As long as I’ve worked at Barneys, I’ve taken pride in being part of a company that’s considered a mover and a shaker in the luxury space, and big company, entrepreneurial state of mind is one of the reasons I wanted to work within these walls. And as a black woman in this industry, I’ve always felt it’s important to use my voice to speak up for women, like myself, who are often underrepresented and under-catered to in the designer beauty space. While Barneys had a wide range of exceptional beauty products, up until a few months ago, our beauty floor was without black hair care. I knew I wanted to be a part of the change—and not just a change under our designer walls, but one that set the bar higher industry-wide for other luxury retailers to cater to women like myself.
Early last year, a friend of mine raved about a particular black hair care product called Brown Butter Beauty, after I expressed my desire to find a conditioner that would make it seamless for my tangles to loosen once I was done washing. She praised the brand’s detangling leave-in conditioner, calling it beyond stellar. She was indeed correct. My locks were instantly softened and detangled. The results were astonishing—so much so that I instantly added their assortment into a day I refer to as Hair Day.
Hair Day: a 24-hour interval set aside in my schedule, clear of appointments, dates, or the slightest form of entertainment outside of the walls of my studio apartment. A period of time used to thump SZA’s Ctrl album from start to finish, burn thick clouds of Diptyque into the air, and cater to my Afro-textured hair. While the process isn’t always from dawn till dusk, Hair Day can easily extend five to eight hours, depending on the care and love I wish to show my hair. And while the style might change each time, the one thing that doesn’t change is my use of Brown Butter Beauty.
Moments of the past often surface in waves as I’m separating and conditioning my coarse tresses. Memories of unpleasantries as a hot-iron comb heated on a stove top was used to straighten my hair, a limited assortment of oils used to moisturize my strands—me fighting my mother through tears every step of the way. My hair is thick—4C thick. And at the time, there was a real lack of products available to help ease this grueling process. After countless struggles doing my hair, my mother felt that she was left with no choice but to give me a relaxer. The chemical instantly turned my coarse locks into straight hair. While this made my mane drastically manageable, it came at a costly price. The product often left burns, welts, and scars on my scalp. It even stunted the growth of my hair and caused continual breakage.
Fast-forward, I’ve been natural for about three years. The process is still lengthy, but the ease of the routine has greatly increased with the expansion of beauty products available that cater to my thicker, Afro-textured hair. Not-so-fond memories kept me from going natural for a while, but black hair care products such as Brown Butter Beauty have helped the landscape to drastically evolve. From their Herbal Honey Shampoo to their Moisture Rich Hair Butter Cream, the brand provides enriched conditioners, shampoos, and more. The products cater to the health and state of my natural texture, while making it painless to take a comb—if wanted—through my coils. Brown Butter Beauty leaves my hair looking and feeling extremely healthy.
At the end of my Brown Butter Beauty regimen I remember thinking three things: This is way more expensive than the products I usually buy; this is 100% worth it; this should be in Barneys! I immediately set up a meeting with the brand’s founder, Christine Gant, and proceeded to present the idea to the beauty buying team.
Present day, Barneys not only picked up Brown Butter Beauty, but is currently taking the steps to expand further into this untapped space. Our buyers started searching for additional products both in the hair and beauty sector to make this area more robust. As far how customers have received Brown Butter Beauty, the items have sold out, twice—without any special promotion at all. That’s what happens when you cater to the needs of real women. This is only the beginning. Barneys is here, disrupting the luxury beauty space, and I hope this small wave will lead to bigger tides in the beauty industry as a whole.