These black owned makeup brands are top notch.
People of color, specifically black women, are oftentimes overlooked in the beauty world. Many brands neglect black consumers by launching complexion product lines with limited (if any) options for deep skin tones. Other times, the offense is subtle; creating 15 shades of pale pink lipstick or “nude” products that only reflect the natural shade of European descendants.
Not only is the experiencing frustrating, it can make black beauty lovers feel like outsiders and reinforce the many voices in western culture that calls African features less desirable. As a black woman, I felt like this many times from a very young age. One of the reasons I’m passionate about beauty, is its connection to self-concept. We should love ourselves regardless of our appearance but we should also redefine what is beautiful and fall in love with our own aesthetic.
In my journey to do this, I’ve found some great beauty brands that have recognized and celebrated black beauty from the beginning. While I love seeing mainstream beauty brands include more comprehensive color options in their in their product launches; I make a point to support black businesses who have made this a priority since day one. This is a list of black owned makeup brands that have top rated products. Some of them, I’ve tried. Others are on my must try list.
Beauty Bakerie was founded in 2011. It offers a wide variety of bakery themed makeup products. I’ve tried quite a bit from this company, including their long-lasting lip whips and several eyeshadow and blush palettes. If you like highly pigmented products and a bit of whimsy, this is a brand worth checking out.
The Lip Bar
The Lip Bar is known for stunning lipstick shades. Founded in 2012, this brand is close to my heart because its founder is from my home state of Michigan. Founder, Melissa Butler, is a HBCU grad with a degree in finance. After working as a stockbroker, she decided to launch a line of vegan lipsticks. After being rejected from SharkTank, the company managed to negotiate partnerships with Target and Walmart. We love to see the black girl magic!
My favorite shades from The Lip Bar are Savage and Drama Queen but I can’t wait to try more. They’re super pigmented and the color options are amazing. Recently, they’ve added complexion products to its product lineup. Visiting their flagship store in Detroit is definitely on my bucket list.
I haven’t personally used Mented Cosmetics yet but they’re definitely a hot black owned brand to watch.
Mented Cosmetics offers a full range of makeup products, but is most known for its lipsticks. They offer a great selection of nude lippies. They also have a variety of red shades that complement deep skin.
No black owned beauty brand list can omit Iman Cosmetics. Founded by model Iman in 1994, Iman Cosmetics is known as the first company to specifically cater to women of color.While I haven’t tried this brand myself, it’s been going strong for over 2 decades.
Fenty Beauty was created by music and fashion icon turned entrepreneur Robyn Rihanna Fenty. Rih Rih, who has a passion for inclusivity, revolutionized the industry by launching her makeup line with 40 shades (they currently offer 50). The makeup is arguably as iconic as Rihanna herself.
Since we’re talking about black owned businesses it’s worth mentioning that the company is only 15% black owned. Fenty’s parent company is LMVH, a Parisian company that specializes in luxury products (think Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, etc.). French billionaire, Bernard Arnault, is the majority owner, while Rihanna acts as CEO.
Pat McGrath Labs
Pat McGrath Labs falls under the category of high end makeup brands that I’m dying to try. Pat McGrath is a black British makeup artist who created makeup lines for Giorgio Armani and other luxury fashion houses prior to releasing her own makeup line. McGrath was dubbed the most influential makeup artist in the world by Vogue. She has worked with notable celebrities such as Oprah and Madonna.
I could definitely use a bit of luxury in my life and the fact that it’s black owned and HIGHLY RATED puts it on my must-try list.
If you like “clean beauty”, you definitely need to check out LYS Beauty. It’s a black owned cosmetics brand committed to offering plant-based, vegan beauty products at an accessible price point. Everything in its product lineup is under $30. The company goes beyond the typical requirements of clean beauty. According to LYS Beauty’s website, none of its products have ingredients like talc, mineral oil, fragrances, gluten, or SLS. It also claims to include ingredients that actually improve common skincare concerns.
I haven’t tried this brand yet, but it certainly sounds impressive AND the packaging looks so luxe.
Black Opal or BLK OPAL is an OG in the black beauty game. It’s been making makeup for black women since 1994, however it just recently became black owned.
Black Opal was founded by a chemist named Niko Mouyiaris. Niko saw how limited makeup options were for his wife Carol, a black woman of Jamaican descent. Niko passed in 2019 and Carol now owns the company with the help of fellow black woman co-owners, Desiree Rogers and Cheryl McKissack.
It’s just as important to have accessible drugstore and luxury options. Thankfully, the new owners, who have crazy impressive corporate pedigrees have landed distributorship deals with major retailers like Walmart, Target and Rite Aid. Easy to find options are always a good thing.
Uoma Beauty was founded by a Nigerian woman, Sharon Chuter, in 2018. Uoma means beautiful. According to its website, the company values self-expression, colorful living, African pride, and inclusivity and strives to create an “empowering tribe while igniting a “beautiful rebellion”. Fans of Uoma love its wide shade selection (51 shades from super deep to very pale in a variety of undertones).
Beyond complexion products, the brand has lipsticks and eyeshadow palettes that look amazing. I currently have my eyes on its Coming 2 America collection. It’s all so stunning.
These are just a few of the many amazing black makeup brands that are out there. As a bonus to those of you who like to “shop small” many of these brands are also small independent businesses. Black queens from across the globe are running these brands. I’m thankful that the internet creates a global economy which results in a plethora of options for you and I.
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