For many Black women, shopping for makeup can be way more challenging than it is for fair- and light-skinned customers. The good news is, more Black-owned makeup brands exist now than ever, and they're worth reading up on and adding to your beauty collection stat.
Drugstore and department store makeup brands have come a long way in recent years when it comes to providing a larger variety of products. Many now offer more inclusive shade ranges. Even better, there's also more representation on YouTube, thanks to vloggers like Jasmine Brown and Makeup by Shayla.
But more diverse foundation shades at the counter isn't enough. Black women need a seat and a voice at every table in the proverbial beauty cafeteria. Cue these 32 rockstars, some of the most recognized or up-and-coming Black-owned beauty brands. Some are simply making a point to include products of all shades, while others are solving skin and makeup woes specific to Black women in innovative and exciting ways. Read on, shop, and celebrate a broader, more beautiful beauty industry.
1. Fenty Beauty
You can't talk about beauty inclusion without talking about Rihanna's Fenty Beauty. The line was one of the first major brands to sell 40 shades of foundation in truly diverse tones.
Rihanna created a new standard for complexion inclusion that caused major companies — many of which are white-owned — to expand their offerings to include shades for women of color. Her thoughtfulness when it comes to skin tones extends past foundation, with Rihanna creating other products that feel truly inclusive.
2. Black Opal Beauty
What happens when a woman of Jamaican descent, a chemist, and a board-certified dermatologist come together? You get Black Opal Beauty, whose products specifically address the "nuances of Black skin." From foundations under $10 to lipsticks under $8, Black Opal has a range that will make your face and your wallet happy.
3. Pat McGrath Labs
Known as "Mother" to her loyal fans, Pat McGrath has changed the game when it comes to beauty. With inclusive skin products and a famous lipstick formula, McGrath has created a diverse dynasty for people of all skin tones who've long been overlooked in the makeup industry. The company's valued at more than $1 billion.
4. KA'OIR Cosmetics
5. Black Up Cosmetics
If you are looking for a bold matte lip, look no further. Black Up Cosmetics creates some of the most pigmented lippies in the game — and they don't stop there. With face products and bold eyeshadow palettes, the brand has everything you need to create a full look.
6. Base Butter
Founded by She'Neil Johnson, Base Butter is home to the #1 selling aloe-vera based moisturizer on the market. While everyone can enjoy the brand's skin care, it's formulated for oily and combination skin types with simple ingredients meant to nourish your skin.
7. IMAN Cosmetics
Supermodel Iman knows beauty — and she has her own line to prove it. Her brand was created for every ethnicity and skin tone, so you can find your perfect match in every product. Iman is all about a natural look, and her products will help you achieve your perfect no-makeup makeup beat.
8. Hyper Skin
Desiree Verdejo launched Hyper Skin after experiencing breakouts and dark marks during her first pregnancy but couldn't find a product that worked for her skin. She created Vitamin C serum Hyper Clear to help brighten skin and reduce hyper pigmentation.
9. Laws of Nature Cosmetics
Laws of Nature Cosmetics got into the beauty game to provide safe, non-toxic beauty products. The brand serves up products and essential information for shoppers who want to buy responsibly and know what's in their cosmetics. With all-natural and organic products, the 21-shade mineral foundation is a showstopper worth shopping.
10. The Lip Bar
The Lip Bar prides itself on "disrupting the beauty industry through products & inclusive imagery." Dedicated entirely to lip products, The Lip Bar serves up colorful lipsticks made to pop. From bold reds to navy blues to true nudes, the brand has something for any lippie lover.
11. Jacque Mgido Cosmetics
Founder Jackie Mgido was inspired to start her cosmetics brand after seeing the challenges women experience firsthand with finding makeup in Sub-Saharan Africa. Now, her products provide natural and eccentric looks for women of color. Just check out her lip stains to see how varied Mgido's products can be.
12. Beauty Bakerie
Beauty Bakerie has quickly become one of the biggest players in the beauty industry. With the brand sold online and at Ulta, Beauty Bakerie adds cheeky packaging to staple products we all know and love. From Flour Baking Powder to ice cream-inspired powder highlight, the brand has products that look adorably cool and actually work. Now that's a win.
13. Juvia's Place
As a major player in the makeup game, Juvia's Place has taken Black pride and excellence to a new level. With bold eyeshadows and glittering highlights, Juvia's Place is especially formulated with darker skin tones in mind. If you are a neutral lover, don't worry — the brand also has sleek nude palettes made from its buttery eyeshadow formula.
14. Vera Moore Cosmetics
Created by Vera Moore, actress turned entrepreneur, Vera Moore Cosmetics sells lipstick, lipgloss, foundation, and pressed powder — and has a line of products for men. The brand's competitively priced and features an incredible variety of colors in its products.
15. Gold Label Cosmetics
Kristen Brown founded Gold Label in 2012 with a mission to provide natural makeup to Black women. The company solely sells lip products that are paraben-free and highly pigmented. Check out the shade Dark Children and Empowering for some sleek lip looks.
