This is why celebrating natural beauty is important

On average, black women spend an estimated $7.5 billion annually on beauty products. This number is not surprising because we’ve all been there. Taking long, romantic walks down the product aisle in anticipation for the date night twist-out. Or pouring our souls to our natural hair stylist over the right professional look. On August 13th, black women from across the city of Chicago will gather to celebrate and talk about natural hair. Sabrina Smith, naturalista, and Shayna Atkins, founder of Queens Brunch collaborated on the effort. Read more below on what inspired them to host this event.

What made Queens want to do a brunch focused on beauty and hair?

“For Queens, I always try to go with topics that are relevant to the women of color experience. Beauty definitely plays a huge part in that. Personally, I always struggle with finding a style that fits my on the go life. I depend heavily on the right products and the right stylist to present my best self to the world.” -Shayna
Shayna and Sabrina at REIMAGE Beauty launch party.

Why did you decide to work with Queens Brunch?

“I attended a hair brunch last year with Jessica Franklin of HEYGORJESS.COM and Rene Daniella of OWNBYFEMME.COM and thought it was nice to see a bunch of women come together that believe in and embrace natural beauty. That was a positive experience. I wanted it to happen again and to share it again. I went to Shayna with the idea to collaborate with Queens Brunch.” — Sabrina
“Oh, and Sabrina is my cousin so I knew she was passionate about this. She does our entire family’s hair. She uses all the natural products. She is the one who originally introduced me to brands like Mielle Organics, Reagan Sanai, and tgin.”-Shayna

What is the importance of celebrating natural beauty?

“In our community, positive images are so important. I was just at the launch of REIMAGE Beauty cosmetics line and this organization, BIBO, was there talking about the importance of beauty inside and out. It is so true. I believe celebrations about beauty bring out positive energy” — Shayna
“There is so much negativity. So many things that constantly bring us down. There needs to be something that brings us together.” — Sabrina
“Something positive and fun.” — Shayna

Let’s talk about your own natural hair journey. When did you decide to go natural?

“8th grade is the last time I had a perm. My decision to stop putting heat on my hair was because I had a lot of shedding. I watched my niece Tatiana go natural and it motivated me.” — Sabrina
“As far back as I remember, I’ve always been natural. I did have phases (and still do) where I will straighten my hair.” — Shayna

Sabrina, how was the transition?

“Every month I would cut my hair little by little. It came to a point where I was like, let me just chop.” — Sabrina
“Sabrina is the hair model in our marketing materials. She was featured in last month’s CurlMix subscription. Her hair has grown so much and is so dope.” — Shayna

Shayna, what are some of your favorite products?

“For hair, I experiment with a lot of different things, but I depend heavily on stylist Cari Jayy to keep my hair in check. For skin, I use CurlMix Mango Whipped Hair and Body Butter.” — Shayna

What has been the most exciting part in planning this brunch?

“Working with the brands. This is the first time Queens has reached out to major product brands for sponsor support. We only reached out to companies that really represent natural beauty in the community and got great responses. We had some of the best Midwest beauty brands come on board.”- Shayna

You can check out Queens Brunch: Let’s Talk About Hair this Sunday, August 13th at Bin 36. Tickets available at

Contributors: Amber Canino (Queens Brunch Intern), Sabrina Smith (Queens Brunch Event Planner), Shayna Atkins (Founder)

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