As someone who sees beauty upfront and personal every day, it still astounds me when women-owned and minority-owned businesses are not recognized and equally represented in the beauty market.
Unfortunately, the beauty and makeup industry have struggled to make everyone feel equally represented in its products, formulations, advertising, and even media exposure. I, for instance, can recall many times going into drugstores and not being able to find suitable shades for my brown complexion; Alternatively, I could find a few more options at high-end department stores, but oftentimes it would be at the hands of a white salesperson who would not know how to properly match my undertones. Even seeing brands that were targeted to Black women only to find out they were owned by white parent-holding companies didn't feel the same as having something for us, by us.
While representation is slowly progressing, it's important to see and recognize the hard work behind many of these businesses that are being created for people of color, by people of color. The reality is Black-owned beauty brands are making their own beauty rules, one product or client at a time.
The truth is that African Americans make up more than 13 percent of the U.S. population, but only own 7 percent of businesses. Now, why? The answer to this question can vary, but factors such as racism, discrimination, and predatory lending are all factors because many aspiring Black business owners have been unfairly turned down by banks when applying for small business loans. (If you want to read more, check out more info here). So the point is it's important to support brands and businesses that are available because of the work it takes to get here.
Here are 21 Black-owned makeup, skincare, and hair care brands and businesses that should immediately be on your radar (and that you should shop, shop, shop):
Founded by Nigerian born, LA & London-based former beauty executive Sharon Cuter, the UOMA Beauty range is rebellious, innovative, and created for all. The collection is made of products that are ground-breaking for their immaculate product offerings, esthetically pleasing with an instant payoff in pigmentation, and suitable for all skin tones.
2. Studio Lush
Studio Lush is a luxury hair salon based in Detroit that specializes in radiant and long-lasting color, top-notch cuts, blowouts, and healthy hair-care maintenance and education. With a team of all Black beauticians, Studio Lush is leading the way in inclusive styling and preserving the health of Black hair! Yes!
3. Mented Cosmetics
Mented Cosmetics believes that every woman should be able to find herself in the world of beauty, no matter her skin tone. CAN WE GET A HANDCLAP FOR THAT?! From nude lipsticks to eyeshadow palettes to blushes, each of their products is packed with tons of pigment to match your shade.
4. Juvia's Place
Juvia’s Place is beloved by loyal customers because of products that push the boundaries of all-day beauty that is both wearable and affordable by all. They offer eyeshadow palettes, face, and lip products inspired by Africa. And as someone who actually tries to buy as many palettes as possible, I can swear by all the eyeshadows.
Epara is a line of high quality, scientifically-proven products derived from the rich soils of Africa that will wrap you in an all-natural luxury. Epara repairs and pampers, leaving skin moisturized and hydrated.
Epara's products are worth the splurge and whenever I put their face cream on, I immediately feel indulgent in all ways possible.
6. Fenty Beauty
Rihanna's Fenty Beauty came out swinging in 2017 when it offered 40 different shades of foundation. Now the brand is setting the standard high across the board for beauty brands, offering a range of cosmetics from mascaras, foundations, eyeliners, concealers, and more. Of COURSE I was going to include the Queen's products up in hereee.
7. The Honey Pot Company
The Honey Pot Co. is "the first complete feminine care system that cleanses, protects, and balances your vagina," according to its site. Backed by science, all ingredients are 100% natural and there are no chemicals, toxins, artificial fragrance, or anything synthetic in their products.
8. Latched and Hooked Beauty
Latched and Hooked Beauty offers itch-free synthetic hair extensions that match your texture, last for months, and saves you from hours in the salon. Lean into them if you're looking to add some depth and volume to your hair routine, or you just want to create a piece of hair art!
9. Lust for Nails
Lust for Nails offers luxury press-on nails for all the boss babes and girls looking to add a bit of glam into their everyday nail routine for a fraction of the salon price. There are also more subtle options for those just stepping into nail art.
10. BLK + GRN
BLK + GRN is an all-natural marketplace by all Black artisans that connects women with natural lifestyles to quality Black-owned toxic-free products. They offer a TON of products and options, so the sky is the limit to what you can find!
11. Pat McGrath Labs
Pat McGrath Labs is defiantly-decadent makeup created by world-famous editorial and runway makeup artist, Pat McGrath. We love pigment, glam, and glitz that you can use to make a high-end runway look right from the comfort of your home.
12. Kreyòl Essence
Kreyòl Essence is a clean and natural beauty product line straight from Haiti formulated for dry skin and dry hair. Not only are their eco-friendly formulations made from pure and natural ingredients, but the brand is taking it a step further by creating sustainable jobs, protecting and conserving the island's environment, and empowering women. THAT'S WHAT WE LOVE TO SEE.
13. The Lip Bar
The Lip Bar is a vegan and cruelty-free brand that exists to help change the way you think about beauty. They strive to make everyone feel welcomed and their specialty is serving the underserved beauty community.
14. Coloured Raine
Coloured Raine is a stand-out cosmetics line that seeks to spread awareness of diversity through beauty and to embrace all aspects of color through unity.
15. Mary Louise Cosmetics
Mary Louise Cosmetics is a natural skincare brand that offers an easy and fun approach to clean beauty. If you're invested in great pay-off from your products but also need to know the ingredients involved, Mary Louise Cosmetics is a good place to start.
Jacqs mission is to "bring a range of organic and natural skin-care to the international beauty, health, and wellness market, and to create potent products." At Jacqs, they want to help women celebrate and honor themselves.
17. Black Girl Sunscreen
Black Girl Sunscreen is a revolutionary sunscreen for women of color made with natural ingredients. It does not leave residue nor make us look ashy, yaasss!
18. AJ Crimson Beauty
The AJ Crimson Beauty cosmetics line, like most great inventions, was born out of necessity. “I felt like there was an absolute need to bring products to women of color that actually worked and didn’t oxidize or change,” explains Crimson on his site. “I wanted to create a product inclusive of women of all ethnicities, a product all women could find ownership in and believe in. So often, makeup has been designed with a one-size-fits-all mentality, and with black women and women of color my cosmetic line contains shades for women of every ethnic background and skin tone.”
19. Base Butter
Base Butter is a skincare line born through the grown consciousness, intellect and demand for representation from consumers. Through their products, they seek to inspire a generational movement that empowers women to reclaim control and redefine the idea of beauty. The brand was just founded in 2015, and it has already exploded across the Internet with its number-one Aloe vera gel-based moisturizer for pH-balanced and hydrated skin.
20. Crayon Case
The Crayon Case is a cosmetic line dedicated to amateur makeup users and aspiring makeup artists. The brand aims to encourage all people to treat their face as a blank canvas as they pursue the ultimate creation of their personal masterpiece.
AcARRE is a natural prestige brand of multi-use bioactive beauty products for the beauty minimalist. Based on modernized African and Pacific Islander ancestry elements, it delivers multi-levels of hydration, bringing balance to the skin. All of their ingredients are ethically-sourced for economic, social, and environmental commitment to the brand.