Photography by Delaine Dacko | @delainedacko

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We visited Lauren of Lauren Napier Beauty at her beautiful, light-infused New York abode and captured Lauren in her natural element ‘at-home’ and in her immaculate, goal-worthy, home-office. Lauren, a former celebrity make-up artist saw a void in the ‘beauty cleansing-market’ and drove into creating and launching one of the ‘most wanted’ cleansing wipes in the market – now sold internationally in 22 countries! Recently, Beyonce listed Lauren Napier Beauty on her 'Black Owned Everything' business directory that launched on Juneteenth. Lauren is not only a successful business entrepreneur but stands as a pioneer and spokesperson for Black, women-led business owners and has co-founded a prolific fund-raising initiative called: Consider Something Better. Read on to learn more about Lauren’s brand vision, her leading causes and some beyond note-worthy tips, for winding down and self-care!

Lauren wears:  TESS Sweater  ( SHOP HERE ) +  AVA Skirt  ( SHOP HERE ) in Cocoa

Lauren wears: TESS Sweater (SHOP HERE) + AVA Skirt (SHOP HERE) in Cocoa

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Can you share your journey of becoming a celebrity make up artist and what led to launching Lauren Napier Beauty?

I was a makeup artist like any other makeup artist at a MAC counter. I realized I had a unique beauty point of view which in that era was quite different than other makeup artists. It was the early 00’s and everything was lined, monochromatic or complementary color combos on lips and eyes.

My aesthetic was effortless, minimalist, understated-chic to be exact. Minimalist makeup became my beauty signature. "Wear the look, don’t let the look wear you."

I realized that makeup is ever evolving. If you like a lot, wear a lot. If you like it minimal then go for the less is more look. Seeing women ( and men) as beauty to enhance versus a canvas to be altered took me straight from the beauty counter to working editorial photoshoots in magazines and finally into film and tv.

It didn’t hurt that I had a strong work ethic. I worked with a famous Swiss photographer on a big piece for Vanity Fair. He and I were like oil and water but I was good and I was also dependable. My reputation proceeded me. I landed fabulous editorial gigs but working on a film shoot was the entree to a career that will cherish forever.

My career was in full bloom when I had a epiphany that would change the trajectory of my life and career. I was on a flight and my cleansing solution failed me. At that moment I was struck with the idea that would change on-the-go cleansing forever. I had a package of makeup wipes that dried out completely. I worked with a chemist and packaging engineer to create Lauren Napier Beauty’s inaugural product, CLEANSE by Lauren Napier. The individually packaged wipes with botanicals-rich ingredients that not only cleanse, but nourish and hydrate skin while on the go.

Lauren wears:  EVA Sweater  ( SHOP HERE ) &  LEA Skirt  ( SHOP HERE ) in Ivory

Lauren wears: EVA Sweater (SHOP HERE) & LEA Skirt (SHOP HERE) in Ivory

Your FLAUNT wipes are labeled ‘Pro-aging’ which is refreshing marketing amongst products that unrealistically speak to ‘anti-aging’. Can you speak more to your ‘pro-aging’ philosophy.

Flaunt by Lauren Napier is an exciting product and my favorite of the collection. It’s ingredients include Noni fruit, Vitamin K, lycopene and selenium. All ingredient rich ingredients that promote healthy cell turnover, nourishment and vitality. I originally called Flaunt by Lauren Napier the "pro-aging" wipe because these are attributes that women and men with maturing skin are seeking to improve in their skin. It is so important to me to promote a healthy beauty psychology and again celebrate what is not often celebrated. Products that target maturing skin have such a negative connotation: “Anti-Aging” but there is nothing wrong with aging. I am in support of aging - in fact we are fortunate to do so and with age we all become better.

Flaunt is a brilliant cleansing aid. Great when we are on-the-go to clean beneath your mask to combat mask-acne. Take a handful and toss them in your bag with your Covid essentials - they don’t dry out!

Another benefit is that the ingredients help to combat harsh blue light and UVB ray exposure that comes from excessive screen time. I keep them next to my desk and I refresh or cleanse once I am wrapped up with Zoom meetings but still have screen time exposure. They are a handy self-care treat that I keep stashed by my desk and bedside.

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Can you speak to how you channel sustainability through your brand?

When I launched Lauren Napier Beauty my goal was to solve a problem and that is introducing a positive beauty psychology to makeup wearers around the world. Because there is a ceremony in applying makeup I wanted those same people to feel equally as beautiful - “There is beauty in taking it off.”

What I realized is there is more to a product that just its function. 30% of makeup remover wipes are discarded prior to consumption. It was important to me to find way to help solve that problem. All Lauren Napier Beauty products are manufactured with solar energy, cruelty free and our packaging is recyclable. I constantly strive to improve and reduce our carbon footprint. Our next generation wipes will have an even higher percentage of biodegradable fabric to support the reduction of landfill waste.

Lauren wears:  ELLE Sweater  in Black ( SHOP HERE ) with Lauren’s own pant

Lauren wears: ELLE Sweater in Black (SHOP HERE) with Lauren’s own pant

Can you share with us about your fundraising initiative: "Consider Something Better" recently featured in Harpers Bazaar - Oct issue, to help raise funds for Black women-led businesses.

