Black Girl Skincare: A Natural Beauty Guide w/ BLK + GRN

Nobody has time to put a bunch of chemicals that we can’t pronounce on our precious, brown skin. So we’re taking it back to the way our ancestors did it by using toxic-free, plant-based, and cruelty-free beauty products, made FOR US, BY US, to keep our melanin popping.

When it comes to discovering the very best in all-natural black-owned skincare, there’s no better plug than BLK + GRN: an online marketplace that curates beauty products made by black artisans so that we can consume consciously while cultivating our community. From natural aluminum-free deodorants to casket-free sunscreens and feminine hygiene,  BLK + GRN is making natural black beauty more accessible than it’s ever been before. The beauty and brains behind BLK + GRN is Dr. Kristian Henderson, a Black Women’s Health expert who believes that a life free of toxins and all things artificial is a life worth cultivating -- and we consign on that. 

Photo Source: BLK + GRN

Photo Source: BLK + GRN

In celebration of Dr. Kristian H.’s steady return to good health,  we chatted with the BLK + GRN team to get the tea on the 5 essential steps we need to keep our skincare game strong, and what all-natural, black owned products we should be using to do it. Grab some green tea and get ready to be schooled by THE experts of black beauty on how to upgrade your daily skin routine. 

Step 1: Face Cleanser 

Why It's Important:
To cleanse your skin of built-up oil, cosmetics and impurities from free radicals (dirt) floating in the air.

Best-Seller to Try & Why You Love It: 
Jojoboa infused Marla Rene’s Raw Honey Cleanser. A jojoba-based cleanser is great for daily use to rejuvenate and tone even the most sensitive skin. Marla Rene’s cleanser does this and more by adding calming calendula extract and humectant raw honey to reduce inflammation and the appearance of blemishes. 

Marla Rene’s Raw Honey Cleanser.png

Expert Tip:
Jojoba oil closely matches our skin’s natural oil. Using it in our skincare routine can help reduce excess oil, balance moisture, and banish breakouts. 

Step 2: Face Moisturizer 

Why It's Important:
A toxic-free moisturizer with at least SPF 15 helps to protect your skin from the unavoidable yet harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays (yes even on cloudy days!). Using an SPF moisturizer daily also prevents the darkening of any skin blemishes you may have acquired over time. This helps to heal your skin naturally, sometimes even removing acne spots completely. 

Best-Seller to Try & Why You Love It:
Black Girl Sunscreen is one of our absolute favorite moisturizers! This weightless, melanin-protecting SPF 30 Sunscreen won’t leave behind sticky residue or white cast on your skin. Plus, the cocoa butter and carrot seed oil keep your skin moisturized as you work, lounge or play throughout your day. 

Black Girl Sunscreen.png

Expert Tip:
For more than 1-2 hour direct sun exposure (workout, beach, pool, etc.), we recommend applying your SPF moisturizer twice. 

Step 3: Toner

Why It's Important:
To cleanse the dirt that enters deeply into your pores while minimizing the appearance of your pore size. 

Best-Seller to Try & Why You Love It:
Organic Hibiscus Face Toner made with refreshing floral water, and apple cider vinegar to cleanse your pores. It also contains Aloe vera juice to leave your skin feeling and looking fresh! 

CHLOE & CHAD Organic Hibiscus Face Toner .png

Expert Tip:
Apply toner prior to and after your face cleanser for the ultimate cleanse.

Step 4: Exfoliator

Why It's Important:
To scrub off dead skin cells to reveal rejuvenated, youthful looking skin.

Best-Seller to Try & Why You Love It
Moringa, Tumeric, and Neem Exfoliating Body Scrub. Rinsable but still effective! This scrub is packed with vitamin C, shea butter, and organic sea salt to remove dead skin and toxins while still adding a natural, healthy glow. 

Inua Moringa, Tumeric, and Neem Exfoliating Body Scrub.png

Expert Tip:
Use a plant based exfoliating pad to remove more dirt on and beneath the surface of your skin.

