“I feel like entrepreneurship was in my blood, literally and figuratively,” says Lauren Napier, namesake and founder of Lauren Napier Beauty. “All of my great grandparents were small business owners. The narrative isn’t discussed that black people have been small business owners because we had to be. We were serving ourselves because no one else was.”
Lauren has always had certain leadership qualities, which helped push her to decide to move away from more corporate positions and toward entrepreneurship herself.
Earlier in her career, Lauren was a successful makeup artist to many celebrities.
“People view being a makeup artist as a frivolous business, but you’re an artist,” she says, “There’s cost of supplies, accountability, clients and more. I was already running my own business [as a makeup artist] but I made it attainable to more people.”
Taking Care of Business
Her innovative line consists of high performance, luxury makeup remover wipes. The concept for them came on a flight from Dubai to New York. Lauren’s makeup remover was dried up, so when she got home, jet-lagged, she came up with an idea for a product that would retain its moisture and be made with better, healthier ingredients.
Cleanse shows that there’s beauty in taking it off. There’s a kind of ceremony built around putting on a face of makeup — and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But why shouldn’t there be a similar ceremony surrounding taking it all off and revealing your fresh, healthy skin?
With her brand, Lauren puts an emphasis on empowering and uplifting women.
“I’m super pro-women and pro-business,” she says, “I have a female founders series on my blog, highlighting their products and service.”
For the first few years of her business, Lauren ran production, operations, social media, everything for the brand. She was a one-woman show for a while, making sure that her brand met her own standards. For her, it was important to cultivate that and make sure she wasn’t derailed from her thoughts and goals in the beginning. Once that strong foundation was built, she was able to include others in her process.
How to Unwind
“Let’s be honest, my favorite activity outside of work is sleeping,” says Lauren, “But I like a vacation, too. I really enjoy getting away (I’ll be taking a few escapes very soon to warm beaches and sunny regions). I switch up where I go, but I really had a great time in Turks and Caicos. It’s stunning there and quiet. I travel solo a lot, I had a great time when I was there just being quiet on the beach with books and magazines.” That time alone helps her make decisions.
For a more immediate getaway, I really enjoy cinema and the movies and art,” she says, “Something I do is visit lots of museums. I love getting lost in the art. As a kid, that was something that was really appealing to me. And as a makeup artist, I enjoy seeing something from someone else perspective. Everywhere I go, I try to visit a museum. It’s important to support the arts.
And although it’s hard as an entrepreneur, Lauren has found that you still prioritize and make time for who you love. She’ll FaceTime with her mom, dad, niece and nephew every day when she’s cleaning up, packing orders, etc. Multitasking helps her to keep balance.
For her, self-care is a top priority because it’s important for staying mentally focused. When she’s been sitting at a desk working too long, she’ll prop up her computer to stand and work to get her blood flowing (a trick she learned from Joanna Coles of Cosmopolitan who has a treadmill desk).
She’ll also splurge on healthy lunches to nourish her body and mind. She drinks lots of water, fresh juices, tea, and hot water with lemon to detoxify throughout the day.
“And occasionally, I get blowouts,” she says, “It’s something I can do on my own, but I choose to take 90 minutes to sit and engage and set the phone down and be social. Sometimes you have to give yourself a little time without your device. That happens easily in hair salons, it’s a safe space where I’m able to tap into whats going on outside of my industry.”
Beyond getaways and ‘treat yourself’ moments, Lauren also finds comfort in simply focusing on relaxation and allowing yourself to be.
“Something that I’ve learned is to calm down,” she says, “It can be so insulting when people say that and make what you’re going through trivial, but the reality is there’s only so many things you have control over. Getting flustered and upset and crazed is counterproductive. Running a business, you have a lot of peaks and valleys in a day and it takes an emotional toll. At any point that could create a meltdown. So when that’s happening, I have to tell myself to take a walk, crack the window, get some fresh air, have a glass of water. Also, at that point in time, the first thing you do is reach for your phone because we’re addicted, but I try not to. If you’re already upset, comparing your life [to someone else’s] is not helpful.”
