Once I was youthful, between the ages of 10 and 16, I might recurrently see my hairstylist for a relaxer, a chemical therapy that may straighten my 4A coils and curls for six weeks at a time. When my hairstylist was not obtainable, I might purchase a field relaxer from Goal. Going off the suggestions of my aunt, my mother, and all the opposite essential Black ladies in my life, I might attain for Darkish & Beautiful each single time.
The Wealthy Pioneering Historical past
Based in 1972, Darkish & Beautiful, the hair firm owned by Carson Merchandise and created for Black ladies, was acquired by L’Oréal in 1998. It was the primary hair firm to create a relaxer with out lye, an energetic ingredient that is paired with sodium hydroxide to shortly break down the hair bonds, typically inflicting intense scalp irritation.
“We launched our authentic field relaxer in 1978, and we have been the primary model to launch a non-lye relaxer,” Erica Culpepper, basic supervisor of multicultural magnificence at L’Oréal, instructed POPSUGAR. “It was an enormous technological breakthrough as a result of on the time, there have been solely lye relaxers available on the market, which have been rather more damaging to customers’ hair. The no-lye relaxer was a step in the proper route in with the ability to defend the well being of the hair.”
It was there when nobody was exhibiting photographs and ranges of Black ladies. . . . And it was there the numerous instances we modified our hair and skilled public scrutiny.
No matter hair kind — curly, straight, color-treated, or in a protecting type — Darkish & Beautiful prides itself on its assortment of merchandise and coverings to handle these hairstyles and textures. And positive, there are a plethora of Black-owned hair-care corporations like Sample, Sienna Naturals, and Carol’s Daughter that cater to Black ladies, however for almost 50 years, Darkish & Beautiful has addressed the precise magnificence wants of Black ladies. It was there when nobody was exhibiting photographs and ranges of Black ladies. It was there after we needed a number of hair-color choices to precise ourselves. And it was there the numerous instances we modified our hair and skilled public scrutiny.
“We do not decide folks,” Culpepper stated. “It is not our place for us to get into this large debate of whether or not folks loosen up or are pure; we need to be there to offer options, no matter coiffure they select. We need to be sure we provide the most secure options for whichever route the buyer desires to go down.”
The Historic Merchandise
Darkish & Beautiful was launched almost 50 years in the past as the primary hair-color product formulated particularly for Black ladies. Over time, Darkish & Beautiful has grown to incorporate an entire assortment of shampoos, fade-resistant hair colours, relaxers, deep-conditioning remedies, stylers, and hair meals. Now, a long time later, Fade and Resist, its colour assortment that’s bought in almost 80,000 retailers, continues to be one of many model’s prime sellers.
“With over 18 shades of jet black to blond, Fade and Resist has the broadest shade choice of another model focusing on Black ladies,” Culpepper stated. Additionally amongst its most notable collections: Darkish & Beautiful Au Naturale, which takes the guesswork out of styling and caring for pure hair, and The Blowout, a group focused to ladies who need to put on their hair straight. Each proceed to promote out month after month.
Its Evolution Over the Years
Not solely is Darkish & Beautiful a pioneer for Black magnificence, however for years, it has additionally persistently proven up for Black ladies and all their hair-care wants so we will really feel our most assured and exquisite selves. It is a model that is made us Black ladies really feel seen when these photographs did not exist. And as we speak, the megacompany isn’t solely doing that with merchandise and pictures but in addition with its philanthropic work by means of magnificence and schooling.
The corporate teamed up with the Tom Joyner Basis to award college students with scholarship and mentoring alternatives with L’Oréal executives. “Prior to now, we’ve got supplied scholarships for college students who attend Historic Black Schools and Universities (HBCUs). We have finished partnerships with Howard College,” Culpepper stated. “There was even a program referred to as Younger Girls of Goal the place we introduced in 5 younger ladies who attended HBCUs, paired them with a mentor, and actually adopted them. That program turned a feeder, and a number of the younger girls in this system ended up with internships and full-time work right here at L’Oréal.”
In 2019, the hair-care firm rebranded with a deal with Gen Z and millennial prospects. Full with an up to date emblem and new outer product packaging, it referred to as its subsequent section: Darkish & Beautiful & [fill in the blank].
“We got here out with a extremely daring and fierce angle, which we all the time had, however we took it to a different degree with the inventive,” Culpepper stated. “The identify itself is highly effective, however to say, ‘Sure, I am darkish and beautiful, however I am a lot greater than that,’ actually gave ladies and customers a way of delight and empowerment round being a Black lady and celebrating that with imagery to match that very same power.”
“When somebody says these phrases, ‘I’m darkish and beautiful,’ you actually are affirming your self in your personal magnificence.”
The marketing campaign was a brand new emphasis and a chance to talk to a youthful shopper who was simply being launched to the legacy model. The marketing campaign featured Gen Z and transgender expertise who actually laid the groundwork for the model’s now-partnership with actress and activist Storm Reid.
“It was a extremely attention-grabbing course of in deciding on Storm,” Culpepper stated. “We needed to seek out somebody that not solely embodies Darkish & Beautiful however has a way of function and somebody that has an impression locally that they serve.” For the model, Reid was the right particular person, as her mom, Penny Simpson, had partnered with the model a number of years in the past — chatting with the legacy and significance of generations.
When requested in regards to the model’s legacy endurance, Culpepper credit its capability to affirm Black ladies to its success. “If you concentrate on the identify Darkish & Beautiful out and in of itself — it isn’t solely a robust identify but in addition a self-affirmation. When somebody says these phrases, ‘I’m darkish and beautiful,’ you actually are affirming your self in your personal magnificence,” Culpepper stated. “That’s one thing that is so significant and actually resonates for Black ladies, particularly since that magnificence hasn’t all the time been celebrated.”
These youthful Black-owned manufacturers as we speak are superb, nevertheless it’s price noting they have been made attainable by the inspiration and normal that Darkish & Beautiful has set for the final 5 a long time. The hair-care model catered to Black ladies lengthy earlier than the market began taking part in catchup on hair merchandise for various hair textures. “Darkish & Beautiful is a model that has been right here for Black ladies when no person was speaking to Black ladies and have actually been right here to assist carry and affirm them,” Culpepper stated.
On the finish of the day, illustration issues. It is essential to see individuals who appear to be us within the media. And equally essential to have entry to merchandise which are expertly curated particularly for us — not simply the concept of us. That’s precisely what Darkish & Beautiful does.
Picture Supply: Darkish & Beautiful