By Vanessa Carter, November 5 2021—
All my life, I’ve been proud to embrace my Latin American heritage, with my mom being from Guatemala and my grandparents having Indigenous ancestry from Guatemala and Mexico. I started speaking Spanish with my family at a young age, and now I’m trying to learn a bit of Quiché — the native language of my family’s ancestors. Recently, as I’ve grown more conscious of supporting brands that embody great values, I wanted to find out if there were any Latin and South American-owned brands I could support, so here are some of my favourites.
Beauty Blender: This iconic brand created an innovative tool that would shake the beauty community by storm. It’s so popular that people will now call any makeup sponge a beauty blender even if it’s not from that brand. Created by Rea Ann Silva who is of Mexican and Native American descent, it has now become a staple product in everyone’s makeup routine. When Silva worked as a makeup artist on a TV Show in Los Angeles, she found that her hand-cut edgeless sponges were more effective than the airbrushing tools given to her crew and the actors themselves wanted to use it. As such, this changed the construction of makeup tools and the future of the industry. Beauty Blender has now expanded to include other popular products such as concealer, blush, skin tint and a collection of cleaning substances for the blender sponge itself.
Melt Cosmetics: Founded in 2012 by Lora Arellano and Dana Bomar, this cosmetics brand is uniquely known for their eyeshadow stacks and ultra-matte, bold lipsticks. Both Arellano and Bomar worked as celebrity makeup artists at the time, so they had already experimented with dozens of products and knew how to create the best for their collection line. Today, their best-sellers include their lipsticks, highlighters and innovative eyeshadow stacks.
Tata Harper: Committed to only using natural products, Tata Harper created her skincare line after her stepfather was diagnosed with skin cancer. This taught her firsthand the importance of self-care and building a brand that would offer real results from clean, green products. With roots in Barranquilla, Colombia, Harper was inspired by local and natural products that she realized could be used for cosmetic purposes. My favourite products from Tata Harper are the Regenerating Exfoliating Cleanser and the Water-Lock Moisturizer with Skin-Smoothing Peptides.
Rare Beauty: Created by Selena Gomez, Rare Beauty is all about self-love, confidence and embracing who you are. It is also centred around making a space that “supports mental well-being across age, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, cultural background, physical or mental ability and perspective.” With social media campaigns like #WeAreRare and #RareActsOf and also the Rare Impact Fund, this brand has accomplished promoting a positive environment and encourages everyone to see the best in themselves. Not to mention its highly pigmented liquid blush and highlighters that have come to be staples in my everyday makeup routine.
J-Lo Beauty: A dream 20 years in the making, Puerto Rican-American queen Jennifer Lopez always had an interest in taking care of her skin and wanted to create products that were high-quality, long-lasting and easily accessible to everyone. Lopez’s vision for youthful, fresh skin embodies her values of working hard and being authentic. She has even put together a starter-kit of her products for clients to try them out and come back to buy the full sizes. To her, “beauty has no expiration date,” so I’m not too worried about ageing with terrible skin as long as her products are on the market.
EBY: Co-founded by Emmy-award-winning actress Sofia Vergara, EBY is an all-inclusive, seamless shapewear/underwear brand that contains sizes from XS to 4X. Vergara, who is of Colombian descent, has created a brand that promotes confidence and feeling empowered. Additionally, 10 percent of all EBY net sales go to the Seven Bar Foundation to assist women to find their way out of poverty and grow their own businesses. This practice is called microfinancing — a self-sustaining solution that provides struggling women access to build their successful careers. Move over Skims, this brand is sure to achieve world domination soon.
Lil’ Libros: Meaning “little books,” this retailer was created by two mothers, Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein in 2014 after they noticed a lack of bilingual children’s books and Latin American stories in the mainstream market. Focusing on first words, counting and songs, these books are made to engage and inspire children in their culture at a young age. Some stories even revolved around historic Latinx icons such as Frida Kahlo and Celia Cruz with colourful illustrations to go with them. A brand like this is definitely something I wish I had when I was little and I will keep it in mind for future use. With a mission to turn children’s dreams into a reality, this company is sure to blossom.