Step 5: Facial Oils

Why It's Important:
Facial oils restore and hydrate skin cells to improve the health and appearance of your skin. With skin being the largest organ on your body, it’s important to nourish your face with products that resemble the natural oils your body produces. Oils that are lightweight and chemical free. 

Best-Seller to Try & Why You Love It:
FLOW Perfectly Balanced Facial Oil is a 5-star review favorite on! FLOW is luxurious and lightweight. With a potent blend of florals that help to stop the overproduction of oils that can leave your skin with pimples and breakouts.

AFRO HAIR & SKIN CO FLOW Perfectly Balanced Facial Oil.png

Expert Tip:
Apply facial oil to damp skin for a moisturized natural glow. The wetter your skin the dewier the look depending on your preference. A little bit goes a long way!

Bonus Step

What's is the #1 step & product that is essential to your skincare routine, and why do you love it? 

3 words: African Black Soap! It’s gentle on the skin yet tough on blemishes. Shea Radiance is a great pick for this!!

Get Glowed Up: Why These 7 All Natural Face Oils Are Summer's Secret Skin Miracle

So can we have a seriously REAL conversation about our skin health? Ok, show of hands—who has tried ALL the OTC and prescribed medications known to man to heal acne, dark spots and blackheads with no success? What makes matters even worse is when these medications don’t solve the problem and cause even MORE skin inflammation than before. If this sounds like your story, it may be time to ditch those harsh chemicals for a natural approach. Have you tried the oil cleansing method? Yes -- you read that correctly. But before you completely side-eye our suggestion, check out the facts.

While it may sound counterintuitive to the girls with oily or problem-prone skin, oil cleansing is super beneficial for a few reasons. It helps gently cleanse the skin by removing makeup, dirt and environmental toxins, maintains the skin’s natural lipid layer for moisture retention, and soothes sensitive skin. So believe it or not sis, oil cleansing might just be the key to getting your skin glowed up before Summer ‘19 is over.

Still skeptical? Not for long! We’ve rounded up a list of our favorite black-owned face oils for you to test out the oil cleansing method for yourself -- and they’re are ALL under $50!

For Dry and Tired Skin

Plant Apothecary Ground Control Organic Body and Face Oil, $36
When your life is busy from work to school and side hustles, sometimes caring for your skin can take a backseat. Luckily brands like Plant Apothecary are here to provide us #bossbabes with skincare that makes it easy to squeeze into our hectic lives. This oil contains scented essential oils for relaxation while organic sunflower seeds and Vitamin E work to nourish and cleanse your skin from the inside out. It’s self-care and skincare, all wrapped into one.

Buttercup Essentials Hydrating Herbal Body Oil, $25
Wrinkles? We don’t know her! Rewind the hands of time with Buttercup Essentials Hydrating Herbal Body Oil. It harnesses the power of Apricot Oil, delivering a powerful dose of anti-age elixir that slows down signs of skin maturation, such as wrinkles, fine lines and blemishes.

For that Natural Glow

Aya’De Health & Beauty Goddess Glow Face Serum, $23.50
This skin-loving cocktail is the perfect combination of some of Mother Nature’s signature oils. While Argan Oil adds moisture to the skin’s deepest layers, Sandalwood Oil works to rejuvenate skin to reveal a youthful brightened glow! Not even your favorite highlighter can ever compare to this natural glow.

Pure Tropix Pearl Face Elixir $42
Uncover a luminous complexion when you try Pure Tropix’s Pearl Face Elixir. This facial oil is a multi-purpose concoction that deeply penetrates your skin’s layers with oils like Pomegranate Seed Oil, which works to hydrate and moisturize even the driest and flakiest skin-type.

For Inflammation

Brown & Coconut Hydrating Face Oil, $28
Brown & Coconut’s Hydrating Face Oil is historically known to calm inflammation and soothe irritation. This power ingredients fades blemishes and encourages skin regeneration so you can have healthy, glowed up skin again in no time.

