After decades with limited shades and diversity in the makeup industry, beauty blogger turned businesswoman, Ofunne Amaka, took matters into her own hands. For far too long, women of color have struggled to find the right shade of foundation, having to settle for the “all-inclusive” dark or medium shade, and lipsticks colors are mostly presented on fair skin tones, making it difficult for darker toned women to make thoughtful purchasing decisions. Recognizing and experiencing this frustration herself, Amaka developed Cocoa Swatches — a revolutionary beauty app that showcases the latest makeup swatches on underrepresented complexions. Since its launch, Cocoa Swatches (which is available for iPhone and Android, FYI) has become the choice answer for makeup lovers everywhere!
Besides being an inspirational beauty boss, Amaka also gets a lot of attention for her epic style and, obviously, gorgeous hair. No matter if she’s sporting long diva waves, chic bantu knots, glamorous curls, or just a flawless twist-out, Amaka slays every single time. We caught up with our mane star to learn more about her hair routine and to chat about the growing diversity within beauty spaces. See our Q&A below!
What is your daily hair routine?
I usually wear wigs, so it’s just a matter of choosing which wig I want to wear that day (after my hair has been braided down!)
What are your favorite hair products?
What’s your go-to night routine?
I normally take out my wig, spray some braid spray on my scalp, and wrap up my head in a scarf.
Obvi, you’re our hair crush! Do you have one of your own?
What’s your glam inspiration?
I don’t know if I have a glam inspiration, per se. I love fashion and beauty and sometimes the beauty of it all is mixing glam pieces with a pair of sneakers, or high end pieces with low end pieces. My style icon would definitely be Rihanna.
How do you think social media impacts diversity in beauty spaces? (If it does at all)
I think social media has given those who are often underrepresented, those with darker complexions, those with skin conditions, etc., a place to find allies. Hashtags like #BlackOutDay, for example, allow people to celebrate themselves unapologetically and redefine what beauty means. Social media is also a great way to keep larger entities accountable when they try to present limited definitions of beauty.
What does it mean to you to make space for women of color in this very rigid beauty world?
It means so much because I know how difficult it was for me to navigate the beauty world growing up. The fact that I have been able to help women of color along their makeup journey, in a world where they are often regarded as an afterthought, means the world to me.
What are your thoughts on the blossoming embrace of natural hair texture?
I think it’s amazing that so many people are beginning to wear their natural hair. Its great to destroy some of those stereotypes that deem natural hair to be “unkempt” or “unprofessional.” In that way, many people are breaking barriers. However, I don’t think accepting and embracing natural hair means you have to forgo any other styles. I don’t see it as a “natural vs weave” thing. In addition to that, I also want to point out that, sometimes, all types of natural hair aren’t celebrated. A Dove curly hair commercial may include someone with perfect spiral curls but not someone with 4C hair. So I think it’s important that as we continue to embrace our natural hair, we also celebrate all of the ways our hair manifests.
Any advice for any aspiring beauty innovators?
I would just tell them to research the field they are trying to break into and don’t be afraid to dream big.
What’s next for you?
Cocoa Swatches will continue to provide the community with the resources they need to make informed purchasing decisions, especially swatches on various complexions. We also have some great content underway that I am really excited about!
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