To celebrate skin week at the Strategist, we perused some of our favourite Black-owned British beauty businesses to find skin-care products (such as serums and lotions) that you might want on your radar, whether to introduce into your own regime, or to gift to a friend. (A note that while not all products are made by Black artisans, all are sold by Black-owned entities.)
The Afro Hair and Skin Company was founded by beauty expert Ibi Meier-Oruitemeka, and uses locally sourced and grown ingredients to create their products. This cleansing clay mask comes in powder form (in a medicine-like bottle) — you mix half a teaspoon of it with warm water to make a paste, before applying to your skin. This mask also contains hydrating organic coconut milk, and nourishing raw cacao.
We spotted this hydrating face mist by Epara on Candour Beauty, the online marketplace founded by entrepreneurs Abi Lawrence-Adesida & Jacqueline Kusamotu. The mist can be easily worked into your existing routine — a spritz after cleansing, and before applying a serum or moisturiser. It would also be perfect to have by your desk for a quick freshen up during a particularly trying Zoom. We like the spa-like olive-green bottle, too.
These glycolic peel swabs come via Bea Skincare, a beauty range founded by former Harley Street aesthetician Bianca Estelle. Each wand-like swab is soaked in three kinds of AHAs — glycolic acid, citric acid, and lactic acid. They’re designed to be used no more than weekly, and have been formulated to improve complexion and treat blemished, enlarged pores, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
According to Bourn Beautiful, this oat-rich eczema lotion was their best-selling product of 2019. They say the velvety formula is ideal for dry or sensitive skin, as it contains shea butter and aloe vera juice (which is good for itchiness). If vanilla spice isn’t for you, or you have really sensitive skin, they also do a fragrance-free version.
While we were intrigued by Liha’s very giftable hero product bundle — which features a tuberose oil and a fragrance-free shea butter — it’s so popular that it has sold out. However, their gold shea butter (made in the hometown of co-founder Abi Oyepitan’s father) is available as a standalone product. Liha says it has a waxy texture, can be used on anything from nappy rash to stretch marks, and has a naturally earthy fragrance, with notes of clean soil.
You can also pick up their idan oil from the hero product bundle. It’s also something of an all-rounder — you can use it as a body lotion, a leave-in conditioner, or, because it hardens in cooler temperatures, decant it and use it as a solid perfume. Like with the shea butter, we like the clear bottle design and subtle gold lettering.
Luxemore’s pure pressed avocado face oil can be used to treat sunburn and inflammation, calm irritation, and moisturise the skin. It contains antioxidants, potassium, fatty acids, and vitamin E, and can also be used to remove makeup. Additionally, this Essex-based company has partnered with the Distant Relatives Project, a nonprofit that supports communities in countries including Nigeria, Jamaica, and Ghana.
Mr Blackmans offers “no fuss” products for maintaining healthy facial hair, including beard oils and shampoo bars. But the brand’s beard balm, applied after shaving, is designed to soothe and protect skin. Even if you have minimal facial hair (or don’t shave at all), the balm’s shea butter and aloe vera extract will calm inflamed or irritated skin, and it comes scented with lemon and coriander seed. We also like the minimalist design of the product — it would make a great gift.
Speaking of avocado oil, this soap from Oil of Nature contains both avocado and grapeseed oils, and comes in a vivid red and purple colour (with a pleasing swirl pattern). Founder Marcia Edwards created the skin-care brand after her twin daughters suffered with both dermatitis and eczema, and every product in her range, from whipped body butters to shampoo bars, are made with Ghanian shea butter.
Their body butters come in six different varieties, including this dark amber scent.
Samantha Jameson’s artisanal bath-and-body company stocks a wide selection of products, including bath soaks and candles. Soapsmith’s soaps (which come in bar and liquid form) are named after London locations, such as Hackney, Camden, and Whitechapel. The Hackney contains notes of rosemary, geranium, sandalwood, and bergamot.
This cleansing balm from sustainable skin-care brand Pamoja contains essential oils such as chamomile and lavender, as well as Murumuru butter, which has natural anti-inflammatory properties. The buttercup-coloured balm looks good enough to eat — and comes in a tasteful-looking jar that would look good on your bathroom shelves.
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