Black-Owned Beauty Brands You'll Love for Great Hair, Skin, and More
Whether you're looking to treat your curls or put an end to acne, these Black-owned beauty brands have you covered.
Whether you're a Black woman or a Black woman's ally, Black-owned beauty brands need and deserve support — now and always. Uplifting and amplifying Black voices of entrepreneurs and creatives among others is more important than ever, and one of the many ways you can do that (along with protesting, donating, learning, and listening to the experiences of others) is to support Black-owned businesses.
Using your spending power to put dollars toward Black-owned businesses is essential, especially considering many of these companies have been hit financially by the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, the economic shutdown due to COVID-19 "has hurt African American businesses the most among racial and ethnic groups in the U.S., with a 41 percent decline of Black owners from February to April," according to the Washington Post.
The good news: Consumers (read: you!) can help turn this around. But buying from Black-owned beauty brands should not be pandemic-dependent — it should be 365 days of the year, every year.
In order to effectively boost diversity and foster inclusivity and equality in the beauty world, amplify marginalized voices, and support the overall Black community, everyone needs to contribute to Black-owned brands on the reg. So, start scrolling and go shopping — today, tomorrow, and whenever you run out of serum (because, let's be honest, reaching the bottom of a bottle without a new one to sub in can be straight-up soul-crushing).
Black Girl Sunscreen
Founded by Shontay Lundy, Black Girl Sunscreen (BGS) offers weightless, melanin-protecting sunscreen that doesn't leave a sticky residue or an ashy, white cast. It's basically a miracle in a bottle — especially for Brown skin girls like myself! Plus, it's filled with natural ingredients like avocado and jojoba oil that keep skin moisturized—and protected, of course — while playing in the sun or just hanging out indoors. The sensitive skin-friendly product is currently sold online and in Target stores nationwide. In addition, BGS recently secured a $1 million-dollar investment — a huge feat for a Black-owned, woman-owned business! (Looking for something with a sheen? Peep the best tinted sunscreens for your face.)
KAIKE (pronounced "cake")
Because who doesn't want to smell good enough to eat? *wink wink* Founded in 2015 by businesswoman and mompreneur, Keli Smith, KAIKE is a plant-based skin-care brand that provides some serious fun and multi-purpose products that celebrate healthy, melanin-rich skin. This includes everything from Frosting (Buy It, $25, shopekaike.com) — a moisturizing body butter that's equally rich in texture and scent — to Marshmallow (Buy It, $20, shopkaike.com)— a clay mask that makes self-care even sweeter. (BTW, did you know there's a difference between "moisturizing" and "hydrating" skin care products?!)
For those who are obsessed with having soft skin (and, TBH, who isn't?), Luv Scrub is a magical mesh body exfoliator that deserves a spot in your shower, stat. Inspired by her West African heritage, founder and CEO, Caroline Owusu-Ansah, created Luv Scrub after receiving numerous compliments on her radiant skin. The mesh, which comes in five different colors, effectively cleanses and smoothes the skin while scrubbing away dead skin cells (aka exfoliating). Your beloved washcloths and loofahs will soon become a thing in the past once you give your skin the true Luv it deserves.
After noticing the obvious lack of diversity in the beauty industry, Harvard graduates KJ Miller and Amanda Johnson set out to help women of color find their perfect nude lip. What began as a mission to create the best color for Black and Brown women, Mented Cosmetics eventually blossomed into a premium beauty brand that offers a wide range of lippies, eyeshadow palettes, nail polish, and blush — all of which are pigmented to work with darker skin tones.
When founder Jamyla Bennu couldn't find readily available natural and organic hair care products, she decided to create her own ingredient-conscious line. Named after the African Yoruba word for "honey," Oyin Handmade products are crafted with natural, organic, and food-grade ingredients that gently cleanse and revitalize natural hair. Since its inception in 2003, this Black-owned beauty brand has continued to bless curly girls — and guys! — with moisture-infused body and hair products. (Related: My Favorite New Curly Hair Product Is Made for Dudes)
People of Color
Just as its name implies, this brand is all about creating nail polish that complements the various shades of Brown skin. After years of struggling to find shades suitable and representative of her skin tone, Jacqueline Carrington set out to create People of Color. While the Black-owned beauty brand's mission is to think of color first in terms of its hue and, thus, for underrepresented skin tones, it emphasizes that their lacquer (which, btw, is non-toxic, vegan, and cruelty-free) can and should be loved by everyone. And their slogan says it best: "nail polish for People of Color and those who live in color."
