When you buy a face mask, deodorant, or body scrub from BLK + GRN, you’re not just adding to your self-care routine—you’re also endorsing a non-toxic product handcrafted by a Black artisan.

Dr. Kristian Edwards, DrPH, the mastermind behind BLK + GRN’s array of natural beauty and lifestyle products sourced from Black-owned businesses, is committed to simplifying green living and empowering Black entrepreneurship. Every product featured on BLK + GRN, from makeup to skincare to supplements, undergoes meticulous scrutiny by Edwards and a panel of experts including aestheticians, dermatologists, and makeup artists. The focus is on ensuring these products not only utilize natural ingredients but also deliver effective results.

Striving for BLK + GRN to be more than just a marketplace, Edwards envisions it as an educational platform. Customers have the opportunity to connect with the creators behind the products they love and access reliable information on the benefits of transitioning to chemical-free alternatives.

The birth of BLK + GRN stemmed from Edwards, a public health educator at George Washington University, stumbling upon research suggesting that beauty products catering to Black women typically contained fewer harmful substances than those targeting the general populace. This raised concerns about the potential health impacts on Black women, who are heavy users of personal care items.

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Alerted by the health risks associated with these products, such as links to cancer and other conditions, Edwards felt compelled to instigate change. Influenced by the advocacy for supporting Black-owned enterprises in Our Black Year by Maggie Anderson, she embarked on a quest to curate natural items from Black artisans.

After extensive product assessments and exploration of lesser-known brands, Edwards broadened her mission to establish a platform that simplifies the discovery of these products, giving rise to BLK + GRN in 2017.

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What initially began as a solo endeavor, with Edwards tending to each order from her Maryland home, has blossomed into a team of six offering more than 90 products crafted by 71 artisans, with the selection continuously growing. The positive testimonials from customers attributing BLK + GRN to improving their lives by eliminating toxic products serve as a driving force for Edwards. She treasures the relationships formed with the entrepreneurs whose products are showcased on the platform, considering them as part of her family.

As the platform evolves, Edwards remains dedicated to providing insights into cosmetics and their creators. The BLK + GRN community includes a podcast, a blog, and resources like a detailed list of 20 harmful ingredients banned from their products (Edwards suggests keeping a copy for reference when shopping elsewhere). Leveraging social media, Edwards and her team strive to raise awareness about clean beauty practices by engaging with customers across various platforms.

An essential dialogue revolves around the perception of higher prices attached to natural products. Instead of viewing them as luxury indulgences, Edwards advocates for seeing them as investments in one’s health.

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“What value do you place on yourself? Is prioritizing better products now important for your well-being?” Edwards encourages individuals to ponder these questions and engage in meaningful conversations rather than dictating choices.

In her forward vision, Edwards aims to foster direct partnerships between artisans and natural ingredient suppliers to enhance product transparency. Additionally, she aims to establish an accelerator program supporting Black-owned businesses, especially those led by Black women, who have historically faced challenges in accessing financial backing.

Source: @blkandgrn

Discover some of the best-selling products from BLK + GRN below. As highlighted by Edwards, these products, while crafted by Black women, are suitable for all skin types, not just melanated skin.

  • Detox – Hand Sanitizer
  • Black Girl Sunscreen
  • R & R Luxury – Shea Butter
  • Hunny Bunny – Deodorant
  • Loo Hoo Balls + GRN Essential Oil
  • GRN Canvas Tote Bag
  • The Healing Place – Whipped Greens

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