After a four year hiatus, Beautycon is back and as beautiful as ever. The glam-centered conference kicked off Saturday morning in Los Angeles with Beautycon’s Brand Programming Strategist, Sophia Dennis, and Essence Ventures’ President & CEO, Caroline Wanga. The two hosts warmly greeted the attendees, affectionately referred to as “the beauty rebels, and set the tone for a weekend full of inspiring discussions, immersive experiences, and exposure to rising beauty brands.
Thought-provoking panels on the main stage revealed that today’s beauty innovators are ushering in conversations surrounding realistic acceptance, holistic health, and sustainable practices. The discussions focused on anything from disrupting the beauty space to advice and techniques from industry professionals. Many of the chats—which included icons such as Tia Mowry, Kelly Rowland, Marsai Martin, and more—also honed in on the idea that beauty isn’t only skin deep.
Meanwhile, creators and business owners Arnell Armon and Lora Arellano bonded over balancing motherhood and creative passions. Additionally, beauty activists such as Tess Holiday challenged the audience to redefine what they understood beauty to be.
Across the venue, Beauty Brand Haven provided a chance to connect brands and consumers, bridging the gap between them. There, beauty rebels stocked up on samples from brands such as Camille Rose, Good Weird, Beauty Beez and made gentle. Many brand representatives there shared the same sentiments as Rebundle’s Ciara May. “Our product is all about touching, feeling, and experiencing,” she told ESSENCE. “So it’s important to be able to see it in action. We’re very intentional about that.”
An extravagant fashion show and performances by BIA, Rhea Raj and the House of Balenciaga brought the evenings to a close and left participants feeling empowered. The return of Beautycon proves that beauty inclusivity is more than just a buzzword, and begins with everyone. If you missed out on the talent-studded affair, don’t be too disheartened. You can find a glimpse into the fun-filled weekend below.
Kelly Rowland no longer cares about outside opinions. After dedicating 26 years to an industry closely associated with beauty, Rowland has discovered that her own perspective matters most. Fittingly, on Sunday at Beautycon, Rowland discussed self-acceptance with President and CEO of Essence Ventures, Caroline Wanga,
Wanga opened the conversation by asking how Rowland reconciled with not always seeing herself reflected in mainstream beauty. To this she revealed that she is “still in the midst of” resolving this. “I think that we constantly are,” she added.
Then, the conversation shifted to the topic of hair. Rowland revealed her hair journey was fortunately positive. While growing up in Tina Knowles’ beauty salon in Houston, Rowland discovered early on that her hair was a means to explore herself.
Rowland and Wanga later reflected on how being darker skinned black girls led to hesitancy around trying out certain lipstick shades. Rowland talked about how she’s evolved from this, thanks to the help of makeup artists who encouraged her to try bright colors. She then transitioned into reminding the audience to embrace their uniqueness. She used the analogy that we’re all part of a beautiful garden—each of us a special flower that makes it complete.
Rowland concluded the conversation with an affirmation that left the audience in awe. “I don’t have to compare myself to anybody because I am one of one,” she said. “It is important to not shrink for anybody. Be the best version of yourself that you can possibly be. Show up for yourself first, not the world.”