Known for its bold and ultra-pigmented eyeshadow palettes, Juvia's Place was designed, in the company's words, "to celebrate the rebels, rulers, and queens of the African kingdoms of long ago." This global beauty brand (which, btw, has a casual 2.3 million followers on Instagram) offers rich and vibrantly-colorful makeup that beautifully accentuates the deepest of skin tones. And they're currently working on expanding their portfolio to include products for "all people" and "all skin tones."
Taliah Waajid Natural Hair
Ready for some serious entrepreneurship inspiration? Taliah Waajid created her eponymous hair-care brand at the age of 14. That's right, 14. An OG in the natural hair community, this Black-owned beauty brand's products are specifically crafted to hydrate and condition naturally curly, coily, kinky, and wavy hair textures. (Personally, The Great Detangler — Buy It, $8, walmart.com — works wonders on my 4a hair!) What's more, Waajid is also responsible for the Taliah Waajid Natural Hair & Healthy Lifestyle Event, an annual summit that, for 20+ years, has been bringing more than 30,000 attendees and more than 300 natural hair vendors together to celebrate natural beauty and healthy living. (Related: 5 Women with Different Hair Types Share Their Hair-Care Routines)
Cee Cee's Closet NYC
Cee Cee's Closet NYC celebrates the beauty of West African prints through fashionable accessories (including cloth face masks), clothing, and, most notably, headwraps—all of which are handmade by tailors and artisans in Lagos, Nigeria. Founders and sisters Chioma and Uchenna Ngwudo joined together to create silk-lined headwraps that help keep natural hair moisturized, soft, and free of tangles. Not to mention the eye-catching colors and African prints will leave you looking Wakanda-ready!
Mischo Beauty is an award-winning, luxury nail lacquer line that came to fruition after founder Kitiya Mischo King's struggled to score a long-lasting, richly-hued, and safe polish while pregnant. This vegan and toxin-free nail polish brand provides a variety of durable, high-performance shades–without harmful chemicals. The rich hues and upscale packaging will truly speak to your innermost bougie. (P.s. once you stock up on your fave shades, follow this guide to mastering a mani at home.)
Ever had an unbearably itchy scalp? Hey, it happens. Just take it from Sherrel Sampson, who got so fed up with trying innumerable products only to be left with a ceaseless itch that she decided to make her own scalp saver. Meet Canviiy, a Black-owned beauty brand dedicated to designing botanical-based scalp care products that put an end to itch, for good. The secret? An expert-formulated serum called ScalpBliss (Buy It, $18, amazon.com), which features natural soothing ingredients like aloe vera, lavender, and peppermint oil. (See also: Scalp Scrubs Are the Missing Link In Your Hair-Care Routine)
Stars Beauty gurus, they're just like us. Case in point? Desiree Verdejo, the woman behind New York City-based beauty boutique, Vivrant Beauty, and creator of Hyper Skin, who, like so many, suffered from hormonal breakouts and dark spots while pregnant. (FWIW, both are weird, albeit totally normal side effects of pregnancy.) Being the beauty boss that she is, however, Verdejo was able to put her knowledge to work and create a premium skin-care product — one that would not only help her acne but also handle her hyperpigmentation. The result? Hyper Clear Brightening Clearing Vitamin C Serum (Buy It, $36, revolve.com) — a power combo of fruit enzymes, bearberry, turmeric, and kojic acid that lighten spots and scars and prevent future breakouts.
Organic Bath Co.
Self-care is essential, but time? Well, it's always flying. The struggle is real and Gianne L. Doherty knows that — which is exactly why she (and her hubby) created Organic Bath Co., a company dedicated to creating clean, straightforward, and ethically-made products that simplify self-care. Their products run the gamut, from PeaceFull Hand Sanitizer (Buy It, $8, organicbath.co) to Java Jolt Organic Sugar and Coffee Scrub (Buy It, $27, organicbath.co), but all are consciously crafted to include TLC-delivering ingredients like lavender oil, coffee grounds, and peppermint oil, just to name a few.
KIMBERLY New York
If you're the kind of woman who wants to smell good from head to toe (🙋🏾♀️), KIMBERLY New York (KNY) has got you covered. Each KNY eau de parfum contains a proprietary blend of 20 percent organic essential oils and natural solvents. These made-to-order fragrances wear beautifully on bare skin and in the hair. Each scent offers a minimum 8-hour wear time and is safe for sensitive skin.
