7 Latinx-Owned Beauty Brands That Are Doing It For The Culture
In 2015, a study revealed that Hispanic consumers are the “foundation” for beauty product sales. What that means is Latinxs, who represent 18% of the total U.S. population at 60 million, are the driving force behind the beauty industry. They account for 16% of the total sales just in hair care products alone. But despite having so much buying power in this industry, there’s been an overwhelming disconnect between Latinx consumers and what they’re finding in the beauty aisles.
The founders of Vive Cosmetics, Joanna Rosario and Leslie Valdivia, put it bluntly: “Beauty companies don't truly or authentically care about us as the Latinx community, although Latinas outspend all other groups in the beauty category. While our economic power is unparalleled, beauty companies only see us as dollar signs.” Whether it be lack of representation in beauty campaigns, not seeing Latinx-owned brands on the shelves of major stores, or brands not understanding how to reach the Latinx market, many believe change is necessary.
It’s because of this that many Latinxs, like Rosario and Valdivia, have created their own brands to fill the void. Here are seven Latinx beauty brands that are doing it for the culture and trying to bring forth some authentic representation.
1. Botánika Beauty
Digital creator, Ada Rojas, launched hair care line Botánika Beauty — a nod to botánica stores found throughout densely populated Latinx communities — in 2019. “For years I’ve had the honor to work with many amazing natural hair brands but I just always felt there was something missing in the industry,” she says. “I spent 10 years cultivating an online community of amazing vecinas, as I call them, and felt like there really was no one that understood our nuances as bi-cultural women. I just wanted to feel seen in a hair care brand that catered to my curls and I feel like I’ve been able to do just that by bringing Botánika to life.”
While Rojas is doing the work to make sure Latinxs are being represented, she says there are plenty of other beauty brands (which Latinxs have always supported by purchasing their products) and the industry as whole can be doing to diversify and increase representation. The Botánika Beauty founder says it starts by hiring this diverse group. "If you're looking to be inclusive and be a champion for representation, it’s imperative that your company is a reflection of that. I will never understand why companies go through so much work to create targeted campaigns towards a specific audience that they're not a part of, or know nothing about," she says. "Hire us and bring us into these rooms. Encourage our vision and support our views when we share insights into the community you so badly want to communicate to."
Rojas adds that beyond that, it's important to actually be an ally. "Too many people are pandering when it comes to diversity and representation and that is not OK," she explains. "Become a cheerleader for our community, and work towards elevating our message and presence. We need internal allies (AKA more Latinx employees) to support us at these larger, corporate brands. Our message will be more impactful."
Botánika Beauty is known for ingredients that focus on herbs, such as sage to stimulate hair growth and bay leaf to smooth hair and add shine, and its most popular products include The Definer curl cream and The Enhancer mousse. You can also snag the brand's entire collection as a set. and see which products work best for your hair.
2. Reina Rebelde
Reina Rebelde was founded by Mexican-born entrepreneur Regina Merson who launched this as a makeup line that was by Latinas for Latinas. Back in August 2016, she says it was the first of its kind. "It is very much a part of my life’s work to make a positive contribution in some way to this conversation," Merson says. "I also felt there was a white space in this area and was personally frustrated that we were not being represented authentically nor correctly. Previous attempts at this really missed the point."
The inspiration for Reina Rebelde came from Merson's own Mexican heritage and what she's witnessed first-hand about the Latinx experience all over the country. "There is a definite consensus that we are all really proud of our ambicultural lives. It is nuanced and a little bit chaotic, but at the end of the day our cultural duality is very empowering," she says. "Reina Rebelde sets out to celebrate those dualities by highlighting different members of the large and diverse community that we seek to elevate and celebrate." While the brand's inspiration comes from Merson's Mexican heritage, she seeks to highlight and celebrate all Latinxs backgrounds from all across Latin America and the Caribbean. "A great example of this was our first influencer product collaboration with Kay-Lani Martinez, which was a campaign celebrating all things Puerto Rico with two new products we co-created to celebrate and showcase the beauty of Puerto Rican culture," she explains.
While Reina Rebelde's Bold Lip Color Stick is the brand's award-winning lipstick, they're also well known for their liquid eyeliner.
3. Golden Dream Beauty
A cruelty-free and vegan brand, Golden Dream Beauty was founded by Venezuelan beauty influencer Ydelays Rodriguez. Golden Dream Beauty officially launched in June 2019 and Rodriguez says she created Golden Dream Beauty because she wanted to bring about a brand that would cater to the Latinx community, making them feel powerful, talented, and capable to do everything and anything they put their mind to. She says she also wanted to welcome everyone who identifies with their mission of inspiring and motivating people to achieve their dreams, and look good while doing it.
"As a Latina, I will always incorporate my Venezuelan values and culture into the brand," she says. "Growing up in Venezuela, and shadowing my dad who ran his own business, I learned what it was to work hard — my dad had me working at the store on days that my friends would be out playing — but my dad made it his duty to teach me work ethic, stay humble, and be grateful. My culture also plays a huge role, being Venezuelan means passion. We are passionate about our people, and pushing our community forward. Which is why I want to encourage others to push forward for their dreams and keep the hope alive."
Rodriguez continues, "Currently, my country is going through hard times but that doesn’t stop my people for fighting for the country they love. I am fighting for my country by creating presence with this brand."
Golden Dream Beauty boasts some of the prettiest lashes, including their Dama lashes, which are some of the most dramatic.
