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. Now and forever. Black culture has informed and inspired the beauty space for decades—a fact that we need to celebrate and sustain.
There is a lot of work to be done. As we’ve communicated on-site and on our social platforms, now is the time for us to rise above (not simply to) the occasion and make actionable steps with deep indentations. Here, our Who What Wear editorial team has outlined a collection of ways you can make a difference in the fight against racism, in addition to a list of resources to get you started.
One such way to support and take a stand right now is, if you’re able, to put money where your mouth is. Alongside educating ourselves, attending protests, signing petitions, making donations, and calling our government officials to demand justice, buying fashion and beauty products from Black-owned brands is extremely helpful, especially considering the financial impactCOVID-19 has had on Black-owned brands, which have been hit harder than others. (Please familiarize yourself with this helpful graphic to understand why.)
Below, we’re sharing 24 Black-owned beauty brands to support (now and forever). Keep scrolling to start shopping, or, if your funds don’t allow, simply take screenshots or bookmark for a later shopping date.
Uoma Beauty (pronounced uh-mah) was founded by Nigerian beauty executive Sharon Chuter and supports the belief that beauty starts the moment you decide to be yourself. The goal: to rewrite the rules of inclusivity and diversity within the beauty industry.
As for shopping, we recommend the brand’s Say What?! Foundation—choose from 51 shades. (Chuter used the Fitzpatrick scale to make sure each tone uniquely complements the skin based on the color groups it falls into.) The foundation is also long-lasting, lightweight, and wonderfully buildable to suit your coverage needs.
Trust us—you haven’t had a truly luxurious shaving experience until you’ve invested in Oui the People’s stunning collection of shaving and body essentials. The brand, founded by Karen Young, embodies a commitment to The reConstitution of Beauty—a mission to “watch their language” with the knowledge that brands hugely inform culture and language. Additionally, rather than enforcing the jaded ideal of perfectly smooth, hair-free skin, the brand places its focus on truly well-built and effective products that are carefully and beautifully designed to help you feel great in your own unique skin.
We can’t recommend Oui’s iconic single razors enough—a few of the models are currently sold out but still available for preorder.
Founder Desiree Verdejo launched Hyper Skin after she experienced intense acne flares while pregnant with her first child. As she explains on the brand’s website, stubborn breakouts had always been an ongoing struggle, but the flurried hormones and pregnancy-related pigmentation sent the situation into overdrive.
Unable to find any products that catered to her needs, Verdejo set out to create her own solution in the form of Hyper Clear, a unique vitamin C serum that blends potent, clean, and natural ingredients like vitamin E, kojic acid, turmeric, and bearberry to effectively smooth uneven skin texture while also brightening and treating dullness and hyperpigmentation.
Think 100% vegan, cruelty-free, epically nutritious (for your skin) makeup products that are designed to look beautiful on every complexion. Founded in 2012 by former Shark Tank contestant Wall Street stockbroker Melissa Butler, The Lip Bar was launched with the goal of redefining beauty standards. Because, as Butler points out on the brand’s website, “there is no standard, we are the standard.”
There are plenty of exciting places to begin where shopping is concerned, but we’d recommend starting with the best-selling liquid matte lipsticks. The fan favorite applies like a gloss but dries down to a well-hydrated, albeit pristinely matte, finish.
When it comes to inclusivity, sunscreen (which almost always casts a white, ashen finish on top of the skin) is notoriously problematic. Founder Katonya Breaux launched Unsun in 2016 after years of frustration regarding the lack of options for clear, clean, and no-reside SPF formulas women of color could safely use on their skin.
In addition to its SPF-spiked hand cream, the brand offers two different versions of its beloved mineral-based tinted SPF—Medium/Dark or Light/Medium.