GLAM BOMB Power Detoxifying Face Oil, $18
If you thought Black Pepper was only for food, think again! This ancient essential oil is sweet and spicy, but offers magnificent antioxidant properties that work to repair and improve laugh lines and wrinkles, clear blemishes, and combats bacteria under the skin’s surface that leads to inflammation.

Mother of Earth Beauty Care Goddess Glow Face Oil, $20
This powerful face oil is packed with Juniper Berry, which works great to protect pores from bacteria  that cause acne. It’s also great for UV protection, and purifies blood cells for skin rejuvenation -- A.K.A., it’s the secret to making sure that black don’t crack.

Get Your Skin Summer-FINE Ready with these Black-Owned Skin Scrubs

Sun’s out, Skin’s out! From parties and weddings to tropical getaways, we’re ready to bare some skin as much as we can before Summer’s over -- but first, we have to show our skin some T.L.C. (and we don’t mean the musical group). 

Exfoliating and moisturizing is key to achieving healthy, glowing skin. There are a ton of items on the market; so how can a girl pick one? We can tell you right off the bat that apricot and walnut scrubs just ain’t it! We’ve tried several top-rated, black owned exfoliators, and now we’re spreading the love.  From charcoal, coffee, to brown sugar, we’ve found some of the most affordable black-owned body scrubs on the market that we’ve given our stamp of approval.

Minimo Perk Whipped Coffee Body Scrub

If dry and flaky skin are an issue for you, get you some of this all-natural coffee scrub! It lathers and gently buffs skin with Macadamia Nut Oil, Brown and Pure Cane Sugar, and Ginger Root Extract; natural ingredients to nourish even the most parched skin. 

Kaike Sugar Scrub

Get glowed up with this sweet and invigorating body scrub that deeply penetrates the skin with all natural and vegan ingredients, including cane sugar, coconut oil, avocado oil and vanilla.

Kyncare Pink Sucre Whipped Body Scrub

Your beach body isn’t ready until you rub yourself down with this rejuvenating handcrafted scrub. Together, the foaming whip and Pink Himalayan Salt lather and gently exfoliate skin to remove impurities and reveal a beautiful glistening complexion.

Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Hand & Body Scrub

It’s quiet for dead, dull skin, thanks to this moisturizing sugar scrub created by Shea Moisture. It exfoliates and nourishes while leaving it firm and toned — aka, ready for shorts and skirts all Summer long.

Pure Tropix Lime Acai Body Scrub

Talk about a tropical paradise! Your skin will thank you after being lathered with a silky smooth Caribbean Sea Salt blended with Acai Oil and Cupuaçu Butter. This botanical combo hydrates thirsty skin and smells delicious! It’s a must-have to pack with you on trips where swimming in salty waters will be involved.

Glam Body Skin Brightening Pink Grapefruit Body Scrub

Mix the perfect scent for summer with grapefruit essential oil and what do you get? The perfect exfoliator to help brighten skin and keep it glowing all summer long!

8 Black Beauty Boss Babes You Should Know

Black women are no longer waiting  for more diversity in the beauty industry. Instead, they are creating brands of their own that are making waves  in multi-faceted ways. In every arena of beauty from hair and skin care to nails, black women are one of the fastest growing entrepreneurs nationally and are showing no signs of slowing up. Catch this list of  black beauty entrepreneurs that are MILQ Magazine approved!

Janell Stephens, Camille Rose

courtesy of color visions

courtesy of color visions

Camille Rose CEO and Founder,Janell Stephens, is a force to be reckoned with. The mother of 5 and former therapist initially created Camille Rose to treat her children’s skin ailments in 2010. After realizing her all-natural products helped her family and friends too, Stephens expanded and launched her company into a recognizable brand of hair, skin, perfumes and candles. Her products can be found in Target, Walmart, CVS and more.

Kimberly Chloe-Wilson, The Butter Bar

courtesy of my butter bar

courtesy of my butter bar

Houston native Kimberly-Chloe Wilson developed her penchant for all-natural ingredients after reading the labels of products and being horrified at what she saw. Unwilling to put her or her family's health at risk, she decided to do her own research and whipped up ingredients of her own. Fast forward and what started in her kitchen is now a full-blown all natural skincare business.

