Qween of the Week: Elle D.

Elle D// All images provided by Elle

Elle D// All images provided by Elle

Finding dupes is hard, finding dupes using only black-owned brands, even harder; but Elle D, the mastermind behind DupeBlack has given beauty lovers a one-stop shop to get all their beauty tips and information on shopping black-owned. With an industry that is just realizing its potential in creating products for all shades, Elle hopes her page will serve as a reminder that you can support any brand that supports you, including black-owned.

How did your passion for all things beauty-related start?

When I first began growing my natural hair out, I was intrigued by all of the information about the science of hair and all of the products that were formulated for natural hair online. I just find it fascinating – the science behind the ingredients, and reviewing and gauging performance. But I’ve always loved out of the box products – I remember being a kid and getting a brownie scented lotion from Bath and Body Works. After that, I was hooked!

What inspired you to start your blog and YouTube channel?

I was so excited about my hair that I was frequently talking about it on Facebook, and a lot of my friends would ask me the same questions. So, I started my blog as a place to store information and archive my journey. One day, I didn’t feel like writing and did a video review instead, and most people seemed to prefer that format. I started expanding my content because at this point, I really don’t do many new things to my hair and I’ve found my staple products.

Who inspires you the most?

Misty Copeland – her drive is amazing.

What do you think makes your blog and page standout?

I think every blogger has a different experience to share – I think that my black-owned brand list is different from most of the lists I see because I’ve used all of the brands in my list. I don’t like blanket lists because often people ask me about the brands I have listed on my site, and I want to be able to give them a real perspective about the products.

What’s one thing you want anyone who comes across your work/page/blog to leave knowing about you or themselves?

I want them to know that anyone can proactively support black-owned brands; you don’t have to be black. When I first started my page, I had a few women DM me and ask if it was okay for them to follow me if they aren’t black. It’s kind of sad – but I do want everyone to know that the page is for everyone and that everyone can support black-owned brands. All love here and inclusion should be a priority for everyone.

Why do you feel it is important to have diversity and representation in the beauty industry?

I think brands should represent society, and society is diverse. This is especially important at the executive level, so there is a diverse set of people making decisions, planning strategy, and implementing product development and campaigns.

What do you want to see more of in the beauty industry in 2019?

I’d like to see more unique highlighters – some different shifts like greens and oranges. I’m tired of the same pink and purple duo-chromes. I’d also like to see more expansive ranges for powder foundations – a lot of brands are expanding liquid foundations, but a lot of the time there are only ten or so powder foundation shades.

Why do you think it has taken beauty brands this long to finally start expanding their shade ranges to suit darker skin tones?

Honestly, money. Diversity is a hot selling point right now, and a lot of brands are taking advantage of that.

Which brand or brands would you recommend new make-up users? Why?

Mented is a good brand to start with because they focus on neutrals, but everything is gorgeous and caters to women of colour. Wet N’ Wild Catsuit lipsticks are great and super inexpensive. Pat McGrath makes the best eyeshadows on the market, in my opinion. NineThreeBeauty is really underrated – they make the best highlighters!

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What does representation mean to you?

Representation means that everyone has a chance to see themselves in a beauty campaign and in product development. No one should have to drive two cities out of their way to find their shade if they can find it at all. And while I don’t think every single product has to be able to be used by every single consumer, it’s important to create diverse product lines with an overall sense of versatility.

If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you need to have with you?

MCT oil (I can use this on my hair, skin, and can eat it!), a book, and a huge bottle of conditioner, probably Curl Junkie Curl Rehab in the Strawberry Ice Cream scent.

What is one product you just can’t live without?

Oyin Hair Dew – it’s such a consistently great moisturizer for my natural hair, and it works in all seasons and with most product combinations. It also smells like sugar, which is a plus for me.

What are some challenges you have faced as a black beauty guru?

Because I mainly highlight black-owned brands, it’s challenging to find dupes sometimes as I have less to choose from, and sometimes a black-owned brand may not even make that product. However, I do think that a lot of brands are expanding to offer a variety of products, and that’s great. Initially, most brands were only selling lipsticks or eyeshadow, now I see black-owned brands selling setting powders, concealer, foundation, eye pencils, contour palettes, and more.

What’s something you always tell yourself to stay motivated?

Information is free.

What is one thing you know now, that you wish you knew when you first started blogging/vlogging?

It takes a lot of time to stay informed about the industry and product releases! I’m always on my phone looking for new info.

What’s next for you?

Well right now I’m on a no (low) buy until April, so I’ve been playing with some themes and colour comparisons to share. I really like playing with gradients and spectrums of eyeshadows, and it’s about time to start preparing spring looks and product suggestions!

If you know who the next Qween of the Week should be send us an email: qweens.magazine@gmail.com, we look forward to hearing from you!