Black men are ignored by the skin-care industry. These brands are stepping up
For Dorion Renaud, founder of Buttah skin care, the mission and message of his brand goes beyond the bottle.
During his 20s, the L.A.-based entrepreneur and actor sought out products that would address the hyperpigmentation and scarring left from teenage acne. He turned up either empty handed or with items that failed to even out his melanin-rich skin tone.
“I had really messed-up skin growing up, and my acne, instead of healing, would turn into a dark spot,” Renaud said. “I couldn’t find a product that would address these issues and didn’t like the store experience of seeing an aisle labeled ‘urban’ or ‘ethnic’ or having to ask a store clerk to open up a case to get a product. I didn’t want to be categorized. We all have skin, so why do I have to feel categorized?”
Renaud had been on the hunt for skin-care products for years while working as a model and living in New York. It wasn’t until he purchased a block of pure shea butter from a street vendor in Harlem, which he would melt down in his microwave, that Renaud finally began to get the results he was seeking. Shea butter has traditionally been used to treat discoloration and stretch marks and to heal scars. The ingredient became the basis of Buttah.
In 2018 he launched his line of nine products, including CocoShea Cream, Vitamin C Serum and Charcoal Detox Mask, which are sold on the Buttah website and debut on QVC this month.
Renaud is among a growing list of founders creating skin-care and grooming brands made for men of color and primarily for Black men. Like Renaud, many of these founders have developed products out of personal necessity and to serve a sector of the market where skin issues such as hyperpigmentation and grooming challenges, including ingrown hairs, are prevalent but historically underserved across mass- and prestige-market products.
By Melissa Magsaysay for Los Angeles Times