The fight for change must be more than just a trend.

Blake Newby
Jun 29, 2020 @ 1:45 pm

“Inclusivity” is a hot-button topic in the beauty industry, but to some it’s just a clickbait-y buzzword. Shades of Melanin unpacks some of the many untouched issues that Black women experience in the beauty community.

It seems like every day another Black name becomes a hashtag. And while there’s no amount of money that can bring back the lives of those lynched by systemic racism, the time to financially support Black entities is now. More than ever, consumers are dedicated to “buying Black,” and with the light being shined on the centuries-long injustices and economic inequalities facing Black people, small, Black-owned beauty brands are finally getting the attention they’ve long deserved.

The powerful movement marks the consumer’s decision to shop conscientiously, no longer overlooking the longtime indiscretions of large corporations. On the flip side, for Black people (who boast the largest buying power in beauty) it’s a reclamation of power, and there is no shortage of Black-owned brands founded to move the industry. However, as the influx of orders surge for these small brands, paired with the continuing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there are a few things to consider before—and after—you fill that cart.

Below, check out how to buy Black beauty the right way and why it should be something you do for years to come, no matter your racial or ethnic background.

1. Buy directly from Black-owned brands.

The best thing that you can do during these times is to prioritize buying directly from the brand if possible. In other words, avoid the middleman. Rather than searching for the brand on Amazon or another larger retailer, first see if the brand has a direct e-commerce site that you can purchase from. Large retailers take a percentage of sales from each purchase, so buying directly from the brand's site means that more money goes to it rather than to a third party. If the beauty brand doesn't have one available, research if they’re housed in Black-owned retailers such as Blk + Grn, We Buy Black, and Shoppe Black. While it’s not always a sure possibility that you'll find what you're looking for, it’s worth the try and worth placing more money directly into the hands of the producer.

2. Be patient with deliveries.

It’s important to note that the recent influx of sales is something that many of these small, Black-owned beauty brands have never faced, so be patient when waiting for your items to be delivered. If you want to order a product that's currently out of stock, you can choose to pre-order it or be alerted when it's restocked. Additionally, just like with any other non-Black-owned brand, the pandemic has affected those businesses as well. So the same way you patiently wait for your regular purchases, be okay with a wait for these.

3. Promote the products you love.

If you love a product, one of the best things you can do to support the brand is promote its products. Whether it’s word of mouth, on social media, or through a positive review on the website, rave about the product to show your support. In order for small beauty brands to sustain past this moment, they’ll need the same continued eyes that are frequently lent to mainly non-Black-owned brands. 

4. Make buying Black more than a trend.

Buying Black is not just something you should do right now because you feel bad about the Black bodies continuing to be slaughtered in the streets and in their homes. Buying Black should be a continued and conscious effort to pour money into a community that has been disenfranchised, robbed, and ignored for centuries. The need to pull oneself up by one's bootstraps is something often emphasized when talking business; however, for far too long Black people have simply not been provided those bootstraps at all. Financially supporting Black-owned beauty brands—regularly—is just one way to practice your belief that Black lives really do matter—always.