Let me share something with y’all: I love Black beauty. I am constantly inspired by the innovative sh*t people of color come up with — from our nails to our makeup and, of course, the super dope things we do to our hair. But what truly delights me are the brands who are for us, by us. Entrepreneurship by no means is an easy road, but it is a worthy one when you can empower those who look like you with thoughtful, well-crafted products that make our melanin glow and our hair pop.
During my 10-year tenure as a beauty editor, I have come across countless brands that have *claimed* they were for us, yet sadly fallen flat. Since then, I’ve made it my personal mission to incorporate on-point Black-owned beauty brands into my daily routine, from my face oil (Ode to Self Skincare) to my razor (Oui the People). Below is a shortlist of a few of my favorites that I have discovered over the years — and hopefully you’ll swiftly fall in love with them, too.
Oui The People
I’m not sure about you, but something about at-home waxing terrifies me, particularly during the new stay-at-home orders. On the other hand, flashbacks of nicks and scratches from my teen years made me press pause on shaving — until I discovered Oui The People’s IG-worthy rose gold razors, created by CEO and founder Karen Young. Beyond being beautiful to look at, I have yet to find another razor that shaves this close without slicing my skin. And the Sugarcoat Shave Gel-to-Milk? *Chef’s Kiss* You'll likely NEVER use shaving cream ever again.
Oui The People The Single Rose Gold Sensitive Skin Razor, $, available at Oui The People
The Mane Choice
Started by Courtney Adeleye, a former nurse-turned-hair legend, The Mane Choice is one of my favorite drugstore haircare brands. It’s results-driven and super affordable, and I love that the brand leads with hair-healthy ingredients like black tea, moringa ,and Kalahari Oil. I know the jury is still out on whether hair vitamins are worth it, but the brand’s Manetabolism Plus are the truth.
The Mane Choice Manetabolism Plus Vitamins, $, available at The Mane Choice
Personally, I don’t suffer from acne frequently — but when I do get a pimple, it usually turns into a dark mark (*cries). So when Vivrant Beauty’s Desiree Verdejo mentioned she was in the process of creating a serum to fight hyperpigmentation, I was all ears. A few months after our convo, she gave birth to her first launch, Hyper Clear, (and an actual child, too!) The sheer, weightless gel is gentle enough for daily use and includes a powerful combo of vitamin C and E to erase spots while brightening your complexion.
Hyper Skin Hyper Clear Vitamin C Serum, $, available at Hyper Skin
The Lip Bar
When I met Melissa Butler during my assistant days at ESSENCE Magazine, I had a hunch she was going to be a very big deal. Fast forward to now, and she is crushing the cosmetics game. She dubbed her most recent launch, Face Fast, as “makeup for people with shit to do.” Fittingly, it consists of six products (foundation, face powders, brow gel and pencil, eyeliner, mascara, and lipstick) designed to get you a full look in seven minutes.
The Lip Bar Squad Goals Fast Face Kit, $, available at The Lip Bar
Lauren Napier Beauty
Ok, so you might be thinking “Makeup wipes! Really girl?” And my response is “YES, really girl!” Once you try one of founder Lauren Napier’s luxurious face wipes, you will never look at drugstore options the same. I always keep her super chic La Rose wipes handy to keep my skin in check (and take off my makeup) when I am feeling lazy.
Lauren Napier Beauty La Rose Facial Cleansing Wipes, $, available at Lauren Napier Beauty
Pronounced OMA (uh-mah), the brand name literally translates to “beautiful” in Igbo, which is exactly how Nigerian-born founder, Sharon Chuter, wants you to feel after using the products. I personally love this brand because it champions for women of color of all shades. "Uoma was born out of my personal experiences and frustrations in the beauty industry," she told Refinery29. "I am a proud, Black, Nigerian woman, and I've always felt excluded from the beauty conversation." UOMA’s Black Magic Carnival Lipstick adds just the right amount of shimmer while delivering tons of moisture.
UOMA Beauty Black Magic Carnival Lipstick, $, available at UOMA Beauty
Briogeo Hair Care
Admittedly, I am not always the best at caring for my hair (hence why I keep a cropped cut), but I know I need to 100% do better. When things have gone awry, Briogeo, created by Nancy Twine, has brought my dry, 4C hair right back to life. The line’s award-winning Don’t Despair, Repair Deep Conditioning Mask is filled with hair-loving ingredients, including rosehip, sweet almond and argan oils, plus vitamin B5 and biotin.
Briogeo Hair Care Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask, $, available at Briogeo Hair Care
Beneath Your Mask
One of my favorite parts about my job is chatting with people I meet in the beauty industry — and I find myself wanting to chat with Beneath Your Mask’s founder, Dana Jackson, for hours. She was able to pivot a challenging diagnosis (Lupus) into a purposeful, clean, natural beauty company that has changed lives. I always keep her Heal Whipped Skin Souffle within hands reach along with her Remedy Conditioning Lip Balm when I’m WFH.
Beneath Your Mask Heal Whipped Skin Soufflé, $, available at Beneath Your Mask
Ode To Self Skincare
Sometimes you don’t have to connect with someone IRL to have a connection. After receiving a DM (followed by a lovely email) from Ode to Self’s Kimberlee Alexandria, I was keen to try her products. Each bottle is made 100% in-house, with no animal testing or harm and specifically "for the girl with brown and black skin in mind.” It's become so popular in my home that I now have to fight my fiancé over who gets to use the De Palma Hydrating and Clarifying Facial Oil in the morning.
Ode To Self Skincare De Palma Hydrating and Clarifying Facial Oil, $, available at Ode To Self Skincare
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