Until a few years ago, the selection of mainstream beauty products aimed at Black people and people with darker skin tones was minimal. Most of the time,
shade ranges only went to medium-tones, meaning makeup fans with darker skin would often have to source their products either from smaller, independent businesses, or splash-out on high-end ranges.
This exclusivity of makeup
was obliterated when Fenty Beauty first launched in 2017 with 40 foundation and concealer shades. From there, the choice has only gotten bigger and better across the board, with most cosmetic companies now offering ranges to suit a wider range of skin tones.
Still, the beauty business has more progress to make. One of the ways you can support a more diverse industry as well as find products designed with Black people in mind is by shopping from Black-owned brands. From creative packaging to more sustainable products, there are a number of benefits from buying from smaller businesses. Not only that, but the people behind them are part of our local and ethnic communities and supporting their products gives back to them.
So, if you want to shop local and have been looking for your new favourite makeup, hair or skincare brand, I’ve compiled a list of some Black-owned beauty businesses worth checking out, just in time for Black Pound Day on Nov. 6.
Award-winning hair guru Anita Grant founded her brand in 2005, after having a bad reaction to off-the-shelf cosmetics. She wanted to create products that would benefit her transition from relaxed to natural hair in an organic way. Grant sells oils for damaged and dry hair, sensitive scalps, split ends and more.
Shop now Flora & Curl
Flora and Curl’s clean curl products have been created with natural textures in mind. This means you won’t find any damaging or harmful chemicals in their stylers, cleansers and conditioners. The brand avoids damaging or harmful chemicals.
Shop now Ivy Wild
After suffering from traction alopecia, founder and CEO of Ivy Wild, Sherine Walrond developed a range of non-toxic, nourishing hair care products. She encourages her customers to embrace their natural hair with her plant-based, organically-sourced products.
Shop now Saffron Jade
With the motto “our hair is our biggest accessory, it's our crown and glory” Saffron Jade takes a serious, holistic approach to haircare. Founder Sarah Roberts doesn’t only sell conditioning sprays but has written a book on afro hair and offers 1:1 hair care consultations.
Shop now Hair Extensions and Clip-Ins Beglam Virgin Hair
Beglam are transparent with how they source and manufacture their weaves, closures, frontals and lashes, providing both premium and more affordable options. Their mission is “to provide ethically sourced raw and premium quality virgin hair”.
Shop now Kurly Klips
Launched in 2013, Kurly Klips is one of the first brands to offer clip-ins for natural hair. They offer a range of collections for all textures as well as headband wigs, puffs and ponies.
Shop now RC Hair Solutions
After working in the industry for 20 years, Rebecca Campbell recognised a need for affordable extensions, so in 2018 she launched RC Hair Solutions. The brand offers premium products at lower prices including closures, frontals and hair creams.
Shop now To All My Black Girls
Described as “an active love letter from black women to black women” To All My Black Girls is a place for black women to see themselves and feel confident with their hair. They offer a range of hair extensions ranging from ponytails, wigs, weaves, frontals, closures, plus accessories.
Shop now Pamoja Skincare
When certified natural skincare formulator Sarah struggled to find products that worked for her, she decided to make them herself. Her brand Pamoja, which means ‘together’ in Swahili, features sustainable packaging, ethically-sourced botanics and is vegan. It also offers plastic-free shipping, and they plant a tree each time an order is made. No wonder it’s award-winning.
Shop now Shimirose
Established in 2008, Shimirose is a vegan-brand whose products are all-natural, cruelty-free, and recyclable. The offer shea butter in almost every scent.
Shop now Skin Gourmet
Sourced from Ghana, Skin Gourmet claim their handmade skincare is “so pure you can eat it”. The company prides itself on making products without preservatives. They provide wooden spoons with their scrubs and oils so there’s no need to use fingers (
which can introduce bacteria and shorten a product’s shelf life). And if you send them your empty body butter or clay mask jars once you’re finished, you can get a discount on your next purchase. Great for you and the planet. Shop now Wild Seed Botanicals
Wild Seed Botanicals formulates its products with the power of natural healing in mind. The brand draws on African holistic traditions, moving away from synthetic cosmetics. It stocks products for all bath, body, and skincare rituals.
Shop now The Glowcery
Switching to a plant based diet a few years ago made The Glowcery founder and formulator Roshanne Dorsett reassess her beauty routine. The result? A creative clean beauty brand that uses cold-pressed ingredients such as hemp seed oil, cocoa and mango seed butter. The Glowcery uses sustainably sourced eco-friendly packaging that can be recycled and offers refill options.
Shop now Netsai
Motivated by a lack of representation in beauty commercials or magazines, Netsai aims to make marginalised people feel confident and comfortable in their skin. Selling antioxidant masks, hydrating mists and cleansing mud in bundles and beauty boxes, Netsai is perfect for those looking for a skincare overhaul.
Shop now By Joy Adenuga
Using experience gained over a decade of industry experience, pro makeup artist Joy Adenuga created her own line of makeup brushes and accessories and lashes. They promise to help you achieve a seriously professional result at home.
Shop now UOMA Beauty
Founded by Nigerian born, LA/ London based Sharon Chuter, the UOMA pronounced OMA (uh-mah), beauty range is designed to be inclusive and innovative. The brand has created “skin kins”, for their complexion products. These are six skin colour groups that share similar characteristics and needs, ranging from Black Pearl (dark brown skin) to White Pearl (very fair skin) which help customers find their perfect products.
Shop now VLace Cosmetics
VLace Cosmetics provides highly-pigmented products enriched with vitamin e and natural oils. Their cruelty-free lipsticks, highlighters, and eyeshadow palettes are designed to nourish and protect the skin.
Shop now 516 Polish
516 specialises in nail care essentials, such as glass files, UV lamps and cuticle oil, as well as stocking gel and nail polish in over 50 bold, pastel and nude shades. Their mission is to be the UK's first indie nail brand to offer “swatch diversity” by representing darker skin tones in their visual branding. The range is also cruelty-free and vegan.
Shop now HAY London
HAY London has something for everyone in its range of high quality nail polishes. The “classic” collection has more subtle shades, while its “rogue” collection dials up the drama with bolds and brights.
Shop now Vixiny
Launched in 2018, London-based Vixiny is a cruelty free, vegan and non-toxic nail polish brand. The brand has a large shade range, so you’re sure to find your new fave nail colour. Vixiny categorises its products by colour palette so it’s easy to find one that suits your vibe. They also do matching gel shades for all of the regular polishes.
Shop now Pillbox Cosmetics
Described as “the brainchild of two colour-obsessed sisters”, Pillbox Cosmetics believes nail polish is a subtle form of self-expression. There’s not only a great selection of shades but they all have seriously cute names like Astrid, Blossom, and Margarita Mary to name a few.
Shop now Manicure You
Manicure You puts a strong emphasis on toxic-free products, with its formulas being 10-free (free from the 10 major toxins found in nail polish). They supply beauty bags, nail files, and buffers as well as a large collection of nail polish shades. The polishes have the appearance of gel, but dry like regular colours and don’t need a UV light to set. Win win.
Shop now 4CurlyHair
Aiming to provide a stress-free hair shop experience, 4Curlyhair’s “Discovery Subscription Box” is perfect for those who want to try a sample size before splashing out on full size products. For £5, you can get products from big haircare brands including Mielle Organics, Curly By Nature, ILoveAfro and more.
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