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As a Black woman who loves skincare, shopping for skincare products never begged the question of whether or not it would work for my skin color. With “all skin types” listed on plenty of beauty brands, I never thought twice about products not including my actual shade, too. However, Melē skincare, the new melanin-focused beauty brand to hit Target, is making Black and brown folx reevaluate which skincare products are effective on a science-based level.
Like many other industries in America, dermatology also has a diversity problem. Only three percent of dermatologists in America are Black and only four percent are Latinx. However, 40 percent of Americans today identify as people of color. And while makeup brands have partnered up with influencers to expand or create wider shade ranges, dermatology and skincare have yet to catch up to the wave of inclusion. Melē skincare, however, seeks to change that.
Co-created by dermatologists of color and Black Unilever executives who designed it specifically for melanin skin, the brand features a five-piece line — all under $25. The entire line is also free from parabens, alcohol, mineral oil, sulfates and it contains no phthalates. Specifically designed to help with dark spots, even skin tone, moisture, sun damage and more, the line is split into three parts: refresh, enhance and protect.
Shop: Even Tone Post Cleanse Tonic, $17.99
Per Dr. DiAnne Davis, a Black dermatologist who helped partner with Melē, this is not a toner. During a virtual deskside, she explained how some toners can carry ingredients that are stripping to the skin. The Even Tone Post Cleanse Tonic, however, helps dryer skin types (like mine) to even their tone right after cleansing. The lactic acid (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) in it helps to exfoliate the skin and leave a moisturized base with ingredients like glycol and glycerin.
Shop: Even Dark Spot Control Serum, $23.99
As one of the brand’s core products and one of my personal favorites to target the concerns of melanin skin, the Even Dark Spot Control Serum is way different from other serums. It applies smoothly and is described as a bi-phase serum to reduce the look of dark spots. Packed with retinyl propionate on top and three percent niacinamide on the bottom, the serum is shaken and then applied to the skin, helping target stubborn dark spots and uneven skin tone. It’s already been deemed a hit — and has won a 2020 Beauty O-Ward from The Oprah Magazine.
Shop: Smooth Pore Minimizing Serum, $23.99
The other skin concerns for melanin skin addressed in the line are large pores and oil control. As soon as you apply this Smooth Pore Minimizing Serum, it mattifies your skin on the dot. For oily babes, this serum minimizes the pores with its blurring effects and reduces excess oil. Plus, it’s so lightweight, I’ve even used it as a primer under my foundation.
Shop: Plump It Up Nourishing Cream, $18.99
Oil-free but hydrating AF, the Plump It Up Nourishing Cream leaves behind a dewy glow while also delivering brightening benefits like niacinamide and a vitamin B complex to avoid dry patches. As someone who uses this moisturizer often, I can confirm you only need one pump because a little goes a long way and you can “overdew” it.
Shop: Dew The Most Sheer Moisturizer SPF 30, $18.99
Despite a soft launch in late September, the Dew The Most SPF 30 has already sold out at Target, thanks to skincare fans who spotted it early on. Lucky for you, it’s still in stock on the Melē website. I can honestly see why it’s a hit — there is absolutely no white or purple cast when you apply this to melanin skin. What’s special about this little guy is that it not only protects against UV rays, but it also protects against blue light from your devices. Not to mention, it’s free of oxybenzone and isn’t sticky or greasy.
Many Black and brown shoppers may not even be conscious of skincare that’s made for their skin color. But with Melē’s line, melanin customers can snag more accessible beauty for their skin to glow its brightest.
If you found this story helpful, check out these Black-owned skincare and haircare brands at Blk +Grn.
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