Nigerian sisters Chinelo Chidozie and Ndidi Obidoa, are very familiar with this struggle. So they started beauty line, Bolden, to help expand the beauty options available to women of color, and support communities that produce shea nuts (which they use in their products) in Burkina Faso. Chinelo and Ndidi used shea butter a lot growing up, so it was only natural that it would play a huge part in their beauty product line.
When their customers started complaining about hyperpigmentation—or, the discoloration of darker skin due to sun exposure, they started investigating why sunblock leaves a white residue on darker skin – one of the reasons why people of color don’t use it.
In an interview with OkayAfrica, Chinelo says:
“A lot of black people don’t wear sunblock because they don’t see the damage immediately. There’s an issue with education around sunscreen in the black community.
Even though skin cancer doesn’t affect people of color as much as it affects people with white skin, that makes it more dangerous because it’s often not caught until it’s in an advanced stage.
[When buying beauty products] I always ask myself, ‘Is this a product that will leave a white cast on me?’ and then I realize, whoever made the sunblock probably didn’t have me in mind. As consumers, we’re so used to trying products to see if they’ll work. In 2017, that’s not okay.”
Bolden was created to fill the obvious gap in the beauty product market for people of color, the sunscreen is developed with a formula that acts more like a moisturizer than a sunscreen; it’s a cream-colored serum that dries clear on the skin. Chinelo says:
“We’ve tested it on ourselves and a wide spectrum of skin tones, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Folks are very excited that we are increasing the number of product options that work really well for their skin concerns.”
The sisters are on a mission to make sure that consumers don’t have to settle one-style-fits-all products that don’t suit their needs.