The next big beauty opportunity: melanin-rich skin care
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Skincare isn’t usually made with people of color in mind. Product lines are often not clinically tested on darker skin tones, while black chemists may not be part of the creation process. A new group of beauty entrepreneurs is setting out to change that, by specifically formulating skincare with melanin-rich skin in mind and taking advantage of an unexplored opportunity.
This summer, tennis star Naomi Osaka launched a skincare brand, Kinl, focused on providing skincare products that protect dark skin from the sun.
Osaka says that she never liked to wear sunscreen growing up because of the white cast she would give her. “I also heard that black skin didn’t burn growing up, so I didn’t think I needed sunscreen,” Osaka says. “I got my first sunburn and learned the hard way, and when I started developing the Kinl, there was a lot of research that I was exposed to.”
For Osaka, the brand is a celebration of its blackness. She is Afro-Asian, of Japanese and Haitian descent. “Kinl is an affirmation of all our blackness and a celebration of our beautiful, pigmented skin. It is a way to celebrate and protect it.” Since its launch, the brand has achieved eight figures in sales and has expanded to Walmart stores across the United States.
A report published earlier this year by consulting firm McKinsey & Company titled Black representation in the beauty industry He noted that only 13 percent of black consumers in America say they can find beauty products at major retailers that meet their needs. Meanwhile, black-founded or black-owned brands make up only 2.5 percent of beauty revenue, while black consumers are responsible for 11.1 percent of total beauty spending, according to McKinsey. There’s money on the table: The report found a “fairer beauty market” to represent $2.6 billion.
“I think there hasn’t been a lot of data on black consumers,” says Tiffany Burns, study co-author and lead partner at McKinsey. “It’s a consumer group that people don’t really understand. Most retailers segment based on gender and age. There aren’t many segments based on race.”
A strong presence in the retail space helps the emergence of new brands. Desiree Verdejo, founder of Hyperskin, won some space on Sephora’s shelves last August. A deal with a major retailer is a huge boost for the brand, she says. “We are very excited to grow with this partner and make our brand increasingly accessible to our community,” Verdigo says.
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