For many of us, June 2020 was an intense whirlwind of activism and action: from the Black Lives Matter and #DefundPolice protests, to the petitions to charge Breonna Taylor’s killers, to the calls to local government to take a stand for Budget Justice, to the push to nationally recognize Juneteenth, June saw many of us being forced to reckon with our own explicit and implicit racial biases and decide how we were going to move forward. But for many of us who don’t have to deal with being the victims of racism on a daily basis, we may have found it easy to go back to our regular lives (read: “regular” for living through a global pandemic) after that June whirlwind.
But this settling back in is a mistake: June was not the climax of the anti-racist movement; it was only the beginning; it was only the first step in the long journey towards dismantling racism in this country.
Black people have been disenfranchised in the US in so many awful ways, but one major way is financially: the practice of redlining under the New Deal (and beyond) not only ensured racial segregation of communities, but also guaranteed decades of inequality and the subjugation of Black people, refusing them loans and basically denying them the opportunity to participate in the American financial market. Of course, change needs to happen at the local, state and federal government levels in order to redress this, but one thing that you as an individual can do—even today! right now!—is to support black-owned businesses. Like shopping more sustainably, supporting black-owned businesses is a step we can take that will help invest in the future of these companies. And it may take shaking up your routine a little bit, perhaps an extra step here or there. But that extra step is worth it to discover the many amazing companies that are innovating—especially in the sustainable beauty realm. And soon these Black-owned businesses will just be your go-to brands. Let’s put some market power back into the hands of our BIPOC friends!
First of all, you need to check out BLK + GRN, an “all natural marketplace by all black artisans.” What an incredible resource! But for just a few of my favorite Black-Owned clean beauty products, read on!
- Kaike: Kaike (pronounced “cake”) specializes in 100% vegan, cruelty-free preservative-free, plant-based, multi-purpose products. I love their Green Tea Clay Mask & Scrub, made simply with french green clay, bentonite clay, and matcha powder. That’s it.
- Shimirose: A London-based brand, Shimirose makes shea butters that are ethically sourced from a community of women in Ghana. Shimirose is committed to low-waste, sourcing in bulk and making sure that 98% of their packaging is recycled or recyclable. Their products are also cruelty-free and toxin-free. I love that they package in glass jars with metal caps—when you get to the end of the shea butter, you can upcycle the jar into a mini terrarium or candle holder!
- Dirt Don’t Hurt: Three sisters founded this company when they were all pregnant or had young kids and examining more closely what they were putting into and onto their bodies. The company specializes in bamboo toothbrushes and toxin-free toothpastes made of activated charcoal, but they also sell skincare products.
- EleVen by Venus Williams: You might remember from my post on natural sunscreens, and at this point, it’s pretty widely known, but chemical sunscreens wreak havoc on the environment! It’s so important to find a good mineral sunscreen that you can apply every morning and throughout the day—especially when you’re wearing a mask (which I hope you are). Nobody wants a mask tan. So add EleVen by Venus Williams into your daily routine. It provides UVA and UVB protection, is reef-safe, and does not leave a chalky residue. And, if it’s good enough for Venus Williams…
- Ginger + Liz: You don’t have to look like you live in the forest to want to protect the forest. Ginger + Liz makes vegan, toxin-free nail polish that is free of harsh chemicals and carcinogens like toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, camphor, and DBP. So go ahead—give yourself a hot pink mani and don’t feel bad about it!