• Penn Smith

Gift Guide: Things I'm buying from small female and minority-owned businesses

Updated: 4 days ago

The best bit about my work is helping women make good choices about their skincare. When we take good care of our skin (and don't break the bank doing it) we feel more confident. And when we're more confident we project our best selves into the world 🙂.

The second best bit about my work is being able to support small businesses - particularly those owned by female and minority entrepreneurs. I won't get political here, but I will say that I feel immensely passionate about giving our attention and business to women and minorities who are showing the creativity, initiative, and risk-taking necessary to bring their ideas to market. What strikes me is that each of these women is not only passionate - she is GENEROUS.

I'm planning on supporting the businesses below with my own holiday gift purchases and I hope you consider doing the same. What they're doing matters, and how we spend our money matters.

Please note! The majority of these are NOT affiliate (but they are solidly on my radar!!). I will denote the two that are with ***. This is all about supporting women and spreading the love.



This is a really innovative Small woman-owned skincare line ALL ABOUT SKIN BARRIER!! A science page?! Tell me more!! Nerdy about skincare?? YES, please!!

From their founder: "My name is Lindsay Wray and Eighteen B is my dream come true.

I have been studying silk protein for over a decade, and as a materials scientist with a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering, I knew its unique properties could offer a different approach to skincare. However, there wasn’t anything out there in the ingredient market to formulate with...so I made my own called B-SILK™ PROTEIN. My team of scientists and I patented a way to bioengineer spider silk protein using a fermentation process with inputs of yeast, water, sugar, and salt - so simple yet so powerful."

"Eighteen B takes a new approach to skincare, using our proprietary ingredient. B-SILK™ PROTEIN works simply by shielding your skin from environmental aggressors and locking in hydration. This 1-2 punch defends, reinforces, and restores your skin’s barrier to a healthy state, which in turn reduces the appearance of fine lines, skin appears more firm, and skin texture is improved. You can learn more about B-SILK™ PROTEIN on our SCIENCE page where I get a little nerdy and walk through the evidence of how it works.


What am I buying? The hydrogel looks really good to me!: https://www.eighteenb.com/products/revitalizing-hydrogel-moisturizer


I was sold when I read this line from their site: "Queen Dehiya was a freedom fighter, an empowered female badass and the epitome of ancient beauty.♥️"

This minority-owned skincare business speaks to me! Read this...and let's support this!

Philanthropy: "Dehiya Beauty is passionate about furthering women's equality, human rights, and racial justice. There are just so many righteous causes and we want to support them all–adopt the babies, build the schools, dig the wells, staff the hospitals, stop global warming, send the kids to college, cure the big C, Alzheimers, ALS, AIDs and every other disease out there! (You get the picture). + We donate 2% annually to causes such as women's, LGBT, disability and human rights, reproductive freedom, and racial justice. We are also committed to donating to organizations providing emergency relief for victims of natural disasters, conflict and other unforeseen crisis."

From their founder:

"The long-standing definition of beauty we've been shown is too narrow. The story is incomplete, and our goal with Dehiya is to disrupt the current beauty narrative, explore alternative ways to see beauty, and ultimately create a fuller, more comprehensive story."


Grace Eleyae

While doing research on silk I came across this brand and ordered some items…I'm Incredibly impressed by the quality, style, and customer service I purchased a few more things. This is a minority, woman-owned brand that is fantastic!

From her website: "In 2014 Grace took a trip to Kenya that changed her life. During a bumpy 8-hour car ride, all the hair on the back of her head broke off - the result of her chemically straightened hair and constant friction against the headrest.

Later that year, as a solution to her completely damaged, broken, and dry chemically straightened hair, the first prototype of the Slap was created. After seeing immediate changes in her hair, she passed it to friends and family. It was a hit. Soon after, Grace Eleyae began selling her products on Etsy and by September 2014, decided to fully launch Grace Eleyae, Inc.

Since then, Grace Eleyae, Inc. has been dedicated to reinventing the way we protect our hair by creating modern protective products with you in mind. Today, over 400,000 satisfied Grace Eleyae customers have broken up with bed head, ended nightly friction, limited age lines and acne, and more."

