the New Platform for Black-Owned Beauty Products

In June, writer Dalila Thomas wrote an op-ed about how frustrating it was that it took the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor to see Black-owned businesses get the support they deserved. To her, it felt like a slap in the face, and she wasn’t sure if the movement would last. “What happens after the tear gas clears?” she asked.

With the launch of Thirteen Lune, co-founders Nyakio Grieco and Patrick Herning have created an e-commerce destination focused on Black and brown-owned beauty brands to make sure that people are keeping that same energy that they had this summer (and keeping their purses open). The new platform takes all of your favorite Black and brown-owned brands and puts them in one location, so you don’t need to have a million tabs open when you’re shopping. Oh, and the selection of products are by Black and brown founders and for people of all colors.

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And even though Thirteen Lune is technically an e-commerce platform, its mission goes way beyond retail. Part of the platform’s message is to give each brand an opportunity to be seen by a wider audience. For the founders who were chosen to be a part of the launch, this is huge—it’s no secret that Black business owners have to deal with more financial obstacles and jump through extra hoops to get their companies off the ground.

“Thirteen Lune is the platform that I had always dreamed of since launching my brand. As a female-founded, Black-owned luxury brand, having a partnership that will help me share my brand story in an authentic and elevated way to an audience that is typically harder for me to reach due to funding,” KéNisha Ruff, founder and creative director of Marie Hunter Beauty, tells Cosmo.

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Nyakio Grieco, Founder of Nyakio Beauty and Co-Founder of Thirteen Lune

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Patrick Herning, Founder and CEO of  11 Honoré and Co-Founder of Thirteen Lune

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Thirteen Lune is also working to change the narrative around Black and brown-owned brands. In a press release, the co-founders stated that alongside the product picks will be a storytelling platform “that honors the heritage and history of the Black and Brown culture and community, and amplifies the voices behind each brand, spotlighting them with prominence.” They hope that telling these stories will reframe how these brands are typically seen by consumers. “Thirteen Lune is a platform that highlights and empowers Black-owned brands who prioritize quality and community, and that’s something we will always get behind,” says Dorion Renaud, founder of Buttah Skin.

I spoke with co-founder Nyakio Grieco to get all of the deets about Thirteen Lune—keep scrolling to read her comments, and to learn more about the 13 brands that are a part of this launch.

On the story behind Thirteen Lune:

“I’ve been a Black beauty founder for two decades—I started Nyakio Beauty in my 20s. It’s had many wins, but also many challenges along the way. And when I finally hit my 40s, I had an aha moment—maybe a lot of the challenges didn’t have much to do with particular failures in my business and more to do with being a Black beauty founder.

“As we were going through this really pinnacle moment with Black Lives Matter this summer, it was a sort of conflicting experience for me. I was receiving more attention than I had ever gotten for my beauty brand and I was on all of these lists; and while it was validating and exciting to see our sales increase, it was also a really conflicting experience. This was all a result of a really painful time for us. But also, while looking at these lists, there were so many brands that I had never heard of, and it goes back to the lack of visibility and how much harder it is for us as Black and brown founders to be seen.”

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“I was also trying to do my part and shop Black-founded and Black-owned at this time to support our communities, and I was finding myself going to 16, 17, 18 different websites, depending on what article I was reading, to buy these products. And I thought, ‘Gosh how silly is that’? There’s all this talent, and there’s not one place where I can go browse them all. So we wanted to create a platform that would speak on inclusivity, while also amplifying, celebrating, and supporting people who for far too long have not been seen.”

On how they choose the brands that would be a part of the launch:

“A lot of the brands were brands that kept popping up in my inbox, and brands that I was just so excited to come across. We wanted brands to be non-toxic because we can do a better job at speaking to clean beauty in the Black and brown community. There’s a lot to be done to move the needle in that space, so that was definitely one of the benchmarks. And I’m a big believer that people will buy into people before they buy into products, so another benchmark was interesting founder stories. What inspired you, how did you get to this place? We wanted them to add to the storytelling aspect of the platform and show that their incredible products highlight exactly who they are as founders.”

On how inclusivity plays a role in Thirteen Lune’s mission

“I had founders and colleagues who I look up to who aren’t Black or brown reaching out to me and saying, ‘Wow, I’ve been creating products for Black and brown people—I want to do better at reaching them and showing them that I’m an ally, but I don’t want it to come off as performative. I’m not just going to start popping black models in my campaign or on my Instagram—how do I do this in an authentic way?’

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“I was honored that they trusted me enough to be honest and have those uncomfortable conversations, so that’s when Patrick and I started talking about how our platform could be an authentic place to show allyship. Many of my friends and many brands do create products that work on my skin, that work on my hair. But maybe they haven’t had the opportunity to really show that off in a big way. So we told them, ‘Why don’t you sell us your darker shades and show your allyship? Why don’t you send us products that prove that you’ve thought about my skin or my hair in your formulations and we’ll welcome you to be a part of the family.’

“The only way we’re going to get to a place of unity, which we all deserve, is through allyship. In 2021, we’re going to start introducing some of these products and founders who are committed to moving the needle for the better.”

Keep reading for the brands that are a part of Thirteen Lune’s launch, plus, the best products to shop right now.

Afro Pick

Founded by the Walker Boys—Gemille, Shaquille, and Zarrius, to be specific—Afro Pick is a company that’s all about telling stories. The brothers work with artists from all over the globe and choose designs that weave a visual narrative about Black culture for each pick. Cool, right? The designs are made up of bold patterns and bright colors—it’s almost like they’re just waiting for you to ask, “Hey, what’s your story?”

