Top of Mind




By Crown Affair

As a small business that launched in January, we know the challenges already facing companies due to the COVID crisis, and want to use the platform we have to support those who need it most. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

According to the 15 Percent Pledge, 21% of Black-owned businesses don’t think they’ll survive the pandemic (versus 5% of white-owned businesses). Below, find 10 of our favorite Black-owned beauty brands to shop now and forever. 

This luxury bodycare brand takes everything we love about skin and haircare and applies it to the body. Founded by Dermatology Physician Assistant, Blair Armstrong, Gilded specializes in body balms, candles in stunning reusable vessels, and the chicest body brush you’ve ever seen.

Sunday II Sunday
According to Sunday II Sunday, 40% of African American women don’t work out because of their hair. This brand focuses on haircare and maintenance in between washes with extra attention devoted to scalp health.

Canada-based Nectrous creates handcrafted bath and body products with a minimalist vibe. We hear the Glow Bar is everything, but you’ll have to wait until the in demand item is back in stock.

La Botica
You can never have too many candles, especially when they’re as addicting as La Botica. Founded by Dawn Marie West, the brand sustainably sources palo santo and uses 100% vegan ingredients for their cult favorite products like candles and balms.

Oui the People
We’re all about having beautiful objects in your bathroom that remind you to take care, so naturally we’re longtime fans of Oui the People. The brand is known for its sensitive skin razors in shades like rose and matte gold, but its Shave Gel-To-Milk and Featherweight body products are equally as covetable.

Founded by Lesley Thornton, Klur does the very tricky thing of creating products that look and perform pretty much perfectly. With minimal packaging and maximally effective ingredients, Klur proves you can have it all.

Epara Skincare
Self-described as “bespoke skincare for women of color,” Epara uses organic African ingredients to create products that solve the skincare needs other companies don’t provide. Epara carefully and thoughtfully sources their ingredients, like Moringa oil from Kenya, Marula oil from South Africa, and Argan oil from Morocco, to name just a few.

Beneath Your Mask
Skincare, bodycare, haircare—California-based Beneath Your Mask does it all, and does it well. We hear particularly good things about the Illuminate Clarifying Face Mask and love the idea of integrating their stunning Mask Treatment Bowl into our evening ritual.

All natural skincare line Redoux uses vegan ingredients and minimalist packaging for its effective skincare serums, candles, and fan favorite Turmeric Botanical Bars. Though the soap bars are currently backordered, the Borage Ginseng Active Serum looks excellent for anyone experiencing dull or dry skin.

Founded by Kim Cowans, Skimdo is known for its cream that creates control, gleam, and just the right amount of weight for up to seven days without parabens, formaldehyde, or sulfates.

Next: Hair Care 101

- What does ritual mean to you?

Ritual to me means finding peace in repetition... Finding what you love, and making a routine of it. I’m all for taking new opportunities, new adventures, traveling, etc., but I also know now that there’s real peace in routine, so I try to have as much of one as possible and find the rituals that make me feel calm and centered in a time when nothing feels certain. 

- What are some of your favorite rituals?

There’s the simpler ones, like a nice, hot shower, my skincare routine, maybe a nice skin or hair mask. Then there’s the newer rituals that come with my new chapter in Los Angeles, like packing up the car for a day at the beach, picking up sandwiches on the way, and enjoying the surf and sand until after sunset. Those days are everything to me lately.

- What is your morning routine?

I really wish I could say I had some sort of chic morning routine that involved me making my own matcha latte, reading a book, and meditating for 30 minutes, but that’s just not the case. I usually roll over and check my phone, then eventually move to my laptop, where I stay and may not eat, shower, or brush my teeth until the afternoon. I don’t recommend this to anyone, but it’s just how I operate. Ha.

- How would you describe your hair? And from whom do you get your hair?

I get my hair from my mom, it’s a rich brown and has a natural wave to it. It’s not too thick, not too thin, just somewhere in between. It kind of just does its own thing.

- What is your current haircare ritual?

It’s a less-is-more approach right now. Shower, wrap in my Crown Affair towel, then let it down (don’t brush!) and run some product through it with my fingers depending what look I’m going for (some days are more sleek, others are more unruly), and air dry. Occasionally I’ll do a hair mask just to feel luxurious.

- What would you say has been your most major hair moment or memory thus far?

I have photos of my mom with a similar boy-short haircut to the one I have right now. I always knew I wanted to get this cut someday, but just had to work up the courage and confidence to do it. Now that I have this cut I definitely feel like I’m channeling her and her style from that time (late ‘80s/early ‘90s).

- Where do you find inspiration?

Lately, I’m super inspired by both classic and indie cinema, because I spent a lot of time during quarantine watching movies with such strong points of view; everything from Chocolat and The Beguiled to The Dreamers and Yi Yi. I recently signed up for Mubi and I’m excited to dive into their unique offering. I’m much more interested in movies than television series, but that’s just me. I’ve also been picking up old magazine issues from a store in Venice called The Mart Collective. I love looking at Vogue photographs from the ‘60s and ‘70s. They still feel so relevant to what I’m drawn to today.

- Favorite quote or words you live by?

It’s always changing but lately, it’s a lot of Pema Chodron. “We can make ourselves miserable or we can make ourselves strong. The amount of effort is the same.”

- Favorite artists?

Mainstays like Matisse and Miro, and some recent discoveries I’ve fallen in love with: Thai Mainhard, Jean-Francois Le Minh, Christie Macdonald.

- Favorite writers or books?

A sampling of recent/always favorite titles: Pachinko, Three Women, How To Change Your Mind, The Untethered Soul, Big Magic, A Little Life.

- Activities or hobbies?

Surfing, biking, floral arranging, vintage furniture hunting — all hobbies I’ve found joy in this year.

- What would you tell your 18-year old self, knowing what you know today?

You’ll get much further being you than trying to be like anyone else.