also happens to be Duru’s hair type. Because 4C natural hair types are not as widely celebrated or accepted, the amount of information related to hair care and diversity of hair styles is significantly less compared to its looser, wavier counterparts. Seeing a need for a space for individuals with 4C hair to learn, grow, and discuss, Duru took it upon herself to focus her YouTube channel on this content. In addition to natural hair content, Chizi Duru also demonstrates how to install and style numerous protective styles that have become popular in the past few years. These include crochet twists/braids, sew-ins, wigs, clip-ins, and more. Throughout her YouTube channel, individuals can also find a handful of videos focused on makeup looks. After being on YouTube for the past 11 years, Duru came upon a realization that despite the growth and diversity of social media, there was still not a collective space for black creatives to network and learn. In 2019 Chizi Duru created a very successful event in New York that was catered towards black content creators and entrepreneurs (YouTube).
Despite the changes and impact that these three black beauty gurus have made, there are still many challenges that people of color face in the beauty industry. A large amount of companies and brands still have many steps to take in being more inclusive and diverse. However, as more people continue to utilize social media to outwardly and boldly speak out against the injustices in the beauty industry and contribute to the movement, more brands will listen and hopefully make the positive changes to their products.
Guest Blogger: Lexi Stewart