beauty

Five Ways to Support Black-Owned Brands Without Going Broke

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Buying black is easier said than done, especially when it comes to makeup. Since I started my @dupeBLACK Instagram page dedicated to highlighting from black-owned brands, I’ve bought from several, and still, sometimes I feel guilty when I do a NYX haul or drop $50 on Anastasia Beverly Hills. When a company f**ks up, like ColourPop, our first solution is to tell people to cut these brands off and buy black.

But price, availability, and lack of reviews hinder many of us from supporting these brands. A direct example of this is when one compares an inexpensive brand to a black-owned brand that isn’t even in the same price realm. Say, a $6 lipstick compared to a $20 one from a BoB. Sometimes I don’t even think I should do shade comparisons on these brands. Not everyone wants to drop $20 on a lipstick. A rebuttal to this is that plenty of people spend that much on other luxury brands, but I don’t think analyzing how others spend their money is the solution. They may be more comfortable spending the money on brands they are already familiar with, or they can buy them locally and swatch the product before they buy it. Even with indie brands I support, I know that I tend to buy multiple times from a brand I trust rather than constantly buying new brands because I don’t want to waste my money if I don’t like it. We flock to what we are familiar with, that’s human nature.

However, there are ways to support black-owned brands without breaking the bank. Support does not necessarily need to be monetary. Let’s go over them!

  1. Share pictures from BoB on your social media – even if you don’t buy a product, one of your friends may see something you share and purchase. That’s one of the biggest goals with my page – I’d go broke placing orders with every brand I find appealing! But at least I can share the goods – sharing is caring. If you’re on Twitter, a retweet takes half a second and you may put someone on.
  2. If you have purchased from a brand, make sure you leave a review on their site if it’s available. Lack of reviews are a huge hurdle for BoBs – I mean, have you ever looked at the reviews on Sephora? There are often thousands of reviews, and even more if you head to YouTube. I know that everyone isn’t going to hop on camera, but using the review function or even leaving a review on their Facebook page helps.
  3. Share coupon codes and sales – if you’re like me, you cannot stand buying anything at full price! I’d say that 80% of things I buy I at least get some kind of free shipping promo. Sometimes they share things exclusively on Snapchat or another app, and while I know they want people to be following them on multiple apps…I’ll share it anyway. (Sorry brand owners, but a sale is better than a Snap score)
  4. Don’t bash a company without reaching out to them first. Do you know how many times people have told me about issues with a brand and when I ask if they’ve emailed them, they tell me no? Seriously? At least give them a chance to right the wrong – if your product breaks in the mail (we know USPS handles packages like footballs), send them a picture as soon as possible instead of posting the broken product on IG. And don’t expect a response the same day…many small brands do not have customer service teams and receive several emails a day. I know I may be a bit lenient, but I always reach out to a brand twice and give them up to a week to respond before I call them out. Which brings me to my next point…
  5. Be reasonable. Don’t freak out if something isn’t the exact color that you thought it would be unless the difference is extreme. Skin tone, computer resolution, lighting, etc. all affect the color of a product. I know something won’t look the same on me as it will on someone with lighter or darker skin. If a brand doesn’t have swatches with a variety of skin tones, consider that a lot of small brands cannot afford swatch models and many of their pictures shared are fan photos. Buying online is a gamble, period. I can find five different swatches of the same product and it will look totally different on each one, especially thanks to filters. Of course, some brands are a little iffy about this, but I think a lack of resources is more of an issue than it being deliberate. Don’t make crazy requests because you know that the product isn’t mass produced. I remember a lot of people requesting hair/beauty products be a specific scent or scent free when that option was not offered by the brand. Unless you’re calling Dove and doing the same thing, just don’t (actually don’t anyway).

And please, if you know of any black-owned brands, leave them in the comments here!