Should I Look Like Someone Else to Be Beautiful? Episode 22 with Nina Crawford

On today’s show, Erin is joined by Nina Crawford, an organic beauty advocate and a business and mindfulness mentor. Nina has an eclectic background, having been raised in Ivory Coast in West Africa, spending her teenage years in France, and later coming to the US in her twenties. 

Growing up in West Africa, she was raised to honor her natural beauty and use only ingredients that come from the earth, an approach that started shifting when she arrived in France, where beauty is more often equated to elegance. When she came to America, she was in for a massive culture shock and suddenly started feeling the pressure to conform to certain impossible beauty standards. 

After sharing her fears around raising a Black son in America, Nina talks about representation in beauty for Black and Brown women, implicit bias, and fair trade, giving listeners a glimpse into the lives of the African women who harvest some of our favorite products, such as Shea Butter and Argan Oil. Erin and Nina also speculate about why some brands have not yet expanded their products to accommodate darker skin tones, and share helpful tips for beauty brands who are thinking of launching new colors.   

In line with our discussion with Nina, our email today (48:11) deals with a question about the meaning of the term “sourcing” in the beauty industry.  Be sure to join us for another fabulous episode!

Call Outs from the Episode:

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Nina speaks about the natural approach to beauty that is promoted in the Ivory Coast.
  • How Nina feels the French colonial influence negatively impacted the perceptions around skin tone in the Ivory Coast.
  • Why the move from France to the US was ‘brutal’ for Nina in terms of beauty norms and standards.
  • The French je ne sais quoi of equating beauty with inner elegance – not physical appearance.
  • Nina describes how elegance is understood in terms of high-quality clothes and products.
  • How customers can effect positive change in the purchasing decisions we make.
  • What raising a Black son makes Nina wish for in a society fraught with racial tension.
  • Why, despite the racism and inequality, Nina and her husband are choosing to stay in the US.
  • The need for greater representation of darker skin tones in makeup and hair products.
  • A discussion on how brands don’t offer a larger range of makeup for darker skin tones.
  • Why it is to the benefit of all brands to embrace diversity and inclusivity in their marketing.
  • Thoughts on whether a brand should wait to get the full range of colors before launching.
  • Nina shares how she would like to be communicated to in social media ads for hair products.
  • Learn about the women who harvest the Shea tree nuts and why fair trade is so crucial.
  • Why, despite being the breadwinners, many African women are still under patriarchal rule.
  • Hear about the problem with most perfumes and why finding a clean one is so challenging..


“In Ivory Coast, the messaging in my childhood was close to the earth in terms of beauty. The ingredients that we were using were natural and it was about magnifying the beauty that we already had.” — Nina Crawford [0:06:02] 

“It is time to close a door and this is an opportunity we have to make sure that the killing of young Black men doesn’t happen anymore; that the discrimination against Black and Brown people doesn’t happen anymore.” — Nina Crawford [0:18:08] 

Come have fun with us!
Our private Facebook Group: Erin’s Faces Green Beauty Gathering
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