A great place to start on this site is with Oprah's favorites (I bought a couple beanies and also a fedora that I love...I find the fedora runs big FYI):



A friend introduced me to Maysama nine months ago - before the UK brand even shipped to the US. You may have already heard that I love Maysama serum AND their story: Several years ago, as a rooibos tea-drinking devotee, Maysama founder, Bev Sanderson, stumbled on the use of rooibos as a skincare ingredient. At the time, only the fermented (red) rooibos was used in skincare. Bev was aware that the green rooibos had superior antioxidant potential and, following her research collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Institute to demonstrate the cosmetic potential of green rooibos, she formulated her first product MAYSAMA Green Rooibos Pressed Serum, and quickly found a loyal following. Studies show that green rooibos acts in multiple capacities; as an antioxidant powerhouse, together with its unique ability to protect fat cells responsible for maintaining skin fullness, as well as its anti-mutagenic properties.

Maysama’s Green Rooibos Extract is a phytopharmaceutical ingredient with a patented extraction. It is not organically grown but comes from cultivated rooibos, which is the more sustainable option. In support of the organic rooibos farming community, Maysama donates 1% percentage of its profits each year to the Environmental Monitoring Group, in Cape Town. The EMG’s community project with the organic rooibos farmers looks at the effect of climate change on wild rooibos. This important research helps to learn valuable lessons about the resistance of the herb and to improve the sustainability of all rooibos stock.

In addition, Maysama sponsors UK-based charity Beauty Banks, a charity whose aim is to address 'hygiene poverty’. Beauty Banks distributes unused toiletries to registered charitable organisations throughout Britain who, in turn, distribute them to the clients who desperately need them. https://maysama.com/?v=79cba1185463

Maysama is running a Cyber Monday sale. If you enter Penn10 you will get 20% off your purchase.

SkinBeautiful RX***

I met Leah through YouTube and quickly realized that this is a woman of incredible integrity, work ethic and drive. I am inspired by her ability to be a strong businesswoman who is simultaneously kind and considerate. Her passion for skin reminds me of mine, and in that, I feel we are kindred spirits. I love to support her and her endeavor to shine bright!

From her website: "Leah's passion for skincare knows no boundaries. Leah has dedicated her career to learning everything about aesthetic trends and innovative techniques when treating our largest organ. From small beginnings she found that her biggest insecurity would become her greatest passion. Her career started in medicine and then to aesthetics and with this, she was able to marry her approach of customer-centered care with being a talented businesswoman. Throughout her impressive career, Leah has worked with many of the most prestigious Plastic Surgery and Medical Spa practices in the country working alongside top Plastic Surgeons, Dermatologists, NPs, and Aestheticians. Leah has been extensively educated in cosmetic surgery procedures, fillers & neurotoxins, body contouring treatments, invasive and non-invasive skin treatments, non-surgical facelifts, lasers and so much more. Her portfolio for advanced education with Medical Grade Skincare brands is second to none and she prides herself in her ability to share her knowledge in terms that are understandable for every person she "talks skin" with.

Leah launched SkinBEAUTIFUL RX so that she could help even more people understand their skin, have access to the best skincare; while receiving the best customer service possible." I agree on all accounts!!

We love Leah Parks here! She is having a HUGE 30% off sale (plus gifts with purchase) through Nov 30!

Favorites I get from Leah:

˚Le Mieux Iso spray (one of the best mists EVER to cocktail with EGF!!)

˚Le Mieux O2 calming Gel- this is a favorite with microcurrent and RF. Such an amazing gel!!

˚Is Clinical Cleansing Complex-this cleanser is good for EVERYONE and has been in many faves videos of mine. Just a really perfect cleanser!!

˚GloBiotics MD Advanced Vitamin C Brightening Serum (I love this one!! MAP vitamin C is such a great brightening vitamin C derivative!).

˚IsClinical body Serum (a new to me product that I am really loving!!)

˚Truth Treatments C balm


˚If you are unsure simply reach out to Leah...she is extremely responsive and helpful. Love supporting her!

To learn about more female and minority-owned businesses, CHECK THIS OUT: article in Marie Claire Magazine: The 43 Black-Owned Beauty Brands We'll Never Stop Talking About. Please check out the entire list/article linked here, Below are a few that specifically caught my eye):






If you have more to share, please DO in the comments so that others may see! Share links if you can and let's support SMALL, support WOMEN, support MINORITIES.


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