18/06/2024 3:17 AM


The Queen Of Beauty

Affordable And Luxury Black-Owned Beauty Brands To Shop This Holiday

So let’s skip the small talk. This 15 ml bottle of eye serum costs $147. It’s from a luxury skincare brand, Epara, and its market are people who choose to invest a bigger buck in their cosmetics. I knew when I opened the thick, embossed box and found the glass bottle perfectly sitting upright in the center, almost like a royal crest on display at a museum, that the price tag would be hefty. And as a woman in my 30s more intentional about consuming luxury and more intentional about what I put in and on my body, I LOVE THIS FOR US!

Before we even get into the performance of the product (spoiler alert: it’s great!), there’s a void of luxury created by Black people and marketed to Black people in both the fashion and beauty space. There’s long been this notion that Black consumers devalue luxury brands, when in reality research shows that high-fashion brands benefit from increased brand awareness, relevance and sales when Black celebrities, often hip-hop artists, verbally nod the brands or collaborate with them. According to a 2017 essay by Business of Fashion, Gucci’s Dapper Dan collaboration drove brand searches “across the e-commerce sites Lyst aggregates.” The essay also reports that Virgil Abloh’s Off-White became “the third-hottest fashion brand in the world in Q3,” while “the massive 217 percent spike in searches for Christian Louboutin shoes since June is attributed to [Cardi B’s] ‘red bottoms, bloody shoes’ hit ‘Bodak Yellow.'” And in recent years, we’ve seen more luxe Black fashion designers, like LaQuan Smith and Pyer Moss’ Kerby Jean-Raymond, get the mainstream attention they deserve.

Beauty, however, seems to be lagging behind fashion in this regard. Makeup artist of all makeup artists Pat McGrath made huge waves with the launch of Pat McGrath LABS, her namesake makeup line which is significantly more expensive than a lot of competing brands. But there’s still a lot of room for more luxury Black-owned beauty. Brands like Epara aren’t just a symbol of how far Black creators have come in the disproportionately white luxury space, but they’re absolutely essential for inclusion and equity! So yes, I enthusiastically welcome Black-owned brands that make tiny bottles of serum that cost more than my groceries for the week.

Now onto the product: It’s the bomb dot com, y’all! The top is also an eye drop applicator, so as you twist it off the serum goes into the narrow cylinder tube and is ready for application. The dropper fills up, but I never use the full amount. I’ve had it about two months now, using it in the morning and at night, and the bottle is still close to full. At this rate, I could easily see the product lasting close to a year. I apply a dab to each under eye and gently pat it in. It’s a fine formula that spreads with ease and absorbs in an instant. The founder, Ozohu Adoh, sources her organic ingredients from Africa to maximize effectiveness. The Eye Serum’s key ingredients are plankton extract for hyperpigmentation, bamboo silk for sebum absorption, and ash tree bark extract for under eye bags, shadows and dark circles. I can already feel that my under eyes are more bouncy and hydrated. I don’t really struggle with dark circles so I can’t speak to the results there, but I have noticed that my under eye area looks more radiant and bright — more awake if that makes sense. I truly love everything about the product: the ingredients, the story and the experience.

Get it from Epara for $147. Also available in 7 ml size for $77.