Diya Ayodele on her new book “Black Skin” – WWD


PARIS – Dija Ayodele did not believe that beauty could be a viable career. But 15 years ago, during the global recession, she decided to take the plunge, quit her career in finance and dive head first into the beauty industry. She launched the “Black Skin Directory”, a platform that connects people of color with skin care professionals, and her London clinic West Room Aesthetics – especially for women of color, who have traditionally been overlooked by the mainstream beauty industry.

Now, with the recent publication of her first book ‘Black Skin’, she wants to speak louder about the beauty needs of blacks and educate beauty professionals and students on how the industry needs to adapt to foster a true inclusion.

At the same time, she is preparing to launch a global education platform, to help fill the existing gaps in university beauty courses. Beauty Inc spoke with Ayodele to discuss the biggest learnings and surprises from writing her first book, education, and how skin care can empower women and foster brotherhood.

How did you decide to write a book?

AD: There was an influx of black women coming to me as clients, and I felt like the mainstream industry wasn’t really looking after them. They had to take extra steps and deal with additional anxiety about skin care and access to treatment. There was a lack of knowledge and confidence about what was available in the industry. I knew there were a lot of myths, a lot of misconceptions. I had all this information and I was like, “How can I make a contribution? I also knew that I wanted to write a book with a little more depth, a lot of history and [an examination of] how beauty and skin color – especially black skin color – intersect with the beauty industry.

Peau Noire book cover
Courtesy photo

What are the main stages of your career?

AD: I have always loved beauty, but I started my career in finance, while doing my [beauty] training on the side. During the recession, I decided to pursue a full time career in beauty and create the “Black Skin Directory”. Another pivotal moment in my career was moving my West Room Aesthetics clinic to its own space, from the room I was renting in Kensington, London. Creating a safe space available to all women, but especially black women – bringing that kind of sorority community together was very essential. I always say black women are my pole star.

What are the surprises and the greatest learnings associated with writing a book?

AD: The level of miscommunication that there has been in the industry, about things like the purchasing power of black women. In my late teens, I didn’t realize that not everyone used MAC or Bobbi Brown makeup. I thought everyone was buying their foundation for 25 or 30 pounds, but at that time there weren’t a lot of options for black women in the mass market for, say, 10 pounds. Black women are forced to spend more on their skin care because they lack choice. We spend more than our white counterparts – about 137.52 pounds more per year, according to the Superdrug Shades of Beauty report, in 2016. Additionally, this report, which surveyed 559 women, found that 70% of black women and Asians feel excluded. of street deals, and 36% felt beauty advice for their skin tones and concerns was lacking. We look forward to being included in the conversation.

What is your biggest mission that fuels your writing and your specialty?

AD: The mission is to empower black women, ensuring that they are not left out of the narrative and have access to the knowledge and information necessary to meet their own skin care needs. The second part of this mission is education for everyone: I want to talk about the undertones of black skin, for example, which are only taught if you have a good professor in the university. Many practitioners come out of educational institutions not knowing how to differentiate black skin. When you don’t know and don’t want to experiment on someone’s skin, you end up saying, “I don’t do this on black skin,” and leave black women with no choice.

Do you see progress on these fronts?

AD: I see progress every year, but I would like people to receive this knowledge as an integral part of their education. I would love to see brands consider darker skin tones from the start. Next year, we will be rolling out our Global Education Platform, which targets students and offers an additional level of professional training.

What are some of your favorite products for black skin and why?

AD: I love pigmentation products that tackle the discoloration and patchy dark spots. Ingredients like licorice extract, alpha-arbutin, resorcinol, kojic acid, and retinoids all help keep my skin tone even. The product I look for the most in this category is Skin Better Science Even Tone Serum. I also like sunscreen because it is the easiest and cheapest way to avoid fading. My current favorite sunscreens are Glossier Invisible Shield SPF30 and Ultrasun UV Face and Scalp Mist SPF50.

Where do you buy skin care products for yourself?

AD: I tend to buy from my clinic because I prefer clinical grade products. However, I mix it up with consumer products every now and then, and Boots is my go-to. It has a wide selection of products that don’t break the bank and there is always something new to discover, so it’s always a bit of market research too.

Where do you see the gaps in the black skin care market?

AD: I see shortcomings in the way brands communicate about their products and how they fail to take advantage of the benefits that would primarily appeal to the concerns of many black women and men. We can therefore do more to better nuance the language for different demographic data. From a product perspective, it would be great to see more of it in the physical sunscreen space – it can be difficult to find a physical sunscreen that doesn’t leave a white residue on black skin, and it could. there should be more provisions in this area.

What about hair care and other categories for black people?

AD: The hair care and makeup categories are doing very well, with an incredible offer online and in store. I’d love to see more small independent hair care brands like Ori By Titi, Dizziak, Charlotte Mensah, and Trepadora get more mainstream airtime, however.

What are the beauty dos and don’ts, common mistakes, and pro tips?

AD: Make an appointment to see a skin care professional and get personalized advice on how to treat and manage your skin. Don’t skip sunscreen – it’s important to protect against diseases like skin cancer, but also to prevent sun damage and skin discoloration. A common mistake is to assume that black skin is tough and resilient because of melanin. It’s not. It is more sensitive because any trauma to the skin causes the production of excess melanin, which then causes an uneven and uneven skin tone.

Pro Tips: Leave professional skin care procedures, such as chemical peels and micro-needles, to professionals in a safe, sterile environment. Likewise, Botox and fillers should only be done by qualified doctors and nurses. If your beautician offers you an injectable, run like the wind.

See also:

Tracee Ellis Ross on Diversity and Purposeful Products at the 2021 Beauty Inc Awards

What the Beauty Industry Doesn’t Understand How to Support Black Businesses

Fashion and Running Database Wants to Correct Poor Fashion Education


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