Every morning, Lauren wakes up, checks her email and does a social media post while simultaneously listening to the news.
“Our product is sold in 22 countries, so I’m really concerned right now with our national government agenda and how that might affect emerging and small business. These things aren’t limited to [affecting] steel companies, they affect beauty brands, too. We’re concerned with how we’re perceived and our ability to trade.”
Then she’ll turn on the kettle for hot water and lemon and hop in the shower. After she gets out, she’ll throw on Crest white strips and use the Mario Badescu enzyme cleansing gel — especially when it’s cold outside because it’s gentle.
If she has a big meeting, she’ll follow that with then use the Natura Bisse Diamond Extreme Mask.
“If your skin doesn’t look good, your makeup won’t,” swears Lauren.
Then she’ll apply Nars All Day Luminous Weightless foundation and Mac’s Posie on the apples of her cheeks where her smile is. Her makeup routine is minimalist and doesn’t require highlighting and contouring. Her philosophy is that she’s not going to a photo shoot and wants to look like herself.
Although most of her daily makeup is simple, Lauren splurges on mascara — but for good reason.
“Lashes and hair are the same,” she says, “If you care for your hair you should care for your lashes, especially because as you get older, you can lose your lashes.” So she invests in Mac’s Zoom Lash, Armani Eyes to Kill and — when she’s really feeling fancy — she’ll apply the La Prarie in instant build.
She’ll pop in MAC’s smolder to her waterline to open and bring focus to her eyes before applying her brows with a pencil.
Then she applies lips and rolls out — typically she’ll reach for a bold matte (her staple MAC Ruby Woo is the color of her life.)
And how does she stay motivated throughout the day?
“I’m sort of a history buff, and I’ve learned that pretty much all the great people in history took regular naps,” Lauren says, “I will lay down somewhere and take a midday nap, typically around 4:30 p.m. when I get tired.”
Because she runs an international business, she’ll have a meeting at 8 p.m. but will wake up at 6 a.m. with a call to London. Her day goes has to defy time zones. A quick nap serves as motivation for knocking out those final daily tasks.
At night, Lauren uses a cleanse to get everything off her face, including around the delicate eye area. She’ll use a Shu Uemura Ultime8 Sublime Cleansing Oil before applying Mario Badescu Caviar Night Cream. If she wants to really give her skin a boost, she’ll use the Natura Bisse Oxygen Complex. Then she might have a phone call and watch some TV to unwind before going to bed.
Lauren recognizes that beauty does not end when you turn 30, but that you’re just beginning to bloom and blossom and get better.
That’s why the next product to come from Lauren Napier Beauty will be Flaunt — a pro-aging product with ingredients to help you age with grace but with the same purpose and convenience as cleanse. Women over 30 want the same ease of use, but this product will provide them with a little bit more to care for their skin.
“Women are conditioned to shrink away as we get older, but the definition of Flaunt is to display something ostentatiously to provoke admiration or defiance,” she says, “This defies the notion that beauty ends at a certain age and we command a different level of respect at a certain age.”
You can buy Flaunt in its glamorous chrome, reflective packaging at the end of June. You can get them in packets of 15 (the prize pack because you are a prize, a winner and you should be recognized) and 50 (the parade pack because you’re something special, something to be celebrated). To Lauren Napier Beauty, the future of beauty is not anti-aging, it’s pro-aging.
And the desire for healthy skin, premium ingredients and a fast acting product has never been more apparent. — that’s where Flaunt comes in.
It includes noni extract to tackle adult acne, dry skin and dark spots, especially in the winter without the sun evening your complexion; pink guava, which is full of Vitamin K, a skin healer that simulates collagen production; as well as lycopene to protect from UV rays and environmental pollution.