Black girl magic: entrepreneurs transforming the beauty industry from the farm to your face
Black beauty consumers have faced deep challenges when it comes to equity in the beauty industry. As we celebrate Black History Month, we want to introduce you to two women who are changing the narrative by creating beauty products that not only give women of colour the options they need but by developing formulas free of toxic chemicals or ingredients that can cause skin reactivity.
Meet VeggiFace founders and mother–daughter duo Debra Dupree and Sinclair Lewis. After decades in the beauty industry, Dupree knew changes were necessary if she and other women weren’t getting what they wanted with traditional brands. While working as a beauty consultant, Dupree developed a severe allergic reaction to a product sold to clients. Since Lewis was studying herbs and plant-based ingredients, there was no time like the present to create a better future for their skin and the countless other women searching for a safe, yet satisfying beauty alternative.
Dupree shares that if she could describe her entrepreneurial journey in a song it would be Jill Scott’s ‘Blessed’, namely the lyric ‘I woke up in the morning feeling fresh to death, I’m so blessed.’ Lewis, a herbalist, adds, ‘It’s empowering to educate the black community on how they can create beauty from the inside out—a message not normally marketed to black women.’
Starting a multi-product brand from scratch was a challenge, but the Austin, Texas- based dynamic mother-and-daughter team knew they were on to something. Their top brand priority was the ability to choose quality ingredients with maximum skin care benefits. For instance, they chose rosehip oil due to its ability to promote an even complexion. ‘Realizing a dream to create a product line that is pure and authentic is so gratifying,’ confesses Dupree. The mother–daughter entrepreneurs want consumers to be concerned about what they’re putting on their skin and what to look for on ingredient labels. Lewis adds they are focusing on developing products to nourish and correct skin conditions such as rosacea and hyper-pigmentation. These maladies are often caused by chemicals in beauty and skin care products.
The duo add that while the beauty industry has come a long way in recognizing diversity, there remains a myriad of skin tones under-represented in many traditional brands sold in stores and online. VeggiFace has developed 22 shades to suit women of all colours and undertones. ‘We feel that skin care and make-up options for women of colour have been so limited due to companies overlooking this demographic, unaware that we make up a majority of the consumer market,’ claims Dupree. ‘Skin care and make-up are not one size fits all. We all have different needs and wants when it comes to beauty and personal care.’