28 Black-owned beauty brands to shop and support
Though inclusivity is steadily growing in the beauty industry, it can still be quite a frustrating experience to head to your local beauty store and try to find products that meet your needs as a person of color. Even more frustrating? In an industry to which people of color contribute billions of dollars every year, there seems to be only a small percentage of products that are created with our beauty needs in mind. Get ready to feel seen.
Don’t get me wrong: many non-black brands are working hard AF to make their products more accessible for women of color (about time, right?), but it’s refreshing to support brands that are for black women and by black women. Whether you’re looking for your next go-to hair conditioner or the perfect lip gloss, these brands got you covered.
1Pat McGrath Labs
You can’t have a list about the best black-owned beauty brands without mentioning the “mother” of luxury cosmetics herself, Pat McGrath. As one of the most influential makeup artists out there, you know anything McGrath churns out from her own product line is bound to be good and live up to the hype. While we love the wide array of products for people of all skin tones, it’s McGrath’s signature lipstick formula that has us perpetually obsessed. Try the bestseller Mattetrance Lipstick in the shade Flesh 3.
2Oui The People
If you’ve ever had the urge to throw your overpriced pink razor straight into the trash, enter Oui the People to finally offer you the shaving experience of your dreams. When founder Karen Young first started developing her product line, she not only wanted to design a razor for women that works, she sought to do away with the “perfecting,” “flawless,” and “anti-aging” language we often see in the beauty world. Finally, men aren’t the only ones who get to experience the glory of a single blade—the Rose Gold Single-Blade razor offers a smooth and close shave, without any tugging or pulling.
Founder Jamika Martin created Rosen Skincare because the products on the market weren’t cutting it for her acne problems. Instead of navigating the many mystery formulas out there, Martin opted for more natural ingredients, and a better price tag. While we have a lot of favorites from this line, the Super Smoothie Cleanser is a good place to start if you’re new to the brand.
Ebony Clay created Kayaire when she noticed two gaps in the market: POC were largely missing in the CBD convo, and were underrepresented when it came to skin issues. After her own battles with psoriasis, Clay wanted to develop products that didn’t use steroids or cause discoloration in her skin. With CBD as the main nourishing ingredient, products like the Rejuvenating Exfoliating Toner have us obsessed.
As if we needed another reason to stan Rihanna, Fenty Beauty has been the biggest blessing to hit the beauty industry. In a little over a year, Fenty Beauty has released tons of acclaimed, Holy Grail-worthy products, and the brand is just getting started. Major FYI: if you haven’t tried Fenty's Pro Filt’r Concealer, you’re missing out on a life-changing product.
Shop it! $18, Ulta.com
Founded by Cashmere Nicole, Beauty Bakerie has combined the love for two things near and dear to our hearts—makeup and baked treats “to be sweet and sweeten the lives of others.” The brand offers high quality products with fun bakery-inspired packaging to keep us on the edge of our seats. Check out its Spray Your Grace Baking Spray infused with aloe, ginger, and a hint of vanilla for some added flavor.
Shop it! $16, Amazon.com
Supermodel Iman knew first-hand the struggles of finding makeup to suit women of color during her years backstage working with makeup artists that weren’t properly equipped. Known as the first skin care and makeup brand designed with “women with skin of color,” in mind, Iman Cosmetics is still going strong. A must-have from the brand is the Second to None Foundation Stick, which will leave you looking absolutely flawless and natural.
Shop it! $14, Ulta.com
Founded by Chichi Eburu, Juvia’s claim to fame has been their ultra pigmented eyeshadow palettes, but that’s only a glimpse of what the brand has to offer. The brand, which is inspired by African culture, offers amazing products for prices that are unmatched. One of their most recent launches, the Nubian Loose Highlighters, will have you glowing to infinity and beyond.
9The Lip Bar
After having her bold lip colors be referred to as “clown makeup” in 2015 on Shark Tank, founder Melissa Butler leveled up and has since had her products sold in Target. Melissa and The Lip Bar are proof that when one door closes, another one opens. Check out the brand’s lip gloss in the shade “Trophy Wife." It’s an interesting twist on a classic nude and absolute game-changer.
10Jane Carter Solutions
Shop it! $15.81, Amazon.com
Founded by Jane Carter, the brand was created for all hair types in the hair care community to “embrace their beauty and love their hair.” Jane Carter Solutions prides themselves on using quality ingredients that deliver the best results. One product you need to try is the Moisture Nourishing Shampoo.
11Karen’s Body Beautiful
Shop it! $28.83, Amazon.com
Founder Karen Tappin was so alarmed when she discovered carcinogenic ingredients in her bath and body products that she decided to make her own with all-natural ingredients right from her Brooklyn apartment. The brand can now be found in major retailers such as Target, Walmart, and CVS for all of your natural body care needs. If your hair is in need of some moisture and TLC, you need to grab their Sweet Ambrosia Leave-In, like, yesterday.
Shop it! $16.50, Amazon.com
Founder Amanda Johnson realized that all nudes aren’t created equal, especially in regard to nude lipsticks for women of color. Mented Cosmetics, short for “pigmented,” has nude lipsticks made specifically with WOC in mind.
