Black people are beyond resourceful. When we come upon a problem, a roadblock, or a flat out “no,” we find another solution. That’s exactly what the following entrepreneurs did when faced with a skin-care industry that doesn’t cater to brown complexions.
Ozohu Adoh wanted a luxury skin-care brand that was tailored to treat skin of color, so she created Epara Skincare. Katonya Breux couldn’t find a sunscreen that didn’t leave her skin irritated or chalky white, so she founded Unsun Cosmetics. And when Trinity Mouzon Wofford didn’t see herself represented in the wellness space, she whipped up her own inclusive brand called Golde.
Ahead, we spoke with five founders who are changing the skin-care aisle for the better. These Black women created their brands with brown skin at the forefront, and it shows in the marketing and the results.
Ozohu Adoh of Epara Skincare
With a degree in accounting from Oxford University, Ozohu Adoh never intended to start her own beauty brand. However, years of dealing with dry skin and misdiagnosed rashes left her frustrated. She tried all manner of lotions and creams to no avail. “I was trying every well-known product, but they weren’t working,” she says. “I began to understand that there are so many nuances around our skin.” Finally, she realized she’d have to find the solution herself.
Odoh started to research African oils, butters, and botanicals to create her own moisturizing blend. After noticing a significant difference in her skin, she decided to create Epara Skincare, a luxury skin-care line for skin of color. “I noticed that the existing brands were not catering to [Black] professional women with disposable income, because they didn’t feel like that market was significant enough,” she says. “Women of color and Black women use luxury, so why isn’t there anything that speaks to us?”
The Epara line, which is available at Barneys New York, targets the specific needs of brown skin, especially hyperpigmentation and hydration. “Historically when companies target hyperpigmentation they use bleaching agents in the product,” says Adoh. “So the question for me became: How can we embrace the skin that we have while treating problem areas?” The brightening products address dark spots without affecting the overall melanin levels, and every product has moisturizing ingredients like shea butter and hyaluronic acid.
Katonya Breux of Unsun Cosmetics
Ask any Black person about their sunscreen complaints, and they’ll tell you that most formulas leave brown skin looking ghostly, and the ones that do disappear are chemical-based. So what if you want a mineral sunscreen that blends into brown skin? Well, you’d be out of luck.
That’s why Katonya Breaux created Unsun Cosmetics. She started the company after discovering a smattering of bumps on her face were the result of too much time unprotected in the sun. “I started to get small moles on my face, similar to the ones my mother and aunts had acquired as they reached their 70s, but I was only 30!” she says. “I went to the dermatologist, and she told me that it …read more