The entrepreneur turns her love for CBD into a beauty brand in her own right

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Image source: Brigitta Hardin

Too often, the best beauty stories go untold, based solely on a person’s skin color, religion, gender expression, disability, or socioeconomic status. Here we pass the mic to some of the most ambitious and talented voices in the industry, so they can share, in their own words, the remarkable story of their birth – and how they use beauty to change. the world for the better. Following: Brigitta Hardinfounder of the CBD-infused brand NFZD Beauty.

I wasn’t really into beauty when I was younger; I first discovered it in college. I went to Howard University, and if you know anything about Howard, this place looks like a walking fashion show. Everyone was dressed in new clothes. It was when I was in college that I bought my first lipstick tubewho was Mac’s Ruby Woo.

Come to think of it, a lot of girls get introduced to beauty by their mothers, but my mother growing up was always sick. She had diabetes, and I remember when I was in eighth grade, she fell into a diabetic coma. She was in a coma for a few days, and when she came out she had extreme brain damage. We realized she had basically regressed mentally and now had the manners of a 6 year old. Because of that, she had to relearn how to walk, talk, eat, everything again, and it was my family and I who taught her.

It’s safe to say that beauty wasn’t really on my priority list growing up, so I just immersed myself in books. It only changed when I fell in love with CBD and its benefitsbut i never found skin care that addressed my own skin concerns. I remember calling all my friends and asking them what their personal skin needs were. Oddly enough, we all had similar issues: hyperpigmentation, acne scars, black dots, and uneven skin tone. At that time, no brand of CBD specifically addressed the skin issues we all had. But not only were products lacking, existing CBD-focused skincare brands were also not marketing to black women. They didn’t show black women in their ads and they didn’t have black women on their social media pages. I kept having the same issues over and over again, so I decided to start my own line to directly address the needs of people in my community.

I also decided to make my line primarily focused on women of color due to my experience at Howard. I grew up in a predominantly black neighborhood – downtown Chicago. But when I walked into Howard, I was surrounded by what seemed like a whole different caliber of black people. Everyone around me was the epitome of black excellence. Everyone got up in the morning and got dressed, really dressed – I’m talking about the front, dressed on all fours – to go to class. Howard introduced me to black women who made no apologies for their love of beauty.

They were some of the people I had in mind when creating NFZD Beauty. I want this line to be a place that offers effective products, and that honors black women. We haven’t had this performance for a very long time, and I want to celebrate us. I want to love us.

When I was in college, I went to school and paid my own tuition. I had to find a second job, so I tried to be a bartender to pay for my studies. During this job search, it was the first time that I was a victim of racial discrimination, and this experience really marked me. For years, I felt like I wasn’t good enough for other people. I remember getting jobs and not always feeling comfortable in those corporate environments because I felt like I always had to go out of my way to be even slightly comparable to my white colleagues .

The beauty industry was the first time in my life where I felt welcome and that’s what I’m meant to do. Being in beauty was where I felt I could be myself. I could be surrounded by other black women who understand the struggles I went through, and they understood it because they also went through the same thing.

I came up with the name NFZD (pronounced in-fused) for my business because my fiancé started a cannabis lifestyle business years ago. His brand is also NFZD, and he was the one who introduced me to CBD. We were on vacation and he had bad back pain and bought some CBD bombs. When he used them that night, by the next day he had no more back pain. I was fascinated. I started researching all the benefits of CBD, and that research lasted over a year. After learning more about the ingredient, I told him I wanted to be in the industry with him. NFZD is therefore also our family heritage. It’s a family business – my co-founder is also my cousin.

In terms of products and formulation, it was very important for me to have a clean beauty line in particular. Many products aimed at black women are not clean, so it was very important for me to do this. Also, CBD is the number one herbal ingredient for me, so I never want to dilute its effectiveness. As a result, all of the ingredients used for my products complement the CBD component beautifully. Yet it’s not the only featured ingredient in our range. We also use kakadu plum, bearberry, licorice root and squalane. All of these are natural and known to target hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone – the skin issues that led me to launch the line in the first place.

When we first started, I created a system. It consisted of three products: an oil cleanser, a face oil and a face cream. At that time, there wasn’t much education around CBD yet, so I wanted to introduce the brand to consumers in three easy steps. Not a long skincare routine that takes 20 hours, but something simple so they can get to grips with all the products and their benefits and then buy the full size later.

When it comes to product development, I definitely involve my community, and there’s a ton of research behind it. Every new product I’ve released is because people specifically asked for it. It’s something that I love so much about this community. They want to see us win, so they really ask us how they can help us, actively give us feedback, and are extremely vocal about what they want to see next.

As for the future of NFZD Beauty, I can’t wait to get our name out there. It’s interesting to be in this industry because we have quite a few challenges in terms of traditional marketing because of the nature of our products. As we continue to grow, I hope people will see that diversity and inclusion isn’t just a trend. We will never be the brand that only features people of color during Black History Month. Diversity and inclusion is truly part of our brand DNA – and I hope the rest of the industry will follow.

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