From our go-to hair salons to product faves, here's our little Black beauty book

best black beauty experts
Our little Black beauty book Artwork by Jaime Lee

When I was younger, before the days of TikTok and saving inspo to your Pinterest board, the internet and traditional media were bleak places for Black girl beauty recommendations. Like, really non-existent. I yearned to one day work for a glossy magazine, but I never saw models who looked like me in their shoots or found products that stretched to my rich skin tone on their pages. Coming into my beauty era when I was in my late teens and early twenties, we had to rely on localised beauty recommendations from friends and family, sharing the hits and the misses – and there were many, many misses. It was my community who saw me through my ‘What’s the best weave hair?’ questions, skin texture issues and ‘WTF to do about hyperpigmentation?’ woes.

Then I began working at a magazine that was specifically aimed at Black women and answered all the questions that catered to our beauty needs. It was heaven. At the same time, the natural hair movement on YouTube was on the rise, born out of the need to create a space to help demystify caring for our coils. These were such amazing resources, but they were only created due to the lack of inclusion elsewhere in the mainstream. We needed to make our own spaces because we were typically left out in the cold. I’m prouder than ever to see how far the beauty world has come with inclusion and diversity, but I also recognise that we still have away to go.

Yes, although the Black beauty community is brimming with content to feed all our makeup, skincare and haircare needs, when it comes to traditional media, it’s only ever dotted here and there for us to digest when we discover it. That’s why I’m so proud to be a Cosmo girl and be part of a magazine that has given me the space to write for Black women, recognising where it can be more inclusive, from my first-ever article for the website (‘Seven of the best foundations for darker skin tones’) to this all-encompassing little Black book of all things beauty, with advice and recommendations from myself and industry insiders who don’t gatekeep.

Yours truly,

Keeks Reid, Cosmopolitan UK’s contributing beauty director

My little speed dials for hair...

You know I love you because now they won’t have space to squeeze me in, SMH


I have known Lorraine for nearly 10 years and she has been my go-to hairdresser for at least five. While I often visit other salons as part of my work as a beauty journalist, it’s been integral for my hair’s health to have one stylist who knows my coils inside out (and who forces me to have a trim). Having a trusting relationship with one hairdresser is really special as I know I’m in safe hands. She has an impressive roster of celeb clients including Serena Williams and Vick Hope, but her salon, which she co-owns, is still homey. If you’ve ever wondered how my hair still looks healthy despite the amount of heat I use, it’s down to her.


Colouring Afro hair without completely ruining it is a fine science. Our already drier and more fragile texture has to have most of the melanin stripped out of it to have a good base for the desired colour to stick to, meaning a strong pre-lightener is needed and the margin for error is teeny tiny. I’ve only ever dyed my hair with Lloyd and am always blown away by the results. When it comes to lightening my hair, he goes ‘low and slow’ and the salon insists on a strand test (as well as the usual patch test) to ensure that your hair and skin can handle the chemicals used.

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Delmaine Donson - Getty Images

Treatments that work...

A little gift from me to you: clinics that leave me glowing


Not all laser machines are created equal, and older machines can be harmful to Black skin as the laser can’t distinguish between the colour of your skin and hair. We’re all too familiar with those nightmare laser storytime videos on TikTok... yikes. Thérapie uses Cynosure’s Elite iQ machine that works on skin up to five on the Fitzpatrick scale, which is as advanced as laser technology is at the moment, and I’ve been impressed with the results. Even better, there are so many clinic locations across the country.


Ada has an abundance of strings to her bow including treating skin holistically. I’m a huge believer in traditional Chinese medicine and Ada uses methods such as cupping, massage and acupuncture to aid with issues from inflammation and fluid retention to fatigue. In a world that often diminishes Black women’s pain, time with Ada feels like therapy for my body and soul.

A note on skin clinics...

We talk about hair salons’ lack of coily hair expertise, but what about skin clinics not being informed on Black skin? Our skin is a live organ – it can react to products and treatments, and some trained professionals just don’t have experience in treating it. Proficiency in understanding skin beyond number three on the Fitzpatrick scale unfortunately isn’t universal, so before booking in with a clinic for things such as laser or specific dermatological concerns, I’d check if they’re on the Black Skin Directory’s clinic directory. Clinics on here have been vetted and certified as having the highest level of knowledge and experience in treating skin of colour, so you know you’re in safe hands.

Beauty Bag Essentials

Our favourite beauty experts on their go-to products

Treatment recommendations

Our go-to pros on their favourite beauty treatments

black beauty hub
Delmaine Donson - Getty Images

CHARLOTTE MENSAH, award- winning hairdresser


‘I’ve been seeing Ingrid for years for a combination of deep-tissue massage, acupuncture and cupping. She goes above and beyond to ensure that you’re getting the best treatment possible, and I always leave feeling better emotionally and physically.’

YASMIN ARTISTRY, content creator


‘I recommend hydrafacials. They are the best type of facial for dryness and I always come back with radiant-looking skin.’

AVA WELSING- KITCHER, freelance beauty editor and brand consultant


‘This is the only facial treatment that has truly knocked others out of the park for me. After six months, my skin was bouncier than it was in my teens – plus, the results lasted for almost a year.’

For even more expert advice, product picks and all things Black beauty, head to our dedicated Hub (no gatekeeping here)

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