Meet Shamor Belliard, the Latina Entrepreneur Who Believes in Shining Light on the Beauty of Imperfections

Photo courtesy of Shamor Belliard Belatina, latinx
Photo courtesy of Shamor Belliard

Shamor Belliard grew up in Flushing, Queens, in a Dominican-American family. During the pandemic, she and her husband, Israel Cancel, designed Just Beauty CBD, a suite of beauty products infused with natural CBD. The soft launch came in spring of this year, the official launch in summer — and since then, they’ve been off and running. 

It was the right time to unveil their vegan, all-natural skincare creams and oils, says Belliard. 

“It seems like culture-wide there has been a shift towards natural products,” Belliard says. “I think a lot of people are looking more to beauty products to have not just focused on what they look like but what’s actually in them, is it healthy for your skin, is it sustainable.”

We sat down with the entrepreneur to learn more about her career journey, the power of CBD, the kind of skincare every woman needs, and more. 

What made you move towards starting your own business, and what are some of the experiences,  work experiences, personal experiences that you’ve had that led up to that? 

Ok, so being Latina, when it comes to skincare, the minute you pop out into this world, they’re like “Beauty!” My grandmother was very into beauty, she did use a lot of natural stuff, but she also obsessed over any creams — “the fountain of youth.” So I was always raised around that. My mother has beautiful skin, and she’s 60. My aunt looks like she’s 20, and she’s in her 50s, no surgery or anything; maybe it’s just genes. But I actually never worried about my skin. I was very lucky to have good skin growing up. 

It wasn’t really until I became a mom that I really started to see a change in my skin. And that’s when I kind of panicked. Every time I turned a year, it was like dog years for my skin. But because we [Shamor and her husband, Israel] were jumping onto the vegan quest, we were already becoming more conscious about the ingredients we were consuming and applying, especially after having our kids. 

The reason I got into skincare was that I wanted something I could understand. I felt overwhelmed going into all these big stores. There was so much information, and I needed something more simplified, something that felt natural, something that I understood. 

So that’s why we went the natural route; that was the first pillar. My husband actually helped launch our sister brand, which is Just CBD. I myself reaped the benefits of CBD. I suffer from a lot of anxiety, a LOT of anxiety, you know, being a stay-at-home mom during that time — 

During the pandemic? 

Before the pandemic, [When we had kids], I wanted to stay at home and be present for their key moments in life, for the beginning of their life, but I didn’t know what was coming with that. It was a lot of lack of sleep and anxiety, and when he launched JustBeautyCBD, I started taking CBD because I wanted an alternative to traditional medicine.

So I said, my skin is currently affecting me, I’m reaping benefits of CBD, the clean beauty movement is happening, all these four pillars were all happening, sustainability, what’s happening with our planet. I said, “Aha, let’s come up with something great.” 

How does sustainability figure into your product creation itself and your messaging with your customers?

Israel and I believe that when it comes to running a business, all companies should take responsibility for their products and how it impacts the planet. Understandably, there are limitations due to access or cost, but I would say it worked out for us because we knew what we wanted to start with. So we didn’t have to recreate everything. We had the opportunity to do it from the start. That in itself has been a part of our mission to maintain that. In creating it, we already knew that sustainability was going to be key. 

Outside of the box, we have our alchemist sign for the earth. So every time you pick up one of our products, and you see the symbol, and you see the earthy tones, it is a reminder that our ingredients are natural, and it’s coming from the earth. We designed the packaging to be exact to the container, so it’s less packaging needed.

There’s no perfection in every little detail of our box. Everything is always such clean lines, and we didn’t want that. There’s imperfection in beauty. 

That was really interesting, the idea that beauty is not perfection. Can you talk a little bit more about your journey in that? 

Yes, so in the era that we’re living in with social media, it’s got its pros and its cons, right. We believe in the unfiltered version of you and embracing self-love. With social media, we have a lot of “Be beautiful, embrace who you are,” but we also have a lot of pressure. 

Listen, I’m a real woman; I still have insecurities, even though I have a skincare line. I have one day like today; I have a little pimple popping out, I’m like, “I’m getting on the Zoom call!”. But it’s real life. 

Well, your skin looks beautiful from here! 

Thank you. But yeah, we believe in the unfiltered version of you. Just Beauty, just you. Embrace who you are, embrace your changes.

I had a lot of insecurities growing up, and I mean a lot. It was a long healing process. I’m still in that healing space, to not be so hard on your body.

The wellness industry has been very much designed by and catered to white people, white women, thinking more in terms of makeup and beauty. How did that impact you as a Latina entrepreneur in that space, and what kind of support have you gotten? 

I would say, you know you’re right, not only beauty but cannabis, CBD, all of that, has been predominantly taken the lead by men. Also, beauty itself by a lot of Caucasians, but I would say that in the last few years, negative things have happened that have also opened up the eyes to many, and a lot of acceptance and a lot of inclusivity is now happening and taking place. 

I feel that right now, that has been something that has helped us as a Latino brand, that people are much more open and accepting of seeing a Latin-owned, female-owned brand.

Photo courtesy of Shamor Belliard Belatina, latinx
Photo courtesy of Shamor Belliard

How has it been to run this business alongside your partner, your husband, Israel?

He’s more tolerable as a business partner [laughs]. 

Actually, it has been really great. Israel and I have been attached to the hip for the last 15 years. He came from the luxury wine and spirit category, so he came from corporate. I’m the more boho-chic with cooking, the chef, you know, so we pool our strengths to the business. Like any business, doing that is terrifying. But knowing that I’m doing it with my best friend, my husband, brings me comfort in something so scary to do. 

How do the skills you’ve learned as a chef and practiced as a chef translate into an entrepreneur? 

Well, it’s a lot of hours. Right or wrong. So I would definitely say that prepared me for the long days and nights for sure. Trial and error. You just got to go in there. You’re going to get hurt; you’re going to get burned; the head chef will yell at you a few times, you’re going to learn your lesson, you got to go back in and try it again.

I’ve always had a creative side, and I think that’s why I did very well being a chef, and then the chef experience has led me to the skincare ingredients. Ingredients are very important to a chef. That’s key. That’s why we are very, very proud of what we have out. 

Do you have a personal favorite product of Just Beauty CBD? 

I love them all; they all have a special place for me. But I would say the Face and Neck Night Oil. I tried so many oils, and ours just feels so good. It’s such a soothing lavender aroma. The absorption is immediate. It doesn’t leave your face greasy. It’s wonderful. And then being Latina, with our melanin, we get hyperpigmentation, and our ingredients work wonders for evening out my skin tone. 

What is your advice to young Latinas interested in starting their own business and initiatives?

Stay true to yourself, your cultural roots, and your vision. I’m a Latina, a woman, and a mom, and sometimes we aren’t always given a chance to prove ourselves, so we have to overcompensate for that. So it’s very important to be as well-rounded as possible in all aspects of your business because you will likely have to wear many hats. For example, when we launched Just Beauty CBD, doing media interviews wasn’t something I was thinking about at the time. Still, here I am today speaking with you (insert nervous laugh here) without any media training! Why? Because as a business owner, you have to do things even if it’s outside of your comfort zone, which is where you will grow the most. You must hustle to get your brand out there despite fears, insecurities, or resources.  Always focus on your “why” so it can help push you through the moments when you’ll need it most.

*This interview has been edited and condensed for brevity.