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Beauty Through the Black Lens


This Black History Month, we’re showing love for the past, celebrating the present, and embracing the future through our Beauty Through the Black Lens series. From giving props to the game-changers who set the stage for today's superstars to backing, boosting, and investing in tomorrow’s trailblazers, join us in giving these Black brand founders, creators, and trend-setters their much-deserved flowers.

Want even more Beauty Through the Black lens? Check out our Beauty Amplified page now. 

Achieng Agutu Wants to Empower You to Live Boldly

In a time brimming with influencers and digital content creators, there emerges a true powerhouse, an array of confidence, self-love, and fearlessness. Meet Achieng Agutu, a Kenyan-born model and digital content creator whose remarkable journey to empowerment has not only captured the hearts of her ever-growing social media audience but has also propelled her to the pinnacle of recognition in the fashion and beauty space. With a mission to shatter stereotypes and amplify inclusivity for Black plus-size women in the luxury fashion and beauty industries, Achieng Agutu has become a name synonymous with empowerment and positivity.

Dr. Afiya Mbilishaka Is on a Mission to Destigmatize Mental Health Through the Lens of Hair

Amid the era where beauty and mental health coincide, one name stands out as an advocate for Black individuals seeking holistic well-being: Afiya Mbilishaka, Ph.D. With her unique combination of expertise in both mental health and cosmetology, Dr. Mbilishaka has made significant contributions to the beauty industry through her innovative approach called PsychoHairapy.

Celebrating Afro-Latina Excellence: The Entrepreneurial Journey of Luna Magic Co-Founders

In the beauty industry, certain narratives stand as guiding lights of inspiration and cultural representation. The journey undertaken by Mabel and Shaira Frìas, the visionary sisters steering the ship of LUNA MAGIC—an empowering Afro-Latina brand—exemplifies one such story. Rooted in a fusion of their dual heritage and an unwavering entrepreneurial spirit, these sisters have not only etched their mark on beauty but have also emerged as role models for aspiring business owners and advocates for diversity.

Black Beauty Roster’s Maude Okrah Is Striving Not Just for Inclusion, but for Equity Too

What does equity in the beauty industry look like? To Maude Okrah, founder of Black Beauty Roster (BBR), equity in beauty doesn’t stop with the glossy, multi-hued pages of a skincare spread or diverse model casting in a fashion show—it begins with sourcing qualified professionals to call the shots behind the scenes. After the racial reckoning of 2020, beauty professionals were having productive conversations about the state of the industry, but Maude decided it was time for more significant action. So how did this beauty founder go from an industry outsider to covering backstage beauty at Christian Siriano for New York Fashion Week? Keep reading to see beauty through Maude Okrah’s lens and learn how Black Beauty Roster is changing the industry.

Meet Dime Jones: The Modern-Day Renaissance Woman

If you ask Diamond “Dime” Jones to describe herself, she’ll unapologetically give you a response that is equal parts bold and undeniable: Dime Jones is a renaissance woman. The multi-hyphenate creative can’t be pigeon-holed into one lane; she’d rather explore them all. This blossoming designer, social media maven, and philanthropist has built quite the portfolio in one solar return, and in her own words, “I'm still growing; I'm still building; I'm still figuring out what I want. I'm just open and exploring.”

Meet the Face (and the Inspiration) Behind Those Instagram-Famous Brown Hands

Hannah Harris inside pink frame with black text Beauty Through The Black Lens

We’re seeing big changes in the fashion and beauty industries: racial diversity on the runway, age inclusion in hair care ads, and size inclusion in athletic wear to name a few. While it’s easy to get swept up in these important industry shifts, Hannah Harris is focusing on the little (albeit equally impactful) changes. Her first daunting question: Where are all the brown hands? With a beautifully curated Instagram feed and an emerging content studio by the name of Brown Girl Hands, Harris is beginning to answer her own question.

Makeup Artist Jade Ponce Is Uplifting The Trans Community, One Face at a Time

Jade Ponce inside pink frame with black text Beauty Through The Black Lens

Jade Ponce has an immediately recognizable gentle spirit. Sure, you might first notice that she has mastered the art of a glowing soft beat or that her highlighter is the perfect shade for her honey complexion—but then you take note of her sweet smile and inviting demeanor and think, I want to be friends with this girl.

Tisha Thompson Is Making Clean Beauty Accessible For All

Tisha Thompson inside pink frame with black text Beauty Through the Black Lens

There’s a gap in the beauty industry, and Tisha Thompson is on a mission to fill it starting with her new company LYS BEAUTY. This good-for-your-skin makeup brand includes vegan, cruelty-free, and sustainably packaged products that all retail for less than $30. The brand launched in 2019 and has already joined Sephora’s shelves as the first Black-owned clean beauty brand, but it’s no wonder this cosmetics company is such a hit. Thompson is a trailblazing clean beauty veteran with more than 15 years of innovation under her belt, and she’s using her industry expertise to service women of color.

Tennille Murphy Is Building an Empire Through Authenticity: White Hair and All

Tennille Murphy inside pink frame with black text Beauty Through the Black Lens

Looking at Tennille Murphy’s salt and pepper curls, one can’t help but look forward to living authentically. The 40-something multifaceted content creator is vibrant and thriving in an industry that has a reputation for prioritizing youth above all else, and her unapologetic choice to embrace her individuality inspires others to do the same.

