The Black Lives Matter movement has brought about a significant shift in the conversations we are having around race, and how it is imperative that we create connections within individual industries – and beauty is no different.
Many black-owned beauty brands struggle to propel their businesses in an industry that hasn’t always catered to those outside the “lighter-than-a-paper-bag” skin-tone spectrum. Black women’s hair, with its textured kinks and coils, hasn’t always been accommodated for by the major hair brands, and having a black ambassador on the packaging of a wellness supplement is almost mythical. Without representation at the top, it is very difficult to create inclusivity within an industry that should serve people of all colours.
There are, though, a growing number of black-owned Irish beauty brands – that everyone can support. A purchase can help strengthen local communities and provide representation for all the little black girls with aspirations to be a boss – plus you’ll get some top-quality beauty products.
Natural skin and hair brand Golden Rootz is based in Portlaoise and focuses on providing good quality, organic, handmade products at reasonable prices. My hero product is the Vanilla Honey Hydrate & Revitalise Leave-In Conditioner (€10.99 at golden-rootz.com), which is a great curly-haired girl's tool for keeping lacklustre tresses hydrated, while leaving a pleasant lingering scent. While you're filling up your basket, also try the Lush Himalayan Salts Sparkle Soap (€6). Soaps have a bad reputation for being too drying on skin, but this sulfate-free, five-ingredient bar will leave you silky smooth.
Another brand championing healthy skin is Bee Loved. Owned by Galway-based acupuncturist and herbalist Mercedes Varona, the range includes a Face Active Oil (€15 at beelovedskincare.com) that is a non-greasy, leave-on, intensive overnight treatment to restore the softness of your skin. The oil blend includes pomegranate and Evening Primrose and is a great remedy for dry/irritated skin. Oils are best used on well-cleansed and moisturised skin to lock in the moisture, so use the Bee Loved Face Cream (€20) first – that is if you can snag it before it goes out of stock again.
Kings Kollection Hair specialises in different textures of hair extensions and wigs that can be dyed, bleached and cut, as well as eyelashes that offer up to 50 wears. KKH has a personalised service with specialised wig makers creating perfect-fit wigs. (Prices from €30 for 20cm virgin hair extensions at kingskollectionhair.com)
Other Irish black-owned brands that deserve a shout out include skincare brand Whipped, founded by Denga Phiriga, Nqobile Ngcobo and Masindi Phiriga in Kells, Co Meath. It has a range of natural, sustainable and cruelty-free moisturising creams.
Or the highly anticipated Bees of Honey Lip Butter (beesofhoney.bigcartel.com) launching soon to join the range of soaps and body butters from the brand started by Mimmie Malaba.
If you're looking for black-owned make-up brands that ship to Ireland, then try Juvia's Place heavily pigmented eye palettes or find your hue within UOMA's 51 shades of foundations – and Pat McGrath Labs' line for knock-out lipsticks.
Laura Kennedy is away