As a young black woman navigating life, love and the pursuit of the perfect mascara, I often find myself in a dilemma when it comes to beauty. While many beauty brands — both heritage and indie alike — have made considerable strides toward inclusivity, it doesn’t change the fact that there was such a huge gap in the market in the first place. For years women who look like me have had to get creative in order to access beauty in the same way and I consider myself incredibly lucky that my day doesn’t consist of playing chemist in order to find my perfect foundation shade. While this doesn’t stop me from shopping at my local Sephora, I try to make a conscious effort to follow, support and shout out black-owned beauty brands (many of which are indie) — and you should, too.
Founded by Cashmere Nicole in 2011, Beauty Bakerie has taken both social media and our hearts by storm. With product names that sound good enough to eat (BROWnies eyebrow gel, anyone?) and Lip Whips that won’t move no matter what you do, this beauty brand is perfect for the beauty junkie who loves cute names and packaging as much as they love makeup.
If you’re lash obsessed (like me!) you should probably give Lena Lashes a try. Started by Marlene Aymone, this brand is beloved by bloggers and beauty junkies alike. They have endless lash styles to suit just about everyone and their lashbands are flexible enough to ensure comfortable all day wear. The brand also has liquid lippes in so many colors you’ll be spoiled for choice.
Founded in 1993, Lisa Price started Carol’s Daughter from her kitchen in Brooklyn. Since then, it has gone on to become one of the biggest hair brands in the world. Beloved by curly-haired naturals everywhere, Carol’s Daughter makes silicone and paraben-free products designed to keep black hair healthy. Bought by L’Oréal in 2014, Carol’s Daughter is no longer black owned but Price continues to maintain an active role in the business.
While neutral, matte palettes will always have a place in my heart, Juvia’s Place has a knack for delivering punchy, bright palettes that have amazing color payoff and staying power. You’ve probably seen these standout palettes on the ‘gram with their notable, bright packaging, featuring historic African queens. The brand was founded in 2014 by Chichi Eburu, a Nigerian born woman who saw a gap in the beauty industry for products that appreciated black women. A blogger and beauty guru fave — you won’t regret trying these beautiful palettes with packaging you won’t soon forget.
Started by Flow when she was only 22 years old, this cruelty-free, UK-born brand is a must have for anyone who can’t resist a good lipstick (which is pretty much everyone). Their pretty gold packaging is unmistakable, and their formula is adored by beauty lovers on both sides of the pond.
Another cruelty-free gem, Coloured Raine has the neutrals beauty babes know and love, and poppy, bright colors for more daring looks. This brand has being doing its thing since 2013, when it was founded by Loraine. They recently released a 13-pan eyeshadow palette (with a bonus highlighter!) filled with five mattes, two foils and five shimmer pearls that you have to see to believe.
If the Lip Bar looks familiar, here’s why. You might have seen the owner Melissa Butler on Shark Tank pitching her gluten-free, and paraben free beauty brand. Even though she didn’t walk away with funding, her brand continues to thrive. With a focus on inclusivity and packaging that is a much needed addition to any vanity, the Lip Bar is definitely a brand to add to your “must-buy” list. Their lipsticks are also super affordable at $12 a pop — meaning you can buy two or three without breaking the bank.
With deep, flattering hues and an applicator that reminds us of our fave highlighter pen (gotta love that click-pen packaging!), Gold Label Cosmetics is definitely a brand to watch. Founded by Kristen Elise Brown, the brand started with only four shades and has since expanded to include both bullet and liquid lipsticks of all shades and hues. My fave color of the bunch has to be Baby Grande — a deep purple-y hue that looks amazing on a range of skin tones.
Hero Photo Credit: @tiannamodels