Bolden- A Nigerian cosmetic line


A lot of black people don’t wear sunblock because they don’t see the damage immediately,” Chidozie says. She points to the late musician Bob Marley, who died of acral lentiginous melanoma, a serious skin cancer, at 36. “There’s an issue with education around sunscreen in the black community. Even though skin cancer doesn’t affect people of color as much as it affects people with white skin, that makes it more dangerous because it’s often not caught until it’s in an advanced stage.

Who better to develop a cosmetic line than these two Nigerian sisters Chinelo Chidozie and Ndidi Obidoa, who know just how much protection our skin needs. Growing up in West Africa, they often used Shea butter at home. Bolden was created to help expand the beauty options available to women of color, and support communities that produce Shea nuts in Burkina Faso. In their quest to develop their line of shea products, the number one beauty complaint from their customers was hyper-pigmentation—or, the discoloration of darker skin due to sun exposure. Now, a lot of black people do not think they use sunscreen and go out into the sun bare without protecting their skins in a bid to tan and with the claim that sun does not affect our skin due to its pigmentation. 

Now i can testify to the fact that sunscreen does not work well on black skin, because I have tried it and it left a white residue on my skin. "Consumers shouldn’t have to one-style-fits-all products that don’t suit their needs." Chidozie and Obidoa started investigating why sunblock leaves a white residue. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, two chemical compounds found in most sunblock ingredients and are known for reflecting sunlight off of skin. But only for certain skin pigments do these compounds actually look good; or you will leave home looking like you didn't finish applying your body lotion properly.

I know a lot of people that really just stick to natural and self-whipped shea butter, because even in 2017, a large number of cosmetics have lightening, toning and whatever hidden language they use for bleaching added on the container; for the sisters, it was an obvious gap in the marketplace. The answer was to develop a formula that acts more like a moisturizer than a sunscreen; it’s a cream-colored serum that dries clear on the skin. Bolden plans to add it to their line within the next couple of weeks, and they know there’ll be demand.

“We’ve tested it on ourselves and a wide spectrum of skin tones, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive,” Chidozie says. “Folks are very excited that we are increasing the number of product options that work really well for their skin concerns.”