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For Us, By Us: 5 Black Beauty Influencers To Follow On IG

by Stephanie A. Kimou

Photo: Maya Allen / Ruben Chamorro

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Let's face it: the magazine beauty world has remained pretty whitewashed for the last... well, forever. This leaves many Black mainstream magazine readers wondering where to turn for reviews and advice specific to our skin and hair care needs. Luckily, the past decade has ushered in a digital revolution led by independent Black bloggers and beauty influencers catering to the melanin market. 

But what about the newsstands? Never fear, the sistas are here to bring us fresh, engaging, fun and honest content from institutions like Marie Claire, Allure, and InStyle magazines. These magical Black women (and let's be honest, they are Black unicorns) are making sure to represent for their tribe. From the best nude lipsticks for dark skin, to dying your weave at home without destroying it, these Black beauty editors are the epitome of creating content that is for us, by us: 

Maya Allen


Maya Allen, Digital Beauty Editor at Marie Claire: The actual definition of a PYT, this Howard grad shows us that bold, colorful makeup looks are not just for the runway, but for our Black girl brunches as well. She reminds us that Black women are powerful, inspirational players across all aspects of the beauty world! Maya's fun and flirty personality shines through in her work, ensuring that Black girls are represented to the fullest from a Fenty Beauty tutorial with Rihanna's makeup artist, to her highlight reel of bold and Black as hell cornrow styles, she is constantly elevating Black power through beauty! 

Kahlana Barfield Brown

Kahlana Barfield Brown, Fashion + Beauty Journalist and former Fashion + Beauty Editor-at-large at InStyle Magazine: One of the first Black beauty editors to make major waves at an institution like InStyle Magazine; this bonafide fashion and beauty hustler has proudly repped for not only Howard University, but for Black girls always in all ways. She is dedicated to reminding the world that Black girls are lit, and proved her self as a unique voice in her ten years working her way up the InStyle ranks. Kahlana has solidified her role as the fashion and beauty tastemaker, leaving us all in awe as she serves the children looks from Florence to Fort Greene.  

Khalea Underwood

Khalea Underwood, Beauty Editor at The Zoe Report: From her inspirational nail art obsession, to giving us the tea on the very best complexion products for deeper skin tones, Khalea (another Howard University grad!) gives us honest content on hair treatments for too tight braids and great haircuts for that big chop. This brilliant beauty makes content for the culture, and within predominately white platforms like Refinery29 and The Zoe Report, she is carving out space for sistas to feel seen and heard. Her work is so unapologetically Black and we love it!

Janell M. Hickman

Janell M. Hickman, Beauty Editor + Creative Consultant and former Digital Beauty Editor at BET.com: I have followed Janell's work from Essence, to Ebony, Gilt, and BET.com, and she is hands down one of the very best beauty and lifestyle writers in the game. Her wit shines through in product reviews, interviews, and now this Hampton University grad is sharing her wisdom in nearly every online and print beauty publication. From Elle Magazine to Cosmopolitan, this magical Black woman is putting her stamp on all aspects of the beauty world. 

Essence Grant

Essence Gant, Senior Beauty Editor at BuzzFeed: To follow Essence on instagram is to love her. She is leading Buzzfeed's new beauty platform As/Is and is using it to honestly and consistently spill the detailed tea on products that every black girl wants to try. What do you want to know? Fenty Beauty concealer? African Pride Detangler and Leave In? New Covergirl Liquid Lipsticks? Your girl has tried them all and has words for us! Continue to do the lord's work sista, we shall always be checking for your reviews! 


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