As we've all been examining our allyship and how we show up for the Black community, many are exploring the different ways to help to amplify their voices on every level. From protesting to donating money to engaging in some self-education, taking a stand against workplace prejudice and listening rather than speaking or dismissing, and so much more, there's a lot we can do to make a bigger difference. But if all that feels a little overwhelming right now, why not take a small step by shopping a Black-owned business, and supporting African-American artisans sharing their work with the world?
To that end, we've shared some of our favorite Black-owned beauty brands in hopes of encouraging you to show your support for them, too. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but we hope it encourages you to explore more and find other brands from black creators that you can add to your fave list.
Coloured Raine Queen of Hearts Eyeshadow Palette
Coloured Raine is the creation of Loraine R. Dowdy, a Brooklyn born woman of Caribbean descent who left a high-powered job in the financial industry to pursue her dream. With an aim to create a cosmetics line that encourages both self-expression and diversity including shades for people of color, Dowdy built a collection of long-lasting cult favorite liquid lipsticks, lashes and glosses, and highly-pigmented eyeshadows that routinely sell out. The brand believes in all things beauty, with no stipulations on color, age, or gender.
Ace Beaute Camilla Lashes
Ace Beaute was launched by Niye Attang in 2016 with an initial focus on lashes, but has since branched out into offering eyeshadows, brushes and false nails. Not only is everything on their site cruelty free, but their motto is "Beauty for All" regardless of age, sex, skin color, religion or socio economic status.
Beija-Flor Naturals Body and Hair Honey
Stevonne Ratliff struggled with skin sensitivities, including hypo and hyper pigmentation. There were very few natural skincare solutions that catered to women of color, so she created her own. The result is Beija-Flor Naturals, an organic skin and haircare company featuring products that are nourishing for the face, hair and body. The brand is also the first American beauty line to include fair trade, nutrient-rich botanical ingredients from Brazil.
Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask
Nancy Twine founded Briogeo Hair Care based on her own experience of creating homemade hair care products with her grandmother as a child...and then later, in her 20s, realizing that store-bought goods just didn't live up to their promises. Briogeo focuses on the basics with a line of high-performance hair care products that are natural, but deliver on their claims. There's no harsh sulfates, silicones, parabens and other drying and damaging ingredients, many of their products are vegan, and the entire line is cruelty free.
Brown Butter Beauty Pure Marula Oil
Created by Christine Grant, Brown Butter Beauty is a small-batch natural beauty company from Brooklyn, New York, featuring herbal-infused, globally-inspired products that incorporate the healing elements of nature. Her line of hair, body and skin care products rely on potent and natural oils, roots, clays, botanicals and essential oils that are ethically sourced from around the world.
Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer
Rihanna created Fenty Beauty to address a void in the industry, seeking to offer products that performed across all skin types and tones. Her ultimate goal? To offer a makeup line that would include everyone, which is why her brand launched with a revolutionary line of foundations that addressed a wide range of hard-to-match skin tones. The brand focuses on creating formulas that work for all skin types, with a special focus on pinpointing universal shades.
Golde Lucuma Bright Instant Exfoliating Superfood Face Mask
Trinity Mouzon Wofford co-founded Golde with her partner, Issey Kobori, in 2017. Their goal? Bringing good vibes to the wellness industry. An independent, Brooklyn-born brand that makes superfood-boosted essentials for health and beauty, their face masks are a fan favorite, and they're made with natural ingredients that your skin will love.
Epara Skincare Cleansing Lotion
Like many beauty business founders, Ozohu Adoh launched Epara Skincare to address a void in the industry: namely, luxury skin care products that addressed the needs of women of color. Her formulas are the result of a collaboration with a U.K. lab using organic ingredients from Africa, designed to address dry skin, sun discoloration, issues related to free radicals and air pollution, and more.
Oui The People The Sensitive Set
Oui The People (formerly known as Oui Shave) initially launched in 2015 as the antithesis of all the shaving companies we all grew up with...but when it went through a rebranding, Karen Young, the company founder, instilled the brand with a mission to reconstitute beauty by making a commitment to "watch our language". Why? Because brands inform culture and language. But the company's goal remains the same: to offer thoughtfully designed body care products that help you feel great in the skin you're already in, no matter your gender.
Pat McGrath Labs Mattetrance Lipstick
Pat McGrath Labs is the creation of legendary makeup artist Pat McGrath, whose career spans over two decades working with the top names in fashion, from photographer Steven Meisel to creating the looks for countless runway shows and the industry's biggest designers, to consulting on cosmetics brands for the likes of Giorgio Armani and Gucci. With her own namesake brand, McGrath has created a brand as legendary as she is, with her unique vision brought to life through he fan-favorite lipsticks, eyeshadow palettes and more.
