I may have just had one of the best beauty experiences in my life. This afternoon Project Beauty Expo took place in lower Manhattan at White Space Chelsea. I only planned to check out each table learn more about the brand and walk out, but the planners of this event made it so interesting that I felt compelled to stay.
What is Project Beauty?
If you've been living under a rock and don't know what Project Beauty is let me break it to you: it’s an exposition that organized by Brittany Brown, a beautiful black woman who had had her first experience in beauty when she created her own organic skincare line. She went on to develop Project Beauty, hold annual expo’s to highlight the existence and availability of natural or indie beauty products for women of color.
The first Project Beauty Expo took place in Washington, DC last year and made its debut to New York City today! The place was packed with beautiful people and delicious smelling products with homemade roots. I stopped by the tables of organic skin care lines like Bloomsbury Square and Brooklyn Limegreen; stunningly/vibrant makeup lines Hi Wildflower and Base Butter; and health/lifestyle brands RXBAR and Cinta Soul, a brand that sold delicious-tasting alkaline water formulated with ingredients like moringa leaves and rosemary. After perusing through the hall and chatting with brand representatives and a few bloggers, we were called in to listen to the wisdom of successful women running successful brands.
Takeaways from Panel
The panel featured powerhouses from a variety of fields Selma Idris, Senegalese-born creator of the Brown Crayon Project spoke of what inspired her to create a skin/hair line focused on children, saying “I did it more for programming. I want the kids to grow up loving what they see.” From Lauren Napier, founder of Napier Makeup referred to her brand’s ultimate vision of helping women see that there’s beauty in taking it off. Lauren Ash from BlackGirlinOm explained how she developed and grew her passion for yoga in the living room of a friend who offered her space to build her clientele. And Vic Styles told us a gripping story about her life and the love of fashion that drove her to walk out of college and face an uncertain yet promising future in Los Angeles.
Overall, I can’t say anything negative about this experience; it was wonderful through and through. What I can say, though, is that everyone should have left there satisfied with the reemergence of black beauty and culture.
Going to events like these always profoundly impact me. I was born into an era where being black was something everyone (even black people) were trying to run away from. I think of those times I thought I could not wear red lipstick for fear that it would look ridiculous. Or living through an era where our mommas had little to no resources to care and manage our hair so relaxing our hair was never contested. We live in better times where women like me who have experienced similar hardships and are doing something about it. Who would have known that there would be all this beauty and that we would accept it?
In the words of Project Beauty founder Brittany Brown: we poppin’.