✨ Must-try product: Fresher Prince

Beija Flor Naturals

Beija Flor Naturals started the way most companies do—there was a need for it. While trying to deal with stubborn hyperpigmentation, Stevonne Ratliff discovered a hole in the market—there were basically zero natural skincare options that focused on women of color. So she decided to fill it. Now the brand carries organic skin, body, and haircare products, made up of vitamin-rich ingredients inspired by the ones Ratfliff saw in the Brazilian pharmacies when she lived in Rio de Janeiro.

✨ Must-try product: Cocoa Mango Buttercream

Buttah Skin

Founder Dorion Renaud couldn’t find a product that addressed the specific needs of his skin (like dryness, discoloration, and of course, zits) until he discovered his secret sauce—shea butter. The MVP ingredient quickly became the highlight of many of his products, including the Facial Shea Butter and the Whipped Body Butter. But Renaud didn’t stop there—the melanin-focused brand quickly expanded to include other skin routine staples, including a potent vitamin C serum and a powerful exfoliating toner.

✨ Must-try product: Cocoa Shea Cream

Bomba Curls

Lulu Cordero was losing her hair—fast. And after traditional treatments didn’t help her traction alopecia, she turned to her roots. By whipping up the haircare recipes found in the Dominican Republic, her home, Cordero was able to promote hair health and curl growth. There was no way she was keeping the secret to herself (I mean, seriously—what a gem). Because of Bomba Curls, she’s now able to bring her hair-growth program (and bouncy, healthy curls) to the masses.

✨ Must-try product: Dominican Forbidden Oil

Charlotte Mensah

Charlotte Mensah’s haircare line is actually her second act. Before she launched a line of high-quality curl care products, she opened a salon (that she still runs, TYVM) where she works on everyone from Zadie Smith to Michaela Coel. But back to the line—it’s legit amazing. Mixed into each product is manketti nut oil, a super-hydrating ingredient that’s packed with antioxidants that boost your curls with lightweight moisture and unreal shine.

✨ Must-try product: Manketti Hair Oil

Dehiya Beauty

Dehiya Beauty can be described using today’s beauty buzzwords—plant-based, all-natural, vegan—but the skincare line lives up to all of the hype. Named after North African female warriors, the clean products fuse the African beauty rituals of the past with modern skincare research and knowledge in order to create an inclusive line teeming with high-quality ingredients like frankincense, sunflower seed oil, and argan oil.

✨ Must-try product: Alia

Gilded Body

You have an elaborate routine for your face, why not show your body the same love? That’s exactly what Blair Armstrong is trying to do with her body care brand, Gilded Body. Their line of products range from a brightening polish to a moisturizing balm and they all have the same goal in mind—leveling up your body care routine while improving your skin’s texture.

✨ Must-try product: The Marble Body Brush


After struggling with a hellish streak of hormonal acne, dealing with dark marks that wouldn’t disappear, and feeling bummed by the lack of diverse skincare brands, Desiree Verdejo decided to take matters into her own hands. She developed a serum jam-packed with ingredients like vitamin C, kojic acid, and salicylic acid that gets the job done without ruining your skin’s barrier (aka the protective outer layer).

✨ Must-try product: Hyper Clear Brightening Clearing Serum

Lauren Napier Beauty

Lauren Napier turned the beauty game on its head by reimagining the makeup wipe. Most wipes come jam-packed together, causing them to dry out, making them useless. So Napier, a former makeup artist, developed individually wrapped cotton-blend wipes that you can use to prep your skin and wipe off your waterproof mascara at the end of the day. There’s three lines of face wipes, each one paired to a specific skin type, and all of the packaging is recyclable—you love to see it.

✨ Must-try product: Flaunt

Liha Beauty

The only thing more luxe than Liha Beauty’s sleek packaging is the product inside. The two founders, Abi Oyepitan and Liha Okunniwa, create small homemade batches of oils, soaps, and lotions that draw on Nigerian traditions. Some of the product highlights include a candle that’s inspired by a symbol of female empowerment, a multi-purpose cream, and a perfume that’s also a body oil.

✨ Must-try product: Idan Oil

Marie Hunter Beauty

Kenisha Ruff spent five years traveling the world to find the perfect labs to create her beauty line. And, TBH, I think she nailed it. With Marie Hunter Beauty, you’ve got quality options—there’s skincare, makeup, and candles. There’s pigmented lipsticks and comfortable glosses, cozy and fragrant candles, and effective serums and exfoliators. All of the products are cruelty-free, plus a portion of proceeds are donated to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

✨ Must-try product: Prosecco Signature Candles

Skôt Beauté

Toks Fahm Ajayi didn’t want too much out of a beauty line—just something that was travel and spa-inspired, and combined African and French beauty rituals while working on people of all skin tones and ages. Too much to ask for? She didn’t think so. So when she couldn’t find a brand that checked off all of these boxes, she developed her own. Skôt Beauté gives you the best of both worlds—a simple and effective skincare routine that still looks and feels luxurious.

✨ Must-try product: Intense Love Mask

The Established

With The Established, Essence Iman developed a high-quality body care line that was straightforward. AKA, she didn’t fill it with any unnecessary ingredients (there’s no sulfates and parabens, among other ingredients, in the formulas), no extra packaging (everything’s sleek and simple), and the entire collection is “plant powered,” according to their website.

✨ Must-try product: Elixa Bath and Body Serum

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2 thoughts on “the New Platform for Black-Owned Beauty Products

  • December 8, 2020 at 6:11 pm

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