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Black beauty brands to support: My Definitive List

Black beauty brands to support: My Definitive List

The beauty industry itself has many seats at the table, and for so long Black people have been locked out of the boardroom and overlooked in terms of representation, no matter the economic profit that they provided. In more recent years, we have been forced to create our own narrative and create our own seats at the table. With brands such as Fenty Beauty and Pat McGrath Labs making a clear stand for representation.

The conversation around inclusive beauty brands is one that’s been gaining momentum for some time now. No longer do we, as consumers, have to settle for brands that think tagging a few darker shades onto a line of generally beige foundations is acceptable.

Not only are these brands pioneering the way, adding a diverse array of colour selections akin to a Pantone book, but there are also luxurious body products, scientific skincare, and targeted treatments for afro hair.

Understanding our unique curl patterns and concerns for hair care, rich and nourishing ingredients for our body care, cosmetics that stand out yet suit our different complexions, and skin care that focuses on our primary concerns, we now have a plethora of brands that are for us, by us, and have our needs at the core of their ethos.

These brands are changing the way the beauty industry works, how women and men are represented, redefining the rules of inclusivity and diversity and are an inspiration to all – not just for now, when black culture is at the forefront of our minds, but forever.

While supporting the Black community and Black-owned businesses feels especially important right now, there is a need and an opportunity to supply this kind of support, love and commitment every single day. Black culture has informed and inspired the beauty space for decades—a fact that we need to celebrate and sustain.

So, I’ve rounded up a long-list of 43 brilliant black-owned beauty businesses. While there’s some you’ll no doubt be more than aware of, there’s also an abundance of smaller, independent brands that create award-winning products that should be on everybody’s radar. Powered by representation these brands are worthy of your investment.

NB: An * denotes a brand I have personally purchased from. I plan to stock up and buy from the other brands, and many more not listed here, by the end of the year #BuyBlack – Uchechi

A Complexion Company

Understanding that beauty starts from within, A Complexion Company is a luxury beauty and wellness company that offers solutions for women of colour within, across, and rooted in the African diaspora. Designed to take care of your skin from the inside out, the range is inspired by native African holistic practices passed down from generations and instilled in the supplements and skin-care formulation today. Get lost in the natural face masks and supplements that target the concerns of darker skin tones. Shop here

Aaron Wallace*

We are a company who are determined to build a brand that black men everywhere can be truly proud of. We are on a mission to champion and redefine the perception of black men world wide. We want to inspire black men to be the best they can be, by looking and feeling good and exuding confidence from the inside out. Which is why we have spent the last two years researching and developing a line of products that will help solve many of the hair and skin care challenges faced by men with afro hair and skin. We have ensured that our products contain only the very best in quality natural ingredients that work. Black Seed Oil and Mango Butter are rich in much needed nutrients and can be found in all our products. Shop here

​Afrocenchix

Afrocenchix the little things in life should be simple. It blends natural and organic ingredients with the expertise to make haircare as straightforward as possible. After years of rejection from wholesalers saying black women’s needs are ‘niche’, it was great to see the brand voted BBFA Best Natural Hair Brand 2018 and to be the first product for afro hair in Whole Foods UK. Shop here

AJ Crimson

To put it simply, AJ Crimson is a makeup guru. A seasoned celebrity makeup artist and beauty entrepreneur, he founded one of the first makeup lines to serve all skin tones. “I wanted to create a product inclusive of women of all ethnicities, a product all women could find ownership in and believe in,” Crimson writes on his website. “So often, makeup has been designed with a one-size-fits-all mentality, and with black women and women of colour my cosmetic line contains shades for women of every ethnic background and skin tone.” His contour palette gives me the chiseled cheekbones of my dreams. Shop here

Anita Grant

After winding up in the hospital after a lotion left her hands blistered, Anita Grant swore off non-natural beauty products and set out to create her own line from her kitchen using natural oils, butters, clays, creams, and herbs. Fast forward 15 years, and her award-winning beauty products range from hair care to face and body treatments. Grant uses ingredients like shea butter, cacay oil, and plantain spinach, all of which are purchased directly from farming communities that house fair trade and organic suppliers. Shop here

