Colorism and racist beauty standards are unsurprisingly a common conversation these days, as there is a greater emphasis towards inclusivity and reframing outdated ideals in beauty. This Hispanic Heritage Month, it is important to discuss the ways that this conversation has evolved—and still needs to evolve—for the Latinx community.
For many Latinx women, the color of their skin, the waviness of their hair and the curves of their body impact the ways they feel and view themselves. In fact, according to a 2019 Pew Research Center survey, 58% of Latinx people have experienced discrimination because of their race or ethnicity.
By Pooja Shah
There is an ongoing Latina Beauty movement to foster acceptance and self-love. Latinx women come in all different skin tones, body shapes, and hair types, and it is important to celebrate their vast beauty.
The following skin, hair, and beauty and accessory brands are created by Latinx women for their communities and demonstrate the cultural influence behind the brands and the impact they are bringing to their communities.
Nubia Rezo for rëzo
Bogota native Nubia RËZO drew inspiration from her father, who inspired her to be an independent and free woman. Rezo immigrated to the U.S. from Colombia at 14 and went on to become a renowned hair stylist. After seeing the demand for further education surrounding textured hair, she launched her own curriculum at the Rëzo Academy to provide in-depth education on texture, density, hydration, drying methods, and the craft of diffusion. Rezo believes that beauty is inside of you, and inspires to empower the Latinx community.
Gisaura or “Gigi” Laporte at Sola Pooler
Puerto Rican and Cuban hair stylist Gisaura or “Gigi” Laporte was inspired to enter the beauty industry to help people be and feel like the best version of themselves. As an independent hairstylist and makeup artist with Sola Salons, she is doing just that. To Gigi, being Latina means connecting with her roots, family, culture, food and music, and celebrating tradition. She continues to elevate Latina women who have hair and skin of different textures to redefine what is conventionally viewed as beautiful by allowing women to look at their features in a new way.
Uviña Skin is a multi-generational skincare brand inspired by the family of founder Jelitsa Legarreta’s and named after her mother. The objective was to build a brand that reflects on the heritage and stories of Puerto Rico, inspired by her mother, grandmother, and great-aunts. Legaretta’s aim is to enhance Latina representation in the skin care industry. She was proud of her brown skin as a young girl, and is dedicated to showcasing Latinas in the beauty space.
Soap Cauldron is a Sonoma County–based, family-owned skincare boutique run by a small group of Latinx women that aims to create products made from natural herbal soaps. Inspired by the love between a daughter and mother, Soap Cauldron has also recently launched Soapy Tails, an all-natural line for canine bath and coat care. The company currently sells their products on Amazon Handmade, a subset of the marketplace that caters to small businesses.
Founded by Ecuadorian registered nurse Samanta Moise, La Parea Wellness is an aromatherapy brand that prioritizes self-care. Blending traditional, plant-derived remedies from the Andes and the Amazon, Samanta formulates her own products and uses exotic herbs like Palo Santo, Guayusa, and Guaviduca to promote a unique self care and wellness experience and showcase lesser-known natural ingredients. For this Latinx owner and mother of four, wellness is optimal.
Looking for a vegan, eco-friendly CBD skin care that offers nontoxic, affordable products? Look no further. Latinx co-founders Shamor Belliard and Israel Cancél created Just Beauty CBD, an inclusive brand focused on skincare for all. The duo has created a purpose-driven and inclusive multicultural brand, where all individuals are welcome regardless of their gender, race, size, or status. For every product sold, they make a donation to the One Tree Planted team that helps support local communities and replenish areas affected by deforestation. Ultimately, they want to make skin, people, and the planet happy.
Founders Sallie Barbery and Diana Reels created Arumi because they were tired of feeling ignored by the beauty industry and wanted to give voice to generations of Latina women who don’t feel aligned with societal beauty standards. After buying from major beauty retailers that carried hundreds of brands and products, none of which tailored to Latina skin conditions or concerns, they built ARUMI armed with two facts: the Latinx beauty shopper outspends every other group by 30%, and Latinas carry more hormone-disrupting chemicals in their system compared to white women. ARUMI incorporates ingredients like babasu oil, acai oil, inchi oil, and rosa mosqueta oil which have been proven to help Latina skin.
Beauty and Accessories
Rea Ann Silva, creator of the iconic brand beautyblender, is a Mexican, Portuguese, Spanish, and Irish powerhouse whose career has been centered around elevating women of color. She is one of the first makeup artists that recognized and celebrated the difference of ethnic skin tones and learned how to create never-before-seen skin tones as a result. Beautyblender has become a global beauty product for a flawless finish and the company is continuously rolling out new products.
Vive Cosmetics is a Latina-owned and operated beauty brand created by first-generation Latinas Leslie Valdivia and Joana Rosario-Rocha. The company aims to celebrate love for all things beauty and cultura in one place. Vive Cosmetics’ story has become less and less about lipsticks, and more about redefining beauty and highlighting the diversity of the Latina “look.” Leslie and Joana are creating community through the power of feeling validated, beautiful, and special.
What started off as a hobby became a business idea for Wayfaring Latina founder Melisa Estrada. Melisa quit her 9-to-5 job and decided to put all her energy into growing her business; as a first-generation Latina, she deviated from the expectations of what she ought to do professionally and began to develop a brand that is inspired by her wanderlust persona and travels. Wayfaring Latina is a jewelry brand to make women feel bold, empowered, and beautiful.
Brazilian-born Aline Cassiano Lima created her brand Neena Jewellery at a time in her life when she lacked self-esteem and confidence. She resorted to wearing simple pearl stud earrings to avoid drawing attention to herself. After meeting a designer who introduced her to statement pieces, she knew that she wanted to capture the feelings of those pieces; hence, Neena Jewellery was born out of a desire to connect her Brazilian roots with other women. Her brand emphasizes sustainable practices, including sourcing raw materials, maintaining low production levels, and even planting a tree in the Amazon (a partnership with One Tree Planted) for every order made on their website. According to Aline, for the Latinx community, jewelry represents an extension of our personalities—a big and bold piece gives power.
There’s no such thing as too much jewellery – as long as it’s affordable. For Mexican-American founder Ana of Amoriana Jewelry, jewelry should be sensitive skin-approved and sold at a reasonable price point. Her gold-plated and gold-filled pieces won’t break the bank and are perfect as solo statement pieces or for layering. For Ana, the Latinx beauty standard involves valuing oneself and taking pride in appearance while recognizing that beauty comes from within. Ana has inspired other Latina women to start their own businesses and find what makes them feel beautiful.