Get to Know These 20 Black-Owned Beauty Companies
Here are 20 companies, both big and small, worth spending your $$$ on
Inclusivity and general wokeness is far from perfect in the current beauty climate (like when some brands release a foundation in only five shades ranging from “porcelain” to “sunkissed”? #howboutno), but there’s solace in knowing it’s never been easier to support a black-owned beauty business.
Hair care tailor made for natural textures? Found. Sunscreen, without “Casper the Friendly Ghost” residue? Check. A foundation shade so perfectly matched you can’t believe your eyes? Oh, wow, do you have options. From big name brands, such as Fenty Beauty, to small batch lines, like Toronto’s own Essentials by Temi, every part of your beauty routine can embrace the entrepreneurial efforts of a WOC making her mark. Side effects include the feel-good euphoria of exercising your consumer power, because every “add to cart” click is an act that collectively changes the biz. Redefine power shopping and scroll through for the best brands to drop your ducats on now.
Black-owned Beauty Brands
1/20 Fenty Beauty
Launching her brand in 2018 with a mind-blowing 40 shades of foundation was just the beginning for Rihanna. Since then, the multi-talented mogul has continually expanded the collection and taken all our money with innovative formulations and product design. The latest launch is a prime example: Her first foray into mascara features a unique, double-sided ‘fat-to-flat’ wand.
Full Frontal Volume Lift & Curl Mascara, $32, fentybeauty.com
2/20 Pattern Beauty
According to Tracee Ellis Ross, she first pitched her business plan for a hair care line a decade ago but no one thought her enough of an authority on the category to take invest. Big mistake, HUGE! Thank goodness the actor, style star and living #hairgoals pursued her dream. Since launching in 2019, the paraben, SLS/SLES and cyclic silicone-free line has proven to be a major success, with the Leave-In Conditioner becoming a sold-out star.
Leave-In Conditioner, $33, patternbeauty.com
3/20 Essentials by Temi
If you’re looking for a clean beauty glow up, put this line of mists, scrubs, butters and oils on your radar. Toronto-based makeup artist Temi Shobowale makes her skin-soothing, preservative-free blends using high-quality vegan ingredients. With sustainability top of mind, Shobowale also has a recycling program in effect: Return four of her empty glass bottle/jars and receive a 10% discount and gift with a future purchase.
Intense Hydration Elixir Oil, $33, essentialsbytemi.com
4/20 Bomba Curls
Inspired by her Dominicana roots, founder Lulu Cordero has bottled the secrets to a healthy scalp and long, strong hair that she grew up with. Castor, coffee seed and black cumin seed oils are the headlining ingredients in her debut product. The lightweight multi-use oil is suitable for all hair types, including colour treated.
Dominican Forbidden Oil, $24, bombacurls.com
Founder Tomi Gbeleyi grew MFMG, which stands for Makeup for Melanin Girls, out of her own frustrating experiences as a model coupled with a social media following that championed beauty vloggers of colour. Today, in addition to creating cosmetics that meets the needs of melanin-rich complexions, like this peachy-nude lippie, Gbeleyi has built a much-needed community that celebrates diverse beauty.
Naked Liquid Lipstick, $13, makeupformelaningirls.com
6/20 The Lip Bar
Frustrated both with the beauty industry’s tendency to serve only one type of woman, and the prevalence of toxic ingredients in makeup, Melissa Butler founded The Lip Bar with the intent to do something different. Having started with a diverse range of vegan, cruelty-free lipsticks formulated with zero unnecessary chemicals, the line has branched out to deliver goods for your full face. The Skin Serum Foundation (sold solo, or as part of a handy Fast Face Kit) comes in 26 shades and each well-balanced colour is infused with hyaluronic acid and Irish moss extract. And the online gallery of models in each shade is a brilliant visual aide.
Skin Serum Foundation, $37, thelipbar.com
7/20 Juvia’s Place
Juvia’s Place is all about punchy pigments and a huge variety of colours, ringing in at affordable prices. Each covetable palette has its own African royalty theme, too. This best-seller, inspired by Fulani culture, boasts a dozen gorgeous hues in a mix of shimmer and matte finishes, and has racked up—wait for it—over 1,700 glowing reviews.
The Saharan Palette, $26, juviasplace.com
8/20 Beauty Bakerie
After facing breast cancer, Cashmere Nicole, the founder of Beauty Bakerie, wanted to create health-conscious, quality makeup that sweetens the lives of the people who use it. With every purchase of the brand’s Insta-famous colour cosmetics, its charitable initiative, called Sweet Homes, helps provide funding and supplies to qualified orphanages in locations such as Uganda. And here’s the cherry on top: Beyoncé and Jourdan Dunn have been counted among the fan base.
