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Three Black-Owned Beauty Brands to Soothe Sad, Winter Skin

Clean solutions using all-natural ingredients like shea, cocoa, and avocado.


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FEBRUARY WEATHER IN New York can be brutal on the skin. Wind-whipping icy temps leave my face and hands dry and ruddy. Indoor activities mean more mask time and all the irritation that comes with it. I’m eating creamy, sugary, bready foods and drinking more because it’s dark and sad outside.

All things considered, it’s a month in which I feel ultimately heinous. So, finally, after another workday spent staring at our Los Angeles visual director’s perpetually lit-from-within, dewy face (even her goddamn shoulders shimmer on our Google Meets), I decided to pull up my woolen socks and take action. The mission? Get my glow back.

Clean beauty products are a great place to start. But what does “clean” even mean? Well, for the three brands I looked into, it means they exclusively use all-natural ingredients, source directly and sustainably, and are 100% free of the chemicals often used in non-transparent beauty products. All Black-owned and operated, each brand is led by female entrepreneurship and West African beauty expertise, with partnerships cultivated within those local communities.



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Shop at Hanahana Beauty

The 2-in-1 Body Bar by Hanahana Beauty

This body bar is basically dessert for your skin. It looks like soap but isn’t. It’s an exfoliator-moisturizer. The bar itself is textured with all-natural ingredients you’d put inside your body as well — things like rice, almonds, brown sugar, adzuki beans, and cloves. After showering, with skin still wet, you gently rub the bar across your body in small circular motions to slough off dead skin, then rinse off the leftover bits. What remains is a thin film — a silky, soothing layer of shea butter, cocoa butter, and avocado oil to lock in moisture. I kept lovingly sniffing my arms after using this product. The scent is absolutely delicious. My hands, I noticed (the first things to shrivel up and crack come wintertime), stayed especially soothed afterward. SHOP NOW


Black Soap Foaming Face Wash by AFOKOSKIN

This foaming face wash is a sleeper hit. With a mildly sweet, nutty scent, it’s not as harsh as my typical salicylic acid cleanser (which smells and feels like a shot of stinging moonshine), but still feels ever so slightly astringent (i.e., effective) on mild acne and oily skin. The thing I like about this foaming wash is how it doesn’t leave my face feeling utterly stripped of moisture, which would then in turn have me using a too-heavy face cream to restore it. It’s balanced. The ingredient list is another delightfully chemical-free lineup: honey, shea butter, osun (camwood), palm kernel oil, cocoa pod ash, palm bunch ash, aloe vera, argania spinosa oil, and vitamin E oil. SHOP NOW


Body Butter by SKNMUSE

I tried this body butter in Egyptian Honey. With a heady scent of sweet, rich cocoa, I thought about tasting just a little bit before coming to my senses (I’d probably survive given the all-natural, chemical-free lineup of ingredients: Egyptian honey, Moroccan oil, rosehip oil, and vitamin E). The jar is beautiful: a gold top over brown-amber glass. I scooped the insides out in semi-solid lumps, which then softened and dissolved into my skin like, well, butter. I felt in that moment like the most pampered human croissant there ever was. A little goes a long way. I found that applying a bit less onto still semi-wet skin helps distribute it to then soak in faster. The scent lingers a gorgeously long time. Over 12 hours later, my skin still felt dewy and velvety. Sadly, as we are in the dead of winter, most of me was hidden beneath a homely sweat suit. I did, however, find myself rolling up my sleeve to admire my shimmering forearms and well-moistened elbows. As one does. SHOP NOW

Black-Owned Skincare for Dry Winter Skin

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Our Contributors

Sophie Mancini Writer

Sophie Mancini is an editor at Departures. Born and raised in New York City, she holds a degree in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University and has a background as a writer in brand and editorial.

Ahonen & Lamberg Illustrator

Ahonen & Lamberg is a multidisciplinary design studio based in Paris. Founded in 2006 by Finnish designers Anna Ahonen and Katariina Lamberg, the studio concentrates on art direction, creative consultancy, and graphic design.

Departures and American Express do not provide, endorse, or guarantee any of the items, and the sale of such items is governed by the third-party seller’s policies, terms, and conditions.

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