Founder Nyakio Kamoche Grieco grew up visiting her grandmother in Kenya, who used coffee beans to exfoliate and take care of her skin. Inspired by this, Kamoche Grieco has created one of the most luxe skincare lines on the market. The eponymous line, Nyakio Beauty, features five different collections for ultimate customization, everything is handcrafted in small batches, and only vegan, cruelty-free, and ethically sourced ingredients are used. (Think delicious inclusions like Spanish almond oil and African Black Soap from Ghana.)
The beauty world collectively celebrated when word spread Tracee Ellis Ross would be creating her very own haircare line, Pattern Beauty, last year. (You can click here for more details and our editor Courtney Higgs’s in-depth review of the line.) The range offers everything from luxe, microfiber hair towels to hair ties and clips to nutritive treatment oils and curl-conditioning leave-ins. The argan oil–based serum, below, is a standout.
Sweet, serotonin-inducing, deliciously beautiful makeup products are the name of the game when it comes to Beauty Bakerie, founded by Cashmere Nicole. The brand as a whole is truly a feast for sore eyes, but if you’re looking for your first appetizer, we suggest the highly beloved Lip Whip that’s formulated to endure through even the highest water pressure. In other words, apply, and don’t worry about retouching until you’re forced to remove it.
“Affordable, high-performance, clean beauty for the forgotten shades” is how Range Beauty describes its stunning cosmetics offerings, which meld two of the most important needs within the industry—far more inclusive shades and far fewer toxic ingredients. Founder Alicia Scott began her career in the fashion industry and immediately noticed the lack of shades available for women of all skin tones during photo shoots and runway shows. According to the brand’s website, Range Beauty was formed for people representing all shades, all skin types, and all genders who want wallet-friendly options without being forced to forgo high-quality and safe ingredients. In fact, the brand’s all-star foundation is one of the only formulas available that’s specifically designed with skin conditions like eczema and acne in mind.
Briogeo is another magical hair brand we love to support, which was born from founder Nancy Twine’s realization 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. You’ll find it in every single beauty editor’s haircare closet.
Think of KNC Beauty as the ultimate destination for affordable, whimsical, and collagen-plumped lip and eye masks. The brainchild of founder Kristen Noel Crawley, KNC Beauty was born after Crawley took a trip to Tokyo, where she fell in love with a wall of lip masks. When she realized there weren’t any natural lip masks on the market here in the U.S., she got to work. Now, the brand offers said coveted lip mask formula alongside other skin-enhancing options like under-eye masks, a lip scrub, and lip balm. We recommend snapping up a little bit of everything.
Pat McGrath is one of the most iconic makeup artists in history, and her namesake makeup brand, Pat McGrath Labs, more than lives up to her legendary name. Fun fact: The brand also just announced iconic supermodel Naomi Campbell as its first-ever global face of Pat Mcgrath Labs.
“The entire planet is just as cosmetics obsessed as I’ve always been,” McGrath explains on the brand’s website. “Makeup is a movement. Makeup is mesmerizing. Makeup is major. Mantra-esque, three words have repeated over and over in my mind ever since I was young. Obsession. Inspiration. Addiction. Those words became my guiding principles, my manifesto as I brought this brand to life.”
Visit the brand’s website and you’ll be faced with a kid-in-a-candy-shop array of lipsticks, eye shadow palettes, and glittering highlighters, but our favorite staple is still the brand’s skin-enhancing foundation. For best results, we recommend investing in the entire system, which also features a primer and face powder.
Specifically designed for women of color, Mented came about when founders KJ Miller and Amanda E. Johnson couldn’t find a nude lipstick on the market that suited deep skin tones. So they pulled up their sleeves and began their goal of creating a stunning assortment of nude lipsticks and liners to complement rich lips shades. Now, there are plenty of other makeup extensions to choose from (think everything from eye shadow palettes to brow essentials), but their lipsticks have remained an iconic favorite.
BeautyStat Cosmetics founder and chemist Ron Robinson is one of the most well-known and highly respected experts in the beauty business. But it was only after Robinson’s team discovered a holy-grail technology to answer consumers’ main skincare needs that he took the plunge to debut his own line. Currently, it features three game-changing products—the Universal C Skin Refiner, the Universal Pro-Bio Moisture Boost Cream, and the Universal C Eye Protector. The brand’s mission? Tosearch the planet with the goal of discovering new beauty ingredients and innovative technology and to continue to develop envelope-pushing products centered around high-performance.
