"Shopping for beauty products can be inefficient and expensive when you are not catered for," says beauty expert Simi Lindgren, so she decided to launch a shiny new online beauty destination. YUTYBAZAR might be under the radar but the website (which is driven by artificial intelligence to match consumers to the best products, champions Black-owned beauty brands and caters to all ethnicities) is gaining traction among beauty obsessives everywhere.
Head online and you'll be encouraged to take a quick quiz which delves into your lifestyle, environment, beauty preferences and goals, whether you're interested in skin, hair, makeup or fragrance. Once complete, the engine expertly matches you to the very best and most effective products depending on your skin tone, hair type and unique needs. "Our algorithm is built by people of colour," says Simi, "and it's for those who place importance on shopping diverse, inclusive and conscious beauty." Even the name – YUTYBAZAR – has the consumer at heart, as a blend of 'you' and 'beauty'.
Simi created the hub to reflect the rising change in demographics and needs. Big-name beauty retailers may shout about inclusivity but Simi suggests there are shortfalls. "It's not as simple as including a wider range of foundation shades, especially when foundation is skewed to lighter skin tones." Simi continues: "There needs to be consideration around pigments and ingredients, some of which cause oxidisation."
Undertone matters, too, but often doesn't factor into a brand's foundation range. "We need a wider availability of undertones, from the medium to darker ends of the spectrum," says Simi, who champions makeup brands like Luv + Co. and Aeva Beauty for darker skin tones. "It's also important to reject the misconception that deeper, darker skin tones mean 'warm' as it could also mean 'cool' for some ethnicities." Makeup especially is far from one size fits all. "It's about really understanding the needs of melanated skin," says Simi.
The same goes for skincare, especially buzzy new ingredients. It's the brand's mission to throw out old beauty ideas and incorrect information. Instead, it arms consumers with knowledge via the editorial tab and detailed product descriptions for brands such as Epara, Sade Baron, Freya + Bailey and more. "Glycolic acid for example comes highly recommended for those wanting to tackle hyperpigmentation and signs of ageing, and there are many products available," says Simi. "But the issue is that glycolic acid (in high concentrations) can potentially cause hyperpigmentation in darker skin tones when overused." Simi mentions that gentler ingredients are better alternatives but that choice is limited. On site, you'll discover products formulated with vitamin A (aka retinol) and gentle lactic acid, with notes on how to use them safely. YUTYBAZAR is also an educational tool and busts skincare myths where possible. "We look at other outdated concepts such as brown or Black people not needing sunscreen. Everyone needs to protect their skin from UVA and UVB exposure," says Simi, "even more so brown and Black people, who are affected by concerns such as hyperpigmentation."
The website is already doing big things but it's about to boom, as Simi and the team are in talks to join forces with 180 skin, hair, makeup and fragrance brands. Simi is currently in the process of onboarding US-based Dehiya (an ethically sourced botanical beauty brand inspired by Morocco), Nola Skinsentials (a plant-based and cruelty-free brand which benefits not only melanin-rich skin tones but everyone who wants clear skin), British brand Novel Skincare (organic, natural and vegan) and AIRFRO, a performance-driven natural haircare brand for those who have curls and like to be active.
What should you add to your basket right now? While every brand featured on YUTYBAZAR is a favourite for Simi, living in a hard water area of London with 4C hair makes her a big fan of the Afro Hair & Skin Co. Bloom Omega Healthy Hair Oil. "This can be used as a leave-in conditioner to add shine and nourish both hair and scalp," says Simi. "For my skin, and especially as I survive on less than five hours' sleep a night (such is startup life), Freya + Bailey's Glo'Up! Dream Face Cleanser, AbsoluteJoi's Balance pH Face Toner and Emmaus Beauty's Protective Nourishing Moisturiser SPF 25 help protect my skin from environmental and UV damage."
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