Flour Setting Powder, $32, beautybakerie.com
After struggling with the film natural sunscreens left behind on her dark complexion, Katonya Breaux created Unsun (fun fact: she’s Grammy-winner Frank Ocean’s mom!). The 100% mineral blend melts seamlessly into skin tones within the medium to dark spectrum. The award-winning, reef-safe formula is also blended with glycerin and aloe that nourishes skin as it’s protected.
Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen in Medium/Dark, $38, unsuncosmetics.com
The first African American woman in history to hold a patent for a natural hair care product, Naturalicious founder and CEO Gwen Jimmere has revamped traditional hair care with multi-use products. Developed around hard-working concoctions infused with cocoa seed butter, coconut and sweet almond oils, the line’s hair care systems are designed to take you from shampoo to styling, and any other step you desire in between, with just three products.
Hello Gorgeous Hair Care System, $74, naturalicious.net
Good vibes incoming! Self-care is front and center to this line by Toronto-based founder Crystal Rowe. Calling on her Caribbean upbringing of using the power of natural herbs and gentle healing, Rowe mindfully makes each product by hand using raw ingredients and essential oils. A visit to the brand’s Insta page (@yourjeln) also soothes the senses.
Recharge Me Face Mask, $55, yourjeln.com
12/20 Coloured Raine
This cruelty-free line of lipsticks, highlighters and eyeshadows was created by former finance industry founder Loraine R. Dowdy to encourage diversity and promote having fun with makeup. Seek Coloured Raine out for highly-pigmented, long-lasting formulas that promise to look stunning on a wide range of complexions.
Focal Point Glowlighter in Bourgeois, $26, colouredraine.com
13/20 Shea Moisture
Shea Moisture may have started small, with young mother Sofi Tucker selling shea butter creations in 1912 Sierra Leone, but this family-run operation has grown to be a globally thriving empire. The brand is ethically minded, thanks to a commitment to fair trade, and uses natural and certified organic ingredients—so shopping the affordably priced line of nourishing hair and body care feels like a real win-win.
Ultra Hydration 100% Raw Shea Butter, $14, sheamoisture.com
14/20 The Afro Hair & Skin Co.
Ibi Meier-Oruitemeka, a British natural beauty and wellness expert, founded this brand with a view to help Black women get the most from beauty products with holistic ingredients. Her brand makes (as the name suggests) everything for your hair and skin, all with locally sourced ingredients.
Flow Perfectly Balanced Facial Oil, $34, theafroskinandhaircompany.co.uk
Yes, this is that Iman. The supermodel started this brand after spending 20 years in the industry mixing her own foundation to match her skin tone. Years after launching in 1994—and after fighting to get it to the front of stores and into the hands of other Black women—she is now at the helm of a multi-million dollar beauty empire.
Luxury Concealing Foundation in Earth 4, imancosmetics.com
16/20 Fashion Fair
In 1973, when John H. Johnson and his wife realized that Black models were struggling to find makeup that matched their skin, they created Fashion Fair and within seven years, they had their products in more than 1,500 stores. The brand is still going strong today, with a wide range of foundations, pigmented blushes, lipsticks and eyeshadows.
Rhapsody Collection Blush in Fervor, $22, fashionfair.com
17/20 Black Opal
With their mission statement “for every shade of beauty” in mind, Black Opal was created in 1994 to cater to a broad range of skin tones and types. They launched with a product hailed as the first mass market skincare for women of colour, and 20 years on, they’ve contributed to scholarship funds, stocked Hollywood studios and sponsored the Miss Black USA pageant.
True Color Pore Perfecting Powder Foundation in Kalahari Sand, $13, blackopalbeauty.com
18/20 Jolie Apothecary
Nikisha Brunson, one half of Urban Bush Babes, makes her sulfate-, paraben-, silicone- and fragrance-free soaps, oils and cleansing grains in small batches, so snag them as soon as you see them on Etsy.
Organic All Natural Glycerin Soaps, $10, etsy.com
MDMflow is so much more than that undeniably chic packaging. At just 22, a Brit named Florence created her brand, heavily based on ’90s hip hop culture. She uses the latest colour technology to create handmade lipsticks and mascaras loved by beauty experts around the world.
Lipstick in Supreme, $26, mdmflow.com
20/20 Vee + Co
This genderless line of skincare is made with ethically sourced, cruelty-free, plant-based ingredients that aim to nourish your mind, body and soul. They even have all-natural baby products, and a sister site called Default to Happy that offers life coaching.
Red Sandalwood Foaming Cleanser, $12, hellovee.com