These small businesses are bringing much-needed representation to the beauty world and delivering essential products to communities of color along the way.

By Nashia Baker
June 24, 2020
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Black-owned beauty brands largely cater to the very community that deserves our unwavering support. While people around the world continue to fight for equal rights, the businesses featured here have been laying the groundwork for proper visibility and support of Black life for years. With brand specialties spanning from hair care and makeup to nail care and skin protection, these businesses are proving that representation is just as important in the beauty sphere. Discover and support these innovative brands and their timeless missions that are moving the beauty industry forward for the better.

Epara Skincare

Ozohu Adoh founded Epara Skincare with a particular vision in mind: to provide Black and minority women with products that would nourish and protect their skin. "Epara is a brand born out of a need to provide luxury skincare products to women with dark skin tones. The skin issues women have present differently in women of color," Adoh writes on the company's website. The brand offers luxury cleansers, masks, moisturizers, serums, and tonics with organic ingredients.

Black Girl Sunscreen

Black Girl Sunscreen came into existence after the brand's creators wanted to develop a product that would protect the Black community from the sun—without the white cast common to most sunscreens. The brand's non-white residue formula allows people of color to protect their skin from the harsh rays, thanks to its SPF 30 and 50 properties and moisturizing ingredients.

Buttah Skincare

Buttah Skincare's founder Dorion Renaud created his line not only to cater to the needs of the Black community, but as a way to also help those who suffered from the skin conditions he did growing up, including acne and dark spots. "No one I knew with melanin-rich skin ever talked about skincare or addressed my skin concerns," he says on the brand's website. Once the model-turned-actor started using shea butter and vitamin C serums (two ingredients that says healed his skin), he decided to create his own line—complete with a cleanser, vitamin C serum, and facial and body butters. "It's a skincare regimen that was born out of my personal experiences and it's luxurious, highly efficacious, and affordable," he adds.

AJ Crimson Beauty

Entrepreneur, makeup artist, and beauty and lifestyle expert AJ Crimson created his eponymous beauty line to fill a void in the industry. "I felt like there was an absolute need to bring products to women of color that actually worked and didn't oxidize or change," Crimson says on his website. "I wanted to create a product inclusive of women of all ethnicities, a product all women could find ownership in and believe in. So often, makeup has been designed with a one-size-fits-all mentality, and with Black women and women of color, my cosmetic line contains shades for women of every ethnic background and skin tone." The brand offers a variety of lip products, foundations, and powders to serve every member of Black and multicultural communities.

Iman Cosmetics

Iman Cosmetics, which was founded by model, actress, and entrepreneur Iman Abdulmajid, covers the needs of Black and Brown women's everyday makeup routines; the brand's 10 shades of primers, concealers, and foundations can be used on a daily basis. The diverse offerings don't stop there—the beauty line also features a wide variety of brow, eye, and lip products, too.

Beauty Bakerie

Calling everyone with a sweet tooth: Beauty Bakerie's line, inspired by tasty desserts, aims to please with its versatile products. "Our mission is to be sweet and sweeten the lives of others," Cashmere Nicole, the brand's CEO and founder, notes on their website. "We are committed to encouraging men and women to feel both empowered and beautiful. Beauty Bakerie is a direct reflection of my perseverance and passion for great quality products that enhance the beauty in everyone, every day." The treat-inspired products, like Cake Pop Lipsticks ($10, beautybakerie.com), come in a variety of shades to perfectly match any complexion.

Lamik Beauty

Kim Roxie's Lamik Beauty brand follows two key principles: Be kind to people and the environment. To put the tenets into action, the beauty line focuses on "transforming the standard of beauty," notes the company's website. Lamik creates inclusive products, like eye makeup remover, foundation, brow gel, and more, with natural, high-quality ingredients. Better yet, every products' packaging is reusable and recyclable.

The Wrap Life

The Wrap Life supplies the Black community with a wide range of hair products designed to protect textured hair, including chic head wraps, bandies, headbands, and turbanettes. The company's versatile designs—the products feature fun animal prints and patterns—are composed of stretchy materials to keep you comfortable.

Mielle Organics

The Mielle Organics brand focuses on using natural ingredients. The Moisturizing Avocado Hair Milk ($13, mielleorganics.com), Babassu Conditioning Sulfate-Free Shampoo ($6.19, mielleorganics.com), and Rosemary Mint Strengthening Hair Masque ($10, mielleorganics.com) are a few of the hair care line's best sellers, among others that prioritize the health of a variety of curl types and hair textures.

Hair Are Us

Entrepreneurs Khat Brim and Ashley Williams started Hair Are Us out of Atlanta, Georgia, back in 2011 to ensure that women can have the hair they want without the stress. "We understand that a 'Woman's Crown Is Her Glory' and that each woman has different hair desires," reads their website. "Therefore, our team of hair experts hand picks a variety of top-quality hair extensions from suppliers around the world." After initially starting a mobile-only business, the brand is now an internationally recognized hair care brand that offers everything from wigs to shampoos and conditioners.

Curls

Curls founder Mahisha Dellinger designed this line of natural hair products using quality ingredients that Black women can depend on. The curl-specific brand has shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, and more for adults, children, and babies, so they can take care of their hair at every stage. "Our success is largely attributed to innovating new product collections that meet the evolving needs of the natural hair industry," the website says. "Prior to this, women just wanted something to 'tame' their manes. Now, they demand quality products that 'celebrate' and showcase their perfectly imperfect curly coifs."

Fanm Djanm

Paola Mathè brought the Fanm Djanm headwrap collection and lifestyle brand to life in 2014. The brand—which also means "strong woman" in Haitian Kreyol—inspires women to live boldly in their everyday lives. The Brooklyn-based line offers full headwraps, headbands, bandanas, and even jewelry and clothing in lively prints and styles to give every customer a sense of strength whenever they wear them.

Pear Nova

Known for its array of neutral nail polishesPear Nova is a nail care brand with products that complement Black women of all complexions. Rachel James created the Chicago-based, cruelty-free, and vegan-friendly brand with "medium to deeper skin tones in mind," the company's website shares. "[These nudes were] inspired by incredible women who have shaped history and paved the way for Brown girls everywhere."

People of Color

Jacqueline Carrington—the founder of People of Color nail polish—didn't use nail polish growing up since there weren't shades that suited her skin. Once her daughter started wearing nail polish as a child, she realized that creating her own line of lacquers specific to the Black community and people of color would fill the void that she had noticed all along. With the slogan "nail polish for People of Color and those who live in color," the brand boasts a variety of bright hues and neutrals tones that complement all skin colors.

OOO Polish

OOO Polish's goal is to diversify beauty within the nail care industry. "Our mission is pretty straightforward but more importantly inclusive," reads the company's website. "We provide imagery of underrepresented skin tones paired with imagery of colors many women feel like they could never wear." Best of all, the brand's diverse offerings are also affordable.

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