Black women are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the country. Black women are also historically underfunded receiving less that -2% of the billions of investment capital deployed annually in the start up space. Just 1% of black founders receive traditional bank lending in their first year of business and less than 2% are awarded grants or funding from the Small Business Administration annually. There is work to be done! Once we saw Black founders and businesses would be harshly impacted by Covid and the lack of access to the CARES act combined with the summer 2020 social uprising my co-founder, Whitney Brown and I were inspired to create the change that our peers - Black women so desperately needed to see.

Consider Something Better is an organization that provides consulting to corporations and conglomerates tearing down a system and honoring the fiduciary responsibility to communities by creating economic and racial equality. With our philanthropic arm 'Consider Something Better' supports Black women led businesses through access to education, resources and funding. In an article in this October’s issue of Harper’s Bazaar this statistic was shared: " A 2019 study commissioned by American Express found that Black women are starting businesses at a faster rate than any other group: The number of female-owned businesses grew by 21 percent from 2014 to 2019, with those owned by Black women growing by 50 percent" .

Lauren wears:  TALIA Plaid Poncho  ( SHOP HERE )

Lauren wears: TALIA Plaid Poncho (SHOP HERE)

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With the increased focus on female, Black-owned business since the imperative BLM movement earlier this year can you speak to why this is a 'mixed blessing' as you spoke to recently in Bloomberg business.

The recent interest with Black-owned business is in fact a blessing and - I won’t call it a curse but it is multi-layered and complex issue. Black business are underfunded, this makes it challenging to grow, scale and compete with businesses that are fully funded. From inventory constraints to marketing there are financial requirements, relationships and resources that are only accessible when capital is available. When access to capital is restricted this results in an inability to grow in the respective space.

My hope is that Black owned brands receive the capital needed to be competitive in their respective spaces. My hope is that Black owned brands are not categorized as a brand that is "Black owed" but supported and respected as a brand that is offering compelling goods, services and is supported on merit not conscious bias. Once we as a culture work beyond the discrimination and economic barriers that pigeonholed Black founders, we will begin to see businesses thrive.

Lauren on hr rooftop wears:  TALIA Plaid Poncho  ( SHOP HERE ) + own track-pant

Lauren on hr rooftop wears: TALIA Plaid Poncho (SHOP HERE) + own track-pant

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How have you navigated the the pandemic with your business and have there been silver linings for you?

Covid has been quite the experience. It’s been filled with highs and lows. I feel it’s so important to be transparent, I experienced operational challenges, my warehouse and distribution center closed after 53 years of operation and we lost 2 employees at the height of the pandemic. It was a very difficult time. There are silver linings, we remain healthy and Lauren Napier Beauty is still operating. We are taking time to launch new and even more eco-friendly products that meet even more skincare needs.

What exciting future plans do you have for LAUREN NAPIER BEAUTY?

If I’d been asked this same question, this same time in 2019 I would have rattled off a list of things to come. What I have learned is to go with the flow, set goals and also manage expectations. I am excited about the future because I’ve learned to manage life and work at my own pace. The future looks bright, there is eco-friendly and targeted skincare solutions on the horizon!

Lauren wears:  NAMA Sweater in Black  ( SHOP HERE ) + her own track-pant

Lauren wears: NAMA Sweater in Black (SHOP HERE) + her own track-pant

Being an entrepreneur and business owner working from home it can be hard to switch off...can you share how you relax and wind down?

I have long days, I wear many hats but I don’t let my work consume me. I quite literally close the door on my home office and walk away. I make lavish dinners and enjoy decadent desserts. I light candles and take long showers, I listen to Miles Davis on noise cancelling headphones, I practice breathing, and I sleep well.

You speak to ‘simplicity in beauty’ you share tips on a swift natural-looking makeup routine for women on-the-go ...and then the 5 min make-down.

I am the most practical makeup artist you’ll probably ever meet. I like my beauty routine to be fast and effective. In fact, my routine takes 6 minutes. It’s fast. Nars Sheer Glow Foundation , Gucci Westman Atilier concealer, BeautyCounter clear brow gel, Jillian Dempsey cream blush, Armani Eyes to Kill mascara. If I am going bold I will rock MAC’s 'Ruby Woo' or 'Fenty Beauty'. When opting for a more subtle color I love 'Live Tinted in Rise'.

My make down is just as simple. I use Flaunt by Lauren Napier to gently remove my eye makeup, then the Barbara Strum Enzyme cleanser, Mario Badescu moisturizer, Vinter’s Daughter and Leland Francis Face oil.

Do you have a daily mantra?

There is a series of rap music quotes that sit with me but, “I think I can, I think I can” - The Little Engine that Could or “ Inner peace is the ultimate prosperity.” That one is a Lauren Napier original. I used it a lot during Covid. I was worried about life and work and I realized that as long as I was safe, healthy and had all of my marbles I was fine!

Which pieces are you loving from the ELEVEN SIX current collections and why?

Can I say, I love the ENTIRE collection! I really do love a chunky, cozy sweater but I also live for the exposed décolletage and shoulders. If I had to pick two because I cannot pick just one, I am obsessed with the Eva and Nama sweaters. Eva is sexy and the textured embellishment on the Nama sweater is fun and feisty!