Beauty for All: Bryce Anthony Wants All Genders to Own Their Beauty

Bryce Anthony inside pink frame and black text Beauty THrough The Black Lens

There are certain unspoken beauty standards that we all seem to have fallen in line with, no matter how woke we may be. Somewhere between believing that thinner is better and that straight hair reigns supreme, we’ve also silently agreed that taking care of your skin is for women. Bryce Anthony is here to change that.

Soy Negra, y Soy Dominicana: Miss Rizos Talks Curls, Identity, and Radical Self-Love

Carolina Contreras inside pink frame with black text Beauty Through the Black Lens

If you’ve ever been to a Dominican hair salon, you were likely greeted with the smoky aroma of hair sheen and the sizzling sound of hair being pressed and stretched from curls and kinks into the famously bone-straight Dominican blowout. This hair-fried sizzle that is familiar to so many will not be found at Carolina Contreras’ natural hair salon, Miss Rizos salon. Her namesake brand has two salon locations (one in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and the other in New York City) that are working to not only transform the way that curly-haired people see their hair but to also change how Afro-Latina women see their own beauty.

Danessa Myricks Is More Than Makeup—She’s an Inspiration

Danessa Myrics inside pink frame with black text Beauty Through the Black Lens

Danessa Myricks has been called “your favorite makeup artist’s favorite makeup artist.” As hyperbolic as it sounds, chances are it’s true. Over the past few years, the respected makeup artist has made vibrant, glittery waves as shoppers discovered her namesake brand in stores and online—but before that, Danessa was already a beauty industry standout.

Model Tabria Majors Is Breaking The Mold And Breaking Boundaries

Tabria Majors inside pink frame with black text Beauty Through The Black Lens

Get used to seeing Tabria Majors. The accomplished model has made her presence known with her work ranging from Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty show to Forever 21, and even an exclusive swimsuit collaboration with Fashion to Figure. She practically broke the internet when she channeled Beyoncé for Halloween, and she also happens to be plus-sized—which, quite frankly IMHO, is one of the least interesting things about her.

For Dr. Adeline Kikam (a.k.a @Brownskinderm), Representation Is More Than Skin Deep

Dr. Adeline Kikam inside pink frame with black text Beauty Through the Black Lens

Dermatologist Adeline Kikam, MD, a.k.a. @brownskinderm, is a wellness provider, an educator for skin of color, and serious all-around inspiration. If you follow her on Instagram (she has more than 47,000 followers!), you know that all of her posts will not only provide a study-backed perspective, but also advice geared to help people of color to better understand their skin and how to care for it. From dropping intel on which sunscreen to use, to reminding the skincare industry that true diversity and inclusion does not end with a social post, Dr. Kikam is the skincare advocate and leader Instagram needs.

Post #BlackoutTuesday, Aja White’s Success Came With More Than Just Followers

Aja White inside pink frame with black text Beauty Through the Black Lens

This year, Black social media influencers from YouTube to Instagram saw a surge of followers, opportunities, exposure, and success after the Uprisings following George Floyd’s death. But that success came at an emotional price for many. We caught up with Aja White, a beauty influencer who spent years steadily building up a dedicated following. Like so many Black influencers, she saw a fast surge in followers and opportunities around the time of #BlackoutTuesday. We got a chance to ask her about what life was like before and after the Uprisings, and how she has handled the surge in her followers—despite the events that led to that growth.

Colorism Is A Real Thing—Especially In The Black Beauty Community

Ndeye Peinda inside pink frame with black text Beauty Through the Black Lens

“Breaking the stereotypical mold of beauty with style, grace & a beat face,” are the words that make up beauty influencer Ndeye Peinda’s catchy yet powerful Instagram bio. It’s a sentence that encompasses the work she’s doing simply by existing and thriving in her own skin—though the idea of her beauty being revolutionary isn’t one that she asked for.

When Makeup Artist Renée Loiz Couldn’t Find A Black-Owned Beauty Guide, She Created Her Own

Renée Loiz inside pink frame with black text Beauty Through the Black Lens

If there’s anything that Renée Loiz has learned in her twenty plus years of makeup artistry, it’s that beauty has an impact. Quite literally, she’s touched countless people as a celebrity makeup artist preparing Los Angeles’s young A-listers for the red carpet, but more recently, her reach has expanded further than her brush could alone. Amongst the angst and discomfort of the racial reckoning of 2020, Renée was compelled to do her part to increase visibility and access for Black-owned brands and creators.

Dear Hairstylists Who Work With Black Models And Creators—Do Better!

Bianca Alexa inside pink frame with black text Beauty Through the Black Lens

Bianca Alexa is a UK-made, Puerto Rican-raised model based in Los Angeles. While she never could have imagined that a little island girl would one day build a career as the face of several fashion and beauty campaigns, Bianca has managed to work her way into an industry that so often has held little room for diversity. Her curly natural hair and complexion were outwardly celebrated in beauty campaigns, but behind the scenes, she often found herself in an experience that was quite isolating. 

My Journey To Clear Skin Was A Long One—Here’s How I Made It Happen

Kindra Moné inside colorful frame with black text Beauty Through the Black Lens

From harsh, acidic cleansers she should’ve left alone, to DIY masks and at-home extractions (please, don’t try that at home)—beauty and wellness writer Kindra Moné has probably tried it all on her quest to clearer skin. She’s experienced what felt like embarrassing breakouts for months on end in which she wouldn’t dare leave her house without makeup on, but she’s happy to say that lately, wearing concealer feels like an added boost to her look rather than a reluctant obligation. These days, it’s not a rarity for a friend on social media to ask her to drop her skincare routine or for a follower to comment on her newfound glow, but this was not always her story.

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Article Last Updated January 25, 2024 12:00 AM