Um, hi, hello? Skincare and beauty world? This is a routine vibe check. The industry is full of buzzy words like brightening, smoothing, exfoliating … But what do these words really mean for everyone? More often than not, they allude to active products that contain some sort of acidic or not-rich-enough ingredient, and not all these ingredients are safe or beneficial for darker skin tones and textured hair. Where’s the fine print on that?
The bottom line is that aestheticians, beauty gurus, and brands in general need better education around ingredients when it comes to promising results for all skin and hair. We spoke with Nyakio Grieco—founder of Nyakio Beauty and co-founder of Thirteen Lune, an e-comm platform that dedicates 90% of their shelf space to Black and Brown founders who create products for people of all colors—to clear things up across the spectrum.
“Equitable representation is a crucial part of making the beauty industry more inclusive,” Grieco starts. The industry has made small strides in advertisement representation, but on most labels or brand websites, the facts remain elusive and require extensive outside research for those with darker skin tones to do assessing before investing.
Skincare and makeup
“There’s no shortage of serums in the market, but many aren’t formulated for melanin-rich skin. Star ingredients like kojic acid and azelaic acid are amazing for the skin, and the Brightening Serum from Shayde Beauty is a current go-to. This formula works great for all skin tones for an even complexion and effortless glow.
Breakout-prone types, experiment on the face with caution, though Grieco explains that cold-pressed coconut oil works well for all skin types on the body—especially nourishing when there’s a need for some deep hydration.
“The Idan Oil from Liha Beauty is a multi-purpose, head-to-toe body oil that provides benefits to keep you glowing and hydrated all day. Bonus: it’s also infused with real tuberose and has the most heavenly scent.”
So many highlighters on the market are designed for lighter skin and have an unnaturally pearlescent effect on more melanated tones. The perfect highlight and glow that are essential to Grieco’s everyday makeup look come from Ami Colé’s Light Catching Highlighter.
“It’s a great example of a product that truly allows us to see the effects of highlighter on all skin types, including darker skin tones.”
Beware of peels and lasers
“It’s best for those of us with melanin-rich skin to consult a dermatologist before receiving certain chemical peels and laser treatments that can often cause hyperpigmentation in darker skin tones.
The skincare products formulated with acids, like glycolic acid or lactic acid, work best on melanin-rich skin at lower percentages to reduce chances of hyper- or hypopigmentation, or irritation to the skin barrier. Look for products that detail their percentages so you know how they are formulated, and if it’s safe and inclusive.”
Haircare ingredients dos and don’ts
“Ingredients in hair products including sulfates, parabens, and formaldehyde are not beneficial to all hair types but can be especially damaging for textured hair. To maintain the best hydration and hair health for textured hair and beyond, it’s best to use products that include healthy oils like argan oil, shea oil, and hydrolyzed keratin, which helps to fight frizz, reduce the damage from heat styling and chemicals, and tame tangles. Coffee seed oil is also an incredible ingredient to stimulate cells in the follicle and promote hair growth, which can be a challenge for damaged hair, textured hair, or over-processed hair for all.
Because textured hair requires deep hydration, Bomba Curls Forbidden Hair Mask is incredible and includes ingredients such as argan oil and hydrolyzed keratin that are deeply effective on all hair types, but also gives textured hair that extra boost of needed moisture.”
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