On His Biggest Breaks in Beauty
Before Fenty, I was with Paula's Choice for about two years, and I still work with them. What I liked about Paula was that they were effortlessly inclusive before it was a conversation, before it was a trend to post Black people and talk about the effects of the products and the ingredients on Black skin. They were already there doing it. They were featuring Black people, trans people, gay people, nonbinary people — they were covering the spectrum and really creating a conversation around inclusion in skin care. On top of that, they had great products, they had great formulas, and it was affordable.
That's also another thing I look for in a brand; if products are just ridiculously priced, it's really not something I'm going to invest my time in. I might use it privately, but it's not something I'm going to put into the world because no one should ever have to pay $300 for a serum or $400 for a cream. That's ridiculous. I look for the ethics of the brand, an innate sense of diversity and inclusion, a great price point, and a good team. I want to know that the people that I'm working with value my time, my talent, and what I put into the space. I don't just look for how many Black people you post on your feed. It really goes beyond that.
Even me being the global ambassador for Fenty, an LVMH brand that's in Sephora — that's a huge step. You usually don't see Black men at the forefront of any kind of skin-care company that's not targeted specifically to Black men, so I definitely think the conversation is getting better, and I think people also see the importance of having Black aestheticians.
On the Importance of Having Black Experts in Skin Care
For me, I've reached a place in my career where I definitely have more access and I'm through the door at this point, but there are still challenges that I deal with.
For so many years, we've heard horror stories of Black people, especially Black women, going to white aestheticians to get skin treatments that they weren't educated in in terms of their skin. Skin care really is a personal thing and an educational thing, so if you aren't taught how to treat Black skin specifically — because there are differences in treating white skin vs. Black skin — you can seriously injure someone. There are tons of stories of people having bad laser experiences, chemical peels that have caused chemical burns and reactions, so I definitely think the conversation is opening up and the appreciation for the hard work that Black aestheticians do because, to be honest, we have to be even more educated than our white counterparts to even survive in this industry.
Skin care is for everyone. You don't have to be a certain person or make a certain amount of money to have good skin. I think that's why, on my platform, I cover everything from The Ordinary — which has $7 serums — to Fenty, where everything is under $40, or sometimes a more luxury product where a serum might be $70 or $80. Skin care should be accessible, it should be inclusive, and I think that's what my platform really represents and sets the tone. Whether you are a man, a woman, nonbinary, gay, straight, white, skin care is for everyone.