Charlotte Mensah

Created by award-winning stylist Charlotte Mensah, her eponymous haircare line has also won countless awards. It features products including shampoo, conditioner, hair oil and a finishing mist, all of which are bursting with sustainably sourced manketti nut and ximenia oils that work to condition and nourish hair. Shop here

Coloured Raine*

Known for its power pigment lip products, Coloured Raine was founded in 2013 by Loraine R. Dowdy after years of dreaming about a line of cosmetics that was not only inclusive but also encourage self-expression and diversity. With a 100% black team that’s 75% women, Coloured Raine has an impressive range of bold and bright products that promise to bring you joy. The brand’s matte liquid lipsticks will be among the best you try, we promise. Shop here

Bea Skincare

An award-winning cosmeceutical brand from London by Bianca Estelle, British-born with Nigerian roots, she’s a Harley Street-trained skin specialist, clinical trainer and clinic director at the Vitamin Injections London Clinic, and her encyclopaedic knowledge of skincare and wellness is second to none. ‘I’m well versed in treating all skin types but my USP is that I’m skilled in treating darker skin tones which, sadly, many clinics and brands neglect. I’m extremely passionate about inclusivity within the skincare industry because I’ve faced the issues that many black women continue to face today (it’s a myth that women of colour can’t have skin peels) and as such, I’ve ensured there are products and treatments specifically tailored towards those with darker skin tones.’ Shop here

Beauty Bakerie*

Next year, Beauty Bakerie will celebrate its 10th anniversary, and in that decade founder Cashmere Nicole has teamed incredible products that deliver with adorable packaging and names to match. From eyeshadow palettes packed with pigment, blush and highlighting kits inspired by our favourite sweet treats (Neapolitan ice cream, anybody?), Nicole has even created a comprehensive tool to help you find your perfect foundation shade no matter what your skin tone. Shop here

Black Girl Sunscreen*

If there ever was a product so needed for Black women, it would be sunscreen. The paramount importance to wear sunscreen on a daily basis has increased as our knowledge around UV exposure damaging our skin has become a vital factor in preserving the health of our complexion. For Black people in particular, sun protection is mandatory to keep hyperpigmentation and dark marks at bay. Enter Black Girl Sunscreen, a brand that wipes out the stigma when it comes to protection. Eradicating white residue but maintaining all the benefits of an SPF, Black Girl Sunscreen is an essential all year round. Shop here

Bouclème

Founded by Michele Scott-Lynch while she was on a personal natural hair journey, Bouclème is loved by the curly hair community – and for good reason. With products that cleanse, condition, style and treat all curl types and textures, Bouclème is a must-purchase brand for those with curly, coily and kinky hair. Shop here

Briogeo*

Briogeo is another magical hair brand we love to support, which was born from founder Nancy Twine’s realisation that the majority of store-bought haircare on the market seriously lacked when it came to ingredients and performance. So Twine set to work to create her own line of strand-saving beauty elixirs inspired by the homemade hair formulas she grew up concocting with her grandmother in West Virginia. Briogeo’s Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask is award-winning and a renowned best seller. Shop here

Dizziak*

Dizziak was borne after creator Loretta de Feo couldn’t find any products available that suited her hair’s combination of textures. Now it’s a multi-award winning line that’s featured regularly by Stylist and is stocked everywhere from Selfridges to Cult Beauty. Its hero product, Deep Conditioner, is rich, creamy and packed with aloe vera, coconut oil, shea butter and quinoa protein for hydrated, healthy hair. Shop here

DWIRA

More than just another natural skincare brand, DWIRA aims to bridge the gap between western beauty and Ghanaian wellness traditions and skincare rituals. Born out of a want for skincare products that offer glowing radiance without relying on unnatural chemicals, DWIRA champions natural butters and oils to nourish and “feed” skin. Shop here

Epara Skincare

Founded by entrepreneur Ozohu Adoh in her quest to find the right ingredients that would cater to her dry and uneven skin, Epara is a skin-care brand birthed out of the rare and rich soils of Africa, the name meaning “to cocoon oneself” in the Nigerian dialect of Ebira. Epara grounds itself in luxurious and hand-crafted ingredients that help repair, pamper, and hydrate, using its heritage to mark wonders for Black skin. Shop here