Shop it! $11.86, Amazon.com
Launched in 1994, Black Opal became a pioneer in mass market beauty as the first dermatologist-recommended brand for women of color. Black Opal’s Skin Perfecting Foundation Stick is a favorite among professional makeup artists, which means you need to be adding it to your collection as well.
14Ayele & Co.
Founded by Danielle Bahi, the brand went viral a couple of years back due to testimonies of their hero product, the Sunflower sweets serum. Since its rebrand from Bahi to Ayele & Co., the brand has expanded its product line tremendously while sticking to its all natural guns and catering to people of color.
15Plain Jane Beauty
Founded by CEO Lake Louis in 2010, this innovative clean beauty brand has your skin’s best interest in mind and offers non-toxic high quality products. Their Coconut Water Setting Mist ($28) is the perfect skin treat to extend the wear of your makeup and nourish your skin.
Colored Raine focuses not only on a love for bold color but also on diversity. If you need to step your eye shadow palette game up, the Queen of Hearts palette (on sale for $28) is a must-have.
Shop it! $6.73, Amazon.com
After hitting many roadblocks when making the move from N.Y.C. to Atlanta to open a natural hair salon, Taliah Waajid persevered and continued to educate women on their hair—minus all the hair-altering chemicals. Taliah Waajid’s namesake brand is chemical-free, affordable, and promotes healthy hair for all hair types. From personal experience, the brand’s Bamboo & Biotin Protective styles collection is 100% worth every penny. A good first try is the Hairline Help 2-In-1 Plus Bamboo and Biotin Edge Growth.
Starting her career in beauty as a YouTuber, Rochelle Alikay Graham-Campbell saw a void in the beauty industry as it pertains to hair care with real natural ingredients. With a lot of determination and $100 from her savings, Rochelle set forth to fill that void by creating high quality natural products for hair, face, and body. Her Lemongrass Leave In Conditioner, aka “Liquid gold,” is a necessity for all hair types.
Founder Mahisha Dellinger, like most great entrepreneurs, saw a problem and fixed it—by creating the eco-conscious hair care for curly girls that wasn’t available. Inspired by a major change in her lifestyle, the newly launched CURLS Green Collection is great for anyone looking to go clean with regard to their hair care (and peep the cute, juice bottle-inspired packaging). The Bamboo Protein Treatment is a must-try.
Owner and founder Monique Rodriguez used her background in nursing and health to create a line of results-driven hair care for the world to enjoy. I haven’t met a Mielle Organics product that I didn’t love, but a go-to is the Babassu Oil & Mint Deep conditioner. Your curls will never feel more hydrated and refreshed.
Tracy Golbourne first started formulating products when she couldn’t find anyone to care for her hair, which was falling out from neglect. After finding solutions for herself, many rooted in hydration, she began looking into creating products for other women that may be struggling with caring for their natural hair as she once did. The Moroccan Rhassoul Clay is the perfect product to help you get rid of product build-up and to maximize your hair’s hydration.
Inspired by ingredients straight out of the pantry, Psyche and Vontoba Terry created Urban Hydration as a way to provide sustainable hair care for their family. The brand covers hair, skincare, body, and home products inspired by healthy skin. Even better? Every product purchase contributes a gallon of water to a family in need. If you’re looking to get started on some spring cleaning, try their Lemon Coconut Oil all-purpose spray.
23The Mane Choice
Courtney Adeleye used her own hair journey as a starting point for her brand. While documenting her hair journey on YouTube, Courtney discovered a lot about ingredients that promote hair growth and retention while remaining healthy for the body. If you’re trying to get your hair all the way together, you should try the Peach Black Tea Anti-Shedding & Intense Volume Therapy Mask.
Terrinique Pennerman created her brand to honor her mom, who passed away when Terrinique was 19. The age old Bahamian recipes that were passed down to her are the foundation of Kurlee Belle’s formulas. The Jelle Coconut Styling gel will define your curls in ways you’ve only ever imagined.
Prime Beauty has a pretty simple philosophy: “Women of color’s beauty needs are primary,” never secondary. The brand started with an untapped market in beauty for WOC, bronzer (or brownzer), and has since been used on high profile celebs such as Cardi B. (If it’s approved by Cardi’s key makeup artist Erika La Pearl, it’s more than good enough for us.) While my go-to shade for Prime Beauty Bronzer, “Bronzeville,” is currently sold out, Chocolate Litty, and Glow Coast are still available to try.
Dreads/locs are too often forgotten in the natural hair community. Creator of Dr. Locs, Chimere Faulk, recognized this fact and began mixing natural ingredients from a local market in her kitchen to help fill the void for her clients. The Imani Locking Spray is the perfect solution for those looking to maintain new growth right from the comfort of their own home.
Katonya Breaux created Unsun, a line of mineral sunscreen, specifically for people of color. No matter your shade, Unsun products will never leave your skin with a white film or compromise comfortability for sun protection. Take it from me, down to the brand’s Protect & Smooth Emollient Rich Hand Cream, Unsun products are good to use for any season.
28 Nene Femhealth
Nerissa Nefeteri created Nene Femhealth, a plant-based vegan line, to offer healthy alternatives for feminine care and health. One of the must try products is the Vagina Therapy Feminine Wash, which is so natural and gentle that it doubles as a facial cleanser.