The idea of beauty as community and as a celebration is a ubiquitous concept, but perhaps none so relevant as within Hispanic cultures.
Aside from the varied, rich cultures that span the 20 Latin American countries and that often inform beauty formulations and trends, the numbers don’t lie. As consumers, Latinx people outspend other groups in beauty purchases by 30%. 60% use nine or more makeup products, yet they are often left out of the beauty and wellness conversation. Nevermind that a plethora of ingredients like chia seed, acai, murumuru, cupuaçu and tucumã are derived from Latin American countries and often used in modern day product formulations.
“Hispanic women wear much more makeup than American women – therefore we need more representation!” says Gabriela Navejas, founder of clean lipstick line Madame Gabriela.
Like Navejas, more and more Latinx founders are creating beauty brands that draw from their heritage and honor the ingredients and cultural practices often shown to them by their ancestors.
Here, 5 Latinx founders impart thoughts on what Hispanic Heritage Month means to them and the importance of sharing the unique, individual stories that comprise their culture.
“Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity and moment of reflection to understand all of the different places we can come from. It’s a moment of embracing our differences and learning from each other and what we can contribute and bring into society. We’re on such a small planet and here for such a small period of time, I think we should learn from and take advantage of the fact we’re different. It will make us richer and better human beings.”
“This brand has my past and my culture as Mexican in it. The colorful beetroot, this is something my mom and grandma used to do to me, just grab the beetroot and put it on my cheeks. We use avocado in our mascara, aloe vera in our eyebrow gel. I think it’s so nice to introduce the flavors and colors and vibrancy of Hispanic culture. This is what I’ve been doing with the brand. I try to reflect my family and where I come from and mix that with the incredible nature that Australia has to offer - always with clean formulas from day one. I am happy to share that it has the Hispanic vibrancy in it.”
“Hispanic Heritage Month Reminds people that there are 21 Latin countries and cultures, but what ties us together is our original Latin heritage. We love family and we love to be inclusive. I love that people are able to recognize that.”
“In my experience, family is the most important thing and beauty is deeper than just the word. It’s about love, being seen, being heard, being part of a community and being respected.”
“Dominican culture loves hair so much. We all grew up making our own hair masks or seeing our moms do it or our aunts. Even at the Dominican hair salon they were always mixing up a remedy and that is such an inextricable part of our culture and I wanted to honor it. But at the same time, I wanted to redefine beauty for our culture as well, because it is a culture that’s very Eurocentric especially when it comes to hair and beauty standards. I wanted to show that same amount of love and celebration to our natural hair and our natural curls because for the longest time — for generations — it was not celebrated and it was not celebrated by people — who the majority of had textured or curly hair. Why is that? We know why historically speaking. We know the history and the story behind it but it was time to just start writing our stories anew and in our own way and celebrate what needed to be celebrated. It was changing the narrative so the next generation has it better, knows better, and doesn’t continue that same message of “pelo malo” or feels bad about the features that come from their African ancestry.”
“My Hispanic culture has inspired my whole career. I have always said my love of the beauty industry came from my grandmother. She was the most glamorous and always smelled amazing. To me, my grandmother was the ultimate beauty and my earliest memories are of her seeing her do her hair and makeup and her buying me the best smelling bubble baths. She would have loved what my brand has become and I always think of her when I take on a new project. Self-care and ritualizing a routine is something I preach to all my clients and those concepts were born from watching my grandmother doing her routine.”