Tracey Golbourne, Fortifyd Natural

courtesy of sheen magazine

courtesy of sheen magazine

Former Financial Analyst Tracy Golbourne is on a mission to educate women about the difference between moisture vs. hydration with her emerging hair care line  Fortify’d Naturals. Her brand is gaining enormous traction for its specialized moisture technology, which treats dry and brittle hair from the roots -- earning her the title as Head Mixtress.

Melissa Butler, The Lip Bar

courtesy of essence magazine

courtesy of essence magazine

Detroit-bred Melissa Butler turned her rejection on Shark Tank into her motivation to reach new heights with her vegan lipstick company The Lip Bar. The holistic and uber in-your-face brand unapologetically advocates for women to celebrate who they are outside of traditional beauty standards. With sexy and sultry lipstick shades like jet-black Night Owl, her lipsticks are all made from healthy ingredients like shea butter and organic avocado oil.

Melinda Herron, 103 Collection

courtesy of 103 collection

courtesy of 103 collection

Melinda Herron is the Co-Founder of vegan and organic lifestyle brand 103 Collection. The brand offers affordable and effective products for beard care, grooming and hair care. Mixing and matching ingredients straight from Mother Nature’s backyard like blueberries and pomegranate, the company is quickly becoming a fan favorite.

Kim Lewis, Curl Mix

courtesy of soundcloud

courtesy of soundcloud

Kim Lewis, who founded Curl Mix with her husband, developed the brand  to assist naturalistas who were eager to create their own DIY goodies for themselves without the hassle. What started as an ingredient-based subscription box is now a full-blown hair care line receiving rave reviews.Fully engaged with their customers, the duo recently transformed the brand in response to growing request from excited customers.

Vonetta Williams, The Truth Bar

courtesy of the truth bar

courtesy of the truth bar

After years of watching WOC deal with skin ailments like hyper-pigmentation, scarring and acne, Veteran esthetician Vonnetta Williams  developed The Truth Bar. The bar harnesses the power of sulfur 8 and glycerin to provide skin with moisture while cleansing and exfoliation.

Sha’Donna O’Neal, Nancy’s Kitchen

courtesy of Nancy’s kitchen

courtesy of Nancy’s kitchen

Sha’Donna O’Neal’s up and coming hair care company Nancy’s Kitchen Products NKP targets women of color with naturally kinky and curly hair textures. Her products focus on achieving and maintaining healthy hair by using high quality ingredients best suited for the kinky and curly hair types.

Celebrity Hair Hacks- Broke Girl Edition

Celebrities have a way of setting the trends we fawn over and styles that we have sacrificed our financial futures for.  

Let me just ask: how many of you have skipped a monthly student loan payment and got $300 curly hair bundles instead? Or have overdrawn their checking account to shop all the new 5 to 10 SheaMoisture products at Duane Reade?

Celebrities may have it all but everything they wear is open to be copied by girls like us who admire them. The following hairstyles were originally worn by celebrity black girl magic but we’ve hijacked it for ourselves. So as you scroll through the list, take note… and take as many screenshots as you can to save for later.

Cost to Copy: $120-$230


Faux Locs like these take 2 to 5 hours to complete, depending on the length. They are however amazing alternatives to crochet braids, individual braids or Senegalese twists, especially if you want the loc’d look without the commitment or maintenance. Scalp care is just as important though, so don’t wear these past 3-4 weeks.

Cost to Copy: $50-$70


This is the most affordable yet low maintenance hairstyle that ultra busy gals like me could consider looking into: the ultra short hair with a fade.  Picture having not to twist your hair every night, sift through tangles or worry about styling every morning! This style may as well be called “Time Saver” because of all the time you will save looking cute and sophisticated without even being bothered to even think about it.

