This year, African-American consumers have made it clear it’s not enough for brands to pay a few Black influencers to promote their products or put a Black model in an ad campaign here and there. We want to support brands that support us, which means developing with Black creators and allowing us to be decision-makers. Vaseline has stepped up to the plate with its new Illuminate Me Collection co-created with beauty blogger Shalom Blac, pro tennis player Sloane Stephens, and artist Cristina Martinez.
Illuminate Me by Vaseline includes two new products, a Whipped Body Butter and a Shimmer Body Oil, which work together to keep skin supple and shinning year-round. The body butter contains pure shea butter, glycerin, and triple-purified jelly for ultra-hydration while the body oil is infused with pure sweet almond oil and mineral shimmer. The ladies specifically settled on these two items after trying out various product formulations with the Vaseline team.
“Personally, for me, I love for my skin to be moisturized but to also have that glow where it’s sort of like radiant from underneath so my regimen is to always add oil to my lotions and stuff so I thought having a lotion and oil together, you get the moisturization and you also get the glow,” Blac explained to HelloBeautiful. “Being that we’re coming into fall season, it’s like you don’t only need the glow for the summer, it’s also needed for the fall because our skin does tend to get a little dryer during the fall season so having those two together was like the best thing.”
The name Illuminate Me is also pretty dope. “I think Christina definitely did her thing when it came to that,” Blac said, referring to Martinez who is also responsible for the gold artwork on the products’ packaging. “We’re quite illuminating, just by our playfulness and also just the way that we physically just glow when we are under the sun, it’s just miraculous.”
Blac’s luminous personality is what’s helped grow her brand to nearly 800K followers on Instagram and 1.4 million YouTube subscribers. The 24-year-old’s mantra is “Be Your Kind Of Beautiful–” a resolve that’s been years in the making as a burn survivor. “It was a long journey for sure,” Blac said. “There was a lot of ups and downs and I think it’s the determination and the people around me that really helped me to get to where I am to figuring out what I consider to be beautiful which is me standing basically in my truth. When I say be your own kind of beautiful it’s defining what’s beautiful to you and living by that, not going by the beauty standard, whatever that is.”
Blac shared that Vaseline was a part of her life long before this partnership. “Growing up, especially being back in Nigeria, that was all that we used.” At the age of 9, she suffered severe burns to her face, head, and neck after a cooking accident at her family’s store, and she turned to the brand at that time as well. “My scars — after I came out of the hospital I didn’t use anything special. I just always used Vaseline so it was definitely a huge part of my healing process for sure.”
In a way, Vaseline is also a part of the healing process happening in America right now as well. As brands are being asked to pull up or shut up when it comes to their investment in the Black community, Vaseline serves as an example of how it should be done.
“As a Black woman I feel like we have been highlighted and my whole thing is I hope it’s not just for profit,” Blac said of the initiatives seen by many brands during the past several months. “Being that Vaseline not only decided to create a project and say this is Black woman-friendly, melanin-friendly but also bringing Black women into it to create it, it’s like okay, you guys are about what you stand for and we love that.”