16. Coloured Raine Cosmetics
Cruelty-free and super innovative is the name of the game for Coloured Raine Cosmetics, which offers everything from full eyeshadow palettes to intense lip lacquer. The brand hopes to "encourage self-expression and diversity" in the cosmetics industry through creating a line that suits "all skin tones, including women of color."
17. Plain Jane Beauty
As an eco-cosmetics line, Plain Jane Beauty celebrates all shapes, sizes, and skin tones, and don't let the name of the brand fool you — the line is anything but boring. With shimmer shadows you'll love and foundation that'll actually match your tone, Plain Jane Beauty is plain awesome.
18. Glow By Melodye
Want to feel "encouraged, enlightened, and empowered" in your glow? Glow By Melodye promises to give you all three feelings with its line of lippies. With a shimmer matte formula and a shiny gloss range, these lipsticks will make you feel bold.
19. Sacha Cosmetics
Sacha Cosmetics creates products, like lipsticks, eyeshadow palettes, and blush, for medium- and dark-skinned people. Standouts include the brand's Buttercup Setting Powder and its setting spray, along with a face product shade range to rave over.
20. B.A.A.B.S. Beauty
B.A.A.B.S. Beauty — which stands for Blessed And Anointed Beauty Services — is hypoallergenic and cruelty-free, and creates affordable professional grade products. The brand has everything you need for boss brows and a slick lip and is great for those with sensitive skin.
21. Beneath Your Mask
Dana Jackson created Beneath Your Mask after a life-changing Lupus diagnosis and subsequent treatment. Jackson's line of products are inspired by her story of recovery and feature safe, non-toxic, and non-irritating ingredients.
22. AJ Crimson
Makeup artist AJ Crimson has been featured in some of the biggest fashion magazines like Marie Claire, InStyle, and Vogue for his work on clients — and he's brought his talents to the makeup game. With pro products that work for those at any level of artistry, Crimson's line is something you want in your personal or professional kit.
"I wanted to create a product inclusive of women of all ethnicities, a product all women could find ownership in and believe in," he writes on the brand's website.
23. Pear Nova
Pear Nova was founded by Rachel James who wanted a product that would allow her to express her love and experience in both the fashion and beauty worlds. The polish brand is affordable, vegan, cruelty-free, and 5-free.
24. MDM Flow
MDM Flow is a British makeup brand puts a laser focus on lips, giving your pout the attention it deserves. With sleek gold bullets containing a small-batch formula, MDM Flow has you — and your lips — covered, literally.
25. Danessa Myricks Beauty
Makeup artist Danessa Myricks created her own beauty line to cater to Black women at a time when beauty products weren't formulated for them.
“As a self-taught makeup artist with minimal resources at my disposal, I had to be creative with the products I had access to, by maximizing their usage and creatively mixing and blending colors and textures to make things work," Myricks writes on the brand's website. "Even with this, I found I was often limited by existing shades and textures and had the desire for more. Thus, the desire to create my own line of products to fulfill this void was born.”
The brand's Dew Wet Balm is great for a glass skin-inspired highlight, while the Waterproof Cream Palettes bring color like no other. Whether you are new to makeup or a seasoned veteran, Danessa Myricks Beauty has something for you.
26. The Crayon Case
Inspired by your literal elementary school crayon holder, The Crayon Case, a beauty brand created especially for amateur makeup artists, will have you reliving your school supply shopping days. With eraser beauty sponges, brushes that look like pencils, and an eye primer that looks like glue, you'll be so inspired to create beauty art by this line. Plus, The Crayon Case even has rainbow eyeshadow palettes with serious color payoff.
27. Bernadette Thompson
Bernadette Thompson is another nail brand you need to know. It sells shades in a variety of eye-popping colors, as well as hand and cuticle creams an nail polish removers. You can also get $100 bill-printed nail appliques to try out for $30, which is a hell of a lop cheaper than cutting up a Benjamin.
28. Lip Addyct
Love lip gloss? You need to know about Lip Addyct. The brand creates luxe lip paints and high-shine glosses, and every item costs less than $20 — including this natural strawberry lip scrub.
29. Uoma Beauty
Uoma Beauty was founded by Nigerian-born beauty executive Sharon Chuter and is inspired by her culture and infused into all of the brand's products. Its mission, Chuter has said, "celebrates and is conscious of our Afro-heritage. We are a brand by Black people for the world."
Golde was founded by Trinity Mouzon Wofford in 2017 and specializes in superfood based wellness and beauty care. Currently, the brand specializes in natural face masks and wellness beverages at accessible prices (and the adorably bright and vibrant marketing doesn't hurt).
31. Mented Cosmetics
Amanda E. Johnson and KJ Miller founded Mented to reframe the beauty industry's definition of nude. The pair couldn't find the perfect nude lip color that wasn't catered to white skin. They launched their brand with six nude shades for Black women and have since expanded into products for skin, brows, and more.
32. Beauté Brownie
Beauties, you'll love this brand's mission to "inspire self-love, wage war on colorism and push the movement of inclusion of women with darker skin tones in today’s media representation." Created by two sisters from Brooklyn, Beauty Brownie sells matte liquid lipsticks created to stand out on brown skin tones.
Additional reporting by Shea Simmons
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