Fenty Beauty*

The brand that made the beauty industry sit up and listen. Rhianna’s Fenty Beauty exploded into our lives almost four years ago and it’s stayed at the forefront ever since. With it’s 60+ shades of foundation and cult highlighters and lipsticks, just when we think its products can’t get any better, they do. Fenty Beauty is the epitome of leading by example and extends its diverse and inclusive ethos into its advertising campaigns which feature trans and disabled models as well as models of all shapes, sizes and skin colours. Shop here

Flora & Curl*

After discovering that many products for textured hair were made with damaging ingredients, founder Rose created a range of haircare free from artificial fragrances and full of plant-derived goodness. Shop here

Frederick Benjamin

Frederick Benjamin is a grooming brand created by industry veteran Michael James. Taking into consideration common concerns such as ingrown hairs, razor bumps, and irritation, along with the white space in the men’s grooming market, James set out to create clean products ——everything from hair stylers and skin care to an entire shaving range — that make barbershop-quality products accessible and easy to use. Shop here

Freya + Bailey

Encompassing the idea that skincare is self-care, Freya + Bailey offers up the most divinely destressing and mind-soothing skin products. Founded by Abbie Oguntade out of want for a genuine solution for her own acne and stressed-out complexion, Freya + Bailey products are easily shop-able by skin concern, making even the very act of shopping as stress-free as possible. The brand also donates 10% of its profits to charities to help reduce poverty-based stress. Shop here

Iman Cosmetics*

Founded by none other than iconic supermodel Iman, her eponymous beauty brand, Iman Cosmetics, has been heralded as one of the most well-loved, shade-inclusive brands, well, ever. (It launched back in 1994.) Tired of always having to bring her own makeup to photo shoots and sets, she began her venture into the industry by first creating the Second to None Cream to Powder Foundation, and plenty of other equally stellar makeup and skincare formulations launched from there. This Cover Cream concealer below is another favourite. Shop here

Juvia’s Place*

If you’re looking to browse some of the most vibrant, gem-like eye shadow palettes available, look no further than Juvia’s Place. Founder Chichi Eburu launched the line with the intent to celebrate the beauty of rich, highly pigmented colours that define African tribes. “Africa is not only the birthplace of humanity, it’s the birthplace of all beauty,” the brand notes on its website. “Juvia’s Place was created to celebrate the rebels, rulers and queens of the African kingdoms of long ago, who emulated and honoured beauty through their soulful and innovative techniques that the top beauty gurus still use today.” The brand offers far more than just eye shadows, but the stunning palettes are true eye candy and have the habit of selling out at lightning speed. Shop here

Kinky-Curly*

Founded by Shelley Davis back in 2003, Kinky-Curly’s collection of hair products is designed to add moisture, environmental protection and hold to natural hair without leaving strands dry and brittle. The brand’s Curling Custard is an award-winning top seller that delivers a hydrating shot of moisture plus weightless definition well-suited for curls and waves. As for the formula, it’s made with advanced botanicals like humectant agave nectar to rejuvenate and strengthen the hair sans crease or crunch. Shop here

Klur Skincare

Lesley Thornton, an aesthetician and formulator, has built Klur on the back of many years of experience in and feedback from the beauty industry. Believing in simplicity, usability, and diverse skin conditions, Klur has a conscious and sustainable ethos that grounds itself in the strength of the ecosystem and the important demands of our skin as it takes on everyday life. Shop here

Lash Magnifique

Founded by Stacey Nathaniel, who still works as a master lash technician in her west London-based studio, Lash Magnifique counts Chrissy Teigan’s make-up artist Patrick Ta as a fan. With numerous different false lash styles available you can choose to go au natural or all-out bold depending on your mood. Shop here

Liha Beauty

Championing natural African ingredients and beauty secrets, Liha Beauty, founded by friends Liha Okunniwa and Abi Oyepitan, is one of the chicest natural beauty brands around. Inspired by their heritage, Liha Beauty was founded by blending together the Yoruba (Nigerian) tradition, learned by all young women, that involves making beautifying oils, soaps and lotions from nuts, tree bark and plants with the discipline of aromatherapy. It’s sustainable self-care at its absolute finest. Shop here