Cost to Copy: $140-$275


Installing a dual-toned short bob wig or weave such as the one Tyra is rocking has got to be a splurge so make sure you shop around for more affordable options. This hairstyle’s length provides a mature, professional appearance that any power woman could make a bold statement with, no matter what room she’s in.

Cost to Copy: Free!

This is a fabulous Updo that is easy to copy, gorgeous and stress-free. It looks amazing on any hair type and is highly customizable. On top of that it’s a nice protective style that is as easy to take down as it is to go up! This is a lazy girl’s prayer completely answered.

Cost to Copy: $50 to $100


This Updo requires additional hair to achieve the robust bun at the top and a pro may be needed for optimal results. However, it can’t be all that difficult for you or a friend to install it if you have the right amount of bobby pins keeping it all together. This style can be an everyday go-to or a last minute up-do to a fancy dinner or event. Pull it all together with bold jewelry and watch the world collectively turn their heads when you enter a room.

Cost to Copy: $85-$125 (haircut + color)


Now, very few women can pull of any Rihanna look, much less a hairstyle, but if you’re brave and looking for a drastic change don’t be limited to a mohawk with red hair (just sayin’). The sky's the limit as far as how bold or muted you’d like it.

Cost to Copy: Free - $50


The space buns Janelle Monae is wearing are messy enough to do them yourself and get away with! Make sure you leave some stray side hairs to frame around your face for an ethereal look and 25 to 30 light-colored pins to decorate each bun with.

These hairstyles were not only once worn by celebrities but they are also easy enough to recreate and make your own. Whether or not you use a stylist is up to you; most of these looks can be done with the right tools, additional hair and arm strength. *wink*  Enlisting the help of some friends could actually be helpful, plus you could use the time spent to catch up with gossip or watch the latest episode of Grown-ish.  Once you’re done, act like a celebrity and post those selfies girl!

Happy hair- hacking!


Elsa A.

9 Beauty Products That Will Make You Happier Than A Relationship

Your Unofficial Official Valentine's Day Guide to Beauty

Being in a relationship for 4+ years has taught me that relationships are A. hard; and B. take a lot of patience.

If you’re not in one, you shouldn’t be in a rush, really. We could spend Valentine’s day in the arms of our lovers, staring straight into their eyes while munching heart-shaped chocolates OR surrounded by our girls drinking wine, twerking and in no rush to fill society’s demand for women to “find someone”.

It doesn’t matter which boat (or Uber) you’re in, here are 9 beauty products that requires less from you than a relationship. (All products can be found on


Bask and Co: brown sugar cubes
Start rubbing, it’s probably what you’ll end up doing by the end of the night anyway *wink*. These brown sugar cubes are fortified with a ton of yummy ingredients that break down the rough layers on your skin for the perfect base.


Or if Face scrubs aren’t your thing try a: Kale face mask

Kale face wash doesn’t just carry minerals that you can also find ingesting a bowl of kale, it’s soft enough for all skin types, including sensitive ones. It’s an all powerful, organic super food that provides super skin when use topically. Prepare for all the ‘wow’ facial expressions you’ll have all evening. You’re welcome.


Finalize with Kaike Frosting
This cupcake smelling frost is the closest thing to having your cake and eating it too. What makes it even more special is that it’s all natural, vegan and preservative free. With all that moisturization going on, your face is set to bake!



Zanzi Beauty foundation
If you loved Fenty Beauty, you’ll love Zanzi’s foundations. Created for black and mixed-raced skin tones, this foundation accurately understands the concept of warm and cool undertones on dark skin, unlike many of their mainstream counterparts (Morphe, I’m not talking about you).

Marena Beaute Tarou blush
Blush and bat your eyelashes with the perfect companion: the entire Marena Beaute Tarou Blush Line. These shades were formulated with sophistication for darker complexions. You won’t find bright pinks and red based blushes here, but these rusted oranges and reds make all the difference.


