With the creation of Lauren Napier Beauty, celebrity makeup artist-turned-entrepreneur Lauren Napier has creatively found a way to combine two of her passions: Improving Black skincare awareness and advocating for the success of Black-owned businesses in an attempt to uplift the community overall.
The 40-year-old New York-based makeup artist, who’s been in the game since 2010, has an impressive résumé, including projects like “Saturday Night Live,” “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” and “90 Day Fiancé,” as well as work for both Netflix and HBO. Now, she’s the founder of a brand of cleansing wipes that comedian Leslie Jones calls “The best thing you’ll use on your face to clean off makeup.”
Napier spoke with Atlanta Black Star about what elevates her products above her competition’s, why she decided to take a chance on herself amid a successful career, and the importance of supporting Black-owned businesses.
After feeling that her leadership skills were underappreciated and she was misunderstood due to being a Black woman more than once throughout her career, Napier decided that it was time to officially become her own boss and launched Lauren Napier Beauty in 2014.
“I had some ‘leadership’ skills,” Napier said. “I think we’re all starting to see that women of color often, or specifically Black women, are often targeted in their work environment because people don’t really understand us, and I felt like I was constantly facing that challenge. … So that is first and foremost where I was like, ‘Yeah, I gotta change some things. I want to be my own boss.’”
Napier’s goal with her line of individually packaged cleansing makeup wipes is for whoever uses them to feel as confident about their natural skin as she saw her clients get when she applied their makeup.
“Whatever starlet, whatever actress, whatever actor would come sit down in my makeup chair, they were always so happy about the ceremony of having their makeup applied,” she said. “[Clients] would say, ‘Oh, can you come to my house every day? I wish I woke up like this.’ And that’s cool. It’s a compliment to the work that I was doing, but I also wanted people to just really own their natural appearance.”
Once the idea of Lauren Napier Beauty was born, she saw an opportunity to improve upon the current selection of wipes in the market by creating a natural and environmentally friendly product.
“In my research, I discovered that makeup wipes are — they’re very wasteful. They’re not environmentally friendly. And it was important to me to create something that I could stand by from an efficacy point of view and support,” Napier said. “So all of Lauren Napier Beauty products are made with solar energy. The wipes fabric is stretchable, but it’s also biodegradable, and then the packaging is recyclable. And then they’re packaged individually.”
The idea for Napier’s first product, Cleanse, as well as her signature individually packaged wipes, came to her while she was traveling and in need of a makeup wipe, only to realize the ones she bought had dried out.
Since launching Cleanse, she’s added two more products to the roster, Flaunt and La Rose. Flaunt, whose main ingredients are noni extract, lycopene, and selenium, which help to improve elastin, is geared toward maturing skin. “I was really encouraged to introduce Flaunt — there’s the social psychology also when it comes to aging and maturing, and there’s such a negative connotation that’s associated with it, and there shouldn’t be. Aging is a good thing.”
La Rose is a rose water-infused wipe that’s safe for acne-prone and oily skin. “Rose water helps to reduce inflammation, it also helps to reduce inflammation, redness, and balance the oils that are producing in your skin.”
As she continues to see success with her brand, Napier is also making sure she does the work to share the wealth when it comes to lifting up other businesses owned by Black women.
“I’ve always been a person who supports and advocates women and, specifically, Black women-owned businesses. I know how hard it is. I know what the struggle is. … So since the inception of LaurenNapier.com, I feature a woman-owned, Black woman-owned, minority woman-owned brand at least twice a month. … My goal is to constantly elevate other women and Black women who are around me.”
As a champion of supporting Black business, Napier urges consumers who may seek more convenient or inexpensive alternatives to take a moment to consider the fact that their dollar will go further when buying Black. “I believe that what we have to do is take the time. We live in a world where everything is incredibly convenient, right?” she asked. “I think what we need to do is realize that it might not necessarily be convenient, but once we harness that power and support that community, it becomes more convenient, it becomes more readily available.”
As Lauren Napier Beauty continues to grow, the business owner is not only taking in the success that her brand has brought her, but she’s also even more motivated to pass that success on to other Black-owned brands. “I believe that there is a new awareness to influencers, tastemakers, and people who have very strong voices, and I feel like my voice is also being used. And I’m very happy that I can use my voice to uplift other people, but also bring awareness to Black skin care brands.”