The Mane Choice Boosting Kit Sea Kelp & Feverfew Herb Rehydration Therapy
Courtney Adeleye's hair empire started on YouTube, where she documented her healthy hair journey and shared her deep knowledge of ingredients and the results they'd offer. With a Bachelor's Degree as a Registered Nurse and a desire to fill a gap in the hair care community, Adeleye launched The Mane Choice Hair Solution with a dual goal in mind: to beautify, but also to improve health from the inside out.
Uoma Beauty Say What?! Foundation
With a belief that beauty comes in every color, Uoma Beauty was founded by Nigerian-born, L.A. and London-based former beauty executive Sharon Chuter. Through a variety of products for face, lips, eyes and brows, the brand's goal is simple: to re-write the rules of inclusivity and diversity to create a world of beauty that truly is for all of us.
Dimension Nails Goddess (Holo)
Dimension Nails is a 100% vegan, cruelty-free, PETA and Leaping Bunny-certified nail polish brand with 10+-free formulas, including gels and lacquers. The brand weaves a love for animals through all their products, each of which are designed to offer education about veganism with activism at the core.
Carol's Daughter Monoi Oil Sacred Strengthening Serum
Carol's Daughter launched in a Brooklyn, New York, kitchen back in 1993, with a collection of home made skin and hair care products crafted by Lisa Price. They became so popular at flea markets and festivals, it led to the opening of their first boutique in 1999. Since then, the company has expanded into their own online presence, selling at over 30,000 retail stores including Target. In 2017, Carol's Daughter made history by being a first on exhibit in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
The Lip Bar Vogue Fast Face Kit
Melissa Butler started The Lip Bar in her kitchen in 2012 while working on Wall Street, because she was tired of seeing a lack of diversity (and a lot of unnecessary chemicals) in the beauty industry. Despite getting turned down on Shark Tank, Butler persevered and saw her brand launch, then make its way into 450 Target stores, then launch its flagship store in downtown Detroit. The brand's offerings are vegan, cruelty-free, and designed to celebrate your vision of beauty, whatever it may be.
Pattern Microfiber Towel
Founded by Tracee Ellis Ross, Pattern features a collection of hair care products designed to focus on hair health, encourage and embrace texture, and let curls and coils ranging from 3B to 4C be free. With an eye toward celebrating natural curly hair and the community that wears it, Pattern also helps support organizations and programs that empower women and people of color.
Plant Apothecary Supersoak Organic Healing Bath
Another Brooklyn-born beauty brand, Plant Apothecary was launched by Holly McWhorter and her husband with a mission to set the standard in certified organic, eco-friendly self care. The brand uses the highest quality organic essential oils and botanical ingredients to make highly effective plant-based skin care that's clean, vegan, and cruelty-free.
Shani Darden Skin Care Retinol Reform
Celebrity esthetician Shani Darden won the hearts (and faces) of Hollywood with her exceptional skin care routines, so it's no wonder she launched her own line. While working on famous faces, Darden realized that many of the creations she wanted didn't exist... and that she could create them. Her most loved product, the Retinol Reform serum has a huge fan following, leading to the launch of Shani Darden Skin Care. Darden also launched her own studio in 2019.
Mented Everyday Eyeshadow Palette
KJ Miller and Amanda E. Johnson conceived Mented Cosmetics over a glass of wine, when the two were lamenting why they couldn't find the perfect nude lipstick. With the belief that every woman should be able to find herself in the world of beauty no matter her skin tone, the brand launched with nude lipsticks and expanded into eyeshadow palettes and blushes. But the brand has continued to stay true to its foundation of creating makeup that's perfectly pigmented to match a variety of skintones. Plus, their lipsticks are vegan, paraben free, non-toxic and cruelty free.
Rosen Skincare Super Smoothie Cleanser
Jamika Martin launched Rosen Skincare as a response to an overly toxic industry that tended towards harsher chemical treatments for those with acne. With formulas based on clean ingredients that treat and prevent breakouts, Rosen's line features cleansers, toners, serums, moisturizers and more.
Brown Girl Jane Glow Luminous Facial Serum
Recognizing that women of color suffer disproportionately from inflammation, anxiety disorders and toxic levels of chronic stress and physical pain, sisters Malaika and Nia Jones, along with beauty and wellness expert Tai Beauchamp, set about launching a line of plant-based products that would help women better manage their lives. The result is Brown Girl Jane, a line of Vegan and cruelty-free products featuring broad spectrum CBD to help with balance, sleep, and recently, one's glow. With the launch of their Glow Luminous Facial Serum, the brand is now helping women look their most luminous thanks to a high-potency balancing, hydrating, and transforming face oil. It also features anti-inflammatory properties and more antioxidants than both Vitamin C and D, and imparts soft skin without any lingering greasy look or feel. Plus, a portion of every sale goes towards supporting charities that support the wellness of women of color.
—Originally published June 8, 2020, at 10:08 a.m. PT