Style

Meet the Nigerian Sisters On a Mission to Keep Your Melanin Poppin' and Protected

Nigerian sisters Chinelo Chidozie and Ndidi Obidoa of Bolden on the importance of developing beauty products that benefit women of color.

Even if you’re not a person of color, you know what the dermatological adjective “ashy” is: Tiny flecks of dried skin that show up on people with more melanin. But you might not know how difficult it is to find products that don’t leave white residue, like when you apply sunscreen.


The duo behind the beauty line Bolden, Nigerian sisters Chinelo Chidozie and Ndidi Obidoa, know this struggle all too well. Growing up in West Africa, they often used shea butter at home. Bolden was created to help expand the beauty options available to women of color, and support communities that produce shea nuts in Burkina Faso. In their quest to develop their line of shea products, the number one beauty complaint from their customers was hyperpigmentation—or, the discoloration of darker skin due to sun exposure.

Ndidi Obidoa and Chinelo Chidozie of Bolden. Photo courtesy of Bolden.

“A lot of black people don't wear sunblock because they don't see the damage immediately,” Chidozie says. She points to the late musician Bob Marley, who died of acral lentiginous melanoma, a serious skin cancer, at 36. “There’s an issue with education around sunscreen in the black community. Even though skin cancer doesn’t affect people of color as much as it affects people with white skin, that makes it more dangerous because it’s often not caught until it’s in an advanced stage.”

Aside from developing skin cancer, the other issue for people of color is spending a lot of time testing products to see if they’ll work on their skin. “I always ask myself, ‘Is this a product that will leave a white cast on me?’ and then I realize, whoever made the sunblock probably didn't have me in mind. As consumers, we're so used to trying products to see if they'll work. In 2017, that's not okay.” Consumers shouldn’t have to one-style-fits-all products that don’t suit their needs.

Chidozie and Obidoa started investigating why sunblock leaves a white residue. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, two chemical compounds found in most sunblock ingredients and are known for reflecting sunlight off of skin. But only for certain skin pigments do these compounds actually look good; otherwise it might look more like this.

[oka-gallery]

“Skin is skin 95 percent of the time,” says Chidozie. “But there are differences in how skin scars and how melanin reacts. It does look different, and if you’re black, you’re concerned about those discolorations.”

For the sisters, it was an obvious gap in the marketplace. The answer was to develop a formula that acts more like a moisturizer than a sunscreen; it’s a cream-colored serum that dries clear on the skin. Bolden plans to add it to their line within the next couple of weeks, and they know there’ll be demand.

“We’ve tested it on ourselves and a wide spectrum of skin tones, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive,” Chidozie says. “Folks are very excited that we are increasing the number of product options that work really well for their skin concerns.”

Arts + Culture

Shameless Maya on 5 Years of Being Shameless and How to Tackle Self-Doubt

We catch up with Shameless Maya on her five year anniversary on YouTube, what keeps her inspired and more.

If there’s someone to look to as an example of how to be fearless and own your gifts and talents, it’s Maya Washington. Known as Shameless Maya on the internet, Washington is a fierce maven on YouTube, an actor and creative producer.

Keep reading...
Audio

How Kwesta Wrote One of the Biggest South African Hip-Hop Songs of This Era

Kwesta breaks down the process behind "Ngud'," his massive South African anthem alongside Cassper Nyovest and DJ Maphorisa—and one of the biggest SA hip-hop songs of his era.

Kwesta's "Ngud'" is massive.

Keep reading...
popular
Still from YouTube.

Watch the Hazy Music Video for Burna Boy's 'Secret' Featuring Jeremih and Serani

Burna Boy drops a new music video for a fan favorite from his Grammy-nominated album 'African Giant.'

Grammy-nominated Burna Boy shares the music for the latest single "Secret," a fan favorite from his seminal album African Giant.

The track, which features American singer Jeremih and Jamaican dancehall artist Serani, is arguably one of the album's most fun and memorable tracks. The song gets a hazy music video starring the three artists in various dimly-lit, monochromatic settings. The video was directed by David Camarena.

Keep reading...
popular

Listen to J Hus' New Album 'Big Conspiracy'

The artist's highly-anticipated sophomore album features Burna Boy, Koffee and more.

J Hus is back. The heavyweight British-Gambian artist returns with his highly-anticipated sophomore album Big Conspiracy.

The 13-track album features the likes of Burna Boy, who joins the artist on the upbeat track "Play Play," as well as buzzing Jamaican artist Koffee who appears on the track "Repeat," one of the album's clear standouts.

It also features a new artist by the name of iceè tgm on three tracks. Some fans have speculated that the mysterious artist is J Hus' sister. The album includes the previously released single 'Must Be,' which he dropped in November of last year.

Keep reading...

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.