Sephora’s signature interiors have long been clad in glossy black—but until recently, it was far more difficult to locate Black-owned brands in the beauty emporium’s aisles; a struggle I documented when attempting a month-long Black-owned beauty challenge in February 2019. Of course, much has changed since then; I now proudly use almost exclusively Black-owned beauty products, and Sephora has been working hard to make more available, both as part of an equity initiative called the Sephora D&I Heart Journey and by becoming the first major retailer to commit to Aurora James’ 15 Percent Pledge.
“As one of the first retailers to sign on to The 15 Percent Pledge, we are committed to supporting Black-founders and Black-Owned brands,” read a statement provided to The Glow Up. “We have pledged to not only expand our assortment of Black-Owned products but also to better support and develop these brands to ensure long-term success as well. We recognize that, without Black beauty expertise, we would not have many of the trends beauty enthusiasts enjoy today.”
That commitment includes Sephora Accelerate, the brand’s “six-plus-month-long internal incubation program dedicated to building a community of innovative Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) founders in beauty in order to grow the pipeline of BIPOC-led businesses in the industry.” Some of those founders, like BREAD Beauty Supply founder Maeve Heim, have already found their way onto Sephora’s shelves; BREAD and more are featured in Sephora’s newest product sample kit, focusing exclusively on the retailer’s Black-Owned beauty brands.
The Sephora Black-Owned Brands Favorite Kit includes seven products from Black founders, including a full-sized MatteTrance lipstick and Full Frontal Volume, Lift & Curl Mascara from Pat McGrath Labs and Fenty Beauty, respectively—already making the $35 kit a major deal. (The McGrath lipstick alone—here in shade “Omi”—retails at $38). Add to that deluxe samples of Briogeo’s Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Hair Mask and Shani Darden Skin Care’s Retinol Repair, and travel sizes of Adwoa Beauty’s Baomint Deep Conditioning Treatment, BREAD’s Everyday Gloss Hair Oil and Fenty Skin’s Total Cleans’r Remove-It-All Cleanser, and you’ve got $124 worth of Black-owned goods for a fraction of the price, perfect for a weekend away (should we ever get to go anywhere again).
Of course, while we’re calling this a “for us, by us” kit, everyone can benefit from using these Black-owned brands—and we hope (like, really hope) this is just the first of many Black-focused kits to come. The best part (aside from the beauty)? A portion of each kit’s proceeds will be donated to The 15 Percent Pledge. “At Sephora, we want to help move the conversation forward,” the statement continues, “bringing awareness and education surrounding the impact of Black beauty in our daily lives, and continue to spotlight Black-owned brands, championing the excellence and efficacy of their innovative products, for all Sephora beauty shoppers.”
The kits are now available for purchase, but of course, there are even more Black-owned brands to be found at Sephora, many of which are fresh out of Sephora’s Accelerate program. The retailer’s increasing offerings now also including: Danessa Myricks Beauty; EADEM; Fashion Fair; FORVR Mood; Grace Eleyae; Hyper Skin; KNC Beauty; LYS Beauty; PATTERN by Tracee Ellis Ross; ROSE Ingleton MD; Sunday II Sunday; Topicals and Qhemet Biologics.