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Black Women in Beauty

In the vibrant world of beauty and skincare in the UK, there's a colorful tapestry of stories, struggles, and successes, particularly when we zoom in on the experiences of Black women. It's a bit like navigating a giant shopping center with endless aisles that somehow seem to have a bit of everything and yet not quite enough of the essentials for everyone. So, let’s chat about why Black women are navigating this space with a mix of grace, gusto, and a call for greater inclusivity.

A Stroll Through History Lane

Picture this: The beauty industry has long been like a party that didn't send out invites to everyone. For years, it celebrated a very narrow idea of beauty, leaving many feeling like they weren’t quite the guest of honor. Especially for Black women, finding products was like looking for a needle in a haystack, trying to find the right shade of foundation when I was a teenager was near on impossible. Not to mention the lack of representation in beauty and skincare brands from advertising to the shop floor, the industry simply wasn't geared to cater to all people.

Representation: More Than Just a Trend

Now, envision this, your favourite beauty ads turning into a vibrant art gallery where every piece on display celebrates diversity. Sounds inviting, doesn't it? Yet, for far too long, it felt like Black women were walking past a gallery with closed doors. Thankfully, the guest list is expanding and the doors are cracking open, but we’re still working on making sure everyone gets in and gets a plus-one. Just last week it came to my attention that the UK has only one black female beauty buyer. Rhea Cartwright is the Head Beauty buying at Liberty London, the most iconic and historical department store in the UK and gem of London. I couldn't believe that in 2024 there was still a lack of representation in the more senior levels of the beauty industry in the UK.

An article in the British Beauty Council revealed that "The Black Pound Report 2022 has unveiled the untapped economic power of the UK’s Multi-Ethnic consumer, with the health and beauty market being valued at £2.7billion. The British Beauty Council’s Value of Beauty Report valued total consumer spend in the industry at £27.2billion, meaning that a staggering 10% of consumer spending is being missed." There is a lot of untapped growth in the industry as the fight for inclusion and representation continues. We need more buyers that represent the market and help lead the way to cater to it in the big retailers and old school establishments. Rhea is leading the way and this is a breath of fresh air.

The Brighter, More Fabulous Future

So, what’s the path forward? It’s about turning the beauty industry into the best block party where everyone’s invited, everyone's beauty is celebrated, and all the beauty goodies cater to everyone’s needs. Imagine more products on the shelves that feel like they were made just for you, and ads that make everyone feel like the star of the show. There have been so many great changes and progress made and we need make sure we don't take our foot off the gas and keep pushing forward.

It’s about brands really listening and creating spaces for Black women to shine, from the drawing board to the billboard. And it’s about celebrating every skin tone, every hair texture, and every unique story with the genuine appreciation and joy it deserves. It's about supporting Black female owned businesses like Omnis and all the other wonderful brands out there.

In essence, the beauty and skincare industry is on a journey toward becoming a place where diversity isn’t just welcomed, it’s the focal point. So, let’s keep the conversation going, the suggestions flowing, and the beauty industry growing, until everyone can find their perfect match, be it a foundation shade or a curl-defining cream. Here’s to making beauty a space where every Black woman feels like they have a place and are seen and heard!

A personal note,

Grace x

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