Maréna Beauté*

Designed after over 10 years of experience as a makeup artist, Diarry Maréna cultivated Maréna Beauté as a product line that catered to and enhanced darker skin tones. Studying colour analysis as well as working closely with darker-complexioned models backstage, Maréna Beauté promised to meet the needs of the neglected industry. Bearing witness to the African origin, the brand uses undertones, shades, and pigments to make any person of colour feel and look beautiful. Shop here

Maya Njie Perfumes

When developing this perfume line, founder Maya Njie set out to capture scents that would help revive the memories so engrained in her family photo album. From her small Swedish summer house to her grandparents’ visits on a Sunday afternoon, these perfumes capture the soul of Njie’s Swedish-Gambian heritage, whether that’s with hints of leather, bursts of sweet summer fruits, or a unique combination of vanilla and cardamom that’s particular to Swedish tradition. Shop here

Mented Cosmetics*

The brainchild of cofounders KJ Miller and Amanda Johnson, Mented Cosmetics started out as a very popular topic between friends wondering why was it so hard to find a nude lipstick for women of colour. Taking the brand name form the root of the word “pigmented,” Miller and Johnson wanted to bring nude lipsticks, eyeshadow palettes, and blushers to women from light and tan to dark skin tones. With an extensive shade finder across all key categories — which includes foundations and lipsticks — Mented Cosmetics has created a safe place for all shades to feel safe and beautiful. Shop here

MDM Flow

Swapping pharmacy and prescriptions for cosmetics and formulations, MDMFlow’s founder, Florence, went from studying pharmacy to learning cosmetic science at London College of Fashion. And at 22, she created her own cosmetics brand, MDM Flow, which is a culmination of all her interests: hip hop, beauty, fashion, and science. Heavily inspired by the late ’90s/early aughts, MDM Flow is abundant in nostalgia and the reigning years of hip hop and all its glamour. Bursting with colour, exuberance, and personality, MDM Flow is a brand for those who embrace beauty with their chest. Shop here

Okiki Skincare

Founded in 2016 by mother and daughter, Ade Ogunsola and Antonia Ogunsola, Okiki Skincare is made in Britain and inspired by their Nigerian and Ghanaian roots. The products range from soaps, scrubs, skincare, candles, and much more, which are reminiscent of recipes that have been used by their ancestors for generations. And for every large candle sold, Okiki donates £1 to help re-plant trees in Ghana. Shop here

Oyin Handmade*

Created in 2001 by Jamyla Bennu (a self-proclaimed lifelong naturalist and ingredient-conscious maker), Oyin Handmade (“oyin” is the Yoruba word for honey) was born when Bennu couldn’t find commercially available natural and organic products for her highly textured, natural hair. As you may have gathered, honey is the MVP ingredient of the brand’s lush product assortment and is famed for its natural hydrating and protective qualities. “We remain family-owned and operated, and manufacture our products with pride and care,” the brand explains on its website. “We are passionate about our commitment to high-quality, effective formulations made from natural, organic and food-grade ingredients. Our products are gentle, cruelty-free and moisture focused, providing impeccable nutrition and styling for dry, curly and highly textured hair types.” Shop here

Pat McGrath Labs*

The launch the world was waiting for; Pat McGrath is a true make-up legend. She’s painted the world’s most famous faces – Naomi Campbell has recently been announced as the brand’s first global face. McGrath has been creating iconic looks backstage at fashion week for years so it’s no wonder the launch of her debut range was to rapturous applause. Pat’s eyeshadows may be expensive but they’re among some of the best we’ve ever tried, and don’t even get us started on that Star Wars collaboration. Shop here

Pear Nova

Nails are so personal to your style and understanding that — as well as understanding the tones and formulations required for polishes to shine on darker complexions — founder Rachel James brought Pear Nova to the table. Inspired by the colours and fabrics she sees on fashion runways, the polishes are 5-free (so no formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, camphor, toluene, or dibutyl phthalate DBP), with collections like BRWNGRLMGC and Trips to Tulum, that will turn your nail-painting session into an at-home salon-finish treatment you won’t forget. Shop here