Lipped and highly favored
Kiss your beloved with these shades on your lips Evil Twin, First Class and Private Jet.  On the other hand, show your wild side with shades 1978, ZiSe and Unbothered. No matter which look you for, you can be guaranteed that these shades are 100% cruelty and paraben free.


For a Mattier look, Oowie is the perfect hook
Oowie is the name of the brand I’m suggesting next, and accurately what your date will yell when they lay their eyes on you. These mattes are luxurious and transfer resistant. You can have several glasses of wine without the constant touch ups. I can’t say if it will hold up against constant kissing (get a room, love birds!) but I’m sure one of you will let me know.



Natural Roots Detox wash

With detox being popular in beverages and food, I’m so happy that a detox is now made for hair. Prep the weekend before Valentine’s Day with this detoxifying cleanser that is gentle on hair strands but harsh on oils, butters or gels that make hair brittle and unmanageable. All safe ingredients.


Long lasting coil control
Do you have any idea what makes Valentine’s Day special? Your hair, of course. This Curl Control Jelly from Crowns and Contours sweetens up the whole night with Honey and Agave to do everything from maintaining your edges to holding up those juicy curls till the evening. This is the kind of gel that does not flake so there is no need to worry about that!


When it comes to beauty, we certainly don’t want to deal with the unpredictability or struggle that comes with relationships. We know that looking and feeling gorgeous makes everyone feel unstoppable. So remember that this Valentine’s Day you will give yourself a gift first and then to others. Don’t forget to take those selfies!

Elsa A.

Tips To Hydrate Your Skin This Winter

Images Courtesy of Pure Beauty Skin Bar

Images Courtesy of Pure Beauty Skin Bar

I’m not fortunate enough to have glowing skin all year around *shrugs*. Honestly, when I feel my skin getting dry during the colder months I find myself using wayyyyy more moisturizer than typically needed through-out the day to cover those dry spots. Just because it’s winter ladies, doesn’t mean our melanin has to suffer. Your skin should be glowing just as amazing in the summer as it should in the winter months. Plus, the more we take care of our skin to provide that pure glow the less makeup we’ll need.

Let’s be real, who knows our skin better than a woman of color? It was only right that I ask the lady who I consider to be an acne and all-around skincare expert; Sylvia Brownlee from Pure Beauty Skin Bar on how to keep our skin glowing this winter. Here are five skincare tips Sylvia advises along with a few products to keep your skin glowing & feeling hydrated all season long.

#1: Add a humidifier to your beauty routine.

A humidifier will keep the air more humid and lock in that moisture. Naturally your skin will begin to retain more of the surrounding moisture keeping it luminous! You can obviously do this year round but this is especially helpful during those dry Winter months.

#2: Drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water. This allows you to hydrate from the inside out.

Now this isn’t new BUT did you know that the proper amount of water actually flushes out nasty toxins that also cause breakouts and dull skin? DRINK MORE WATER SIS!

#3: A serum that contains Hyaluronic Acid will plump and hydrate your skin to appear dewy.

Product Recommendation: Pure Beauty Skin Bar Hydra Gel Serum, $45

About the product: It’s cold outside and that means your skin needs a product that will penetrate and hydrate your skin, the Hydra Gel Serum is perfect for skin that is dehydrated, dull or lacking moisture, this gel holds 1000x its weight in water giving your skin the hydration it needs.



#4: Make sure you’re using a light exfoliator to remove the buildup of dead skin.

Product Recommendation: Pure Beauty Skin Bar Pumice Scrub 2.5%, $22

About the product: Ever feel like your skin just needs a little something to get rid of the dead skin that has been building up all season long? Pumice Scrub is perfect for you. This gentle lightweight exfoliant won’t irritate your skin and you will love how soft your skin feels after the first use.


Pumice Scrub 2.5%

#5: Wear sunscreen all year around to protect your skin from those harmful UVB & UVA rays.

Product Recommendation: Pure Beauty Skin Bar PBS UV Sunscreen, $25

About the product: The last product you should apply for the official glow is the PBS UV Sunscreen. This will help prevent those dark spots from getting darker.


PBS UV Shield