If you add any face masks, deodorant, or physique scrub to your BLK + GRN cart, you’re not solely shopping for a top-notch addition to your self-care arsenal—you’re additionally shopping for a product that’s non-toxic and made by a Black artisan.
Dr. Kristian Edwards, DrPH, the founding father of this on-line market for all-natural magnificence and life-style merchandise from Black-owned companies, is on a mission to make residing inexperienced and buying Black simpler and extra clear. All of BLK + GRN’s merchandise—from make-up to multivitamins to moisturizer—are vetted by Edwards personally, she mentioned, plus aestheticians, dermatologists, make-up artists, and different professionals (since, as anybody who’s explored ‘clean’ magnificence is aware of, simply because a concealer or deodorant is made with pure components doesn’t imply it essentially works).
Edwards hopes BLK + GRN serves as an academic platform too. Customers can get to know the entrepreneurs behind a favourite candle, lipstick, or lotion, and discover research-backed info on the advantages of switching to merchandise sans probably dangerous chemical compounds.
The thought for BLK + GRN got here to Edwards, a professor of public well being at George Washington College, after coming throughout analysis displaying that magnificence merchandise marketed to Black girls scored decrease in probably dangerous components than these geared toward the normal public. As a result of the report discovered that Black girls seem to purchase and use extra private care merchandise, this might imply they’re being uncovered to extra of those probably harmful chemical compounds.
Edwards felt she needed to take motion. With the report discovering that components in these commonly-found merchandise could also be linked to most cancers, hormone disruption, allergic reactions, and different severe well being situations, she felt the potential dangers have been too dire to not. She began by overhauling her personal drugs cupboard, looking for to fill it with much less dangerous merchandise. Round the similar time, Edwards learn Our Black Yr by Maggie Anderson.
“I was convinced of the importance of Black people, and people in general, supporting Black-owned brands, that every dollar should be a vote,” she mentioned. She mixed the two objectives, in search of pure merchandise that additionally got here from Black makers.
After testing containers and bottles galore of sunscreen and shampoo, discovering lesser-known manufacturers alongside the approach, her mission expanded. “I wanted to create a space to make it easier for people to find them,” she defined. Edwards launched BLK + GRN in 2017.
What began as a solo operation, with Edwards packing up each order herself from her Maryland house, has grown to a crew of six promoting greater than 90 wares from 71 artisans and counting. Listening to from prospects who say ditching poisonous merchandise due to BLK + GRN has modified their lives retains Edwards going. So, too, does rising alongside the enterprise house owners whose items the market shares. “They’ve become family at this point,” she mentioned.
As the web site has advanced, Edwards mentioned she’s dedicated as ever to offering info on cosmetics and creators. There’s a BLK + GRN podcast, a weblog and sources equivalent to an inventory of 20 probably dangerous components you received’t see in merchandise on the web site (Edwards beneficial printing it out and taking it with you in the event you store elsewhere). Social media, too, is a approach Edwards and her crew hope to unfold the phrase on clear magnificence. “We always try to talk to customers wherever they will listen,” she mentioned.
One such dialogue is about the greater costs of pure merchandise. As an alternative of viewing these merchandise as luxurious gadgets, Edwards hopes folks see shopping for higher components as an funding in well being.
“What are you worth? What is your value? Is making that choice now better for your health?” she mentioned. “We try not to tell people what to do. We just want them to think about it, we try to get people to have those conversations.”
Finally, Edwards mentioned she’d like to ascertain relationships with extra farmers and suppliers of pure components, so she will be able to join her artisans extra on to the components they use.
She’d additionally like to start out an accelerator program to supply coaching and capital to Black-owned companies, which, particularly these owned by Black girls, are traditionally underfunded.
Under, take a look at a few of BLK + GRN’s top-selling merchandise. As Edwards identified, simply because BLK + GRN’s merchandise are made by Black girls, that “doesn’t mean they are specifically for melanated skin. Anyone can use them.”
- Detox – Hand Sanitizer
- Black Lady Sunscreen
- R & R Luxurious – Shea Butter
- Hunny Bunny – Deodorant
- Lavatory Hoo Balls + GRN Important Oil
- GRN Canvas Tote Bag
- The Therapeutic Place – Whipped Greens