Growing up, my parents, Magic and Cookie Johnson, always reminded me of the importance of supporting Black-owned businesses and Black creators: As consumers, doing so is our obligation to create generational wealth for our community. Attending New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology, where I graduated from in 2018, made me even more aware of how the fashion-and-beauty industry continually profits off of Black culture and creativity yet more than often leaves its sources of inspiration with zero credit. Now, as a Black entrepreneur who is creating and designing a forthcoming line of eyewear, I feel even more compelled to support Black- and minority-owned businesses and Black designers and creators. So I recently launched SelectedByElisa.com, a platform that aims to amplify Black achievements in fashion and beauty with advocacy and beyond.
While working on my website, I looked at other successful “lifestyle” or “influencer” sites with curated e-commerce pages and couldn’t help but notice how so many of them included little to no products from BIPOC-owned businesses. That’s why, in developing Selected by Elisa’s e-commerce page, which I call Shop Melanated, I aimed to create a space that not only includes us but remains committed to featuring products designed by, and sometimes exclusively for, Black people. From one-of-a-kind denim by up-and-coming fashion designers (and former classmates of mine), to vitamin C serum developed specifically for melanin-rich skin, to a coffee-table book featuring the images of a celebrated young Black photographer, the 16 products below are some of the favorite things I’ve featured in an attempt to get more people to shop melanated.
Another reason I like to wear sunscreen is because I’m prone to hyperpigmentation and dark spots. While sunscreen can help prevent those, in the event they do develop, I turn to this vitamin C serum to treat them. Buttah Skin was created by Dorion Renaud, whose flawless skin I have long admired. I apply this to my face and any other areas with dark spots every morning before topping the skin with moisturizer. In addition to its namesake brightening ingredient, this serum’s formula includes collagen-boosting vitamin A, oil-balancing ferulic acid, and hydrating glycerin and hyaluronic acid. It not only helps to give me a smoother, more even complexion, but also hydrates and revitalizes, leaving my skin feeling softer and looking more nourished.