I lead a pretty busy schedule (to say the least): I host the Wonder Media Network podcast The Brown Girls Guide To Politics and am the president of Emerge, an organization that recruits and trains women to run for office. Between constant travel, advocating for greater diversity in our government, and interviewing trailblazing women, it can be kind of tough to maintain a skincare routine. Nonetheless, I stick to my beauty regime religiously.
My beauty cabinet is practically overflowing with creams, serums, and cleansers - a testament to just how many skincare products I’ve used. Admittedly, there are very few that I actually incorporate into my daily morning and evening routines. As a Black woman, finding an effective skincare product is like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack - it’s possible, just incredibly difficult and time-consuming. This is because most skincare products aren’t formulated with dark skin like mine in mind.
While the beauty industry as a whole has made huge leaps and bounds toward greater inclusivity in recent years - with makeup brands now offering a multitude of shades that represent different skin tones, the skincare industry still often fails to prioritize diversity.
For most of my teen and adult life, I’ve suffered from hormonal acne, which affects those with darker skin differently. We often deal with hyperpigmentation, acne scarring, and inflammation after an acne breakout. For this reason, melanated skin has its own needs when it comes to treatment products, and the industry is not meeting them, since most skincare products are formulated with fair skin in mind.
I always make sure to use products that work to treat these issues in darker skin tones, and it has never failed me. My personal favorites: CELLRENEW Collagen Stem Cell Serum and the SUNNYSIDE Brush-On Mineral Sunscreen by CLEARSTEM. These products help regulate my hormonal acne and protect my skin from hyperpigmentation.
After being introduced to CLEARSTEM, I was curious about the inspiration behind the line and why it prioritizes inclusivity and melanated skin. “CLEARSTEM was born from an organic need to help people with darker skin heal from scar damage. Our methods for clearing acne are highly effective, however, the majority of our clients have darker skin tones and were left with horrible scarring.” Co-founder Danielle Gronich told me. “When the skin leans darker or tans quickly, hyperpigmentation, brown spots, and discoloration from acne can quickly take over the face - and the most frustrating part is that traditional methods for removing scars (like chemical peels and lasers) can’t always be done because they could also cause hyperpigmentation.” Gronich is half Peruvian and hyperpigments “like crazy”, she told me.
CLEARSTEM is one of the few treatment products that work on darker skin and more skincare brands need to consider people of color in their formulations and marketing efforts.
Brands like Fenty Beauty, Dove, CLEARSTEM, and Covergirl have demonstrated a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion in their advertising campaigns, highlighting that beauty does not have one look. Candidly, I feel much more inclined to buy a product if they are inclusive in their marketing efforts. If I see someone who looks like me, I feel represented and included.
Gronich’s inspiration behind creating CLEARSTEM gives me hope. There are so many Black and Brown girls like me who have felt frustrated and ignored by the industry, and I can only hope that more founders consider women of color when formulating their products.