Beauty | February 23rd, 2024

Empowering Beauty: Celebrating Black Influence and Innovation in the Cosmetic World

By: Jasmine Dyer | Staff writer
Empowering Beauty: Celebrating Black Influence and Innovation in the Cosmetic World

The cosmetic industry has witnessed a remarkable evolution with the emergence of brands dedicated to serving the diverse needs of Black and brown individuals.

In the past, the cosmetic industry avoided creating products that were inclusive for deeper shades to align with Eurocentric beauty standards, refusing to promote blackness as beautiful.

This lack of representation prompted a creative shift, leading black people to make their own spaces of representation in the beauty industry.

Beauty campaigns and advertisements have become more diverse, featuring models and influencers with various skin tones and hair textures. This shift in representation helps break down narrow beauty standards and promotes a more inclusive definition of beauty.

As we delve into Black History Month, we aim to spotlight the influential trends carried by the Black community and applaud the brands that genuinely represent diversity.

New glamorous looks

The rhinestone period

Makeup is known for making your best features pop, but adding some rhinestones can make them shine. Black makeup artists are incorporating gems into their eyeshadow looks, and it has become an admired style for celebratory events. Whether its a rhinestone cut crease, cat eye, or a few gems under the lower lash line, it can help you feel like a star or a constellation.

Black women and women of color, period, are the blueprint,” Ayesha Williams, a former makeup artist, said.

The first time I saw a Black woman rocking rhinestones on her eyes, I was so impressed. Were always finding ways to make our beauty stand out even when people try to convince us not to.”

Lashes extensions 

Lash strips, clusters, extensions, all options for giving your natural lash extra volume or length. At one point, Black women were stigmatized for wearing false lash extensions. Yet, makeup artists, influencers, and celebrities have shifted perceptions since then, and lash extensions have become a prominent beauty service besides nail appointments. False lashes arent necessary for a beautiful, complete look, especially following the clean girlmakeup TikTok trend, which usually requires mascara, though lashes can bring a more alluring look.

Iconic makeup trends 

Contouring + highlighting

 The art of illusion contouring and highlighting, mainly focusing on enhancing cheekbones and facial features, is a significant influence from black makeup artists and beauty influencers. Many credit the art of this technique to drag queens due to their persistent ability to sculpt, brighten and define your face. The method of bringing a more radiant appearance has become mainstream in the beauty industry.

Maya Johnson, a second-year psychology major, feels Black people and social media made contour and highlight trendy.

Weve been rocking that radiant, dewy look, and now its global,” Johnson said. “Its all about embracing that natural melanated glow.”

Brown lip liner + lipgloss combo

Some trends are too good to die. The brown lip liner and lipgloss combo is one that never gets old. The aesthetic emerged in the 90s after Black and Latina women struggled to find lip liner shades that fit their complexion. Women eventually found that eyebrow pencils and eyeliners were the best alternative for brown shades; from there, the iconic look has influenced mainstream beauty and is now widely embraced by people of all races. Some influencers even attempt to appropriate the look.

Marlana Lawrence, a senior broadcast journalism student, recalled when women of color were criticized for wearing brown lipliner.

When I was little, every time I saw a black woman or a brown woman with that exact lip combo,” Lawrence said. “The way that people used to make fun of them was crazy. It used to be a sign youre an older woman or doing too much for your age, but now its so mainstream.’

Black-owned makeup brands 

Fashion Fair

Known as the first distinctive Black-owned makeup brand, Fashion Fair was created in 1973 by Eunice Johnson, wife to Ebony magazine founder John H. Johnson, to serve and uplift Black women and women of color unapologetically. Unfortunately, Fashion Fair filed for bankruptcy in 2019, but the company has relaunched with new CEO and co-owner Desiree Rogers, who plans to bring the brand back to life with Black women as the blueprint.

Black Radiance

Promoting black excellence with reasonable price and availability, Black Radiance celebrated its 30th anniversary last year and continues to provide affordable, exceptional products to Black people, from highlighters to lipsticks, foundations, eyeshadows, and contour palettes. If youre looking for drugstore-priced and locally available products, Black Radiance might be for you.

Juvias place 

Founded by Chichi Ebruru, Juvias Place was created to give variety in makeup to deeper shades. Driven by inspiration from her African roots, Juvias Place now presents a range of foundation shades and eye-catching products, including vibrant eyeshadow palettes, liquid eyeshadows, lashes, and lip glosses. These products mirror the richness and innovation of the African kingdoms that serve as their muse.

Fenty Beauty by Rihanna

RihannaFenty Beauty made history as the first-ever global beauty launch, simultaneously debuting online and in 1,620 stores across over 17 countries. Since its debut in 2017, the brand started with 40 inclusive foundation shades. It has since risen to 50, with additional products such as highlights, lipstick, glosses, and press powders for every complexion.