Born out of founder Jane Orman's own struggles to find plant-based skin-care products for melanated skin, Nolaskinesentials is on a mission to make cruelty-free and vegan-friendly skin care accessible. While, yes, the Atlanta-based brand was originally inspired by the lack of plant-based skin-care options for darker skin tones, it now prides itself on offering a selection of goodies for all skin tones and types. One of its most popular products? The Pumpkin Enzyme Mask (Buy It, $25, urbanoutfitters.com), which is packed with 10 percent glycolic acid and real pumpkin to gentle exfoliate congested skin and serve up a clear, luminous complexion. This antioxidant powerhouse also promises to make you smell like a PSL all year round and, let's be honest, who wouldn't want that? (See also: This DIY Pumpkin Spice Exfoliating Face Mask Will Transform Your Dull Skin)
Back in 2014, Monique Rodriguez took the beauty market by storm when she founded a little hair-care line known as Mielle Organics. Sound familiar? That's because its products are seemingly everywhere — more than 87 countries to be exact — and include fans such as Megan Thee Stallion. Featuring best-sellers such as Babassu Oil and Mint Deep Conditioner (Buy It, $14, target.com), Moisturizing Avocado Hair Milk (Buy It, $13, target.com), and Detangling Co-Wash (Buy It, $9, walmart.com), the Black-owned beauty brand's all-natural products blend together essential herbs, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids for longer, stronger, and healthier hair. Whether you're sporting beautiful type 3 tendrils or rocking thick, luscious type 4 curls, Mielle Organics has a hair-care creation to help you live your best natural hair life. Oh, and if you're struggling with thirsty coils, Mielle Organics' Pomegranate & Honey Coil Sculpting Custard (Buy It, $14, target.com) soothes frizzy hair while helping to detangle and moisturize – basically every curly girl's dream!
Frustrated by the lack of options within the world of clean sunscreen products for women of color, Katonya Breaux (who, btw, is Frank Ocean's mom — casual) set out to develop a Black and Brown girl-friendly SPF: Unsun. After all, no matter how melanated your skin, UV protection is of the utmost importance. As for that dreaded ghostly residue that so many sunscreens leave behind? Consider it a thing of the past. All of Unsun's mineral tinted sunscreens are formulated to provide a sheer (!!) coverage for a wide range of skin tones, from olive to dark chocolate. Another key selling point? (Besides protecting you from sun damage, of course) Unsun's sunscreen also boasts priming power and serves as a color corrector – you can wear it alone or as a primer under makeup.
The Lip Bar
Disturbed by the lack of diversity and inclusion in the beauty industry, as well as the excessive amounts of unnecessary chemicals in makeup, Melissa Butler started making lipstick in her very own kitchen while still working on Wall Street. Fast forward nearly a decade later and Butler's side hustle has transformed into a full-time hustle better known as The Lip Bar (TLB). Known for its vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics, TLB's offerings include a wide range of products from colorful eyeshadow palettes to liquid matte lippies, which, btw, are legendary — and Michelle Obama agrees. Yes, you read that right: The former First Lady is also a fan of TLB and even partnered with the company back in September 2020 to create a limited edition red matte lipstick and lip gloss. What's more, the website even has a complexion quiz that will help you learn more about your shade and guide you to the perfect products. (Related: Why You Should Be Using Lip Oil Instead of Lip Balm)
Oui the People
Am I the only person who hates shaving? Doubtful. So, if you're like me (and would do anything to avoid the itchy bumps and hyperpigmentation that can come with using disposable razors), then Oui the People might be the perfect remedy to your hair removal woes. Launched by Caribbean immigrant Karen Young in 2015, Oui the People specializes in sensitive skin shaving with products such as The Single (Buy It, $75, ouithepeople.com). An Instagrammable gold razor with a sole blade, The Single delivers a close, even shave sans any hair pulling or razor burn — "even for those of us with the thickest of curls," according to the brand's website. Additionally, this royal razor is designed to apply the right amount of pressure all by itself, ensuring a future free of pesky ingrown hairs and irritation. Can I get an amen?! Oui the People also offers body care products such as a shave gel-to-milk moisturizer (Buy It, $64, ouithepeople.com), a hydrating body gloss (Buy It, $65, ouithepeople.com), and a bath soak (Buy It, $28, ouithepeople.com). (Read more about the brand in Why You Should Consider Switching to a Safety Razor)