8 Black Beauty Gurus On The Generational Rituals That Inspire Them

"I always wear a lipstick as my main look because of my mom."

by Annie Blay
8 Black beauty gurus on the generational rituals that inspire them.
Alisia Ford

For Black women, many beauty practices come from traditions that evolve over time yet never lose their cultural significance — think sacred rituals like wash day and deeply rooted ingredients like shea butter. In honor of Black History Month, Bustle spoke with influential Black women about the generational beauty lessons that have shaped their current routines.

"We're all connected by our relationship to Black beauty and our identity, so it's important to celebrate it and take pride and ownership in that," Chloe Hall, Elle's beauty director, tells Bustle. Other beauty industry pros — like Naked Beauty Podcast host Brooke Devard, who loves trying bold looks because of her grandmother; MAC global editorial manager Khalea Underwood, who uses Sundays as a day for self-care, as inspired by her family; and Buttah Skin founder Dorian Denaud, whose own brand was inspired by generational skin care rituals — share the key sentiments and beauty practices that they've adopted from their families.

Through observing the key figures in their lives, these women have cultivated their own routines inspired by those who came before them. Whether it was through watching matriarchs do their hair or having Vaseline lovingly rubbed onto their skin before school, these are the self-care lessons that have shaped who they are today.


Khalea Underwood, MAC Global Editorial Manager

Khalea Underwood

Former beauty editor and current global editorial manager at MAC, Khalea Underwood grew up immersed in the joys and intricacies of Black beauty. She spent her formative years watching her grandmother, a cosmetologist, make women look and feel beautiful. “I was mystified just watching her apply a relaxer, styling rows of curls with a roller set, and pulling [out] the at-home hooded dryer,” she tells Bustle.

Growing up in a religious family, Underwood spent her Sundays as a day of rest, and she remembers watching her grandmother get ready for church service in front of her vanity and spritzing on her Liz Claiborne perfume.

Now, Sundays are the most important day in Underwood’s beauty routine: She maintains the importance of rest by making it a self-care day. “If I have the time, I’ll do an at-home facial, or wash and twist my hair if I need to,” she tells Bustle. “It’s a day of restoration and renewal so I find myself doing a lot of my beauty routine on Sundays, and that is because of my grandmother."


Brooke Devard Ozaydinli, Host & Creator of Naked Beauty Podcast

Brooke Devard/Instagram

Brooke Devard grew up with an incredibly stylish grandmother and a mom who worked at Revlon, both of which set her up to become the beauty guru she is today. Her mom would bring home lipsticks and nail polishes that Devard would play with, and she credits her experimental energy towards self-care to those days of swiping on all different colors. She and her mom still share beauty tips today. “I recently did this one long braid and [my mom] was like, 'this is very Sade energy',” Devard tells Bustle.

In her childhood, Devard also took part in common Black beauty rituals like spending long days at the hair salon, where she would listen to women talking to each other. “I have a podcast now, and what I love more than anything is to hear women talk about beauty and self-care," she says, noting that a lot of the conversations she has today on her podcast are reminiscent of these chats she heard in the salon as a child.


Dorion Renaud, Founder of Buttah Skin

Dorion Renaud

Dorion Renaud named his skin care brand "Buttah" as an ode to his southern roots. He grew up in the small town of Beaumont, Texas, where access to luxury beauty was rare. Consequently, most of his early perceptions of beauty were informed by home remedies like using Vaseline for dry skin. “My grandmother was one of the first people I saw put Vaseline on her face and really take care of her skin," he tells Bustle. These early memories sparked Renaud's love for nourishing skin care.

While working as a young model in Harlem, Renaud discovered the moisturizing powers of shea butter, which inspired him to create his brand. “Every time I'm in my Buttah lab, I'm reminded of my family," he says.


Abena Boamah, Founder of Hanahana Beauty

Abena Boamah/Instagram

"My parents always used to say that cleanliness is next to godliness," Abena Boamah tells Bustle. From that sentiment, she learned to take care of her skin at an early age. Boamah was raised on her family's Ghanian beauty staples, namely using natural ingredients like shea butter, the star of her skin care brand.

Her everyday look consists of a pop of highlighter on top of glowy, dewy skin paired with mascara and a lip balm — the simplicity of which is a nod to her mom's minimalist beauty routine. "She had her one look and she didn't move from it, and now I have my signature look that I stick to," Boamah tells Bustle.

Boamah's family also taught her the importance of knowing exactly what goes on your skin, a lesson that's shaped her brand, Hanahana Beauty. "My parents they used shea butter because they knew what it was," she says, adding that she hopes to continue the importance of transparency in the beauty industry for generations to come.


Chloe Hall, Elle Digital Beauty Director

Chloe Hall/ Instagram

The women in Chloe Hall’s family emphasized the joy of beauty during her childhood, a sentiment that she still carries with her today. "My mom and aunt always made the notion that taking time for your hair, nails, and skin was OK and wonderful, and it's part of why I have my job now," she tells Bustle.

Hall's mom also instilled in her a love for body care. “My mom will joke that ever since I was six, as soon as I get out of the shower I would get deep into my body moisturizing routine,” she says.


Kayla Greaves, InStyle Senior Beauty Editor

Beauty editor Kayla Greaves' go-to look is a statement lip — and it's a style she attributes to her mom.

"My mom was a very glamorous person," she tells Bustle. "She loved lipstick and wearing makeup, and she always had her hair done. I always wear a lipstick as my main look because of my mom." Though her mom would opt for a brown or nude shade, Greaves' bold color of choice is always red — Dior 999 Rouge to be exact.


Alisia Ford, Founder of Glory Skincare

Alisia Ford/Instagram

Founder of Glory Skincare founder Alisia Ford says the act of self-care was passed down by her mom and grandmother.

"As a child, around five or six, whenever I would stay overnight at my grandma’s house, I would look forward to her evening beauty routine," she tells Bustle. "We’d shower, get into our robes and she’d apply this perfumed powder to our necks. I felt so cared for and beautiful."

Influenced by her grandmother, Ford says her self-care practices are essential to her daily life. "Every night, I either take a hot bath with epsom salt or a hot shower, light candles, and unwind," she says. "I follow up with a little dab of aromatherapy oil around my neck or a nice face oil."


Jaleesa Jaikaran, Makeup Artist

Jaleesa Jaikaran/Instagram

For makeup artist Jaleesa Jaikaran, Black beauty was the only type of beauty she knew when growing up in Trinidad. "I grew up with the understanding that everyone was beautiful," she tells Bustle. "There were no Eurocentric standards we ever aspired to."

Jaikaran took beauty inspiration from her aunt. "She used to be a hairstylist, and would always dye her own hair and do both my and my sister's hair," she says. Her aunt also introduced her to makeup — lip gloss in particular. "I used to get made fun of because I have big lips, but as time progressed it became more accepted. It was ingrained in me to always celebrate my beauty as is."