DISCLAIMER: This blog is not sponsored by any brands mentioned in this interview and the links within the blog are not referral links.
In the world of Instagram you connect with various people based on the fact you have similar interests, and I don’t remember how I found her, but I found @beauty4brownskin’s (previously know as @drunkelephantbrown) IG captivating and her message was so clear and inspirational- and that message is that of inclusivity for all, especially those of POC who don’t get represented much in the beauty industry.
So who exactly is @beauty4brown skin? Her name is Deb, and she works as a physical therapist who just has a large passion for clean and natural beauty products who wants to spread her message of having more POC being represented in campaigns, ads, social media posts, etc. from various beauty brands. She’s definitely making a name for herself and getting herself out there within the beauty world.
Essentially, what I love about Deb is her persona, and her approach to her mission. She has a goal in mind, and she’s not afraid to work it. I’ve been really impressed on how much pure and genuine connections she’s been able to make in the skincare industry, so we’re here to find out more what inspires her to work within beauty and what’s her main mission!
Q: Hi Deb, first off, I’m just super excited to do this interview with you because I feel like people really need to get to know you a little more than what they see. So, for my first question, I think I’ll start in the “beginning”. When you first started as -Drunk Elephant Brown- I really feel like you made your presence known online, showcasing a top performing brand blended with tips and results catered towards brown skin. So what I want to know is what was the inspiration when you thought, “I need to create an instagram for skincare and post about this?”.
Hi Vince!, Once again wanted to say thank you for inviting me to do this interview.
A little over a year ago, I became a ROUGE [at] Sephora spending so much money on many different brands trying to clear my active breakout skin. What influenced me to try Drunk Elephant was seeing an African-American woman featured on their page. At that time, though there was diversity on their page, I felt the need to create a smaller community within the larger community that celebrated People of Color and also to serve as a forum to be able to answer question[s] specific to ethnic skin. Common questions I received were, “does D-Bronzi work on brown skin, and how can I combat hyperpigmentation?”.
Q: So unlike me who works beauty retail, your job doesn’t have to do with the beauty industry, if you want to elaborate more on what you do, but furthermore do you feel like the beauty community was something you even considered to be a part of before you had your Instagram?
I truly feel that my path to entering the beauty community as a content creator was very organic and now that I am in this space, I desire to work with a beauty or skincare brand in an official capacity. Prior to Instagram, I was already am online consumer of retailers such as Sephora and many different beauty products, but once I joined Instagram it led me to developing relationships with brand owners of products that I used. Meeting and developing rapport with brands is what led me to wanting to transition my beauty blogger efforts into something more official.
Q: We all know you love Drunk Elephant and that’s what made your page stand out, but what was your skincare routine before you got “drunk in love”? What standards, if any, did you have when purchasing your products?
As a healthcare clinician with a science and research background, I’ve always had more research based and factual effective standards to what I put on my skin. For me, I always researched the ingredients before purchasing and made little decisions such as minimal use of drying alcohols and essential oils that were high on the ingredient list were products that may not work for my skin.
Q: Now, when it comes to your message of inclusivity, what is your general approach to brands when reaching out to them, and what would you say is your proudest accomplishment when you finally saw progress happen?
For me, I just try to be genuine, straightforward and state my concerns and ways to rectify them. Sheena, Founder of Kosas Cosmetics, said that my approach was effective. In hindsight I don’t think it’s the specific words that I use more than it’s the very nature of who I am and how I approach people. I think the engagement and positive response to the Indie Lee collaboration that a group of beauty bloggers and content creators and myself came together on really was a shining moment that eventually opened more doors for me to work in official capacities.
Q: I think that’s amazing you take the genuine approach when interacting with others! I also really loved that project with Indie Lee you did as well! So when it comes to other brands, who would you love to work with in the future to really highlight diversity?
I already think Youth to the People are very inclusive and diverse but I would love to work with them and provide a voice as a female African-American content creator and blogger. I think their message of culture and community is one that I identify with and embody.
Q: Me, as well as almost everyone I know loves supporting small businesses/brands. Which newer startup POC/black-owned brand out there do you think people should look into?
Q: Aside from brands, you’ve also really connected to some great people online in the #skincarecommunity, especially on Instagram. I know you may want to list a lot of people. but who are your “top 5” (per se) favorite pages that we should all follow?
Q: Speaking of other top 5 things, we all love some products as well, name your top 5 PR that you’ve received lol!
I actually don’t receive much PR. Brands that I have collaborated with where work was completed on both sides include Indie Lee, Boscia, and Kosas!
Q: Anyway, back to when you worked on that amazing Indie Lee project collaborating with various people including Indie herself. How did you get everyone to come together for this?
I just reached out to several of my fellow People of Color content creators. I shipped the products that were gifted to me with my own money and I kindly asked 1 requirement of them. It was a lot of work especially since we all lived in different time zones and live different lives but the turn out was so worth it. Huge shoutout to @JuanSkinDiary for putting the photo together. It wouldn’t be what it was without him.
Q: I really thought that was the coolest thing ever, I think I shared that post multiple times in my stories. Is there any future products coming up that you can give a small hint about?
Hmmm… there may be a beauty product coming out soon that I helped provide detailed feedback on. That’s all I can say!
Q: Finally, I’ll leave this one open to you, but is there any words of wisdom you’d like to share with my readers?- that or possible words of inspiration for POC such as yourself starting up their beauty pages.
Have a plan and a mission and stick to it. My mission of inclusivity and diversity has never wavered from @DrunkElephantBrown to @Beauty4BrownSkin. Don’t get caught up in the likes and follows, I’ve been able to accomplish a lot for being a small page. If it doesn’t bring you joy re-evaluate, especially if it causes stress, anxiety, and feelings of comparison. I truly would love to work for a beauty or skincare company and so I treat IG and my blog (Beauty4BrownSkin.com) as a business because eventually it will become one for me! (speaking it into existence!).
Well, thank you so much Deb for your time and I truly hope to see you again soon. It’s definitely been an honor to get to know you though our many conversations online and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you!