Beneath Your Mask: A Brand With 5 Luxury Products That Will Ignite An Authentic Healing Process

WE met this beautiful brand, Beneath Your Mask at this year's Indie Beauty Expo! Not only were they one of the few black-owned and non-toxic brands vending, but they had one of the most alluring booths of all 220 indie vendors. After reading owner, Dana Jackson's powerful story of healing from her severe form of Lupus, we needed to further understand the beauty and power of her products:

 

When and why did you start Beneath Your Mask? What does the name mean?

Beneath Your Mask launched in December 2016. The name comes from the premise that God doesn’t heal you until you remove your mask and reveal your true self. He can’t heal your representative. This came to me when I was going through my own healing journey. When I focused just on the dietary/lifestyle changes I didn’t see the results I wanted. I had to do a lot of self-work, which is always the hardest.

 Photo by MelaninASS

Photo by MelaninASS

 

How do you define beauty?

Striving for my perception of physical beauty is what made me create Heal Whipped Skin Soufflé back in 2012. My definition of beauty has completely changed since then. I define beauty as how you treat people, compassion, forgiveness, what you exude from within. Because I have first hand experience with the physical beauty being taken, and then what do you have left? People pay attention to beauty initially, because it’s what we all strive for, but the message is so much deeper.

 

Why did you decide to position yourself as a high-end/luxury eco- beauty brand?

 MelninASS Founder Dominique Drakeford trying the Clarifying Face Mask

MelninASS Founder Dominique Drakeford trying the Clarifying Face Mask

My ingredients and packaging decided that for me. When I create a formula, I create something I absolutely love that’s effective and doesn’t compromise on any level. For example, I won’t use a really cheap carrier oil as my base and add a few drops of everything else for the sake of it being on my ingredient list. I create like I’m creating for myself, not like I’m creating for profit margins. I like the best and an abundance of active ingredients. Additionally, when sourcing my ingredients, I’m not just choosing the cheapest version of it. I’m choosing the most therapeutic version of a particular ingredient in an organic or wild harvested form that has not been filtered. I chose my packaging, because in addition to being visually beautiful, it’s unsurpassed in preserving the life of the products. I don’t package in plastic at all because the essential oils I use will break down the lining of the plastic and that plastic will be absorbed into your skin. So after I create a formula, decide where I’m sourcing each ingredient and factor in packaging costs and margins, my price point pretty much has to be luxury.

 

How do you define sustainability?

Sustainability for me is defined by minimizing our environmental impact, not having a lot of waste, packaging our products in glass vs plastic and donating product to shelters. Being a small business allows us to be really flexible in our processes. There is no red tape, so we have minimal waste. I can get an email for a donation to an AIDS shelter, and send out our minis or product and samples of new formulas or old packaging. Literally nothing is wasted.

 

What are the core ingredients for your products and where are they sourced?

Some of our core ingredients are Avocado Oil (Kenya), Baobab Seed Oil (Senegal), Tamanu Oil (Madagascar), Camellia Seed Oil (Japan), Rosehip Seed Oil (Chile), Neem (India), Honey (USA), Coconut Milk (USA), Aloe Vera (USA), Population Lavender Essential Oil (France), Dead Sea Salt (Israel). We source ingredients from over 25 countries, and only source our ingredients from the country they’re naturally grown in.

 Photo by MelaninASS

Photo by MelaninASS

 

Do you see a shift of natural beauty brands? Do you see advancements in the conscious beauty industry as a whole?

I think natural beauty brands are becoming more mainstream. The consumer is requiring the retailers and department stores to carry them. With that shift, a lot of the big brands are trying to get into natural beauty. While I feel like brands are becoming more transparent, because the natural beauty customer is very knowledgeable about ingredients, their ingredient lists still need a lot of work. I feel like as indie beauty gets bigger and has more funding behind it, a lot of truly natural brands are becoming more innovative, and that’s exciting!

 

Does being a woman of color influence your brand? If so, how? Absolutely.

 Photo courtesy of BYM

Photo courtesy of BYM

Being a woman of color made me want to ensure that my brand was not only stunning, but that our customer service was excellent. Because when you ask black people why they don’t support black businesses, that’s their first response. The reality is if I wasn’t black, I could charge much more for my same exact product and packaging. So while it’s considered a luxury price point to some, price per ounce with my quality of ingredients, my price point is actually not nearly as high as it could be. Being a woman of color has also inspired me to not back down in how I’ve positioned my brand. There’s this perception that black-owned brands need to be created at a lower price-point. But why? We clearly buy luxury, so why can’t we create it?

 

 

 

 

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced today?

Marketing. It requires way more money than I anticipated. I’m solely funding my brand, but the vision I have for Beneath Your Mask and how I want it to grow, requires money, a lot of it!

 

What has inspired you the most?

On the toughest days when the beauty industry doesn’t feel beautiful at all, I’m inspired by being presumed to only have 4 weeks to live. Knowing that I can get through that let’s me know that I can beast through the toughest days when I want to throw every single product out the window and say f%&k it!

 Photo courtesy of BYM

Photo courtesy of BYM

 

What has been your greatest achievement thus far?

We got our first wholesale account a couple months ago, and they placed a re-order 2 weeks later.

 

What can we expect from you in the near future?

We’ll be able to announce a really exciting retail partnership in the very near future! Also, we’ll be releasing our mini travel collection in time for the holidays. The next products coming for our collection are a face cleanser and toner.