The Two Things This Beauty Expert Wants Brands to Do to Support Black Women
Blake Newby talks inclusivity, self-care, and her journey with mental health.
Sundays are a day to recharge and reset by hanging with friends, turning off your phone, bathing for hours on end, or doing whatever else works for you. In this column (in conjunction with our Instagram Self-Care Sunday series), we ask editors, experts, influencers, writers, and more what a perfect self-care Sunday means to them, from tending to their mental and physical health to connecting with their community to indulging in personal joys. We want to know why Sundays are important and how people enjoy them, from morning to night.
For as long as freelance beauty writer and editor Blake Newby can remember, she's always been in love with beauty—she just didn't realize there could actually be a career in it until much later into her life. After college, Newby moved to New York City to work for a major news network as an on-air talent, but she quickly realized it wasn't for her. So, she started exploring the editorial industry, meeting up with women in the field for networking. "One chance meeting with a beauty director and I was thrusted into the space, and the rest—I know it's cliché—is history," the now 26-year-old tells HelloGiggles.
In 2017, Newby became a freelance beauty assistant for Glamour, while also contributing to outlets such as Nylon, Cosmopolitan, and The Zoe Report. After some time, however, she found that her love for beauty began to diminish. "I began to see it as work," Newby explains. "There really was a time that the passion I'd once had faded away a bit."
To bring it back, she re-centered herself within the beauty industry by seeing beauty as a form of self-care rather than just a job. "Once I did that, about two years ago, writing about beauty didn't feel like a chore, which made my artistry ultimately better," she says. Now, Newby continues to write for digital publications, such as BET and Allure, recently became a beauty contributor for Essence in 2020, and has over 7k followers on Instagram, where she posts about her career, beauty, and fashion.
For this week's Self-Care Sunday, we spoke to Newby to learn more about her relationship with beauty, her go-to self-care rituals, and what she wants beauty brands to do to better support Black women.
HelloGiggles (HG): How has your relationship with beauty impacted your mental health?
Blake Newby (BN): I'm one of those people that's such a firm believer that if you look good, you feel good. When I pamper my body, do my hair, and yes, even put on a face of makeup, I do feel better. In addition, beauty can be so ritualistic, which in the hustle and bustle of life brings me so much peace.
HG: What do people get wrong about how beauty can affect mental health?
BN: That's a tough one because beauty can be interpreted in so many ways. I think it's easiest to call out makeup. In 2021, there are still so many people hung up on the belief that those who enjoy a beat face every day and even occasionally must not like something about themselves. It makes me sick. I've heard so many women tell me, "Well, men don't like it when women..." or "Girls that wear makeup all the time are..." Self-love and the desire to wear makeup are not mutually exclusive, and I think when more people understand and embrace that, then many out there will do what they want to do and not what they think others will approve of.
HG: What physical activities have you been doing lately to help you with self-care?
BN: At the beginning of quarantine, I became very dedicated to a healthier lifestyle. I changed my eating habits, started getting active every day, and now, 40 pounds lighter, I feel a weight lifted off of me, not only physically, but emotionally and mentally as well.
HG: As a beauty writer, how do you suggest others show up for Black beauty brands right now?
BN: Do just that—show up. Buy the product, support the brand. The biggest issue facing smaller Black beauty brands today is funding. So purchase. Remember, Black beauty brands aren't just for Black people.
HG: What forms of community care have you been gravitating toward lately? And how do you believe it has impacted you?
Group FaceTimes with my girls have kept me afloat. About a month ago the effects of being away from friends really started to weigh on me, and I could feel myself slipping into a depression. Now, with constant and intentional FaceTimes with those I love, it's helped.
HG: What do you want beauty brands to do to better support Black women?
BN: I could go on for days, but my top two is to one, hire us. And two, provide us with a healthy work environment where we feel we can speak up and where our opinions are heard. We don't feel safe in far too many spaces.
HG: Are there any products you've been gravitating toward lately during your self-care routine?
BN: I love Hanahana Beauty's Shea Butters. I heat a little up and apply after a shower; it's the most luxurious thing ever.
HG: What are some self-care practices that have been bringing you joy?
BN: Saying no. I used to be the person that would say yes to everyone, making myself sick in the process. I'm finally learning to say no to people without feeling guilty about it.