R&R Luxury

An entirely natural and plant-based brand from Africa, R&R Luxury harnesses the hydrating properties of Ghanaian shea butter. Founded in 2010 by Valerie Obaze, the brand has won multiple awards and features everything from body butters to lip balms and liquid soaps. It’s also one of the few companies that sources, manufactures and sells in Africa. Shop here

Selfmade Candle

So, we know this isn’t a skincare, hair or makeup brand, but it’s just so great we couldn’t not mention it. Founded by Ricki Lawal, Selfmade Candle creates natural soy wax candles with 100% essential oils. Not only are the jars and scents themselves seriously chic, the products are also vegan and eco-friendly (right down to the ink and glue). In the brand’s own words: “We’re all about getting lit, responsibly.” Shop here

Sensual Candle Co

Harnessing the ritual of reconnecting with ourselves and alerting our senses for a deeper connection, Sensual Candle Co brought together an array of scents and auras for us to be in touch with our surroundings. Slowing down and promoting self-love, peace, and sustainability, the collection pushes the self-care narrative to the forefront. Indulge in the Shai, Lowkey, or Femme scents and be transported to a place of calm and serenity. Shop here

Skin Gourmet

“Pure raw wild” is Skin Gourmet’s motto, a beauty brand started by Ghanian-born Violet Awo Amoabeng. Everything about the brand is done by hand: the ingredients hand-picked, the formulas hand-mixed and hand-packaged, in jars and bottled that you can return to the brand to be reused. As for the “pure” part? Because the brand uses absolutely no preservatives, stabilisers, parabens, artificial colours, or fragrances these creams and scrubs are truly good enough to eat. Shop here

Soapsmith

Since launching in 2012, Samantha Jameson’s Soapsmith has become one of the most-loved luxury British soap companies among beauty editors. Inspired by London’s own diversity, the products themselves are formulated and named to capture the sense of London’s most iconic areas. From the fresh, herbaceous Hackney scent to Battersea’s very own sleep-inducing Lavender Hill formula, the scents that this brand have conjured up are seriously luxe. On top of all of this, the formulas are vegan, organic, 100% recyclable and hand-crafted on London’s doorstep. Shop here

The Afro Hair & Skin Co*

Ibi Meier-Oruitemeka’s range specialises in all things green and organic, and her celebrated facial oil is packed with healing blackberry seeds, hazelnuts and frankincense. Shop here

The Lip Bar

Vegan and cruelty free, The Lip Bar is on a mission to change the way we all think about beauty. Defying the standard of beauty and creating its own path and rules, the range bursts with inclusive shades that range up to 450 unique tones. Shop here

Uoma Beauty*

Launched in 2019, Uoma Beauty is the brainchild of Nigerian-born Sharon Chuter, a former beauty executive. Dubbed as the first ‘Afropolitan’ make-up brand, Uoma caters to everybody and uses the Fitzpatrick scale – a tool that measures skin’s reaction to the sun – to identify six beauty categories depending on undertone, skin chemistry and any common issues that can be associated with different skin types. Shop here

Vernon François

Speaking of hair icons, Vernon François, a household name within the beauty industry, is a true champion when it comes to celebrating the versatility of textured hair. He’s been behind some of the most iconic hair moments in history, and his wide range of hair products features multiple collections to suit every hair type. His specialty formulations go the extra mile thanks to additions like ethically harvested, organic oils from Africa, plus the appreciated absence of things like parabens, sulfates, phthalates, cruelty, gluten, DEA and dye. Shop here

Wild Seed Botanicals

Wild Seed is founded on two main philosophies: (1) we believe that nature is all encompassing, has the power to heal, nourish and restore. As a result, we desire to co-create with nature a range of products that are simply seed to skin. (2) Moving away from mainstream cosmetics that are laden with synthetics and fillers, Wild Seed Botanicals brings products that are not only efficacious but foster a sense of wellness by helping you reconnect to yourself through nature. Although Wild Seed was born in the heart of London, its roots are firmly planted in the heart of African Holistic Traditions. All of our products are handmade in small batches to ensure that we deliver the most potent, raw and purest potions. We use the finest wildcrafted, organic cold pressed and steam distilled carrier oils, butters, essential oils and botanical herbs. All of our ingredients are ethically sourced, active and included for their therapeutic effects. Our products contain no animal by-products and we only test on humans. Shop here

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