Xavier Smith is a gay, Black man who received a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Northwestern State University in 2016. Upon graduation, he began to search for ways to bring his unique approach to health and wellness to the masses. Though he spends a lot of time working at a digital marketing agency, that didn’t stop him from launching his own plant-based skin care line earlier this year.
Newsflash: health/wellness and beauty are not white industries. Although advertisements with white faces and entitled folks believe that they invented certain healthy practices, the fact remains that yoga came from Northern India, castor oil, salt baths, and aloe vera were used as beauty products in Egypt, and plant-based eating was the norm is pre-colonial Africa. In a self-published piece called “Unblocking White Supremacy and Fragility in the Wellness Industries” by Maryam Ajayi , she wrote, “When you walk the path of a healer, a guru, an advisor, whatever you want to call yourself in the public eye you have great responsibility. We cannot minimize or belittle the pain of others. We can’t refuse to work on our own continued growth. We must be conscious of our influence.” It is important to listen to and invest in Black healers because America has a bad habit of conveniently ignoring them.
“Don’t be afraid to plan, but be careful of planning too much.”
“I created Benné Botanicals because I want to give people powerful, multi-use, high quality, all-natural, skincare products that improves your quality of skin health (without charging you a fortune).”, says the website of Xavier Smith, founder of Benné Botanticals. “My face serum uses 5 powerful, natural ingredients that your skin cells love. By skipping the bad ingredients that damage and age skin, you will feel the difference.”
We got an exclusive over-the-phone chat with Xavier and we talked ingredients, advice and more. Read an excerpt of our conversation below.
Brooklyn White (BW): Without spilling all of the tea, can you share some of the ingredients with us?
Xavier Smith (XS): A few of them are rose hip oil, grape seed oil, Vitamin E, vegetable glycerin. It’s light enough to absorb to into the skin without making it feel or appear too greasy, but it’s definitely moisturizing. There is also a high amount of vitamins and nutrients that are vital to the skin. The oil helps with acne and skin softness.
BW: What is the goal of Benné Botanicals?
XS: The goal is to make an impact on how the world perceives skincare. A lot of people don’t care about the products they put on their face, they just want it to look a certain way.
BW: What are some brands that you’re into?
XS: Local brands, like Ben’s Body Basics. Investing in local businesses benefits your areas economy. More business, means more job opportunities and learning experiences for those surrounding you.
BW: What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
XS: Don’t be afraid to plan, but be careful of planning too much. There comes a point where you have to just act, regardless of any plan you may have. Learn from your mistakes. It’s okay to make them.