4. Alamar Cosmetics
Born in Cuba and raised in Miami, Alamar Cosmetics founder and CEO Gaby Trujillo was drawn into the world of beauty around age 17, when she started working as a receptionist in her mom's salon. A couple of years later, a conversation with one of her friends sparked an idea to deliver something new to the market. "Consumers are tired of buying things they don't feel connected to. We want to know there are humans behind where we leave our money. And the idea struck me that I hadn't seen that with a strong Latina message yet and I decided I wanted to do just that," Trujillo says.
"The inspiration behind my brand is my culture. I wanted to create a unique colorful makeup line that paid homage to my Cuban culture. I had a hard time deciding on what to name my company until I thought of my hometown in Havana, Alamar. I immediately thought of Alamar Cosmetics and told myself that’s the one. I wanted to turn my passion into something that can build my future. I love makeup so much and wanted to spend all of my time doing it or being around it. The idea of building a life where I could be around makeup all the time, work for myself, and pay homage to the people I love seemed like destiny."
Alamar Cosmetics' lip glosses get a lot of love from its customers, but they also have some of the most gorgeous and highly pigmented eyeshadow palettes to hit the market.
5. Rizos Curls
When Julissa Prado saw there was nothing on the market that could truly do her curls any justice, she began setting the plan in motion to create her now highly-successful hair care line, Rizos Curls. "Learning to love my natural hair was a big part of learning to love myself. The older I get, the more unapologetic I become about being Latina — and my big curly hair is an important part of that," Prado says. "I went through many phases with my curly hair. I hid it in a tight, gelled-down ponytail, wore it à la crunchy with extra hairspray, and even straightened with a clothing iron! As a little girl, I saved my money to buy every curl product I found, but nothing seemed to work on my hair type."
She goes on to explain: "I began mixing my own product at home and I told myself that one day I would create the very best product for curly-haired girls like me. I spent years searching for the perfect formula. I wanted a product made with quality ingredients that could celebrate all curl types, from my Tia’s coily strands to my sister’s loose waves. It is an honor to be able to help other curly haired people look beautiful and feel confident in their natural hair texture with Rizos Curls."
And Rizos Curls is more than just a line of hair care products: Prado says what she's really trying to build is a movement and a community of empowered #RizosReinas. "Rizos Curls is the trifecta of the 3 C’s—Curls, Community and Culture. It’s a part of everything we do from the events we throw, causes we support, etc," Prado explains. "We are very intentional to always make sure Rizos Curls is equally about loving your natural CURLS, building COMMUNITY wherever we go, and unapologetically representing our beautiful Latinx CULTURE."
Aside from being a winner of Naturally Curly's Best of the Best Leaders in Curl Award for their 4-Step Bundle and Refresh & Detangle Spray, Rizos Curls also carries cute merch—like sweatshirts and necklaces—to show off your curly hair pride.
6. Araceli Beauty
The California-based beauty brand owner had been working professionally as a makeup artist since she was 18, and her clients' feedback (both good and bad) regarding beauty products got her thinking about launching her own line. "I knew I wanted to make high-quality products at reasonable prices that were simple and embraced my culture," Ledesma says. "I am very proud of being born in Mexico and equally as proud of being American. So it was essential for me to embrace the Mexican culture that I grew up in when creating my American brand. I wanted to pay homage to my parents for the sacrifices they made for my siblings and while establishing a brand other Latinas could identify with. I couldn't be happier about the decision."
The Araceli Beauty founder makes sure to showcase the culture in just about everything, from the naming of products to the serape detail in the packaging to their use of fun Spanglish in their marketing and messaging. "I hope Araceli Beauty helps Latinas feel heard and represented," she says.
While you'll find that all of Araceli Beauty's products have five-star reviews on the brand's site, from their Jalisco Eyes Palette to their Chiquita Blending Brush, their Jalisco Eyes Kit is arguably the most popular with six of their products included.
7. Vive Cosmetics
Latinas Joanna Rosario and Leslie Valdivia are the founders behind the brand Vive Cosmetics. Their desire to create a beauty brand for the Latinx community stemmed from a severe lack of representation and anger from what was being presented to attract those in the community. "Time and time again we see offensive and tone-deaf campaigns that are meant to be inspired by us and other communities of color, but that are problematic in their delivery. We see important people in the industry reject us and our different skin tones and offer no apology or remorse," the founders say in a joint email interview.
"Vive Cosmetics is here to change that. We want Latinas and all Latinx to realize the power of our own community. Vive Cosmetics was created as a way of recognizing our importance. We do not need companies to cater or pander to us. We need companies that celebrate and honor our different stories, skin tones, languages and origins. We need companies created by us and for us. Vive Cosmetics is about doing just that," Valdivia says.
When it comes to the inspiration behind the brand, Valdivia explains it's truly about the cultura. "Our logo is meant to represent the duality of language that exists for us. The 'i' in Vive is two exclamation points (!¡) combined. The bright brand color palette is directly inspired by the vivid and liveliness of our traditional wardrobe, festivities filled with joy and color. All of our product and shade names are inspired by childhood memories, cultural celebrations and cultural."
She continues, "We want to uniquely and authentically represent people in our community, there is so much beauty in that. We also understand that the Latinx experience is vast and very diverse, we also look so different! That is something that inspired us as well."
In addition to making sure their brand caters to the Latinx community at large. Rosario and Valdivia have donated 25 cents from every Vive Cosmetics unit sold to nonprofit and community causes working to uplift and serve those underserved in the community — this included giving to immigrant activist groups, LGBTQ youth centers, nonprofits serving immigrant womxn entrepreneurs and so much more.