There’s no doubt that conscious beauty has been having its moment for a long while now. Shoppers continue to ride the wave, increasing demand for cleaner, more natural products without ingredients like parabens and silicones, and the industry at large has been upping the supply. But despite the mainstream growth and commendable advances (see: evolving past the crunchy packaging and deodorant that doesn’t actually work), there’s still a significant gap in the natural market when it comes to finding products made for and by women of color, black women especially.
Thankfully, for those waiting patiently for that gap to be filled, Dr. Kristian Henderson is making it easier than ever for black women to explore the clean beauty space, thanks to her new e-commerce platform, BLK+GRN. The George Washington University professor, yoga instructor, and all-around health expert founded the site earlier this year with the mission to connect people with high-quality, non-toxic products. Her goal is to not only promote holistic living and self-love, but also support black artisans that aren't often given a platform.
After spending years in the public health industry as a hospital administrator at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Henderson realized just how many people deal with health issues that could be preventable with simple changes in their everyday habits, outside of the obvious diet and exercise. “I knew that I wanted to help connect people with healthier products,” Henderson tells Glamour.
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Today, with a product range spanning several categories, the site stocks an impressive lineup of natural products that have been crafted to meet the specific needs of black hair, skin, and nails, just to name a few. Think things like deep conditioning hair masks and sunscreen that won’t leave white cast on darker skin. You’ll find way more than just beauty, too. BLK+GRN already has a solid wellness and home section that can’t be looked over. Chances are you’ll visit the site not even knowing wool dryer balls exist, and then wonder where they’ve been your whole life.
“I like to say that happiness, which I think is directly connected to wellness, is revolutionary for black women,” says Henderson. “Historically, I don't really think that we've been allowed to be happy. There's a lot of external pressures that black women face about being strong and being resilient. And I see that that's shifting. I think that we're challenging a lot of the norms and the pressures that we've historically felt.”
In her experience, a lot of women who begin to challenge these norms find themselves, much like herself, in entrepreneurship. And luckily, you can find plenty of those newfound businesswomen on BLK+GRN. To point you in the right direction of where to get started, we asked Henderson to share her current favorites on the site right now. Check them all out below, from sunscreen that doesn't leave a white cast to instagram-worthy turmeric powder.
Kreyol Essence Haitian Black Castor Oil
"This filler-free black castor oil is the holy grail for hair growth. Whether I want to grow out my eyelashes or my edges, the omega-3 benefits are worth its weight in Caribbean liquid gold."