When we first heard about The Beauty Beat—we knew it was going to be a game-changer. You see, over the past few years, the beauty festival and events industry has really come into its own. Such events see some of beauty’s biggest experts, brands and journalists come together via panels, talks and masterclasses to provide a weekend of beauty magic. Plus, ticket holders typically get to go home with very impressive goody bags filled with products—what’s not to love?!
There has, however, been somewhat of a lack of representation in the space—which is where The Beauty Beat comes in. A brand-new, first-of-its-kind beauty festival dedicated to Women of Colour, The Beauty Beat will showcase some of the best brands in beauty, including NARS, Laura Mercier, MAC Cosmetics and Boots (to name just a few).
Taking place in central London over the 3rd and 4th December, attendees can indulge in all things make-up, skincare and haircare while enjoying four unique talks by some of the biggest names in the industry—from Patricia Bright to Candice Brathwaite. Oh and attendees will go home with a goody bag worth over £400 (yes, you read that right).
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Ahead of the event, we caught up with the event’s founder, Donna Dia. With 20 years of experience creating incredible events within the worlds of fashion, media and, of course, beauty, she says, “The Beauty Beat is a beauty event for Women of Colour to feel seen, centred and celebrated as beauty consumers.”
Powered by Instagram and supported by the British Beauty Council, it’s safe to say The Beauty Beat is set to be a first-class affair—but it’s so much more than just another beauty festival.
Inspired by sheer annoyance, Dia created The Beauty Beat after realising that, despite working in the events industry for years, she had never attended a beauty event that spoke to her as a Black woman that felt prestigious, showcased the brands she spent her money on, or included Women of Colour speakers that she follows.
“There was just a disconnect. There wasn’t an event that was catering to me. I thought, if I’m not being catered for then I can imagine that there are other Women of Colour not being catered for. When I started asking the questions, the unanimous and resounding response was that no, there is nothing out there that feels like it's catering to us,” she says.
Dia waited years for someone to fill the space and when it didn’t happen, she decided it was time to take on the challenge herself. “So often, Women of Colour have been invited to these events but not been the sole focus—and it’s something that certainly needs to change. Our representation has never been 360,” says Dia.
Dia describes The Beauty Beat as her love letter to Women of Colour, and the love certainly shows. “The topics were chosen – skincare, make-up, hair and tweakments – because they are the subjects that myself and my girlfriend's talk about most. It’s important to have talks that reflect what I know the majority of the audience will be interested in.”
The goal Dia set out with was to have representation on the stage. “It was just about making sure there is no disconnect and that there are speakers who we know Women of Colour, as a community, tend to follow, appreciate and listen to.”
It’s for this reason that some of beauty’s most credible experts, such as Black-hair specialist Charlotte Mensah, are a part of panels. “If you are looking after your hair as a Woman of Colour, you're listening to Charlotte Mensah,” says Dia. Sitting on Sunday’s hair panel, Mensah’s impact on the beauty industry has been critical to recent strides in more representative lines amongst haircare brands—but Dia says there’s still a way to go. “If you’re bringing out a brand for curly and coily hair, understand the differences between hair types. If you’re talking about Afro hair, there is a very wide spectrum of hair types [within that]. That needs to be addressed if products are going to be well received or even effective,” she says.
Discussing the importance of having a panel that focuses on tweakments, Dia says, “Not many people like to speak about it. In terms of black women, it's very much ‘we don't do that’. But actually we do—there's a lot of tweaking that's going on. It was really important to address that and make sure that, if you are thinking about having treatments, you're doing it safely and you know the questions to ask.”
And this is a conversation that benefits from taking place at The Beauty Beat, in particular. “I don't think that the treatment industry has continuously marketed to Black women or Women of Colour. The marketing that I will have seen around injectables, historically, hasn't always reflected me. Therefore, if I was to think about injectables, I would have no clue where to go, because I haven't seen anything that looks like it's speaking to me directly. If Women of Colour are having tweakments (which many are), it should be done safely and they should be in the best possible hands. I think that conversation is really important,” Dia explains.
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And the feeling of need and want for this event isn’t to say that Dia doesn’t recognise the beauty industry’s progress. “The beauty industry is making huge strides,” she says. “But Women of Colour in the UK spend over £4 billion on cosmetics every year. That figure is growing and probably will continue to grow quite dramatically. I’m not sure that, as such a huge consumer group, the level of representation equals the buying power.”
The aim of The Beauty Beat? To make sure that everyone who attends, whether in person or online (it will be livestreamed if you can’t make it), has the best time possible and feels completely seen and celebrated. “I want people to leave and feel that The Beauty Beat was for them and that it was done right,” says Dia.
Tickets are £40 and include a goody bag worth £450. Powered by Instagram and supported by Klarna and The British Beauty Council. Klarna are hosting ‘Cocktails with Klarna’ from 4.30pm – 6pm on both days.
Buy your tickets here.
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Dionne Brighton is a writer at Marie Claire UK, specialising in all things shopping, beauty and fashion. Born and raised in North London, she studied Literature at the University of East Anglia before taking the leap into journalism. These days, you can find her testing out the latest TikTok beauty trends or finding out what the next full Moon means.
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