The lack of shelf space traditionally given to Black-owned beauty brands has rightfully been spotlighted in recent months. And while independently owned brands may now be slowly, surely gaining the recognition, support and opportunities they deserve, the fact remains that there are few major retailers making products for Black skin a primary focus.
This is exactly what makes Candour Beauty so exciting. Jacqueline Kusamotu and Abi Lawrence-Adesida’s newly launched e-tail platform successfully mixes content with commerce, delivering an all-round luxury shopping experience.
The brand roster spans hair, skin and bodycare, and offers big-name brands (think Olaplex and Dr. Barbara Sturm) alongside new and niche ventures, from The Afro Skin + Hair Co to the anticipated Melyon skincare. Black Girl Sunscreen – a cult hero in the States – has been snapped up, as have textured hair heroes The Mane Choice and Cantu.
“Candour Beauty was created out of the need to serve women who looked like us,” says Kusamotu. “Women who have been historically neglected from the forefront of beauty.”
The experience of beauty shopping these two entrepreneurs describe will likely strike a chord with Black women across the globe. Not only did they struggle to find the right products in mainstream and local community retailers, but they were also faced with a complete lack of knowledge: no one in the industry was actively educating on Black skin or hair.
“We wanted to create a store that exquisitely curates products from the best and most sought-after brands that meet the specific needs of those with darker skin tones and textured hair, as well as also providing information to teach and educate on beauty,” adds Lawrence-Adesida.
With Candour Beauty, they’ve achieved just that. The slick, well-stocked website is a beauty destination, with a team of authoritative women behind the scenes. Not sure which serum will suit you? How to successfully tackle your pigmentation? They know, and they’re ready to guide you in the right direction.
“Candour Beauty is more than a retailer: it’s built on the foundation of truth, love and heritage. It’s about creating a platform that authentically understands and serves a demographic that has been overlooked and misrepresented. As well as providing beauty and personal care products and expert advice we are building a community where Black women and all people of colour are at the heart.”
So, with access to the industry’s best products, what do these entrepreneurs use themselves? Below, see the products you’ll find in Kusamotu and Lawrence-Adesida’s bathrooms…
1/ Epara Cleansing Oil
“I love products which are cleverly formulated and which aim to reduce pigmentation, says Kusamotu. “It’s also important for me to use products which work with my skin to give my natural complexion a glow without damaging the skin barrier.”
“My cleansing routine is incomplete without this product. It does wonders to remove make-up and sunscreen and doesn’t leave the face dry and stripped.”
“The ingredients are also really key in this product as it’s formulated with brightening liquorice root and plankton extract which are beneficial in helping to reduce hyperpigmentation. On days when my skin is producing excess oils, it also helps reduce and regulate.”
2/ Dr Sturm Enzyme Cleanser For Darker Skin Tones
“This is a personal favourite as it always leaves my complexion more radiant and refined,” says Kusamotu. “I love how it gives a gentle exfoliating cleanse without being abrasive and harsh. A bonus for me is that it also comes in a fine-grained powder that is activated once mixed with water, so you can be sure the formulation of vitamin C and enzymes is kept stable and consistent. A tip: try not to store this product in the shower to avoid it getting moist and causing build up around the lid.”
3/ Freya + Bailey Rendezvous! Souffle body Cream
“My favourite products are those that are effective yet gentle, whilst keeping my skin hydrated and moisturised especially during these winter months,” says Lawrence-Adesida.
“I love this body cream because of its intelligent formulation that combines natural and organic ingredients with therapeutic essential oils to help de-stress the mind as well as the body. I use it through all seasons. It’s luxuriously hydrating and leaves my skin feeling intensely smooth and moisturised. I also use it on the soles of my feet and I find I don’t need to do a pedicure as often! The gentle and spa-like scent always has a soothing effect on me. The packaging is amazing too: it’s eye candy on my bathroom shelf.”
4/ The Afro Hair + Skin Co. Flow Facial Oil
“I’m partial to this facial oil and always use it to seal in moisture as a penultimate step before applying sunscreen,” says Lawrence-Adesida. “Especially good for winter months, it’s infused with blackcurrant seed oil and organic ylang ylang flower which has reparative and protective properties. It’s perfect for protecting my skin from the harshness of winter days and the dryness from being in a centrally heated house through lockdown. I also love that it’s made locally in the UK.”
5/ Black Girl Sunscreen
“Sunscreen is not just for the summer months: it’s for all year round and is crucial for skin health and keeping hyperpigmentation at bay.”
“Black Girl Sunscreen is an absolute favourite for the both of us and it’s also one of our best sellers,” reveals Lawrence-Adesida. “Not only is it protective of our melanated skin, it can double as a face and body moisturiser. It contains avocado oil and jojoba and beautifully melts into the skin, leaves no cast and your face and body is left moisturised and nourished.”
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