Ariane Turner missed her chance to walk on stage during a collegiate pageant because she was too busy applying blush to her fellow contestants. That’s always been her philosophy, when it comes to beauty—help others, particularly in the Black community, feel beautiful in their skin.
She took her love of makeup from the pageant circuit to the Lancôme counter at Dillard’s and to photo shoots and weddings, working both jobs to help pay for college. After graduation, she went into human resources but was laid off during the downturn of 2008. That’s when Turner decided to make beauty her full-time pursuit, hustling and networking until she got hired to work on Tyler Perry’s television shows.
“On set is where my passion for skincare and ingredients was born,” Turner says. “When production came to a halt because of Covid-19, I poured 100 percent of myself into creating [a skincare line].”
She had the desire and the drive but not the funds—until she caught the attention of skincare company Aveeno and Essence magazine, which in March awarded her $100,000 as a finalist in their first-ever Skin Health Startup Accelerator contest.
The Accelerator was created to develop a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable skincare industry by providing access, education, and resources to Black female entrepreneurs.
Turner now has the means to go full-force with her Atlanta-based skincare company, Look Good Live Well, producing clean, streamlined products that focus primarily on hyperpigmentation, hydration, and “protecting and enhancing your melanin,” she says. The company’s larger goal is to remove gender bias and normalize the use of luxury products in Black and brown communities.
What drew you to makeup and beauty?
I majored in industrial psychology, and I saw makeup as a way to take care of people and nurture them so they could see the beauty in themselves.
Why did you zero in on skincare?
There was a time where I was working 70 to 90 hours a week on set and wasn’t as present for my daughter as I wanted to be. I was under so much stress and wasn’t saying no to craft services. I gained weight, had no balance in my life, and my skin showed it. That sparked a wellness journey for me. I pulled back, paid more attention to how I moved my body, created boundaries, and started paying attention to not only what I was putting in my body but on it.
What did you learn?
I saw so many chemicals. I was also bothered by the language and messaging. It was as if lighter and brighter skin was the fix. It didn’t make me feel beautiful. I also saw that clients were bringing in pictures of celebrities and saying they wanted that skin. But that was not the stars’ skin—it was a great dermatologist and fillers and filters. Women had an unrealistic expectation of what beauty looked like. I always want people to feel like the prettiest version of themselves.
So, about four years, I decided to create a solution. I created a skin mask you could use a couple of times a week to address a lot of skin concerns. I created a nighttime regiment, and I maxed out my savings and poured 100 percent into birthing Look Good Live Well. My products would sell out, but I still couldn’t get any grants for my business.
What was it like to finally win this prize?
I screamed so loud, my daughter ran downstairs. To be connected with, mentored by, and recognized by that brand blew me away. I had eczema as a kid and used Aveeno products for it. And Essence? I had that every month and cut out pictures for my vision board. To be awarded money from these brands in particular was extra special.
I’m passionate about using my platform to advance self-love, skincare, sustainability, and protecting the environment. I also want to pay it forward and bring education about skincare to the masses. I want to create opportunities for others. I know how frustrated and disappointed I felt when I got rejected all those times. But it built my perseverance, and I can really feel the joy now.
A version of this article appears in our July 2021 issue.