The Weight of Change: Mental Health in the Beauty Industry Through the Eyes of Black Beauty Pros

Navigating the beauty industry is no small feat. For Black beauty professionals, the challenge is even greater. They are not only creators but also advocates for change. This dual role comes with a heavy mental burden. To understand these challenges better and find ways to cope, we spoke with Dr. Afiya, a clinical psychologist and expert on Black mental health and hair.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is dr-Afiya-1-1024x1024.png

The Unique Mental Burden
“Advocating for change in the beauty industry as a Black creator is like running a marathon in stilettos—exhausting, but you look fabulous doing it,” says Dr. Afiya.

This vivid analogy underscores the unique mental burden carried by Black beauty professionals. Their roles often extend beyond mere artistry, encompassing education, representation, and resilience in the face of stereotypes and microaggressions.

Let’s break down the specific challenges they face:

  1. The Pressure to Educate

Firstly, Black creators are frequently called upon to educate others about diversity and inclusion. While this role is an honor, it can also be immensely draining. “It’s like trying to detangle a year’s worth of knots—time-consuming and mentally taxing,” Dr. Afiya explains.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Black Beauty Roster (@blackbeautyroster)

This constant need to inform and correct misconceptions places a heavy load on their shoulders.

  1. The Emotional Toll of Representation

Moreover, in predominantly white spaces, Black creators often feel the weight of representing their entire community. This responsibility can be both empowering and burdensome. “Any criticism or failure is felt on a deeply personal level,” says Dr. Afiya. “You’re not just creating content; you’re creating a cultural narrative.”

The pressure to excel and uphold the community’s image adds to their mental strain.

  1. Battling Stereotypes and Microaggressions

Additionally, dealing with persistent stereotypes and microaggressions is another significant challenge. Comments like “Your natural hair is so unprofessional” or “Can I touch it?” can chip away at one’s mental well-being. Dr. Afiya likens it to “swatting away persistent flies while trying to enjoy a picnic; it’s annoying and disrupts your peace.”

Strategies for Managing Mental Exhaustion

Despite these challenges, Black beauty professionals continue to advocate for change with resilience and grace. To help manage the mental exhaustion that comes with this important work, Dr. Afiya offers practical strategies.

1. Build a Support Network

Finding a community of like-minded beauty professionals can provide invaluable support. “Find your tribe, those folks who understand the struggle and the triumphs,” says Dr. Afiya. Sharing experiences, venting frustrations, and celebrating victories together can help alleviate the sense of isolation and reinforce the collective strength of the community.

2. Focus on Joy and Impact

Amid the challenges, it’s important to remember the joy and impact of your work. “Focus on those moments when a client’s face lights up after you’ve worked your magic, or when someone finally feels seen and heard because of your advocacy,” Dr. Afiya suggests. These moments serve as reminders of why the work is worthwhile and can rejuvenate your passion and commitment.

3. Prioritize Self-Care

Finally, “Self-care is not a luxury; it’s a necessity,” Dr. Afiya emphasizes. Whether it’s indulging in a hot bubble bath, binge-watching a feel-good series, or simply taking a moment to breathe and meditate, self-care is crucial. “Think of it as a deep conditioning treatment for your mind and soul,” she advises.

Ensuring that you are mentally and emotionally replenished is key to sustaining your advocacy efforts.

Advocating for change in the beauty industry as a Black creator is indeed a labor of love and resilience. It involves pushing through mental fog to create a clearer, more inclusive future. As Dr. Afiya eloquently puts it, “Every curl and kink you embrace is a statement of strength and beauty. Keep shining and advocating—your presence is the change we need.”

By prioritizing self-care, building supportive networks, and focusing on the joy and impact of their work, Black beauty professionals can continue to drive meaningful change in the industry while protecting their mental well-being. Together, they are not only transforming beauty standards but also fostering a more inclusive and empathetic industry for future generations.



We will be back in touch with more updates!