Years ago, it may have been difficult to find both makeup and skin care products tailored for darker skin tones and by brands owned by women of color.
Fortunately today, there are many beauty brands to choose from, including those owned by Black founders. Over the years, lines like Fenty Beauty, Pat McGrath Labs and Shani Darden Skin Care, among many others, have climbed the ranks to become some of the most sought-after beauty products in the industry. Some offer products specifically for those with more melanin-rich skin tones, while others have helped revolutionized skin care and makeup as a whole.
Here, WWD breaks down Black-owned beauty brands to shop this month and always.
Oui The People
Formerly known as Oui Shave, Karen Young initially developed Oui The People to create a more enjoyable shaving experience for women after her own unpleasant experiences, suffering from razor burns and ingrown hair. Now, the label offers body products tailored to making the act of shaving more gratifying.
Since its creation in 2019, Ami Colé has helped fill a void in the realm of Black beauty products, especially in finding the right shades. Founded by Diarrha N’Diaye-Mbaye, the clean beauty line was created in Harlem, New York and offers products that celebrate melanin-rich skin. So far, Ami Colé offers a highlighter, a lip treatment oil, mascara, skin-enhancing concealer and skin-enhancing tint.
With only one initial product in its arsenal, Eadem was created with skin of color in mind by Marie Kouadio Amouzame and Alice Lin Glover. Its debut product, the Milk Marvel Dark Spot Serum, was created to fade dark spots and prevent new ones with its smart melanin technology infused with amber algae, niacinamide, licorice root and ethyl ascorbic acid.
Danessa Myricks Beauty
Self-taught makeup artist Danessa Myricks founded her own eponymous beauty line in 2016, with products highlighting colorful hues and techniques now embraced by makeup artists everywhere.
Its Infinite Chrome Flakes, for one, is a multichrome flake topper that comes in shades like strobe light, starburst and moonlight, among others. Its Colorfix has also become one the label’s best-selling products.
Pat McGrath Labs
This brand needs no introduction as legendary makeup artist Pat McGrath has cemented herself as a household name in the beauty world today. Since starting her own namesake line in 2015, Pat McGrath Labs has continued to be one of the best-selling makeup brands to date, reaching a $1 billion valuation by 2019.
Last year, McGrath received British damehood by the Queen, making her the first makeup artist to do so.
Some of the brand’s best-selling products include its Lust: Lip Gloss, Skin Fetish: Divine Powder Blush and Mothership VI Eyeshadow Palette in Midnight Sun, to name just a few.
KNC Beauty, founded by Kristen Noel Crawley, first gained recognition for its aesthetically pleasing designs and for its eye and lip masks, such as the retinol-infused eye mask shaped like a shooting star and the collagen-infused lip mask in the shape of Bratz doll-like lips. Now, it’s become one of the more popular go-to brands for self-care masks and lip balms.
With a following of more than two million on Instagram, Juvia’s Place has grown to be a favorite for many beauty enthusiasts with the idea of inclusivity top of mind. Created by Chichi Eburu, the label offers an array of products designed for deeper skin tones, with highly-pigmented and vibrant colors.
Created by Cashmere Nicole Carillo, known professionally as Cashmere Nicole, Beauty Bakerie offers vegan and cruelty-free products catered to women of color. Now more than 10 years later, the brand boasts a following of over one million on Instagram and is endorsed by celebrities like Beyoncé and retired Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas.
Hyper Skin may only have one product, the Hyper Even Brightening Dark Spot Vitamin C Serum, but that does not downplay the popularity of that product since it debuted. Founder Desiree Verdejo created Hyper Skin with the goal of treating dark spots and discoloration for all skin types and tones.
Mented Cosmetics was created after friends KJ Miller and Amanda E. Johnson realized it was difficult to find the perfect nude lipstick. A play on the word “pigmented,” Mented offers an array of products to ensure women of all colors, light to tan to dark, feel included. Though they’re best known for their lip products, Mented Cosmetics also has blush, bronzer, highlighter, powder, eyebrow pencil, eyeshadow palette, concealer and now mascara.
Founded by Nancy Twine, Briogeo was created to ensure hair is taken care of with ingredients that help with growth and protection. Now, Briogeo has become one of the go-to favorites for hair care products.
Another brand that needs no introduction is none other than Fenty Beauty, which broke barriers in the industry when it debuted in 2017. Rihanna’s immensely successful brand was one of the first to offer a range of shades to fit almost every skin tone — up to 50. The line has now expanded to Fenty Skin, which debuted in the summer of 2020.
Pattern by Tracee Ellis Ross
Actress Tracee Ellis Ross created Pattern in 2018 to offer safe, clean products designed to celebrate and embrace those with curly and coily hair. Though it only launched in 2019, Ross reportedly had worked on it for a decade.
Shani Darden Skin Care
Expert aesthetician Shani Darden created her namesake beauty line to create skincare products that have gained a cult following and are loved by celebrities like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Kelly Rowland. The Retinol Reform has emerged as one of the most popular products of the brand and has rave reviews.
You may recognize Topicals for its aesthetically pleasing packaging, with its bright pink and baby blue colors, but the brand is best known for its products that help treat chronic skin conditions, such as eczema and hyperpigmentation. Created by Claudia Teng and Olamide Olowe, Topicals has emerged to become one of Gen Z’s favorite brands. Within 48 hours of its launch on Nordstrom in 2020, its products sold out completely.
Beautystat initially started as a blog and social media site that reviewed different beauty products before launching its own line. Created by Ron Robinson, a cosmetic chemist, the line has been featured on multiple outlets, with its Universal C Skin Refiner one of its best-selling products.
Created by Nigerian-born Sharon Chuter, Uoma Beauty was first created focusing on inclusive beauty, with its foundation coming in up to 51 different shades in six custom formulas. Chuter’s line has become beloved by many and is available at Ulta Beauty, Nordstrom and on the brand’s official e-commerce site.
TPH by Taraji
Another actress with a hair care line is Taraji P. Henson, who launched TPH in 2020. The products were based on a homemade concoction she had been using for the last two decades in order to help soothe and protect her scalp when wearing a protective hairstyle. The line includes shampoo, conditioner, curl refresher, clay mask, hair milk, oil blend and heat protectant.
Karité was created by three sisters, Naana Boakye, M.D., Abena Slowe and Akua Okunseinde, originally from Ghana, as a way to bring the natural, non-toxic shea butter products from their youth to the U.S. So far, the line consists of three body products: the Hydrating Body Cream, Lip Balm and Hand Cream.
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