A one-stop shop for women of colour to find all their favourite beauty products finally exists — and yes, they ship internationally.
Marjani Beauty was started by lawyer Kimberly Smith, who says she's always been a lover of cosmetics and fashion, after noticing the lack of beauty product options around the world for women with darker skin tones and textured hair.
“I started this company to create a space where women of colour can find products, from a curated selection of brands, that address our needs without us having to compromise in quality, price or our appearance," she says on the company's website.
"This is a beauty destination for melanin women by melanin women. One size fits all beauty is now a thing of the past!"
The e-commerce site offers everything from hair, skin, body, nail and lip products for women and also a section with more specialized merchandised for younger customers.
The products put an emphasis on the "must haves" for women of colour: highly pigmented makeup, foundation shades for a variety of hues and products to help get and maintain healthy hair and glowing skin.
“We aim to not just be a retailer, but a community where shopping becomes a memorable experience," Smith shares. "Bringing international beauty and cosmetic products to the local consumer, and using this platform to empower women of colour, across nationalities, age, hair textures, shades to embrace and claim their beauty.”
And it doesn't just stop there. According to InStyle, new products are added on a bi-weekly basis. So customers can look forward to grabbing more and more great finds.
A website like this could not come at a better time. Back in 2015, Racked reported black women spend about US$7.5 billion on beauty products every year, which is more than what 80 per cent of what other consumers tend to spend on cosmetics. And according to Yanira Garza, a Chicago-based beauty blogger, many mainstream retailers just aren't cutting it.
"Some brands are just trying too hard when they target us," she told the publication. "They rely on stereotypes that have nothing to do with how I live my life."
In Canada, entrepreneur Chantal Carter Taylor plans to launch Love and Nudes, a diverse lingerie line for women of colour, for similar reasons as Smith.
"Love and Nudes is about more than just undergarments," Carter Taylor told The Huffington Post Canada Wednesday. "We’re creating a brand that empowers women to love their skin."
We're here for all of this!
Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous Foundation, $48
With 24 available shades, there’s really something suitable for anyone looking for a solid foundation. Over and over, Laura Mercier’s Candleglow Foundation continues to be mentioned as a favourite amongst Asian women likely due to the special attention paid to shades featuring yellow, olive and golden undertone.
$59. Available at Holt Renfrew.
Shu Umera Eyelash Curler
What did I do before the Shu Umera Eyelash Curler? A heck of a lot of struggling and even more sighs of defeat. My lashes are short and straight and the Shu Umera curler was able to get the lashes right at the inner corner of my eye and create a nice natural looking curl as opposed to an awkward horizontal bend like my first Revlon curler. Another cult favourite for Asian women is the Shisheido eyelash curler
, which is highly recommended if you have smaller, almond shaped eyes.
$24. Available at Sephora.
Isehan Kiss Me Heroine Make Long & Curl Mascara
A classic struggle for women with short straight lashes that point down is that most mascaras will weigh them down. Luckily, you’ve just stumbled upon the holy grail of mascaras for Asian lashes. This Japanese product is extremely lightweight and will generally do as promised: Curl and lengthen even the most stubborn stick straight and short lashes.
$25.47. Available at amazon.ca.
e.l.f Shadow Lock Eyelid Primer
For reasons unbeknownst to me, Asian women (at least those I’ve spoken with) tend to have oily skin, which means makeup is prone to smearing and transferring. Keeping eye makeup in place is especially challenging, which is why eyelid primer should become your very best friend.
$2. Available at elfcosmetics.com.
Cleo Waterproof Pen Liner
Many Asian women struggle with applying eye makeup if they have monolids and hooded lids. It’s just a fact that any subtle eye makeup looks will end up disappearing once you open your eyes. One solution is a dramatic cat eye or winged eyeliner look that can best be achieved with a waterproof liquid liner like this Korean import that dries quickly and refuses to smudge. When it comes to applying eye makeup to monolids, the trick is to keep your eyes open during application. I know, easier said than done but practice makes perfect.
$10.98. Available at Amazon.ca.
THEFACESHOP Brow Master Waterproof Eyebrow Pencil
Asian women with black hair often question whether they should use a dark brown, black or grey pencil to fill in their eyebrows. The answer varies depending on the exact colour of your hair, skin tone and other facial features. Sometimes it’s just a matter of trial and error. However, black is typically too harsh while grey and dark brown hues look the most natural. THEFACESHOP’s waterproof brow pencils are ideal for anyone who struggles with oily skin and the dark grey looks quite natural if your hair is black.
$10. Available at THEFACESHOP.
Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder
Based on my own experience, the generalization that Asian women tend to have oilier skin holds true. Although I’ve met a few Asian women who struggle with dry skin, which just goes to show that one size doesn’t fit all. However, for the majority and myself, the greasy skin struggle is all too real. Translucent powder is a must for me and likely the reason people haven’t tried to fry an egg on my forehead on especially hot days.
$47. Available at Sephora.