Created in 2001 by Jamyla Bennu (a self-proclaimed lifelong naturalist and ingredient-conscious maker), Oyin Handmade (“oyin” is the Yoruba word for honey, BTW) 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.”
Ooli is a unisex haircare line featuring recognizable and pronounceable ingredients that naturally nurture and care for every texture of hair. “Whether locs are short, long, curled, or coiffed, there’s a little something for everyone looking to keep their crown of glory refreshed and on point!” notes the brand’s founder Jessica Pritchett.
Haircare products that specifically work with dreadlocks is another area where Ooli excels. This strong-hold shine-enhancing gel is a known favorite featuring beautiful ingredients like baobab and aloe vera to promote a happy, healthy scalp and strands.
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.
Created by dynamic duo CEO Christine Martey-Ochola, Ph.D., and CFO Anne Cheatham, Nuele came about due to their goal of wanting to have healthy, happy, shiny, and manageable hair without the need for chemical relaxers or keratin treatments, which are notoriously hard and damaging on the hair.
“Basically, we wanted to have it all; to be able to show the many sides of hair that we have been blessed with,” they explain on their website. “Curls one day. Straight the next. We put our heads together with our chemistry and biology backgrounds and voilà! Nuele was born.”
As of right now, you can shop their single all-star hair product, the Hair Serum, which they cite as the only clean, all-in-one, lightweight, residue-free yet oil-rich formula on the market.
Meet Loraine R. Dowdy, a Brooklyn-born woman of Caribbean descent who founded Coloured Raine in 2013 after leaving behind her career in the finance industry. Noticing a gaping hole in the industry, Dowdy dreamt of creating her own cosmetics line that would encourage vibrant self-expression, diversity, and loads of inclusive shades for people of color.
Dowdy’s deep love for rich color can be found throughout her stunning line of makeup, with her highly coveted eye shadow palettes falling front and center on our radar. (Although, if you explore the brand’s website, you will find equally wonderful face products, highlighters, and lip essentials.)
This vegan and cruelty-free beauty brand is one of the newest on our radar right now. Businesswoman and YouTube personality B.Simone launched her namesake brand, B.Simone Beauty, last year, and the brand has already gained immense popularity. You’ll find lots of stunning lip products like liners, glosses, and lipsticks, in addition to makeup bags and accessories. Oh, and did we mention everything is surprisingly affordable?
Created by Rachel James in 2012, Pear Nova is a sleek collection of gorgeous nail lacquers uniquely inspired by the most innovative fashion designers and the coolest runway trends. James spent a full year and a half curating the perfect polish formula that would not only stay true to her theme of custom color choices but would hold to other high polish standards like being made in the USA (they’re designed in Chicago), along with being cruelty-free, vegan, and 5-free. In other words, your polish won’t play host to formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, camphor, toluene, or dibutyl phthalate DBP.
Despite the popularity of clip-in hair extensions, there is a serious void when it comes to inclusive clip-in options for curls, coils, and natural texture. Enter Kurly Klips, an award-winning brand featuring the first-ever (and highest-rated) natural clip-in hair extensions on the internet.
Founder Lana Boone proclaims herself as entirely type A when it comes to executing the art of the perfect natural hair extensions, and she explains on her website that she’s rejected more than $20,000 worth of hair because it simply wasn’t up to her high standards. “I am obsessed with making you look good and that means sending you hair that meets my strict standards,” she says. Sometimes that means we’re out of stock, but my clients know it’s worth the wait.” She’s also one of the few CEOs we know of who will literally respond to every single email within 24 hours Monday through Friday.
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 favorite.
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 colors 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 honored beauty through their soulful and innovative techniques that the top beauty gurus still use today.”
Of course, 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.